Almost two weeks ago (Oct. 13th, 2018), a group of us began squatting Manheim, opening up the MAZ (Manheim Ⓐutonomous Zone) 46 occupation on the corner of Friedensstrasse and Forsthausstrasse.
What followed was twelve days of living autonomously, developing the space, and building relations with neighbours. Over the last weekend, though, the repression of the project was especially severe, with the police laying siege to the occupation almost constantly, denying us supplies and even beating up and arresting some of those attempting to support us. Even a child, who wanted to give us cookies, was searched!
On Monday (Oct. 22nd, 2018) we were greeted by the happy news that the state does not yet have the legal right to evict MAZ 46, pending a decision by a higher court that could take days or even weeks to come through. Our door was open and the campfire was burning, as we looked forward to an exciting Ende Gelände action weekend. Yet on Thursday (Oct. 25th) at 8:00 the state began evicting the occupation, even in the lack of a clear legal right to do so. At the time of writing (Oct. 26th), a group of friends are still holding out in the roof of one of the seven MAZ 46 houses, completely surrounded by the police.
Since the beginning, one of our main goals has been to support the Hambach Forest occupation by opening up a safe space for usage by our comrades there. And in the last days our bonds with the forest have become even stronger: as it turns out, one of the first houses we occupied (46 Friedensstraße, Open Street Map) is, aside from being the oldest building in Manheim, also the house in which used to live the forester of Bürgewald (garanteed forest, rebaptised Hambach Forest by RWE). Not only that: the beautiful and large garden with its old venerable, ivy-covered oaks, that connects the MAZ 46 houses, is actually a small piece of the original Bürgewald that once reached Manheim’s borders, even if it is separated now from the rest of the forest by a few hundred meters of fields. So we can gladly announce MAZ 46 as the latest occupation of Hambach Forest, ready to be reoccupied in full at the first opportunity.
Aside from this focus, moreover, another of our main goals has been to highlight the dire situation of the inhabitants of Manheim and other nearby villages, who are being bullied out of their homes by RWE for the sake of ecocide and private profit. The capitalist economy has no right to turn what has been the homeland of families for generations into a toxic pit. And we reaffirm our intention to return the houses of Manheim to all former residents with the desire to return.
As we see it, occupying Manheim – nowadays standing almost completely empty – is one of the best strategies we have for blocking the expansion of coal mining here, already the most intensive region in Europe in terms of CO2 production. With RWE crippled by its current inability to cut down Hambach Forest, combined with the crisis of legitimacy faced by the German government in response to its insistence on guaranteeing climate catastrophe, we hope that the occupation of Manheim could be the final nail in the coffin of the destruction of this region.
We are hereby calling on people to rebuild the MAZ 46 occupation, bringing your energy and creativity into the space, asking along with us in which direction to take the project. Or, even better, open up new squats in Manheim – the more the merrier! All it takes is a tool kit and a bit of determination to reopen a living space here. In combination with sufficient cake and good conversation, we can surely construct a diverse, colourful resistance here in Manheim.
Who knows what adventures could result from a wave of experimental, autonomous living here, bringing new life to this murdered village?
Manheim lebt!! @manheimlebt