A few thoughts about solidarity and violence

german version
The following text was published on the 2nd May 2014 at hambacherforst.blogsport.de. After an incident were the police came into the forest with a century to evict some tents and at the same time one f their cars lost the windows. After this happened there was a lot of mass media shitwere – without evidence – the terrorists” of the occupation were blamed to act in a really violent way. Followed by this many citizens put ressure on the occupation to dissociate from such acts or they would cut the solidarity. This text is what followed ll this happenings.

Recently, some voices came up that – built up from several newspaper articles – question the camp (the occupation of the meadow next to the forest). Above all the alleged aggressiveness of activists and the demolishing of a police car which is being attributed to the occupation were criticized. That is why we came together some days ago to talk about this topic.

These first two points in advance:
On the one hand there is no collective “We”. The constellation of people at the occupation is constantly changing and the entire movement is fortunately very diverse and will not and can not be unified.
On the other hand it is very difficult to define the term and the concept of violence – about this there exist already many different ideas.
Therefore, this text does not claim to to be to universally applicable for the entire movement but rather tries to contribute to the discussion.

First of all, we want to share what opinions and questions have been raised in our meeting.
Is, for example, violence against things generally violence? Can’t it even be irresponsible to refrain from violence if by using it worse could be prevented? Is a person automatically nonviolent if he_she doesn’t take any weapons or doesn’t fight with the own hands?
Isn’t it also violence to pay others to hurt people? Or to oppress people? What does it mean then to buy clothes which were produced by children or sick people under pressure? Or to buy meat for which living beings are all their lifes tortured and then murdered? Is it illegitimate to prevent greater violence even if this means that you have to use a certain extent of violence yourself? Is it illegitimate to defend somebody so that this person doesn’t suffer violence even if this means that this protecting requires violence? What is self-defense? Who decides about this? How much power have those who decide about it?
On the other hand was also stated that actions such as the demolishing of police cars can be counterproductive because it negatively reflects on the occupation and creates more waste. And we asked ourselves as well whether we can achieve anything with violence. Because finally the police is superior in numbers, has more resources and power and does also have the jurisdiction on their side. Some of us are also afraid that any defensive violence could lead to more violence of the other side.

However, it can also be very hard not to fight back when the police beats you up and / or you are daily confronted with the destruction caused by RW€. It is useful and important for the emotional well-being not to be defenseless in a violent situation. Post-traumatic stress reactions can occur when you impotently have face an attack (f.e. when fight or flight is not possible) – and often activists are struggling with this after a contact with the police. Thus, it can have long and serious consequences if man does not fight back. Or does it really just lead to more police brutality?
Many were angry or sad about the fact that the responses to an alleged attack by squatters at a thing are so negative whilst police violence is often hardly even noticed. Even though police violence often means brutal beatings, imprisonment and torture.

It is also repeatedly shocking how one-sided the press reports: It has not been proved who smashed the windows of the car. Apparently none of the journalist thought that it would be necessary to go to the occupation in order to get a second opinion. Nevertheless the articles are considered by many to be “the truth”. This is even more astonishing if one considers the fact that directly next to one of these articles some RW€ advertisement was published: Who gets money apparently has no interest in building up an opinion as open and as objective as possible. Somehow it is also not surprising that the violence carried out by RW€ is often ignored: An (apparently) 82km² big hole is being dredged, a beautiful old forest is being destroyed forever, people are being relocated and noone gives a damn about the heavy consequences for the humans but also for the nature as a whole. Nevertheless, those who try to resist all this with the few resources they have are being criminalized or apparently even feared.
Too bad …

With all this of cause I don’t want to say that it is not understandable if people for example feel intimidated by persons wearing masks. Nevertheless, unfortunately this is often necessary because of self-protection. It happens that the police uses pictures to identify person. And this can mean that the person concerned ha to face charges even if the only “crime” consists in having made a walk in the woods. The imagination of the police is great in this respect and in terms of credibility in front of the mass media and a court the police is also privileged. Activists don’t just wear masks for fun and certainly also not to intimidate people – least of all with these temperatures! (This text was composed in bright sunshine and more than 20 degrees)

In one newspaper article it was also mentioned that squatters had set up traps inside the forest.
Such cases are not known. This allegation we hold rather for another strategy to criminalize protest. If we build barricades or trenches we always make sure that they are clearly marked and pedestrians can unhindered enjoy the forest.
We are not on this camp to use violence but to do something about it. We are committed to the preservation of nature and villages. The destruction emanates from others.
The occupation is meant to be a place of solidarity with humans and the nature – and we hope that it will also be seen as such the future.
More criticism, suggestions and opinions are of course still welcome and we would also be very happy to continue this discussion with you here on the meadow.

FIERCE RESISTANCE TO TOILET DEMOLITION IN FOREST OCCUPATION

Bagger blockiert! Bagger blockiert! Bagger blockiert!

12 activists arrested and several injured during the demolition of the compost toilets in Hambacher Forest in Germany.

A hundred riot police officers, mounted police, and security personnel of the RWE energy corporation arrived early in the morning (23.4.2014) with bulldozers and diggers in order to demolish the compost toilets and infrastructure of the protest camp.

The activists climbed on trees, constructed blockades, and protested with music and clowning. One activist chained themself to a bulldozer with a lock-on tube, thus stopping the whole convoy for four hours. Police brutally attacked the protesters. One activist was hospitalized with a concussion after police repeatedly hit him on the head.

„We wonder why the police invests so much energy and resources in the destruction of sustainable toilets when 500 metres away lays the biggest shit-hole in Europe,“ said Ginger and Clowney after their arrest.

Hambacher Forest was occupied since April 2012 in protest against the expanding open-pit mine Hambacher Tagebau, the largest CO2 producer in Europe, owned by RWE. The occupation has been delaying the continued destruction of the ancient forest.

A few days ago an article appeared in the local mainstream media claiming that activists harrass passersby and smash police and company vehichles.
„Three days before the official re-occupation of Hambach Forst, RWE and the police are looking to intimidate and criminalize the activists. The mainstream media is very willing to support this cheap propaganda,“ said the activist Isabell Schwarz.

The activists faced several evictions, but have immediately re-occupied. The last eviction was at March 27th, but a public re-occupation is planned for April 26th.

Digger blockade!

EVICTION in „progress“

The Hambach Forest Occupation is EVICTED right now!
This is where it is going to start!

Several hundred police arrived this morning, surrounding and shutting down the forest occupation from the eyes of anyone who would like to witness what is actually going on.

Infrastructure, Treehouses, trees, hedges, all getting torn apart piece by piece.
Everything is destroyed by loud, obnoxious machinery orchestrated by megalomaniacs, operated by ignorant people who in the end have nothing to claim for themselves but clinging on to their job.
People getting dragged away, getting brutalized, getting violated.

more…

Police commitment on meadow and occupied forest!

Achtung PolizeiThis morning, 20th of march at 7am, 200 cops stormed the occupied meadow close to the occupied Hambach Forest to search for verifications for actions which reportedly happend during the last year. They took all the Laptops, Mobilephones, Memory cards, private documents (like passport, different kind of cards, letters,…). There were just 5 people on site, they checked their identitys. So rigth now there is no meadow- or forestphone you can call! Replacements will become active soon.

Police neglected to call a lawyer during the operation and as they imediately took all cell phones etc. there was no communication possible for hours. The first supporters recognized what was happening and came close to the ocupation at around 10 am.
At 12am they finnished the chaos.

During some of them were busy on the meadow, a big police unity went to the treehouses with chainsaws. They (again!) cutted all the robes which weren’t pulled up (which is a danger of life!) and left then.

As a reason for this police operation they refered on elucidation of punishable acts which were commited since april 2013 in the surrounding of the coal mine Hambach which is absurd. As well you could search all houses of a city district refering on all criminal acts of the whole city during one year. It is not about eluciadation of punishable acts. It is about harassment of people who afford courage and time for legitimate protest against the destruction of climate and earth.

There’re still very less people over there!

Polizeischlange zur Besetzung Polizeischlange zur Besetzung
Show Solidarity! Organize actions like spontaneously demonstrations, banner drops, information events,… let the people know whats going on in the Hambach Forest!

Rebellious regards from meadow and forest!

Police on side again

This morning at 10am police and RWE rated the the forest occupation again. It’s not clear if there was a higher purpose then destroying the soil with there wheel loader or just the plan to bother the spring fever by annoying all inhabitants of the forest. unfortunately this it worked for the non human beings but not for the people on the tree houses which where in a nice mute.
Just for the record the forest isn’t an playground for digger drivers we demand, use your crappy pit. Directed to the cops: a forest walk is more reactivating with out riot gear and stop clubbing young trees !

Radlader im Hambacher Forst

unwanted visit on 19th november

Today, thursday 19th november 2013, RWE and police made again an unwanted visit at the forest ocupation of the Hambacher Forst. At about 1pm a convoy of a digger, a harvester and infantry and paid mercenaries crushed through the forest. For three hours they were destroying everything which was in their range and even stole a wooden box with food, water canisters, shoes and further personal belongings.
We already know this procedure and it doesn’t surprise us that they do what they’d call “theft“ themselves. Because – as we all know – their laws are only for the opressed people and not for big companies, the state or the police.
What was different this time was the harvester, which cut all the wood directly into extremely small pieces. Furthermore they were using a metal detector because of a marked „danger zone/ mine field“.
Because of the psycological pressure of RWE through these repeated attacks some feel a kind of impotence. It’s hard to see how all the infrastructure on the ground which was made from solidary hands a which is really important for the forest ocupation is being destroyed again and again. It’s unbelievable how desinterested they destroy all the soil and its inhabitant life with their machinery and how they treat this wonderfull and valuable ecosystem like something which is only in their way to the coal in the ground – which they consider as more valuable than any life. All of that puts a lot of pressure on one’s mentality. Everyone decides him_herself which way of protest they prefere and we solidarize us with them whether it’s through court cases, blocades, sabotage and/ or ocupations as well as their support and independent information and report – that’s the face of resistance.
We won’t watch with our arms crossed how this planet and every life on it is being destroyed through greed for money or lust for power. We want to be sure that also after our lifes there will be air to breathe, soil which is fertile and full of life, plants which grow healthy and without genetical modifications, rivers which aren’t intoxicated, oceans in which there’s not more plastic and gasoline than fish.
Even if most people might consider this destruction as not stopable anymore – it is posible and it’s necessary because tomorrow there might already be no day-after anymore. So we act now and with all the belonging consecuences.
When if not now? Where if not here? How if not with love? Who if not us?
For a free and good life without supremacy and destruction!
For a tomorrow!
Solidarity with Rosia Montana (Rumania), the ZAD (France), Bilston (England) and all further protests worldwide for a non-hierchical future on earth without exploitation.

P.S. to police and RWE:
Today was teh one-year-anniversary of the meadow ocupation. The next time you come to a birthday without invitation: Bring at least (vegan) cake!

–– some ocupiers

New forest under direct threat of eviction

The Hambach forest occupation is . For the second time in one month the police has been attacking the camp. Guarded by riot cops a flying squat of RWE workers equipped with chainsaws and a bulldozer entered the protest site. Without questioning the order that had been given to them they pushed forward the destruction of the planet we’re all living on, helping to erase one of the oldest forests in Europe. The huge bulldozer just squeezed everything in front of it: young trees, anthills and wasp’s nests as well as rare blue shining mushrooms which have been growing on some barricades were destroyed by this huge technological monster. Everything resisting was chopped to pieces. They left nothing but an aisle of destruction behind.
At the same place where they had entered last time in an attempt to prohibit this year’s third forest occupation there was a more than two meter high wall, built from the fallen trees of the authorities last attack, enforced by metal, soil and a crone of barbwire. The other ways to the site are naturally protected by beech thicket and up to 20 meter high oak trees.
The police surrounding the camp is of course doing their dirty job for RWE. Workers dressed in orange vests started opening the mesh of wire with bolt cutters. As soon as they undid the knotting they started to chop the stilts with their chainsaws. Then there was a low noise coming from the bulldozer’s engine when tons of steel were crashing into the barricade several times. Finally the barricade broke and finally they entered to destroy everything they were able to find on the ground.
After the bailiffs loaded everything up and exchanged some shake-hands for an obviously successful operation they left with the haul. What was left were some piles of soil, some stumps and activists utterly determined to struggle on.
The disrespect for the ecological system of the woodland expresses the belief of RWE that the Hambach forest is just property and nothing more than an pre-open-cast-mine-site. They sure would like to clear cut as fast as possible, turning everything into a dead and moonlike landscape to dig for lignite as well as hinder any more protests against their devious plans.
It is not possible to blind us by the so called re-cultivation on the Sophienhöhe which obviously will never be able to compensate at all the environmental impact of destroying life, soil and plants which had centuries time to grow and form a unique eco-system.
Winter is coming and eviction is pretty likely
Since 18 month we are resisting from different sites at the Hambach forest. 547 days of creative and determined struggling as well as the attempt to live a radical and self-organized life full of solidarity, autonomy and mutual aid.
We`d like to invite you to visit us and help us to prepare the two sites (the protest camp on the meadow, located at the forest’s edge and the occupation in the forest) for the fast approaching winter and the anticipated eviction as well and to share our fight against the ongoing clear cutting between October and March.
You would like to come and join for one day? One week or longer? To cook collectively (vegan)? Build things? Make music? Occupy trees? Build barricades and fight against the harvesters?
Just come over!
You can help us with what is going on already or establish your own ideas. There are plenty of ways to support the struggle. It doesn’t mind whether you can climb or not, almost every day we do have all kinds of skill sharing – and we’d like to share all your different interests and experiences too! And there’s always enough things to do, to enjoy and to gain knowledge about – on and above ground!
The raid yesterday confirms us to remain at least the necessary thorn in the paw of RWE and the existing and rotten system. We want to unplug capitalism in general, to deny the logic of growth and to stop the exploitation of the earth through all sorts of means, amonsgt them factories and power plants.
Let`s oppose RWE and police relentlessly.
We don’t stand by and watch big companies, policies and other structures of power to destroy everyone’s and everything’s means of living. Life is not for sale! We want to live and we want the whole freaking bakery.
So we fight every structure threatening a good and free life. It doesn’t matter if it’s RWE or another corporation, politicians, police, military, courts, the fascists next door or the daily sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.
For an ongoing life- struggle in love and solidarity!
For life itself!
For anarchy!
Pirates of Hambi
By the way:
There’s always a need for donations of (preserved) food, climbing gear, construction and fire wood, tarpaulin, isolation, tools, nails, string,rope, etc.