ANNOUNCEMENT: SKILL SHARING AT THE FOREST OCCUPATION – 29 JUNE TO 8 July

For 10 days we will organize a skill-share in the forest camp. Skills of all kinds shall be shared, with an emphasis on action and campaigning techniques, but also other knowledge or skills in all directions. Everybody knows something others would like to learn. Instead of banishing learning into a certain period of life and in (state) institutions, we want to try a completely different, much more vivid way of learning and knowledge transfer. Open to all, and always at eye level. We hope that this offer is accepted by a broad spectrum as possible, both by local residents and political activists and whoever else there is.
A call will follow, but remember the dates and sign up with us, if you have knowledge / skills you want to convey at the skill-share.

News from the forest

+ + + News from the forest occupation in the Hambach Forest + + + infrastructure development is progressing + + + police and RWE are tolerating the occupation for now + + + great encouragement from local residents + + + RWE wants to keep the ball low and the local RWE funded press is silent + + + support is still needed + + +

The occupation in the Hambach Forest, against clearcutting for lignite mining is gioing on for 20 days now and there’s a lot going on. In addition to the four platforms in the trees, a kitchen, a solar shower, a free-shop and a provisional compost toilet have been built. A Celtic roundhouse as a community space is under construction, as are several treehouses. Other buildings are planned.

But not only the establishment of a good infrastructure has progressed, the occupation gained much popular support. There’s a lot of positive feed-back, but it also shows how scared people are of the power company RWE. Many dare only behind closed doors to give us encouragement, or giving others financial donations to bring them to the forest, because they don’t dare to go themselves.

The squatters had the opportunity to establish “diplomatic relations” to RWE, the police and the local forester.
So some empolyees of RWE Power came to visit and were very concerned that people could fall into the hole (as the open-cast is called). In addition, they told that the occupation would be “tolerated”, as long as “the ball would be held low.” That seems to be their main interest, and for this purpose RWE employees were instructed to leave us alone and not to provoke.
The RWE folks also had very interesting theories about the origin of the high air pollution in the vicinity of the mine, which is originating from the Hambach Forest.

Also very interesting was the conversation with the police. They also do not wish to escalate and don’t want to evict us, at least not “as long as everything is staying peacefully.” They don’t want to be the horse in front of the cart of RWE, nor RWE-oponents. Let’s see if that’s prevailing when RWE wants the forest and some higher police agencies are responsible …
For the local police station, the forest occupation so far is merely an administrative offence, namely “wild camping”. And this is not enough to seriously interfere.

Finally, there is a little anecdote from the conversation with the forester, who said that we would probably drive Flora and Fauna crazy. Really surprising that we didn’t hear those comments about the machinations of RWE Power. Says the old adage? “Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.” This also fits very well that the entire local press had not yet written about the occupation, even though they were already on site. Sure, otherwise there is just no more ads by RWE.

First Declaration of the Hambach Jungle

The Forest is now squatted!

A part of the Hambach forest has been squatted in order to save it from the excavators send by the gigantic energy corporation RWE to dig up brown-coal.
During a cultural festival in the woods, under the slogan “Forest not Coal”, activists pulled up platforms in the trees.
At the festival people from different groups met up, forming a broad coalition to get active in saving the Hambach Forest and stopping the extraction as well as the combustion of the coal beneath it.
According to the plans of RWE, the Hambach forest, near Cologne, shall be completly destroyed to make space for the largest open-cast mine in Europe in the next few years.
During the festivity people got the chance of taking responsibility by godfathering their special tree and protecting it their way(s).
By squatting we are also taking over responsibility godfathering our trees, protecting them our own way.

Why squatting?

We have decided to squat knowing that it is surpassing the small path of legal protest. Nevertheless two final reasons lead us to that conclusion:

First: The gap between what is legal and what is regarded as justified by us is too big.
Even though RWE is, by destroying the forest in order to dig out the brown coal for burning it, also destroying the regional basis of living, as well as endangering peoples’ health in the area, not speaking of the worldclimate, they are legally allowed to do so.
However we cannot find any „real“ justification for RWEs doing.
By squatting this forest we’re not acting legal according to the current laws.
But the squat is justified by the aim of trying to stop RWEs wood and world destruction course.

Second: We believe that the gap between what is legal and what is just will always exist, due to the simple reason that a neutral point of view cannot exist.
Just and legal remain different because everybody has a different definition in mind of what is just and what is not.
Therefore establishing a free and lively discussion about what is just and reasonable, is a must; rather than having the definition derivated from ancient laws which, for the most, are only protecting the interests of the ruling elites.
By squatting we’re trying to generate such a process of vivid negotiating, furthermore thematizing the topic of how climate and enviromental destruction shall be dealt with.
Loudly we’re shouting „No!“ at anybody whom’s solution it is to go on just like used to be, AND who are -just like RWE- even speeding up in the old fashioned way by building new coal-fired power-stations.

If we are to be evicted by police force then we are facing the answer of a repressive state which is tring to supress any horizontal and vivid process of self-organization.
That is the ideolgy of the state, as well as of the capitalist cooperations, who are far too inflexible, not mentioning their wrong maxim of action, to give reasonable answers to the problems of our time.
They will eventually perish just like the dinosaurs who were also unable to cope with the changing conditions.
In fact the solution is not to modify the existing system of exploitation and opression into something more flexible, but to overcome that system!

Against coal energy – Here and Everywhere

This squat is opposing coal energy in general as ist is the most CO2 intensive form of gaining energy. The „Rheinish brown-coal-region” is Europe’s climate killer no. 1. But we also stand in solidarity with communities in other parts of the world e.g. Columbia where the extraction coincedences with brutal human rigth violations.
Worldwide the conflicts arising alongside coal extraction and burning are getting worse. Especially in Southeast Asia where in the last few years resisting activists have been murdered.
We want to create awareness of these struggles to help the people fighting.
Therefore we’ll include more informations about the on-goings in these areas in our further declarations, letting those acivists speak.
Furthermore we declare our solidarity towards the radical anti-coal-campaign like the coal-action-network in the U.K., rising-tide-groups in Australia and North-America, or the „wij stoppen steenkool“ campaign in the Netherlands. With their direct form of action, these groups gave an us inspiration, and we hope that these actions will inspire other groups world-wide as well.

The woods for all!

Squatting the forest shall be an act of re-empowerment by the locals. The „Occupiying Force“ RWE shall loose their „right“ of determining the future of the region, unscruplously destroying the local and global fundaments of live.
People should decide of what will happen to the forest in a cooperative manner instead. This space should be open to all on the basis of equal treatment of each other.
Therefore it is necessary that the people question the role-models and ways of acting they reproduce and how they perform acts of dominance or support them. We think that it is important that we all act together to fight, prevent and intervene disriminating acts of any kind.

Space for preparing the change

Squatting the Hambach Forest is an action directly confronting the injustice.
But we want to go on further: It’ll also be a place for people of different backgrounds to meet up and network. People that used to have only the fight against brown coal in common shall come together exchanging ideas and experiences of the ongoing surpression.
Through this exchange a network and organisation shall emerge – for the furthermore resistance, but also beyond that.
We need spaces where people are able to plan how a climate-just future should and can look like.
Firstly because the current politics totally failed and keep on failing in answering the pressing matter of climate change!
Secondly because organizing ourselves from below is much more fun anyway!
Maybe this squat might become such a place.
The offshoot of a new world inmidst the heart of fossil-nuclear capitalism.

Why „Declarations of the Hambach jungle?

The name of this text came up following the tradition of the Zapatistas in Mexico and their „Declarations of the lacandon jungle“. The Zapatistas achieved their aim of living in dignity in the borders of the poorest Mexican state through a strong direct and determind push back of the repressive police and para-military of Mexico.
We are not that bold of claiming our action to be comparable to the things happening in Mexico but nevertheless our aim is the same. Fighting for a self- determinated life in dignity inmidst a system of destruction and opression.
We believe that succesfull fights as in Chaipas all over the world are possible and necessary.
We want to make the first steps in this direction.

That form of a declaration was also chosen because we are tired of corrupting and shortening the contents only to make them fitting into a standard press format, whereafter they’re still totally corrupted by the press.
Instead we’re optimistic that this and the following declarations will reach -hopefully many – people directly.

We call that forest Hambach jungle knowing that this term is not correct. But the Hambach Jungle is, in its structure, one of the oldest forests in Western Europe. Rare habitats are found here. Unlike RWE, wanting to destroy the forest in total, we plead in favour of another solution, an experiment wherby that very natural forest will, in a few decades, turn into jungle-like wood.
Then, we would leave the Hambach Jungle deliberatly!

14. April: FOREST NOT COAL – FESTIVAL FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE HAMBACH FOREST

The Hambach Forest, in its structure 12.000 years old and once the biggest forest in the region, is being sacrificed to the biggest open cast mine in europe. Every year more trees are cut down, but there are still at least 600.000 left. With its high proportion of oak, small-leaf linden, dead wood, etc. it’s an ecologically valuable habitat for a host of endangered plant and animal species.

There are many reasons against the deforestation through RWE:

  • A recreation area is lost
  • An important safeguard against the mining dust for the places Buir, Manheim and Morschenich is lost
  • The clear-cutting of the forest and the subsequent combustion of coal make the Rheinish coal-mining district the biggest source of CO2 in Europe. This is speeding up climate change in an irresponsible degree

Due to the decreasing qualitiy of life, the health and environmental impacts of lignite mining there is an increasing resistance in many different forms.

On the cultural festival on 14 April we, local residents and environmental activists from near and far, want to come together and recognize our collective strengths to preserve the Hambach Forest. All groups or individuals can adopt a tree and protect it in their prefered way. Apart from a small creative arts and crafts site, a preparation can already take place at home with family or neighbors in advance. Be creative, the variety of methods will be our strength!

More info look [here].