The fight for the preservation of the Hambacher Forst is a combination of diverse forms of action and events. From black masked up to colorful disguised and small, clandestine groups up to stunning crowds, and more. Legitimate and yet often criminalized. This text is only providing a view inside and must not be seen as a tutorial. What people do with this information is solely their cause and the writer of this text can not take any responsibility for it. That an action form is listed here is only because of that it had been used during the anti-lignite resistance in the Rhineland – it does not mean necessarily that this action is related to the occupation nor that all people there would be in favour of it. On the occupation there are as many opinions as people.
A special farewell present
In December 2012 a group that called itself „clearing squad“ visited the house of the outgoing management boss of RWE Mr Lambertz and made him a special present. Because many trees had been standing in the way of his carrier, the „clearing squad“ decided to help him also with his own plants. They unceremoniously removed box trees, bushes, roses and other plants from his front garden and left a farewell greeting on his outside wall.
The basis for each tree occupation. But Beware! Climbing must be learned properly, otherwise there is a risk of accidents which should not be underestimated. Many people participate in five-day so-called „Action-climbing trainings“. This trainings are offered in Germany several times a year by experienced climbing activists. Climbing is useful for various actions, such as blockades or banner-drops.
Sometimes some colourful clowns that you used to know only from circus appear also in the Hambacher Forst. Clowns can calm down tensed situations, easily question (state) authority and give a good picture in the media.
Direct action is an umbrella term for many forms of political action. It is about intervening directly in political events. Those concerned act themselves without giving power to representatives.
The best example of direct action in the conventional sense is the occupation of the Hambach forest. But you don‘t have to squat an entire forest for acting directly. Direct action can also be integrated in our own everyday lives, for example if one uses „Guerilla Gardening“ – the wild and clandestine laying out of gardens – to turn the sad grey city environment a bit more colourful.
Lock-Ons/ Chain yourself
This type of action is also being used to block something or to make an eviction last longer. One or more persons chain themselves according to the circumstances to trees, buildings, other things or simply to themselves. Really simple lock-ons can only consist of a bike lock. More complex ones can be build out of several layers of beton, metal, carpets, and everything else that makes it harder for the police to cut it.
In one of the first tree occupations in the forest a large net was used. This was in about 20 m height suspended between several trees. In such a net, several people can sit and crawl around like spiders. It is hard to evict because the police can‘t just cut is somewhere without putting people in danger and the people in the net can also move quite fast.
The nationwide action orchestra „Lebenslaute“ combines classical music with civil disobedience and expresses its political convictions by concerts in unusual places. In October 2012, the orchestra blocked with a classical concert for around two hours a coal excavator. Amongst others the played a romantic song of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy „O valleys wide, O heights, o beautiful green forest“. The police first listened until the end of the concert before responding. The next concert in the coal mine took place in August 2015. For more information: lebenslaute.net
„Rhythms of Resistance“ – samba group
RoR is a global network of political drumming groups and Samba bands, that often dressed in pink and silver support demonstrations or direct actions. Also in the forest some samba drumming people popped up. At the very first day of occupation they took the sponsorship for a „SamBaum“ (word mixture of Samba and Baum – tree in german) and during the Climate camp they made some beginner workshops and participated blockades of excavators and the coal train. More information at rhythms-of-resistance.org.
The well-aimed destruction of tools, machines and infrastructure with the aim of preventing the daily destruction of the environment by RWE. RWE offers a lot of targets: Starting from the extraction itself (smaller excavators and water pipes) up to the transport (the coal railway) and the machines for the clearcutting of the forest. Because sabotage is one of the most criminalized form of action it is really important to leave no traces linke fingerprints for example.
During the annual general meeting of RWE in 2013 the theme park of the ‚Gruga‘ hall, in which RWE was presenting all their technics and visions, was enlarged with a small play. On the forecourt of the building a grimly looking woodsman sew into pieces the homes of the protesting animals of the forest.
Trees that are going to be cut or were already cut are spiked with big nails or pottery rods at the
height of the saw. This makes the saws go blunt or can even break the saw blades.
During a cultural festival, in the frame of which the forest was occupied for the first time, there was a call-out for groups or single persons to sponsor some trees. This was done in various ways: trees were decorated, one person promised to give water to the tree every day and some dozens of people started to build platforms in the trees and declared them as „occupied“.
The name should be self-explanatory: You dig a tunnel and then you entrench yourself inside to make an eviction harder. Originally this form of action comes from England, where it was practiced first in
1993. Some of the local tunnel evictions took some months. The tunnel eviction in the Hambacher Forest took only four days but with this it was already the longest eviction of the german-speaking area.