Received on 09.11.17:
Greetings from Berlin to Athens
We, individuals and groups from the Rigaer Street, welcome the initiative, to start a discussion about an insurrection and fill it with experiences from the past, current theories and practical possibilities. This is how we understood the call for the Insurrection Festival in Athens.
In the program, we discovered several aspects, that we in the Nordkiez of Friedrichshain are engaged in. There is no anarchist, anti authoritarian or left radical movement in Berlin, there is just a scene. The dullness of the majority of a fascist society, makes it complicated to get moving. In order to destroy overall power structures, we need to search for the confrontation in our local communities. A concentration of people, ideas and structures working against the state, are necessary to be able to protect oneself from outside aggression and be able to actually develop.
Over the last couple of years, because of the intensity of our actions and the repression of the cops, this process has been started in the Rigaer street. Our actions do not simply concentrate on material violence, they are trying to destroy the social norm and values. In that sense, to change the meaning of property, safety and fear, as well as work and competition.
In Berlin it is forbidden to organise a free market, where everything can be given away for free, it is forbidden to play music in public spaces or just gather in the street with many people. It might be allowed if one requests permission from the police. We did all of these things without having any permission and every time we did, the police came and attacked us. As a response, many stones were thrown towards the cops and their cars.
Maybe the Police Occupation in Exarcheia is more violent, but in Friedrichshain they are more close – the occupation force is waiting in front of your door.
Another way of preventive counterinsurgency in Berlin is, next to repression, the integration. By using various politicians and ‘good’ cops, the administrations are always coming up with round tables. The idea is to bring inhabitants from the Friedrichshainer Nordkiez together with representatives from the administration offices, so an image could be created in which the politicians listen to the concerns of the public and all parties involved come up with a solution together. This way there is no need for real resistance anymore, and ‘social peace’ can be restored. We must fight the integration like we fight the repression.
Due to gentrification, the population in our part of the city, is being slowly replaced. If you don‘t have the money, you can‘t pay the rent anymore and you have to move. This is why many luxury cars and new investors are being attacked in our neighbourhoods. Controversial questions within our circles are for example the relationship to the neighbours. Some people are sympathetic with us and hate the cops. But how do we interact with those who do not want to have any position in this conflict or who just want to keep on living their capitalist life without any disturbances?
We are only a few in this city, very few. When the state attacks us, like last year, when the cops raided the Rigaer 94 twice and once occupied the house for over three weeks, while destroying large parts of it, it became possible for us to mobilise many people from outside our circles. For weeks over the summer 2016, cars all over the city were burning and during a bigger demonstration many people attacked the cops. But an insurrection cannot be planned, it arises from social tensions, where radical tendencies are integrated in a larger social resistance. Another question would be if we should look for people in this individualised and estranged society or if it would be better just to put a utopia out there, that speaks for itself ?
On the 16th of June this year, a utopia was a hip hop concert in the streets. As expected the cops soon attacked and it lead to riots, which would only be worth a little note in Athens, but became a headline story in Berlin. Press and politicians compared the Rigaer street with the war in Syria. Should we escalate the situation even more, even though we are few people?
The autonomous movement was fuelled in the 80s by the difficult housing situation and the many squats, that existed all over the city. The experiences since then, show us that as soon as we take one step backwards the enemy moves up right behind us. In the cases, where squatters negotiated with the state, they always lost. In the cases, where we did not negotiate, we may have also lost, but by fighting the struggle we won new activists for our structures.
As a realistic point of departure, we are trying to make one part of the city impossible to control, a process which should be expanded chronologically and spatially. Maybe the cops will attack our spaces in Friedrichshain again in the near future. Then we will ask you for help, by attacking authority, no matter where you are. Just like we in Berlin are trying to react to the state organised operations against the resistance in Athens and elsewhere.
Comrades and Friends of Rigaer 94 and the Resistance in Friedrichshain
* the police use the label ‘Danger Zone’ for a kind of martial law which allows them to stop-and-search people without reason and break into homes without search warrants and confiscate everything.