Leipzig, Germany: Sow the Wind and Reap the Storm

[Le] Wer Wind sät, wird Sturm ernten

We take review of a long lasting weekend, filled with struggles against the increasing displacement, the gentrification and unbearable siege of pigs in our neighborhoods. After the eviction of two squats, the rage regarding the social grievances escalated for another time.

After the eviction of Luwi71 squat, there was a call for a Day X+1 demonstration for the following Thursday. Couple of hundred people where following the call and expressed their anger about the expulsion of the prospective social center near the Eisenbahnstraße neighborhood. Cops were attacked, barricades build and lit. The confrontations lasted for a couple of hours, in which people also tried to resquat the Luwi71. The pigs continuously tried to disperse the masses, but instead a couple of small demonstrations and affinity groups where pushing the confrontation forward. A couple of people from the neighborhood, who could watch the confrontation, decided to participate. One could feel the rage and anger about the daily siege and criminalization of the Eisenbahnstraße Neighborhood by the pigs, where the first “Waffenverbotszone” was constructed by the Saxonian government two years ago. In the course of the confrontations and after a couple of unsuccessful attacks of the cops, they started randomly to shoot tear gas into a crowd of bystanders, neighbors, demonstrators and journalists. That they used, here and on the following day, an ammunition which is forbidden by the law of war weapons, does not surprise in the face of the militarization of the Saxon police.

In the course of this evening more than 20 people were detained, we wish all of them strength! Everyone was released until the next morning.

Encouragingly people squatted another building in Leipzig Connewitz on the next day, Friday the 4th of September. But unfortunately cops and security cars moved in the neighborhood, circled the squat and evicted it, before a critical mass could be mobilized in front of the building. Nevertheless lot’s of people seemed to notice, as there grouped around 300 people a few hours later for a spontaneous demonstration. What followed, was an appropriate answer to the contemptuous praxis of the pigs. After the Sponti [spontaneous demo] had started with the wide use of pyrotechnics, the foothold of the pigs in Connewitz was attacked, surveillance cameras destroyed and couple of windows damaged by color and stones. Since the opening of the outpost in 2014, this was the fifth bigger attack on it. Thereupon the Sponti moved through Hammerstraße in direction of the Bornaische Straße, where at first a police van was sent away by stones and pyrotechnics and the first arriving pig griffin unit was sent away in a hail of stones. After the demonstration arrived the intersection of Bornaische/Stockartstraße, major police forces arrived from the south and north side of the area. There were minutes of confrontation. In the course of this confrontation cop vans were belting with high velocity on to the crowd of people, forcing people to jump aside in the last minute, not to die. While this they almost ram a tram and finally stopped with an emergency braking, where the second van crashed into the first. Without dramatizing, we though want to name, what this was: An attempted murder on people, who are a thorn in the side of the state. That while this car crash no one was overrun by the pigs, is almost a miracle. Despite all the joy regarding the pictures of the destroyed police van, despite all jokes made about illegal car races of cops and so on, we won’t forget, that lives were consciously put at high risk in this moment. The conservative mouthpiece of the ruling class, the rich and the right wing populists, Springerpresse, wrote, the car accident was caused by attacks on the cops in this moment. Something is true in this expression, since the pigs in the vehicles attacked tried to run over the attacking people in this moment. It is a highly hypocritical way of expression in this concrete moment, when the major pig, Torsten Schultze, accuses us to put lives at risk and his soldiers try to attempt murder. Since we are facing fully equipped and well trained forces, with armor and helmets, which by hundreds of thrown stones usually (sadly) just injure them in a light way. The anger and hate against the pigs, the confrontations and struggles of the past months, were exponentiated by their attacks. Through abuses, injuries continuously caused by their actions. Through all forced evictions, harrassments, the permanent siege. You do not need to wonder, that more and more people stopped to believe in a peaceful change of social problems in our city.

After 45 minutes of intensive confrontation the demonstration retreated slowly and dispersed itself. The fact that there were no arrests makes us very happy and shows that collective learning processes have also taken place in recent months, that we pay more attention to one another and that they aren’t that confident anymore to make arrests, because they have learned, that when they try, there will be resistance and they have to count with collective attempt to release the detained people. But it is also due to the fact that after the previous evening in the east, the cops did not expect to be confronted with riots in the south of Leipzig on Friday. They were not prepared for another occupation and only had about 3 hours to plan a deployment, which is why we were spontaneously better able to act than they were.

On Saturday evening, the announced demonstration “Combine struggles” took place. Many initiatives hold speeches about the social struggles in Leipzig and internationally and of course, in view of the current events, reference was also made to the evictions of the Luwi71 and the B34. The demo was very combative from the start and expressed an antagonistic attitude towards the bourgeois state. This happened, among other things, by the massive ignition of pyrotechnics and various smaller attacks on cops. After luxury apartments were attacked on Wolfgang-Heinze-Straße, the cops decided to break up the demonstration and attack from different sides at the same time. There were physical assaults on bystanders and journalists. Groups of people were chased through the side streets and brutally arrested. Nevertheless, we were able to counter the rampant police violence through solidary reactions and sticking together in large groups. Cops were repeatedly attacked by small groups and some of them were chased away so the number of arrests could be limited to at least 15 (which is still 15 arrests too many). It was clear from the start that, after two previous nights of small riots and attacks against the pigs, a high number of arrests was the main target of the cops. It was also clear that the cops would take every opportunity to break up the demonstration and start the hunt for everyone. We were happy to receive the news that at the same time as the demonstration, a cop tub on the premises of the police administration office went up in flames in the west of Leipzig.

Since some press reports outraged the attacks on the luxury buildings on Wolfgang-Heinze-Straße, we want to take a brief stand on this. It must be clear that we are not the official spokesperson for the demonstration and that we cannot represent all opinions of the participants. First of all, we consider it a sensible, necessary and legitimate form of symbolic protest to attack new buildings with paint, stones, fire or whatever. This allows the legitimate anger to be expressed about processes of displacement. Displacement processes that lead to social networks being destroyed, people being pushed out of their former living and living environment and having to make room for those with higher incomes. If these higher earners decide to leave Connewitz again and thus the demand for luxury apartments falls, that is a welcome side effect. What we naturally reject is if, in the event of such attacks, it cannot be ruled out that children or children’s rooms could be affected. To what extent the attackers did this, we cannot assess. However, the fact that various press articles now write about how bad it is that luxury apartments have been attacked with stones and colored glass, that people get excited about a Bengalo on a balcony made completely out of stone, borders on human contempt in the face of all the people without shelter. In view of all the people who had to give up their homes because of leasing and luxury renovations, all of the people who can no longer pay their rent or only with great difficulty. Because all this is what we mean by structural violence, violence that emanates from an economic system in which everything becomes a commodity, in which the greatest possible profit is to be extracted from everything. A system in which human dignity is only an annoying obstacle to exploitation and accumulation and which is maintained with institutionalized violence in the form of police, military and prison.

In addition to the many demonstrations and confrontations, there was also a weekend of discussion and events taking place in Connewitz throughout the weekend. The “Soziale Kampfbaustelle” invited to discussions, presentations and networking, surrounded by information stands, brunch / kitchen for all and a cocktail bar. All events took place in public spaces, in the surrounding parks and streets. Many people sat down in the sun or drizzling rain and discussed. Sometimes up to 60 interested people listened to the lectures on women and militancy, social struggles in Chile, repression in Italy or the Liebig34 house project, which is threatened by eviction. It took place despite the presence of a large number of cops in the neighborhood. Also in front of Luwi71 there was an invitation to the neighborhood brunch on Sunday, where despite the massive presence of cops, some neighbors and supporters of Luwi71 met and discussed perspectives after the eviction or organized help for collateral damage that occurred during the day X + 1 demo. We notice that especially in these times there is a great need for exchange and discussion about the existing conditions and that it is organized in different neighborhoods. And also that many share an anger and want to express it, in view of the powerlessness in the face of the processes of repression, rampant racism and misogyny, growing fascism and state repression.

We are not surprised that in view of the social conditions and developments, especially on the housing market in Leipzig, people are angry. Nevertheless, we are pleased about the extent to which the disputes with homeowners, real estate companies and the state henchmen have assumed over the past weekend, but also in the last few months. Of course, all state actors and bourgeois newspapers meet the urgent need to vilify all those people who have been on the streets for the weekend as chaos spreaders. The anger and violence, however, were by no means chaotic; for the past three days they were directed exclusively against new building projects and the pigs. On this weekend, many people attacked in a targeted manner those who put themselves in the service of the rich and owning class, protect their property and prevent a life in dignity for all. Should there though be people whose cars, houses or bicycles were damaged in the course of the conflict, hopefully ways will be found to collectively find a solution.

At this point we would like to quote from the call for the demonstration “Combine struggles” :

“Especially in Connewitz we have been facing a displacement strategy of the city administration for years, which is apparently not only aiming for profit, but also to split and displace the so-called” scene “in Connewitz. At that time it was the “scene” that saved the houses from decay and demolition in the 1990s and created a landscape of art, culture and bars that has contributed to the fact that the quarter has become one of the most attractive in the city . And not only for so-called “alternatives”, but also for many young families. So the people who in the 90s, also in the fight against the state, put through a shelter against the everyday Nazi terror, can no longer pay their rent in the hip Connewitz. (…) So when construction sites are attacked, new houses are smeared with paint, then we do not see the work of bored chaos spreaders, but a last desperate rebellion of all those who do not want to be pushed out of their neighborhood without a fight. ”

The goal of organizing living space for everyone and building a city from below will not be achieved with negotiations, rent brakes, milieu protection statutes or large-scale expropriation campaigns (which just name themselves as such, but aren’t). The bourgeois state will always put the interests of capital above human livings. This is also why in Leipzig, despite all the empty words and expressions of understanding, none of the ruling parties is seriously committed to ensuring that living space remains affordable or becomes affordable again. After all, it’s a profitable and crisis-resistant market. In recent years, especially in large cities, there has not only been a massive development of capital accumulation, which has led to the fact that only a few people are lucky enough to own their own four walls and thus most of them are dependent on landlords and the real estate market for their entire life. There has also been an increase in the number of people who have lost their homes due to being rented out or dependent on the employment office, or who cannot even get an apartment at all due to the immigration authorities and racist legislation.

History also shows that it is easy to speculate on the real estate market with the housing of the poorer people and their debts, not only looking at the financial crisis of 2008. And that building luxury apartments and upgrading neighborhoods not only makes a lot of money, it also goes hand in hand with political power and influence. The big real estate companies ultimately determine what our cities will look like, who gets housing where and who falls behind. If we do not rebel against this overall system, there will only ever be one solution for a few. Our ability to defend ourselves therefore results from an organization in the neighboring communities, from the non-state organization of solidarity and mutual aid, and from the resistance that we oppose to the capitalist system and the growing fascist forces.

Aside from the housing debate and the worsening social conditions in Leipzig, there are many things that move us and that encourage our anger. Many left-wing house projects in Berlin are threatened with eviction. Fought for years ago, they should now disappear to forward the invention of a new rich capital city. In Saxony, fascist forces are gaining influence, almost right populist parties are gaining popularity and right-wing content is gaining acclaim. It is the order of the day that people are attacked by fascists because of unchangeable characteristics or social background. Thousands of Nazis marching with “concerned citizens” has not been a rarity since “Pegida”. And it is an open secret that weapons from state authorities reach right-wing groups or that fascist terror networks are protected or even supported by the intelligence agency or the police.

Connewitz or Leipzig seems to be an anti-fascist bastion in Saxony, but this too was and is constantly being fought for. In recent years, and especially this year, there has been a repressive storm on anti-fascists, as e.g. the martial house raids of last June show. Other left-wing political fields are also in the focus of the repression authorities, a new 129a trial is hitting comrades in Frankfurt am Main and just last week there were 27 house searches nationwide because of a 129a trial against the communist group “Roter Aufbau”. The state is currently attempting to massively attack and smash left forces and contexts. Worldwide we are also observing a strengthening of fascism and the unlimited will to rule of neoliberalism, which is showing its true nature even more clearly due to the rampant pandemic.

But in recent years rebellions against the power of capitalism and the world’s ruling classes have sprung up around the world. The revolutionary awakening in Chile against neoliberal politics, carried out by the poorer class with a strong indigenous and feminist representation, gives hope that a system can be overthrown on the streets. But due to the pandemic, this movement also had to concentrate on its own protection and that of the communities for now. Since most of the victims of the virus, not only in Chile of course, are the poorest in society, who do not receive adequate care due to the privatization of the health system. In Belarus, people have been taking to the streets for weeks and attacking a dictatorship that locks up thousands of people and shoots at demonstrators in order to keep themselves in power. In the USA, a social conflict has come to a head that has been boiling over and over again for decades. Black communities, indigenous communities and white anti-fascists defend themselves against the structural murder of POCs by the police. They fight against the normality of a racist state and destabilize a political system that has always been ruled by the white political elite. The unrest, which had been going on for months, spread rapidly across the whole country and internationally. Despite, or perhaps because of, the many victims that the movement has suffered in recent months, shot, run over or slain by murderous pigs or fascist militias, the conflict continues even more intensely. A wind is blowing through the world and the signs point out to a storm.

We have to fight, have to resist! Not to act means to endorse or surrender the situation!

**We call for you to be part of the “Actionweek for Liebig34” this week and for an energetic demonstration on September 12th, Wassertorplatz (Berlin Kreuzberg) at 8 p.m.!

**Every eviction has its price!

**Solidarity greetings are going from Leipzig to Athens, where companions now have to stand in front of court for being caught while the eviction of the Gare Squat and to Dimitros Chatzivaseilidis, who has decided not to be caught by police and is on the run since November last year.

(via Geistige Gefährdungen)

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