Translated from linkunten.indymedia.org by anarchist comrade Marco Camenisch
Translated from Italian by act for freedom now
In the night between 26th and 27th July 2014 we tossed molotov bottles at several ‘Bayer AG’ vehicles – and with this action we started off our Tendency of Eco Struggle.
Poisoning and exploiting
During the first world war ‘Friedr. Bayer & Co’ (which later became ‘Bayer AG’) produced explosives and chemicals for war purposes. Their troubles in getting supplies were not due to humanitarian scruples but to security risks and lack of labour force. As soon as the war turned into trench warfare gas begun to be strategically used as a weapon, and Bayer begun to supply the army with tens of thousands of tons of various types of gas.
Not content with their turnover, ‘Friedr. Bayer & Co’ also formed alliances with other chemical companies in a ‘community of interest’ following the example of the American Trusts of the time.
The economic crisis that followed the war didn’t last long, and in 1925 nine chemical companies led by ‘BASF’ formed ‘JG Farben’.
At the beginning (1926), ‘JG Farben’ didn’t embrace the aspirations of the national-socialist party, but then they realized that their production of synthetic petrol couldn’t function without funding. Back in 1932, a year before the electoral victory of NSDAP (German National-Socialist Workers’ Party), the company made contact with Hitler and obtained his support. In order to guarantee stability in their profits, ‘JG Farben’ thought it useful to contribute to the electoral expenses of the NSDAP with about 400,000
Reichsmark (German marks). Since then their cooperation with the Nazi regime flourished almost without frictions. Almost the entire board of directors of the company became members of the NSDAP, while monopolization made of ‘JG Farben’ the fourth most important company in the world.
During the Spanish Civil war the company provided financial support to Franco’s troops, while in Guernica the Luftwaffe had the chance to test an incendiary bomb produced by ‘JG Farben’ on civilians. During the second world war ‘JG Farben’ was committed to the production of war weaponry and was one of the responsible for the murder and exploitation of prisoners in concentration camps.
As soon as ‘JG Farben’ discovered a suitable site for production near Auschwitz, they started to seek for hard labour force. In February 1941 Carl Krauch, an important member of ‘BASF’/‘JG Farben’, wrote a letter to Hermann Goring asking him to convince Himmler to use prisoners in concentration camps as slave-workers in the plant of Buna. From the collaboration with ‘JG Farben’ Himmler expected the supply of materials necessary to expand the concentration camp in Auschwitz. In this regard he ordered Karl Wolff to forge a strict alliance with ‘JG Farben’.
But the number of slave-workers supplied to ‘JG Farben’ was not sufficient to complete the construction of the plant in Buna. In 1942 the SS had given ‘JG Farben’ at least 3,000 slave-workers, but the company declared they needed 15,000. The treatment inflicted on workers by the SS guards, Nazi work planning and so called ‘superfluous’ itineraries in both the concentration camp and the company plant were causes for concern for ‘JG Farben’. But this concern was not at all humanitarian: the company’s problems with the SS depended on the fact that workers’ exploitation was being compromised by the abuses committed by the SS and by the ‘superfluous’ itineraries forced on concentration camps prisoners, as well as by confusion in work planning.
‘JG Farben’’s discontent led the company to seek for collaboration with the ‘Todt Organization’, after which things ‘improved’ and the company was supplied with building materials. In the spring of 1942 11,200 people worked in the construction of the plant in Buna and in the system of production, but ‘JG Farben’ still believed that prisoners were not sufficiently exploited because they never worked more than 2,000 at a time. In order to sort the ‘problem’ out, ‘JG Farben’ financed the construction of a new concentration camp, the Bunalager’, as they called it, which in fact guaranteed a larger number of exploitable prisoners.
The construction and functioning of the plant during this period cost about 25,000 human lives: because of the treatment inflicted by the SS, diseases, malnutrition and excessive physical fatigue. Not only was all this happening under the eyes of ‘JG Farben’, but also with the obvious support of the company. Frictions aroused only when the brutality inflicted on the victims of the Nazis compromised the work requirements of the company. Those who fell in the SS’s clutches became goods to be moved around, deprived of any human connotations, goods ‘bought’ by a number of private companies, big and small, in the name of economic interests which didn’t only relate to the war but which were destined to go well beyond the ‘final victory’.
wing to its massive size and lack of protection, the plant was destroyed by allied bombs and its construction was never completed. After the war ‘JG Farben’ was dismantled into other companies and that’s how ‘Bayer AG’ was created. Displaying the same zeal of their predecessors, Bayer continued the work of annihilation on man and nature, and at the same time tried to erase their links with the Nazi regime by adopting so called ‘initiative of foundation of the German economy’. In 2001 MG -Militante Gruppe reacted to this foundation with bullets: ‘For the German government and the industry this would be the final solution, in a judicial sense, of the problem of the crimes committed by the Germans and German companies during the Nazi regime.’ (MG)
But the crimes went on under different forms, and we are going to prove it and oppose it in a militant way.
For five years they sprayed Vietnam and Laos with Orange Agent, a poisonous defoliant substance. Initially they sprayed the poison only over the rain forest, but later the USA army attacked crops in order to starve the population. It was ‘Dow Chemical’ (‘Monsanto’ plus ‘Bayer AG’) that produced Orange Agent for the USA army; 40 million litres of the substance were employed in over 6,000 missions in five 5 years. Then a déjà-vu: like during the first world war, there came troubles in supplying and stocking. All this became broadly known thanks to a massive wave of international solidarity.
The devastation caused by the Orange Agent had, and still has, a huge impact on man and nature. The rain forest recovered only in part while in some areas mangroves got totally destroyed. Large numbers of the animal population were also destroyed and significant damage was brought about on the human population. Poison is still affecting the food chain of men and animals, and there are still children born with deformities caused by the Orange Agent. We don’t regard people with handicap less dignified, but they were born in a capitalist society, which makes life very difficult for them with all its pretentions and prejudices. And while the USA government paid some little compensation to victims, ‘Bayer AG’ never did anything of the sort.
‘Bayer AG’ was once again there when Kurd populations were bombarded with toxic gases Tabun Sarin and S-Lost in Iraq in 1987-1988. In 1984 the company had supplied Iraq with plants for the production of chemical weapons and toxic gases.
Violating the very foundations of life
Through operations of bio-piracy, farming and chemical companies always try to secure themselves patents and make certain plants, animal and genes their own property. Naturally Bayer also do it: ‘According to research published by the USA Edwards Institute, Bayer produce a drug for the treatment of diabetes, Glucobay, by using bacteria coming from the Ruiro Lake, Kenia. The company themselves confirmed this procedure to the British paper The Independent. Of the annual turnover brought about to Bayer by Glucobay, about 280 million euros, not even a cent goes to East Africa.’ Other companies that use the same methods are ‘Syngenta’, ‘BASF’, ‘Dow’, ‘Monsanto’, ‘Du Pont’.
In Mexico a natural reserve (biosphere) has been assigned to companies such as ‘Bayer AG’ and ‘Monsanto’ so that the latter can scientifically exploit the ‘wild nature’. But there is the obstacle represented by the people who have always lived there in a relation with nature which is definitely better than the ways offered by ‘Bayer AG’ all over the world. The ‘Committee for International Cooperation’ runs this natural reserve with the help of the local government, which is strictly linked to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which in turn works with right-wing paramilitaries. In recent months a Zapatista militant was killed and another fifteen seriously injured in a military escalation unleashed by the Mexican government and paramilitary troops in Chiapas.
Poisonous chemicals Poncho and Gaucho produced by ‘Bayer AG’ have been introduced in Mexico for over twenty years, and these are massively used in agriculture as pesticides but as they end up in the soil and water sources they also harm bees, fish, birds, worms and many other species. That’s how these pesticides are poisoning and modifying nature in a deeper and more extended way than the destruction of a forest can do. We are not saying that the latter is not a serious matter but that it takes place in a less visible way.
European and American regulations on seeds benefit agricultural multinationals (such as ‘Bayer AG’). Plants of no economic interest to the food industry are no longer cultivated or are banned from the market. For decades extensive farming of one-crop plantations like rapeseed, used in the production of biological fuel, have been causing the death of all sorts of species and outbreaks of famine. About 75% of all known plant varieties (for food production) have disappeared in the last hundred years; the reduction in the number of species has made agriculture more vulnerable to climate change and has exposed millions of people to the risk of famine. The few varieties of crops being currently cultivated are those sponsored by farming multinationals; the threat we’re all facing is called terminator technology. For example: corn seeds modified by terminator technology cannot be sown or produce degenerated fruit… a process that is getting worse generation after generation.
One-crop farming, crops produced to be exported, ‘land-grabbing’ [where western economic agents buy massive stretches of land in so called ‘undeveloped countries, but this phenomenon also concerns areas like ex DDR – Marco’s note] and terminator technologies have been there for decades but now they’re decidedly becoming stronger, while the law is allowing the expansion of monopolization. The 10 biggest farming multinationals have control on the 74% of the seeds trade, and new regulations will further increase our dependence on these multinationals.
Against their obscenities
All these are just examples. ‘Bayer AG’ takes part in many other works of devastation, and it is not the only one or the most infamous one. Even if the cases we mentioned are not known to everybody, the vast majority of people are well aware of the harmfulness of pesticides and many also refuse genetic engineering. But farming multinationals are constantly engaged in aggressive lobby campaigns, and most often these are successful. Recourse to law courts and state institutions is worth nothing in the face of these billionaire companies, at the very best it can obtain small changes, which are bound to be cancelled after some time and some million more. Opposition to the very existence of companies such as ‘Bayer AG’ can never occur on a judicial basis. People must understand the totalitarian relations established by capital, and refuse them.
On the occasion of antifa initiatives against a Nazi-friendly tavern, it was said that ‘Bayer AG’ managers were regular customers there. This relation with the Nazi makes the company even more evil than it is as mere seeker for profit, and outlines the general unawareness surrounding the big power of the company, the cameras spying the streets, the security devices and also the cynical commercial: ‘Bayer-Science for more profit’; and here we have to mention Thomas Josef Dunning.
‘Capital is terrorized at the idea of not making profit or making only small profit and it becomes bolder as profit increases. It starts getting bold with 10% profit, even bolder with 20%; with 50% it becomes decisively reckless, with 100% it defies all human regulations and with 300% there’s no crime it isn’t ready to commit at any cost.’
It was the security apparatus that thwarted our attack: we came from behind after crossing the railway and unfortunately we found ourselves in front of a double fence equipped with CCTV cameras. We knew that the company had a 24 hours surveillance system and that’s why we chose to use moltov, but we didn’t manage to damage the parked vehicles because of the distance.
We decided to make this declaration all the same, also as a call to attack ‘Bayer AG’ in less protected areas and with better methods. Our practical failure demonstrates the limits that militant interventions can present. A company like Bayer can easily spend hundreds of thousand euros in security, and if the militant pressure was greater it would spend even more.
That’s why we want to say that militant interventions are only some of the instruments of resistance. The devastation that capitalism inflicts on men, animals and nature all over the world makes it imperative the existence of a movement that involves everybody, a movement that can understand the value of a better life. For the moment only defensive struggles seem to be feasible, as if we were Don Quixote struggling against windmills or throwing moltov from behind… but with his ‘obsolete ideas’ on decency, dignity and values to be safeguarded Don Quixote gave courage to those who struggled with him.
We want to oppose destructive normality and set up lights in the darkness. We know we’re not the only ones as we see other lights. A society based on solidarity is possible. Non harmful self-sustenance is feasible and so is coexistence with natural processes.
We reject the obscenity of capitalist relations and greet our friends in Mexico, all the ALF/ELF cells, the Grimsvotn Volcano and the comrades who are in the jails of democracy for the liberation of the Earth, the animals and man.
For a society where dignity, freedom justice and nature can have a future without poisons.