G20 in Hamburg: These were days of revolt
During the days of the summit of the G20, thousands of people flooded the streets of Hamburg with their anger about the cops` violence and the world that they protect. Already during the week before, there was no uncertainty around the cops’ will to confront every sign of protest or resistance with zero tolerance. During the demo on Thursday evening, they made their position clear once again, attacking the front of the demo from the first minute it started. The cops obviously and viciously embraced the possibility of potentially even lethal injuries, when they pushed and kettled the front block of the demo into a very narrow, canyon-like part of the Hafenstraße, bordered on the sides by brick walls. They caused panic, hitting, kicking, pepper-spraying, firing tear gas and shooting water canons from the front and the sides. Many people sought to flee over the walls on the sides, a lot of people got hurt – but you could also see impressive moments of solidarity, people helping each other up the wall, whilst others attacked the cops from above and brave and calm front rows defended the demo from the cops attacks, taking a serious beating.
The baton in the face, the knee in your neck, the pepper in the eye are there to remind you who is in charge in this world. During these days, the representatives and leaders of the 20 richest countries of this world met to discuss the maintenance of this order of misery. Tens of thousands of cops were supposed to protect this spectacle from those who seek to show their open rage, hatred and resistance to those arrogant authorities.
On the night of Friday a lot of people chose to get back a part of the dignity that is being stolen from us on a daily basis, attacking the cops in a lot of different places in the city. Barricades were built and with hammers, stones and fire people put numerous cracks in the facades of a society in which only those who function, consume and obey find their place.
The barricades of the night were not yet fully extinguished, as the first cars went up in flames early on Friday morning. At different places across the city, groups were teaming up to make clear that these days are about much more than just an attack on a meeting of state leaders. Amongst other targets, real estate agencies, wealthy cars, the juvenile court, banks and the shiny facades of the shopping-halls were attacked and also the first cops had to flee under pelting stones and bottles. In a lot of different areas of the city, groups blocked with sit-ins and demonstrations, without people choosing different means got in each others way.
On Friday, the anger erupted with disruptive force that unfortunately is very rare in this context.
To conquer the deadly tranquility of civil life, to break the normality and disrupt the functioning city of the rich and consumerism and to show clearly, that the police state can’t keep us from living is a really strengthening experience.
On Friday, a part of the space, that the authorities have taken with brute force, in order to perform this spectacle of power, has been taken back for a few hours.
With burning barricades and steady attacks on the police, people created a space, in which they could finally decide, what they want to do for a few hours, without the states force having any control of influence. A few shops and supermarkets got looted, individuals taking what they need or want, others deciding to destroy symbols of this deadly world of consumption that mortifies every sense of a wild and free life were
burned on the streets. The diversity of individuals sharing the streets this day, attacking the police, looting and building barricades was impressive – involving a large number of individuals that probably aren’t part of some kind of protest milieu.
When some self-proclaimed spokesperson for whoever says, that the riot was out of joint, irresponsible and unpolitical, one has to agree.
Despite the deep disgust about his fawning opportunism, one has to say, he is right: To wrest a space that is not controlled by the cops is an inevitably violent act and a clear disruption of what is being imposed on us day after day. It indeed hasn’t got anything to do with any political agenda or program of whatever movement or organization – but with the individual, total reappropriation of our lives.
If these moments of disruption create a certain discomfort and even fear of a situation, in which the order that we got used to is indeed out of joint, this is no wonder – these feelings are an inevitable and inherent part of breaking with this reality.
In addition to the recognition of this, we have to ask ourselves, whose fear of what or whom we are talking about.
If it is about such a sated and rich society like the one present in this city of consumerism and trade, scared about its property and that finds the looting of goods and the rampaging of shopping districts the most dreadful moments of these days, this society needs to be destroyed.
Their fear is a clear sign, that we are hitting at the right spot.
Our domestification in this world of authority is very extensive.
The cop in our head is very persistent.
Only a few can imagine, what the absence of authorities actually means – that’s why we have to create moments, in which we can experience their absence.
That individuals make decisions, that in the aftermath might seem not right or irresponsible, is no surprise, not in these situations and not in any other situation in life. We will have to talk about these things, no doubt, if we want to come closer to an idea of freedom. But it has to be clear, that there is no objectivity – especially not in revolt.
Individual responsibility and initiative of those who want to maintain it are inherent parts of the revolt.
It`s really easy to fall for the imposed discourse of authorities and preservers of this order. Those, that were viciously risking peoples lives these days were the cops – no doubt about that.
Falling for this propaganda and rabble-rousing and letting it control the strengthening and liberating momentum of these days would be a big mistake.
During this weekend, resistance has left the field of politically orchestrated protest – and again it`s getting clear, that in revolt it is about choosing sides.
Either you are with those who seek to see this society, this order, this system in ruins – with the idea of a life in freedom and dignity, embracing all the mistakes and triumphs, that are inherent to the revolt.
Or you are with those who recognize, that they feel more comfortable with a tame and calculable protest milieu, that takes place in the safe frame of the totalitarian system – scared of taking steps that might actually lead towards the cold and vast fields of freedom.
Anarchists for social revolt
Hamburg, Summer 2017