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#HambacherForst: Memorial for #Steffen destroyed during operation by police and #RWE – To #ExtinctionRebellion: Why the police are not our friends

On Thursday a large operation by cops and RWE security personnel destroyed several ground structures of occupations in Hambacher Forest. During the operation the memorial for Steffen, who died during the last major wave of evictions in September, was completely destroyed. A major problem is that many liberals still support the police. Not just on the German territory: Yesterday a video appeared with an Extinction Rebellion activist negotiating with a cop about chartering buses for arrestees. Mass arrests and negotiating with cops as a tacic. Seriously?

Published by Enough is Enough. Written by Riot Turtle. Image above by @HambiMahnwache

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Another police operation in Hambacher Forest, another day that makes clear why the police are not our friends and why activists don’t want to have the police in Hambacher Forest.  On Thursday, the memorial for Steffen, who died during the last wave of evictions in Hambacher Forest in September, was destroyed during a large operation by cops and private securities of energy giant RWE. 

The RWE press Twitter account admitted the memorial was destroyed during the operation. The RWE press officer tweeted that the memorial for Steffen was removed “by accident”. In the @enough14 tweet you can see images of the memorial before and after the operation by cops and private securities of RWE. BY ACCIDENT?

It seems that the NRW state government and RWE continue their effort to escalate things. Both seem to think an escalation is a win-win situation for them. The state government want their new police state law and seem to think that videos and images of clashes between activists and cops would strenghten their case for their new police state law. RWE wants to destroy Hambacher Forest for their open pit mine and is speculating that the support for the occupiers of Hambacher Forest would get smaller when videos and  images of militant resistance would go viral.

To many people it is clear that the police is a state institution which is there to protect capitalist and political interests. The remarks by NRW prime minister Armin Laschet (CDU) and his climate change denying minister of interior Herbert Reul (also CDU) made pretty clear that they support the coal industry and that they will do anything to protect the interests of RWE. Again and again the Twitter account of the Aachen police is spreading fakenews about the struggle for the preservation of Hambacher Forest to influence public opinion. The Twitter accounts of Reul’s police forces are a tool for counter insurgency. On Thursday Aachen Police tweeted that they found a bomb on one of the barricades in Hambacher Forest. 23 minutes later the cops tweeted that it was a dummy. Even more interesting is that the cops did not seal-off the area after they claimed to have found a bomb, but they did send away journalists just before the alleged incident took place. The cops use social media as weapon to manipulate public opinion. There are several tweets with fakenews spread by cops that were revealed by journalists and activists. Not just at Hambacher forest. The cops also announced that Hambacher forest is declared as a so-called “danger zone” again. The massive police operation on Thursday could be the introduction of a new round of evictions. 

In Britain the Extinction Rebellion movement for Climate Justice is growing fast. It is inspiring to see so many people join actions of mass civil disobedience, but a lack of understanding what the police is actually doing at protests is something that could crash the movement.  In Police surveillance – A note for #ExtinctionRebellion campaigners, Kevin Blowe, a Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) coordinator, wrote: “In Netpol’s experience, public order policing is driven entirely by intensive intelligence-gathering. Central to this is the creation and use of personal profiles to “provide a detailed picture of the (potential) offender”.” Blowe also wrote that “the “control strategy” used by the police also places a particular emphasis on “disruption” and “network demolition” (…) Many might imagine that because this approach is borrowed from the policing of organised crime, its focus is on protest that is “violent”. That has not what we have seen. Instead, the police have tended to target new social movements where they have little existing intelligence; groups who challenge powerful corporate interests; and those using direct action tactics.” Like many other states Britain has a lot of experience with repressing social movements and sooner or later Extinction Rebellion activists will feel the heat. In another article Bowle wrote: “The definition of what constitutes a ‘peaceful protest’ becomes increasingly meaningless when protests are judged not on whether they pose a genuine risk of violence (and in our experience the overwhelming majority in Britain do not result in arrests for violent conduct), but instead on who the protests are directed at and whether protesters are likely to disrupt some aspect of state or corporate interests.”

Extinction Rebellion (ER) urgently needs to change their attitude to the police or they will be defeated by the state and it’s police institutions. Emily Apple wrote in her article for the Canary on April 6: “One account from an arrestee at the ER launch event on 31 October reads:

By the time… we were released… my fellow arrestees and I had become friends with these decent men trying to keep London safe from violence and crime. We recognise that it is their job to arrest us on such occasions, on behalf of our fossil-fuel drenched government.

I realise this is one particular account. And I’m not using it to target the individual concerned. I’m using it as an example because they were one of the speakers at the event and because it seems to be symptomatic of a lot of the rhetoric coming from ER.” Emily Apple also wrote: “The account also fails to critique the fundamental relationship between the police, the state and corporations. Ultimately, the police are there to protect the interests of the state. Those interests are firmly linked to protecting corporations.”

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In my article The rise of fascism and the growing climate disaster: When are we going to realize that capitalism will kill us all? I already wrote that German companies did nothing to stop Bolsonaro and his open fascist agenda. Bolsonaro will open many possibilities for corporations from all over the world to exploit (and destroy) the lungs of the world: the Amazone rain forest. And Bolsonaro isn’t the only one: Merkel in Germany, Trump in the USA, May in Britain and all those others are enforcing capitalist interests against humans, animals and the planet. The police is one of their tools to do that. It is sensless to appeal to state governments that are enforcing capitalist interests, to stop climate change. They simply won’t do it, they are enforcing the root of the problem. They might put up a smokescreen, pretending that they have environmental policies to stop the destruction of the planet, but these are mostly pr strategies. But most of all they will fight every movement that is threatening corporate interests, no matter if these movements are peaceful or not. It’s the corporate interests what is being defended by the state and it’s police forces, sometimes with police violence, also against peaceful movements…

Many liberals promote green capitalism but that is also not a solution. It is a contradiction in terms. Capitalism is fundamentally exploitative of people and the natural world, it is not and cannot be ‘green’. Green capitalism involves various institutions, including governments, corporations, think tanks, charities and NGOs, implementing policies, practices and processes to incorporate nature into capitalist market systems. It takes the same capitalist ideas and values that create environmental crises – i.e. continual economic growth, private property, profit and ‘free’ markets – and applies them to the natural world as a way to solve those crises.

As long as initiatives like Extinction Rebellion and several environmental organizations around the globe are not willing to accept that and therefore don’t see the need to change their tactics and strategies, autonomous groups could anticipate on movements like Extinction Rebellion by organizing their own actions, with their own statements and methods. Not just following the next “trend”, but to build up a movement from below that once and for all abolishes capitalism and creates justice for the climate and life on earth or like the Anarchist Federation in their new pamphlet on ecology said: “As anarchists, we see the only alternative to be a revolutionfrom below, a revolution that begins in the struggles that we fight and win in this very moment. A world in which we take back control of our energy and production systems to create a new model of equality between peoples and harmony with nature.We see our future in the commons; we see our future in the beauty of anarchy.” Many of the occupiers in Hambacher Forest used this strategie and are actually already living in the commons in Hambacher Forest;  in the beauty of anarchy.


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3 thoughts on “#HambacherForst: Memorial for #Steffen destroyed during operation by police and #RWE – To #ExtinctionRebellion: Why the police are not our friends

  1. […] Added by Enough is Enough: During the police operation on November 22, the memorial for Steffen was also destroyed. Steffen died during the wave of ecivtions in September 2018. More about that part of the police operation on November 22: here. […]

  2. […] One day later, we heard that the memorial in the forest had to be dismantled, because also here had to be cleared. So our planted flowers had barely been allowed to stand for 24 hours. We found this extremely ruthless and irreverent, especially since not all relatives had been there to visit the memorial site and the place of the accident. Again we were hindered in our grief. The memorial, rebuilt under the cleared trees, showed a very different picture of the place of the accident. The fact that again the memorial has now been cleared by RWE employees leaves us stunned. […]

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