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#Berlin: Out of the defensive – August 1 – Defend projects

Statement by “Wir besetzen Dresden”, “LEIPZIGBESETZEN” & “#besetzen” about Rigaer 94 and the threat of a wave of evictions in Berlin (and beyond).   

Originally published by Indymedia DE. Translated by Enough 14.

“We have nothing to lose but the next increase in rent” was written on the very first posters for the Berlin “Spring of Occupations” in 2018. With the partial eviction of Rigaer94 and the threatened eviction of many self-managed spaces in Berlin, we must correct this: We have not only spaces to lose, but a whole idea. As “#besetzen”, “LEIPZIG BESETZEN” and “Wir Besetzen Dresden” we therefore declare our solidarity with all threatened projects and those who fight for the preservation of their spaces and against their displacement by the city of the rich.

The eviction threats against Syndikat, Potse, Meuterei (Mutiny) and Liebig34 and the partial eviction of Rigaer94 on July 9 are not isolated cases. In addition to the daily forced evictions of individual apartments, in recent years all occupations under the name of #besetzen, as well as the many squats in Berlin that preceded them, have also been evicted. The situation was no different at other places in Germany: Whether it was the Putzi in Dresden, at the Squatting Days in Freiburg or the current barricade evictions in Hambacher Forest (Hambi).

Never trust a state

Examples in Berlin, such as evictions by state institutions – in the case of the Dragoner Areals (Dragoon site) the BIM, in which Borni is the state-owned Stadt & Land (City & Land) , or by the district in the case of the Potse/Drugstore youth centre – or the eviction of the Sabot Garden in times when there is supposedly a moratorium on evictions, have repeatedly made it clear that there is nothing to be gained from the words of this senate. For the defenders of capital it is not even tolerable when a person takes 2m² in a dark corner under a bridge to put up a tent or a mattress. These people must also be evicted so that even those in the most precarious housing conditions know that the principle of private property is more important than human dignity, even if it is property of the state.

The aim of state power is not only to eliminate autonomous and self-managed spaces, but also the idea of self-management as such. Due to the evictions, there are always doubts about the practice of occupations, but the experiences of recent years have made it clear that autonomous and self-managed spaces are worth the struggle. It is the excited gatherings in the squatted spaces, the creative power that is released there, the people who do not want to go home. We fondly remember the hundreds of people who spontaneously showed solidarity during the occupation of Wrangelstraße, the hours spent in the Putzi or the Squatting Days in Freiburg.

It’s about a whole movement

Whether centres, pubs, houses or info points – what these places have in common is that in times in which every aspect of our lives is increasingly regulated and controlled in the heart of the beast, they are self-managing, organizing their operations or living collectively. So it is not only these spaces, but also a different coexistence, which arises through collectivity and self-management, that was fought for here. This struggle for autonomy and self-management is mostly made up of the daily and commonplace things of another coexistence – the fair distribution of repro work, the tough plenums, the unlearning of discriminatory ways of thinking, solidarity with one another. However, there are always points of crystallization in this struggle, moments in which the struggle does not concentrate on the creation of other social conditions, but has to defend itself solely against the interests of capital and its petitioner state. 2007, for example, the eviction of Kopi was cancelled at short notice after the threat of eviction was followed by weeks of militant action. The future of Yorckstrasse59 was secured in 2009 with the new occupation of NewYorck59. Projects such as Liebig34 and Rigaer94 would not exist today had it not been for the militant resistance during the eviction of Mainzer Strasse, which led to a turning point in the politics of the time and made the legalization of other houses possible in the first place. But the history of Mainzer Strasse also shows above all that it is not about individual spaces, nor about the collectives that administer them and themselves there. It is about a movement, its ideas and the struggle for these ideas.

Let us take to the streets together on August 1 – for Syndi, for Meute, for Liebig34, Potse, for Rigaer94, for all of us, for a different Berlin and a better tomorrow. For a hot summer!

Come to Berlin for a furious eviction kick-off!

DAY X // 9 pm // Spontaneous demo (Berlin)

01 August // 8 pm // Herrfurthplatz (Neukölln) (Berlin)

07 August // 9 am // Prevent Syndicate eviction (Berlin)

Early September // Liebig34 action days (Berlin)


[1] Besetzen is German for to occupy or also to squat.

Tweet: More than 800 people demonstrated on July 10 against the cop operations in Rigaer 94.

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3 thoughts on “#Berlin: Out of the defensive – August 1 – Defend projects

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