Leipzig. Germany. We look back on a long weekend full of determined struggle against the increasing displacement, against the revaluation and the unbearable cop siege in our neighbourhoods. After two squatted buildings had been evicted within a very short time, the anger about the social grievances in Leipzig came to a climax once again.
Originally published by Indymedia DE. Translated by Enough 14.
After the squatted house Luwi71 was evicted on Wednesday, a day X+1 demo was called for the following Thursday. Several hundred people joined the demonstration and expressed their anger about the eviction of the prospective social center near Eisenbahnstraße. Cops were attacked, barricades were erected and set on fire. The clashes lasted for several hours, during which even a reoccupation attempt of the Luwi71 was started. The cops tried again and again to disperse the masses, but instead many smaller demonstrations were formed, which pushed the clashes forward. Many spectators joined the crowds that were repeatedly dispersed and yet found each other again. The anger at the siege and criminalization of Eisenbahnstrasse, including the no weapons zone, was clearly felt. In the course of the clashes and after several failed attempts by the cops, they began to shoot at random with tear gas into the crowd. The fact that here as well as in the following evening ammunition forbidden according to the War Weapons Act was used, which was also fired at journalists, is probably no longer surprising in view of the conditions in the Saxony police force (1).
In the course of these clashes more than 20 people were arrested, we wish them a lot of power! (2)
Fortunately, another house in Leipzig-Connewitz was squatted directly the next day, Friday, September 4. But after a short time security guards and cops arrived and cleared the house again before a larger crowd could be mobilized. However, many seem to have found out about it, because for the spontaneous demo, which took place the same evening, more than 300 people came to Herderpark at short notice. What followed was an appropriate reaction to the inhuman practice of the cops. After the spontaneous demo had set itself in motion with extensive use of pyrotechnics, first a cop station was attacked, surveillance cameras destroyed and some windows damaged by means of paint bombs and stones. This was the fifth major attack on this cop station since it opened in 2014.
Thereupon the spontaneous demo moved over the Hammerstraße towards the Bornaische Straße, where first a cop van was chased away by pyrotechnics and stones and also first arriving grab troops (BFE –> more here) could be sent back in a hail of stones. When the demonstration had moved to the crossing Bornaische/Stockartstraße, the first large groups of cops with several vans arrived from the south and north. It came to clashes for minutes. In the course of these clashes, the cops raced at high speed from the south towards a crowd of people. They forced people to jump to the side at the last second in order not to die. In the process, they almost rammed a streetcar and finally came to a halt with an emergency stop, with the second vehicle crashing into the first. Without dramatizing, we would like to mention what this was all about: an attempted murder of people who are a thorn in the side of the state. The fact that no one was run over in this rear-end collision is almost a miracle. And with all the joy at the pictures of the destroyed van, with all the jokes that are now being made about illegal street races by cops etc., we do not want to forget that human lives were deliberately put at risk here. The Springer press writes that the rear-end collision was caused by attacks on cops. That is more or less true, because the cops who were sitting in their vans and were attacked with stones tried to run over the attackers. How hypocritical police commissioner Torsten Schultze is when he says we would risk to take human lives can be seen in this scenario. Especially since we confront a fully equipped and well trained combat unit with armor and helmets and with all the cobblestones thrown, cops are (unfortunately) usually only slightly injured. The anger, the hatred against the police, the riots of the last months are caused by exactly such actions by cops. Because of the numerous injuries and mistreatments that have been and are being inflicted on people. Because of all the forced evictions, the senseless harassment, the permanent state of siege. You should not be surprised that more and more people stop believing in a peaceful solution of the social problems in our city.
In the end, the spontaneous tandem slowly retreated and finally disintegrated after about 45 minutes of intense clashes. We are very happy that there were no arrests during this time and it shows that in the last months collective learning processes have also taken place, that we pay more attention to each other and that the cops dare less, because they know that in case of arrests they have to expect resistance and prisoners’ liberation. But it is also due to the fact that after the previous evening in the East, the cops had not expected to be confronted with riots in the South of Leipzig again on Friday. They were not prepared for another occupation and had only about 3 hours time for a deployment planning, so 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 “Unite 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.
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