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Evaluation: Day X, Red Zones, open assemblies [Köpi, Berlin]

Berlin. On Friday the 15th of October was the eviction date for one of the last projects of a list of endangered spaces in Berlin, which gave a home to tens of people, the Køpi-Wagenplatz. This eviction was part of a series of attacks from the so-called „left“ Senate of Berlin against the remains of the squatting wave earlier in the ’80-’90.
As already done during the last evictions of the different projects in the past year, the police wanted to establish a „red zone“ around Køpiplatz to prevent supporters coming from the exterior to get too close to the area as the eviction would be executed. The approximate perimeter and date of the establishment of the „red zone“ got published only a week before the 10/15, through signs in the streets announcing an interdiction to park, which made it a bit more difficult to plan to counter it. Because the idea was, as tried and partially succeeded, in previous attacks of Berlin’s Senate against autonomous spaces, to disturb the installation of the red zone. With this goal in mind, an open assembly was called and a heterogeneous and rather large group of people met regularly in the weeks before, to organise a political strategy and support the fight around Køpiplatz and against the red zone. We are some of the people who were part of this group, some of us didn’t know each other before and we write this text after the first round of evaluation has taken place.

Originally published by Kontrapolis.

Through this text, we want to share our experience we made around this fight of Køpiplatz. Even if, objectively, the results weren’t those primarily expected, we definitely went forward in a bigger process for the Berlin autonomous movement and marked a step in organizing actions on a broader level, recognizing open processes as a way to organize political fights. This definitely carries legitimated apprehension, mostly regarding the security of each participant, but also concerning the capacity of strangers to coordinate themself in a short period of time. But it logically has also the very positive effect of mobilizing more people, offering the opportunity to come together and share experiences, empowering people to join in militant fights and create more collective moments together. Thereby we made experience with trusting unknown people, worth to be shared, and with its boundaries, worth to be discussed.
As the past years big wave of evictions of many projects in Berlin seems to tend to lower its pace, for now, after evicting Syndikat, Liebig34, Rummelsbucht, die Meuterei and not so long ago the Køpi-Wagenplatz, we want to empower each other and start a discussion about how to continue with the struggle and the defense around self-organised, autonomous spaces and ideas. And even maybe, how to counter attack and get back the already lost places and fields of ideas.

Open procedure

As a way to organize the resistance against the planned attack on Köpiplatz the choice was to call for an open assembly. Already months before the eviction people came together, but only with the publication of the precise date some weeks prior to the escalation it was possible to mobilize a critical amount of people and structures. In fact for us the number of participants was quite impressive. Only by having this opportunity to come together, an atmosphere of solidarity between each other, between different sections of the struggle and of course the solidarity with the threatened projects was created. The aim to break the dynamic and hierarchy between those under direct attack and the so called supporters was reached as before in the resistance against the firesecurity-eviction of Rigaer94 only by having a common ground and space of discussion. We came together as comrades on the same level, discussing collectively the matters of our struggle and our defense against common enemies. The discussion points of the assembly showed from the beginning on that there was a broad understanding of the nature of the attack on Köpiplatz and that experiences from the last year of demonstrations, defensive actions and counter-attacks had created a collective militancy. The events connected to the red zones as far in the past as the eviction of the Ohlauer School, but especially those in 2020/21 were considered a pool of knowledge. The successful fight ahead of the red zone for the attempted firesecurity-eviction of Rigaer94 was a point of inspiration not only for practical reasons but also because of the way how it was organized by an open assembly, where things were not primarily debated according to the needs of those affected directly by the attack but mainly as political questions with the aim to generalize and connect the struggles. The times where people would stand with nothing in their hands at the police fences were declared over as we discussed with several dozens of people how to get active before the state’s mobilization and ability to shut down a whole neighborhood. The idea of mobilizing people into the area of concern and in the same time support it by creating an atmosphere of unrest came up. A new understanding of militancy is being created in these procedures, where we discuss our actions not according to the traditions of a individualist subculture with the image of a macho streetfighter in the center but as an answer to the needs of our horizontal struggles, that always try to be as inclusive as possible, seeking for a common ground in order to counter attack on an ever wider base.

How to continue

Having passed this specific period of our struggle where we were able to find a common strategy of fighting, we now face a new situation. This demands from us to find a perspective that goes beyond the elaborate plans of the „as offensive as possible“ defense of the series of threatened projects. While in the last two years we could just rely on regular opportunities to come together on the streets, we now have to think about how to create a legacy from this period where we concurrently lost some spaces and gained confidence, experience and numbers. There is no doubt that the polymorphic attacks of the state and capital against our lives will continue and that one part of their strategy will remain the isolation and extinction of the most antagonistic and radical elements in society. This could be tried by the eviction of remaining or new projects and squats or something completely different to what we have seen recently. The analysis of the last and coming period – our struggle as well as the state´s and capital´s strategy – has to be done as collectively and open as possible. Through our discussion the point of how to continue the tradition of the open assemblies was brought up and understood as part of a long-term strategy of our collective-defense in order to find ways how to react spontaneously but also to create a common strategy as a point of reference of the different sections of struggle. All in all we are confident and looking forward to bring back and extend the atmosphere of struggle that we saw popping up more frequently the last two years and which resulted lately in the reappropriation of the streets of Kreuzberg by a mass of thousands of people.S

Some people of the General-Assembly about Köpiplatz

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