---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *severino de giovanni* <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Date: May 29, 2007 1:50 PM
Subject: Prelude to the G8: Tearing it up in Hamburg

please forward!!!

Prelude to the G8: Tearing it up in Hamburg
By the Anti-G8 Action Faction

May 28th 2007

On their way to block the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, anti-capitalists
from all over Germany and the world stop in Hamburg to confront the
Asian-European Meeting (ASEM).  

Finally, something was happening.

We were on the move again. It's been a while and we're a bit out of
shape, but it's all coming back now. After linking arms in flanks for
five hours straight in a huge, permitted march, we were getting antsy.
As the first major demonstration in the lead up to the G8 summit in
Heiligendamm, everyone wanted to start it off right. The city of Hamburg
needed to send a message to the world that they have the "violent
demonstrators" under total control. The cops must maintain discipline
and it will all go smoothly. The protestors wanted to tear the city
apart, to show the G8 leaders that they are not welcome here, and anyone
who tries to host them will have to pay. With a thousand black clad
anarchists in the front and thousands of others behind, the tension was
thick. Screaming "fight the system, fight the state, fight capitalism,
fight G8," the demonstrators were not willing to comprise either their
vision or momentum. But who would provoke who first? Would the cops use
the water canons? Would the anarchists break through the lines and go
off the script?

Will the G8 2007 be the opening salvo of a new cycle of struggle against
capital, perhaps the final one given the scope of the current ecological
crisis? For two years the German autonomous movement in general and the
Dissent Network in particular has organized across the world, from the
USA to Turkey, for this coming week of action. The stakes have never
been higher: until now the "War on Terror" has cast a pall over the
movement, yet in Germany we anarchists and autonomists could again
re-seize the stage of history by scoring a decisive victory against

Move swiftly. Stop. Fight a bit. Grab something.  Then Run. Turn around.
Watch out for the Snatch Squad. Which ones are they? Wearing all black
with red diamonds on their back. Shit, there they are. They're gonna try
and grab us. Move! But who are those ones? Don't worry, it's just the
green team. Green team? Yeah, green uniforms, they're like the national
guard. They won't arrest you, they'll just tussle a bit. And them? Who?
The darker green and dark blue. Oh them, well, they're here to stop you.
Be careful.

The modern incarnation of the autonomous movement is distinctly
anarchist, mostly young, and quite, quite punk. Even though the movement
had been ebbing over the last few years, it appears the arrival of the
G8 in Germany, combined with the police raids in early May on anti-G8
centers of activity, have united the often divided and self-critical
Autonomen. To the chagrin of the police, the raids also backfired in the
popular press, and now it appears that most of the media, and even much
of the public, are on the side of the dissidents. Furthermore, in "Red
Hamburg," the home of insurrections, pirates, and a famous anti-fascist
football league, it is often hard to tell the locals from the Black Bloc
while in the streets.

Shhhhhhh. What? Be quiet, they're looking for us. OK, hold it . . . hold
it . . . NOW!

The police are nervous, very nervous. And rightfully so! For months, the
cars of the officials have been burned, and now internationals are
streaming into the well-run convergence center in Hamburg, the former
theatre "Rote Flora" that has been squatted for nearly two decades. The
dynamic of the police is Freudian to say the least: the police would
like nothing better than to release their inner fascist and ruthlessly
clear the streets of all protesters. Due to such factors as public
opinion and their brutality backfiring on them in the courts, they
simply cannot just beat the protesters without pretext. So, instead, the
officers express their frustration with an anal-retentive attention to
detail about the smallest of the rules regarding banner size,
demonstrators masking-up, and so on; they often stop demonstrations for
up to thirty minutes or more for the most minor of infraction of the

The bridge was a trap and everyone knew it. That's exactly where they
wanted us to end up and there we were. Yeah some fireworks were shot
off, rocks thrown, and a couple arrests, but come on, it was their turf.
We had no chance.  They've surrounded the Rote Flora. What? The
convergence center, you know, that huge squat. Are they going in? Not
likely, I think they'll get a beating if they try. Barricades are going
up, let's get behind them. The water canons are coming out. Well, move.
Down this alley way! Ok. Wait, are we all together?

This leads almost any march or demonstration to be an exercise in
frustration, a chess game where both sides try to bend, but not break,
the rules through a strict process of negotiation. Or at least until
breaking the rules is advantageous. While marching, German anarchists
more or less engage with the police in careful negotiations until the
permitted demonstration gets as close to the desired location as
possible (such as a financial district, a fascist demonstration, or in
this case the EU-ASEM Summit meeting in the town hall), and then, all
bets are off. The demonstration will then generally be aggressive
towards police lines, attempting to wreck havoc by escaping off the
official route as a bloc, or break into small affinity groups to build
barricades and attack police cars. There is also an apparent tradition
of regrouping the night of the action for even more fun in the streets.

I think I'm trapped. Don't panic.  Look around. They're gonna do a mass
arrest. Ok, black-clad cops over there. Try this. Nope, green cops.
Damn, turn around. Fuck, the blue ones. Ok. Surrounded. Where's my
group? Doesn't matter, I need to find a way out.  Option 1: join the
bloc and fight your way out. How many of us are there? Not enough.
Option 2: act stupid and sneak by. Let's see if that works.

Police tactics in Germany seem to be a combination of psychological
warfare and shows of overwhelming force, with the emphasis on "show,"
for they seem unable to act unless provoked and do not generally mass
arrest protesters, but just surround the march on all sides to maintain
"order." Police can be divided into distinct groups. First, there are
the local and federal police, who wear blue and green. Within this group
there are inexperienced "barrack-based" police who can be identified by
an "A" on their helmets. However, the real reason to be worried is the
intensive surveillance done by the police (although unlike the UK, there
are few CCTVs anywhere), who send undercovers to demonstrations to
identify those who have broken laws, and have uniformed cameramen
directly outside to tape protestors and identify them (using rather
clever techniques like identifying Black Bloc members by their shoes).
There is also a special police snatch-squad unit, dressed all in black
like stormtroopers, who will quickly and brutally move in and make
arrests like sharks. However bad this sounds, it is important to note
that the procedure German police use in crowd control is actually quite
predictable, and as long as one stays in tight groups, one is unlikely
to be snatched. The German police are far from invincible despite their
pretensions, and a victory over them should be possible.

Close, too close. I know. We were gonna go back and get you. What?
That's insane, they would've grabbed you too. Hey look, they're sending
in more. Did they declare a state of emergency? I heard that too. Shit,
there's waves and waves of them. Back to the Flora? No, its' not safe.
Ok, then, disappear.

A massive thousand person Black Bloc at ASEM, cop cars destroyed, a
skirmish in front of the convergence center - not bad for a day┬┤s work.
Now, there are many debates over what exactly to do over the next few
days. The demonstrations are so decentralized and yet actively planned,
that it is hard for even the German anarchists to predict where the
sites of intense struggle will be: there are convergences in three
cities, an anti-fascist counter-protest against a thousand fascists in
the streets AND a huge rally in Rostock against the G8 on the same day,
decentralized blockades of roads and airport blockades, as well as
countless marches and demonstrations near Heiligdamm and in Rostock.
Regardless of the particulars, the energy amongst anarchists in Europe
has been built to a frenzied height, and if one thing can be assured
over the next week- there will be a reckoning.  
Thousands of us in the march. Hundreds rampaging in the streets. About
eighty-five arrested. Not bad for a start.  Nope, not bad at all.

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