G8 Summit in Germany

Witch-hunt against activists and the left

June 09, 2007

The meeting of the Group of Eight (G8), from which, according to
surveys, 75% of the population of Germany "expects nothing," has found
itself accompanied by protest actions that responded to an
unprecedented escalation of repression.

The witch-hunt is part of a cynically named strategy of "pacification"
by the government, the courts and the cops, who, making a display of
bourgeois democracy, are violating several fundamental rights, like
the right to privacy of correspondence, freedom of information and the
right to demonstrate, in addition to border controls, setting up
checkpoints and raids on German territory, and it is clear, abuse and
repression by cops. The "pacification" is double talk, which, on the
one hand, "understands what the people want," and the need and the
right to demonstrate peacefully, and, on the other hand, exerts even
more pressure against the most radical sectors.

Massive marches and repression

Of the scheduled demonstrations, the one on Saturday, June 2, in
Rostock was the biggest up until now. It was called by a coalition of
different organizations with varying political orientations and about
80,000 people participated.

Three hours after the march began, and the march had taken place
peacefully up to that moment (and some leaders of the Greens [1] were
booed), it was dispersed by the cops using clubs, gas and water
cannons, after the cops claimed they had been attacked by
ultra-radical forces. Street fighting began and lasted until the late
hours of the night, and police repression was severe. The bourgeois
mass media, echoing the press releases of the police and the
authorities, justify the calls for greater repression with headlines
like "Rostock: orgy of violence," "Brutality unknown until now," or
"Extremists, do you want corpses?" For their part, legislators from
the [ruling party] CDU are demanding the activation of the GSG9, the
elite police forces, while the [SPD] Social Democrats [the other
governing party] and the German police union, represented in the
German trade union federation (DGB), has demanded that the cops be
allowed to use even rubber bullets [2] and other long-range weapons to
"safeguard the physical integrity" of the police agents. However, of
the 30 to 41 cops "extremely seriously wounded," the ones the press
talks about, only one was under observation in a hospital. The
justification for this media manipulation, was given by the spokesman
for the Rostock cops, who asserted on June 5 that, "if we withdrew
[the claim about cops being extremely serious wounded], how could we
continue with the lie?" [3]

What violence?

On the other hand, the government and the cops are also demanding that
the organizers of the protests distance themselves unequivocally from
the "violent ones," which involves "collaborating with the cops" to
neutralize [the "violent ones"]. The discussion of violence naturally
omits the violence that Germany and other imperialist countries
inflict on semi-colonial countries like Afghanistan, Iraq or Kosovo.
It also fails to mention violence against the workers and the
under-classes of those imperialist countries in the form of reductions
in social spending, massive layoffs, and rises in the cost of living.
Finally, this discussion puts an equals sign between violence by the
oppressed and the violence of the oppressors, a hypocrisy quickly
embraced by the old social democratic and Stalinist parties, as well
as the pacifists of the tendency "another world is possible"
("altermundista"). Both the "altermundista" organization ATTAC, whose
representatives say that it "understands the police action," as well
as the brand-new Linkspartei [4], which, according to its chairman "is
in favor of peaceful protest," have distanced themselves unequivocally
from the violent sectors. By what they do, these ["anti-violence"]
forces are joining the witch-hunt that has been revved up.

They have nothing to say about [demonstrators] who have been arrested
and assaulted. One demonstrator has already been sentenced in a
summary judgment [a very quick "trial"] to ten months in prison
without the possibility of parole, for throwing rocks at the police;
several more arrested demonstrators will face the same fate. Up to
now, 208 criminal cases have been brought against young demonstrators.

Young people resist

Contrary to the statements by representatives of the tendency "another
world is possible" and Stalinist neo-reformism, the anti-G8 youth are
in camps organized to lodge the demonstrators. Officials and members
of the youth of Ver.di (the service workers’ union) are also
reproaching "the moderate sector of the critics of globalization for
drawing near German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister
Schäuble," since the youth of the Ver.di union are opposed to
"indiscriminate distancing from the so-called violent autonomists,"
since this represents "a danger that threatens to set the protest
movement back many years" [5]. On Monday, June 4, another march took
place, of 10,000 people, in defense of refugees and immigrants who
lack legal documentation; many of the marchers were undocumented
immigrants who would run the risk of being expelled from Germany if
they were caught. The cops provoked the demonstration for the whole
march, while the population of Rostock showed its solidarity with the
march and its participants, by offering them food and water.

Our solidarity is with the militant youth, the undocumented, and the
fighters who got arrested. Today, every organization that considers
itself revolutionary or opposed to the dictates of the "neo-liberals"
is called to demand the immediate release and exoneration of the
arrested demonstrators, as well as an immediate end to repression by
the police.

As a comrade from one of the youth camps told us, in spite of constant
over-flights by helicopters, the cops with their weapons, water
cannons, gas and dogs, and the impossibility of demonstrating in a
broad perimeter around Heligendamm, the youth and some groups of
workers have not let themselves be intimidated, and the protests
continue. With the arrival of Bush and the rest of the "guests," it
was expected that there would be still more protests. Among other
actions, the main access routes to Heiligendamm and from the
Rostock-Laage airport have been blocked. As proof, an example is
sufficient: while we were writing these lines, and a few hours before
the official beginning of the summit, 6,000 anti-G8 youths fooled the
police by eluding the checkpoints and reaching the containment fences
around Heiligendamm. While ten helicopters were looking for them, the
youths set up blockades of paths and streets with tree trunks and
branches, impeding ground tracking. They escaped the cops completely,
and the agents had to be transported by helicopters in order to
repress the demonstrators. The first hundred demonstrators must have
entered the "red zone," and accredited journalists had to be carried
in German Navy boats to get to the hotel where the conference was
going on. In summary, a victory for the demonstrators and a fiasco for
the cops and the government, but also a heavy blow for the moderate
sectors of the movement, like ATTAC and the Linkspartei, who, faced
with state repression, opted for showing their "seriousness" by moving
away from the young demonstrators.

The right of all people to live and work where they please!

Release and exoneration of those arrested for demonstrating!

Down with police repression!

Down with the G8!

* Translation by Yosef M.