zaterdag 22 juli 2017

The G20 in Hamburg: Welcome to Hell!

Many people were surprised by the severe resistance against the G20 summit in Hamburg. This led to many discussions within anti-capitalist circles. In the run-up to the G20 the system media already warned for the arrival of more than 150.000 protesters, of which according to estimates of the coppers 8000 would be prepared to use violence. Some observers of the ACN/AKN travelled to Hamburg to report.

The day in advance of the G20 summit the police chief Hartmut Dudde* already informed his troops of a change of course: the coppers would follow a hard, repressive line. There was no option of a deescalation strategy. Dudde beforehand, chose for a confrontation with the protesters.

Although the initial protests against the G20 remained peaceful, they escalated Thursday at night during the “Welcome to Hell” demonstration in Hamburger-Hafen. According to the system media the coppers wanted to disband the protest, because some protesters refused to take down their facial covers. In practice the 12.000 protesters didn't get a chance to participate with the demands of the coppers. The coppers immediately confronted and attacked the protesters in an attempt to isolate about 1.000 autonomen from the rest of the protest. Despite the efforts to contain these protesters, several groups were able to break out of the police chain to spread out in the neighborhood of Sternschanzen. Here in the streets it deteriorated into a battle field: expensive cars were burned out; there was  much smoke in the streets and above because of burning objects and barricades; robocops in the streets; excessive use of violence, teargas and water cannons by the coppers.

This violent escalation marked the mood for the coming days. Friday was also the scene of an unprecedented repression by the coppers. Sternschanzen was hermetically sealed off, heavy armed special units (SEK) were deployed and extra reinforcements were called in (despite an already 20.000 officers (!) strong force). The neighborhood St. Pauli was still somewhat accessible and became the scene of several 'protest' parties, spontaneous protests and short cat-and-mouse games with the coppers. Saturday the events would end with a bourgeois mass demonstration, in which over 200.000 people made a fist against the G20. The protest itself was mostly peaceful, but once again ended in provocations by the coppers. However, the intense resistance of the previous days abstained.

The decision of bundeskanzler Merkel to organize the G20 summit in the left wing bulwark Hamburg proved to be a game of party politics. In reaction to the violence the system media claimed the “left” should take responsibility for the events in Hamburg. Fingers were mostly pointed at the reformist and bourgeois “left” parties (SPD, Die Grünen and Die Linke). Only 'Die Linke' dared to condemn the excessive police violence, but soon recalled this declaration, to join in with the rest of the bourgeoisie. In the Netherlands we saw a similar response with the reformists from the SP, where Emile Roemer also condemned the violence surrounding the G20 (he remained surprisingly silent about the police violence).

There were also discussions in the radical-left scene about the violence surrounding the protests against the G20. Some embraced the riots and didn't want to discredit the spontaneity of the actions. Others condemned the so-called 'senseless riots' and 'a-political violence'. Andreas Blechsmidt - representative of the Rote Flora - (rightly so) pointed the finger towards the policy of the police on Thursday. Not the Black Bloc, but the coppers were guilty of the violence. Still, he distanced himself from the vandalism in Schanzenviertel. A logic statement considering the Rote Flora depends on a good relation with the neighborhood, which provides back cover for its activities there. Remarkably enough Blechsmidt could count on acclamation of the system media (and a local group of enterprises): The vandalism and plunder had to be the work of South-Europeans (Greek, Italian, Spanish and French protesters), who were not conscious about the relations in the neighborhood. Or, they simply saw everything German as a legitimate target (because German imperialism is for most part responsible for the economic excavations of the weak economies of Southern-Europe, which caused much grudge).

Also, within the nationalist scene the events in Hamburg provoked many reactions. A significant part displayed itself once again as being arch-reactionary: “Hamburg would have been hostage of an organized anarchist terrorism!” The hooligans of HoGeSa called “to take back control over the city!” - a clandestine call to attack anti-G20 protesters together with the coppers. The usual right wing elements were on the forefront to cry along with the howling wolfs of the bourgeoisie, and condemned “the rioters who destroyed the private property of the working class [really ???].” The Dutch ACN/AKN collective takes a far distance from any of these kinds of reactionary elements (also within the international ACN-relations!). The targeted actions against the G20, its infrastructure and its security (the coppers), would never have been possible without spontaneous 'riots' and temporary rebellion. Therefore, it is useless to connect these events to some kind of misplaced ethical philosophy, let alone uncritically parroting the system media and bourgeoisie!




Note: * Hartmut Dudde has a long history as chief in command of police violence. On the eve of the 21st of December 2013, Dudde already tried to stop an autonomous demonstration. This succeeded after just 200 meters. However, it then completetely escalated: stones flew, water cannons were deployed and there were hundreds of wounded on both sides. The system media described it as a “battlefield”, one of the biggest confrontations Hamburg had seen in a long while. Days after the incident there were stil parts of the city that were declared 'no-go areas'. 

woensdag 19 juli 2017

In the spirit of the SA: Towards a Revolutionary National Socialism!

National socialism was, contrary to what is commonly believed, never a movement of the right. It strove for a sincere and authentic German socialism. Traditionally, the left in Germany never pursued the interests of the German people. With the defeat of the German empire in 1918 this once more became painfully evident. The first World War exposed the vulnerable position of the nation as a 'Mittellage' between its French arch-enemy on the one hand and the Russian empire on the other. From the West, the Anglo-Saxon liberal democracy tried to integrate Germany, in the form of the Weimar Republic, into their liberal democratic world order. At the same time from the East, Germany was threatened by the communist world revolution of Moscow. The East gained influence through the presence of a strong communist party, the KPD, which acted as a promising vassal for Moscow.

National Socialism was born in this political climate in 1920, as an attempt to create an authentic German völkisch-socialism. As the name national socialism already suggests, this movement had a double complementary identity; the unification of the ideal of nationalism and that of socialism. However, in political practice this appeared to be rather controversial, because a convinced socialist worker party cannot do anything else than focusing on the working class and forging alliances with worker movements. On the other hand, a primary nationalist party is expected to address the people as a whole, forging alliances with right wing political and social formations. A certain schizophrenia stems from this, which led to tensions within the movement.

North-West against South

As the strong man of the movement, it was Hitler who determined the course of the NSDAP. From the start, he tried to take a neutral centrist position by acknowledging the socialism of the party, but denying its proletarian class character. Still, this was not enough to prevent the buildup of regular tensions between the national and the social camps. Especially the period between the failed national socialist coup of 1923 and the take over of power in 1933, the movement was a scene of violent principled conflicts about the course of the party. During many occasions the party militia, the Sturm Abteilung (SA), was in the middle of these conflicts. Besides this, there was a cultural gap that spread straight through the party. This gap revealed itself in 1925 as a contradiction between the old Southern gravity point of the NSDAP and the leadership of the movement in the industrial West and North of Germany.

Inside the West and North German movement, Joseph Goebbels and the Strasser brothers proved to be the biggest rivals of Munich. It was Gregor Strasser who developed a socialist alternative, devised in a revolutionary adaption of the NSDAP program. Since the beginning of his career, he already proved to be a sincere anti capitalist. He understood very well that the industrial North of Germany required a different approach than the rural and traditional South. He was supported in this by a young Joseph Goebbels, who stated that the German nationalism had to develop into a German socialism - and this was supposed to be a radical socialism. He openly sought alliances with the national-bolshevists and was quite positive about the communists, whose biggest mistake according to him was their connection to Moscow. This controversy got a political charge when Strasser and Goebbels openly presented their revolutionary program. However, under strong pressure from Hitler and the party leadership in Munich, Strasser caved and withdrew the copies of his program. Afterwards the ideological discussion in the party leadership was silenced.

1926: Strasser and Goebbels in Berlin

The Sturm Abteilung

For the SA this wasn’t the case. National socialism stemmed from the soldiers revolt that followed the defeat of the German empire. Many members in the party were veterans from the many Freikorps and other paramilitary organizations in the country, who in this uncertain times upheld order on their own. In a sense they simply continued the war, spirited by a deep desire for community, fellowship and equality. This was the breeding ground for a renewed believe in the national cause and a more egalitarian society - a militant nationalism connected to a radical socialism. With the SA the NSDAP created its revolutionary vanguard, that was to embody what the movement was meant to be: a revolutionary combat group, with unconditional loyalty to the Führer.

Although the SA was officially subordinate to the party leadership, tendencies towards independence arose on several occasions. This commenced from the proletarian make up of the SA, whose militants were inclined to more revolutionary and radical actions. In many occasions the militia developed its own ideological preferences. When Hitler (in 1923 after the failed putsch) was sentenced to prison, Röhm let the SA 'submerge' into a new combat group. When Hitler was released from prison and tried to claim the highest authority back, Röhm was an inconvenience. It wasn’t until the end of 1926 that Hitler was able to replace Röhm with a more compliant commander. However, this didn’t solve the tensions between the party and the militia.

The revolutionary profile of the SA became strengthened throughout the following years by a steady influx of workers. The SA presented itself as the vanguard of the proletariat, and as such knew a huge influx of new members. During the economic depression that started in 1929, the membership rose from 10.000 members to 300.000 members in less than three years. There was also great discontent among the members of this militia because of the huge electoral victory during the Reichstag-elections. This electoral victory led the party leadership to openly embrace a legal way towards power and consensus politics. This was at odds with the SA who favored revolution, because of its class character, temperament and ideology.

SA men in a truck bearing the slogan: Be socialist in deed!

When in 1930 the head office of the party in Munich settled in an extremely prestigious and precious building, the SA demanded an improvement of its financial position. The common SA man had a very bad wage, but was obliged to do the dirty work for the party leadership. When this demand was not met, the SA stormed the head office of the party in Berlin and caused major damage there. As a consequence, Röhm was re-appointed to restrain the SA, but without much success. Walther Stennes, commander of the SA in Berlin, maintained his position that the legal course of Hitler equaled treason to the revolutionary spirit of national socialism. A rumor that Walther Stennes had been fired, was enough to unleash a SA revolt in the whole North- and West of Germany. During this revolt more and more SA men looked at the communist KPD as an example of a real workers party. Although this revolt took threatening shapes, the party leadership was able to appease the moods. However, in 1931 it once again sprung to a conflict, in which Stennes violently occupied the printers and offices of 'Der Angriff' in Berlin. The SS was deployed to get the occupiers out of these offices. Also notable, were the good relations between the SA and the Kampfgemeinschaft Revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten of Otto Strasser, who left the party with about 100 dissatisfied members under the slogan: “The socialist leave the party!”

Walther Stennes, Commander of the SA in Berlin

The Treason of 1934

While Hitler and the party leadership defended their choice for a legal conquest of power and profiled themselves as the moderate representatives of their movement, the radicalized proletarian support of the SA was ready to push the revolution by overthrowing capitalism. In 1933 the transfer of power from Paul von Hindenburg to Hitler took place. The representatives of big business had embraced Hitler’s appointment and even managed to get a place in the new cabinet.

This political lobbying behind closed doors and the collaboration with capitalists was a thorn in the eye of the SA. The SA started to deal with their political enemies, the hated bosses and bureaucrats, on the streets. Banks and corporations were attacked and the stock exchange in Frankfurt was occupied by a SA unit that demanded the resignation of the entire management. The militia wanted to push their revolution, but Hitler was far from delighted by these actions. During a mass manifestation of the SA in April, he thanked the militia in the name of the people and the nation. However, for the good listener a farewell could be heard.

The tensions between Hitler and the SA increased even more because of the ambitions of Röhm to predestine the SA as the new national army of the German empire. This made the Reichswehr feel threatened, and they started to put pressure on Hitler. Soon unconfirmed rumors were circulating that the SA had plans for a putsch, to get rid of the Reichswehr. In the night of 30 June to the 1st of July SS leaders Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich seized the opportunity to behead the SA, thereby squashing their revolutionary aspirations. On this 'night of the long knives' 89 SA leaders were ambushed by SS units and executed. Shortly after the SA was shredded and shrunk, with which the last autonomous and revolutionary force in the national socialist movement disappeared. 

89 SA leaders are being executed in 1934

maandag 17 juli 2017

About the Urge for Deeds: Ernst Jünger and the Autonomen

"Rather to incinerate on the barricades of the revolution, than rotting away on the dung hill of democracy!"

Ernst Jünger would be very interested in the recent events surrounding the G20 in Hamburg. Brave warriors who fought without fear, against the ruling order in the light of burning barricades. During the first World War the then 27-years old national-revolutionary and Reichswehr officer Ernst Jünger wrote down a text in his diary, which - provided they would keep his name secret - could have counted on much consent among the autonome warriors in the Schanzenviertel.

The pamphlet of this anarch of German literature, who didn't want to call himself an anarchist because the term was hjijacked by the left,  is called "Struggle as an internal and engaging experience." In it Jünger criticizes "the society of the spoiled culture, which is divided in all its activity and lust." Only on the battlefields of the first World War Jünger could find salvation and overcome the compulsiveness of this ruling system. He wrote: "There [on the battlefield] man liberates himself in an orgy of ecstasy, when all around him collapses." 

He strives for the rediscovery of violence, because each attack on the foundations of the bourgeois culture, leads towards a spontaneous outburst of lust. In contradiction to his other works, this ecstasy of violence is not a plea for a new order or for the militarization of all aspects of life. Jünger’s only goal here, is a hedonist strive towards the ultimate fulfillment of the spirit; the struggle itself as the most intensive expression of human existence!

The link between Jünger’s pamphlet and the autonome "politics of the individual" is easily made. Not the people or the worker as social class is the starting point of political action, but an orientation on the self and the interest of direct co-warriors. Also in the glorification of violence and struggle, the autonomen have more in common with Jünger, then they would be willing to admit. The wellknown autonome slogan; "freedom is the short moment between throwing the stone and the stone hitting its goal", is very revealing in this context. Throwing a stone is not a means to overcome the system, but a deed of short-term individual liberation - in the eye of the actual inability to overthrow the ruling order.

Already in the '80's of the last century, the German social-psychologist Klaus Horn pointed out that in highly developed industrial societies public violence can give the illusion that man becomes active in the world again: it makes sure that the individual from the passive object of relations, becomes the active subject of the events. Horn’s dark prognosis is perfectly illustrated by the American movie 'Fight Club'. Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden states: "We are all consumers, waste products of the general lifestyle obsession." He directs these sentences to a nameless protagonist, played by Edward Norton. Durden’s answer to this desolate insight is a secret society of alienated men, who only feel alive when they hurt each other during ruthless fights in the basement of a bar. During the film this Fight Club develops into a disciplined and organized army, that attacks the public order - alienated persons in a state of war, who until the last second of salvation resiliently  fulfill their roles as rebel.

In this current pacifist and conformist society, the hedonist self-fulfillment through violence is once more elevated to the highest ideal. Jünger teaches us that in this sinking ship of globalism, pacifism will disappear. Jünger argues that passion, the irrational and instinctive force, will prove inexhaustible, even if it is occasional. His presentation of the struggle as the most intense and highest form of existence , will set us free from the oppressing chains of the established order!