Archive pour riots

Fire to the Prisons is back! More fire is needed!

Posted in Média, Réflexions, Reportages with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2015/02/24 by anabraxas

(click to download PDF)

New edition Fire to the Prisons… after 4 years of hiatus

On the issue of occupying under a Police State…

Posted in Actions, Réflexions, Reportages with tags , , , , , , on 2011/10/12 by anabraxas

Taken from « LIEBIG 14 EVICTED – Some notes on the eviction of a former squatted house from Berlin », also in 325, issue #9

his article comes from the Italian anarchist monthly “Invece” (“Instead of”) of March 2011. Some months after the eviction of the Liebig 14, the house is still empty and the attempts done by the landlord to restructure it have been combated by several acts of sabotage, keeping the house still a wreck.

When everyday monotony gets shaken…” – that was the title of one of the leaflets which was distributed in Berlin right after the eviction of a former squatted house in the German capital, the Liebig 14, sited in the eastern district of Friedrichshain. And honestly speaking, one cannot really contradict the anonymous authors, since the first week of February offered some images and situations to Berlin’s inhabitants to reflect about. Thanks to their radicalism, they succeeded in breaking for some moments in time, the daily grind of a life based on the pursuit of profit and the respect for the rules dictated by a Capitalism system which renders us more and more indifferent to what happens around us. After all, we are constantly told that what remains important is to not get involved and to defend the pettiness of our miserable daily life. But let’s proceed with order.

Since a few years ago Berlin’s housing situation changed quite a lot. The city began to attract speculators of a different nature because of the low building costs – causing the creation of different temples of Capital : posh houses for those who can afford them, which is not the majority of the population of a city which sees an unemployment rate of 14%. At the same time, the rents – which have been historically low – began to rise together with the growing international prestige of the city, making it almost impossible to find a flat in the inner city, since it became trendy nowadays, inviting a younger, flexible ‘yuppie’ demographic which has fanciful artistic ambitions and is dedicated to the futile inhabitance of some neighborhoods which in the past have been characterised by a mix of second and third generation immigrants, comrades and proletarians. Such a mix gave rise also to some interesting conflicts during the past years. After all, the housing struggle has here a long tradition which knew its last big flame after the fall of the Berlin wall, when hundreds of houses have been squatted in the eastern part of the town. Due to a zero-tolerance policy called the “Berlin line” (eviction within 24 hours), the squatting movement has been divided between those who chose legalization and those who refused it – the last squatted house has been evicted back in 1997 (I am not talking here about apartments squatted “silently”, a phenomena which still persists). Any attempt to occupy gets brought down after a few hours from hundreds of robocops, generating frustration in the ones who, during the years, tried to open up new spaces taking them away from the logic of legality and speculation. A militant defence of the spaces became impracticable especially after the historical eviction of the houses in the Mainzerstrasse back in 1990, where hundreds fought 3000 cops with the sound of molotov cocktails for several days. Therefore, if one excludes a successful occupation in 2005 – which took place following another eviction and which was legalised a few years later – it becomes clear how, because of the difficulty of expropriating new space, the defence of the old ones gained a central and symbolical role within the framework of the city’s struggles.

Their defence inscribed themselves within a larger contest of struggle against speculation and urban development – the so-called “gentrification” – creating interconnections among different subjects in struggle and enlarging the view of many, who, as it often happens, did not want to narrow their view, or limit their prospective to the mere conservation of a miserable status-quo – in this case, the defence of a few self-organised structures, with all the limits of which we all know very well. Within recent times there has been a blossoming of self-organised initiatives, by comrades and also by tenants, which tried to become sand inside urban development’s cogs through different forms and moments of protest, which made it unavoidable for all the others to not take a stand on such developments: indeed, all the city is forced to talk about it. And this happened mostly due to the continuous work of anonymous lovers of direct action, who attacked construction sites of luxury apartments, offices of architects and speculators, symbols of Capital, government structures and inflamed the nights with hundreds of burning cars, either expensive ones or those belonging to different companies which exploit the situation. This has been a phenomenon which put the police and the city on their knees during the last couple of years. That is why the eviction of a simple self-organised house became the fuse which massively exploded the dissatisfaction felt by many. It was simply a catalyst, since the disappearing of a house surely did not trouble the dreams of all those who took the streets during those days.


As one can read in the different claims which appeared on the internet, one never forgets to underline how the actions have been undertaken within the larger context of the struggle against State and Capital, “against the theft of our lives, the attack against everything which does not allow us to fully enjoy them”, that is what “some friends of the uncontrolled extension of the fire” will write afterward. On the 10th of January 2011, the Liebig 14 receives an eviction note for the 2nd of February 2011. After years of trials and several procrastinations, it seems as if the landlord (who owns different houses in the neighborhood, like another houseproject, the Rigaer 94, which underwent several evictions during the previous years) managed to get what he wanted. Now the interesting novelty of this eviction has been the choice of not wanting to play on the terrain where the cops are stronger and have no problems – i.e. the one of the classic gathering in front of the house on the eviction’s morning. “To say what the enemy does not expect and to be where he does not wait for us. That is the new poetry” – this has been written a few years ago, and the actuality of such a consideration has been experimented again in Berlin. After all, one cannot really joke with 2500 cops and special forces units called especially for the occasion, as one learned in the past, and the confrontation on such a level can only be lost by us (or at least within the local context here). Therefore one opted for decentralised actions on the full city terrain, following the motto “every eviction will have its price”. And the price of this eviction has been over a million of euros, only for what concerns the property damages created by the enrages, as reported by an informal note of the police chief. A twitter-ticker was set up in order to coordinate the different actions, where one was able to send action reports in real time and to see where it “burns” and help is needed. Also this instrument proved to be quite important for coordinating movements of different nature. On the 29th of January one gets a first taste. A demonstration of over 4000 comrades moves from Kreuzberg towards Friedrichshain. Some scuffles accompany the march, which ends up spontaneously in front of the Liebig 14, where for half an hour the cops are taken by surprise and attacked on two fronts with cobblestones while barricades are erected. An interesting episode is the use of laser devices in order to confuse the police. The police appeared extremely unhappy by this move. On the day of the eviction, the classic prowling helicopter won’t fly over before night comes, exactly because of a possible use of laser against the pilot, say the police on some newspapers. During the days preceding the eviction there are several attacks undertaken against symbols of Capital. Among others, the bailiff’s office was attacked with stones and paint.

But the real showdown will come on the 2nd of February. The tactic of decentralizing works well. From the morning there are dozens of claimed actions. One of the positive things which strikes out is the variety of the targets chosen. One begins from those who make theirs the logic of the blockade and chose to hit the transport infrastructure – through the sabotage of several traffic lights in knotpoints of the city, the classical barricades in flames on high-traffic streets to the nowadays “normal” sabotage of railway lines (a tactical method which is well spread, for example, in order to block the transport of the Neo-Nazis whenever they have their demonstrations or against the nuclear-waste trains) by the arson of cables and signals. Also savage mobs which attack in large numbers banks or luxury apartments during the day, and also attack government building or those of political parties, or to even to destroy the tickets machines of the underground, supermarket outlets and much more, all in different parts of town. This is finished by those who will concentrate in Friedrichshain blocking the traffic and attacking the police and posh cars, giving life to spontaneous demonstrations of several hundred people. Different squatting actions will also contribute to keep the police busy on different fronts. Meanwhile the police will spend several hours before managing to evict Liebig 14, since the barricades are quite strong and some surprises will make the operation quite difficult for them. In the end, they will be forced to destroy some walls to gain access to the different floors. The actions will keep up during all afternoon with a demonstration in the district of Neukölln, attended by 800 people taking the streets of a district which struggles between the conservation of its popular character and the growing urban development.

At night, several thousands people meet up in Friedrichshain to smash the plan of the police: the latter, present in huge numbers, also with water cannons, will try to stop the demonstrators shortly after the march began. But the people are enraged and they take a different path from the official one, creating a shortcircuit among the cops. The police are attacked with stones and bottles, and also with fire extinguishers, some banks are demolished and the police attempt to bring the demonstration to a halt before it takes the streets of Kreuzberg will reveal itself as an own goal: hundreds of people will keep on moving, taking again an unexpected route and attacking some targets which until that very moment were known as “untouchable”, such as the O2-arena, a gigantic commercial concert room built two years ago and a symbol of urban development in the neighborhood, and also a police station is attacked, an important shopping mall and a couple of others. In a different part of the district, groups undertake their direct actions and are not intimidated by columns of dozens of riot vans who do not know where to head to, since chaos reigns all around. So much that meanwhile another group will decide to attack another police station in the district of Treptow and another one attacks a consumer street which is a temple of shopping in the neighborhood of Steglitz, in the south part of Berlin, just to contribute a bit more to the ongoing decentralization.

The actions endure through the following days and nights : even two days after, while a few hundred people gather again in Friedrichshain for a non-authorised rally – some fifty unpredictable individuals will go to one of Berlin’s main shopping streets to destroy some thirty luxury shops within a few minutes, leaving the police with open mouth and without any arrests in their pockets. People remain in movement. At the same time, dozens of German towns respond to the call (but also on an international level): from big cities like Hamburg to small unknown villages, everywhere there will be some people in solidarity who will take to the streets releasing their discontent and attacking police and symbols of Capital, no matter if with 20 or 500 people. In Hamburg, where the historical occupied self-organised building “Rote Flora” is at risk of an eviction again, during three days two spontaneous demonstrations consisting of several hundred take back the streets, succeeding in ravaging the posh city center, which remained “untouched” in almost twenty years and showing how if you want, you can. And this seems to be one of the legacies of these days. Showing how, if one trusts his/her own creativity, refuses to be fixed on dusty traditional plans, and remains in movement, decided and determined, even a well organised army such the thousands of German robocops can be taken by surprise, so that we – and only we – can decide how and where to give life to moments of subversive force. Now all this it is not a novelty, neither on a theoretical nor on a practical level, since it has been shown more than once during the history of uprisings, revolts, insurrections and scuffles undertaken by discontent people everywhere. But sometimes one needs to learn again to remember which ones might be our possibilities. In Germany as elsewhere.

– One of the many

For a full list of actions around the eviction and more check the website

UK, the struggle against the existent continues…

Posted in Réflexions, Reportages with tags , , , , , , , on 2011/08/20 by anabraxas

Going back to the UK riots, and behind the dumb sensationalism that I, myself, have contributed to, the background of this sudden uprising needs a bit more clarification…

From Angry News

Saturday, August 13th 2011

Thursday, August 4, Mark Duggan, a ‘real straight up and down respected man’ (words of London rapper, Chipmunk) from Tottenham in London, was blasted to death while on his way home in a cab by a mob of cops wielding Heckler & Koch MP5 carbines. 29 year old Mark, father of four young children, lived on the housing estate known as Broadwater Farm, a depressed predominantly Afro-Caribbean area. The area is infamous since the riot of 1985 after 49 year old Cynthia Jarrett collapsed and died of a heart attack as police raided her home. (During the riot a policeman, PC Blakelock, was hacked to death with a machete.) Today, in the words of a resident, ‘if you’re from Broadwater Farm, police are on you every day, you’re not allowed to come off the estate. If you come off the estate they follow you.’ They followed Mark Duggan and he ended up dead.

August 6 – The arrogance of the killers in uniform in the face of the protest by the victim’s family and supporters, plus the brutal attack on a 16 year old girl by police during the vigil was the last straw.
That night in Tottenham the police station was attacked, police cars set on fire, a double-decker bus ends up a twisted wreck after being engulfed in flames, press photographers are beaten and relieved of their equipment for the decades of lies they have propagated. Bank windows smashed. Countless shops looted, stuff thrown all over the streets. Young guys storm McDonald’s and start frying up burgers and chips. Indignant anger clears the brain, flushes out the cops in the head. Collective fury at this latest police murder combines with the daily bullying and humiliation of being stopped and searched, the moralising, the false promises, useless lives, no future, desire for status-affirming ‘needs’ unattainable due to increased taxes, unemployment and cutting of benefits, 4 million cameras, glaring security cops at the entrance to every store, the colonization of all remaining urban space by trendy bars filled with the noisy chatter of the carefree… that and much more that we don’t know and will never experience welled up and fueled the will to smash through the invisible and plate glass barriers that hold everything in place.

The hostages of the open prison, the young people of the ghettos of London, rise up and the capitalists’ nightmare finally materialises, as the last link in the consumer chain of submission snaps. It explodes into a free-for-all when, in a flash of illumination the solution to the existential dilemma is found: MUST HAVE/CAN’T HAVE = TAKE. It’s simple: learn and apply, possibly burning store to ashes on retreating.

Some anarchists and ‘rebels with consciousness’ did rush towards the smoke signals on the horizon. For some only to stop in their tracks, in many cases riveted to the spot as spectators of a scenario never played out in their wildest dreams: crowds of young people queuing up outside high street stores like customers at the January sales, calmly forcing their way inside under the implacable gaze of rows of riot cops, to reappear later with huge bags, even trolleys, overflowing with consumer goods.

Elsewhere, behind the hastily improvised barricades erected and set alight by local kids in back streets as they prepare to greet their daily enemy – the cops in their anti-riot vans – with a hail of bottles and stones, the outsider, immediately recognizable by age and color, is viewed with suspicion. Who are you? What do you want? In various areas, the odd gang, spurred by the momentary shift in the balance of power in the streets, starts high-jacking people’s cars and driving off in them or setting them alight, or trashing and looting corner shops, holding no attraction but for the benefit of diversionary chaos so that other small groups can organise and initiate their own attacks. For some, black clothes and face masks are a sign of organised illegality and command respect accordingly. Each area and particular environment creates differing possibilities and modes of co-operation and confrontation. Still days after the clashes there is a changed air in the glances and atmosphere between those in the different sectors of the clash, put under the same rule. Open fighting against the police and the system they defend is a unifying feature for popular resistance against all regimes.

Very soon it became clear that this seemingly strange police tactic of standing by and watching looters empty stores was no accident, as it had already been reported by right-wing media that the police would let the situation play itself out for 3 days before going in with heavy repressive blows, a story which subsequently disappeared from the news. This standard British counter-insurgency tactic, developed in the colonies and in Northern Ireland, is used in the preliminary stages of the social insurgence to attempt to create a situation of havoc where all the contradictions of the mess of society can exacerbate, to force the false question: Do you want an authoritarian regime to maintain repressive order, or do you want ‘lawless chaos’? The question is posed by power to the servile masses, using the rebellious as their spear of inquiry.

The police removed their personnel from the most seriously affected areas, giving space for the riot to literally burn out – letting the ‘violence’ reach such a point as to deny the intensification which could have resulted had the clash been kept at a certain social level, possibly drawing in anarchists, leftists and angry students.

The front line of the clash – that against cops, police stations, media, politicians, started to disappear as the target of these attacks withdrew or were overcome. This channeled the affray into the requisitioning of goods by uncontrolled masses. The design was to secure the forces of the police following their defeat on the streets in order to prepare the massive repressive operation from CCTV surveillance, snitching and investigation – and provoke a media-boosted backlash from those who identify with the system of work and law demanding that the police enforce a severe crackdown. A backlash which was not only seen in the posses of marauding shop-keepers and British nationalists, but also in the citizenist outcry for an open prison society by tidy controlled individuals not adverse to controlling others.

(Read the rest here)