Leipzig: Who sows wind, will reap storm

We look back on a long weekend full of determined action against the increasing evictions, against the gentrification and the unbearable cop siege of our neighbourhoods. After two occupied houses had been evicted within a very short time, the anger about social grievances in Leipzig came to a climax once again.

After the squatted house Luwi71 was evicted on Wednesday, a Day X+1 demonstration was called on Thursday. Several hundred people joined the demonstration and expressed their anger at the eviction of the future social center near Eisenbahnstraße. Cops were attacked, barricades were erected and set on fire. Clashes lasted for several hours, during which even a resquat attempt of the Luwi71 was started. The cops tried again and again to disperse the masses, but instead many smaller demonstrations were formed, which drove the clashes forward. Many spectators joined the masses that were repeatedly scattered and yet found each other again. The anger at the police siege and criminalization of Eisenbahnstrasse, including the no weapons zone, was clearly palpable. In the course of the clashes and after several failed attempts by the cops, they began to shoot at random tear gas into the crowd. The fact that here as well as in the following evening ammunition forbidden according the War Weapon Act was used, which was fired also at journalists, probably surprises nobody knowing the Saxonian police.

In the course of these clashes more than 20 people were arrested, we wish them much strength!

Fortunately, another house in Leipzig-Connewitz was occupied the next day, Friday September 4. But after a short time a security company and cops arrived and evicted the house before a larger crowd could be mobilized. However, many seem to have found out about it, because for the spontaneous demonstration, which took place the same evening, more than 300 people came to Herderpark at short notice. What followed was an appropriate reaction to the inhuman action of the cops. After the demonstration had set itself in motion with great use of fireworks, first a cop station was attacked, surveillance cameras destroyed and some windows damaged with paint bombs and stones. This was the fifth major attack on this cop station since it opened in 2014.

As a result the demonstration moved over the Hammerstraße towards the Bornaische Straße, where first a cop van was chased away with fireworks and stone throwing, the first arriving arrest teams were also sent back in a hail of stones. When the demonstration had moved to the crossing Bornaische/Stockartstraße, the first large groups of cops with vans arrived from the south and north. It turn into clashes for minutes. The cops drove at high speed from the south towards a crowd of people. They forced people to jump to the side at the last second in order not to die. They almost rammed a streetcar and finally came to a standstill with the second cop van smashing into the first one. Without dramatizing, we would like to mention what this was all about: an attempted murder of people who are a thorn in the side of the state. The fact that no one was run over in this crash is a miracle. And with all the joy at the pictures of the destroyed cop van, with all the jokes that are now being made about illegal street races by the cops etc., we do not want to forget that human lives were deliberately put at risk here. The Springer press writes that the collision was caused by attacks on cops. That is more or less true, because the cops who were sitting in their vans and were attacked with stones tried to run over the attackers. How hypocritical police commissioner Torsten Schultze is when he says we would take human lives can be seen in this scenario. Especially since we confront a fully equipped and well trained combat unit with armor and helmets and with all the cobblestones thrown, cops are (unfortunately) usually only slightly injured. The anger, the hatred against the police, the riots of the last months are caused by exactly such actions by cops, because of the numerous injuries and mistreatment which were and are inflicted, because of the forced evictions, the senseless harassment, the permanent state of siege. You should not be surprised that more and more people stop believing in a peaceful solution of the social problems in our city.

In the end, the demonstration slowly retreated and finally disintegrated after about 45 minutes of intense clashes. We are very happy that there were no arrests during this time and it shows that in the last months collective learning processes have also taken place, that we pay more attention to each other and that the cops dare less, because they know that in case of arrests they have to expect resistance and prisoners’ liberation. But it is also due to the fact that after the previous evening in the East, the cops had not expected to be confronted with riots in the South of Leipzig again on Friday. They were not prepared for a further occupation and had only about 3 hours time to plan their deployment, so we were spontaneously better able to act than they were.

On Saturday evening the demonstration, which had been announced for quite some time, took place under the motto “Uniting Struggles”. Many initiatives read out speeches about the social struggles in Leipzig and internationally and of course, in view of the current events, reference was also made to the evctions of the Luwi71 and the B34. The demonstration was very militant from the beginning and expressed an antagonistic attitude towards the bourgeois state. Among other things this was done by the mass firing of fireworks and various smaller attacks on cops. After luxury apartments on Wolfgang-Heinze-Straße were attacked, the cops decided to break up the demonstration and attack from different sides simultaneously. This resulted in physical assaults on bystanders and journalists. Groups of people were arbitrarily chased through the side streets and brutally arrested. Nevertheless, we were able to counteract the escalating police violence with solidary reactions and by sticking together in large groups; time and again, cops were attacked by small groups. Some of them were chased away and so the number of arrests could be limited to at least 15 (which is still 15 arrests too many). It was clear from the beginning that after two previous nights of attacks on the public servants, a high number of arrests was the main target of the cops. It was equally clear that the cops would take every opportunity to break up the demonstration and start hunting down autonomous people. It was with great joy that we received the news that in the west of Leipzig, too, at the same time as the demonstration, a cop van parked at the police administration office went up in flames.

Since some media are outraged by the attacks on the luxury buildings at the Wolfgang-Heinze road, we want to take a stand. It must be clear that we are not official speakers of the demonstration and do not claim to represent all participants. First of all, we consider it a sensible, necessary and legitimate form of symbolic protest to attack new buildings with paint, stones, fire or whatever. In this way the legitimate anger about repression processes can be expressed. Gentrification processes that lead to the destruction of social networks, that people are pushed out of their original living environment and have to make room for better earners. If these higher earners decide to leave Connewitz again and the demand for luxury apartments decreases, this is a desired side effect. What we naturally reject is if, in the event of such attacks, it cannot be ruled out that children or children’s rooms could be affected. To what extent the attackers have done this, we cannot judge. But the fact that various press articles are now writing about how bad it is that luxury apartments have been attacked with stones and stained glass, that people are getting excited about fireworks on a balcony made entirely of stone, borders on human contempt in the face of all the people without shelter. In view of all the people who have had to give up their apartments because they had to vacate them and renovate them, in view of all the people who can no longer pay their rent or can only pay it with great difficulty. For all this is what we mean by structural violence, violence that emanates from an economic system in which everything becomes a commodity, in which the greatest possible profit is to be made from everything. A system in which human dignity is only an annoying obstacle to exploitation and accumulation, and which is maintained with institutionalized violence in the form of police, military and prison.

In addition to the many demonstrations and arguments, there was also a discussion event in Connewitz throughout the weekend. The “Social Fighting Construction Site” invited to discussions, lectures and networking with a supporting program such as information stands, brunch/kitchen for all and a cocktail bar. All events took place in public space, in the surrounding parks and streets. Many people sat down and discussed in the sun or drizzle. Sometimes up to 60 interested people listened to the lectures about women and militancy, social struggles in Chile, repression in Italy or the threatened house project Liebig34 and did not let themselves be dissuaded by a high police presence. Even before the Luwi71, a neighborhood brunch was held on Sunday, where, despite massive police presence, some neighbors and supporters of the Luwi71 met and discussed perspectives after the eviction or organized help for collateral damage caused by the Day X+1 demonstration. We notice that especially in these times there is a great need for exchange and discussion about the existing conditions and that it is organized in different neighborhoods. And also that many share a rage and want to express it, in view of the powerlessness in the face of the repression processes, the rampant racism and women hate, the strengthening fascism and state repression.

It does not surprise us that in view of the social conditions and the developments particularly at the housing market in Leipzig people are getting angry. Nevertheless, we are pleased about the extent to which the confrontations with house owners, real estate companies and the state henchmen have been assumed over the past weekend, but also in the last few months. Of course, all state actors and bourgeois newspapers are responding to the urgent need to defame as chaotic all those people who were on the streets over the weekend. The anger and violence, however, were by no means chaotic, directed exclusively against new construction projects and the cops during the past three days. During this weekend, many people attacked those who serve the rich and property owners, protect their property and prevent a life in dignity for all. Should there still be people whose cars, houses or bicycles have been damaged in the course of the fighting, hopefully ways will be found to bear it collectively.

At this point we would like to quote the call for the demonstration “Uniting Struggles” (also to be found here or here) :

” Especially in Connewitz, we have been confronted for years with a strategy of gentrification, which seems to be aimed not only at profit but also at splitting and displacing the so-called “scene” in Connewitz. After all, it was this “scene” that saved the houses from decay and demolition in the 1990s and built an art, cultural and pub landscape that has contributed to the fact that the district has become one of the most attractive in the city to this day. And not only for so-called “alternative” people, but also for many young families. Thus, the people who in the 1990s enforced a shelter against the everyday Nazi terror here in the district, also in the fight against the state, can no longer pay their rent in hip Connewitz today. (…) So when building sites are attacked, when new houses are smeared with paint, we don’t see it as the work of bored chaotic women, but as a last desperate rebellion of all those who don’t want to be driven out of their neighborhood without a fight. ”

The goal of organizing housing for all and building a city from the bottom up will not be achieved through negotiations, rent strikes, milieu protection statutes or large-scale expropriation campaigns (which just name themselves as such but aren’t). The interests of capital will always be put above human lives by the bourgeois state. This is also the reason why, despite all empty words and expressions of understanding, none of the ruling parties in Leipzig is seriously committed to ensuring that housing remains affordable or becomes affordable again. After all, this is a profitable and crisis-resistant market. In recent years, especially in large cities, there has not only been a massive development of capital accumulation, which has led to a situation where only a few people are fortunate enough to own their own homes and most of them have to be dependent on landlords and the rental market all their lives. Rather, there has also been an increase in the number of people who have lost their homes because they are no longer tenants or dependent on the employment office, or who can no longer even get a home at all because of the immigration authorities and racist legislation.

History also shows that on the real estate market the housing of the poorer sections of the population and their debts can be easily speculated on, see the financial crisis of 2008. And that not only can a lot of money be earned by building luxury apartments and upgrading city districts, but political power and influence can also be gained. The big real estate companies ultimately determine what our cities will look like, who gets housing where and who falls behind. If we do not rebel against this overall system, there will always be only one solution for a few. Our defensiveness therefore results from an organization in the neighboring communities, from the organization of solidarity and mutual aid far away from the state and from the resistance we put up against the capitalist system and the growing fascist forces.

Also off the housing debate and the social conditions in Leipzig, which become more acute thereby, there are many things, which move us and which increase our anger. In Berlin, many leftist projects are threatened with eviction. Fought for years ago, they are now to give way to the reinvention of a rich capital. In Saxony fascist forces are gaining influence, fascistoid parties are gaining popularity and right-wing content is gaining support. That people are attacked by fascists because of unchangeable characteristics or social background is the order of the day. Nazis march by the thousands with concerned citizens, Pegida is no longer a curiosity. Weapons are transferred from state authorities to right-wing groups or fascist terror networks are protected or even personally supported by the Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution) or the cops, it’s an open secret.

Connewitz or Leipzig seems to be an anti-fascist bastion in Saxony, but even this has been and will be permanently fought for. In the last years and particularly in this year a repressive storm on anti-fascists is happening, such the martial house searches of last June show. Also other left political fields are in the focus of the repression authorities, a new 129a-trial affects comrades in Frankfurt am Main and just last week 27 house searches took place nationwide because of a 129-trial against the Roten Aufbau. The state is currently trying to attack and smash left forces and structures on a massive scale. Also worldwide we observe a strengthening of fascism and the unrestricted will to rule of neoliberalism, which shows its true nature even more clearly through the rampant pandemic.

But in recent years, rebellions against the rule of capitalism and the world’s ruling classes have emerged worldwide. The revolutionary uprising in Chile against neoliberal politics, carried by the lower strata of society with a strong indigenous and feminist representation, gives hope that a system can be overthrown on the streets. However, due to the pandemic, this movement also had to concentrate on self-protection and that of the communities. After all, most of the victims of the virus, not only there, are the poorest in society, who do not receive adequate care due to the privatization of the health system.
In Belarus, people have been taking to the streets for weeks and attacking a dictatorship that has thousands of people imprisoned and shoots sharply at demonstrators to keep them in power. In the USA, a social conflict has escalated that has been simmering for decades. Black communities, indigenous communities and also white antifascists are resisting the structural murder of POCs by the police. They fight against the racist normal state and destabilize a political system that has always been supported by the white political elite. The riots, which have now lasted for months, spread rapidly throughout the country and internationally. Despite or perhaps because of the many victims the movement has had to mourn in recent months, shot, run over or beaten to death by the pigs of the police or fascist militias, the conflict continues to intensify. A wind is blowing through the world and the signs are pointing to a storm.

We must fight, we must resist! Not to act means to approve or capitulate!

We call on you to be part of the “Actionweek for Liebig34” this week and to come to the militant demonstration on 12.09. at 8 pm at Wassertorplatz (Berlin Kreuzberg)!

Every eviction has its price!

Solidary greetings from Leipzig to Athens, where comrades have to appear in court after the eviction of the Gare Squat.

B34, Bornaische Strasse 34, Connewitz

Luwi71, Ludwigstraße 71, Leipzig

Groups in Leipzig https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/leipzig
Events in Leipzig https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Leipzig

Groups in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE