An insight into our struggle
Our forest occupation is standing for about one month now and a lot has happened since then. There are now more than 10 structures in the trees. None of us expected that we would grow so fast when we first got together somewhere in the Altmark a few weeks ago and figured out where we would put up the first platforms.
We have had a lot of visits and support from people in the surrounding towns, for example our potato supply is always full, which we are very enthusiastic about!
But there have also been some visits from highway supporters, some of them just for discussion, some of them openly right-wing extremists, who were behaving aggressively and because of this acute threatening situations have occurred a few times.
While the structural problems of the region and the development and spread of right-wing extremist structures have been ignored for decades at the local and federal level, the occupation has created another place where this becomes openly visible and also receives new attention in the climate justice movement.
The situation in the forest
The highway polarizes the region. Many people come to the place of the occupation, besides supporters, highway opponents, police, media and simply curious onlookers, there are also drunken, mostly younger men and aggressive fascists who threaten us verbally and physically. Sometimes it is difficult for us to distinguish who is visiting us and for what reasons. As far as possible, we try to enter into a dialogue and also to discuss with highway opponents. With many people we could agree on a few points and create understanding for the mutual problems and views. Not everyone who is in favor of building the highway is against our views. It is absolutely understandable that – if you live here in the countryside, where there are not many jobs and you have to go to Magdeburg every day to work – you would like to have the highway. There are often existential issues, fears, dependencies and hopes that are carried out via the highway debate. With many of these people we had long intensive discussions and once a few people who are in favour of the A14 even helped us to pull up a tree house. Maybe if we get to talk a bit more and pull up a few more platforms together they get to understand our points more. This occupation creates new spaces for exchange and discussions and encounters, and thus we have already achieved one goal.
Unfortunately not with everyone it make sense to discuss.
There have also been many visits, from people who have openly shown their extreme right-wing views, and don‘t like us because of our political stance as anarchists, antifascists.
With our occupation there is a new place in this area, where many social conflicts are breaking out. We have partly tried to talk to these people, mostly there were people who showed at the same time that we are also ready to defend ourselves if necessary.
There was one incident where a person was threatened with a pickaxe. Once there was an attempt to hit people with a car, and after that these people were chased with baseball bats. Also, there were groups late at night armed with firecrackers and sticks trying to intimidate us. After simple coercion was used against the aggressors, the situation calmed down.
Our strategy is to try to de-escalate and at the same time show that we are ready to defend ourselves and this place.
The situation in the vigil in Seehausen
So far, the train station in Seehausen has been the most frequent target of right-wing attacks. Every Friday, a vigil takes place there. The station is also used as an information store and meeting place. It has been attacked several times, even when people were inside the building.
Interior furnishings were destroyed, there was an arson attack, which could be extinguished only minutes before the whole building would have gone up in flames. In the evening after the AfD demo in front of the station, 10 people stormed the station building and set off a homemade pipe bomb while people were in the station. A few days later, local media spread the message that it was ‘only’ a firecracker, but since then the police have had to admit that this is not true and that it was a homemade explosive device.
The train station is harder to defend because it is easier to reach. Nevertheless, it is important to keep this place of encounter and to build it up to an open and inviting free space to create the possibility to get into conversation with the people of Seehausen and around.
Anti-fascism remains manual work
Whether BRD (Federal Republic of Germany) or DDR (German Democratic Republic), the state and “democracy” are only too happy to claim anti-fascism without actually doing anything to fight fascist structures and ideologies. On the contrary, state structures are eagerly helping to build up and cover up murderous fascist organizations, be it the NSU, NSU 2.0 or, for example, the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) of the Bundeswehr. We cannot rely on state institutions, because in addition to the countless “individual cases” in the police and military, parties that openly represent inhuman positions sit in parliament and government. A shift to the right is going through Germany and while tens of thousands of people march alongside right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis at anti-Corona protests, the German state is murdering and deporting people, supplying authoritarian states with weapons and armaments and ignoring or protecting the existence of fascist networks.
Many of us are not only here to protest against the construction of the highway, but because we want to create a free space where we can reflect and unlearn socialized patterns of behavior. We want to deconstruct power structures because they are the basis of oppression and exploitation of people and nature. Climate change and the destruction of the environment are not separate issues, but a consequence of capitalist, patriarchal, racist and speciesist exploitation.
Especially in the countryside, where fascists often spread their inhuman ideologies unhindered and increase their influence, anti-fascism is urgently needed. This also includes creating and defending autonomous and anarchist places.
Probably there will be further confrontations and attacks, but we don’t want to let ourselves be beaten down by them! It is important to fight against it with diverse tactics and actions and to support and protect and defend each other.
Because without fighting fascism all our other emancipatory struggles are hopeless.
Our forest occupation is open to all who are respectful of each other. No special skills or knowledge is needed. All can come by and contribute according to their strengths or needs. No pasaran!
This article was written by a few people and does not represent the views of the entire occupation.