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(The International Blockupy coordinating meeting on 18 January is reported seperately.)
The Blockupy activist meeting in the Frankfurt Gewerkschaftshaus (trade union’s house) signaled the start of the critical phase of our preparations and mobilization for the protests against crisis policies and the opening of the ECB on 18 March. Over 200 friends, colleagues and comrades joined the meeting: People from the Interventionist Left, from Attac, the party DIE LINKE, Ums Ganze-Bündnis, people from initiatives of the unemployed, Occupy, anti-fascist groups, various unions, anti-racist groups, feminist collectives, and many others, including the many unaffiliated activists.
Various international guests from the growing Europe-wide Blockupy alliance were also present. The day before they sat in on talks with groups and networks from, amongst others, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and Spain.
The current situation: A lot is happening. Blocking the opening of the ECB is set across borders as the transnational event of protest and resistance against the European crisis regime; various spectrums and groups are coming to Frankfurt from all over Europe on 18 March. Even organizations and groups such as international union organizations that haven’t yet been part of Blockupy want to join the protest this time around. Our protest against the ECB has gotten additional attention through the elections in Greece.
We know from our numerous contacts with comrades in Europe that Blockupy’s actions are not only being followed with great interest, but that Blockupy has become a laboratory for the development of a cross-border oppositional power.
The protests on 18 March are not the end point of Blockupy, but rather an intermediary, however crucial, step. There were already intense deliberations at the Blockupy festival in November 2014 concerning Blockupy’s goals and what sort of spaces the alliance opens for debate and for the collective experience of the crisis protests. We will continue these discussions with our friends, comrades, and colleagues throughout Europe after the ECB blockade.
After short discussion it was consensually agreed upon that – as was already favored by the majority at the plenary during the festival in November – we will make Wednesday, 18 March, the central day of protests. On this day there will be the blockade of the opening ceremonies in Frankfurt’s Ostend in the morning, followed by an attractive rally suitable for all, and by a demonstration in downtown Frankfurt in the afternoon.
We want to turn the day of the European elites celebrating themselves and their politics into our day of protest against the Troika crisis policies and take over their party! Particularly on a workday, we also want to clearly signal the interruption of normal capitalist operations that lead to these policies. We say: with the crisis regime’s catastrophic and, for many, deadly policy of impoverishment –the model for the depletion of social rights everywhere in Europe –there is nothing to celebrate. “Let’s take over the party!”
In order to put everything into action, we need:
- Wide and open mobilization that motivates more people than ever before to take part in the blockades and actions – and to make themselves somehow available during the week: “18nulldrei – ich nehm’ mir frei!” (“18zerothree – let’s block the ECB!”).
- A solid and reliable plan of action that develops a strong picture of the blockade and the rally/demonstration from the diverse experiences of the various networks, groups, and organizations in the Blockupy alliance.
- A stable and flexible infrastructure – from accommodations, to financing, to press relations – that allows us to implement our collective goals. Blockupy is that what we make ourselves.
In the spirit of the general concept, the Blockupy work contexts and working groups (https://blockupy.org/kontakt/kontakt-zu-ags – here you find all contacts to the work groups) have discussed, developed further, and introduced before the whole plenary the state of their work. As a result we have provided the following summarized overview, including tasks and open questions:
- Coordinating group and Newsletter (https://blockupy.org/kontakt/newsletter): In the coordinating group all working groups, work contexts, and spectrums work together, come to agreements, and implement the consensuses of the plenums. The newsletter, containing current information, is compiled regularly – as right now during the mobilization for 18 March.
- The Blockupy international alliance: Mobilization for 18 March is being launched in various countries. There is great interest in good information, communication, and collective planning. Therefore it’s good that we have been developing collaborative structures together for the last years – especially those we experimented with during “May of Solidarity” in 2014.
In the upcoming weeks we will update the Blockupy Call for March 18 in regards to content and to practical information: dates of action, travel, accommodations, coordinating buses, and communication. The Blockupy homepage and social media appearance should be improved especially concerning the English part in close cooperation with the Blockupy international alliance. We want to ensure the coordination of the transnational collaboration of all Blockupy working groups, especially for press relations, mobilization, actions, and demonstrations. Mobilization material will at least be made available in English respectively with content frames to be used for many different languages and regions.
The transnational character of the mobilization, of our alliance and of the consensus of the alliance at the blockades and at the demonstrations and rallies will be articulated clearly and loudly.
- Action working group: If possible, all activists should arrive on Tuesday, 17 March to meet for the final discussions and action plenum (8pm alliance meeting!) and to avoid obstacles with arrival. Somehow or other, arrival is part of the action.The goal is to have a real blockade with disruption of celebrations in the morning. Therefore we want to get as close as possible to the “red zone” and the ECB, and to create the corresponding infrastructure (communication structure, retreat points, etc.). At the same time we are concerned with interruption of the city’s normal capitalistic operations.We want to make participation a possibility for everyone and to create a situation that is transparent for everyone. Together we will develop for our alliance a mandatory action consensus, communicate it openly, and act for it together. As always with Blockupy: “we say what we do, and we do what we say.”
- Demonstration-working group After the blockade there will be an attractive rally at 2pm at a central location downtown with a large stage, music, culture, and politics with everyone that traveled to be there and, not least, as an offering to the urban community. A demonstration through the city center will follow the rally at 5pm.We want to create a collective expression at the demonstration and make it possible for people with children, for example, to participate. A mandatory consensus about action will also be formulated for the demonstration. We will begin and arrive together.
- Mobilization/Web working group: The mobilization should appeal to new spectrums and encourage both a content-related and practical break with the German crisis regime. This should not be a top-down campaign; organization should be as decentralized as possible with possibilities for participation. For this reasons, there are multiple columns:
The “18nulldrei – ich nehm mir frei” campaign (lit. „18zerothree – I’m taking the day off“ – coming soon on: https://blockupy.org): People are encouraged – with videos, flyers, sticker, etc, and over social media – to skip work, to take the day, on 18 March as an initial step towards the interruption of capitalistic daily life. Prominent figures as well as actors outside the alliance (AStA general student’s committee, school children, unions) are also participating. Release will be in the near future.
The classics – mobilization material (https://blockupy.org/material): Starting next week there will be new posters, stickers, etc. that can be ordered online, along with a Power Point presentation for mobilization events.
Advance actions and events, Blockupy-calendar (https://blockupy.org/events): Here you can find self-organized events by city and region. The mobilization/Web working group asks everyone to add their appointments and events to the Blockupy-calendar themselves!
Web and Social Media: Not only the English-language content, but also the alliance page, Facebook, Twitter, etc. sites need to be updated.
Arrival and Bus Coordination: Arrival information will be up on the Blockupy page on time; coordinating the buses will start at the end of February.
- Working group on central locations: There is an infrastructure working group supported by NoTroika Frankfurt – where the participation of all Blockupy spectrums is need – that is taking care of sleeping accommodations and meeting spaces. Without this nothing will function. The goal is to have safe sleeping spaces and accommodation from Tuesday through Thursday.Activists in the Rhein-Man region are called upon to come to the NoTroika general assembly!
- Finance working group: All the Blockupy work – for the ECB blockade, supporting the arrival of the international activists, and for all our other goals after March – depends also on financial support, allowing us to remain independent: Crowdfunding, donation campaigns, applications to foundations, etc.This working group is intensely working to apply for funding and donations (https://blockupy.org)
- Anti-Repression working group: The work of this group is in progress; there will be information in multiple languages. The Anti-Repression working group has a lot to do.
- Working group – Feminist intervention: There was a women’s plenum in advance, as is usual at the Blockupy active meeting. It was the consensus at the plenum that people with children must be able to participate at the demonstration and that the image and consensus of the demonstration, as well as preparation and communication, must include them. There are also plans for an own call and contributions.
Having working groups is not enough to mobilize. Important will be now the regional mobilization – of all of us and as quickly as possible – in the Blockupy regional alliances, in many cities, in international Blockupy spectrum, in Frankfurt, in Rhein-Main, on social media, and, and, and…
- The Blockupy regional alliances (https://blockupy.org/vor-ort) are reactivating as well as newly forming. Multiple alliances have introduced their activities and plans regarding mobilization and arrival at the plenum.
- Organizing action training and building reference groups: Networks of trainers like “Skills for Action” and other collectives can now be approached for training and preparation for the action on 18 March. Best is to organize larger groups on site right now and to set up meetings with trainers. Further information soon.
- Advance events (https://blockupy.org/events) are being planned in several cities, including Frankfurt.
- Collective travel plans are not only very practical, but also good mobilization.
And what now? The next steps in the Blockupy alliance: next week there will be a newsletter from the coordinating group with technical details. In the upcoming weeks all working groups will work through details according to the agreed-upon timetable, and will start mobilization and organizational work. International groups and regional platforms are also starting with mobilization and travel plans.
22 February we will all meet again in Frankfurt for final plans and discussions for a broad (German) activist meeting.
We want to make 18 March our day. This will succeed when we work now on implementing our plenary decisions, act for reliable consensuses, and bring along those who haven’t yet been active with Blockupy yet. The activist meeting was a good start.
It’s clear: #18M is not in two moths – it is now!
Who are we/Who is Blockupy:
Blockupy is part of a European wide network of various social movement activists, altermondialists, migrants, jobless, precarious and industry workers, party members and unionists and many more from many different European countries from Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany and other countries. Together we want to connect our struggles and powers beyond nation-state lines. Together we want to create a common European movement, united in diversity, which can break the rule of austerity and will start to build democracy and solidarity from below. Blockupy and the actions in Frankfurt are only one step along this way. As a transnational movement we oppose explicitly each and every attempt for racist, nationalist or antisemitic divisions as well as conspiracy theories to interpret the world. The German Blockupy alliance is supported by activists from various emancipatory groups and organizations; among others, the interventionist Left, Attac, Occupy Frankfurt, trade unions, youth and student organizations, the forum of the unemployed in Germay (Erwerbslosenforum), the party DIE LINKE, the network peace cooperative (Netzwerk Friedenskooperative) and the alliance umsGanze…