Like in 2012, a broad coalition of organizations, initiatives and networks call for the Blockupy days of action in Frankfurt – seat of the European Central Bank, many other banks and other stakeholders of the crisis. With Blockupy we send out a message of international solidarity against the Troika´s politics of impoverishment and its dramatic effects.
It is time to take the step from publicly protesting the crisis politics towards resisting them by means of civil disobedience.
The political and social gathering space for Blockupy will be the action camp. At the latest on Thursday May 30th activists and affinity groups come together there to prepare the actions. The next two days will be the centerpieces in the choreography of protest: The mass blockades and the actions of civil disobedience on Friday, May 31st and the international demonstration on Saturday, June 1st.
The goal of our actions on May 31st is to disrupt business as usual in a widely visible way at the ECB and other institutions and corporations involved in the authoritarian crisis regime and global exploitation in Frankfurt. The actions pick up on Blockupy 2012. Many groups and organizers also see this year´s actions as an important stepping stone for the big protests in 2014, when the political and economic elites plan to inaugurate the new ECB building in Frankfurt.
Shutting down the ECB
The ECB does not only stand for the European crisis management benefitting the banks, but as part of the Troika it is also a direct stakeholder in the politics of impoverishment. The blockade of the ECB starts in the early morning hours of Friday, May 31st. We expect several thousand people from different regional, national and international political contexts and diverse protest cultures to come to the ECB. There will be several meeting points throughout the city. No matter whether going to the bank in big groups or trickling in and swarming out in small organized affinity groups, everybody involved shares the same goal: to block the ECB as effectively as possible.
Our form of action are publicly announced mass blockades – made up of people sitting down or standing – which will block all corridors to access to the Eurotowers. If the police put up barricades or fences like last year and practically close down the ECB themselves, we will find ways to include these barricades into our blockades. With creative approaches like big puppets, barrier-tape, banners, classical sit-ins, drum-circles or street theater we will “shut down” the ECB and all that it stands for. In the next weeks we will prepare ourselves in action trainings.
Before and during the day of action, we will inform the public about the contents and goals of our actions. Our actions are not directed against the employees of the banks who cannot reach their workplaces. We will also inform the people who will not be able to use the blocked streets and certain subway or tramway stations about why the surroundings of the ECB are affected by a “strike from the outside”.
Protests against the stakeholders of the crisis and the profiteers of capitalist daily life
When we successfully blocked, encircled and shut down the ECB, we will not detain ourselves there for long. Already in the later morning hours, we will extend our actions to include other stakeholders of the crisis. We will focus on several corporations and chain stores which are examples and symbols for the dominant politics of global hunger, for the exploitation of men and nature – and for some of our concrete experiences and struggles in our daily lives in capitalism: for low-waged labor, social exclusion, the housing crisis or racist politics of deportation.
- Around the towers of the Deutsche Bank we will scandalize neo-colonial land grab and food speculation.
- In front of retail stores of big brands on Frankfurt´s central shopping street Zeil, we will draw attention to the brutal labor conditions in the global textile industry. Here we would also like to support local struggles in collective bargaining in the retail sector.
- Due to disastrous housing politics and the displacement of ever more people from the city centers, real-estate companies might receive visits without prior notice.
- “Blockupy Deportation Airport” will be the theme of flash-mobs and protest actions at Frankfurt Airport.
Through diverse and creative forms of action we want to turn Frankfurt for this day into a loud and colorful city of protest against the Troika´s politics of impoverishment and its dramatic consequences.
We invite you to please contribute your experience and your creativity to the preparations and to filling this vision with life. Please form affinity groups, invite trainers to give action trainings and make Blockupy known amongst your networks and groups!
What happened in 2012?
Last year the authorities reacted with a downright state of emergency to our announcement of the blockades: all assemblies were prohibited, thousands of police officers were deployed to ban protestors from the city center, to surround or arrest them.
Some of these police tactics were found to be illegal and some activists already received compensation payments. The police siege on the ECB with barricades and fences made business as usual impossible in the bank and in other parts of the city center. The announcement of the blockades and the presence of two to three thousand people “forced” the barricading of the financial district and “the bankers had to evacuate their part of the city for the first time” as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung stated the day after. Blockupy 2012 was a powerful show of international solidarity at the heart of the crisis regime.
What we want to do different this year…
We cannot know whether in May 2013 the authorities will stage another frenzy of prohibitions or how much police will be deployed. Considering the massive problems for the city resulting from last year´s police strategy it seems quite possible that they change it this year. Anyway we have to be prepared for different scenarios. We must create better and more flexible communication structures for our actions. Communications shall also be improved by numerous info-points. It is crucial to manage to create a camp which serves as a common space of assembly and for sleeping – and which we lacked last year.
In the preparation process it was also decided that this year the actions of civil disobedience will focus on one single day, the 31st of May. As part of the more flexible concept we decided to include actions against other stakeholders of the crisis regimes already at early stages of the day. We hope this will expand our room for maneuver. Whether this conceptual and practical broadening of the actions will be successful depends not only on the turnout, but also on the colorful creativity and the independent preparation of the people participating.