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#Blockupy consultation meeting, Feb 6 & 7 2016: A step further ahead
About 200 activist mainly from Germany, but also from Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Slovenia, Spain and France gathered in Berlin on the 6th and 7th of February for the “Blockupy Ratschlag” – a Blockupy meeting to consult on and discuss the urgent questions on how to build new perspectives, how to make links between different lines of conflict, how to build a strong Blockupy base in Germany and beyond. It is good to see that many activist joined Blockupy for a first meeting. The “Ratschlag” (consultation weekend) started on Friday with a panel discussion The panel discussion “Welcome to the heart of the crisis regime – The summer of migration and the social question” started the “Ratschlag” (the consultation weekend) Friday night and opened the Blockupy debates to the public. How can we link our struggles against the European crisis and the border regime to another Europe? How to get that tangible and substantial? Since September these questions and the urge to find answers accompany not only the Blockupy movement but also many other activists. The discussion was shaped by two assumed – however artificial – antagonisms:
- Local and long-term orientated work (for example “City for all” initiatives) seemed to stand against the orientation towards organizing large events of another Europe that would create moments of empowerment
- In order to find the right places and the specific links for the next Blockupy initiative the focus on austerity and the crisis regime seemed to stand against the focus on the border regime
Having resolved this presumed antagonism as an artificial contradiction through many discussions, Blockupy got back into its dynamic mood and attitude. At once, we seemed to reach agreements in a natural way again that we promised to meet local, regional, national wide and transnational levels:
- We will write a Manifesto that aims to describe in simple and understandable words both the fissures within the regime or relations of ruling as well as the necessity to work for another Europe: a Europe of solidarity and real democracy, a Europe from bellow and with a social infrastructure for all. Such a Europe cannot be a Europe of debt and so called “debt brakes” or a “black zero” (these are all budgetary not social terms!); it cannot be a Europe of borders and isolation, of commanding and blackmailing. It is and has to be a Europe for all and of solidarity. Hereby, we aim to intervene into the prevalent, forcefull narrative of a neoliberal Europe that seals itself off and and is desintegrating by the dictate of austerity.
- We recognize activities that are already happening (for example “City for all” initiatives, defencing, transnational social strike…) as part of Blockupy, issue calls and will participate in these as activists. The activities will be a part of our next offense and our politics of pinpricks.
- In order to use the political space Blockupy has created for common events bringing together the many we plan to mobilze to Berlin in the fall of 2016 – perhaps with parallel activities in other European cities (as in the “May of Solidarity” we called for in 2014) – whether as a festival with actions or in form still to be decided.
- We are suggesting to hold a European wide summit in Berlin in the first quarter of 2017 (maybe on March 18). We want to mobilize European wide to a summit in Berlin – a summit of the precarious, the excluded, the youth of Europe, in order to send a strong signal to the year of the (German) federal elections. It might be a (German) federal election. However, it won’t be a simple German matter since we all know that a German election has severe impact on European politics and people and thus needs to be seen as a European matter.
Debates and discussions
We have to be clear: Blockupy is not only crucial for those activists directly involved. No, many contributions emphasized the significance of Blockupy as a crucial protagonist and as a common space in and for European struggles: a space of collective civil disobedience, a space of intervention. However, what could be the the right place to act in the future? And yet, whether it will be Brussels or Berlin or anyhwhere else, we are determined to continue to organize our activities on a European scale against the “state of fear” or the “politics of fear”. And, we will not only highlight the variety of European conflicts with one single “event” but will continue to trouble this Europe with our frequent actions.
Specific areas of struggles were identified in our discussions:
- The overall right wing rollback In Germany primarily characterized by the growing mobilization of the right wing populist party AfD [Alternative for Germany], Pegida [regional mobilizations of so called concerned citizens], the increasing neo-Nazi mobilisations as well as the general shift of the societal center to the right.
- The further undermining of democratic civil rights: It worries us to see as in Paris how easily demonstrations for example for climate justice are supended, how easily “state of emergencies” of exemption are enforced
- The intensification of conflicts over the distribution of societal ressources pushes us to pose the question of what belongs to whom and why much more forcefully. Consequently, the demand for a social infrastructure for all – income, social right, freedom of movement – needs to be put onto the agenda
- And, how do we frame these questions to reach out to a broader spectrum of activists, of those concerned and outraged; and how do we connect them in a way that enables us to respond adequately to the varied temporal and regional manifestations of the crisis
The very next concrete steps to follow
The hitherto working “Blockupy coordination group” is asked to translate in the upcoming weekls these general thoughts into practical steps to follow. The committee is especially asked to prepare the next meeting (end of April / beginning of May). An expanded coordination group meeting will take place in Berlin Feb. 28. Delegates of groups, networks and organisations collaborating in the next lap are warmly invited (if you are interested please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
The next activist meeting (in April/May) will be crucial to relaunch the political and work process: everybody is invited to participate in the newly created work groups so we can get back to work quickly. Concerning all the upcoming activities we are determined to cooperate with many more people, networks, organizations and will approach them to get involved in the organisation process. To broaden our societal composition we fruthermore understand local platforms and organisations as places of concrete work on the ground, as coming togtehers and crucial organisational work. Blockupy is a local and territorial, a European and transnational protagonist as well as a lively alliance. Hence, there is a transnational dimension on every local level to be worked out. Hence, the European, transnational, territorial networking needs to be continued and intensified: let’s listen closely to each other, let’s find common points, let’s plan together and let’s strengthen us mutually e.g. through common actions, events, agreements.
Now, after the period of reflections and a feeling of helplessness in view of the brutal European politics of those last months, a new dynamic is emerging once more. We can see this in the solidarity practices in all these places, we can hear this in the newly surfaced European terrain. So let us start again! There’s a lot to be done!
Blockupy Coordinating group, Feb. 16th 2016