This text is a report from our experience in Berlin during the four-day event "Discussions and Chaos days". The name chaos days -chaostage in German- came from punk concerts ¨chaos tage¨ held in Hannover and other cities between 1982 and 1995. In 1995 it resulted in massive clashes with repressiv units.
Another historical reference is to be found within the video created to promote these four-day events. This video includes unpublished material recorded by the cops' cameras during hard clashes in the 1990s against the assault of cops and fascists in the neighborhood of Friedrichshain. https://vimeo.com/261495156
However, this year's events did not include punk concerts nor conflicts.
The events of 10-13 of May 2018 contained collective kitchens, free market, workshops, projections, reclaiming of historical memory, conversation about clashes and repression, revolutionary prospects, neighborhood projects and a solidarity demonstration for the imprisoned political prisoners, addressed specifically to the comrades Lisa and Thomas. We also participated in the series of organized events presenting the Squats' Community of Koukaki. Another comrade from Gare Squat related the struggle in Exarchia and the anti-insurrection tendencies and practices.
The whole event was created by open meetings and co-organized by various parts of the Berlin' scene. As a result, the events happened in several places of this metropolis. Most of it though was held in Rigaer Strasse, considered by the police as a ‘Danger zone’, where according to a somewhat martial law any id controls, searches and raids can be made without warrant. A street with house projects, political hangouts, punk subculture, anarchist and feminist characteristics, and finally at number 94, there is maybe the last semi-occupied building of Berlin. Rigaer strasse 94 is a 28-year-old house project with insurrectionary features, a powerful barricade against the ongoing gentrification of the area. A collective which, with other comrades from the street, has been through many ways involved in the greek anarchist scene. And of course, a place being the target of state repression for many years. The closure of Rigaer 94 in Berlin and Rote flora in Hamburg is a craving for Law and Order supporters.
On May 9th one day before the events began, the cops are raiding Kalabalik, the anarchist library in Kreuzberg and in comrades' apartments, prosecuting two of them, forcing one to give DNA. In both cases, the excuse for the invasion was a research about the G20 conflicts. More specifically, what the prosecution authorities sought was a specific poster calling for the G20! The same day, the comrades got released.
On May 10th, the series of events started with the free bazaar on the crossroad of Rigaer and Liebig, at Dorfplatz, outside of the anarcha-queer-feminist house-project (former occupation). Early in the morning, cops strongly imposed their presence on Rigaer Street and around, forming a permanent siege of the area. Checking and provoking the people passing by. The application of the law by words was a tool for their sick-mood. Thus, for example, they demanded the stuff of the bazaar to not be installed more than a meter away from the wall. Indeed, when the people denied this order, the cops intervened and took away the free clothes and shoes. Throughout the four-day period, the cops camped in front of the Rigaer 94 and harassed - legally – the people with the target to discourage them from participating in the events.
The over presence and terror of cops around R94 did not appear out of sudden as a necessity for the regime to maintain order and prevent any actions during the so-called Chaos days, days related by the medias as a peak opportunity for conflicts and violence. The siege had already start a couple of weeks now, after several attacks with stones and ambushes directed to the cops vehicles spark off in the neighborhood. Those attacks were the first and spontaneous answers after the massive raid of cops in the last march 29th. Operation sustained by the involvement of 350 cops, special forces and back up of a helicopter which ended up with the arrests of two residents of R94.
In the following afternoon, comrades from a group, which was calling to the Solidarity Demonstration announced the cancelling of the illegal, unregistered demonstration due to a lack of organization and participation. When we say illegal, we mean it. In Germany, a demonstration or gathering cannot occur unless a request is deposited to the cops and one person is defined as responsible. Late in the evening, a new announcement was published stating that 8 people will be on the demonstration and the actual responsibility is let on the people’s choices. The constant pressure of the state, reinforced by the invasion of the library and the comrades’ houses as well as the siege of Rigaer could not be responded by another retreat.
The next day, we arrived at the gathering point, Herrfurthplatz in Neukolln. In the streets around, the civilian cops already started their usual harassment, even though any sign of demonstration was given. No one seemed to be here for this. Actually the only sign was the increased police presence. Suddenly, a banner opened held by 7-8 persons, and by their moves, the rest of the demonstrators followed them, creating a block of 80-100 people walking fast around the church circular square, getting faster, making a maneuver to avoid a trap but in vain. The demonstration lasted 10 minutes before the riot cops in same number, blocked and surrounded us in a street. The phenomenon of the "wild" demo, an illegal gathering that evolves into a chaotic hunt is developing in European countries were special laws for demonstrations are imposed, especially among youth bodies close to black block practices. When the situation got under their control, cops started their favorite legitimate hazing. Bullying demonstrators leaning on cars without being owners and other bullshits of this kind. The gathering after several slogans and waiting broke itself without arrest.
Refinement of the police - a democratic dystopia
We got particularly impressed by the disgusting social and polite image which the cops try to promote for themselves. Tactics learned in special seminars offered by similarly disgusting sociologists. In principle, German riot cop units are including both men and women. Firstly they disrupted the bazaar, informing though about the immorality of their acts. Acts over passing their status of an executive body, as they were being the main actors of negotiation. And of course, when they didn’t have direct success on “dialogue” they were wearing on their gloves. Another legitimacy tactic was to walk in small groups inside the neighborhood, without any repressive equipment, to buy coffee and chat loosely with each other like if nothing was going on. Such moves were part of their strategy to show a human face. Meanwhile, they perform a ground-taking in this area. Another significant move occurred during the surrounding of the illegal gathering, when they claimed, through a huge speaker, to have no problem with the demonstration to happen as long as it turned into a registered one. On top of that, through discussions with comrades we learned that cops are also making propaganda. As an example, creating a poster with their own version of conflict episodes, responding to the comrades statements. Or the continuous use of tweeter to publish material to morally legitimize their operations.
On Monday 14th, when the four-days event ended, the trial of the eviction of the Rigaer 94 took place. In 2016, the cops invaded the Rigaer 94 building without a public prosecutor's order, and violent clashes erupted as a reaction. Since then, authorities are trying through a lawyer to build up a legitimate intervention. However, the trial concluded without glory for them, as the lawyer was unable to prove the ownership status. As two years ago, he represents a real estate company claiming their rights upon the management of this building. Nevertheless, the owner is nowhere to support it. The lawyer claimed to possess the relevant legal documents, but these proves were stolen -due to his storytelling- during a burglary attack in his office, where the squatters were indirectly accused. So today, Rigaer 94 continues to exist through it struggles, within an area where many of the squats got contracts and surrendered to the state threats. However, the court decision does not guarantee that cops will not create another reason to invade.
To conclude, we want to mention that the content of the events, the discussions among the comrades, although they were filled with fears and hesitations, contained a perspective and willing to continue the fights. We attended an event where ten neighborhood projects present themselves, most of them just created. All the discussions had serious approaches on the issues, showing real need to overcome the problems that hinder the development of revolutionary movements. At the same time, we heard that new squats are being planned and that the people have began to understand the presence of squats in a neighborhood as an obstacle to the increasing of living cost.
Comrade greetings to Riqaer 94 who host us, and to all the organization of the “Diskussions und Chaostage” that gave space to our event.
See you at the streets of multi-ethnic combative solidarity!
Few days ago, the will to stimulate new perspectives of struggle revealed one of its facets. A simultaneous occupation of nine buildings all around Berlin. Unfortunately, the German state has evacuated all of them, according to their law of eviction within the first 24hours.
KEEP THE FIGHT, THE RIGHT IS BY THE INSURGENTS’ SIDE !
Comrades from squats community of Koukaki