m&m (masses & militancy):
a contribution to the discussion on demonstrations and mass militancy
We face a retro phase today - and this is good. The phase of sloppy bicycle pervaded stroll-along-demos, where people nod their heads to the loud funny music from the loudspeakers, seems to be over for the moment. The demos around the G8 summit were characterized by bigger organized blocks, people linking arms, side banners, loud slogans and a powerful spirit. The climax: The 2nd of June in Rostock. For a long time there hasn´t been such a big, determined, dynamic and even in large parts masked demo. So finally we came once again in a position to act. But wouldn´t there have been much more possible? Are we too much influenced by well-known police strategies? Does this keep us from using opportunities?
Not only the demo at the 2nd of June in Rostock has been dynamic. Also the spontaneous demos in Berlin (e.g. after the razzias) were loud and powerful. But (alas) this was it. The same here: wouldn´t there have been much more of a chance for us to act? By the way, why do we lead spontaneous demos through Kreuzberg all the time? Why is everybody running into the preventive controls like sheep, even if they are easy to avoid? And why are still so many people talking to the (Anti-Conflict-) Cops? These are some of the questions that moved us into a debate about acting on demonstrations and mass militancy. Coming from the current conditions and tactics of the cops, we want to discuss about what might be possible nevertheless, but also about behaviour on demonstrations that annoys us, and why.
The times are verily not the best, and this is true as well for getting active on demonstrations: There´s cameras in front, behind, left and and right, and particularly the preventive controls police loves to install especially in Berlin, the preconditions getting always stricter, the massive apparatus of the cops, plain clothes police and snatch squads. Arguably our potential to influence these things is limited. But there are possibilities to deal with a lot of it in a better way, and one doesn´t have to follow all orders in preemptive obedience.
Preventive controls are a good example for that. Why is it that actually so many of us go there and get searched like good boy and girls? Yet there are good reasons not to do so: The fact alone that it means to submit to the will of the cops and get pawed by them, is reason enough for us to oppose it. Also this forces people that don´t want to get searched to look for an exit, or better for open entrances individually - instead of searching for collective ways to act. Seen in a benevolent light one could argue that these people who allow the police to control them, by that create opportunities for others to pass the searches. But this is probably very rarely the case. We believe that most people just do not think about it very much, that they just have the motto: "I don´t really care, I don´t have anything with me anyways."
For sure one can solve this problem on his or her own, there is always a way. How could we deal with it collectively? We liked the respective proposal of "one of us" in interim 658. What will happen if the cops are the only ones at the starting point? If we do not trot through the controls like stupid, but stop in front of them? Sin´t it a promising situation to encircle the cops one day?
Snatch squads, civil police and arrests
We make it much to easy for the pigs! Much too often people get arrested on demonstrations without intervention of the others. A tight demo, organized rows linking arms and side banners are good remedies, but worth nothing without our determination not to accept arrests. Everyone is called to intervene in such situations and if all of us would do it we will be successful. Here as well we want to support the text of "one of us": Acting in such a manner would as well give much more security to us! We could act on a much more secure basis in the knowledge, that in the situation of an attempted arrest everyone would try to free us.
Cameras and surveillance
Cameras are everywhere by now: In the technical car in front, in the water cannon, in the helicopter, cops are filming from the left and from the right, and whatever is not documented will be found elsewhere. For example in one of those fabulous photo-cell-phones, in the photos and video-material of the press, maybe on the front page the next day? Or in the camera of one of the countless journalists of the movement itself, and if all this doesn´t help, there still is the videos of some residents documenting everything...
Some of this could easily be avoided. Namely all the recording devices that is actually in our own hands. We should find a responsible way to deal with this. On demos it could be helpful if all the people taking pictures and filming will constantly be asked by everyone to stop it.
With the cops it is more difficult. Naturally it would be great if we would simply introduce wearing full-face masks again on all our demonstrations. But this doesn´t seem to be that easy. Until then we can use banners, high-above-banners, signs and things like that as an aid. We can push back policemen with cameras and turn them into targets for colour-eggs and similar things. Cameras and surveillance make it more difficult to act on demonstrations, but the don´t make it impossible!
It´s not acceptable to continue to agree to the most ludicrous preconditions! The peak so far was reached with the ban on jumping and running in Hamburg at the 28th of May, that fortunately was ignored, or has this been only rumours?
The endless side-banners-only-1-meter-50-anymore-discussion should finally come to an end. And this end can´t be that we tear apart all our beautiful banners with all the important things written on them! Rather should we fight for these banners and bring more again. If they don´t want to let us continue for that reason, why shouldn´t we just wait and see what will happen, if they dissolve the demonstration in such a situation. If we obey to all bullshit, they will ever think of new things.
Action instead of reaction
We should not only react on what the cops do all the time, but also act ourselves. This was one of the strong points in Rostock at the 2nd of June. We should think of more things again for demonstrations. Such acting could be not to walk the compulsory routes, to surprise the police, a colour-egg here and some spray-paint there... We are sure that you have a lot more ideas! Organized blocks are good, the are dense and offer protection, but unfortunately they are as well a bit too static sometimes. Let´s find ways to create more dynamic again!
Loudspeaker-van and moderation
The demonstrations in the last month were powerful also because of the loud slogans collectively chanted by a lot of people. Too bad if such good spirits gets drowned in sound. Luckily this didn´t happen so often recently. Anyways we think it is important to discuss about the function of the loudspeaker-van.
What we dislike is, to put it in slightly exaggerated terms, that the loudspeaker van is degenerating into a copspeaker car. The Lauti should be used for us, not for the cops! We should use it for offensive announcements and not as a speaking tube for the demands of the cops.
Matters of course
Finally some matters of course... Dogs, bicycles and alcohol should not be brought to demonstrations. To individually walk in-between the rows of people linking arms is annoying. As well there should be no pictures taken for the diary. And bottles and stones thrown from the 10th or 15th row only hurt our own people! Just move a bit further to the front and try to realistically see what you can do.
We´re looking forward to dynamic discussions and demonstrations.