Life at Lützerath


Police violence, and notably psychological violence, has all the time been a part of the battle towards coal within the Rhineland.

For many years, RWE relied on direct and fewer seen violence by police and safety forces to repress resistance, embedded in a range of counterinsurgency strategies.

From beatings to intimidation, rape threats and use of stress factors, outright lies and misinformation – the corporate has all the time been capable of depend on the assist of state forces – police and politicians.

For a very long time, the pinnacle of the Rhinish police power was himself a paid member of RWE’s advisory board, and politicians of all ranges have had lucrative side jobs at the company.


Their PR and CSR work, together with the character restoration work, and the assist by regional media led to the picture nearly as good neighbour and ‘accountable company citizen’ amongst massive components of the general public.

Police have lengthy collaborated with RWE on the bottom, retweeting RWE press messages, utilizing RWE autos to move protesters, and outsourcing probably the most troublesome tunnel eviction work to RWE’s personal fireplace brigades.

Not solely is the corporate deeply embedded within the German political panorama, nevertheless it has managed to construct dependencies and revolving door-relationships by means of funds to politicians. 1 / 4 of its shares are owned by cities and cities within the Rhineland, making them depending on RWE’s monetary success.

But, RWE’s picture has lengthy been crumbling, due to the work of campaigners and land defenders who’ve put their our bodies in the best way and attacked the corporate in each approach they will.

Classes learnt: essential solidarity and significant alliances

What’s inspiring and wonderful concerning the Lützerath resistance is just not whether or not Greta Thunberg has come to offer a speech, be a part of the sitting blockade, or is carried away by police.

Or certainly whether or not it’s 35,000 or 50,000 individuals who come to march together with the demonstration known as for by a coalition of teams, although that may be one thing unimaginable within the UK context.

What’s rather more wonderful is that for years and years, folks have been preventing again, risking their very own lives, constructing neighborhood, spending time in jail, in tree homes, and underground, to cease RWE.

Residing the longer term they need to see, and coming collectively regardless of the makes an attempt by police, media, and politicians to divide and conquer, framing them as eco-terrorists and eco-extremists, and asking communities to distance themselves from the extra radical ‘parts’ of the resistance. Unsuccessfully.

The Lützerath resistance could be very various – we see eco-anarchists and liberal environmentalists, Fridays-for-Future children and church teams.

There isn’t a such factor as ‘the’ local weather motion. And whereas folks will vastly differ of their political beliefs and ideologies, and regardless of political stress, battle, and tensions, there was no “distancing” from actions and types of protest over the previous week, as so typically happens.

Not like in earlier anti-coal protests in Germany, there was no condemnation, no appeals for ‘nonviolence’ or ‘peaceable protest’. Folks have embraced a range of ways, not letting the state and RWE divide and rule.

Don’t belief the Greens

A second, reasonably unsurprising lesson for many people, however all too painful for the mainstream environmental motion, is: “no matter occurs, don’t belief the German Inexperienced Social gathering”.

The political deal that allowed for the eviction of Lützerath in return for the “saving” of 5 different villages and the expediting of the German coal phaseout from 2038 to 2030, was negotiated and agreed with RWE below a Inexperienced coalition authorities.

Not solely was Lützerath sacrificed below the deal, however by growing the quantity of coal extracted yearly, the superior phaseout led to the identical quantity of coal burnt, and carbon emitted, simply in a shorter time interval.

The German authorities won’t ever take the motion essential to cease local weather disaster, it’s as much as us.

Hit them the place it hurts

As stricter policing legal guidelines are being launched within the UK and elsewhere, we have to rethink how we act and protest – not taking part in by their guidelines.

In and round Lützerath, we’ve seen sitting blockades, digger occupations, tree-sits, and folks gluing on to buildings and treehouses. However we’ve additionally seen non-violent sabotage, night time actions, burning infrastructures, and different unaccountable actions.

Harsh new policing and meeting legal guidelines in Germany didn’t deter actions however made them extra inventive, constructing on an extended historical past of combative motion.

There’s a lot to be taught from them, and from our personal previous experiences with direct motion within the UK, from the street protests to anti-GMO struggles. And centuries of combative resistance by indigenous and land-based communities internationally!

Fairly than focussing on spectacle and media consideration, what has labored is shutting down equipment, costing firms cash, making it tougher to function daily.

Similar to the police won’t ever truly observe the legislation when policing protest  – and identical to we’ll by no means truly get police accountability, why ought to we?

Don’t fall for his or her narratives

All too typically we interact with the narratives of the state, consistently answering the identical questions round vitality safety, violence, and alternate options, reasonably than placing ahead our personal tales and narratives.

We find yourself discussing carbon emissions, reasonably than energy and liberation. We hearken to skilled activists, reasonably than neighborhood.

It’s not a coincidence that we’re presently seeing a crackdown on different media and anarchist publishing collectives – from the assault on 325.nostate to the raiding of the German Radio Dreyeckland simply two days in the past. Our tales are highly effective.

Let’s keep away from self-policing and censorship, obsession with motion consensus and motion agreements, and rejoice autonomy and radical solidarity, mutual help, and assist.

This doesn’t imply watering down our politics, after all, or fake that is ‘past politics’, however carry collectively anti-coal, anti-police, anti-border, anti-colonial and anti-state struggles.

And let’s combat again towards the categorisation as activists, divided alongside identities, and push for collective complete liberation.

For abolition and liberatory politics

Black radical thinkers have lengthy introduced collectively resistance towards prisons, police, and pollution, and our pals within the US have been fighting toxic prisons for years.

Police brutality in and round Lützerath ought to function a reminder that policing is integral to extractivism and the ecological harm  it causes, and central to enforcing ecocide.

We’d like a tradition of resistance, not an activist tradition, with folks dwelling, loving, respiration resistance, reasonably than neatly becoming into activist classes.

Be disruptive and joyous: “If I can not dance to it, it isn’t my revolution”, Emma Goldman stated way back. “Love, stay, resist”, because the banner says.

The battle continues

The eviction of Lützerath is over, in response to police, however the combat is just not. This can be a combat towards coal, towards police and fossil capital, towards false inexperienced options, and for a distinct life.

The previous couple of days have seen a range of actions towards RWE, and solidarity actions internationally, involving the burning of Amazon autos in solidarity with imprisoned land defenders, blockades of German embassies and extra.

Folks have proven that they won’t let RWE get away with ecocide – blocking coal practice tracks, excavators, and infrastructures, occupying workplaces and roads, and sabotaging equipment.

As police proceed to guard fossil capital, imposing ecological destruction, folks proceed preventing. For a distinct world.

This Creator

Dr Andrea Brock is a lecturer in worldwide relations on the Centre for World Political Economic system, College of Sussex, UK.


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