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Dokument1 21.10.

1998 02:20 Uhr Seite 1

Bernd Langer

Art as
Resistance
Placats Paintings Actions Texts
from the Initiative Kunst und Kampf
(Art and Struggle)

KUNST UND KAMPF


KuK Gesch engl 20.10.1998 22:48 Uhr Seite 1

Art as Resistance

Paintings Placats Actions Texts


from the Initiative Kunst und Kampf
(Art and Struggle)
KuK Gesch engl 20.10.1998 22:48 Uhr Seite 2

Die Deutsche Bibliothek - CIP-Einheitsaufnahme

Langer, Bernd:
Art as resistance : placats, paintings, actions, texts from the Initiative
Kunst und Kampf (art and struggle) ; Kunst und Kampf / Bernd
Langer. [Transl. by: Anti-Fascist Forum]. - 1. Engl. ed. - Gttingen :
Aktiv-Dr. und Verl., 1998
Einheitssacht.: Kunst als Widerstand <engl.>
ISBN 3-932210-03-4

Copyright 1998 by
Bernd Langer | Kunst und Kampf
AktivDruck & Verlag
Lenglerner Strae 2
37079 Gttingen
Phone ++49-(5 51) 6 70 65
Fax ++49-(5 51) 63 27 65

All rights reserved

Cover and Design, Composing, Scans:


Martin Gro
Internet: http://www.puk.de
interactive web-community
for politics and culture
e-Mail: info@puk.de

Translated by:
Anti-Fascist Forum
P.O. Box 6326, Stn. A
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1P7 Canada
Internet: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aff/
e-Mail: aff@burn.ucsd.edu

first English edition, November 1998

Langer, Bernd:
Art as Resistance
Paintings Placats Actions Texts
from the Initiative Kunst und Kampf
Internet: http://www.puk.de/kuk/
e-Mail: kuk@puk.de

ISBN 3-932210-03-4
KuK Gesch engl 20.10.1998 22:48 Uhr Seite 3

Bernd Langer

Art as
Resistance
Paintings Placats Actions Texts
from the Initiative Kunst und Kampf
(Art and Struggle)

Kunst und Kampf


KuK Gesch engl 20.10.1998 22:48 Uhr Seite 4

Table of contents

5 Foreword

Part 1 Chapter I ...................................................................................... 712 Red Flags in the Cold War

Chapter II ................................................................................ 1316 Economic Wonder and revolts

Chapter III .............................................................................. 1720 The New Left

Chapter IV .............................................................................. 2128 Armed groups

Chapter V ................................................................................. 2944 A fighting movement

Chapter VI .............................................................................. 4560 Autonomist Anti-Fascism

Part 2 Chapter VII ............................................................................ 6166 Art and struggle

Chapter VIII .......................................................................... 6768 The search for discovery

Chapter IX .............................................................................. 6970 The KuK symbols

Chapter X ................................................................................. 7172 The criminalization of KuK

Chapter XI .............................................................................. 7374 Surveillance while painting

Chapter XII ............................................................................ 7576 The exhibitions of KuK

Part 3 Chapter XIV.........................................................................77115 Descriptions of KuK posters

Chapter XV........................................................................116117 Overview of KuK posters

Chapters: Complete works, Table of Abbreviations and Recommended Literature see the German edition.

According to the German press law, there has to be one person taking legal responsibility for the publication.
In order to avoid repression, former revolutionaries are often used as the responsible signatories. The person claiming
responsibility is called V.i.S.d.P. Some of die V.i.S.d.P.s are explained.
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Foreword

Preliminary remark the autonomist movement in Germany in the


The English translation of the book Kunst als 1980s would be largely incomprehensible without
Widerstand was worked on since October 1997, some connection to previous developments of the
when the German edition was published. Passages political resistance. That led to the decision to
as well as lay-out are revised and updated. No include sections in the book on the history of the
abridgements were done, but some newspaper resistance movement from 1945 until the present.
articles and declarations of attacks were left out. That helps to create a new look at history, one
Art as Resistance can be read independently of which clarifies the background of the autonomist
the German edition. Remarks and references to movement.
the German edition can be either ignored or There are big problems with statistical infor-
understood as additional information. mation, for example just how many members
there were in various communist organizations.
Foreword All the literature available either doesnt name any
A little more than ten years ago, the Initiative Art figures or makes use of statistical information from
and Struggle (KuK Kunst und Kampf ) was the states intelligence agency (the Verfassungs-
founded under the motto: Long live anti-fascist, schutz). Thats why the numbers in this book,
antagonistic culture! KuK represented a new poli- unless stated otherwise, are based on the states
tical-artistic concept and saw itself as part of the intelligence reports for those years. As for the size
autonomist movement. KuK turned its ideas into of demonstrations, newspaper articles or informa-
reality primarily through the use of poster art. The tion from the organizers are used as sources. Useful
resistance movement was shown in a very forward literature on the autonomist movement is hard to
way, thereby creating a new, generally under- come by, especially with regards to autonomist
standable aesthetic form. The very clear political anti-fascism. In this book, only sources from the
statements which were made, resulted in continu- movement itself are cited. These texts are often in
al criminalization. Only the semi-clandestine the form of discussion papers, flyers, or parts of
structure of KuK, and other preventive measures, brochures, usually published anonymously. Thats
made it possible that no people were ever convic- why this book does not have a complete Recom-
ted of anything, despite the long list of criminali- mended Literature section. The sources of citati-
zed posters which were created. ons are given in the text itself.
The political and artistic efforts of KuK remain This book is a result of praxis and is designed to
unique within the autonomist scene in Germany. aid in praxis. That helps to explain its form, and
There is no other initiative like it. Over time, a why the ideas and terminology of the autonomist
variety of artists participated in KuK. Two travel- scene are used. Two such terms should be explai-
ling exhibitions were organized, displaying posters ned beforehand: The term Three Continents
from the resistance and discussing leftist cultural (Trikont) came about in the 1980s to describe the
theory and the criminalization of political art in underdeveloped nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin
Germany. During planning sessions for the first America. Also, the term resistance rather than
travelling exhibition, the idea to produce a catalog the left is used in this book. The term the left
was raised. Although this project wasnt realized, a represents a spectrum which extends from social
few brochures were produced over the years. After democrats all the way to autonomists. The word
the wave of repression against Autonome Antifa resistance, however, is a term of struggle which
(M) and KuK was withstood in 1996, the KuK only encompasses the militant movement.
book project was started up once again. This book is the sum of more than ten years of
The author of this book was born in 1960 and conflict with the criminalization of political art
has been active in the autonomist movement since from the resistance in Germany and the fight
1977. Most of the events described in this book are against repression. It is a document and a call to
based on personal experiences. action not a swans song.
One problem which arose while creating the
book was how to present the political context Bernd Langer
within which KuK was operating. A description of Gttingen, November 1998
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Chapter I

Red flags
in the Cold War
World politics from 1945 to 1990 was forty- The first federal government, a right-wing
five years in the shadows of the confrontation bet- conservative coalition under Konrad Adenauer
ween the capitalist states of the West, led by the (CDU), was granted certain rights, but a fully
USA, and the so called real existing socialist states, independent state, the Federal Republic of Germa-
under the leadership of the Soviet Union. In the ny, didnt quite exist at that time. The achievement
ashes which the World War II had left behind, this of state sovereignty came with rearmament and the
East-West Conflict determined political deve- creation of a West German army. Of course, these
lopments and led to the Cold War starting at the quick changes came about as part of American
end of the 1940s. foreign policy. At the end of the 1940s, the USA
Neither the Soviet Union nor the Western was pursuing the policy of roll back against the
powers had any interest in an economically streng- Soviet Union. In Europe, the creation of a West
thened, sovereign Germany following 1945. But German army as part of NATO played a central
neither side was willing to see its sphere of influen- role in this. By 1949, secret talks were already
ce lessened at the beginning of the Cold War. So underway to begin arming Germany once again,
the Demarcation Line between the East Sector and and these became public with the outbreak of the
West Sector became a states border. Korean War.
With the USA pulling the strings behind the
scenes, the foundation of a West German state was The Korean War
worked out. The first decisive step was the curren- In 1945, the Allied powers decided on the 38th
cy reform enacted in the Western occupied areas parallel as the dividing line in Korea between the
on July 20, 1948. At the same time, an American Soviet and American zones. In June 1950, fighting
economic reconstruction plan known as the Mar- broke out, during which troops of communist
shall Plan began in the West. The political turning North Korea brought a large part of Korea under
point came on August 14, 1949 when elections their control within a short period of time. A
were held for the first West German parliament, fighting force with a UN mandate, but under U.S.
the Bundestag. The East was forced to follow suit. control, intervened on behalf of South Korea. The
On October 7, 1949, the German Democratic material superiority of the UN forces was eventu- Massacre in
Republic (DDR) was proclaimed. ally matched with Soviet arms shipments and the Korea, Pablo
Picasso, January
1951.The pain-
ting shows the
war crimes of
U.S. troops in
Korea. Picasso
was a member of
the Communist
Party. Despite
several disagree-
ments with the
partys doctrines,
he was awarded
the Order of
Lenin medal for
the second time
on May 1, 1962.

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Red flags in the Cold War

The peace dove, unionists soon took over the protests and channe-
which became led popular discontent with the remilitarization
the symbol of into forms which would not threaten the system.
the peace move- The highlight of the movement was a bloody
ment in the police attack on May 11, 1952 in the city of Essen
1950s, was based where a youth peace caravan was being organized.
on a design by Despite being banned, thousands of youths hea-
Pablo Picasso. ded to the protest. Police tried to prevent the
This picture gathering. As more and more people assembled,
shows him at a police brutally attacked with dogs and clubs. Then
youth confe- there were shots. A young railworker from
rence in Nice, Munich, Phillip Muller, a member of the FDJ, was
being received killed. Two other youths, a social democrat and a
by Free German non-party trade unionist, were seriously wounded.
Youth (FDJ) dele- No policemen ever faced charges for firing the
gation from shots. On the other hand, 11 demonstrators were
Saarland. deployment of thousands of Chinese volunteers. jailed for a total of 6 years and 4 months for dis-
The fighting continued and resulted in heavy los- orderly conduct and crimes of treason against the
ses, and in December 1950, the war was back Constitution.
where it had started, the 38th parallel, which beca- In 1957, when the federal government began
me the Demarcation Line in 1953 when a cease- calling for the Bundeswehr, the German army, to
fire was reached. possess atomic weapons, a new storm of protest
In West Germany, propagandists favoring rear- erupted. Fight Atomic Death! was the slogan
mament tried to draw parallels between Germany behind which the largest extra-parliamentary pro-
and the situation in Korea. Ceaseless polemics test movement in West Germany up to that time
argued for West Germany to rearm itself, claiming was formed within a period of a few months. Once
that the East German police Volkspolizei would again, the social democrats (SPD) and the trade
attack West Germany at any moment. unions took over the movement. Both organizati-
ons condemned the wildcat strikes which broke
Resistance To The Restoration out in opposition to atomic armament. Calls for a
The first discussions of creating a new army revea- general strike were rejected by the social democra-
led deep splits among the population. The first tic movement leadership.
Caricature from extra-parliamentary protest movement in West The SPD provided prominent speakers at
the Ohne Uns Germany, the Ohne-Uns-Bewegung (Without events and rallies and represented the movement
movement Us Movement), soon formed. in parliament. After Germanys Constitutional
against remi- The Adenauer government Court banned the call for a referendum on the
litarization in tried to characterize the issue in July 1958, the SPD and the trade unions
West Germany. Ohne-Uns movement as halted their protests. So the anti-atomic move-
an action against the ment lost the forces which it had focused on. Pla-
West directed from ced on the political defensive and robbed of certain
Moscow. An initiati- organizational possibilities, the movement collap-
ve calling for a refe- sed. But after this, the Easter Marches began in
rendum on the rear- 1960.
mament question
was quickly banned. Domestic Security
Although members The formation of the Federal Republic of Germa-
of the KPD (com- ny, in particular the phase of rearmament, was cha-
munist party) and racterized domestically by aggressive anti-commu-
the FDJ (commu- nism and the expansion of the police apparatus. In
nist youth organi- September 1950, the federal government laun-
zation) were active in ched a wave of repression against communists.
the Ohne-Uns move- Members of the KPD and other leftist organizati-
ment, it was by no means ons were officially banned from working in the
communist-domina- public sector. The FDJ was hit especially hard. By
ted. Social demo- means of various judicial and police tactics, the
crats and trade group was treated as an illegal organization in all

8 Art as Resistance
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Red flags in the Cold War

areas of West Germany after June 1951. The nists had a monopoly on ideology and strategy.
groups ability to function was hampered, and its The interests of the Soviet Union were central to
members faced legal persecution. Officially, the the partys politics. Loyalty to the Soviet Union
FDJ was declared illegal by the Constitutional meant loyalty to the ideals of communism itself.
Court in July 1954. By then, FDJ leaders were This orientation towards the world political pro-
already in prison and the groups organizational cess took precedence over the need to be the van-
structure had been dissolved. guard of the class struggle at home.
In November 1950, West Germanys Interior Such an outlook led to a cons-
Minister filed with the Constitutional Court to ciousness in the party
have the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) which prevented criti-
outlawed. This legal maneuvre led to the isolation cism and which vie-
and public discrediting of the party. At the same wed political defe-
time, the legal definitions of crimes of treason were ats as necessary
expanded, which led to increased police repression sacrifices in the
against the KPD. This was followed by raids and still victorious
public smear campaigns, as well as a whole series of struggle for com-
trials against KPD members. Only a few of the munism around
several thousands cases against party members the world. This
ended in convictions. But the campaign of state would have fatal
repression had achieved its aim, namely creating consequences for
uncertainty and negative feelings about the party the politics of the
among the general public. KPD.
The flip side of this political development was Already in 1946, in the
the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals and the Soviet occupied zone, large
reintegration of former Nazis into the government property owners had their lands con-
apparatus and bureaucracy. After 1949, Allied laws fiscated and handed over to small farmers. This The May Day badge
governing West Germany, which had expressly land reform was a measure against rising food shor- of the SED in 1946,
banned militarist organizations, were suspended. tages, because the lack of necessary machinery which was dis-
Within a short period of time, a number of vete- made it impossible for large tracts of land to be tributed in all of
rans groups and similar organizations were foun- properly cultivated. It was also a means of destroy- Germany.With the
ded. Such measures led to a political climate in ing feudal structures and punishing war criminals. old symbol of the
Germany similar to that in the USA, where the The KPD demanded similar land reforms in workers move-
McCarthy Era came to characterize a time when all the Western zones, as well as the socialization of ment, two clenched
progressive elements in government and society key industries. In doing so, the party was represen- hands, the SED (in
were repressed under the guise of anti-commu- ting the wishes of a large segment of the populati- the Soviet sector)
nism. With the ratification of the Paris Accords in on. Even the SPD and the CDU (christian demo- and the KPD (in the
May 1955, West Germany became a member of crats) were calling for socialization at that time. Western occupied
the NATO. The formation of the German army, The biggest opponents to such a call were the zones) propagated
the Bundeswehr, that same year completed the Americans. the unification of
integration. But the Western powers still retained In addition to land reform, the KPD was also the SPD and the
some privileges, such as the right to decide over the calling for a unification with the SPD party. Such a Communist Party.
deployment of forces, the right to decide on pan- call was also timely. In many areas, the KPD and
Germanic issues, and the right to assume the states the SPD had joint committees. There was a dis-
monopoly on force in the event of an emergency. cussion underway about forming a joint political
party. This had its roots in the developments of
The End Of The KPD 1933, when the workers movement was split in
The collapse of the KPD was of fundamental two, thereby making it unable to prevent the Nazi
importance for the further development of the dictatorship from taking over. But many people
West German left. In Berlin, which was under were opposed to this fusion, especially within the
Soviet control, the KPD had formed a Central SPD. In the Soviet zones, the union of the two par-
Committee in June 1945 and built up the party all ties moved ahead quickly, and on April 22, 1946
across Germany by the end of 1946. The personnel the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) was
and ideology of the KPD was linked to the partys formed. Many viewed the SED as the result of a
structures of the time before 1933. The party agi- forced union of the SPD with the KPD, following
tated as part of the world communist movement the dictates of the Soviet Union. The Allies in the
under the leadership of the CPSU. Soviet commu- Western zones soon banned the SED. This had a

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Red flags in the Cold War

The National negative effect on the KPD, because it meant that was being ruled by foreign capitalists and a small
Front was not many potential alliance partners, members and class of national traitors. But despite their
limited to an sympathizers of the SPD, felt the need to steer clear attempts, the KPD could not politicize the masses
initiative by the of the communists. by means of the national question. The KPD lost
KPD in West Ger- Another important development in post-war more and more influence among the people. Ten-
many. It was Germany was the blockade of Berlin by the Soviet dencies within the party which were opposed to
envisioned as a military in 1948. Tensions between the Soviets in this national direction were expelled. There were
movement for all the East and the Allied powers in the West escala- then mass resignations from the party. It wasnt
of Germany. In ted in June 1948 when all land and sea routes into until June 17, 1953 that the KPD changed its line,
East Germany, an the Western sectors of Berlin were cut off by the along with the USSRs new concept of Germany.
organization Red Army. The blockade, which lasted until May In June 1953, there were protest actions in East
with the same 1949, was designed to highlight the USSRs desire Germany against increased working hours and
name was esta- to decide the political future of all of Berlin. declining conditions. There were also calls for free
blished and exi- Attempts by Allied aid convoys to break the blok- elections. Despite being banned, there were strikes
sted until 1989. kade would have led to a military confrontation. and demonstrations on June 17th, many of which
The portrait on So the only means of getting supplies to the two ended in clashes. The Soviet military took up posi-
the flag on this million people who lived in the ruins of the city tions outside government buildings with orders to
pin shows Phillip was by air. The Western Allies, by means of a tech- fire. With 25 people dead and many others woun-
Mller. nical and organization act of violence, achieved the ded, the West began to speak of a popular upri-
impossible: an air bridge to Berlin. The Berlin sing. Thats why West Germany thereafter cele-
blockade and the air bridge were of fun- brated June 17th as a national holiday, the Day of
damental importance to German Unity.
the formation of poli- During parliamentary elections in West Ger-
tical opinion in many in September 1953, the KPDs share of the
West Germa- vote fell to 2.2%, down from the 5.7% it had won
ny. The lon- back in 1949. The number of members continued
ger it to steadily decline, and by 1956 there were fewer
than 50,000 party members. The KPD also conti-
nued to lose its influence in the trade unions, cou-
pled with a campaign, nearly complete by 1954, by
the DGB trade union leadership to exclude the
communists.
lasted, the The death of Stalin in 1953 led to a change of
more there was a direction in the policies of the Soviet Union. From
rise of anti-commu- now on, the USSR sought peaceful coexistence
nist feelings in the West. with the capitalist West. The CPSU, which had
previously sought worldwide revolution, changed
The National Front its approach to the peaceful transition to socia-
The politics of the CPSU were based upon the glo- lism. The system would now be changed through
bal confrontation between the power blocs of the parliamentary means. Therefore, the KPD traded
Soviet Union and the USA. The Soviet plan for the its own revolutionary terminology for more
strategy of the KPD brought the party into a very modern tones.
difficult situation. An important element of the This new direction did not result in any positi-
KPDs politics became the prevention, or delay, of ve political developments. Isolated and reduced to
the Western integration of the Federal Republic of a meaningless, splintered party, the KPD was ban-
Germany. As a counter argument, they proposed ned by West Germanys Constitutional Court in
Phillip Mller, German reunification, with the economic and August 1956. But the party retained a cadre appa-
April 5, 1931 social structures of Germany being modelled on ratus, allowing the party structures to continue to
May 11, 1952. those in the DDR. function in illegality.
With this goal in mind, the CPSU stated that But the process of collapse could not be stop-
the KPD should place priority on the national ped. The legal persecution of the party resulted in
question. Thats why, although conditions by no a climate of political isolation and wariness. An
means favored it, the KPD began to initiate an individual who faced trial for being active in an
extra-parliamentary National Front after 1949. illegal organization, the KPD, would at the very
In KPD terminology, the notion of a colonial least lose their job. More problems came after
regime was discussed, namely that West Germany August 13, 1961, when East Germany sealed off its

10 Art as Resistance
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Red flags in the Cold War

Troops guard
East Germanys
state border at
the Brandenburg
Gate, August
1961.

borders and began building the Berlin Wall. Com- ca and Asia were fighting against European colo-
munists who were true to the party line defended nialism for decades, and new nation states were
the Wall, saying it was a line of defense against a founded. In many countries in Latin America,
threatened military attack by the West. But it was revolutions seemed close to victory. The influence
clear that East Germany was seeking to stop the of both Super Powers on these processes made the
mass migration to the West, something which was East-West conflict the dominant political theme
destabilizing its economy. in the world.

The Balance Of Fear Lighting In The East


As the Soviets pursued their policy of coexi- The East-West conflict wasnt the only theme of
stence, the USA and its partners were following a global importance, however. Without a doubt, the
policy of non-interference. Neither the June founding of the Peoples Republic of China was
17th events in East Germany, nor the building of one of the most significant changes in the world
the Berlin Wall, nor the armed uprising in Hunga- after 1945.
ry in 1956, not even the Prague Spring of 1968 For twenty years, a civil war had shaken China.
led to any words of protest. A major reason behind Close to defeat, the Chinese Red Army saved itself
this was the technical advances in the field of in 1934/35 by means of a great military achieve-
weapons of mass destruction. Atomic weapons in ment, known in history as The Long March.
particular gave both Super Powers the ability to During this operation, Mao Tse-tung took over the
destroy the entire world several times over. leadership of the army and the Communist Party,
Because nearly all the states of Europe had joi- and he led both to victory in 1949. But the Soviet
ned behind the Super Powers in either NATO or line of Stalin and that of the Maoists soon began to
the Warsaw Pact, the threat of nuclear war hung differentiate.
over the world like the Sword of Damocles. The In 1960, during a conference of 81 communist
possibility of total destruction meant that wars or and workers parties in Moscow, the conflict esca-
instability were too risky. A balance of fear is the lated when the General Secretary of the Chinese
best way to describe this situation, cemented by Communist Party and the Chairman of the Alba-
the Iron Curtain, the border which ran through nian PAA (Albanian Labor Party) objected to the
Europe, guarded by watch towers, barbed wire, class revisionist and traitorous tendencies of the
and mine fields, splitting the region into East and CPSU. The communist world soon split, and
West. While a standoff reigned in Europe, the rest China and the Soviet Union came to the brink of
of the world was in upheaval. The peoples of Afri- war on a number of occasions.

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Red flags in the Cold War

After a bitter 55-


day battle, French
colonial troops lost
Fort Dien Bien Phu
in May 1954. Viet-
namese revolutio-
nary forces raise
their own flag over
the captured fort.

Vietnam And Cuba American planes dropped 7.8 million tons of


There were two other world political develop- bombs on Vietnam, double the total used during
ments which played an important role in the the Second World War. Huge tracts of forest were
thought and development of the left following sprayed with chemicals and deforested, and there
1945. were several massacres and acts of brutality against
Of particular significance was the Vietnam the civilian population. North Vietnam, outnum-
War. French Indochina was occupied by Japan bered and outgunned, achieved the impossible.
during the Second World War. After Japans sur- For the first time in history, the USA lost a war.
render, France re-occupied the region. The leader This victory of David over Goliath seemed to
of Vietnams communists, Ho Chi Minh, pro- prove that a peoples struggle for freedom could
claimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in not be defeated by mere technical superiority.
1945. But the French sought to reassert their colo- After more than 30 years of fighting, the war in
nialist power. Indochina ended in 1976 with the founding of the
Starting in 1946, a partisan war began against Socialist Republic of Vietnam. A wave of sym-
the French occupiers. The USA supported France, pathy from the left also greeted the victory of the
China supported the Vietnamese rebels. With the revolution in the island nation of Cuba in 1959.
fall of Fort Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the French For the first time ever, a guerrilla strategy, not sup-
declared that they would pull out of Vietnam. ported by a majority of the population, had been
After the Geneva Indochina Accord, the coun- successful. In the 1960s, the figure of Che Guevara
try was divided into North and South Vietnam. took on mythic proportions. In 1965, this revolu-
North Vietnam had a communist government, tionary gave up his government offices and posts.
while South Vietnam was propped up by the USA. He wanted to spread revolution to other countries.
American troops provoked a conflict, providing an At first he joined the resistance movement in Zaire,
excuse to go to war against North Vietnam. The then he attempted to organize guerrilla warfare in
USA waged this war like a campaign of annihilati- Bolivia. It was there that Che Guevara was captu-
on. Between 1961 and 1975, red and executed in 1967.

12 Art as Resistance
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Chapter II

Economic
Wonder and revolts
Together with the USA, West Germany became a New Fields Of Politics
frontline, anti-communist state. Integration to the The resistance in the 1960s broke with old inter-
West, capitalist restructuring, and economic pretations and opened up new fields of politics,
reconstruction measures like the Marshall Plan mainly in three different areas: the womens move-
were the factors whose complex interaction led to ment, the anti-authoritarian movement, and new
an enormous development and modernization communist tendencies. This new movement is
push. The economic wonder of the 1950s came usually described as the New Left.
about. Bombed out cities were rebuilt in just a few For anti-authoritarians, there can be no revolu-
years. Economic growth with full-employment tion without a revolutionization of daily life. The
and expanding industrial production created a activists themselves became the field of change,
consumer society in which all desires could see- and social power structures were to be replaced
mingly be fulfilled. A persons own car, their own with anti-authoritarian relations. Communes pro-
home, vacation trips, these became the status sym- vided a new means of living together. Long hair
bols of the new standard of living, something and ragged clothing were visible signs of rejecting
which hadnt been seen before in Germany. This social conventions. Forms of action were based on
economic boom led people who had experienced provocation. The group Kommune 1, formed in
the scarcity of the war and post-war period to iden- 1966 in West Berlin, exemplified this.
tify with the capitalist Federal Republic of Germa- But anti-authoritarian experiments represen-
ny. And the society, as before, was still influenced ted only a part of the student movement. The
by the Imperial and Nazi eras. The anti-commu- movements organizational body was the Socialist
nism which was developed under fascism was German Students Union (SDS). Founded in 1946
expanded into the anti-communism of the Ade- as an SPD student group, the Marxist orientation
nauer government. Any progressive critique of the of SDS caused it to be split off from the social
system or the society was suspect. Technological democrats in 1960. This allowed SDS to develop
development and cultural changes, however, led to into an umbrella organization for the student
increasingly big contradictions with the societys movement. When the Grand Coalition govern-
old values. The reactionary policies of the govern- ment of SPD-CDU was in power from 1966-69,
ment heightened such tensions. A generation gap SDS reached its highpoint as the regime pushed
with definite political contours was the result. The through a series of Emergency Laws (Notstands-
rigid structures of higher learning led to academic gesetze).
youths seizing the political initiative in the 1960s. These laws made it possible for the German
The state apparatus and society responded to the government to declare a state of emergency, sus-
student movement with crass rejection and bruta- pend all fundamental rights, and rule by decree. A
lity. On June 2, 1967, the Shah of Persia, the head historical parallel to the series of laws which allo-
of the dictatorial regime in Iran supported by the wed the fascists in 1933 to launch the Nazi dicta-
USA, paid a visit to West Berlin. Students took to torship was now at hand. A broad spectrum of lef-
the streets. That morning, Iranian intelligence tist groups united to resist the passing of the Emer-
officers joined in with West Berlin police in bea- gency Laws, forming the Extra-Parliamentary
ting back demonstrators, but that evening, thou- Opposition (APO).
sands of people occupied the square outside of the Together with SDS, the APO had a nationwi-
German Opera. Police were ordered to clear the de organizational structure at its disposal.
square, which they did with brutal violence. In 1968, the Emergency Laws were passed.
During the police attack, a cop named Kurras shot The APO, which had based its existence on resi-
to death a student named Benno Ohnesorg with a stance to these laws, fell apart soon after they were
pointblank bullet to the head. enacted.

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Economic Wonder and revolts

Poster about the SDS in Berlin from the Action Council For The
murder of stu- Liberation Of Women started womens councils
dent Benno and womens discussion circles at different univer-
Ohnesorg by sities. At the 23rd SDS Delegates Conference in
police during an Frankfurt in September 1968, leading SDS
anti-Shah functionaries were hit with flying tomatoes in
demonstration front of live TV cameras after a fiery speech by
in West Berlin on Helke Sanders, spokeswoman for the Action
June 2, 1967. Council For The Liberation Of Women. That was
the opening salvo of the new womens movement.
Next, womens groups began to address the questi-
on of children. A new movement started up to deal
with emancipatory models of education for chil-
dren.
The womens movement went outside the con-
fines of the universities with the campaign to abo-
lish Paragraph 218, Germanys anti-abortion law.
Following an initiative in France, 374 women
published a statement declaring: I had an aborti-
on. Groups involved in this Aktion 218 cam-
paign launched several actions calling for Para-
graph 218 to be scrapped. Women from across the
political spectrum, from political parties, trade
unions, and autonomous socialist groups, took
The New Womens Movement part in this campaign. It became the crystallization
Despite anti-authoritarian experiments and com- point for the new womens movement. But when
munist claims, there is gender-specific oppression the Constitutional Court turned down any
within the leftist movement. This experience led changes in 1975, many women pulled out of poli-
women to begin organizing independently to fight tics disappointed. The womens movement beca-
against patriarchal structures in the society and in me polarized and splintered. Women active in
their own lives. In the post-war era, women began trade unions, political parties, and K-groups
to take on jobs more and (communist parties of the New Left) organized
more, but when the econo- activities such as the revival of March 8th as Inter-
mic crisis of the 1960s set in, national Womens Day. Others became active in
an attempt was made to force various womens projects. In the early 1970s,
women out of the job market. The womens centers, self-help groups, womens book-
traditional role of women as house- stores, publishing companies, and womens living
wives and mothers was propagated collectives were founded. From these developed
once again. At the same time, the the institutionalized womens movement, whose
liberalization of sexual mores was pro- projects were partly financed with public funds.
pagated as well. Since the mid-1960s, the State finances gave these projects a certain conti-
pill had made it possible for women to experience nuity many still exist today. But on the other
their sexuality without fear of pregnancy. Howe- hand, increasing professionalization pushed the
ver, this sexual liberation was often not a path to original feminist concepts to the background.
womens sexual self-determination, rather to non-
committal sexual availability for men. The End And A New Beginning
Every day, women active in the student move- The rubbing of shoulders between the SPD and
ment noticed a contradiction between revolutio- the CDU brought about the APO and led to the
nary theory and praxis with their own bodies. radicalization of the student movement. This was
Their men practiced patriarchal oppression both evident with the International Vietnam Congress
in their personal relationships as well as in political held in February 1968. The congress took place at
groups. Criticisms were rejected. It was said that Berlin Technical University under the motto: For
gender was a personal matter, a secondary con- The Victory Of The Revolution In Vietnam! The
tradiction that could be dealt with when the revo- Duty Of A Revolutionary Is To Make Revolution!
lution was over. Women werent willing to accept Support for the revolution in Vietnam marked
such ignorance. In January 1968, women from a militant turning point.

14 Art as Resistance
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Economic Wonder and revolts

Another significant event for both the APO the demand for self-run youth centers. This
and SDS was the attempted assassination of Rudi movement did not stem from any one social class
Dutschke, one of best known leaders of the stu- and it was organized autonomously. In both urban
dent movement. The shots which seriously woun- and rural areas, initiatives for youth centers were
ded Dutschke in April 1968 came after a continu- sprouting up. The results varied from place to
ed media smear campaign, especially from the place, depending on the local conditions and the
Springer Press corporation and its tabloid newspa- make up of the movement. But left-wing activists
per Bild-Zeitung. The student movement reacted were in the majority. In some places, associations
with nationwide demonstrations and attempts to were founded to push for the creation of a youth
halt the delivery of Springer publications. Newspa- center. In other areas, buildings were squatted, and
pers and delivery trucks went up in flames and in this way it was often possible win a youth center.
there were clashes with police. The critique of But sometimes there were evictions and clashes
Springer soon expanded into a broad campaign. with the police. The continual confrontations with
The time of the APO movement saw the furt- politicians, authorities, and the police politicized
her development and radicalization of different many youths.
tendencies, and a spectrum comprised of the In their praxis, youth center (JZ) activists were
womens movement, anti-authoritarians, and different from the often elite and promotion-ori-
communist-oriented groups came into existence, ented student activists, as well as the party structu-
which was not integrated into a single unified res of the K-groups. Members of the communist
organization. But the dissolution of SDS in K-groups often referred to JZ activists as Spontis.
February 1970 was a significant event. After this, a They used this term in a derogatory manner to des-
large number of organizations, circles, and initiati- cribe the spontaneous nature and seeming lack of
ves were formed. concept of the youth center movement. But some
people in the JZ movement actually started using
The Youth Center Movement the term Sponti themselves.
Youths in particular were caught up in the spirit of Because the youth center movement wasnt
political renewal which came after the decline of based in the factories, rather it had to do with
the student movement. Traditional forms of youth peoples free time, the communist K-groups were
organizing based around churches or other asso- very skeptical. They saw its focus as based more on
ciations could not offer anything to youths who a secondary contradiction in the society. Those in
were looking for emancipatory and independent the youth center movement who did do theory
free spaces for their culture. The biggest mass equated free time with the production sector and
youth movement in Germany soon united behind gave them equal importance in the revolutionary

Graphic from the


1970s, calling for
the abolition of
the section 218
abortion law, by
an unknown
artist.

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Economic Wonder and revolts

The most kers. After 1974, youth centers were no longer the
famous poster focus of a political movement. But many projects
by SDS.The continued to exist under changed conditions. The
original motif political praxis of squatting, which was used by the
was from a youth center movement, was the basis of the 1980s
poster squatters movement. And other elements such as
advertizing plenary decision making bodies were re-discovered
Germanys by the autonomist movement in the 1980s.
railways.
Everybody talks The Communist Tradition
about Communist elements from the APO reformed
the weather. themselves in the 1970s as communist parties or
Not us. groups. Characteristic of these K-groups, as they
were called, was their militant appearance, in that
they rejected the direction of previous communist
groups and the Soviet Union. These new commu-
nist parties primarily oriented themselves towards
the ideas of Mao Tse-tung and the Peoples Repu-
blic of China.

process. They viewed youth centers as places where


working class and middle class youths could
come together and discover, experience, and for-
mulate their needs together.
This was viewed as a political learning process,
which in conjunction with self-administration
would be lead to self-education (self-socialization).
Organized base democratically, general assemblies
would be the highest decision making bodies. This
form of organizing brings to mind the councilist
workers movement.
The highpoint of the youth center movement
was from 1971-74. After that, the movement
declined and went through many changes. Much
of this had to do with the SDP-liberal coalition
government which came to power in 1970. Under
the SPD, youth centers became part of the states
youth program. Towns and cities used social wor-
kers to take care of youths, and youth centers were
run by the state. Money for jobs and renovations
for the centers was made available.
Even in the most rural areas, which had never
had a youth center, at the very least some sort of
space was made available for youths. This institu-
tionalization robbed the youth center movement
of its anti-capitalist element. It became nothing
more than something which dealt with free time,
and youth culture was integrated into the system.
At the same time, those youth centers which
refused to take this course faced evictions and
increased criminalization. Initiatives failed due to
Demonstration the inherent contradictions, and many activists
in Bochum, 1969. gave up. Other activists took on jobs as social wor-

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Chapter III

The New Left


Alongside the KPD, which was operating under- The New Communist Parties
ground, a whole series of small groups sprouted In 1968, there were two formations which grew
forth from the student movement, calling themsel- out of the underground KPD, the Moscow-orient-
ves red cells or communist associations. These ed DKP and the pro-China KPD/ML. From 1970
small groups made use of the experiences and dis- to 1973, the KPD/AO (the letters AO, which
cussions of the APO movement regarding political stood for Formative Organization, were soon
content, eventually forming into Maoist-oriented dropped), the KBW, and the KB grew out of the
parties. student movement. These groups formed the spec-
The formation of the New Left in Germany trum of K-groups which were politically active in
was affected by changes in political conditions. Germany in the 1970s. All of these communist
Despite the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam parties and associations saw themselves as part of
War during the presidency of John F. Kennedy in the tradition from the Weimar era KPD. The que-
the USA, a period of relative global political relaxa- stion of which of them was the legitimate commu-
tion known as the Kennedy Era had an affect on nist party formed the basis of many of their inter-
the foreign policies of Germany as well. nal feuds. But unlike the historical KPD, none of
It was also in 1966/67 that Germany experi- these new organizations had any kind of mass base.
enced its first economic recession. This economic In this situation, the K-groups became cadre
decline made it clear to many people that a one- organizations with a Leninist vanguard outlook.
sided economic fixation on the West would have Each of these parties claimed to represent the true
negative effects. revolutionary line and the vanguard of the wor-
As a highly-developed, export-oriented nation king class in the struggle for communism. These
in the center of Europe, Germany needed to open groups often isolated and attacked one another.
its markets to the East. Willy Brandt of the SPD The lines of division werent only Moscow versus
represented this shift in policy, and his tenure as China, the Maoist groups themselves even attak-
Foreign Minister during a grand coalition govern- ked each other. In the entire history of K-groups in
ment ushered in a political change of course for Germany, there was only ever one joint action: In
Germany. September 1977, when the CDU decided to seek a
Because the banning of the KPD could present ban on the KBW, the KPD, and the KPD/ML, all
a problem in negotiations with Warsaw Pact states, three organizations called for a joint demon-
the SPD in 1966 began to openly discuss lifting stration in Bonn on October 8, 1977. Their coope-
the ban on communist parties. The conditions for ration never got any closer than this.
this would be that they respect the Constitution,
meaning a change in statutes with respect to a revo- Revolutionary Idealism
lutionary program. The possibility to organize The period of formation of the various parties on
legally was quickly seized upon. the New Left was characterized by a sense of revo-
lutionary idealism. Most young activists were fully
Splits dedicated and willing to accept strict party dis-
The rift between the Soviet Union and the Peoples cipline. In order to build up the party apparatus
Republic of China also had an effect upon com- and make it function, they were willing to dedica-
munists in West Germany. A Maoist faction split te their entire lives to the party. Of course, this
off from the illegal KPD, forming the KPD/ML. meant great intrusions into their private sphere as
The K-groups also dubbed the Soviet Union as well. This made it possible for all K-groups, within
revisionist and began to speak of both U.S. and a short period of time, to build up effective organi-
Soviet imperialism, stating that both needed to be zational structures, with newspapers, publishing
struggled against. Communists who oriented houses, headquarters, and full-time party workers.
themselves towards the Soviet Union dismissed the But the hard discipline of communist organi-
K-groups as left-wing extremist, petty bourgeois zations had a difficult flip side to it as well. Party
sects. There was bitter enmity between both ten- activists in the 1970s saw revolution as a real possi-
dencies, making joint mobilizations impossible. bility, something which could be achieved in a few

Art as Resistance 17
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The New Left

and the repressive nature inside the organizations


caused more and more members to quit. In the
end, the total collapse of the organizations led to
personal disappointment and identity crises for
many former activists. In 1980, the K-groups
started to disband. The first was the KPD/AO,
which once had 900 members during its highpoint
in 1975. The KB lapsed into lethargy in 1983, and
the KBW dissolved itself in 1985. The KPD/ML,
years and personally experienced. This vision of which had around 800 members in 1977, sank to
the future was cemented with party doctrine, less to than 400 by the middle of the 1980s. In
based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. This October 1986, the group unified with the Group
in conjunction with hierarchical organizing crea- of International Marxists (GIM), a Trotskyist
ted a political identity which did not allow for cri- group with around 200 members, to form the Uni-
tique or the recognition of mistakes. People who ted Socialist Party (VSP). But this fusion could not
deviated from the party line or who refused party stop the downward trend, and when all was said
commands were rigorously excluded. The politics and done, the VSP itself had less than 200 mem-
of the K-groups, therefore, were more based on bers. In the 1990s, members of the VSP saw their
The NPD con- their own perceptions rather than actual social future in the Party of Democratic Socialism
gress on June 17, conditions. The primary goal of all of these com- (PDS). In June 1995, the VSP officially gave up its
1978 in Frank- munist party organizations was to move beyond party status. Today, there is only one relatively big
furt. Mean- the student sphere and seek out the revolutionary party which traces its ideological roots to the old
while, some potential of the working class. Activists quit their K-groups, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany
2,000 people studies and gave up academic life in order to (MLPD), which formed from the KABD in 1982.
had gathered... organize the workers in the factories. These In 1998, the MLPD had 2,500 members.
As a loudspeaker attempts failed. The activists were neither under- The history of the K-groups had an important
began blaring stood nor accepted by the workers, they were influence on the development of the autonomist
KBW workers repressed by the trade unions, and the young com- movement. For that reason, two of the most
music, a masked munist idealists became isolated. The K-groups important organizations in the 1970s will be sket-
troop emerged remained primarily student organizations. By the ched out below.
from the middle middle of the 1970s, the organizations had beco-
of the crowd and me stagnant. It was thought that increased activi- The Communist Union
rushed the metal ties could overcome this situation. But no matter Of West Germany (KBW)
barriers. Groups how eagerly they distributed newspapers at facto- At its organizational height in 1976/77, the largest
of twenty to thir- ries in the early morning hours, during strikes, or of the K-groups, the KBW, founded in 1973, had
ty people, at demonstrations, it had no effect. Eventually, this around 2,500 members and 1,000 close sym-
wearing helmets exhaustive and useless actionism turned against pathizers. The group placed a priority on being
and armed with the organizations themselves. The lack of results close to the people in its public appearances in
work tools (and
some police
truncheons),
took turns hit-
ting at police,
and twice were
able to rip down
the metal bar-
riers. Globs of
paint and muck
were hurled as
well. A few criti-
cal minutes pas-
sed before suffi-
cient police for-
ces could assem-
ble at this spot...
FAZ, June 19, 1978

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The New Left

neighborhoods and at bookstands. This meant Poster for the


that members had a very respectable outer appea- only joint action
rance, such as orderly clothes and short hair, in by the K-groups,
contrast to the long-hair trend of that period. October 1977.
During big demonstrations, the group was cha- Away with the
racterized by its tight and militant appearance. The propositions for
use of a soundcar by the KBW and some other K- bans on KBW,
groups during demonstrations also made the KPD, KPD/ML!
group unique. Freedom of
The KBW felt that doing compulsory military organisation for
service in the German army gave people good the working
exposure to weapons training and provided a new class! Marxism-
arena for agitation. Its activists formed soldier and Leninism cant
reservist committees (SRK), which took part in be prohibited!
soldier and reservist public events, and which were
also responsible for military style training exercises
within the KBW.
After a steady decline in membership, the
KBW suffered a heavy blow in September 1980
when 600 people split off to form the BWK. The
KBW was left with 1,500 members, but was no
longer able to organize any memorable activities.
On February 6, 1985, the final members assembly The KB And The Greens
of the KBW, a meeting of about 100 people, for- In the spring of 1977, a decisive political event
mally dissolved the organization. The BWK also took place, which had begun in the state of Lower
saw its membership steadily decline, but was able Saxony. There, resistance had gone on for years
to stabilize its organizational apparatus. The fewer against a planned atomic facility in the town of
than 400 remaining BWK members eventually Gorleben, and a small group calling itself the
joined the PDS, forming the Working Group of Green List decided to run in state elections.
West German Communists in and around the Shortly thereafter, regional Green, rainbow, and
PDS. In March 1995, the final delegates meeting alternative lists took part in elections all across
officially ended the party status of the BWK. Germany. In January 1980, most of these joined
together and formed a nationwide political party
The Communist Union (KB) known as The Greens.
The KB was formed in 1971. Although the KB The founding congress of the Green Party
and the KBW had similar roots, the two were bit- decided on proposals from regional rainbow and
ter rivals. The KB often ridiculed the soundcars, alternative lists. This approach soon revealed a
the SRK, and other forms of organizing by the serious conflict. Members of the Greens were pri-
KBW. marily from citizens initiatives, whereas rainbow
The political line of the KB was formed by a and alternative list members were primarily lef-
leading committee, whose members werent tists.
elected but rather cooperated, so they were cho- What followed was a parallel development. In
sen but not publicly known. By the mid 1970s, the regional elections, an Alternative List either com-
KB had about 1,700 members across West Germa- peted against the Greens, or sometime they joined
ny, mainly concentrated in Hamburg. The politi- together on a joint list. In nearly every city or regi-
cal tactics of the KB consisted of engaging in poli- on where there was a great leftist potential, there
tical movements. At the time, that meant the anti- was an Alternative List in addition to the Green
nuclear movement and the anti-fascist movement. Party. The Alternative List parties were heavily
One of the most important themes in KB theory influenced by the former K-groups, especially the
was the fascification of West Germany. As demo- KB. The development of the Alternative List was
cratic rights were rolled back, laws were being met with euphoric hopes, for it seemed to be a pos-
tightened and the police and intelligence agencies sibility for giving parliamentary relevance to leftist
given greater freedom, and these were viewed as politics. One example of this can be seen in a cita-
signs of a new fascism. So the struggle against fas- tion from the KBs newspaper Arbeiterkampf
cism could not be limited to taking on Nazi gangs, (AK Workers Struggle), which described the
but also the expanding police state. Alternative List in the stronghold of Hamburg.

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The New Left

Poster of the the KB advised its members in Hamburg to join


Greens shortly the Greens. In October, the Alternative List was
after their disbanded and became the GAL, the Green Alter-
foundation.The native List.
Bundesadler, The KB kept its organizational structure intact
the national until 1991, although it had no practical impulses.
symbol actually On April 20, 1991, the KB in Hamburg officially
never began to disbanded.
sway, since the
politics of the DKP, The Old Line
Greens have The DKP occupied a unique position within the
turned to a ranks of communist organizations founded after
conform and 1968. The DKP was the only party which defen-
stabilizing ded the politics of East Germany and the Soviet
alternative Union as the correct line.
character. The party cadre were from the illegal KPD,
and they tried win as many members as they could
from the time before 1933 and the 1950s. Because
of its ties to tradition, members of the DKP were
usually older and more working class than those in
the K-groups. But the development of the partys
membership ranks in the younger generation,
In AK #214, December 7, 1981, the cover page especially among students and academics, was suc-
featured a big photo of the Alternative Lists foun- cessful.
ding congress, with the title Alternative List The DKP was very legalistic, and tried to rub
Hamburg Founded. shoulders with trade unions and the SPD. One
The text read as follows: Amid great cheers important field of agitation for the DKP was Ger-
from the 500 people on hand, the AL Hamburg was manys Constitution, the progressive elements of
founded, and later that evening the party already had which the KPD felt were being prevented by the
300 members. The AL chose the beaver as its party policies of the government in Bonn. The DKP stri-
symbol. (A beaver is able to gnaw its way into any- ved to be a party in line with the Constitution and
thing, it can build dams to stop coming floods, and its the defender of the Constitutions progressive ele-
able to live in areas where it had become extinct befo- ments. The party strictly rejected militancy and
re proof of its necessity.) illegal actions. The DKP remained the biggest of
But the lists success was limited to its initial all the new communist parties in West Germany.
phase. Most of these lists soon fell apart, others In 1986, the DKP had more than 40,000 mem-
became citizens lists allied with the Greens. In bers.
addition to using the Alternative List as a way to The relatively big organization of the DKP was
gain influence, there was another variant as well. made possible with support from the DDR.
Inside the KB, one faction called itself Zentrum Financial, material, and political support made the
(the center). This group wanted to join the DKP apparatus dependent upon the East German
Greens and make leftist politics there. At the end of SED. And direct strategy planning from the SED
1979, this center group, known as Gruppe Z, made it impossible for the DKP to have an inde-
split off from the KB with 200 members. The KB pendent political line. For example, the partys line
was left with about 700 members in 1980. Grup- on issues such as atomic energy or the national cen-
pe Z (Group Z) soon developed its own organiza- sus were contradictory and almost unbelievable,
tional work. making it impossible for them to be part of the
It criticized the positions of Leninism and tried resistance movement.
to synthesize Marxism and ecology. Group Z was When West Germany annexed the DDR, the
initially successful: In 1982, one of its members organization suffered an incredible organizational
was a national spokesperson for the Greens. By collapse. Entire party sections were disbanded, and
means of the GAL party in Hamburg, several since the party could no longer finance itself, many
Group Z members won seats in the local assembly. members resigned. But the party did not disappear
In 1983, Group Z disbanded and most of its mem- completely. It was older comrades in particular
bers went on working for the Greens. The KB was who held the party together, and in 1998 the DKP
in swift decline by that point as well. In June 1983, still had around 6,000 members.

20 Art as Resistance
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Chapter IV

Armed
groups
The Second Of June The Red Army Fraction (RAF)
Movement In 1968, in protest against the war in Vietnam,
Named after the date four people, among them Andreas
when Benno Ohnesorg Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, set off
was murdered, the Se- incendiary devices inside shopping
cond of June Movement centers in Frankfurt. All four were
arose from the militant soon arrested and sent to prison. While in pri-
anti-authoritarian scene in West Berlin in son, Andreas Baader developed close ties to a
1971. In June 1972, the group published journalist named Ulrike Meinhof. From this
their political program. Point three read as follows: came the idea to break Andreas Baader out
The Movement only sees itself as the avanguard in so of prison in May 1970, the first action by the RAF.
far as it was among the first to take up arms. It is not At the end of 1970, the group went to Jordan to
the vanguard because it calls itself such. The strate- train with the Palestinian organization Al Fatah.
gy of the Second of June Movement was to draw In the spring of 1971, a paper was released entitled,
from the guerrilla concept in Latin America and to Red Army Fraction The Concept Of The Urban
combine that with legal struggles. Point ten of Guerrilla. The text read as follows: The concept of
the program read: ...For us, praxis means: Creating the urban guerrilla comes from Latin America. It is
militant legal groups, creating militias, creating an there what it can also be here: a revolutionary means
urban guerrilla until we have an army of the of intervention by relatively weak revolutionary for-
people. The Second of June Movement saw itself ces. The RAF defined itself as an anti-imperialist
as an urban guerrilla group, limited to West Berlin. fighting group, which is not part of the struggles here,
In particular by means of spectacular actions, like but rather of the struggles taking place in the Third
handing out chocolate candies during bank robbe- World.
ries, the group received a great deal of attention.
The highpoint for the Second of June Movement The First Actions By The RAF
was the kidnapping of regional CDU leader Peter After two years underground, the RAF carried out
Lorenz in 1975. By means of this action, the group six attacks in May 1972. Two of these were against
was able to win freedom for five imprisoned mem- the U.S. army, three against police and the courts,
bers of the Red Army Fraction (RAF). A short time and one against the Springer corporation. A few
after the Lorenz kidnapping, leading members of weeks after these attacks, some RAF members were
the Second of June Movement were arrested. arrested. In September 1974, the RAF prisoners
During searches for group members, a shootout began their third hungerstrike against their prison
with police took place in Cologne in May 1975. conditions. After 56 days, Holger Meins died as a
Werner Sauber, a member of the Second of June result of being forced fed. After this, the RAFs
Movement, and a policeman were killed. After the Commando Holger Meins occupied the Ger-
states success in cracking down on the group, the man Embassy in Stockholm in April 1975 and
Second of June Movement only made itself heard offered to exchange the hostages in return for the
of by means of trial statements and texts from release of the 26 imprisoned RAF members. In
imprisoned activists. In June 1980, the group dis- order to illustrate their resolve, the RAF comman-
solved itself and became part of the RAF. That do executed Germanys military attache at the
same month, three members of the Second of June beginning of the occupation. When police units
Movement jailed in Moabit Prison in Berlin, Ralf stormed the embassy, the commando set off explo-
Reinders, Klaus Viehmann, and Ronald Fritsch, sive charges. During the raid, one diplomat and
released a paper stating their opposition to this one RAF member, Ulrich Wessel, were killed, and
decision. the building went up in flames. Five other com-

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Armed groups

mando members RAF prisoners Jan Carl Raspe, Andreas Baader,


were arrested by the and Gudrun Ensslin were found shot to death or
police. Among them hanged in their isolation cells in Stammheim. Irm-
was Siegfried Haus- gard Moller survived, seriously wounded. The next
ner, who despite day, October 19, 1977, police found the body of
being seriously woun- Hanns-Martin Schleyer in the trunk of a car.
ded was flown to
Stammheim Prison, The German Autumn
and soon died. The reaction of the German state to the RAFs
One year later, in offensive has become known as the German
the night of May 8, Autumn. This period was marked by an unprece-
1976, Ulrike Mein- dented media smear campaign against alleged RAF
hof was found hanged sympathizers. Any and everyone suspected of
in her cell. In 1977, being sympathetic to the RAF was considered a
the RAF launched a potential member or at least a supporter of the
major offensive. In organization. Police surveillance, house raids, and
April, Federal Pro- arrests were the order of the day. Laws regarding
secutor Siegfried political crimes were greatly sharpened. Between
Buback and two 1977 and 1981, the RAF carried out only one
Death notice bodyguards were shot to death on the street. The attack. In June 1979, a RAF commando detonated
for Johannes RAF commando responsible called the act an exe- a bomb near the motorcade of U.S. General Alex-
Thimme. cution of Buback, who was responsible for the ander Haig, the head of NATO, in Mons, Belgi-
murders of Holger Meins, Ulrike Meinhof, and um. Haig survived unhurt.
Siegfried Hausner. In July, a RAF commando shot From February to April 1981, RAF prisoners
and killed a top executive of the Dresdner Bank, organized a hungerstrike, which was called off fol-
Jurgen Ponto. In September, a RAF commando lowing the death of Sigurd Debus. Two RAF acti-
kidnapped the president of the German Employ- ons followed that summer: a bomb attack in
ers Association, Hanns-Martin Schleyer. August on the headquarters of the U.S. air force in
During the Schleyer kidnapping, four bodygu- Europe, the NATO base in Ramstein, and a rocket
ards were killed. The RAF wanted to exchange attack on U.S. General Kroesen, who was unin-
Schleyer for imprisoned RAF comrades. To add jured.
weight to this demand, a Palestinian commando
hijacked a Lufthansa jet full of German tourists on The Front Concept
Sticker created Mallorca. The commando shot the pilot and threa- In May 1982, the RAF released a communique
by tened to kill all the hostages. A special GSG-9 anti- entitled, Guerrilla, Resistance, And The Anti-
front militants. terrorist police unit stormed the plane as it waited Imperialist Front, which expanded upon the
The front on the runway in Mogadishu, Somalia. All the groups ideological and strategic concept. This
emerges as a members of the Palestinian commando were shot May Paper criticized the 1977 offensive, in par-
fighting and killed, except for one woman who survived, ticular the plane hijacking, and called the efforts a
movement! seriously wounded. Immediately following this, failure. But the RAFs self-criticism was restrained.
The RAF said 1977 reached a historic dimension,
a year with positive effects on the resistance move-
ment. A victory was seen in the fact that the state
was not able to destroy the RAF. And the sub-
sequent wave of repression from the state appa-
ratus was deemed positive as well, since it forced
the entire resistance to make a stand either for or
against the RAF. The RAF saw such clear distincti-
ons as proof of its vanguard position. From this
point of view, all true opposition forces were ori-
ented to the RAF or they didnt exist at all. The
Autumn of 1977 gave all fundamental opposition
groups new relations and conditions for existence as
actual experience and the perspective for future strug-
gles, all were forced to fundamentally reorient them-
selves to the powers or to give up. ... From this new

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Armed groups

experience, the necessity of the guerrilla is an easy step The New Offensive
for consciousness: If the struggle of the guerrilla is your It wasnt until December 1984 that the RAF car-
own, then the only logical realization of this is to poli- ried out another action, a failed bomb attack on
tically and practically join the strategy of the guerril- the NATO officers school in Oberammergau.
la yourself, at whatever level. (May Paper) Another hungerstrike began in December 1984 as
The RAF developed this idea of an anti-impe- well, and it lasted until February 1985. This hun-
rialist front in the metropoles as part of the global gerstrike was accompanied by a wave of attacks
struggle for liberation. Practically speaking, this which remained unique in the RAFs history. Not
meant a three-part approach. only the antiimp spectrum, the autonomist scene
At the center were the military actions of the also mobilized in support of the hungerstrike. In
RAF commandos, accompanied by activities and eight weeks from December to February there
attacks by militants and further agitation by a were at least 39 major arson and bomb attacks and
broader spectrum of supporters. That need not, several smaller actions as well. On January 20,
however, imply any organizational connection. 1985, there was a bomb attack on a computer cen-
Independently operating groups from the resi- ter in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. The bomb went off
stance movement would orient themselves prematurely and killed Johannes Thimme. His
towards RAF activities. This concept was summa- comrade Claudia Wannersdorfer was seriously
rized in the slogan: The Front Is Created As A wounded and arrested.
Fighting Movement!
The front strategy of the RAF did not have Poster mobili-
any substantial success. Only during hungerstrikes zing for Stutt-
by RAF prisoners was it possible to mobilize gart in 1987, the
broader forces from the resistance. The RAFs 10th anniversary
military actions were only taken up by the imme- of the deaths in
diate field of supporters. These groups, various Stammheim.The
Anti-Torture Committees and anti-fascist poster was inve-
groups, had been set up in the 1970s to do prisoner stigated under
support work for the RAF. Paragraph 129a.
The antifa groups at that time understood fas-
cism to be the fascism of West Germany, in par-
ticular as it was illustrated by prison conditions
and police state measures. From these came the
anti-imperialist groups which developed in the
early 1980s. A major focal point for antiimps was
prisoner work. In addition to this, RAF communi-
ques and actions were discussed and an attempt
was made to communicate these within the broad-
er resistance and to support corresponding initiati-
ves.
In addition to the front concept, the RAF in
the 1980s also did theory on the military-indu-
strial complex. An indivisible link was seen bet-
ween the military, industry, and the political elite The West European Guerrilla
in the imperialist states. Targets of attack, therefo- The RAF and the French group Action directe
re, could not only be the military and repression (AD) issued a joint communique in January 1985.
apparatus, but also industrialists and politicians. Entitled For The Unity Of Revolutionaries In
Shortly after publishing the May Paper, the Western Europe!, the paper propagated the crea-
RAF suffered a heavy blow in November 1982. tion of a West European guerrilla. At the end of
With the arrest of Adelheid Schulz, Brigitte January, the AD executed General Rene Audran.
Mohnhaupt, and Christian Klar, three commando On February 1, a RAF commando shot and killed
members were lost. The subsequent discovery of arms industrialist Ernst Zimmermann. Both com-
13 weapons caches deprived the group of much of mandos oriented their actions towards one anot-
its infrastructure. The following years were also her. In the communique following the Zim-
marked by serious repression. By 1984, a further 9 mermann attack, the RAF called on the prisoners
RAF members had been imprisoned, and no to break off their hungerstrike, which soon happe-
attacks were carried out during this period. ned. The West European Guerrilla Is Shaking

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Armed groups

The Imperialist System was the slogan which uni- In the summer of 1986, the RAF resumed its
ted the RAF, the AD, and the Belgian group campaign of assassinations: the head of the Sie-
Fighting Communist Cells (CCC) in mens corporation, Beckurts, and his driver were
1985. Despite some ideological diffe- killed in a bomb attack in July; in October, a mini-
rences with the latter, the groups actions sterial director in the Foreign Ministry, Braun-
were to be oriented towards one another, and muhl, was shot. In other words, there was not to be
the groups shared logistical cooperation. In the a fundamental shift in strategy by the RAF, and the
media, the West European guerrilla group remained isolated from wide sectors of the
became public enemy number one, militant movement. But repression from the state
and the concept was very controversial apparatus increased: In 1986, RAF member Eva
within the militant left. With the arrest Haule-Frimpong was arrested. Until 1993, the
of leading members of the CCC in state was not able to arrest any other RAF mem-
December 1985 and the capture of bers. But the anti-imperialist scene suffered an
Emblem of the four AD members in February 1987, both groups unending series of house raids, arrests, and trials.
French guerrilla ceased to exist. That ended the short history of the
organization West European guerrilla. The Final Slope To The End
Action Directe After a lapse in actions in 1987, the RAF changed
(AD). The Air Base Attack its strategy starting in 1988. The targets of attack
In August 1985, the RAF bombed the U.S. air would now have some connection to themes of the
forces Rhein Main Air Base. In order to gain access resistance movement in Germany.
to the base, the RAF commando needed an Ame- The failed attack on Finance Secretary Tiet-
rican ID card, so they lured a U.S. soldier meyer in September 1988 was linked to his invol-
named Pimental out of a disco late one vement in the annual congress of the IMF. And
night. He was later killed in the when the head of the Deutsche Bank, Herrhausen,
woods to avoid being a witness. Two was killed in a bomb attack in November 1989, the
other people were killed in the RAFs communique for the action also pointed to
bomb attack on the base. the IMF and the World Bank. Until 1991 there
The militant spectrum was cri- were a series of sometimes failed attacks by the
tical of the attack, in particular the RAF, and the communiques became increasingly
death of Pimental, which the RAF diffuse. On April 1, 1991, a RAF commando shot
had called a practical necessity. All and killed Rohwedder, head of the Treuhand-
gains with the resistance movement anstalt, the state agency charged with selling off
which had been made during the hunger- the former East Germanys industries. The RAF
Emblem of the strike were now lost. stated in their communique that they would, in
Belgian guerrilla The criticisms became so intense that the RAF future, orient themselves more towards inter-
organization were forced to respond. In January 1986, the RAF vening in social struggles. The attack on Rohwed-
Fighting Com- released a paper entitled To Those Who Struggle der was supposed to be a means of influencing the
munist Cells With Us. It began with the line: Today, we say imagined resistance of the East German people to
(CCC). that the shooting of the GI in the concrete situation capitalist restructuring.
last summer was a mistake which blocked the effects It was also at this time that contacts since the
of the attack on the air base and the discussion of the early 1980s between the RAF and the DDRs
political-military orientation of the action, and the Ministry of State Security, or Stasi, became
offensive as a whole. known. Former RAF members who had sought
The background to this concession by the RAF refuge in East Germany were arrested and became
was the International Anti-Imperialist Congress state witnesses in trials against former comrades.
which was held in Frankfurt from January 31 to These Stasi contacts, state witnesses, disagree-
February 4, 1986. This conference, organized by ments among the prisoners, and a seeming lack of
the antiimp spectrum, was attended by representa- clarity among those still living underground led to
tives from all across Europe and Latin America and the dissolution of many anti-imperialist groups. In
was the source of great interest since more than one April 1992, the RAF issued a statement spelling
thousand people took part. Despite threats of out the re-orientation of their politics. The collap-
being banned, the congress took place anyway, but se of real existing socialism and the defeat of libera-
it was not a success. Autonomists in particular voi- tion movements on the Three Continents had
ced heavy criticisms, particularly in reference to created a totally different situation. The groups
the shooting of the GI, but their critique was vanguard approach was traded for the creation of a
aimed at the RAF concept as a whole. counter-power from below. The statement went

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Armed groups

Anti-imperialist
congress in
Frankfurt 1986.
For security rea-
sons, no cameras
were allowed.
Afterwards, a
series of post-
cards were pro-
duced.

on to say: We have decided to scale back the escala- restaurant in the town of Bad Kleinen. The mee-
tion. That means that we will halt attacks on leading ting was observed by police. During the sub-
representatives of capital and the state during this pre- sequent arrests, RAF member Wolfgang Grams
sent, necessary process. (RAF Communique, April was killed and Birgit Hogefeld was captured.
10, 1992) The RAFs final attack was carried out in A member of the special riot police GSG 9 was
March 1993. Shortly before its completion, the shot. In March 1998, the RAF announced their
new Weiterstadt Prison was blown up. disolution.
A final blow was dealt to the RAF in June 1993.
For more than a year, the German state was able to The Front Militants
get one of its spies, Klaus Steinmetz, close to the The anti-imperialist front propagated in the RAFs
commando levels of the RAF. In June 1993, Stein- May Paper in 1982 did not find much resonance in
metz met with RAF members in a train station the leftist scene. In order to get out of this situati-
on, the RAF initiated a total offensive. On
December 4, 1984, prisoners from the RAF, as well
as other prisoners in solidarity with them, laun-
ched a nine-week hungerstrike. The struggle by the
prisoners was accompanied by a wave of attacks.
For the first time, the anti-imperialist spectrum
carried out major bomb attacks. In conjunction
with this, an photocopied underground newspa-
per called Zusammen Kmpfen (Struggle Toget-
her!) appeared at the end of 1984. The topic of the
first issue was the hungerstrike, and a series of acti-
on communiques by underground militants
from nine different groups were printed.
These militants saw themselves as part of the Poster in support
anti-imperialist front in Western Europe, and they of a RAF hunger-
acted in the context of the RAFs politics. Their strike in the mid
concept of developing coordinated militant pro- 1980s.The poster
jects, to open a new level in the confrontation, was criminalized
was in line with the course spelled out in the May under section
Paper. The militants, like the RAF, viewed them- 129a (support for
selves as internationalists. Thats why they named a terrorist
their commandos after foreign martyred anti- organization).

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Armed groups

Unlike the articles, communiques, and reports from around


Knispelkrant, the world. There were rarely any editorials. As a
the publication means of documentation, communiques from dif-
Zusammen ferent countries were published in their original
Kmpfen was language. There were texts in English, Dutch, and
published and German, and well as German translations of many
distributed texts. De Knispelkrant became the organ of the
clandestinely in West European guerrilla and represented the posi-
Germany.The tions of the RAF. Published every two weeks, the
magazine paper made it possible to have a continuous
roughly exchange of information. Communiques and texts
appeared from the RAF and other groups could be sent to
quarterly. subscribers in Germany, while avoiding repression
from the German authorities. In 1988, there were
conflicts among the editors of De Knispelkrant
and clashes with autonomists in Amsterdam.
These conflicts led to the end of the project in early
1989.

The Revolutionary Cells (RZ)


In 1973, the Revolutionary Cells (RZ) became the
third group in West Germany to take up the armed
imperialists. Starting in 1986, militants began struggle. Although the RZ followed a different
signing their communiques as the Fighting concept than the Second of June Movement and
Unit, with a corresponding commando name just the RAF, all three shared the same roots. The Viet-
like the RAF. nam War was a major impulse which led to the for-
These underground activists mainly carried mation of the RZ. They, too, wanted to develop a
out explosives and arson attacks with a high degree guerrilla, and just like the RAF, they had close ties
of technical sophistication. For example, one to the Palestinian resistance. Just how closely tied
Fighting Unit detonated a car bomb outside the the RAF and the RZ were to the Palestinians was
headquarters of the Verfassungsschutz, the fede- shown by the first actions which gained the RZ
ral intelligence agency, in Cologne. These mili- international recognition. Under the leadership
tants never carried out shooting attacks, nor did of one of the worlds most wanted top terro-
they direct their actions against persons. rists, Ilich Ramirez-Sanchez,
Militants carried out nine otherwise known as Carlos,
attacks in 1986. This highpoint a German-Palestinian comman-
in their activity was followed by a do stormed into the OPEC Summit
wave of repression. In 1986, many in Vienna in December 1975 and took
people from the antiimp spectrum were 11 top government ministers hostage.
arrested and sentenced for Fighting Unit When the commando stormed the
attacks. This temporarily halted attacks building, three members of the secu-
by the militants. But the paper Zusam- rity forces were killed, and RZ mem-
men Kmpfen was still published periodically ber Hans-Joachim Klein was seriously wounded.
until 1991. After the RAFs attack on the head of In addition to Klein, RAF member Gabriele
the Deutsche Bank in November 1989, the Krcher-Tiedemann took part in the action as
Fighting Units carried out four attacks between well. The kidnapping action was designed to put
December 1989 and February 1990. Two bombs pressure on Arab states to take a firmer stand
were detected and disarmed. Then there were no against Israel. The ministers were all released in
more Fighting Unit actions. North Africa, and the commando disappeared. At
the end of June 1976, a commando comprised of
De Knispelkrant two Palestinians and RZ members Brigitte Kuhl-
A publication dealing with armed groups was also mann and Wilfried Bse hijacked an Air France
published in Holland, De Knispelkrant. The passenger jet with 257 people on board. This acti-
paper defined itself as a militant, revolutionary on was designed to win the freedom of political
publication with an internationalist focus. The prisoners in German and Israeli prisons. The air-
newspaper consisted of a collection of newspaper plane had taken off from Tel Aviv and a large num-

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Armed groups

ber of the passengers were Israelis. The action was which was claimed by the International Section
designed to put pressure on the government in of the RZ, one part of the RZ movement broke off
Jerusalem. After forcing the plane to land in its contacts with the Palestinian resistance. There
Entebbe, Uganda, all non-Jewish hostages were were internal conflicts, which were discussed in the
released. On July 4, 1976, a unit of Israeli special paper Gerd Albartus Is Dead, published in
forces stormed the plane and freed the hostages. All December 1991: He shared the criticisms of other
the commando members were killed. comrades, with whom we had fierce discussions, to the
point of a split, because of our decision to break off
Rote Zora international contacts. He felt the reduction to our
Within the context of the RZ, an autonomous own structures was a weakness, that discussing politi-
womens organization called Rote Zora develo- cal differences represented a split. ... For the deceptive
ped. Although the Rote Zora followed the same advantage, he said, of a clean slate, we had brought
fundamental concepts as the RZ, the group was the RZ down to the level of leftist small group militan-
also a radical feminist expression of the womens cy and abandoned all claims of guerrilla struggle.
movement. But the group did not solely focus on A small number of RZ activists remained true
womens issues, and the Rote Zora did carry out to their original approach. Contacts with the PFLP
actions as part of RZ campaigns, for example (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), a
against the NATO summit in 1982. small Palestinian resistance group, were kept up.
One of Rote Zoras most famous and successful But the RZ in Germany made a clear break with
actions came in 1987: While South Korean this tradition. There was no connection between
women workers were on strike against the textile the two whatsoever, neither in concept nor in logi-
corporation Adler, which was boosting its pro- stics. In 1982, several Germans were arrested in
duction due to cheap labor prices in Korea, Rote Rome and Paris transporting explosives and
Zora supported the efforts of the striking women. weapons for the Palestinian resistance. Gerd Albar-
On one night in June 1987, there was tus returned to Lebanon in December 1987 and,
a series of coordinated firebom- for reasons which are still unknown, was put
bings directed against Adler on a tribunal by his own group and exe-
chain stores. The corporation cuted.
soon gave in to the demands
of the striking Korean women. The Popularity Of The RZ
The popularity of the RZ among the mili-
Repression Against The RZ tant left was partly due to their variety of
In Germany forms of actions, with everything from for-
A movie called Operation Entebbe ging train tickets to bombings. Another important
was made about the Entebbe hostage factor was that the strategy of the RZ in the 1980s
drama and the actions of the Israeli was not to kill people. When the Economics Mini-
army. The RZ tried to halt showings of the film by ster for the state of Hesse, a man named Karry, died
means of firebomb attacks. After one such action during an RZ attack protesting the construction of
in January 1977, Enno Schwall and Gerhard the Startbahn West airport runway, the group suf-
Albartus were arrested. Police found weapons, fered a lot of criticism. There were no other deaths
ammunition, fake IDs, and plans for future acti- from RZ attacks after that.
ons. Both men were convicted of membership in
a terrorist organization and attempted arson Concept Or Organization?
and sentenced to a few years in prison. The RZ were more of a concept rather than an
Following the Rote Zoras wave of attacks organization. The slogan Create Many Revolu-
against Adler, a series of house raids against 33 tionary Cells! was a call to everyone to carry out
people were conducted all across Germany in RZ actions. The political orientation was towards
December 1987. Ingrid Strobl and Ulla Penselin contemporary movements, and discussions were
were arrested and sentenced to prison in June 1989 encouraged by means of communiques and other
for supporting Rote Zora. These were the only two texts. This was different from the original concep-
occasions when individuals were convicted of tion of the RZ. Initially, the RZ wanted to be an
membership in or support for the RZ. organized core, linked to movements with the aim
of radicalizing them and eventually forming a
Changes guerrilla. Without ever fully abandoning this ori-
The RZ underwent a change of structure at the ginal aim, the old views were transformed. There
end of the 1970s. Following the Entebbe action, was also unequal development within the RZ.

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Armed groups

Mural on the
Hafenstrae,
Hamburg 1986.
Organize the
revolutionary
front.

There were some RZ, often called the Traditional The End Of The RZ
RZ, which adapted the old model, then there were The RZ concept can only function in correspon-
people who simply made use of the RZ name to dence with a broad movement. Without such
carry out actions in other words, its almost as if movements, the RZ are reduced to an armed form
there were both organized and unorganized RZs. of action, isolated and near its end. Thats exactly
what happened in the mid 1980s with the decline
The RZ Concept In The 1980s of the autonomist movement.
The RZ rejected the vanguardist politics of groups In 1986, the RZ began a militant campaign
like the RAF. against deportation police and authorities with the
The following is a citation from 8 Years RZ slogan, For Free Floods! Fight For The Right To
Two Steps Forward In The Struggle For The Stay For Refugees And Immigrants! This was a
Minds Of People, And Our Own, an RZ text break from the new concept of the RZ. There was
published in 1981: ...We dont think its possible to no broad movement in support of refugees and
carry out attacks against central state institutions: We immigrants for the RZ to work out of, nor a broad
cant pose the question of power! We arent waging a movement within the radical left with such a focus.
war! Rather, we are at the beginning of a long and The RZ were trying to start such a movement
difficult struggle to win the hearts and minds of themselves. In a text entitled The End Of Our
people not the first steps toward a military victory. Politics issued in January 1992, the RZ stated:
The RZ propagated armed struggle from legality. We saw possibilities in our connection to social the-
That led state investigators to call them weekend mes and the refugee campaign for creating a new
terrorists, but the RZ approach proved successful. sphere of action for international solidarity in the
Anonymous RZ members could follow the effects metropoles and opening it ourselves. In January
of their actions directly and convey them to the 1991, the RZ ended the campaign, and a year later
movement. Because RZ members were unknown, a statement announcing the dissolution of the RZ
but also not living underground, they were more movement was released. Although some attacks
protected from repression. Thats not the case for were still carried out in the name of the RZ, that
RAF members, for whom spending their entire doesnt escape the fact that the RZ concept hit a
lives in illegality is a precondition. dead end in the conditions of the 1990s.

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Chapter V

A fighting
movement
The West German autonomist movement, or conception of class struggle, based on looming
Autonome, came about in the early 1980s. Its mass poverty and the dissolution of classical
social composition consists of all social classes. capitalist structures. As flexibility and
Students are many in number, but unschooled individuality take on greater importance, and the
youths and young workers are also involved. The automatization of production rationalizes the
average age of people in the movement ranges from need for human labor away, the situation of
18 to 28. workers is being fundamentally changed. The
Emancipatory movements in the 1980s were results are fewer labor guarantees and less social
not oriented towards the Soviet Union or the security. Temporary workers and the unemployed,
Peoples Republic of China or any other real who face the exploitative conditions of capitalism,
existing socialist state. German autonomists, are not represented by the unions. The self-
therefore, did not practice a politics which was organization of this spectrum, so-called Jobber
based on the old scheme of class struggle. Their initiatives, is seen as a political perspective for one
resistance did not spring from the factories, nor segment of the autonomist spectrum.
did their struggle take place in the factories. Other tendencies in the autonomist
Autonomists reject strict forms of organization movement think its wrong to accept any sort of
and dogmatic world views. There is no ideological wage labor conditions under capitalism. They
or political leadership, as is the case with K-groups. propagate a break with social norms, to drop out of
Autonomist politics is based upon immediate normal society. Some launch projects such as
action and change. Strict hierarchical leadership collectives or self-run businesses to allow for self-
structures are seen as being in contradiction to control over capitalist working conditions. A
emancipatory politics. The highest political more common expression of this outlook is
decision making structure within the autonomist voluntary unemployment, or long-term university
movement is the plenum a meeting at which
every person has an equal right to speak and make
decisions. The autonomists are an undogmatic
movement comprised of different tendencies.
The ideological struggle between communism
and anarchism plays a minor role. The rejection of
communist viewpoints and forms of organization
are a result of negative experiences with the K-
groups. Within the autonomist movement, there
were tendencies from the beginning which
dreamed of a social revolutionary movement.
Thats why autonomist groups participate in May
Day rallies and support workers struggles such as
wildcat strikes and plant occupations. But their
strategies and motivations are very different. Thats
why some people in the movement call for
autonomist blocs at the trade unions May Day
rallies, while others organize independent
demonstrations on May 1st.
Still other autonomists reject any sort of May Day poster
orientation towards the historical workers from Hamburg,
movement altogether. They seek to develop a new 1984.

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A fighting movement

study, and living off of praxis. Militant politics questions the states
public assistance money. monopoly on violence and does not recognize state
Such people see no authority. Autonomists take matters into their
perspective in joining the own hands and utilize forms of protest which go
capitalist job market. The well beyond what the state will allow.
stable institutions of the In addition to militancy, anti-patriotism and
family, striving for social anti-militarism are also important aspects of the
acceptance, and a career autonomist movement. Typical of this are election
are rejected as forced boycotts and acts of sabotage. Elections are viewed
capitalist performance. as a means of legitimizing and securing the rule of
The struggle for those in power.
liberation not only takes Another characteristic of the autonomist
place on the field of movement is anti-Americanism. The USA is
political confrontation, viewed as the dominant and most aggressive
but rather in ones entire imperialist power. America is responsible for the
life. For a majority of the militarist NATO alliance and it directs the
autonomist movement, reactionary struggle against liberation movements
such views are only clung in the Three Continents. Thats why
to during a certain phase demonstrations against state visits by U.S. officials
of life. After a few years, and various actions against U.S. military
Autonomist ban- most return to their normal, mainstream ways of establishments or American cultural centers are an
ner at the DGB living. The corresponding withdrawal from integral part of autonomist politics.
trade union May political struggle and the change in perceived
Day demon- values marks a total break from their previous, Geography
stration in autonomous existence. The autonomist movement is not limited to
Gttingen, 1985. Germany. Independently of one another, similar
Not a single The First Generation movements developed in various Western
hour, no minute, Although the impulses for the autonomist European countries. These movements differed
no wage movement came from people who were politically depending on the local conditions. In Italy, where
dependence. active in the 1970s, a majority of the Autonome the first autonomist movement arose in the late
Retirement were youths. A majority had no previous political 1970s, the movement was very oriented towards
pension now. experience. Most autonomists became politicized the production sector. Another important theme
Photo: Rainer and developed through participation in current was the struggle for squatted houses and social
Recke struggles. Thats what differentiates the potential centers. By the time the German autonomist
in the early 1980s from later years. In the movement arose in the 1980s, the movement in
movements formative years, many more activists Italy was largely a thing of the past.
came from the working class, and didnt bother In Holland, there is a very big squatters
with theory. During demonstrations, leftist gangs movement, the Kraaker. This idea was also taken
of rockers appeared, mainly interested in up in Germany. The Dutch movement is based in
confrontations. Such groupings did not publish the major cities, especially Amsterdam. The same
magazines or hand out flyers. And during the is true in Denmark, for example, where the
autonomist movements first years of crisis in movement is centered in Copenhagen. Squatting
1982/83, most of these groups disappeared. movements also came about in Austria and the
Women involved in autonomist circles in German speaking cities of Switzerland. In other
particular had to deal with this street fighter capitalist countries, although there were squats
mentality and corresponding patriarchal and militant confrontations in the 1980s, there
behavior for a long time. was not an autonomist movement.

Militancy Two Strange Siblings


Differences in political content as well as praxis are At the same time as the autonomist movement was
vast and varied within the autonomist movement, rising, the anti-imperialists, or antiimps, were
and any attempt to generalize about them will also on the rise. The difference between these two
surely be incomplete. political tendencies was mainly determined by
One concept which does generally apply to the their relationship to the RAF. For the antiimps,
autonomist movement as a whole, however, is RAF politics were central, but the autonomists
militancy. Militancy does not just mean a radical were more critical of that line.

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A fighting movement

effective actions on its own without the need for One example of
leading cadre. Emphasis is placed on actions which cooperation bet-
have a political message and which are easily ween auto-
duplicated. Technical tips and political statements nomists and
are published in the form of action communiques, anti-imperialists
distributed as photo copies and documented in was the anti-Air
publications from the autonomist scene. Base demon-
Commando militancy is a part of the movement stration in Frank-
itself, not a separate structure. furt, May 1982.
Most militant attacks carried out in Germany
are done by autonomist commandos. They
number in the thousands, and their range of
themes goes well beyond that of the RZ.

Autonomist Women/Lesbians
In addition to the line of development of the
womens movement in the 1970s, womens groups
with a political base in the autonomist movement
developed in the early 1980s.
Autonomist womens groups arose from the
need to make womens liberation a central political
theme and to focus on the political work of
Although the Autonomen and the antiimps women.
came from the same milieu, their scenes were very Negative experiences with sexism inside the
different. Both tendencies worked together, movements own ranks led to many women
however, depending on the city and the groups splitting off to form gender specific groups. This
involved. As the RAF declined in the 1990s, most allowed them to draw on the experiences of the
anti-imperialist groups disbanded as well. womens movement of the 1970s, and to make use
of its structures, such as womens centers,
Autonomist Commando Militancy bookstores, and other projects.
Autonomist militancy is not limited to clashes Women began making women-only floors
with police and fascists during demonstrations. inside squatted houses, where no men were
Other expressions are attacks on corporations allowed, opening womens cafes, and forming
involved in the construction of nuclear plants, for womens blocs during demonstrations. They
example, or the arms industry, the police and court organized womens resistance camps and
system, state institutions, fascist centers, and confronted mixed gender autonomist circles and
reactionary politicians. their sexist structures.
In this respect, there are similarities between There is no uniform political understanding
autonomist commando militancy and the RZ. within the autonomist womens/lesbian move-
Activists agitate above ground and as part of a ment, and some groups work together with
movement, which they seek to radicalize by means mixed groups, while others refuse to cooperate
of their actions. Actions aimed at killing people are with men altogether. What they all have in
not carried out. Autonomist commandos agitate common, however, is the view that sexism is not a
independently of one another. Unlike the RZ, secondary contradiction, and that patriarchy is a
there is no attempt at organizational continuity. separate, historical form of oppression which is
Even similar names are avoided. Autonomist closely linked to other forms of oppression. They
commandos dont carry out more than one action also share a rejection of reformist demands for
under the same name. The goal is not to form a womens equality inside the capitalist society, and
guerrilla movement. Rather, the aim is sabotage they recognize the need for women to organize
and militant propaganda, a propaganda which is in independently.
conjunction with legal forms of resistance such as News forms and content led to a splitting off
demonstrations. Commando militancy is a way of from the general left and organizational autonomy
making direct action more mass based, not merely for the womens movement. This autonomy
leading to a change in consciousness but introduced important processes, to question the value
concretely hindering projects. The aim is to create structures in the male-dominated society, not to seek a
a militant fighting movement which can carry out perspective in the societys power structure, not to seek

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gender society. Many themes were explicitly dealt


with by womens groups, or were taken from them
into the broader autonomist movement, the most
important one being the issue of sexism is the
society and within the autonomist movement
itself. In many cases, this led to splits within mixed
groups, for example during the preparations for
the anti-IMF campaign in 1988.
The autonomist womens/lesbian movement
reached its highpoint at the end of the 1980s with
its critique of gene and reproductive technologies
and the population policies of the imperialist states
against the Three Continents.
Rote Zora carried out attacks as a part of this
campaign. On February 27, 1988, Rote Zora
bombed the new biology center at Berlins
Technical University shortly before it opened. In
their communique, the group defined themselves
as part of the international womens movement
carrying out an action as a practical expression of
internationalism. It was also to point the finger at
basic research into the spread of information.
Ingrid Strobl and Ulla Penselin, who had
published works on similar themes, were arrested
during nationwide police raids in December 1987
and charged with membership in Rote Zora. A
solidarity campaign for the two women was
organized, and was even supported by many
mainstream elements.

Poster for a influence by gaining a share of power, not defining Fantifas


Walpurgisnight womens liberation in the terms of male roles. This led At the end of the 1980s, a movement of female
womens/ to the creation of free spaces where it was possible to anti-fascists, or fantifas, arose. In addition to
lesbian demo in escape from patriarchal structures. That was traditional anti-fascist work, fantifas also sought to
Gttingen, early important, and it still is important, because the examine the role of women in fascism and in the
1980s. womens movement more than any other needs avoid anti-fascist resistance.
identifying with its own oppressor! (Rote Zora, The special situation of women refugees was an
Every Heart A Time Bomb) important topic for many womens groups in the
Autonomist women/lesbians occupied their 1990s, including the demand for a woman
own political fields, for example making public refugees individual right to stay in the country,
demonstrations on March 8th, International independent of her husband.
Womens Day. Since the end of the 1970s, what are Solidarity with the Kurdish national liberation
known as Walpurgisnacht demonstrations have movement and cooperation with Kurdish womens
been held on April 30th, dealing with the issue of organizations also played an important role in the
violence against women. When the autonomist political direction of the autonomist
womens/lesbian movement was at its height in the womens/lesbian movement in the 1990s.
1980s, many women participated in Walpurgis As with the autonomist movement in general,
Night demonstrations, which usually ended with the structures of the autonomist womens/lesbian
womens festivals. movement began to decline at the end of the 1980s
The political themes taken up by autonomist and their mobilizational potential declined.
women/lesbians are often the same ones which are
dealt with in mixed groups, although with more Triple Oppression
of a feminist outlook. Some themes were taken The discussion paper Three To One: The Triple
from the American feminist movement in the Oppression Of Racism, Sexism, And Class,
1990s, for example the sex-gender debate, which published in 1990, was a result of discussions in
sought to question the very principle of a two the womens movement about the people of

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color movement in the United States and was act on their ideals of social living. Squatting
seen as a critique of the left. This triple collectives seemed to break down the separations
oppression theory, which examined class between politics and private life.
oppression, patriarchy, and racisms as the Important decisions were made during plenary
foundations of social oppression, was hotly sessions. Squat councils were formed as a way of
debated over the next few years. Although triple coordinating between several houses. There were
oppression theory did not postulate a new main no other forms of organization. Nor was there very
contradiction, it did tread on new ground due to much debate about strategy or theory. Discussions
the fact that it questioned classical leftist theory mainly dealt with joint demonstrations and
and dealt with the topic of racism. campaigns which had to do with the squats.
The state was not prepared for the wave of
Sexism Debates squatting actions. Counter measures, such as
Autonomists claim to make no differentiation police actions to stop house occupations, were met
between politics and personal life. They strive for with militant actions and demonstrations which
immediate self-liberation, and that means mobilized thousands of people.
sometime hard confrontations about the personal People who took part in the squatting actions
conduct of individuals. and demonstrations felt as if a revolutionary
The discussion of sexism within the movement movement was being formed which nothing could
has been very important. Men within the hold back. Indeed, the autonomist movement
autonomist movement have faced accusations of became much more widespread within a short
rape, openly named by women so as to force a period of time. In 1981, there were more than 700
discussion of sexual violence and to warn other squatted houses all across Germany, and
women. Such accusations have led to fights, splits, autonomist groups had formed in nearly every
people being thrown out of groups, and years of major city.
tension. Sometimes, women in a group have In May 1981, the squatting movement in West
decided never to work with men again. They dont Berlin reached its highpoint with 169 squatted
want to always have to start at the beginning again, houses. Most of the squats were located in
explaining self-evident things to men and making Kreuzberg, where the movement virtually
them account for their sexist behavior. Mens controlled entire streets.
groups have been formed with the goal of having
men confront their own sexism and develop an An Election Promise Kept
anti-patriarchal position. Autonomist groups have Following elections in the summer of 1981, the
failed when it comes to a constructive discussion of CDU controlled Berlins city government. During
accusations of sexism. Debates about rape have led the election campaign, the christian democrats
many people to abandon politics altogether. had complained about the squatting problem
and promised to do something about it. From now
The Squatters Movement on, police would immediately react to any
At the beginning of the autonomist movement squatting attempt. In the following weeks, houses
were the squatters movement and the anti-nuclear which had been squatted for a long time were
struggle. In the late 1970s, squatting actions gave evicted. Demonstrations and clashes with the
rise to the Autonomen as an independent political police were the result. On September 22, 1981,
force. The strongholds of the movement were the following the eviction of eight squats, a group of
Ruhrgebiet in the Western part of Germany and people fleeing from police were chased into traffic.
the neighborhood of Kreuzberg in West Berlin, An 18-year-old named Klaus-Jrgen Rattay was
which developed into a symbol of the squatting hit by a bus and killed. In the days that followed,
movement. Near the Berlin Wall, large housing there were continued attacks and clashes which
blocks had become objects of real estate resulted in millions of dollars in damage. But the
speculation. Many buildings were empty, others evictions continued. In just a few months, 92
were in poor condition. Because of its relatively squats were evicted. A divide-and-conquer strategy
low rent prices, the neighborhood of Kreuzberg was used against the remaining 77 squats. Houses
was home to many students, unemployed people, were told to sign legal rent contracts or face
and Turkish guest worker families. eviction. This prompted endless debates within
In 1979, a wave of house occupations was the movement, splitting those who wanted
carried out. The activists felt a sense of great contracts from those who refused to negotiate. In
political empowerment. Free spaces were created the rest of Germany, the same strategy was used,
in the squatted houses, where people were able to resulting in similar conflicts among squatters.

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Hafenstrae
No Future For
The System!
Poster for the
international
days of action in
the winter of
1984/1985.

The Lights Go Out On A Northern Light Germany, and the Hafenstrae became a
After 1983, there wasnt much of a squatters nationwide topic. In the summer of 1987, the
movement to speak of, but squatting still remained evicted houses were squatted again, leading to an
a field of political action. Until the early 1990s, escalation with authorities in November 1987.
initiatives such as squatting Days of Action and The squatters mobilized supporters from other
house occupations were used to help revive the cities, the houses were prepared for defense, and
movement. All across Germany, there were still high barricades were built in the streets. It looked
some big ex-squatted complexes which remained as though it was going to come down to one final
in existence at the end of the 1980s, and which battle. Actions in solidarity with the Hafenstrae
were still political centers despite having legal were carried out all across Germany. In Hamburg,
contracts. Some of these, like Hamburgs however, people werent just gearing up for a fight,
Hafenstrae, retained a high degree of political rather new rental contracts were also being
symbolism. prepared for the houses. But the authorities
The large buildings in the Hafenstrae, which demanded that the squatters take down their
housed as many as 150 people, were squatted off barricades themselves before talks could begin.
and on starting in October 1981. In November After the Mayor of Hamburg gave his word that
1983, limited rent contracts lasting until 1986 there would be contract negotiations, the squatters
were signed. During that time, there was a series of and local residents began dismantling the defenses
actions and demonstrations in defense of the in the Hafenstrae on November 19. There was no
Hafenstrae. A very diverse group of people lived battle, and the Hafenstrae achieved its political
in the Hafenstrae squats. Some people had no goal. But this success did not last long. Conflicts
interest in politics and just wanted a cheap place to between the politicos and the non-political
live, while others viewed the Hafenstrae as squatters led to many activists pulling out of the
primarily a political project. These politicos were project. After 1989, the Hafenstrae no longer
the determining faction until the end of the 1980s. existed as a political association. That was the end
In the fall of 1986, six houses in the Hafenstrae of Germanys last nationally relevant project from
were evicted. That seemed to signal the beginning the old squatters movement.
of the end for the project. Activists mobilized for a A new squatters movement arose in
Nationwide Squatters Demo on December 20, 1989/1990 in the former East Germany, shortly
1986. During this mass demonstration, riot police before it was annexed, and this movement
tried to attack the soundcar, which was guarded by exhibited a lot of similarities to the movement in
people in masks and helmets and wielding clubs. the early 1980s. But this movement was soon
Images of these clashes were broadcast all across brought under control by the West German

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authorities. Through a combination of evictions Hameln (between Gttingen and Hannover). The
and limited rent contracts, the movement reached KBW, KB, and some undogmatic groups
its peak in 1990/1991. Most famous, of course, prepared to storm the construction site. Blocs of
were the days of rioting around the Mainzer Strasse people marched in the demo, outfitted with metal
in East Berlin in November 1990. pipes, helmets, tools, grappling hooks, and
blowtorches. The aim was to saw off portions of
The Anti-Nuclear Movement the massive security fences. Huge numbers of
In the mid 1970s, a broad resistance movement police reserves beat the activists back from the
against the construction of nuclear power plants barriers. Riot police on horseback were also
arose. The movement was comprised of activists of deployed.
different ages who came from a variety of After the mass demonstration in Grohnde,
backgrounds and classes. The SPD and DKP were German authorities sought to ban the KBW, KPD,
only minimally involved in this movement. As an and the KPD/ML. Because the KB was not a party,
establishment party, the SPD represented the it was not mentioned in the case, but legal
atomic energy program to a great degree, and measures were taken against it as well. That same
although the DKP opposed nuclear power plants year, when a nationwide demonstration was
in the capitalist West, they defended those facilities organized against the fast breeder reactor in Kalkar
which had been constructed in the socialist states. on September 24, 1977, the police were ready. The
The only radical left forces in the anti-nuclear demo was also taking place in the context of the
movement were the K-groups and undogmatic RAFs September 5 kidnapping of Hanns-Martin
circles from the Sponti scene, although the K- Schleyer. Police were searching everywhere for
groups were clearly dominant. clues, and the leftist scene was facing heavy
In the first phase of the movement, the repression. The nigh before September 24, police
occupation of construction sites was the primary set up roadblocks all across Germany. Around
means of opposing the facilities. In the town of 20,000 people were arrested before the demon-
Wyhl, the site occupation was actually successful stration even started. Despite this, 50,000 anti-
in preventing the construction of a nuclear facility nuclear activists still managed to rally at the site in
there. In 1975, the site at Wyhl was occupied Kalkar. But the creeping police state methods had
during a mass demonstration. The occupation was a profound effect on many people.
able to delay work on the project until a court Its impossible to deny that the anti-nuclear
decision put off the construction of the plant movement did have some success. From 1977 to
indefinitely. 1981, no new nuclear facilities were approved for
The success at Wyhl became the model for the construction, none started their operations, and
anti-nuclear movement. Clashes with police, who no existing plants were expanded. The struggle
sought to clear out occupied sites or prevent them against nuclear energy and the atomic state became Attempted site
from being occupied, were the images which an important political issue. Although the K- occupation at
defined the movement. Two names became groups started to decline by 1979, a number of the nuclear
synonymous with the anti-nuclear movement in militant groups arose due to their engagement in power plant in
the 1970s. the anti-nuclear struggle. The movement was Grohnde on
The construction site at Brokdorf outside of comprised of a variety of people. Many could March 19, 1977...
Hamburg was occupied following a mass rally on
October 30, 1976. Police evicted the site that same
evening. Following this police action, a second
nationwide demonstration was organized for
November 13, 1976 and a third one on February
19, 1977. More than 20,000 people took part in
both of these demos. Hundreds of people tried to
break though the metal fences and water-filled
canals which now surrounded the Brokdorf site.
The militant clashes at Brokdorf became a symbol
of anti-nuclear resistance. The K-groups played an
important role during these confrontations.
The highpoint of the anti-nuclear movement
came during a nationwide demonstration on
March 19, 1977, when 20,000 people marched
against the nuclear facility in Grohnde near

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In 1981, the court order halting construction


on the nuclear facility in Brokdorf was dropped.
On February 28, 1981, an international
demonstration was organized to protest the
renewed construction. Around 100,000 people
took part in this demo. Attempts to pull down a
security fence were quickly halted by police. In the
fall of 1982, there were other mass actions against
nuclear power plants which resulted in militant
clashes between autonomists and police: on
September 4, 1982, in Gorleben, on October 2 in
Kalkar, and on October 20 at the closed down pit
Schacht Konrad facility near Salzgitter.

...and one already look back on years of political activity, Tag X


segment of while others first became politicized in the anti- The starting point for a new wave of protests in
perimeter nuclear movement. Many of the latter went on to Wendland came in the night of April 23, 1984.
barrier gets comprise the ranks of the autonomist movement. During this night, the group Autonomist
torn down... Revolutionary Action toppled a powerline right
Wendland Takes Center Stage next to the Brokdorf nuclear facility. On April 30,
The plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility in around 3,000 people tried to blockade Wendland
the Wendland region in 1979 became the focal on Tag X, Day X, the day when atomic waste was
point of the anti-nuclear movement. On March 31 due to be transported to the storage site in
of that year, a demonstration in Hannover with Gorleben. Around this time, posters calling for
around 100,000 people became the largest anti- resistance on Tag X were posted up all across
nuclear protest ever in Germany at that time. Germany. The day became a reality on October 8-
On May 3, 1980, a demo of 5,000 people 9, 1984. But police were prepared, as 2,000 cops
marched to Gorleben, where the nuclear waste used force to push the convoy of trucks carrying
facility was to be built. Activists proclaimed a Free spent atomic fuel into Gorleben.
Republic of Wendland and 1,000 anti-nuclear
activists began to construct an anti-nuclear village. The Criminalization Of The Tag X Posters
Over the next few weeks, 110 huts were built, The criminalization of the Tag X posters began in
along with a makeshift church and two large the Lchow-Dannenberg region. On June 15,
wooden towers. This village, mainly home to 1984, police filed charges under Paragraphs 303
...resulting in people who believed in non-violence, soon became and 304 (suspected vandalism) of the Criminal
clashes between famous all across Germany. After 33 days, the Code. The reason for these charges was a poster
demonstrators village was evicted by riot police. The 1,000 hung up on a traffic sign. After more posters were
and riot cops on activists who were there offered no resistance to the seized, a court in Dannenberg ruled on June 29,
horseback. police, and there were no clashes. 1984 that the Tag X posters were punishable
under Paragraph 111 of the Criminal Code.
On July 12, 1984, police investigations in
Gttingen were launched against the Tag X
posters. In Duderstadt, two people were stopped at
a police checkpoint and 50 posters were
confiscated. Next was Bamberg, where four people
were arrested while hanging up Tag X posters.
The state court in Bamberg started proceedings
under Paragraph 111 and Paragraph 315b
(endangering public traffic). The state prosecutor
in Gttingen was contacted as well, since the
printers name AktivDruck Gttingen appeared
on the poster.
Because of the posters which were confiscated
in Gttingen and elsewhere in Germany, a trial was
started on August 3, 1984 against two alleged
members of AktivDruck. They faced charges

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under federal laws 111 and 315, as well as This spontaneous development was accompa-
Paragraphs 8 and 20 of Lower Saxonys state press nied by a wave of attacks. Toppling power lines
laws. Also at this time, two alleged editors of became a common form of action, including
Atom-Express, a publication of the anti-nuclear sawing down towers transporting power from
resistance movement, faced charges. On August nuclear facilities.
28, the home of a member of the AktivDruck It was against this background that the
printing collective was raided, as was a printing conflicts around Wackersdorf escalated in the
press and the offices of the local Working Group spring of 1986.
Against Atomic Energy. In the printing press,
police found 3,000 Tag X posters as well as the Pentecost 1986
printing plate itself. Police investigators also On the evening of May 17, 1986, around 15,000
looked for evidence that issue number 40 of people came together at an anti-nuclear camp
Atom-Express had been printed there. organized during the Pentecostal religious holiday.
Except for letting the police get their hands on That evening there were clashes at the Wackersdorf
a great deal of information, the trial against site, and the fence was breached at several points.
AktivDruck went nowhere and the charges were Police fired watercannons and tear gas all night
eventually dropped. long. But attacks on the site continued. The next
day, police special forces stationed outside the
1986 And The End perimeter were forced to retreat into the building
Due to the strong resistance movement in site and police vehicles went up in flames. The
Wendland against the nuclear storage facility in clashes reached their highpoint that night, when
Gorleben, a plan to build an accompanying activists tried to ram the fences with a bulldozer.
nuclear power plant in nearby Dragahn was Police finally had to fire CS gas from helicopters to
abandoned. Instead, the federal government and drive back the crowds.
the atomic energy corporation DWK decided in
1985 to build a new facility in Wackersdorf in
Bavaria. Resistance soon began here as well. After
construction work was started on December 14,
1985, 40,000 people held a mass rally, after which
the building site was occupied. Two days later,
police moved in and cleared the site. On
December 21, the site as occupied again and a hut
village was constructed.
On January 7, 1986, police again cleared the
building site and surrounded it with guarded
fences. This fence became a permanent target of
activists during so-called Sunday strolls around
the site, which often resulted in clashes with police.
During the panic of a police attack on Sunday
stroll demonstrators on March 3, 1986, an elderly
woman named Erna Sielka died of a heart attack. The police were determined to learn their A nuclear plants
On March 31, 1986, police fired CS gas into lessons from the clashes at Wackersdorf. Riot power line tower
crowds of people following a rally by 100,000 police were henceforth equipped with rubber toppled by mili-
people at the site. Alois Sonnleitner suffered an bullets, and new special units called USK were tants, 1986.
asthma attack from the police tear gas and died. In deployed. Anti-nuclear actions in Wackersdorf
response to this, demonstrations, actions, and and elsewhere were met with heavy repression. The
attacks took place in cities all across Germany. Autonomen were not able to respond in kind.
Whats more, public outrage after the Chernobyl
Chernobyl accident began to wane. What happened on June
On April 26, 1986, an accident took place at the 7, 1986 showed just how quickly things had
Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet changed. It was on this day that the Brokdorf
Union. This accident led to a broad inflammation nuclear power plant went into operation. Two
of the anti-nuclear movement. Mass demonstra- nationwide demonstrations were called, one in
tions and actions were held all over Germany. The Wackersdorf and one in Brokdorf. At both
anti-nuclear movement became a mass movement locations, the police were in total control. Despite
almost over night. massive hindrances, 10,000 people demonstrated

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in Brokdorf and 30,000 in guard every inch of Germanys railways day and
Wackersdorf. night. In the Wendland region itself, the resistance
Police had the upper hand movement had become anchored in the local
during clashes at both demon- population over the years. Autonomist groups
strations. The number of partici- were in action as well once the Castor transports
pants and degree of clashes revealed got underway. The number of people taking part
that the anti-nuclear movement was in demonstrations, and the level of radicalism,
in decline. In January 1988, the gradually increased. The third and final Castor
State Supreme Court in Munich transport, for the time being anyway, was
ruled the Wackersdorf construction completed in March 1997, but only after police
illegal. The German corporation fought back the resistance of more than 10,000
decided to cooperate with the French people.
firm COGEMA and moved its ope-
rations to La Hague. In April 1989, The Startbahn Movement
the Wackersdorf project was aban- In 1964, plans were announced to expand the
doned. airport in Frankfurt. At the center of this project
would be a new runway, Startbahn 18 West.
Sticker and Castor Transports Residents organized in opposition to this plan in
poster from the After 1987, things were quiet in the anti-nuclear April 1965. Until 1980, this citizens initiative
resistance to resistance. It wasnt until the transportation of took mainly legal steps to stop the new runway
Wackersdorf, spent nuclear fuel rods, known as Castor construction. The first major demonstration was
1986.The barrier transports, to the Gorleben storage facility in 1994 in 1979. The leftist scene in Frankfurt, Mainz, and
fencing forms a that the resistance movement sprung to life again. Wiesbaden also took up the Startbahn issue. In
swastika in the Because the transports were to be moved by train, October 1980, the first phase of work on the new
design. many demonstrations and resistance actions took runway began.
place on or alongside railway lines. In November 1980, a protest hut village was
A widespread form of sabotage involved constructed on the land which was slated to be
grappling hooks called Hakenkrallen which used for the new runway. The resistance to the
could be tossed over rail power lines to bring a halt airport expansion showed similar strengths as the
to train transportation. Because such actions were anti-nuclear movement. The masses of parti-
carried out all across Germany, police were cipants were local residents, concerned about
powerless to stop them. It would be impossible to increased noise and the destruction of local forests.
Ecology was their primary concern. Then there
were the K-groups and the Spontis, who saw the
Startbahn project primarily as a military project of
the U.S. Air Force.
The hut village gave a great boost to the
Startbahn movement and the resistance became
more broad. In 1981, people began calling for a
referendum in the state of Hesse on the issue.
Activists gathered the necessary 120,000
signatures in May. But despite these efforts, the hut
village was evicted on November 2, 1981. There
were brutal attacks by police on activists, who then
resisted against the police. After the site was
cleared, police tried to build a cement wall around
the construction site.
The Tag-X poster Activists responded with a second hut village,
was used during which was soon evicted, so they built a third one.
various mobiliza- Actions were carried out not only at the building
tions against the site, but also in the cities of Frankfurt and
Castor nuclear Wiesbaden. On November 14, a demo by 150,000
waste shipments people in Wiesbaden handed over a petition with
in the 1990s.This 220,000 signatures calling for a referendum. In
is the original January 1982, Hesses state court rejected the call
version. for a referendum on Startbahn West.

38 Art as Resistance
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A fighting movement

Continuing Clashes
There were continuing clashes with police at the
Startbahn construction site. In November 1981,
anti-Startbahn activists attempted to blockade the
Frankfurt Airport. Activists also blockaded the
highway leading up to it.
As the second phase of construction work on
the runway got underway, a nationwide
demonstration was announced on January 26,
1982, with the aim of occupying the site. On
January 30, around 40,000 people took part in this
demonstration. Police baton charges and tear gas
prevented the site occupation attempt, but there
were hours of clashes with the police. This
demonstration, together with the eviction of the
fourth hut village, seemed to show that this type of
mobilization and form of action had reached its
limits.
Starting in February 1982, regular Sunday
strolls were organized. A broad spectrum from
local residents to militant autonomists joined
together in these marches and walked alongside
the perimeter walls at the Startbahn site. During
these strolls, actions were regularly carried out
against the perimeter barriers. The Criminalization Of The Startbahn Lions Startbahn West
On April 12, 1984, after 18 years of protest During the confrontations surrounding Startbahn opponents fire
and resistance, Startbahn West went into West and the associated brutal police attacks, the signal flares at
operation. One last time, a nationwide so-called Hessian lions or Startbahn lions police. Newspa-
demonstration was called, and 10,000 people took appeared. The concrete impetus for these works of per photo,
part. There were attacks on the perimeter walls and art was the series of police attacks in November November 4,
clashes with police. 1981, in particular the brutal police attack on an 1984.
Despite the opening of Startbahn West, the anti-Startbahn demo in the Rohrbachstrae in
weekly Sunday strolls continued until 1987, as did Frankfurt on November 3, 1981. At first the
other demonstrations. The struggle against Startbahn lions were relatively unknown, but
Startbahn West remained part of the resistance that changed after the criminalization began. At
movement in West Germany. Although the first, legal steps against the alleged makers of the
number of activists steadily declined, making emblems failed. Charges were dropped against two
things easier for the police, actions were still people on March 23, 1982, after a judge ruled the
carried out. following: Political criticism, no matter how harsh
After a nighttime demonstration on the or incorrect, does not constitute a crime under
anniversary of the hut village eviction on Paragraph 90 of the Criminal Code. ... The accused
November 2, 1987, the anti-Startbahn West presented Hesses coat of arms in a certain form to
movement came to an end: An activist from the protest police deployments in conjunction with
autonomist scene took a pistol to this demonstrations against the construction of Startbahn
demonstration which had been taken from a cop 18 West, which they deemed unjust and brutal. ...
during an earlier demo. As riot police charged But it cannot be determined that their act represents
against demonstrators on the night of November a mean spirited attack on Hesse or a insult to its coat
2, this person opened fire on police lines. Two cops of arms.
were killed. The police apparatus responded by But police continued to detain people for
going through all of its collected data on the wearing the emblem, either as patches on jackets or
movement and launched a massive wave of house as stickers, despite having no legal basis to do so. It
raids and arrests. There was a lot of controversy wasnt until a Frankfurt courts decision on
after this, and many Startbahn activists lost November 2, 1982 that all legal uncertainty
solidarity with one another. These conflicts led to a surrounding the Startbahn lions was removed
collapse of the Startbahn movement within a short and all forms of the design were ordered
period of time. confiscated.

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More Than One Thousand The majority of the people in the peace
Court Cases movement felt personally threatened by nuclear
The small, 7x10 cm emblem broke all armament. The USA, by means of NATO, was
the records for criminalization. By fueling the arms race, seemingly pushing the world
June 1984, more than 1,000 court to the brink of a Third World War. Wide sectors of
cases had been opened. But these trials the population were frightened by the thought of
werent just a form of criminalization, total annihilation in a nuclear war.
rather they represented the loss of Demonstrations and actions like non-violent
certain constitutionally guaranteed blockades against military transports were the
freedoms. usual means of this mass movement. But there was
Although most of the cases were settled also a militant anti-war movement, which was how
with a small fine or simply dismissed, the radical forces from the autonomist and anti-
some people refused to bow down and imperialist scenes defined themselves. As elements
accept any limitations on their freedom of in the peace movement sought vehemently to
expression and the freedom of art. disassociate themselves from violence, deeps rifts
There were diffe- For example: On November 28, 1982, were created between the two tendencies.
rent versions of hundreds of anti-Startbahn activists demonstrated
the Hessian Lions near the construction site with Startbahn lion Drum Beats In Bremen
design.The bot- emblems on their clothes. Whereas in some countries military parades are a
tom one shown 40 people were later tried in a court in normal thing, one of the characteristics of the
here is a citation Russelsheim for insulting the state of Hesses coat Federal Republic of Germany is that the
of the SPDs elec- of arms. Around 30 people had their charges Bundeswehr does not make such public
tion slogan dropped after a statement by a learned judge appearances. Ceremonies to swear in new recruits
(Hesse first!) (From our experiences in the Nazi period, we are usually held inside the barracks. In 1980, the
with the Start- learned: Resist from the beginning!) and after Germany army celebrated its 25th anniversary. For
bahn walls in admitting to minor guilt; 9 others refused to make this reason, all swearing in ceremonies for new
the background. a deal and were convicted. recruits were to be held in public. That resulted in
massive protests. The peace movement organized
Anti-Militarism protest rallies all across the country. On June 6,
And The Anti-War Movement prominent politicians from Bonn attended a
On December 12, 1979, a NATO public swearing in ceremony at the Weser Stadium
ministers conference passed the in the city of Bremen. That day saw the heaviest
NATO Double Decision. This rioting which northern Germany had ever seen.
decision had to do with the Army vehicles went up in flames, and some
modernization and stationing of militants made it close to the gates of the stadium
atomic weapons in Europe. In order to itself. The actions on June 6, 1981 in Bremen
calm public opinion, the stationing of became symbolic for the anti-war movement. Late
the weapons was to be accompanied that year, similar attempts were made to disrupt
with arms reduction talks. The recruitment ceremonies. In November, there were
German government fully supported massive militant actions in Hannover. That fall,
the plan, and the weapons were there were also the first ever actions directed
deployed on German soil in the fall of against the annual NATO military exercises.
1983.
The NATO Double Decision was the The New Peace Groups
impetus for a new peace movement. This The rise of autonomist peace groups only had a
movement drew on themes from several spheres of limited connected to the autonomist movement.
resistance. The still-existing old peace movement As with the anti-nuclear movement, it was
tried to become part of the new movement by ideological independence which characterized the
means of its Easter Marches and other actions. The autonomist groups. At the end of 1981, the
struggle against atomic weapons was also tied in, of autonomist wing of the peace movement
course, with the anti-nuclear energy movement. networked itself by means of a project known as
Solidarity with the liberation struggles on the the National Congress of Autonomous Peace
Three Continents was tied to the struggle against Initiatives (BAF). In 1982, the BAF numbered
U.S. imperialism and Germanys arms dealings. 700 regional groups. The groups which comprised
Anti-fascism was also traditionally linked with the the BAF were in solidarity with liberation
peace movement. movements in the Three Continents and

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A fighting movement

organized actions against arms corporations, German Chancellor and


munitions transports, and NATO manoeuvres. Germanys ceremonial Presi-
Nationwide, the BAF mobilized against the dent in a pompous German-
International Defense Electronic Exhibition American friendship cele-
(IDEE), an exhibition which took place from May bration. Due to the planned
18-20, 1982 in Hannover. On May 15, 40,000 stationing of U.S. cruise
people took part in a demonstration against the missiles and other nuclear
IDEE exhibition. There were some clashes with missiles in Germany in the fall
the police. The highpoint of the peace movement of that year, the event took on
came during the demonstrations against the a great deal of political
NATO summit in Bonn on June 10, 1982. Nearly significance. The peace move-
a half a million people protested in the German ment and the anti-war move-
capital against the policies of NATO. ment called for demonstra-
tions in the city of Krefeld.
Haig, Reagan, Bush Before the mobilizations got
There were three demonstrations in the 1980s underway, there was a split
which symbolized the militant anti-imperialist over the violence question,
struggle against NATO. resulting in two separate
On September 13, 1981, U.S. Secretary of actions. The demo by autonomists and anti- Prior to the visit
State Alexander Haig visited West Berlin. A broad imperialists was attacked by police after just 20 by U.S. President
spectrum of peace initiatives, from the Alternative minutes. Of the 134 people arrested, some were Reagan to West
List to the autonomist scene, mobilized for a later sentenced to prison terms. By pure chance, Berlin, all slo-
demonstration to protest Haigs visit. Following the Vice Presidents motorcade was hit with a few gans against the
the closing rally at the Winterfeldplatz, stones. Following the demonstration in Krefeld, President were
autonomists marched on the city hall in the there were no other similar actions by the banned. Police
Schoneberg district where Haig was visiting. There autonomist/anti-imperialist scene against NATO were deployed
were hours of clashes with the police. Images of the policies. with chemicals
riots were broadcast all across Europe and in the and paint to
USA. The idea behind Haigs visit was to show the The End Of The Peace Movement remove all
world public the mutual understanding between In 1983, the media began speaking of a hot posters and slo-
German and U.S. politics as the jubilant masses autumn, meaning the planned actions by the gans in the city
cheered in Berlin. That idea failed. The anti-Haig peace movement that fall. These actions were before the visit.
demonstration also formed part of the political dogmatically pacifist and their non-violent Thousands of
continuation of the demonstrations against public blockades outside of U.S. bases received a great stickers with dif-
military recruitment ceremonies. deal of attention. But once the American missiles ferent motifs
In conjunction with the NATO summit in were stationed, the peace movement collapsed. In were created.
Bonn, U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited West 1984, the BAF changed its name to the Federal
Berlin on June 11, 1982. This brought to mind the Conference of Independent Peace Groups (BUF).
triumphant images of President Kennedys warm The coalitions major action was a planned
reception back in 1963. But a happy celebration of disruption of the annual NATO exercises. Peace
the policies of the ruling powers did not take place camps were organized in Fulda and Hildesheim.
in 1982. The state implemented extensive security From there, the disruption activities were to be
measures, and a demonstration called for by the planned. But the military to decided to call off its
Alternative List as well as autonomist and anti- NATO training in Lower Saxony during the anti-
imperialist groups was banned. Despite this ban, militarist days of action. This resulted in the peace
around 5,000 people tried to gather on the mobilization taking place in a vacuum. But a few
Nollendorfplatz, but they were surrounded by riot thousand people took part anyway, blocking
cops. The riots that followed were the most serious military convoys with their vehicles wherever
ever in West Berlin. Despite being hemmed in, the possible. The BUF also played a role in the
demonstrators were able to break through police mobilization against the IMF summit in Bonn in
lines. Images of fleeing riot police and burning May 1985. The highpoint of this action was a
police cars were seen around the world. But those demonstration by more than 10,000 people. After
who were arrested on June 11 had to pay a heavy this, the rest of peace movement faded away.
price. In once case, a person was sentenced to 5 1/2 From Bremen came a call to mobilize against
years in prison for throwing a stone. On June 25, arms transports by American ships in the harbor in
1983, U.S. Vice President George Bush joined the Bremen and other weapons shipments coming by

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A fighting movement

and data collection by the police became much


discussed political themes in the 1960s. The leftist
scene in particular was critical of the media-
controlled surveillance state and legal restrictions
on fundamental freedoms. The Emergency Laws
were the first decisive step in this direction. In later
years, laws regulating public demonstrations were
tightened, whereas police were granted more and
more powers.
In the 1980s, computer technology led to
more changes which helped perfect the
possibilities for surveillance and manipulation.
Anti-Reagan train. More than 90 local initiatives sprung up, Terms like see-through people, the surveillance
demonstration coordinated into the Committee Against Bomb state, and computerization came into use. Some
in West Berlin, Transports (KgB). In June 1984, a munitions parts of the resistance movement took on the issues
June 11, 1982. transport in Nordenham was blocked, and other of genetic engineering and biotechnology. With
shipments were disrupted by anti-militarist the introduction of cable television and telephone
demonstrations on train tracks. In June 1985, the cards, the expansion of total state control was seen.
KgB called for a mass blockade action in There were several attacks on the corporations
Wesermarch. The shipments were then diverted to responsible for such projects.
U.S. troops by other routes. That took away the
KgBs political target, and the coalition soon The Census, 1983/87
dissolved. The national census taking in 1983 and 1987
Despite all the efforts which were made, the made the issue of state surveillance a broad
peace movement could not be radicalized. It political field. There was a great deal of
remained an anti-missile movement which propaganda against the 1983 census, much of it
disappeared once the missiles were in place. based on Orwells 1984. Mistrust among much
In reaction to the Gulf War in early 1991, a of the population made it seem as though
broad anti-war movement arose to protest U.S. resistance was possible. But the issue was
intervention in the Gulf after Iraqs occupation of temporarily shelved when Germanys
Kuwait. But this was a brief effort. When the short Constitution Court ruled the census in its current
war came to end, so did the short protest form unconstitutional.
Poster against movement. So the census was delayed until 1987 and
the Census, 1983. better prepared. Before the census, a perfectly
The Fight Against orchestrated PR campaign was carried out by the
The Surveillance state. The date for the census was set for May 25,
State 1987, but there was still clear opposition to the
Decades ago, George census among the public.
Orwells novel 1984 The Greens called for a boycott, and left-
and Aldous Huxleys radical and autonomist circles propagated acts of
Brave New World sabotage against the census.
depicted a new form of All across Germany, Census Boycott, or
fascism in a high-tech Vobo, initiatives were organized, in which radical
world under total state and more moderate census opponents worked
control. Some of the together. All individuals and institutions which
science fiction techno- publicly called for a boycott of the census could
logies described by face prosecution. Many Vobo offices, bookshops,
these authors, such as newspaper offices, and private homes were raided
mass manipulation by by police. There were a variety of actions and
means of television and demonstrations against the census, including
genetic engineering, militant attacks such as the firebombing of census
became reality in the offices or beating up census takers. But the Vobo
years after the Second movement had no success. Shortly after the census
World War. Capitalist started, it was clear that only a small segment of the
ideals of progress, population were going to boycott it. The Vobo
media manipulation, initiatives soon disbanded.

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A fighting movement

Groups from the autonomist movement tried census barely found any resonance outside
to organize an Orwell Year in 1984 against of the scene and remained ineffective.
computer technology, surveillance, and data and The bursts of militancy surrounding
cable policies. In particular, the introduction of May Day in West Berlin did not
new, computer barcoded personal ID cards represent a political concept. The
became an important issue. Discussions about actions just one month later against
state surveillance continued, but they didnt go Reagans second visit to the city
anywhere. By mid year, the efforts had been largely showed that the police were now in
abandoned. control in West Berlin.
No new fields of politics came into
The Criminalization Of A Poster view, and no new concepts were developed.
In the cities of Offenbach, Frankfurt, and Munich, The anti-imperialist scene tried to get an Intifada
copies of a flyer from a group called Against The campaign going in 1987. In the Near East at that Sticker against
Current entitled Fight The Census 87! were time, the PLO proclaimed a popular uprising by the Census, 1987.
confiscated by police. Pictured on the flyer were the Palestinian people, the Intifada, both in Israel
images of the eagle, Germanys national symbol, and the Occupied Territories. Leftist Palestinian
from both the Nazi and the post-war era, linked groups organized joint events with the antiimp
arm in arm with their tongues tied together. The scene. During this campaign, the struggle against
person legally responsible for it being published Zionism and the call to boycott Israeli goods were
was arrested; many homes were searched. The flyer central themes. Large sectors of the autonomist
was ordered confiscated under Paragraphs 86 and scene took up this campaign as well. But as the
86a of the Criminal Code (display of an Intifada waned, so did the solidarity campaign in
unconstitutional symbol, a swastika). Later, the early 1989.
criminalization was pursued under Paragraph 90 Many activists sought a way out of this political
(insulting the state and its symbols). stagnation by orienting themselves towards social-
In April 1990, the defendant was acquitted by revolutionary politics. A result of these discussions
a court in Frankfurt. In its ruling, the court cited a was the decision to make a campaign against the
March 7, 1990 ruling by the Constitutional IMF and World Bank summit meeting in West
Court, which basically said that anything which is Berlin in 1988. Autonomists mobilized
open to interpretation can be called art. If the nationwide for a series of actions that September.
trial had been six weeks ago, before the During preparations for the anti-IMF campaign,
Constitutional Courts ruling, then the verdict may several contradictions heated up within the
have been very different, chief judge Bernhard autonomist scene. Men and women split over the
Scheider admitted. (Frankfurter Rundschau, April question of patriarchy. But despite splits among
6, 1990) the organizers, there was still a joint Counter
Congress and a nationwide demonstration in The criminalized
Cold Ashes Blowing In The Wind Berlin on September 25, 1988. This demo, poster against
In 1986, Chernobyl and the struggle against the attended by about 10,000 people and the Census, 1987.
nuclear facility in Wackersdorf led to a rise in the accompanied by a series of
militant mass movement, but in 1987, things militant actions, was deemed a
receded once again. The same old problems which success. A similar mobilization
led to stagnation in the autonomist movement in was made against the IMF
the years from 1982 to 1985 were back once again, summit in Munich in 1992.
namely a lack of lasting structures, no continuity There, over 10,000 people
in the struggle, and a standstill in political marched under the slogan 500
developments. Autonomist discussions and texts Years Of Colonialism Are
now dealt primarily with internal problems and Enough Against The Ruling
the unresolved question of political perspective. World Order! in the anti-IMF
Single issue movements which had once been demo on July 4, 1992.
strong, like the squatters struggle and the anti-war Many groups hoped that
movement, faded away in 1987. Even the anti- such initiatives would give rise
nuclear movement was on the way out, since the to a new internationalism.
days of major actions at construction sites were Solidarity with the liberation
gone. Resistance actions were now mainly focused movements in the Three
on transports of nuclear waste to the storage Continents, especially in South
facility in Gorleben. The initiatives against the Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador,

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A fighting movement

The JuZI in
Gttingen. Ban-
ner in solidarity
with the Intifa-
da, September
1988.

and Palestine, played a big role within the remained at a stand still. With the signing of a
autonomist movement. But no lasting political ceasefire agreement between the government and
effects developed. the rebels, and the transformation of the guerrilla
into a legal political party in 1991, the solidarity
Kill A Multi movement collapsed. What had been the strongest
In 1989, the movement in Germany took up the solidarity movement in Germany dissolved itself.
militant campaign from Holland against the Shell In the 1990s, there have been no significant
corporations support for the apartheid system in examples of concrete internationalism, except
South Africa. Under the motto Kill A Multi, support for the Kurdish PKK. The DKP spectrum
actions and attacks on Shell gas stations were has continued to push its campaign of solidarity
carried out until mid 1990. But in 1990, work for Cuba, however.
fundamental political changes began to come to
South Africa. A few years later, apartheid was
abolished. The revolution in Nicaragua had been a
very important issue for leftists in Germany since
the early 1980s. After the military victory by
Sandinista rebels, a many sided campaign of
support was developed, including volunteer labor
brigades which went to help in the reconstruction
of the country. But by the mid 1980s, many
activists had become disappointed. Instead of a
lasting revolutionary process, capitalism gained
more and more influence in Nicaragua. The defeat
of the Sandinistas in the spring 1990 elections
marked the final end of this development for many
solidarity groups. These groups viewed the
revolution in Nicaragua, and their own politics, as
a failure. At the same time, solidarity campaigns
for El Salvador were organized under the motto
Brochure with Weapons For El Salvador!. A major guerrilla
the motif of the offensive in November 1989 gave a boost to this
anti-Shell cam- campaign. But the revolutionary forces could not
paign, 1989. achieve a victory in El Salvador, and the situation

44 Art as Resistance
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Chapter VI

Autonomist
Anti-Fascism
There has never been a broad anti-fascist were represented. What united these people was
movement, or even an anti-fascist consciousness, their active opposition to fascists. There was no
in Germany. Wide sectors of the society simply discussion of what people meant by the term
deny or ignore the fact that the crimes of the Nazi fascism, nor how best to oppose Nazi groups. For
era ever took place, because many were themselves concrete work, it was more important to simply
a part of it. In the propaganda of the Cold War, get as many people as possible to anti-fascist
anti-fascism was equated with communism. The mobilizations.
theory of totalitarianism also plays a significant In the early 1980s, autonomist groups
role in this by seeking of define communism and developed from this spectrum. In contrast to other
fascism as essentially two variants of the same sectors of the autonomist movement, the
system. autonomist anti-fascist movement was not based
The history and political content of the anti- on a broad mass movement. Many autonomists
fascist movement have largely been ignored or did not even take up anti-fascism as a field of
defamed. Anti-fascist work was limited to a resistance until the mid 1980s.
handful of various political groups and was aimed
at them. Its political effects could only develop Traditional Anti-Fascism
through the cooperation of various tendencies and The traditional anti-fascist organization in
individuals. Germany is the VVN, which was founded in 1947.
In the 1970s, anti-fascist initiatives and The VVN was an initiative of former communist
working groups came into existence to combat the resistance fighters. The goal was to form an
rise of fascist organizations. These anti-fascist organization for all resistance fighters and victims
groups were comprised of a variety of people, from of the Nazi regime to keep alive the memory of the
christians to social democrats, youth center Nazi era and the resistance to it. This was not
activists to communists, all political tendencies simply to take care of the political past. The VVN

Wall painting in
Aachen in the
early 1980s.
Death is a
master from
Germany...Never
again fascism.
Later painted
over by city offi-
cials.

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

Pin of the VVN honors the notion of the united front and such a systematic way, and hence it was a precursor
from the 1940s. mobilizes against both old and new Nazis, and the to the anti-Nazi work of autonomist anti-fascists
The red triangle, group also has taken a stand against NATO later on. A special role among anti-fascist groups
the marking of policies and the sharpening of Germanys asylum was taken on by the KPD/ML in October 1979
political priso- laws, for example. The unity of democrats, the with the formation its Volksfront, or Popular
ners in the con- unity of working peoples, are the pillars of a successful Front. The impetus for this new group was the
centration struggle against fascism. In this struggle, social nomination of Franz-Josef Strauss as chancellor
camps, became democrats, communists, christians, and independents candidate for the CDU/CSU. The BWK worked
the symbol of can and must work together. (Orientation and together with the KPD/ML in the Popular Front.
the VVN. Action Program of the VVN/BdA, adopted in In 1980, the Popular Front participated in the
May 1979) federal elections in voting districts all across
After a few years, the VVN became open for Germany. The number of votes they received was a
the younger generation, as the addition of the title total fiasco. But the organization stayed together as
Union of Anti-Fascists (BdA) to the name a possible leftist umbrella group, but in reality it
suggests. The political course of the VVN is remained in the hands of the BWK. The Popular
directed by the DKP. Therefore, the VVN follows Front took part in anti-fascist mobilizations, but
a very legalistic approach and views itself as a limited its praxis in the mid 1980s to publishing its
defender of Germanys Constitution. Today, anti- magazine, Antifaschististische Nachrichten.
fascist politics means defending the anti-fascist
positions of the federal and state we commenrate The Rise Of Neo-Fascism
Constitutions in a time of a massive restrictions on In 1969, when the grand coalition of SPD and
democratic freedoms. (VVN Program, May 1979) CDU collapsed, the far-right NPD party lost its
Militant or armed actions were wholly rejected influence within a short period of time. The party
by the VVN. The despicable deeds of terrorist was torn by internal feuds and a steady decline in
groups are used as an excuse to take away our civil membership. Party activists abandoned the NPD
rights. (VVN Program, May 1979) Except for and formed new groups and parties which were
some regional ties, the VVN did not work together more extreme than the NPD. The most well
with K-groups or autonomists. But the VVN/BdA known groups were the underground
did receive a lot of support from the East German NSDAP/AO, a new formative organization
SED, enabling the group to build up an extensive seeking to emulate Hitlers Nazi party, formed in
organizational apparatus. With the collapse of the 1971, the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann, formed
DDR in 1989, the VVN/BdA collapsed in 1974, and the Popular Socialist Movement of
organizationally as well. But despite the loss of Germany/Labor Party (VSBD/PdA), formed in
many members and great structural changes, the 1975. A group of greater significance was the
organization continues to exist. The communist Action Front of National Socialists (ANS), formed
influence over the VVN/BdA has declined in by Michael Khnen in Hamburg in 1978. Various
recent years and given way to a more social armed fascist groups arose from these new far-right
democratic and mainstream orientation. organizations. Between 1980 and 1983, several
people were murdered and injured in bombing
Emblem of the The Antifa Politics Of The K-Groups and arson attacks carried out by the far-right. The
Rock Against For the K-groups, anti-fascist struggle was of most serious attack occurred on September 26,
The Right initia- secondary importance. But appearances by neo- 1981 when a bomb exploded at the Oktoberfest in
tive. Nazis were met with great determination. In Munich, killing 13 people and wounding 200
contrast to the VVN, K-groups did not fall others.
back upon the states monopoly on
violence. Militancy was considered The New National-Socialism
normal praxis against neo-Nazis. The new fascist groups drew their militancy and
The only K-group which ideology from the old NSDAP. But most of these
attempted to develop conti- groups were alienated and separated from one
nuing anti-fascist work was the another. After a while, however, Michael Khnen
KB, which established antifa emerged as an integrating figure. Under his
commissions. These commis- leadership, a large number of the far-right splinter
sions did research on neo-Nazi groups were united in the ANS/NA in 1983. The
structures and mobilized to ANS/NA quickly rose to great prominence in the
prevent neo-Nazi gatherings. The neo-fascist scene and was banned that same year.
KB was the first organization to work in Cadre from the ANS/NA then took over the fascist

46 Art as Resistance
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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

FAP party, which remained one of the most Attempts At Organization


organized segments of the violent far-right until it The successful mobilizations
too was banned in 1995. against the NPDs Deutschland-
The first neo-Nazi skinhead groups appeared treffen showed just how big the
in the late 1970s. Skins are not always actual anti-fascist spectrum involved in
members of far-right organizations. Most direct confrontations had become.
skinhead youths are more interested in drinking, In 1980, the KB attempted to
music, and fighting than politics. So although organize independent anti-fascist
Nazi skins could be mobilized for demonstrations groups into a new organization.
and sometimes carried out actions on their own, But this attempt never got beyond
they remain mostly a sub-cultural right-wing its initial stages. But there were
extremist, racist milieu. other attempts to coordinate the
efforts of anti-fascist groups. The
The Rock Against The Right Initiative KB and others called together the
In the mid 1970s, the NPD tried to initiative a Hannover Anti-Fascist Initiative,
new far-right movement by means of rallies and which invited antifa groups from
demonstrations. After 1975, the center of this northern Germany and Frankfurt
campaign was the NPDs annual Deutschland- to a meeting in Hannover. Nine groups attended The publication
treffen on June 17th. this meeting and decided to hold other joint Anti-Fascist
In 1977, the NPDs Germany Meeting in meetings in the future. This North German Information was
Frankfurt was attended by 4,000 fascists from Antifa Meeting became a regular event. Over established by
home and abroad. Neo-Nazis attacked a counter time, the composition of the meetings changed, the KB.The
demonstration of about 1,000 anti-fascists. but the number of groups involved was usually magazine was
Following that experience, antifas called for a about ten. attempt to give
nationwide mobilization to Frankfurt in 1978. On Inside this north German coalition, however, an organiza-
June 17, 1978, 10,000 anti-fascists tried to occupy there was some dualism. Whereas the KB was tional direction
the central meeting place of the NPD at the mainly interested in information exchange, to the new anti-
Rmerberg, resulting in heavy clashes with riot autonomists viewed the meeting as an action fascist move-
police. One year later, a variety of groups formed union. ment.The publi-
the Rock Against The Right (RgR) initiative to cation folded
mobilize to Frankfurt. Hamburg after just four
The RgR was a coalition of political A coalition called the Antifa-Bndnis brought issues.
organizations as well as artists and music groups, together various groups in 1981 who sought to
who sought to organize a broad anti-fascist counter the increasing appearances by neo-Nazi
mobilization by means of a series of concerts. RgR groups in Hamburg. Almost from the beginning,
saw itself as an initiative which sought to unite there were conflicts between the KB and
politics and culture. This idea was taken up in autonomists within the coalition. The KB
many areas. criticized the political approach of the autonomists
In 1979, Rock Against The Right was a big as mere brawling. Some people left the coalition
success. Despite being banned, it was possible to to form Anti-Fascist Action Hamburg (AAH) in
push through a massive anti-fascist demonstration 1983. The founding document of the AAH read as
and the NPD failed to appear. In 1980, two RgR follows:
events were organized. A big concert was held in 1. Anti-Fascist Action was re-organized in
Frankfurt, but the NPD did not meet in February in resistance to the rise in neo-fascist activity
Frankfurt. Instead, the NPD held its meeting in by organized national-socialist and far-right groups.
Philippsthal near the city of Eschwege. This fact 2. The task of Anti-Fascist Action is to
was known before the RgR mobilization started. coordinate, initiate, and organize the anti-fascist
So another RgR event was held in Eschwege as efforts of organized and unorganized leftists.
well. A call went out to blockade the streets leading 3. The goal of Anti-Fascist Action is to overcome
into Philippsthal on June 17, 1980. This action by the mere actionism of responses to fascist attacks and
some 10,000 anti-fascists was largely successful in the increasing reformism and splintering of the anti-
shutting down the NPDs meeting. This major imperialist movement. (published in the brochure
anti-fascist success brought an end to the NPDs Antifa Texte 2, November 1986)
strategy. In the following years, there were no The group AAH formulated a very different
serious attempts by the party to organized public approach than that of the KB. But the political
appearances. goal of AAH also went beyond the political

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

understanding of most autonomists, who develop the reactionary consciousness of the masses
primarily saw their first line of action as the fight and recruit radicalized elements for the national
against Nazis in direct confrontations. All three of interests in the peace movement, for blood and land
these tendencies participated in the so-called north in the ecology movement, and for the hatred of
German anti-fascist campaigns after 1982. foreigners within the social movements. But the
struggle is not to be reduced to a mere anti-Nazi
Emerging From The Sub-Culture fight. Neo-fascist activities and organizations alone
In the first half of 1983, Anti-Fascist Action are not of primary importance for the rulings powers
Hamburg published a text entitled Anti-Fascist nor for the resistance; the dangers lies in fascist
Work Part Of Autonomist Politics. developments becoming intertwined with the state
This text outlined the deficiencies in and the society...
autonomist antifa politics up to that time. They As for the role of autonomist politics in
[the Autonomen] have so far failed to tie their developing a social revolution, the paper goes on as
struggle against visible fascist structures with the follows: The acceptance of the [states] monopoly on
struggle against fascism in the society and the violence will be a hampering defeat unless we can
imperialist apparatus of control. ... Beyond show that resistance is possible, that free spaces are in
informative contacts, they have no common strategy the interests of the masses, and that people can learn to
against the system and no lasting structures. A form live together to focus this newly awakened
of organization was propagated which is different consciousness onto other burning issues. ...
in both form and content from reformist and Experiences with the party control of the
communist party-led structures. The text went on communists, the lies about grassroots politics from the
as follows: Autonomist politics offers immediate reformists, and the perfection of the surveillance state
liberation from outside control through resistance to have so far prevented the autonomist movement from
the system by generalizing information and planning, creating lasting structures and associations. Only
developing all forces according to the actual when we have binding structures, which arent
contradictions and the freedom of each individual to formed spontaneously, can we, for example, bring the
reach binding decisions and create associations. resistance against neo-fascist structures into the
The class forces which are of significance to the context of the struggle against latent fascism in the
resistance and which must be won over were society, the fascist praxis of the states instruments of
characterized as follows: The traditionally decisive repression, and Germanys support for fascist regimes
class forces of the working class are in the ideological in other countries.
grip of the bourgeoisie; their struggles are directed by This text was distributed nationwide and
Typical of anti- trade unions which are part of the ruling power summarized the thoughts on strategy and politics
fascist actions in apparatus; their resistance is directed against social of autonomist anti-fascism from the point of view
1980s, these pic- cutbacks, for job security, and in defense of their of Anti-Fascist Action Hamburg. Although these
tures (on pages national privileges. ... The decisive forces which reject ideas played a significant role in the development
48-50) were the system and seek to disrupt it have organized of autonomist anti-fascism, few people actually
taken during the themselves in the form of a sub-culture. ... The took up these positions.
SS Veterans decisive force which could topple the system remains
meeting in Bad the working class. ... Only when there is a joining of The First Actions By The North Germans
Hersfeld, May the struggles in the reproductive sphere with their Autonomist groups from northern Germany
1983. On the direct actions and defense of free spaces with the mobilized for a demonstration against a meeting
edges of the productive forces will social revolts develop into a by SS veterans on May 21, 1983 in the city of Bad
meeting, the social revolution. The functioning of fascist groups Hersfeld. The fascist ANS/NA also called for a
ANS/NA tried to prevents such a development. They [the fascists] meeting in the city at the same time. When the
stage a march.
Autonomist
anti-fascists
reacted in a mili-
tant fashion to
the neo-Nazis.
Riot police
responded
immediately, by
protecting the
neo-Nazis.

48 Art as Resistance
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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

To prevent auto-
nomists from
seeking cover in
the crowds, DGB
trade unionists
form a human
chain.

In front of their
eyes, militant
anti-fascists are
ANS/NA marched up to the edges of a DGB trade and the coordination and organizing before the beaten by plain-
union rally, they were attacked by autonomists. actions was usually insufficient. But they attacked clothes and
Riot police responded immediately by attacking nonetheless. The resulting clashes made political regular police,
the anti-fascists. Trade union marshalls formed a issues out of the fascist parties and their meetings, sprayed with
human chain around their rally to prevent the and the role which state organs play in protecting mace, and arre-
autonomists from seeking cover from the police neo-fascist events and preventing anti-fascist sted. One plain-
attacks. There were several arrests and many resistance. clothes cop even
people were injured. draws his gun.
Groups from northern Germany played a A Turning Point
much larger role in the actions against the far-right The mobilization against the NPDs party
Stahlhelmbundes in June in the city of Celle than congress in Fallingbostel on October 1, 1983
they did in Bad Hersfeld. In order to avoid being created a great resonance. It was possible to get
isolated politically, an effective form of action was almost 2,500 people to participate in the planned
devised. Today, June 17, we, members of blockade of the meeting hall, making it the largest
autonomist antifa groups, symbolically occupied the action so far of the north German anti-fascists.
Union hall in Celle. We feel this action is an effective Convoys of anti-fascists travelling to city were
means of halting the Stahlhelm meeting in Celle. We stopped at police checkpoints. Because of a lack of
decided on this action after certain forces once again communication, this weakened the anti-fascist
tried to force us out of the anti-fascist movement and action right from the start. The Heidmarkhalle,
who have made antifa demonstrations mere where the NPD were convening, was surrounded
demonstrations of helplessness. (Statement from the by police and barbed wire with only two entrances
occupation group, June 17, 1983) Police forces open. Due to a lack of coordination, the anti-
provided protection for the Stahlhelm meeting, fascists were not able to organize an effective
and it was held. Before the meeting, however, there blockade. It was mainly the well-prepared antifas
were clashes with anti-fascists, during which police from the Hamburg and Bremen convoys who were
used watercannons against demonstrators. able to get past police and unleash a hail of stones
The experiences in Bad Hersfeld and Celle had against the Heidmarkhalle. It took police several
an effect on preparations for the actions being moments to regroup. Then riot police proceeded
planned against the NPDs annual party congress. to force the almost 1,000 autonomists from the
The antifa groups from northern Germany city. There were heavy clashes. The other 1,500
participated in an inter-regional meeting in the anti-fascists ended their actions soon after.
town of Fallingbostel. At this meeting, a joint In the following days, the militant attack on
approach was discussed by antifa groups, DGB the NPD congress made headlines in papers across
trade unions, and the VVN. But the DGB and Germany, and Fallingbostel became an issue
VVN called for a separate rally at the former within the leftist scene. The controversial
concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen, while the discussions led to diverging positions.
northern German anti-fascists propagated a In Hamburg, autonomists working within the
blockade of the NPDs assembly hall. That was northern German scene escalated their conflict
characteristic of the situation in the 1980s. The with the KB. Because of an article in
DGB and the VVN/BdA stood for the concept of Arbeiterkampf , the KBs newspaper, which dealt
spatial separation, holding rallies well away from critically with the Fallingbostel action (AK 239),
neo-Nazi events and rejecting direct action. autonomist anti-fascists occupied the editorial
Autonomists and other radical forces mobilized offices of AK. They confiscated lots of materials
directly to prevent fascist events. But their forces and demanded that the paper print a statement
were too weak to actually disrupt the meetings, from them uncensored. They then proceeded to

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

An arrested anti-
fascist is drag-
ged over the
pavement by
plainclothes
police.The neo-
Nazis, who were
safely protected
by the cops,
could also obser-
ve these scenes.
The picture at print it themselves. The events in Fallingbostel led estimating the significance of the new national-
the right shows autonomists in Hamburg to try and force the KB socialist movement.
an arrested anti- out of the north German antifa scene, which they In particular, Michael Khnens ANS has
fascist being were able to do, partly because the KB was already become especially hyped up by the anti-fascist side. ...
taken away right in organizational decline by 1983. Just the mention of Khnens name is enough to make
in front of the some anti-fascists rush out and put on their helmets
fascists. Differing Political Views and grab a club, ready to go into action even though
The KB did not view Fallingbostel as a success. he and his followers are not very important
They felt that a mass mobilization, such as the one politically.
in 1980 against the NPD congress in Phillipsthal, This viewpoint explains why the KB placed a
had not been achieved. Even the call to blockade greater importance on publishing information
the hall had not been realized. Instead, said the KB, about fascist organizations and groups rather than
there was a brief and meaningless attack on the on carrying out militant actions. In fact, one
Heidmarkhalle, after which police forced the central demand of the KB was for the state to ban
autonomists out of Fallingbostel. fascist organizations.
The KB questioned anti-fascist actions like the
one in Fallingbostel altogether: In fact, as early as The Role Of Fascist Parties
Phillipsthal the question arose as to whether it was Autonomists dont call for a ban on fascist parties.
even useful to chase the NPD around to every little They assume that the state has no interest in
place they go, since they no longer are able to gather in defeating fascist structures. According to
the major cities. (AK 239, page 27) autonomists, the danger of neo-fascism lies not in
According to the KBs analysis, the significance the size of far-right parties or their electoral
of neo-fascism was on the decline. They said the success, but rather their function within the
lack of public rallies and the decline in election system.
percentages and membership numbers of far-right Slogans like Foreigners out! are precursors to
Fallingbostel, parties like the NPD were proof of that analysis. changes in state policy; women, according to the
October 1, 1983. The autonomists, according to them, were over- fascist ideal, should return to their exclusive roles as
housewives, mothers, and sex objects; ... The far-right
parties offer the establishment a means of seeming to
be against the right; ... Whats more, they can always
be used as terrorist reserves on behalf of the system. ...
And fascist gangs can be used against leftist forces, in
so far as they limit the degree to which their anti-
antifa activities draw on historical fascism (1933 to
1945) and remain loyal to the state. (flyer entitled
The Fight Against Fascism Means The Fight
Against The Imperialist System!, anti-fascist
groups, 1984)
Furthermore, calls on the state to ban fascist
organizations are dangerous, as far as mobilizing is
concerned, because they serve to de-politicize people:
This legitimizes the states monopoly on violence.
Calls for bans on fascist parties are based on the hope
that the state (if theres enough public pressure) would
act in an impartial way against the bad guys to rid the

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

democratic society of its undemocratic tendencies.


And this just serves to maintain the lie of the
representatives and proponents of state law and
order, namely that West Germany is actually very
democratic and rooted in anti-fascist tradition this
is the view of the golden middle, which seeks to fight
right- and left-wing extremism. (discussion paper
of autonomist anti-fascists, Theses In Critique Of
State Fascism, for the day of action on November
21, 1984 in Alhambra, Oldenburg)
The re-formation of neo-fascism and its
associated terrorist violence are viewed as a
dangerous development by autonomists. In order
to stop this development within the neo-fascist
scene, the autonomist anti-fascist movement
cannot arise from a broad movement. Rather it
needs to create an orientation towards anti-fascist
struggle. Militancy plays a major role in this. In the During an NPD-meeting in Fallingbostel on October 1, 1983 there were violent
clashes provoced by brutal rioters. One policeman was seriously injured, and so he
following years, autonomist commandos carried had to stay in hospital for several days. He suffered from serious head injuries and
out attacks on fascist logistical centers, meetings, cuts and scratches on his arms. His total equiment was stolen. The illegal attack on the
police officer was photographed. The published picture shows the brutality of the
and neo-fascist cadre. These attacks were not just attack.
symbolic, rather they were intended to demoralize The Verden state attorney is now investigating against a person unknown. The
the enemy, to destroy their infrastructure, and halt charges are attempted manslaughter and robbery. The district government has
offered a reward of 5.000 Marks for information about the unidentified person on the
fascist recruitment. picture.
The mobilization potential for militant anti-
fascism and the direct prevention of Nazi to which only autonomist antifa groups were This call for
provocations was primarily within the autonomist invited, in order to form a new organization. The information by
scene. meeting was held in the city of Lbeck, one day police was dis-
before a meeting of the north Germans. But the tributed all over
Two Tendencies attempt failed, and there were no further meetings. northern Germa-
The concept outlined in 1983 by Anti-Fascist There was also an attempt in 1984 and 1985 to ny. Appeals were
Action Hamburg was adopted by very few anti- initiate a womens antifa meeting in addition to the even made on
fascists. Even the new definition of fascism north German meetings. But this effort was also TV, asking for
remained a minority position. In issue 70/71 of unsuccessful. information
grosse freiheit, a publication of the scene in leading to the
Hamburg, in July/August 1984, some comrades The Struggle Against Neo-Nazis arrest of the
from Anti-Fascist Action published the Anti-fascism developed into one aspect of the anti-fascist
provocative paper Anti-Fascist Action Is Anti- autonomist movement, one of its many struggles. shown hitting
Imperialist Resistance so as to create discussion In addition to the so-called north German anti- a policeman in
within the leftist scene. If a person is just an anti- fascists, a meeting of west Germans from the state Fallingbostel,
fascist, then they arent really an anti-fascist, because of North Rhein-Westphalia developed. The October 1983.
they havent understood fascism isnt the special north and the west kept in contact by sending
interests of capital, the power cliques, or the mass delegates to each others meetings. Antifa groups
movements; the system is fascist. According to this from West Berlin participated in the north
formulation, isolation detention in German German meetings, while in southern Germany
prisons, for example, is an example of fascist praxis. there was limited contact between individual
Anti-fascist struggle, therefore, is a struggle against groups.
the system. The core of this thesis, which speaks of From the end of 1983 to 1985, there was a
fascist imperialism and which characterized the great deal of anti-fascist work done. Nearly every
imperialist system as fascist, was rejected by most major Nazi event was met with a counter-
autonomists. But not all antifa groups, not even demonstration, which autonomists participated
the north Germans, were comprised exclusively of in. Usually these were small, regional actions.
activists who defined themselves as autonomists. Some examples: demonstrations in 1984, 1985,
Many groups were not interested in anti- and 1986 against an international Nazi meetings
imperialist politics, only in direct action against on November 17 at the Soldiers Cemetery in Essel
Nazis. A meeting was organized in February 1984, near Hannover; mobilizations against the

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

ANS/NA and right-wing soccer and banks had their windows smashes, and police
hooligans during the Germany- stations were attacked. In Frankfurt alone, the
Turkey international soccer match damage ran into the millions. Militant
on October 26, 1983 in West demonstrations and attacks continued to spread.
Berlin; actions against the SS On the night of October 1, there were actions in
Veterans meeting in March 1984 every German city with an autonomist scene. The
in Oberaula and May 1984 in Bad unrest lasted for more than a week. The focal point
Harzburg; disruption of the was Frankfurt, where shops were looted and
founding congress of the FAP in people clashed with riot police every night.
November 17, Lower Saxony in July 1984 in Hannover; the
1985, the Sol- Chaos Days in Hannover in 1984, where Nazi In The Sights Of The State
diers Cemetery skins and the ANS/NA had called for fights against The state apparatus was caught off guard by the
near Essel. Police punks; the state congress of the FAP in North wave of actions. Autonomist anti-fascism now
escort old Rhein-Westphalia in Mnster in November 1984; came under greater scrutiny by the states
Kameraden past the SS Veterans meeting in May 1985 in intelligence agency and the police. Part of this was
an anti-fascist Nesselwang; the NPD party congress in Lower the criminalization of the posters from Gttingen
demonstration. Saxony on June 16, 1985 in Stadthagen; the which advertized for the Antifa Wochen in
Photos: Rainer opening of a FAP party office in Dortmund in November 1985. These posters and flyers featured
Recke August 1985. In addition to these examples, there a simple pencil image. This image wasnt intended
were other mobilizations, commando actions, and as a piece of art, rather just a sketch of an idea for a
public campaigns which made autonomist anti- later work (see page 54 of the German edition).
fascism an important political notion and which Although the name KuK wasnt on the image, it
restricted the activities of the fascists. could be considered the first piece of work by the
initiative. The impetus for the drawing came from
One Of Us the movement, for the movement. Whats
On the evening of September 28, 1985, anti- important is that it was the first attempt at
fascists called for a disruption of an NPD public illustrating autonomist anti-fascism in a complex
event in Frankfurt. There were small clashes with picture. The work was criminalized under
the police. At around 9:00pm, a 36-year-old anti- Paragraph 90a (insulting the German state and its
fascist named Gnter Sare was knocked over by a symbols). On November 4, 1985, police raided a
blast from a watercannon and then run over and bookshop, a printing press, and two private
killed. Reports of Gnter Sares death spread like homes. Posters and flyers were confiscated. When
wildfire. That same night, there was a spontaneous the local publication Gttinger Stadtzeitung
demonstration in Frankfurt and several attacks. published the image in solidarity, their offices and
The next day, the autonomist scene all across one more private home were raided as well. After
A person is arre- Germany reacted. On the evening of September that, autonomists across the country began using
sted during an 29 there were militant demonstrations in the image. Another reaction to the criminalization
autonomist anti- Hamburg, Bremen, Gttingen, Mnster, Kln, of the Antifa Wochen poster was the 1986 poster
fascist action in Bielefeld, Duisburg, Hannover, Oldenburg, Degenerate Art (see page 166 of the German
Essel, November Berlin, Tbingen, Kalrsruhe, Stuttgart, Freiburg, edition). The background for the state
17, 1985. Erlangen, Nrnberg and Mnchen. Businesses investigations in Gttingen was the desire by the
police to gain some information on antifa
structures. The only name mentioned in
conjunction with the posters was Ernst Schneller, a
man who often allowed his name to be used for
legality reasons (V.i.S.d.P.) for leftist publications
in Gttingen, and who consequently faced several
police investigations as a result. Despite all their
efforts, police could not bring charges against
Ernst Schneller. After a year, they decided that the
name was a fake to begin with. In fact, Ernst
Schneller was a real person, a famous German anti-
fascist born in 1890, murdered by the SS in the
Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1944.
The states investigations against the Antifa
Weeks poster and flyers were eventually dropped.

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

The Highpoint
Following the death of Gnter Sare, the
autonomist scene began to deal with the issue of
fascism more intensely. One result was the
campaign against the Grtnerei-Mller in
Mainz-Gonsenheim on April 20, 1986. This place
was a significant Nazi meeting point. A huge
wooden barracks there named Walhalla was the
site of annual celebrations for Hitlers birthday
every April 20th. The antifa blockade of the site
became a national issue and the Nazi meetings
there soon became headline news. In the night of
May 21, 1986 a commando named Revolu-
tionary Anti-Fascists Fire And Flames fire- The exclusion of autonomist antifa groups Frankfurt,
bombed Walhalla. The building burned to the from the reformist spectrum was, and is still is, September 28,
ground. almost impossible to overcome. Part of the 1985: Murder of
Antifa groups in southern Germany joined problem is that autonomist antifa groups dont Gnter Sare. He
together much like the northern Germans had. recognize the problem of their political isolation was run over by a
The first antifa meeting in southern Germany was and once they started on a path they often didnt police water
held on May 10-11, 1986. Autonomist anti- see it through until the end. A lack of political cannon while
fascists now had a structure which covered all of imagination led to agitating against the same protesting
West Germany. The first mobilization by this stereotypes all the time. After a few years, many against the
network was against the FAPs first ever national people became fed up with riding all over fascist NPD. He
congress on June 7, 1986 in Stuttgart. Despite Germany trying to break up Nazi meetings. died on the spot.
police checkpoints and many arrests before the Although attacks on Nazi centers and so on did get The picture was
actions even began, a good number of anti-fascists reported in the media, there was usually no after taken shortly
made it to the site of a legal rally organized by a effect. In general, the anti-fascist movement before.
local anti-fascist coalition. Autonomist anti- became politically stagnant. Failed internal
fascists soon split up and surrounded the hall discussions and personal splits within the
where the FAP were going to meet. Many Nazis structures led to political weakness. The result was
turned away in fear, and those that did make it increasing political and personal frustration and a
inside suffered bumps and bruises. The anti-fascist process of degeneration. More and more people
action was a success. But by 1988, the nationwide pulled out of the antifa meetings. The decline of
structure of the anti-fascist movement began to fall the northern German antifa structures was
apart. illustrative of this process. A solid core of people
had grouped itself around these meetings by 1987,
The Bitter End partly losing its ties to the cities. In fact, it had
The attempt to give an anti-imperialist focus to become its own group in and of itself. Despite
anti-fascist organizing had not progressed much being weakened by internal discussions and the
by 1987. Although there was a nationwide auto- resignation of some groups and people, a
nomist anti-fascist structure, it was based prima- demonstration was called against the autumn
rily on anti-Nazi struggles. Years of elevated discus- camp of the Viking Youth in Hetendorf near Celle.
sions had resulted in a vanguardist organizational A total of 26 mobilizational events were organized,
structure. primarily in northern Germany and West Berlin.
In between militant actions there arose a But only about 400 people were mobilized, almost
political consciousness represented by the slogan, exclusively autonomists. This small demo was
In The Struggle Against Fascism, Rely On Our surrounded by an army of police. The result of the
Own Forces! Hetendorf action was demoralizing. At any other
In the early 1980s, there was a strong point in time it could have just been forgotten, but
autonomist movement, and the tactic of preven- in 1987 it was a fiasco. The northern German
ting the neo-fascist formation process by means of meetings degenerated after that, and personal and
militant actions did bring successes. But in the political splits led to many activists quitting.
long run, this approach led to isolation. Politically Intervals between meetings became greater, and
concentrated on a shrinking scene, anti-fascist there were no more political impulses from the
politics was not able to develop any broader group. In early 1989, the northern German antifa
relevance. meeting was finally abandoned.

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

Criminalized A New Concept fascism was not generally regarded a social


poster of the The collapse of autonomist anti-fascist structures, problem. The media spoke only of a few isolated
Anti-Fascist as with the experiences gained from the various incidents. Confrontations between anti-fascists
weeks in Gt- single-issue movements, did not give rise to any and neo-Nazis were portrayed as unpolitical fights
tingen, 1985. new concepts. Many older activists turned their between rival youth gangs.
backs to political struggle, sometimes leaving Its only possible to break through political
behind a text or a paper with a clenched fist for isolation by means of joint actions. Up until then,
good measure. Formulations such as The autonomist politics had always been relative.
autonomists dont make mistakes, they are the When fascists held meetings or carried out other
mistake! were made. Other people continued actions, a counter-demo was called. In Gttingen,
onward with old models. Mistakes and discussions however, an offensive concept was developed.
began to repeat themselves, because experiences Dont wait for the Nazis, rather go to them, put
are very often not re-transmitted in the scene. them on the defensive. The time and place for
Only in Gttingen did a concept arise which was demonstrations was to be determined by the anti-
based on the northern German experiences. This fascists, forcing the Nazis to react. The first time
concept was based on three fundamental points: a this new concept was tried was during a
lasting group structure with a local base, coalition demonstration by the Gttingen Anti-Fascist
politics, and militant actions. In contrast to the Coalition in May 1988.
north Germans, who stressed mobilizations Hetendorf in 1987 clearly showed us what can
against nationwide Nazi meetings, this concept happen when we carry out an action all on our own
sought to base itself on anti-fascist politics in the under the present political and social conditions. ... In
city of Gttingen and the surrounding regions. contrast to this was the demonstration against the
The goal of this was to win acceptance and a place FAPs Lower Saxony headquarters in Mackenrode
for autonomist antifa politics among broader near Gttingen on May 7, 1988. Here, not only were
circles. The main idea was to break out of political we able to mobilize more people from our own scene,
isolation, because only by working together with but we had a much bigger potential for people due to
different social forces would it be possible to halt our coalition work with other groups not from our
the expansion of neo-fascism. At that time, neo- spectrum. In the end, there were 1,500 to 2,000

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

people at the demonstration, who were able to march The Liste D sent election propaganda to 28
right past the FAP center without being stopped by the million homes all across Germany and became
police. And this, despite the fact that there was a black known nationwide. The far-right organized
bloc of some 1,000 people, masked and wearing election rallies all across the country leading up to
helmets and armed with clubs. The cops also could June. The anti-fascist movement and autonomist
not react when paintbombs and fireworks were scene responded immediately. Many new antifa
thrown at the Nazi house and the officers guarding it. groups were formed. There were actions against
People did not distance themselves from the far-right election rallies in almost every city, often
autonomists, not even when at least one stone took out ending in clashes with police. When the DVU and
a window of the house. That is not mere acceptance, the Republikaner failed to win any seats in the
rather all the groups which participated in this European Parliament and their electoral success
demonstration, from the Greens to the DGB trade began to wane, the wave of anti-fascist actions also
unions, were part of this militant action. That is receded. A process of dissolution started once
significant politically, and it made the Mackenrode again.
demo quite unique. (position paper from What did all of this bring us? For the nth time
autonomist anti-fascists in Gttingen, September our weakness was shown in front of our very eyes,
4, 1988) mostly resulting from a lack of group structures and a
The Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition was lack of content discussions among one another. Sure,
formed in 1987 in response to a series of brutal for the moment we were able to mobilize for actions
attacks by neo-Nazis in and around Gttingen. and get people out into the streets, but when the
The coalition disbanded in 1988. actions over, things collapse. These campaigns dont
The Coalition was defined as an action alliance, result in anything.
in other words, there was no political equation of the Except for kicking up lots of dust and perhaps
political positions of the autonomists with those of the stopping the actions by the bad guys, we dont achieve
DGB, for example on the issue of banning fascist anything. Such actions alone dont mean that we are
organizations, rather there was a general acceptance strong. At best they represent the circles we are
of differing positions with the aim of coordinating walking around in, perhaps giving temporary hope to
actions jointly. The idea behind this acceptance was frustrated people and bringing in some new ones. But
to form a broad front against the fascists, to form a they do not represent a further development.
broad anti-fascist resistance in which no one group ...Resistance is only effective when it weakens the
would dominate over another. For us, this gave us the enemy and strengthens us. That means our actions
opportunity to better relate our militant praxis and be must always aim at directly preventing and defeating
better protected from criminalization. (ibid.) fascist activities. Only direct action has an effective
The Gttingen Coalition did display a further character of sabotage. Only direct action can mobilize
development of autonomist politics, but it was a for our idea of a self-determined, emancipatory
departure from previous positions and hence praxis. But such actions needed to be grounded in
many autonomists rejected this approach. The continuing political work. Just organizing a militant
Coalition was the source of many critiques. Some action on its own is empty, it cannot have a political
people were kicked out of the antifa groups in effect, because militancy is a means, not a content on
Gttingen and had to form new ones. The old its own. Militancy can only have content when it
antifa groups eventually fell apart, whereas the stands together with other political work and action.
people who propagated coalition politics went on (Brush Fires And The Myth Of Brush Fires: A
to form the organization Autonome Antifa (M) in Look Back At The Actions Against The European
1990. Election Campaign By The Fascists, published in
Gttinger Anschlge, No.6, July 1989)
The New Wave
When the old antifa groups no longer existed and The Short Summer Of Anarchy
many other groups disbanded, there was a wave of When West Germany annexed the DDR, the
electoral successes by far-right parties in 1989. In autonomist movement enjoyed a major upsurge
January, the Republikaner entered the senate in and an autonomist scene formed in the former
West Berlin with 7.6% of the vote, and the NPD East Germany. The main fields of action for the
entered the Frankfurt city council with 6.6%. new movement were squatting and the struggle
There were further electoral victories after this. against neo-Nazi gangs active in the former DDR.
The NPD and the DVU formed the Liste D (D The autonomist scene in the East based its political
standing for Germany) to take part in the elections orientation primarily on anarchist ideals. The
for the European Parliament on June 18, 1989. reason for this was the experiences of activists

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

under the real existing socialism of East West Germany. Between 1989 and 1993, more
Germany. What they had in common with the than 30 people were murdered in Nazi attacks. A
autonomist movement in the West, however, were wave of arson attacks on refugee hostels led to a
their forms of organization and their militant new public perception about far-right groups. In
praxis. particular, the pogroms and racist attacks on
The main difference between the East refugees in Rostock in 1992 raised international
autonomists and the movement in West Germany public criticism against Germany. The German
was that they did not arise from resistance government tried to counter-act this bad image by
movements against major projects such as nuclear outlawing some fascist groups and supporting
plants or from a hard confrontation with the candlelight vigils. In 1992/93, people in the major
capitalist system. Rather, they developed in the cities were called upon to take to the streets with
situation of a social vacuum. When the DDR was candles in the evening to make a statement
disbanded and before the new capitalist power against racist violence. Many thousands of people
structures had fully established themselves, participated in these vigils. But this was a short-
squatting buildings was easy. term initiative, and parallel to this the state set
For many youths, this provided a field of about to restrict the asylum laws.
action. When state institutions moved in to put an
end to the squatting movement in the early 1990s Anti-Fascist Self-Help
and after many fascist organizations were banned, Autonomists propagated steps against right-wing
the autonomist scene in the East declined rapidly. terror on the streets with anti-fascist self-help. In
But an anti-fascist scene continued to exist with a line with this, an attempt was made to win over
high mobilizational potential. That was shown young street gangs into anti-fascist practise.
during the nationwide demonstration against the At the end of the 1980s, a youth front of
Nazi training center in Wurzen near Leipzig. In groups arose which attempted to mobilize school
November 1996, more than 8,000 people aged youths for the anti-fascist struggle. In the fall
demonstrated against neo-fascism there, the of 1991, the anarchist group Edelweipiraten was
largest antifa demo ever in the former East another organizational attempt along these same
Germany following reunification. lines.
During confrontations with Nazis, people
Hard Confrontation were not only injured, but sometimes even killed.
A wave of unprecedented right-wing terror The most famous was the head of the fascist party
accompanied the annexation of East Germany by Deutsche Liga, Gerhard Kaindl. During a
meeting of this far-right splinter party on April 4,
Brochure about 1992 in a restaurant in Berlin, a group of people in
the demon- masks attacked the right-wingers. During the
stration in attack, Kaindl died of a knife wound.
Mackenrode, This action unleashed a series of discussions
May 7, 1988. within the autonomist scene. The main issue was
the spontaneous nature of the attack and its lack of
planning, and the fact that someone was killed. A
part of the scene was unprepared for the resulting
wave of heavy repression.
Several people were arrested in the wake of
Kaindls death, and others went into hiding.
Particularly hard hit was the group Antifascist
Genclik (Anti-Fascist Youth), a group of mainly
Turkish youths founded in 1989. Up until that
point, the group had mainly only appeared as
supporters on flyers announcing mobilizations or
during trial observations. On November 15, 1994,
three people were convicted of assault and
sentenced to 3 years in prison, and two youths
were given probation. One man stayed
underground and eventually joined the guerrilla
struggle of the PKK in Kurdistan. He fell as a
martyr in Turkey.

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

May 13, 1989:


Anti-fascist
demonstration
in front of
Gttingens
town hall
against a Liste D
election rally for
the European
elections.

Anti-Racist Work mainstream media, gave interviews, and allowed


A number of anti-racist initiatives were formed in photographers and other journalists to document
response to racist attacks and changes in their actions. The group was also engaged in the
Germanys asylum laws. These groups supported effort to create a nationwide organization.
refugees and immigrants in a variety of ways, The Autonome Antifa (M) outlined its
including providing support to refugees living positions in a text published nationwide in 1991:
illegally in Germany. Autonomists were also active We must create conditions which make it possible to
in these initiatives. Other actions included a overcome regional and nationwide contradictions.
blockade of the German parliament in Bonn in Such contradictions come to the surface, for example,
May 1993 when Article 16 (the right to asylum) of when mixed groups break apart due to a failure to
Germanys Constitution was changed. address their own patriarchal structures, when
In the mid 1990s, the tide of anti-fascist and personal conflicts become political fights, or when
anti-racist mobilization subsided. Only a few there is an inability to turn militant intentions into
groups continued with steady work, whereas many practice. We must arrive at positions and develop
others simply disbanded. strategies which will make us a factor once again in
social processes, and with an ability to attract people,
Substantially New attacking the ruling conditions and making politics
In 1990, the formation of the Autonome Antifa with a perspective of change. ... Creating structures
(M) represented a substantially new concept which are accountable means, for us, creating a legal
within the autonomist scene. A form of politics organization. The function of the organization
was begun which aimed to draw consequences would be a point of approach and reference for people
from the past shortcomings of autonomist politics. who wish to organize, and it would be open to
The group strived to make clear, achievable, and contacts with the media. Forming an organization
continuing politics, which would be open to would allow us to reach and work together with more
criticism. Their understanding of anti-fascism was people than before. For example people who live in
also anti-imperialist in nature, and the groups rural areas, older people, etc. We dont speak of an
praxis was tied into various sectors of leftist organization just so that people can join it, but
politics. In addition to demonstrations against because it would increase our organizational and
Nazi centers there were also internationalist financial possibilities. The organization would
campaigns, actions against cuts in social services, assume such tasks as organizing political concerts,
anti-patriarchy work, and cultural activities. demos, agit-prop actions, and so on. In other words,
the step towards forming an organization would be a
A Step Outwards step towards developing the political counter-culture
The Autonome Antifa (M) was the first on a larger scale. Further political work would consist
autonomist group which engaged in an active of political education, seminars, and events. The
media campaign. The group spoke with the organization would mean, for us, escaping from the

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

1994 against the Nazi presence in Detmold-


Pivitsheide. Also in 1994, the AA/BO played an
active role in Aktion 94, a campaign against the
annual Rudolph Hess Memorial March by neo-
fascists.
The approach to historical work by the AA/BO
was also unique to the autonomist scene. In the fall
of 1993, the AA/BO organized a campaign around
the 75th anniversary of the November Revolution
of 1918 in Germany. In addition, there were also
events, exhibitions, and demonstrations
concerning Hitlers putsch of November 9, 1923,
the Kristallnacht of 1938, and the Fall of the
Wall in 1989. A brochure was also published,
entitled November 9th History Is Made. On
May 8, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the defeat of
The first demon- petty-bourgeois rut known as the scene. Political work Nazi fascism, AA/BO groups organized a
stration by auto- cannot be conducted exclusively through personal campaign and published several joint brochures
nomist anti-fas- contacts and sympathies, rather it must be based on and posters.
cists in Leipzig, political goals and necessities. (Discussion Paper In the super election year of 1994, the
May 10, 1990. On Autonomist Organizing, Autonome Antifa AA/BO took a position on parliamentarianism. In
Against Neo- (M), Gttingen, August 1991) contrast to the traditional autonomist line of
Fascism And The calling for a boycott and sabotage of the election,
Annexation Of Between A Plenary Session And A Party the AA/BO tied its critique of parliamentarianism
The DDR By West Because the Discussion Paper On Autonomist with a call for people to organize themselves
Germany! Organizing was tied to a concrete initiative, it politically. The AA/BO organized a campaign and
Photo: Rainer created quite a storm in autonomist publications. a demonstration in Bonn under the motto Take A
Recke A flood of papers criticizing it soon followed. Stand! Choose The Anti-Fascist Struggle!.
Other antifa groups were discussing the AA/BO groups also placed a great emphasis on
question of organizing at this same time. work with youths, something which was also
Subsequent meetings divided people around the relatively uncommon for autonomist groups up to
notions of the form and substance of an that time.
organization. Some wanted coordination for anti-
Nazi campaigns, others wanted to build an anti- Coalition Politics
imperialist organization. Some groups pulled out In addition to its idea of an organization, the
of these meetings. Later on, the Nationwide Antifa Autonome Antifa (M) also presented a new
Meeting (BAT) was formed. Eleven other groups concept with respect to coalition politics: The
went on to form the Anti-Fascist Action/ politics of Autonome Antifa (M) is fundamentally
Nationwide Organization (AA/BO) in July 1992. aimed at making autonomist and anti-imperialist
This marked a new attempt at nationwide positions part of the general discourse. That means
autonomist organizing. The AA/BO was to be an becoming a clearly definable political force, open to
umbrella organization of active antifa groups joint politics. It also means going outside the notion of
nothing more, nothing less. the scene. So its important to work together with
In September 1993, the groups who made up other groups, even ones which are not from the
the AA/BO published a joint brochure entitled traditional leftist spectrum, and we aim to do this.
EinSatz!. In this publication, the various groups (Documentation On The Demonstration In
discussed the foundations of their organizations, Adelebsen-Gttingen on March 20, 1993, May
their self-definition, and their political work. 1993)
Several campaigns against neo-fascist centers There were two classical coalition
were organized. Under the motto Against The demonstrations: on March 20, 1993 against the
Fascist Centers!, three demonstrations were NPD house in Adelebsen with 2,000 people, and
organized against neo-Nazi meeting centers in the June 4, 1994 demonstration against the FAP
1993/94: in March 1993 against a fascist center in Northeim with 2,500 participants.
schooling center in Adelebsen near Gttingen; in Neither these demos nor any other Autonome
April 1993 against the nationwide Nazi meeting Antifa (M) demonstrations were registered with
point in Mainz-Gonsenheim; and in February the police, as the law in Germany stipulates. But

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

there was a demonstration concept, which was wrangling, on September 16, 1996 the charges
made available via the media beforehand. This were dropped in exchange for a fine of 51,000
concept was adhered to. The demonstrations were German marks, which was paid to the
well organized, with clearly recognizable marshalls concentration camp memorial at Mittelbau-Dora.
responsible for communication. But all those Thanks to broad public solidarity, it was possible
taking part are responsible for how things proceed. to prevent the criminalization of Autonome Antifa
The demonstration concept gave the police and (M) as a criminal organization.
authorities an idea of what to expect with the
demonstrations. That was the desired effect. In The Situation In The 1990s
this way, it was possible to push through several In the 1990s as well, the autonomist movement
illegalities, such as blocs of masked has not been able to create accountable structures.
demonstrators. Talks with authorities or the police Such attempts have remained as mere tendencies
only took place by means of the local media. within the autonomist scene. Autonomists have
The black bloc was a part of many remained as mere activists. If you take part, youre
demonstrations, in particular all of the mass either completly in or youre out. Changes in
coalition demonstrations. The function of this generation take place without a re-transmission of
black bloc is as follows: The bloc documents that political experiences. If someone leaves the scene,
the autonomists will not be hemmed in by the states they simply disappear and never return. New
rules of the game. We demonstrate in a form which people or groups start their activities, as always, in
illustrates our self-understanding state laws are not response to concrete situations. Only in rare
recognized, and the states monopoly on violence is instances do these draw on past experiences.
questioned. Even when certain actions by the black The autonomist movement ceased to exist as a
bloc are decided on in advance, that doesnt change large political movement in the 1990s. Only in
the fact that the black bloc has to be pushed through those areas where structures exist, like centers or
against the law. The black bloc has an even greater publications, or where there is continuing
significance during a demonstration against a fascist resistance to Nazi meetings being organized are
center. The message to the Nazis is clear. It shows the there any notable autonomist groups still around.
fascists that this is not a mainstream protest, rather we No conceptional political ideas or long-term
will resist them militantly if they try and disrupt the strategies are being developed.
demo, or if they continue their politics in the future. The militancy of the 1980s has largely been
Also, the black bloc gives us the ability to act, even if lost. Confrontations have been reduced to riots
the only things flying out of the bloc are signal flares or after demonstrations or fights with neo-Nazis.
some firecrackers. Its not wise to develop such There is hardly any autonomist commando Demonstration
activities without being masked. The bloc provides militancy these days. All in all, the autonomists are in Bad Lauter-
protection from the cameras of the police and the losing their relevance. berg in the Harz
fascists. And should the police attack the But fields of conflict do arise, resulting in quick region on the
demonstration, the bloc provides a means to resist. mobilizations, for example against the transport of 61st anniversary
(ibid.) nuclear waste. But no matter how important these of the Nazis sei-
The black bloc, therefore, is used for political short-term mobilizations are, they cant bring the zure of power,
and tactical reasons. The largest of the coalition movement out of its crisis. Without accountable January 1994.
demonstrations were called by a spectrum ranging
from the autonomists to the Greens and the DGB
trade unions. With the black bloc at the front of
the demo, the political weight of the autonomists
at such demonstrations was made very clear.
Autonomist anti-fascism became a deciding
political factor, at least regionally. However, a
nationwide use of this concept has not taken place.

Prevented Criminalization
On July 5-6, 1994, raids on 36 homes across
Germany were aimed at alleged members of
Autonome Antifa (M). Eventually, 17 people faced
criminal charges under Paragraphs 129 and 129a
(membership in a criminal organization; support
for a terrorist organization). After years of legal

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Autonomist Anti-Fascism

The black bloc at gave rise to it are gone, the entire social and
the head of the political situation has changed. Aside from those
demonstration things which are of historical interest and
Fight The FAP! importance, a fundamental problem runs through
on June 4, 1994 the entire history of the resistance movement in
in Northeim. Germany. In the absence of a legal, accountable
organization with a clear content direction, there
can be no political perspective. Sure, the
autonomist movement can continue on in its
present form for a few more years, but it will not be
a political factor without developing an
organization.
That doesnt mean that clandestine forms of
organizing or militant actions are wrong. But
militant actions can only reach their political
potential when they are tied to legal political work.
Anything else simply leads to isolation. The
situation of the autonomist movement brings to
mind the crisis affecting many communist
forms of organizing, which can be theoretically organizations. With the collapse of real existing
and practically further developed and create socialist countries, an entirely new situation was
initiatives, no perspective can be developed. An created. Its clear that many older lines of division
analysis of the rise and fall of the autonomist are no longer relevant today. A joining together of
movement over the years is proof of this seemingly various sectors of the still existing left could open
banal statement. up new possibilities and perspectives. In line with
Experiences gained from the past 20 years have this, an important task is to create points of interest
been mainly of use to the state. The police and to see to what degree cooperation is really
apparatus has been strengthened, and restrictions possible. Apart from this, the process of
on demonstrations and the repression of political organization within the autonomist scene will
resistance have increased significantly. remain a decisive factor.
It would be presumptuous as individuals or as
At The End Of The Road, a group to propagate the general political future.
The Start Of The Future But its up to everyone to take concrete steps
The autonomist movement of the 1980s has long towards this. History is not at its end. So, take part
since been passe. The fields of resistance which in the struggle!

Demonstration
Against The Fas-
cist Centers on
March 20, 1993 in
Adelebsen near
Gttingen.
Photo: Bernward
Comes

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Chapter VII

Art and struggle


The initiative Kunst und Kampf (Art And which seeks to create new social and political
Struggle) arose in the 1980s from the autonomist relations, forms of living, proposals, and
movement as a conceptual idea for a cultural- traditions.
political initiative. The basis for the KuK project is The self-understanding and history of KuK
the acquisition of the notion of resistance as a date back to the years before the group was formed,
conscious instrument in political struggle. during which time its theoretical and practical
KuK works on a new revolutionary art, and a foundations were laid.
new interpretation of culture. There is difference
of content between this notion and the ideas of One of the ear-
sub-culture or counter-culture. liest works by
KuK rejects an identification with a sub- the future initia-
culture which defines itself as an alternative or an tive Art And
appendix to the dominant culture. The very Struggle (KuK).
notion of sub-culture, which is defined in
reference to the dominant culture, implies that
there is a high culture (the ruling culture) within
which its possible to find niches or freespaces for
lower cultural projects (the sub-culture). Sub-
culture is a notion of mainstream cultural
hegemony, which aims fundamentally at the
depoliticization of cultural efforts, because such
cultural developments can by definition only be
variations of the dominant culture. An
antagonistic relationship, such as the one
propagated by KuK, cannot be adequately
described by the term sub-culture. The very notion
of sub-culture is not adequate for KuK. As for the
term counter-culture, although it does imply a
conscious opposition, it is still limited by its
position as an antithesis. The Phase Of Formation, 1982-1985
The notion of antagonistic culture means The autonomist movement usually advertises for
more than mere opposition to the dominant demonstrations and events by means of leaflets
culture, and it goes beyond anti-culture. and posters. The layout for these is usually not
KuK represents the thesis of creating ones own thought out and looks quite random. But they do
cultural impulses, in a dialectical relationship with possess certain aesthetic elements.
cultural capability. Cultural capability means The background to this are changes in the
culture as a total social orientation, something technical areas of printing and layout. What used
which can be fundamentally changed. to require complicated leaden or photo processing
Such change cannot result from a protest or could now be done on paper. Newspapers and
alternative, or from a niche or freespace culture or posters could now be designed on paper and be
movement. Rather it seeks to overcome the ready for printing. Great experience and technical
reactionary social orientation by creating and training was no longer necessary. Anyone could
propagating constructive, emancipatory impulses produce something. The realm of possibilities was
which develop and multiply in conjunction with a made even greater with the introduction of
political movement. photocopy technology. Duplicating, enlarging,
For this reason, KuK is subversive and creates a and reducing were no longer a problem. The
cultural identity from subversive conditions. Its possibilities open to everyone led to a number of
own cultural impulse arises from the movement creative experiments and changes in aesthetic
and is therefore an expression of the movement outlook.

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Art and struggle

Punk Aesthetics texts, and appearances which were wild, it was also
Within the autonomist scene, new printing the creation of fanzines (photocopied scene
technologies were quickly utilized. For publications with small printruns) and record
publications for and from the movement, a covers.
notion particularly adopted by the autonomist In Germany, punk became a broad movement
magazine radikal, these new technologies were in the early 1980s. But the social conditions were
ideal. From the early 1980s, radikal became a sort different from those in Great Britain. The rejection
of model for many autonomist publications in the of the capitalist system in Germany was based less
way it was designed and presented. on economic desperation or poverty and more on
The esthetics mentioned here corresponded in politics even if things werent always thought out
many ways to those of the punk movement from very much. From the beginning, the autonomist
the 1970s in England, a movement whose music movement and the punks were very closely tied.
and fashion were an expression of anti-society The boundaries between the two often
attitude. Punk arose from the background of the overlapped. In particular German Punk, punk
exclusion and lack of perspective of unemployed music with German lyrics, gave rise to a new
youths. The motto No Future turned youths political music movement in Germany.
from a bleak situation into an offensive attack on
the capitalist social system. Because No Future Resistance Aesthetics
was not meant to apply to the individuals The creation of posters usually comes about by
situation. The message was: If theres no future for coincidence. The autonomist scene usually doesnt
us, then there shouldnt be a future for the system! dwell upon the relationship between art and
Flyer for an anti- The punk movement started out in a political resistance. Only in the field of literature does this
nuclear demon- context. Breaking with conventions meant happen to some degree. The KuK initiative,
stration in standing up against the social situation. But punk therefore, was opening up new ground and
Schacht Konrad was also a cultural innovation, a self-created point remains unique.
near Salzgitter, of identification. The esthetics of punk turned The first thoughts on the project came from
October 1982. everything upside down. It wasnt only the music, discussions about the inaccessibility of the content

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Art and struggle

of many posters. Usually the designs showed what The action was propagated by
the action was directed against. For example, word of mouth, because the city of
posters for an anti-fascist demonstration would Bad Lauterberg wanted to ban the
show images of a Nazi march. The image usually demonstration and this would
portrayed a strong opponent. This is a have to be challenged in court.
fundamental mistake, because the design of a Authorities and police prepared for
poster is of great importance, and it must be an all contingencies.
expression of the action, even in the absence of In conjunction with this po-
text. Especially with some sort of anti- action, it ster, authorities opened investi-
must be the resistance which is pictured in order to gations into illegal postering and
mobilize for the action. Showing a strong and vandalism, accompanied by a me-
seemingly invincible enemy is counter-productive. dia smear campaign against anti-
KuK is primarily interested in giving a visual fascists in Bad Lauterberg. Hence
representation of the resistance. Many things the small demonstration of some
printed in publications from the autonomist scene 100 people was accompanied by
are just images taken from somewhere else, shouts and insults from the local
although arranged somewhat differently. There are population. But it did get things
very few attempts to create our own expression. rolling.
In the following years, activities
A Concrete Example against the annual meeting of the
Some of the fundamental principles for the later Kolonialtruppenverbandes were
KuK initiative can be illustrated by the discussions continued. In addition to publicity
and experiences of a small, local group which work such as leaflets and events,
existed from 1978 to 1985: On October 23, 1982, unknown persons carried out
the Bad Lauterberg Anti-Fascist Working Group direct actions against the meeting.
called for a demonstration against the annual One such action was a bomb scare
meeting in Bad Lauterberg of former overseas which caused a great disruption to
troops. The reason for this meeting is a memorial the fascist meeting in 1985.
in the city in honor of the former German
colonialist murderer and governor of German The Characteristic
East Africa, Herrmann von Wissmann. The In conjunction with the incompre-
poster printed for this demo (see page 66 of the hensible nature of the mobilization
German edition) reproduced the motif of the poster in Bad Lauterberg in 1982,
colonialist monument, with the difference being discussions began concerning poster design in
that the original two-meter high bronze plaque general. Next came thoughts on creating original The use of comic
shows a German soldier on a rock while the poster symbolism. The Anti-Fascist Working Group was figures as politi-
shows him standing over a murdered African. The neither communist nor anarchist, nor did it arise cal symbols was
background image on the poster was the flag of the from the tradition of some other organization. So characteristic of
Reichskriegerbundes and the flag of this group it needed to develop an original symbol. So an the 1980s.
during the Nazi period. Both of these fascist image of a local variety of pine tree, with
organizations were predecessors of the present day outstretched arms and destroying a swastika, and a
Kolonialtruppenverbandes, or Union of Colonial clenched left fist, was made (see page 63 of the
Troops. German edition). The figure was
Apart from the very unclear message being almost like a image from a comic
given by this poster, its design in general book, a typical fashion of that
contradicts everything which KuK would later time in the early 1980s. At that
come to represent. time, political comic books
The image reproduces the form of the enemy. were popular in the leftist
In a different time or place, the poster could be scene. The most famous
utilized for very different ends. There is no ones were by Gerhard Sey-
representation of the resistance in the image at all, fried, whose drawings, parti-
in fact all that is shown is a seemingly all powerful cularly the little anarchist fi-
super human being. gure with the worn out black
But the poster is part of the action, so the cap, were used everywhere.
intention is clear. In fact, the poster doesnt even Other political symbols were used
mention the time or place of the demonstration. as well in this type of drawing. For

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Art and struggle

Poster against rather an equal partnership. That can only be


the colonial achieved when people from the movement take it
troops meeting. upon themselves to create a notion of art and
develop it. The role of professional artists is made
redundant by the fusion of art and struggle.
Groups from the resistance make use of their own
notion of art, not seeking to take over galleries, but
rather to develop the resistance. This idea stresses
the collective and is only possible in conjunction
with a fighting movement.

The Movement Needs A Symbol


A series of posters and oil paintings were created
which placed the resistance in the foreground and
which drew ever nearer to the content conception
of KuK. The most significant development during
Frankfurter this period was the re-design of the historical
Rundschau, Oct- symbol of Antifaschistische Aktion, Anti-Fascist
ober 25, 1982: Action. From the beginning of the 1980s, the issue
Exactly 98 of which symbol to use had been a problem. At
demonstrators Antifaschistischer Arbeitskreis Bad Lauterberg first, people unconsciously began to use the Anti-
according to Fascist Action symbol adopted by the K-groups.
police figures example, for its series of anti-fascist books (the This design dates back to 1932. In July of that year,
protested over Russell series), the KB utilized a red elephant with the KPD initiated the organization Einheitsfront
the weekend in its trunk rolled up into a fist smashing a swastika; Aktion, United Front Action. In doing so, the
Bad Lauterberg the sun image used by the anti-nuclear movement KPD distanced itself from social-fascism theory,
in Harz against is another good example (see page 65 of the which had made the SPD the main enemy and not
this years mee- German edition). the fascists. Joint action by the KPD, SPD, and
ting of the Tradi- unorganized persons was needed to combat the
tionsverbandes An Idea Is Born threat of fascism. This united front politics was
ehemaliger In the following years, the themes of resistance and separate from the doctrines of class struggle, as an
Schutz- und art, original form and esthetics were dealt with effort was made to have small business owners and
ber- further. A time of discussions, experiments, and other bourgeois classes take part in this political
seetruppen. searching began. At the center of this arose the idea initiative. But a united front is different from a
Around 1,000 to create a direct connection between resistance Volksfront, or popular front. A United Front
onlookers wat- and art. Not art in the service of the movement, seeks to join leftist workers parties together and to
ched as police
escorted the
march through
the streets of
this small city,
ending at the
colonial soldiers
memorial where
demonstrators
placed a wreath
to remember the
victims of Ger-
man colonialism
in Africa and
Asia. By that
night, the wre-
ath had already
been destroyed
by unknown per-
sons.

64 Art as Resistance
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Art and struggle

thereby reach politically conscious people. Even This does not mean linking to outdated
though class struggle is not primary for the united concepts or continuing their traditions. The
front, its political orientation is still directed struggles of the past only have a limited
against the capitalist system. A popular front does significance to those here and now, and
not make this distinction, rather it aims to gather direct lines of connection can hardly be
together all forces which oppose fascism. drawn to them. The differences in social
The Einheitsfront Aktion soon changed its conditions are far too great. Even the
name to Antifaschistische Aktion. Anti-Fascist content and aims of past movements are
Action was not an organization, rather it was an seldom transferrable to todays world. For KuK,
action coalition. It was based on the idea of there is no direct line of tradition, but there were
practical cooperation. It was not possible to points of emancipatory character within past
become a member of Antifaschistische Aktion, it movements. KuK does not speak of a one-
was only possible to actively help shape it. dimensional continuity, but it does
The emblem of Antifaschistische Aktion was interpret itself in the context of history.
used by the K-groups in the 1970s and later by the The earliest points of reference for KuK are
autonomists. Its historical background was largely the time of the Reformation and the
unknown to most people. The symbol was Peasants Wars from 1524 to 1526.
adopted because it was clearly different from the
symbol of the VVN/BdA and because it Codified Language
represented militant praxis. KuK works on the intention of utilizing forms of The historic
The original emblem featured two red flags speech which are generally understandable, not emblem of Anti-
inside a red circle. The flags symbolized the KPD concentrating on one concrete theme, but rather Fascist Action
and the SPD, and the circle represented a ring of going beyond that to display complex associations. from the year
salvation. The flags flew from right to left. This So KuK often works with symbols and visible 1932 and the
direction was meant to indicate that they were metaphors. These images and forms of colors and new version of
blowing in a leftist wind. In the 1970s, the flags, symbols are referred to as codified language. autonomist anti-
which seemed to be hanging very tightly on their fascists in the
poles, were replaced by two more contemporary Resistance Culture Or Socialist Realism 1980s.
and fluid looking ones. In the formative years of One point of reference is the art during the
KuK, the discussions surrounding this symbol formative years of the Soviet Union. For the first
played an important role. Some of the thoughts time ever, art was developed in the wake of a
behind the creation of this symbol were relevant to successful proletarian revolution. A whole series of
the anti-fascist movement of the 1980s. But the new experiments and theories were created. The
symbol was still not widely used. Autonomists did poster became a decisive medium in the early years
not see themselves as part of the KPD tradition, of the USSR. Because a majority of the population
nor did they wish to join forces with the SPD. So couldnt read or write, posters were used in all
they created emblems which displayed a red and a sectors of social life.
black flag, representing the communist and An examination of this phase of history was
anarchist tendencies within the autonomist very important for KuK, in particular the contrasts
movement. The red flag was the historical between the traditional and realist forms of some
connection to the anti-fascist resistance struggle artist groups and the new, more abstract works by
during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi period. tendencies such as the constructivists.
Also, the flags were turned around and made a bit This phase of free leftist art creation in the
more slanted. This gave the image a more offensive Soviet Union lasted for only a few years. Avant
character. The movement of direction was from garde experimentation was soon banned and a
left to right. The imaginary masses of people under realistic form of art known as socialist realism
the flags are advancing against the right. In the was created. KuK does not draw any points of
beginning, two versions red flag in front of a reference from socialist realism. In socialist
black flag, black flag in front of a red flag were realism, the functionalization of art is driven to the
used. After 1987, KuK used the version with a red extreme. This is a form of art in the service of the
flag in front of a black flag. state, not resistance art.

Historical Ties The Revolutionary Art Movement


As the detailed discussions of the Antifaschistische During The Weimar Republic
Aktion emblem indicate, KuK interprets itself as The November 1918 revolution in the German
part of an historical process. Empire was accompanied by a whole series of

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Art and struggle

Call to defend
the Soviet Union,
by Wictor Deni,
Moscow, 1920.

This poster (right


side) was part of
a hygiene cam-
paign, warning
people to be
aware of germs
and bacteria. By
an unknown revolutionary artistic approaches. In 1918, groups political art of class struggle under the slogan Art
artist in Char- like the November Group and the Workers Is A Weapon. It began a broad cultural campaign
kow, 1920. Council For Art were formed. with exhibitions and other actions.
In 1924, the Rote Gruppe, or Red Group, For the first time in German history, a
In the early years Germanys first communist artists association, was revolutionary art movement had been established,
of the Soviet formed. which agitated in conjunction with a political
Union, posters The Red Groups members saw themselves as movement. Its activists were arrested during the
were an impor- communists first and artists second. They viewed first wave of repression by the Nazis in 1933 and
tant medium, themselves as tools...in the service of the class taken away to concentration camps. Their art was
since much of struggle (Rote Fahne, No.55/1924). Some of the branded degrading.
the population leading members of the Red Group were George Although the approaches which were begun in
was illiterate. Grosz and John Heartfield. To describe the the 1920s were fundamental, they were still
proletarian culture which was being created, the deficient:
KPD came up with term Kampfkultur, the By seeking to functionalize art, the notion of
culture of struggle. art becomes reduced to propaganda.
One of the most important texts from this era In contrast to this, KuK interprets art as a
was Art Is In Danger, an attempt to bring various function which is not subordinate to politics.
thoughts on political art together.
...Make paintings useful. To whom
the revolutionary task of the working class
is not mere speech or a nice idea, but it will
never succeed, that person cannot be
content with working towards it
harmlessly or without form. We must seek
to lend expression to the fighting ideas of
the workers, and the value of this work lies
in its social utility and effect, not on
uncontrollable subjective principles of art
or commercial success... (George Grosz
and Wieland Herzfelde, Die Kunst ist
in Gefahr. Ein Orientierungsversuch,
1925)
Political art groups fell apart almost
as quickly as they were formed. In 1927,
the 11th congress of the KPD in the city
A Hamburg of Essen decided to form a red cultural
docker, by Hein- front. Following that, in March 1928,
rich Vogeler, the Association of Revolutionary
1928.This pain- Graphic Artists in Germany (ARBKD)
ting was created was established in Berlin; its name was
for the 5th anni- changed to the Union of Revolutionary
versary of the Graphic Artists in Germany (BRBKD)
Hamburg rebelli- in 1931. The ARBKD became a mass
on of 1923. organization which propagated a

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Chapter VIII

The search
for discovery
KuKs examination of the history of revolutionary left-radical scene in Germany, in addition to music
movements and their art soon led to correspon- and original forms of literature. Forms of artistic
ding discussions about contemporary leftist art expression such as paintings, sculpture, and so on
and art interpretation. At the end of 1986, a 30- have not played a significant role in the left in
page text entitled The Search For Discovery Germany. There are a variety of reasons for this,
spelled out the theoretical foundations and theses but this text wont bother getting into them. When
of KuK. A few copies of this text were circulated as an approach is taken in conjunction with a
photocopies. The text was meant to agitate within political struggle, and not with the aim of reaching
the autonomist scene. The following is a summary a specialized audience, the poster provides the
of the texts main points, slightly re-edited. perfect medium. Most of the posters from the
political scene are not art, however, in terms of how
The Search For Discovery they are conceived of and produced. KuK
The individual is not the center of the world, rather approaches posters in a different way, however, and
it is the joint collective process which is important. views art as a social task. This makes KuK more
KuKs works come about almost exclusively as part than mere agitation.
of political campaigns and they are a part of these
campaigns. Therefore Art And Struggle is not just KuK Posters
a name, its a program for action. KuK posters follow certain principles, which are
largely adhered to in every work. These are:
Coming Into Being 1. Posters are created in conjunction with a
In its first years, KuK produced works with political movement, initiative, or action.
techniques which nearly everyone had at their 2. Illustrations on the posters use generally
disposal: photocopies and hand printing, although recognizable symbolism.
these only allowed for small quantities to be 3. Posters dont display political facts, rather they
produced. The important thing was that they display and propagate the resistance.
could be copied easily. Hand printing played a 4. Even without any text, the political context of
major role during this phase, but this process the posters must be easily recognizable and
makes it possible to produce color posters of a speak for themselves. That means they are a sort
fairly good quality. Some KuK posters were made of visual history which utilize the
by offset printing, too, however. The eventual corresponding codified language. The main
change from hand printing to offset printing made ideas behind KuK posters should be
it possible to produce much larger numbers in a understandable by people who have nothing to
shorter period of time. Offset printing also made it do with politics. The posters are designed in
possible to reproduce photographic images with a such a way that even in later years they represent
lot less difficulty than with hand printing. Some the dimensions of a political action and the
posters were initially printed by hand and later political conditions.
redone with offset printing. But we never fully 5. The posters dont simply display images related
abandoned hand printing. To make things easier, to the immediate political event at hand, rather
and to resolve some complicated technical they seek to give a general picture of social and
problems, KuK eventually began to make greater political events.
use of computer technology. 6. In creating the poster, an attempt is made to tie
the principles of the agitational effects of a
Why Poster Art? poster with those of a work of art.
The poster is a medium of political art which was 7. The technical production of the poster is done
adopted by the autonomist movement and the with great care and exactness.

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The Search for discovery

Is There Such A Thing As Art? A revolutionary change of the society does not
In the modern capitalist society, art is defined as begin with the destruction of the old power
something which can be sold. structure, rather the path to this is part of the
In contrast to this, KuK follows an under- process.
standing of art which views art as an important Collectivism, therefore, is the driving force
human medium, not a rational principle. behind all revolutionary practice.
Art is not bound to any one form. The problem
of painting something is not solved by What Does Culturally Able Mean?
representing it in a naturalistic or abstract manner, In order to attack the old order and to question it,
rather to present it in such a way that it awakens we first need to have some alternatives for a new
corresponding emotions in people. Art interprets society. These alternatives must encompass all
perceptions and expresses them! sectors of the society and provide realistic
Mastering the medium of art implies that that perspectives. A movement which cannot offer such
which is to be represented artistically can be under- comprehensive perspectives and the fundamental
stood as an emotion. Consequently, art means change of the entire existing power structure
understanding things and associations in and of cannot be revolutionary.
themselves. So artists can only represent those Such a movement is either a single-issue
things by means of art which they themselves (to struggle to achieve a certain goal, and is by
some degree) understand or experience. definition reformist.
Or it struggles for the privileges of a certain
Revolutionary Art social group, and therefore represents certain
Art means creating consciousness, developing interests and eventually sets out on a reformist path
contradictions, pointing out problems, provoking or degenerates into an elevated elitist group. Or it
solutions. Art means intervening in individual and fans the fires now and then by means of political
social processes and seeking to clarify them. This is confrontation and becomes a football for
what separates art from propaganda. Propaganda established reformist politicians because it lacks a
and product advertising try to do the opposite: continuity of struggle and an encompassing
eliminate contradictions, stifle consciousness, hide theoretical analysis.
the facts, provide simple solutions, urge people to It doesnt matter how radical the struggle is.
buy, urge people not to think. Radicalism alone does not imply a revolutionary
content.
The Revolution Is Culturally Able It is of great significance how the people and
Revolution means more than just changing the groups taking part in such a confrontation view
form of the state or just changing the economic themselves, either to what degree their external
power relations. Revolution means complete social appearance differs from the norm or how deeply
change, it means replacing old values, morals, and rooted they are in their theories.
cultural proposals with new and more progressive A movement which fails to understand all
ones. A process of consciousness and feeling is a social events as a whole wanders ideologically more
basic precondition for changing the economic and more to the path of the old society.
power structure and vice versa.
The one cannot be separated from the other. Revolutionary Action Is Oriented At The
The ruling powers cannot be defeated without Development Of A Total Social Perspective
people first interpreting the world in a different Revolutionary action embodies a critique of the
way and adopting a new feeling towards life, society as a whole, its questions and perspectives,
morality, and culture. even if it is only aimed at one issue during a
Even more so: Without the feeling and concrete case.
knowledge of a better world, individual people Nothing would be more foolish than to
cannot even begin to imaging making the become lost is theory and follow a politics which
necessary sacrifices and facing the consequences of has nothing to do with people and their living
a revolutionary struggle. conditions, and which is therefore not concerned
To formulate that in a more positive manner, with being anchored or understood. In the present
the struggle for a new society would be completely situation, its not important to find a final
empty and pointless if, during this process, there scientific proof as to whether communism or
did not already exist a feeling of life and a way of anarchism represents the ultimate truth. Of course
life by which people could overcome the old that doesnt mean that we should abandon
norms. theoretical foundations or social utopias.

68 Art as Resistance
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Chapter IX

The KuK symbols


When KuK was founded in 1986, so was KuKs resistance. The color of this star is of no political
logo. It is a visual representation of the content of significance.
the KuK initiative. The triangular edge could be seen as
Ideas for the symbol were developed at the ideological confinement. The static
time when the text The Search For geometry is clearly broken by the
Discovery was conceptionalized. protruding left elbow. The figure itself
The new logo should represent is the symbol of consciousness. The
elements of conscious political praxis, use of the triangle and the broken
militancy, and autonomist politics. It geometry represent the rejection of
should also show the contradiction dogmatism. The figure is seated
between the creative moment and upright and cross-legged. In this
the semi-legal situation. Also, the way it imitates the triangular
symbol should have a relatively form and seems concentrated.
simple form and be easy to This impression is
reproduce. heightened by the center
After a number of line. The arms are also
attempts, a drawing dating back to some hand based around the center line. The figure is holding
prints in 1982 was adopted. All sorts of designs some type of cloud with a triangle and an eye in its
were used back then for printing t-shirts and left hand, a symbol for consciousness. The figure
patches. One figure was created on paper, but has its consciousness in its own hand. The pistol in
never used, and eventually forgotten. For some the right hand represents that consciousness alone
reason it was kept around, and by coincidence it is not enough. Sometimes practical intervention is
became the basis for the new KuK logo. needed to constructively influence social events.
The face of the figure is hidden by a mask, or
The Symbolism has become a sort of mask. The form and the black
The KuK symbol is black and white. Both of these and white color of this mask bring to mind classical
colors exhibit a great contrast, but in physics they theater masks. The masked face represents the
arent really colors at all because they arent found half-legal conditions under which KuK operates.
in the spectrum of natural light. The extreme The KuK logo was featured on all KuK works
contrast, therefore, is presented by colors which after 1988. It was also produced as a patch. In
arent really colors at all. Black and white represent 1991, 500 pins and 150 pendants were made as
darkness and light, night and day, positive and well. The pins were silver and black, but 50 were
negative. done in gold color. These golden pins were
Contrast is taken to represent contradiction. given away over the years at various events.
The sharper the contrast, the greater the
contradiction. This is in line with KuKs notion The Fish
that in contradiction there hides creative In addition to the KuK logo, many works feature
potential. The KuK logo represents the principle the image of a fish. The fish dates back to the
of contradiction. The figure is comprised of days of the Peasants Wars and represents that
alternations between black and white. the struggle for a progressive society is part of a
The background of the symbol is a triangle, historical process.
which gives the sense of two components Astrologers envisioned that the end of the
supported by a third. Contradiction is not passive, world would come in 1525 under the
rather it creates consciousness. A triangle, constellation of Pisces. Utilizing the printing
therefore, is a symbol of direction, pointing the methods of that time period, some comrades
figure upwards. On the edge of the point of the decided to market this prophecy to the people.
triangle there is a five-point star. The star does not In the year 1523 alone, 150 different books The sketch
disrupt the triangles edge, rather it is a part of it. and publications were produced in Germany which later beca-
The star also represents a symbol of the leftist about this prophecy. One of these was the me the KuK logo.

Art as Resistance 69
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The KuK symbols

For Everything,
oil painting,
60 x 80 cm,
KuK July, 1991.

Practica by Hieronymus Hltzel, published in In the historical workers movement, it was a


Nrnberg. The woodcut image which illustrated metaphor of the struggle for socialism. The fire of
this text interpreted the prophesied flood as a revolution would engulf the old world in flames.
coming popular uprising. In line with this, a red flag seems to be waving
A storm is shown above the heads of the within the sea of flames.
Emperor and Pope, the cardinals and bishops. In the center of the fire, some people are
There is also a star which is guiding a mob of pictured. There is not a mass of people advancing
peasants. The peasants are armed with scythes, on the old order, rather it seems to just be a group
swords, and pitchforks. Their warlike intentions of three people. They are wearing green military
are made clearer by the flag which is leading them. jackets and black ski masks. Their determination is
Although the flag lacks any symbol, a drummer represented by the weapon which the leading
and piper are clearly leading the group into battle. figure is clasping in both hands. The figure
The flood, therefore, is taken to be an uprising by pointing in the direction of the deadened
The Practica by the lower classes against the feudal lords and the landscape also seems calm and not shocked. A
Hieronymus clerics. In June 1524, the great Peasants War broke number of images seem to be shining in the sky
Hltzel, out in the German Empire. above the fish.
woodcut, In 1991, a new interpretation of this Middle But the forewarning constellation plays no
Nrnberg, 1523. Ages design called For Everything! (see page 161 role any longer. It is hinted at by the moon and
of the German edition) was stars in the night sky. The other symbols, which
made. A huge blue fish, with a seem to spring forth from the fish, are the symbols
look of fighting determination, for male and female as well as a human form.
is bursting out of a wall of flames The human figure represents the new type of
into a bleak, grey landscape. The person, which still needs to be created. The old
fish has its animal-like teeth order on the right side of image is devoid of people.
bared. Its fins seem to be turning Grey and bleak, this world seems almost
into a clenched fist, reaching uninhabitable.
towards the flames. Instead of a There are three big industrial smoke stacks in
Biblical flood which will drown the background, sending out clouds of smoke into
the old order, this drawing is the sky. The gasses plunge both the sky and earth
based on a sea of flames. Fire is into darkness. Dead trees dot the landscape. On
an age old symbol representing the right edge, a gigantic cement building reaches
the light of freedom. up into the heavens.

70 Art as Resistance
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Chapter X

Criminalization
of KuK
State repression against KuK began immediately is the surveillance which was done during work on
after the initiative was founded. Whats significant, an oil painting entitled The M Concept. In July
however, is the continuity of this repression over 1993, an artist put up an easel on the Rote Strasse
the years. The highpoint came during the in Gttingen for several days and painted a street
investigations against Autonome Antifa (M) in lantern. Soon thereafter, the political police sprang
Gttingen. into action and began their observations. A look at
Criminal authorities in Lower Saxony police files later on revealed notes describing the
established a special investigating team (SOKO) in artist as a KuK activist.
October 1991 specifically to go after KuK. This After more than two years of intensive
commission made use of the files which had been investigations, 35 house raids were carried out by
gathered by police and the federal intelligence the police in July 1994. Police confiscated several
agency since 1988. A degree of state investigation boxes full of materials. Hundreds of posters
unique in Germany was thus begun. featuring the KuK logo were taken into custody.
Police authorities began collecting all posters, Even an oil painting depicting a riot from the
flyers, brochures, etc. which featured the KuK 1920s or 1930s was taken away by the police.
logo. Every single poster was analyzed. The SOKO Costumes for agit-prop actions, like fake weapons
drew up a table of data on all the posters, broken and police uniforms, were also confiscated.
down as follows: name of the poster, approximate Federal pro-
date of publication, does it display the Anti-Fascist The Courts Decision secutors banned
Action logo?, does it display the KuK logo?, A federal court ruled on August 4, 1995 to allow the flyer Ban-
imprint, other elements, slogans, and other charges to be filed under Paragraph 129. The ned Art Ban-
observations. charges under 129a were dropped. The courts ned.
Everything was looked at in great detail, even decision showed
chemical analyses were done, because imprints that the poster
contains certain types of ink. By November 1994, Fight The Class
the police had analyzed 51 works printed by KuK Justice System!
and cataloged them in separated investigative files. and the brochure
Of particular interest to the authorities was the Banned Art did
poster Fight The Class Justice System!, produced not fulfill the re-
in May 1993 for a public discussion event quirements for a
featuring former RAF prisoners. The event was crime under Para-
observed by the police, but authorities had no graph 129a. But
grounds for criminalizing it. But in the end the the poster Stop
state decided to use the poster for the event as an State Terrorism
excuse to launch a Paragraph 129a investigation, Fight Back! was
support for a terrorist organization. Authorities still under investi-
declared that KuK was a support organization (the gation. Authorities
propaganda wing) for Autonome Antifa (M). This tried to say that this
made certain legal technicalities unnecessary. By work was a call for
claiming the group was supporting a terrorist people to commit
organization, it made it easier to launch a crimes (riot and
comprehensive surveillance campaign against assault). Only when
Autonome Antifa (M). the entire case was
But the states investigations of KuK went well brought to a close
beyond analyzing the printed works. One example on September 16,

Art as Resistance 71
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Criminalization of KuK

A KuK activist in the Protection of the Constitution. In various state


a mask of Inte- intelligence reports, KuK posters are featured. The
rior Minister chapter on the Autonomen in Lower Saxonys
Zimmermann annual intelligence report for the year 1991
(CSU) during an featured the following: Several initiatives in
anti-fascist acti- Gttingen formed around the issue of anti-fascist
on in Essel, struggle. These are closely linked to the Initiative
November 17, Art And Struggle (KuK). An agit-prop action on
1985. Photo: October 2, 1992 was investigated on charges of
Rainer Recke insulting the police.
1993: In July, police agents observe the making of
an oil painting in Gttingen. Following a TV
report on a KuK exhibition in August, state police
attempt to confiscate all of the video material from
the journalist who produced the piece.
1996 was the criminalization of this poster 1994: During major raids against the Autonome
abandoned. Antifa (M) in early July, authorities are especially
interested in KuK materials. Posters, postcards, oil
Notable State Intelligence Actions Against KuK paintings, and other works are confiscated. The
1985: Criminalization of the sketch Preparing poster Fight The Class Justice System! is
For The Struggle. Reason: inciting criminal investigated under Paragraph 129a, support for a
activity and insulting the state and its symbols. terrorist organization.
Legal measures are taken against a poster and a 1995: In January 1995, the brochure for the
flyer. exhibition Verbotene Kunst (Banned Art) is
1986: On the evening of December 1, 1986, riot criminalized. The brochure is alleged to show
police surround the JuZI youth center in support for a terrorist organization. In May, two
Gttingen and raid it. An oil painting entitled anti-fascists involved in the trial against Autonome
The Indirect Perspective and an easel are Antifa (M) are charged with being the sole
confiscated by police. members of the KuK initiative.
1988: The poster We Fight The Fascists Lets 1996: The poster Stop State Terrorism Fight
Organize The Struggle Ourselves!, part of the Back! is charged for inciting criminal activity,
mobilization for the demonstration against the namely riot and assault. On September 16, 1996,
FAP center in Mackenrode near Gttingen on the charges against Autonome Antifa (M), and
May 7, 1988, and the poster All Will Fall, part of KuK, are dropped.
the mobilization against the annual militarist and 1997/1998: The travelling exhibition Banned
revisionist meeting in Gttingen on September 9, Art, which has been on the road through
1988, are investigated. The reason: Paragraph 303, Germany since 1995, is regularly observed by
inciting criminal activity. The first poster is also plainclothes police and intelligence agents.
being investigated by police at the request of two
fascists, Karl Polacek (FAP) and Hans-Michael
Fiedler (NPD). Both feel they have been insulted
by being called fascists.
1989: The poster Sabotage The Elections,
created in conjunction with the 1989 elections for
the European Parliament, is confiscated during a
postering action in Hamburg. It is investigated as
an incitement to criminal activity.
1990/91: During an agit-prop action on October
2, 1990, the evening before Germanys
reunification, thousands of imitation 100 mark
bills are distributed on the Marktplatz in
Gttingen. A Neanderthal and a banana are
pictured on the bills. Authorities open an
investigation into counterfeiting.
Hanging up KuK 1992: It goes without saying that KuK was
posters, 1989. observed by the Verfassungsschutz, the Office for

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Chapter XI

Surveillance
while painting
Its not only KuK posters that face criminalization, One such lantern is located in Gttingen on a
oil paintings as well get destroyed, confiscated, and small square in the Rote Strasse, where the incident
observed by police. On the evening of December took place. In order to preserve the authenticity,
1, 1986, riot police surrounded and raided the the lantern and the details on the buildings were
JuZI youth center in Gttingen. The reason for the painted while standing on the Rote Strasse itself.
police action was a meeting taking place in In June and July 1993, the artist was busy for
response to the eviction of three squatted houses several weeks in the Rote Strasse. This was not only
earlier that day. Around 400 people in the youth of interest to passers by, but also to police. Written
center had their ID cards checked by the cops. notes by an officer of the state political police gave
Police also destroyed several works by KuK which a detailed description of his observations of the
were still being exhibited in the building. The back artist at work.
of the oil painting Indirect Perspective (see page The painting ritual in the Rote Strasse
167 of the German edition) was used as a backdrop developed into a sort of spectacle, with a TV crew
for photographing suspects. In the end, one visiting the scene and a KuK exhibition being
policeman took the painting and the easel away. organized nearby. When a TV journalist asked
In January 1987, a claim was filed against the police if they had any comment concerning the
state of Lower Saxony for damages to the painting. works by KuK, state police from Lower Saxony
It seems that the claimant will not be satisfied sprung into action, seeking precise details about
with the explanation that its impossible to the planned exhibition. Afterwards, state police
determine which officers were responsible for the tried to confiscate all of the journalists video
confiscation. For one thing, that is difficult to materials.
believe, and secondly, that does not in any way
alter the duty of the state to pay compensation, Confiscations Painting The M
because the damage could only have been caused During the raids in July 1994, one KuK oil Concept on the
by the police. (letter from lawyer Ahrens to the painting of a riot from the 1920s or 1930s was streets in
Gttingen city council, January 7, 1987) confiscated. Because this painting was displayed downtown
After a lot of legal wrangling, the city during several actions, it was used as evidence to Gttingen.
government decided that a court case could end in try and prove that certain individuals were Photo: Bernward
an embarrassing defeat. They agreed to reach a members of KuK. Comes
settlement at the end of 1989. In compensation for
the damaged painting, the city paid 2,500 German
marks, in addition to lawyers fees. After this, the
court suit was dropped in January 1990.

Oil Painting Observations


Since 1992, an artist had been working on an oil
painting entitled The M Concept. The painting
features a number of different elements, all of them
related to the political concept of the Autonome
Antifa (M), for example the New Years
demonstration in 1991/92. In order to emphasize
certain episodes, many details and portraits are
featured in the painting. So in one scene, where
neo-Nazis are being chased off by autonomist anti-
fascists, a lantern is of great significance.

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Detail from the oil painting The M-Concept, KuK 19941997.

74 Art as Resistance
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Chapter XII

The exhibitions
of KuK
In order to propagate the ideas of KuK and to go for those affected by it. By this time, new people
on the offensive against the states attempts at had joined KuK, and the content of the exhibition
criminalization, the first exhibitions of KuK works was expanded. The new concept was to be partly
were organized as early as 1986/87. Small catalogs historical and would feature posters from all fields
were produced for these exhibitions and editions of resistance in the autonomist movement.
of 200 or so copies were distributed as Research for this exhibition lasted into 1991, and
photocopies. new parts were continually added to the
The first KuK exhibition was from November exhibition. But it became clear that a project in
24-29, 1986 in the Youth Center in downtown which all aspects of resistance are represented by
Gttingen. posters would remain deficient. It was often
From this initiative came the exhibition difficult to still find many posters which were more
Images From The Resistance, which ran from than two or three years old. The conceptual
March 1-15, 1987 in the Ex, a cafe in Mehringhof approach and the background content which KuK
in Berlin. This same exhibition was also shown in required could not be matched. For most of the
Cafe Klatsch in Wiesbaden. posters, there was no other accompanying
information available. Still, in the end an
The Art As Resistance Exhibition, 1990-1992 exhibition of 34 posters from various fields of
After 1988, when a whole series of KuK posters resistance was assembled. The exhibition was
were criminalized, the idea arose to come up with a divided into a historical section and a
new exhibition concept. The aim would be to contemporary section.
heighten awareness about the repression against In the historical section, art from the resistance
the anti-fascist resistance and to organize solidarity to fascism was displayed. The aim was to present

Setting up the
Art As Resi-
stance exhibiti-
on, Kiel, March
1990.

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The exhibitions of KuK

presentation of resistance culture. So, each


exhibition was accompanied by a music concert.
Sometime the group Schwarze Feuer from
Gttingen played. The band The Ende from
Hildesheim travelled with the exhibition all across
Germany. In 1991, this experiment came to an end
because everyone active in the project had reached
the end of their strength.
(For the dates and locations of the exhibition
Art As Resistance, 1990-1992, see pages 84-84
of the German edition.)

Banned Art
KuK reacted swiftly to the police raids in July
1994. In early November, an exhibition of
criminalized posters and oil paintings was put on
display in Gttingen. An accompanying brochure
The exhibition the various artistic tendencies and their views. The entitled Verbotene Kunst was also published.
Art As main focus was on the political DaDa movement This brochure, Banned Art, was quickly banned.
Resistance on from the 1920s, the anti-fascist resistance Despite being illegal, the posters and
October 9, 1994 movement in Germany up until 1945, and brochures continued to be distributed. Parts of old
in Gttingen. German anti-fascist artists living in exile. Eighteen exhibitions also helped give rise to the new project
artists were featured, including Lea Grundig, Banned Art. This exhibition, in addition to a
George Grosz, and the brothers Wieland historical section, featured 35 criminalized KuK
Herzfelde and John Heartfield. The contemporary posters, oil paintings, and actions, and was
section featured resistance movements such as organized in conjunction with anti-repression
anti-fascism, the census boycott, the womens events. The opening of this travelling exhibition
movement, Startbahn West, the anti-nuclear was in Berlin in 1995.
movement, squatting struggles, anti-imperialism (For the dates and locations of the exhibition
and the armed groups, and internationalism. The Banned Art, see page 86 of the German edition.)
catalog which was planned to accompany the
exhibition was never published, however. The aim An Idea Spreads
of these exhibitions was to offer a comprehensive It was these exhibitions which helped make the
name KuK more known to people. One of the
initial goals of the initiative, however, namely for
groups from the resistance to make use of KuKs
works for their own efforts, found little resonance.
Even the attempt to inspire people to act on their
own ideas and inspirations had little effect.
It was only with the beginning of an organized
approach to anti-fascism in the 1990s that the idea
began to spread. Now the KuK logo is being used
on posters and stickers in Lower Saxony, Baden-
Wrttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen and
Saxony.

Chapter XIII:
The complete list of works by KuK can be found
on pages 8790 of the German edition.
The names of various German organizations and
other words often replaced by abbreviations are
KuK motifs translated in the English version of the book. See
were also used page 91 of the German edition for the correct
by other groups German spellings of these names.
for their The full list of recommended German literature
own actions. can be found on page 92 of the German edition.

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Chapter XIV

Descriptions
of KuK posters
Downtown Youth Center (JuZI) in Gttingen.
The overlap between the autonomist and punk
scenes led to the creation of five KuK concert
posters:
Concerti di Antifa, April 5-6, 1986, ca. 150
copies (see left)
Kur Concert More Than Just Music And
Coma, September 5-6, 1986, ca. 130 copies (see
pages 116 and 169 of the German edition)
Full Bottles Fly Better, part of the Culture
Days in the JuZI, November 24-29, 1986, ca. 120
copies (see pages 116 and 170 of the German edition)
Solidarity Concert For The Detmold Trial,
April 18, 1987, ca. 140 copies (see page 171 of the
German edition)
A Concert, Despite Everything..., September
23, 1989, ca. 150 copies (see page 185 of the
German edition)
These posters were all printed by hand.
Different techniques were used in designing them,
for example paper collages. The poster Full
Bottles Fly Better was designed as a stencil. Two designs
widely used in
KuK Concert Posters, the 1980s.
19861989
The independent cultural impulses of the A concert by the
autonomist movement in the 1980s were punk band
primarily tied to the punk scene. Political bands "Dunkle Tage"
existed everywhere. A lively sort of political music (Dark Days) in
culture was created, which was separate from the the JuZI in
rest of society in its content and type of music. Gttingen, 1985.
Capitalist notions of profit and quality were
ignored. By means of non-commercial concerts
and collective forms of living, an attempt was
made to create freespaces which were not
dominated by social pressures.
But this cultural movement lasted only a few
years. In the end, this approach, and all of its
youthful elan, proved to be naive. A good example
of this is one particular individual who was once a
punk, but later became an insurance salesman.

The Youth Center (JuZI) Cult


One meeting point for the scene and a concert
venue known all across the country was the

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Descriptions of KuK posters

Solidarity poster Solidarity Poster


for the Detmold For The Detmold Trial Defendants
trial defendants, In the years 1985/86, the state struck hard against
KuK 1987 the Distel bookshop in the city of Detmold. This
shop, a political project which existed from 1977
to 1987, was active in counter information and
culture work by means of publishing leftist
literature.

The Information Event


On October 18, 1985, one part of the Distel
collective organized an information event about
the situation of political prisoners from the RAF
and the resistance. It was purposely organized on
the date of the unsolved deaths of Andreas
Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, and Jan-Carl Raspe in
Stammheim. About 70 people attended the event.
Because of this event, and a brochure which
was produced to document it, authorities opened
investigations under Paragraph 129a (support for a acquitted. Christoph von Horen made a political
terrorist organization). demonstration out of his trial. He read a statement
to the court claiming to be part of the joint
Raids revolutionary struggle of the guerrilla and the
On May 14, 1986, at six in the morning, a major resistance. In October 1988, he began serving a
police action began. Because of the information jail sentence of 18 months and 2 weeks. Ute
event about the prisoners, the Distel bookshop Hladki and Holger Deilke did not appear for trial,
and several private homes were raided and and went underground. Warrants were issued for
searched by more than a hundred police. In the their arrest. Nearly three years later, both were
end, four people were taken into custody. On July arrested in Husum on December 7, 1989. They
31, 1986, the Distel was raided for a second time, were accused of having become part of the RAFs
this time because of issue number 132 of the commando structure. During an exercise session
publication radikal, which was also under while in pre-trial custody in March 1990, Ute
investigation because of Paragraph 129a. Four Hladki injured her spine and became paralyzed.
copies of radikal were confiscated. Following The charges against her were later dropped.
these raids, Christoph von Horen, Holger Deilke,
and Ute Hladki, all of whom considered The Detmold radikal Trial
themselves part of the anti-imperialist resistance, In December 1987, the State Supreme Court in
Sticker in were charged. The fourth person, Bernd Uhe, was Dsseldorf began its proceedings against the head
support of a RAF charged because of his work in the Distel of the Distel bookshop. Increased security
hungerstrike in bookshop. He was also charged with working with measures were ordered, so the trial was held in a
the early 1980s. radikal and for having organized the information separate building. All visitors to the trial had to
Calls for solidari- event on the political prisoners. The trial on the submit to searches beforehand and have their ID
ty with the hun- charges stemming from the information event cards photocopied. The defendant sat with his
gerstrikers were took place in the spring of 1988. Bernd Uhe was back to the court and ignored the proceedings. In
criminalized the end he was sentenced to 10 months in prison,
under Paragraph which was changed to 4 years of probation, and
129a. fined 1,000 marks.
Organize the
fight against The Solidarity Poster
imperialism The poster in solidarity with the Detmold trial
inside and consisted of three parts, class justice, prison, and
outside the the caller. Each part was photocopied to the right
prison! Put size and then all were joined together. The color
together all separation came during the film stage of printing.
anti-imperialist (ca. 140 copies; March 1987; see page 171 of
prisoners! the German edition)

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Descriptions of KuK posters

We Chaotic Radicals the German edition). Most groups rejected this Concept for the
Have A Long Tradition design. They criticized the symbolism, saying it painting
In early 1985, autonomist groups began a looked like a K-group poster. Such criticism We chaotic
discussion around the 100th anniversary of May sparked a discussion about the interpretation of radicals have a
Day. Opinions about this were very divergent. the history of resistance, beginning with the long Tradition.
Some people fundamentally reject anniver- Peasants Wars. These controversies are expressed
saries and traditions. Many autonomists who hold in the eventual poster design. The date of May 1st 1 Fryheit Cover
anarchist positions didnt want anything to do was left out of the collage, which thematized the of a leaflet
with May Days historical, communistic class entire history of the resistance. during the
struggle. So the campaign was mainly led by Despite different approaches, several calls went peasants, 1522
autonomist groups with an interest in the ideas of out for May Day. There were even attempts to 2 Lets move!
class struggle. Their goal was to focus on the organize independent demonstrations. In Defend the Ural!,
internationalist character of May Day on its 100th Hamburg, autonomists attempted to organize a 1919, Sowjet-
anniversary. In the discussions, May Days living bloc within the DGB trade union demo. A few union
character as a day of struggle, in Latin American attack communiques mentioned the 100th 3 Armed workers
in particular, was an important topic. Another goal anniversary of May Day. But all in all, the occupy the
was to make this date a day of revolutionary campaign had very little resonance. newspaper
struggle in Germany as well. quarter in Berlin,
The Historical Collage January 1919
Fear Of The Factory This image features the most important epochs in 4 Did you
Many images were created about the theme of the development of the international class volunteer?, 1920,
industrial labor in line with May Days 100th struggle. The concept for the picture had two lines Sowjetunion
anniversary. Although these didnt play much of a which illustrate the revolutionary resistance and 5 Batles in the
role in the campaign, some scene publications did attack the imperialist system. Starting with the newspaper
feature them as illustrations. One of these was the Peasants Wars, the N line showed the national quart,1919
oil painting entitled Fear Of The Factory (see history in the foreground, and the I line began 6 March Batles,
page 175 of the German edition). with a motif from the October Revolution in Berlin, 1848
Russia and represented the internationalist 7 Revolt of the
Win Back May Day! character. Both lines meet in the image around the spanish against
The events which led to the First of May becoming revolutionary struggles in Berlin in 1918. Behind French occupa-
a day of international struggle date back to 1886. this is a facade of resistance images from various tion under
In the USA, the Federation of Organized Trade time periods, surrounding imperialism like a Napoleon,
and Labor Unions decided to launch their major snake. A photo from the Vietnam War, a woman 18081813,
campaign for an 8-hour work day on May 1, 1886. Vietnamese guerrilla leading away a captured U.S. 8 Vietnam War,
On this date, 350,000 workers in major American bomber pilot, is used as an example of the defeat of 19451975
cities launched a general strike. The events in the imperialist system. The center of the image A Pilot of a shot
Chicago over the next few weeks were especially features a Red Army soldier from the time of the US-bomber is
important. On the evening of May 4, 1886, a October Revolution, pointing to the viewer. The captured by a
bomb went off during a protest rally, killing one slogan above this collage, We Chaoten Have A Vietcong-
policeman. Police then used force against the Long Tradition, was designed to interpret auto- combatant
demonstrators, arresting many workers leaders. nomist groups in an historical context. (first prin- 9 Startbahn
Four of those arrested were sentenced to death and ting 400 copies, second printing 500; April 1986; West, January
executed in 1887, although there was no proof that see pages 116 and 177 of the German edition) 1982
they had been involved in the bombing.
International labor organizations condemned the
verdict as an example of class justice and expressed
solidarity with the demands of the murdered
workers. Starting in 1889, May 1st became the
International Day of Struggle of the Working
Class.

The May Day Poster 1986


The first poster design for the May Day campaign
showed an outstretched black and white fist with a
broken chain around its wrist. The backdrop was a
red flag, with a black one behind it (see page 176 of

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Repression And moment of pogrom. Nor do we represent the


Expulsion Are Murder! humanitarian, naive approach of the churches, the
The sharpening of Germanys asylum laws began trade unions, and politically established groups. The
in 1986/87. It was at this time that phrases like a state, which is responsible for the violence against
flood of refugees were used by the state to refugees, wont be swayed by appeals or resolutions.
scapegoat asylum seekers. Camps to house Whats more, such an approach elevates the status of
refugees were created, and in West Berlin asylum political asylum, allowing for the differentiation and
seekers were housed in tents which were often selection of refugees and special treatment. It doesnt
filled beyond their capacity. Social services for matter why people flee to Germany. They are here,
refugees were cut back. Asylum proceedings were and they should be able to stay here. ... The refugee
sped up, making deportation quicker and easier. question is not a humanitarian or legalistic question,
Many refugees came to West Germany via the and it should not be reduced to the issue of political
DDR. If a person landed at Schonefeld Airport in asylum. It is part of the global class struggle and an
East Berlin and said they wanted to seek asylum in expression of the contradictions of the global
West Germany, they were taken immediately to imperialist system, which is bringing forward a new
West Berlin. type of proletariat: the mobile, expelled, and uprooted
In 1986, a treaty was signed with East masses of the Third World. (Revolutionrer Zorn,
Germany which meant that any foreigners special edition, October 1986)
without proper travel documents were
immediately sent back to their home country. Concrete Actions
Decreasing conditions for refugees in Campaigns of attack by the RZ and militant
Germany was accompanied by a media smear initiatives by antifa groups against fascist
campaign. New catch phrases were created to heat organizations were only some of the concrete
up the mood. Then the first attacks were carried measures taken against sharpened asylum laws and
out by fascists on refugee hostels, and far-right increasing racism. There were other efforts to work
parties launched their disgusting campaign of together directly with refugees themselves. For
racist propaganda. The DVU gained nationwide example, there were protest actions against the
recognition with its poster campaign against plan to replace cash payments to asylum seekers
foreigners. Anti-fascist groups from northern with special vouchers for buying food.
Germany initiated a response to this. A poster
with the slogan Repression And Expulsion Are Bloody Talons
Murder was designed to be postered over top of A central poster motif was the eagle, Germanys
the DVUs posters. state symbol, gripping a person laying on the
ground with its talons. The emblems of the
Not Mainstream Crap establishments political parties were featured in
This anti-fascist poster showed the policies of both talons and in the eagles feathers. The feathers
imperialism as the main reason for hunger and also featured the mastheads of Germanys most
flight. Against these policies were the liberation important newspapers and magazines, and the
movements of the Three Continents and the catch phrases used in conjunction with their
struggle in Germany for the right of refugees to asylum debate. This poster was used all across
stay in the country. An image of an attack by the Germany and was often confiscated by police.
Revolutionary Cells (RZ) in 1986 is also featured. (2,000 copies; July 1987; see pages 116 and
The RZ, under the motto Fight For The Right To 173 of the German edition)
Stay For All Refugees And Immigrants For Free
Floods!, carried out attacks on the Hamburg
polices Foreigner Division, the State Supreme
Court in Lneburg, the Central Foreigner Registry
in Cologne, and the German Red Cross in West
Berlin. The poster corresponded to the militant
political content of that campaign. In the past few
Police in Bremen weeks, we carried out a series of actions against
confiscate the institutions which deter or control refugees, which we
poster Repressi- will document here. ... We dont view these actions as
on And Expulsi- a reaction to the racist propaganda launched by the
on Are Murder, regime against refugees, accompanied with an
1987. arsenal of deterrence measures and expanded into the

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Attack Organized Neo-Fascism - A sketch often


Fight The Viking Youth! used for actions
Every year in Hetendorf near Celle, the fascist against the
Viking Youth organize an autumn training camp. Viking Youth,
The Viking Youth were formed in 1952 from 1987.
various far-right youth organizations and stand in
the tradition of the Hitler Youth of the Nazi
regime.
The Viking Youth are a hierarchical,
disciplined, and elitist organization who appear in
public in uniforms. They consider themselves to
be part of the nationalist youth movement of called for a vigil at the former Bergen-Belsen
Europe, so they have international contacts with concentration camp, far away from Hetendorf.
other like-minded groups, in addition to ties with The Greens took on most of the organizational
other neo-fascist organizations in Germany. The formalities for the action in Hetendorf against the
main task of the Viking Youth is to educate other Viking Youth camp.
national (volkstreu) youth. This education
consists of a racist, national ideology and The Anti-Fascist Campaign, 1987
paramilitary training. The Viking Youth generally The action against the Viking Youths autumn
refrain from the public political scene. That camp in Hetendorf was the first of its kind. So a
changed in 1985 when the Viking Youth and the variety of informational events were organized to
ANS/NA linked up to form the Volkstreue inform people about the Viking Youth. There were
Ausserparliamentarische Opposition, a national events in 26 cities, mostly in northern Germany. A
extra-parliamentary opposition or right-wing video about the Viking Youth and their role in the
APO. But this cooperation only had a limited far-right scene was shown. A brochure entitled
effect and resulted in very few small actions. Fight The Viking Youth! Reader On The Public
The private property in Hetendorf has an area Event By Anti-Fascist Action was published as
of more than 7,000 square meters with four large well.
buildings. Various fascist groups make use of these On October 1, 1987, this info event was held
structures. The Viking Youth organize a number of in the city of Kiel and the names of prominent
regular events in Hetendorf. The annual autumn Viking Youth members were made public. Shortly
camp consists of paramilitary activities together thereafter, attacks were carried out against four of
with other neo-Nazi groups. these fascists, ranging from damaged property to
arson. Unknown to the organizers, however, state
Brown Pastures intelligence agents and some Viking Youth
In the 1980s, various far-right groups established members attended the Kiel event as well. Both the
themselves in the Luneburg region. For example, fascists and the police identified the man and the
Dr. Uwe Jurgens TENO group located near Celle. women who publicized the Nazi name list.
This group was one of the largest fascist Authorities in the state of Schleswig-Holstein filed
paramilitary groups in northern Germany, but the charges against the two anti-fascists, alleging a
public did not seem outraged by its presence in the connection between the public event and the
area. The first anti-fascist actions against TENO subsequent attacks. These charges, filed in
were organized by regional groups, with the October 1987, were made public in June 1989 in
support of the northern German antifas, for conjunction with the 129a proceedings against
example the actions against the Stahlhelm autonomist anti-fascists in northern Germany.
meeting in Celle in June 1982, the attempted The woman had her home raided on one occasion
blockade of the NPD congress in October 1983 in by police. Vehicles and
Fallingbostel, and the demonstrations against the Headquarters of
annual day of national mourning by old and new a fascist parami-
fascists at the Soldiers Cemetery in Essel on litary organizati-
November 17, 1984, 1985, and 1986. So the on TENO,
cooperation with the northern German antifa destroyed by an
groups in 1987 was nothing new. Nor was the autonomist anti-
outcome of the action. The VVN/BdA pulled out fascist comman-
of the meetings preparing for a demonstration do in December
against the Viking Youth camp. Instead, they 1984.

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A Poster For The Various Events Years Later


In order to help mobilize for the info events and In 1994, a new campaign of resistance against the
the Hetendorf demonstration, a poster entitled Nazi camp in Hetendorf began. Regional groups
Attack Organized Neo-Fascism Fight The founded a coalition to organize days of action
Viking Youth! was printed. No date was printed against the Viking Youths meeting during the
on the poster so that it could be used for various Pentecost holiday in 1995. When Anti-Fascist
events. The motif was designed by the northern Action began to take up the campaign, the Viking
German anti-fascist initiatives which also Youth were banned in November 1994.
organized the info events. When the Viking Youth were banned, the
group totalled about 400 members, a number
Fire And Flames For The Viking Youth which had remained constant throughout the
The poster motif was designed to propagate 1980s. But the banning of the organization did not
militant actions by anti-fascists and to show the change the function of the compound in
fascists as a defeated and laughable bunch. The Hetendorf within the neo-Nazi scene. Fascists
backdrop was a photo of the successful continued to hold meetings there. So the antifa
firebombing of the headquarters of TENO near days of action in 1995 went on as scheduled. A
Celle. This attack in December 1984 destroyed the blockade was organized on June 17, 1995. Police
garage and several vehicles belonging to the responded with repeated baton charges against
fascists. At the same time, the Viking Youths anti-fascists. In the fall of 1995, a call went out for
autumn camp buildings in Hetendorf burned to regular Sunday strolls around the fascist center.
the ground as well. Since there were no flames in Several hundred people took part in these actions,
the original picture of the rubble, they were added mostly from the autonomist scene. Local residents
into the poster design. Putting together this poster rarely took part, since the actions were always
took a lot of work, since computer technology was blocked off by the police. A central event during
not available in those days. The difficulty lay in the the week of fascist events in Hetendorf was the
montage of photographs, which were only Equinox festival on June 20-21, 1996. An anti-
available in print form. Eleven individual images fascist mobilization was organized to counter this.
had to combined to form the backdrop a very On June 20, a masked black bloc headed to the
difficult and time consuming process when compound in Hetendorf. But the action was short
creating a film montage for printing. lived, as riot police tried to surround the demo and
check the identities of all those involved. The
Hetendorf, October 3, 1987 resulting confrontation left many people injured.
The mobilizational events for the demonstration Riot and illegal assembly charges were filed against
against the Viking Youth were well attended, but 200 people, but these were eventually dropped in
participation in the action itself was rather lacking. March 1997 in exchange for paying a 200 mark
Part of the blame lay with an agreement between fine to the former concentration camp in
the police and the Viking Youth. Police advised the Mittelbau-Dora. Anti-fascist actions against
Viking Youth to call off their camp. One day Hetendorf continued, however. Calls went out for
before the demonstration, the media reported that Sunday strolls and actions against the Nazi center.
the Viking Youths autumn camp had been The highpoint came in 1997 with the actions
cancelled. This had a negative effect on the anti- against the 7th Annual Hetendorf Summer
fascist mobilization, and only 400 people arrived Week. As ever, the police protected the neo-Nazis
at the demos meeting point. Except for a few and went into action against anti-fascists. Cars
Greens, nearly everyone there was from the were searched, materials confiscated, and six
autonomist scene. people later faced charges. Because a legal rally had
The auto convoy heading for Hetendorf was been organized, police were forced to allow around
stopped by riot police on horseback, dog squads, 400 anti-fascists within earshot of the compound
and helicopters on a street outside of the Viking on the night on June 21, 1997. Loud instruments
Youths compound. and whistles disrupted the fascists Equinox
It would only be able to proceed if people and cars festival. The compound in Hetendorf had become
were searched by police. After a failed attempt to one of the most important meeting centers for
break through the police lines, police tried to mix fascist activity in Germany. In 1998, the
some undercover agents in among the anti-fascists. association running the Hetendorf side was
But these cops were soon spotted and kicked out. banned. All buildings were closed down.
But the auto convoy remained surrounded for (poster featured on pages 116 and 178 of the
some six hours. German edition; 800 copies; August 1987)

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Stop The Investigations raided Renates home,


Against Autonomist Anti-Fascists! they found personal
In the night of May 21, 1989, autonomist anti- items which had been
fascists carried out a commando action against taken during the
leading Nazi cadre Christian Worch in Hamburg. commando action on
Disguised as police officers, a group of anti-fascists Worchs house on
burst into Worchs home and handcuffed him and May 20. Burkhard
his wife and took away all of his personal files. and Renate were then
These papers included detailed information about placed into pre-trial
the neo-Nazi scene in Germany. A short time after, custody. After one
on June 13, 1989, four people were arrested for month of imprison-
putting up posters (see page 186 of the German ment, Burkhard
edition) reading Sabotage The Elections! Make launched a hunger-
Your Mark And Your Fist Hit The Right Spot! in strike on July 17. In
Hamburg. his hungerstrike de-
Two people named Burkhard and Renate were claration, he said his
among those arrested. Burkhards car was searched action was part of the
and police confiscated several items, including an international anti-
audio cassette of notes of surveillance around imperialist struggle
Worchs home, allegedly in Burkhards voice. On and he demanded
June 15, six anti-fascists had their homes raided by better prison condi-
police in Hamburg. Authorities said it was not tions. After a judge
only in response to the action against Worch, but bought the assumption that Worchs materials had Brochure by the
was part of a broader 129a investigation. Four of just been stored by others at Renates place, both Soligruppe in
the six anti-fascists targeted by the state were she and Burkhard were released in early August support of Rena-
charged with having formed a terrorist association, after seven weeks in custody. The Paragraph 129a te and Burkhard,
which had carried out arson attacks across investigations continued for another year, but the and about the
northern Germany since 1983 against their charges never went to trial. Charges against Renate Paragraph 129a
political opponents and such persons and groups in connection with the commando action on investigations
which are seen as representatives of the state which Worchs house were dropped, since witness reports against anti-fas-
they reject, according to police records. Investiga- said that no women had been involved in the cists in northern
tions under Paragraph 129a had been opened since action. But Burkhards charges werent dropped Germany, 1989.
that January, and the group was accused of respon- until 1996.
sibility for more than 10 attacks. When the police
Double Solidarity Work
The personal and political breaks among the
northern Germans in 1987, which led to
fragmentation and stagnation, reached their
highpoint during the solidarity work around the
129a investigations in Hamburg. The schism went
right down the middle of the group of defendants,
and there was no getting around it. Despite the
relative weakness of the anti-fascist movement,
joint solidarity work was not possible. The
solidarity group which formed after the house Brochure by the
raids in Hamburg split after the first edition of Antifa Prozess-
info was published. From that point on there was gruppe Ham-
a Solidarity group, which continued to publish burg in support
info, and the Antifa Trial Group Hamburg, of Renate and
which published Gestreifte Freiheit. The Burkhard, and
conflicts between these two groups were played about the Para-
out quite openly in their publications. Anyone graph 129a inve-
looking on from the outside would have been quite stigations
bemused. The split had a bad effect on things, it against anti-fas-
took a long time for information to get published, cists in northern
and no effective support work was organized. Germany, 1989.

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Support From The Exhibition Project Fascist Action is larger than all of the others. The
The idea to make a solidarity support poster came spider monster is holding a 129a ax in its fist,
from Gttingen and was discussed during aiming at the resistance. The other arms of the
nationwide meetings for the Art As Resistance spider symbolize the power of the media, with
exhibition. A majority of groups in this meeting televisions and magazines, economic power, with
were from the collapsed northern German factories, technology, and money, and the states
structures. The poster was distributed all over tolerance of fascist groups and ideology. A police
Germany, but especially in the northern regions. star is at the center of the spider, featuring a judge,
V.i.S.d.P.: Rudolf The detail of the motif shows a complex a capitalist, and a soldier/cop. These arent abstract
Engelhofer, born political picture. Unlike previous KuK posters, figures, rather actual personalities in Germany.
in 1896, was a symbols, colors, and changes in direction are The judge, whos swinging an ax, is state
seaman during pushed to the limit. The resistance and the prosecutor Kurt Rebmann. Next to him is the head
the First World repression apparatus are shown as fire and a of the Deutsche Bank, Alfred Herrhausen. In front
War. In 1918 he swastika spider squaring off against each other. In of them both is Ulrich Wegener, head of the GSG-
joined the Spar- the middle of the fire, the symbols from the 9 anti-terror police.
tacist Union in resistance are presented: the logo of radikal, the
Munich and later black cat of the Jobber movement, the RZ star, The Confrontation
joined the KPD. symbols of prison resistance and the womens The spider is in the middle of a web made of
In the Munich movement, a star with a hammer and sickle paragraph legal symbols, which is being burned by
Councilist representing communist organizations, the the fire. The spider web fades against a backdrop of
Republic, in April anarchist a and a black star, and the symbols of yellow flames on the left side. The background has
1919, Rudolf the RAF and the Second of June Movement, with colors of yellow and beige and dark brown. The
Engelhofer was the latter a little bit outside of the fire since the further to the right side, the more clearer the
commander of group no longer existed at that time. Since the paragraph symbols of the web can be seen. (5,000
the Red Army in actual criminalization was directed against copies; July 1989, V.i.S.d.P.: Rudolf Egelhofer; see
Bavaria. He was autonomist anti-fascists, the symbol of Anti- pages 116 and 187 of the German edition)
killed by govern-
ment troops on We Attack The Fascists! The coalition organized a demonstration against
May 3, 1919. For A Self-Organized Struggle! the FAP center in Mackenrode on May 7, 1988. It
The fascist Karl Polacek, at first active in the NPD, was clear beforehand that all groups would
became part of the FAP in 1985. His house in demonstrate in their own manner. In addition to a
Mackenrode near Gttingen became an important joint call for the demonstration, individual groups
nationwide meeting point for fascists within just a were free to print their own. The DGB trade
few years. Attacks on leftists, gays, and foreigners unions took on the legal formality of registering
in southern Lower Saxony (Gttingen/Northeim) the demonstration. The autonomists put together
originated in this house after 1987. At attack on a masked and ready black bloc, but did not call for
The black bloc the JuZI youth center, a meeting point for the attacks on the house. Clubs and helmets were
during the Mac- autonomist scene in Gttingen, on January 28, taken for defence in case police or the fascists
kenrode demon- 1988, which was beaten back by autonomists, was attacked the demonstration. There had never been
stration, May 7, the highpoint of these Nazi actions. such a spectrum of political cooperation before
1988. Photos: In 1987, the Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition this demonstration. It was made possible by
Rainer Recke formed in opposition to this rising neo-fascism. approaching one another with mutual trust.
Before the demonstration, a public event was held
in the village to publicize information about the
FAP and the reasons for the demonstration. An
autonomist, masked to be protected from the
cameras of the fascists and the police, spoke at the
event to defend the necessity of taking direct
action against neo-Nazis.

Agitation Not Just Against The FAP Alone


The poster calling for the Mackenrode demon-
stration was produced and distributed by auto-
nomists. The Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition
did not produce a poster. The autonomist poster
shows a mass of people behind an Anti-Fascist

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Action flag heading to the FAP house, its roof on The anti-fascist
fire, at the center of a broken swastika. In order to demonstration
get as realistic an effect possible of a broken forms.The flag
swastika, a large glass image was made and broken on the FAP house
with a hammer. The broken pieces were then can seen in the
collected together and photographed. This makes distance. Photos:
the broken swastika on the poster seem so realistic. Rainer Recke
Information about Nazi attacks and anti-
fascist actions in the region of southern Lower
Saxony from 1987 until the date of the demo in
Mackenrode was displayed inside the Nazi
symbol. The addresses of prominent fascists in the
region were also printed. This is to make the point
that the demonstration was not to be a single
action, but rather part of continuing anti-fascist
work. It also makes the point that the fight against
neo-fascism isnt just against the FAP, but rather
there are a whole series of organizations which A Great Anti-Fascist Success
must be struggled against. The anti-fascist demonstration in Mackenrode by
2,000 people was the largest demo against the FAP
The Criminalization in the 1980s. The black bloc comprised nearly one
Of The Mackenrode Poster half of the demo. Police did not search
The criminalization of the Mackenrode poster demonstrators or their cars beforehand, nor did
began with a complaint filed on May 5, 1988 by they seek to hinder the march. Although the FAP
NPD functionary Hans-Michael Fiedler against center was heavily protected by riot police, it was
the student union (AStA) of Gttingen University. hit by firecrackers and blobs of paint. The entire
This legal suit threatened to fine the AStA demo participated in these actions.
50,000 marks if it continued to distribute special For the first time ever, a coalition concept
edition number 151 of the publication gottinger including autonomists, trade unionists, and other
nachrichten. The reason for this was the last page, groups had been pulled off. The participation of
which was a reproduction of the poster. The poster autonomists in this coalition and other anti-fascist
features Fiedlers address next to a picture of a work showed that militant politics can be publicly
burning house. represented. It was possible to break out of the
On May 9, 1988, FAP cadre Karl Polacek isolation which autonomists had become stuck in by
wrote a letter to the AStA. He accused the student means of a constructive political concept.
group of calling on people to burn down his house. (1,000 copies; April 1988; V.i.S.d.P.: Ernst Riot police guard
He called on the AStA to sign an apology, provided Schneller; see pages 116 and 179 of the German the FAP center in
by him, and pay all his relevant legal bills. Fiedler edition) Mackenrode.
made a similar demand on May 10.
The AStA responded to these complaints from
the fascists and re-designed the back page. There
was lots of criticism of this quick reaction by the
AStA, and the complaints grew even louder after a
state court in Gttingen threw out Polaceks legal
suit. But an end to legal troubles was not yet near.
After the fascists failed in their attempts in court,
state prosecutors suddenly opened an
investigation under Paragraph 111 (inciting
violence, namely arson). But this criminalization
did not proceed as planned. The Gttingen state
court suspended proceedings due to a lack of
evidence. Prosecutors appealed the ruling to the
superior court in Luneburg. Since no new
evidence was presented during the appeal, the
charges were dropped completely some years later.

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The statue in the All Will Fall!


Rosengarten. In 1925, a granite statue of a soldier was
Photos: Rainer erected in Gttingen. The monument was
Recke designed to honor soldiers of the 2nd Kur-Hessian
Infantry Division No. 82 who died for the
Vaterland during the First World War.
From day one, this monument was a symbol of
German militarism. The monument was
dedicated with lots of pomp and circumstance,
and even a military parade, despite the fact that the
regiment had been disbanded by the Treaty of
Versailles. The re-armament program launched by
the Nazis in 1937 led to the re-establishment of the
82nd Division. Of course, this occasion was also
celebrated in front of the granite statue.
After the Second World War, this stone
monstrosity, now a symbol of two world wars, was
not torn down, instead it was polished up. The
stone soldier was relocated across from a school in
a place called the Rosengarten. With the support
of veterans groups, local citizens, and the
university, granite blocks were made into a wall
around the statue, complete with plaques of the joined up to 3,000 other guests from Germany and
emblems of East Prussian and Lower Saxony other countries for this ceremony. Veterans groups
military regiments. attended, as did uniformed members of the
The dedication of this new monument in 1953 German, British, French, Belgian, and American
was once again a cause for pomp and circumstance. armed forces. The ceremony at the Rosengarten
Lower Saxonys minister president, Kopf (SPD), memorial was one of the largest of its kind.
the mayor of Gttingen, and the dean of
Gttingen University were all present for the Against Revisionism And Militarism
ceremony. Apart from the attempt by some autonomists do
From this point on, the quiet Rosengarten, a disrupt the Rosengarten festival in 1986 by mean
place of stillness among the business of daily life of noise makers, and other actions which were
(according to a brochure published in Gttingen generally ignored, there had been no serious
Demonstration in 1987 about the Rosengarten), took on a new attempts to organize resistance to this meeting.
against the mili- political function. First of all, the East Prussian That changed for the first time in 1988 with
tarist and revi- Association used an annual militarist gathering the Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition. Following
sionist meeting there to push its revisionist propaganda. This the successful demonstration against the FAP
in the Rosengar- meeting was held every year between the end of center in Mackenrode, an event entitled Anti-
ten, September August and the beginning of September. A Fascist Week was organized to mobilize for a
4, 1988. number of prominent politicians and speakers demonstration on September 4 against the
Rosengarten ceremony. The Coalition wanted to
make the point that anti-fascism doesnt just mean
opposing neo-fascist groups, but also revisionism
and militarism.

From A To B
The Antifa Coalition was supposed to put out a
poster calling for the Rosengarten demonstration.
After the Coalition decided on the motto All Will
Fall! for the antifa week, autonomists came up
with the proposal to have the poster show an image
of the Rosengarten statue toppled. The DGB trade
unions rejected this proposal. After long
discussions, the Coalition decided to put out a
poster with only a picture of the statue toppled

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over, by using a old picture from 1987 when the away!) turned the poster motif into praxis and
granite soldier lay next to its base one morning. pulled the granite statue off its base and stole the
In addition to this poster, autonomists put out head. Ever since, a mere wooden cross now stands
their own version, with their original idea. Both where the granite soldier once was.
posters show many similarities with one another in After the statue was toppled for real, the DGB
the way they were designed. Furthermore, they trade unionists began to get cold feet. Now, even
were marked with the letters A and B. the image of just the toppled statue was too much
for them. In the end, the B poster was printed with
A Tricky Photo the name Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition
Whereas version B was relatively easy to put removed.
together, poster A involved serious technical
difficulties. It was clear that only a real photo could The Criminalization
accurately show people pulling over the statue. A Authorities launched an investigation into the A
rope was prepared, and the scene would be in the version of the poster. Police began nightly searches
afternoon. Since the statues location is far from for people hanging up the posters. Even people
hidden, the photo action would have to proceed with the small stickers got in trouble. Once the
swiftly. But with the exception of a few old folks police had got their hands on a few anti-fascists,
who nearly lost their dentures as they watched the group Soldiers Memorials Curatorium filed
what was going on, no suspicions were aroused charges against them.
during the photo session. In the end, eight people faced charges under
With this real photo in hand, the rest of the Paragraph 111 (inciting criminal activity, in this
poster montage was easy to create. The lying down case Paragraphs 303 and 304, vandalism). But the
statue from poster B was cut out and pasted onto authorities didnt get very far, and no one made any
the new action photo. This provided the motif for statements to the police.
poster A. Several thousand small stickers were also Once the criminalization of the posters and
printed of the A version. stickers was publicized, of course people didnt
stop putting them up. In order to go on the
Off With His Head! offensive against the criminalization, T-shirts and
In the night of August 3, 1988, the commando single color patches of the design were made. In the
Hut ab, Kopf ab, haut ab! (Mask on, head off, get end, charges were dropped after people paid fines

The original
photo used for
the Rosengarten
poster. Photo:
Rainer Recke

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of 55 marks to the city council for illegal postering. the square on September 1. In order to keep things
One person caught putting up a sticker had to pay quiet for the 400 or so people attending the
a fine of 225 marks, however. Rosengarten ceremony, riot police baton charged
the 200 anti-fascists. Some people were injured. A
A Limited Coalition Green member of the state parliament received a
The criminalization of the Rosengarten poster led head injury, resulting in lots of media attention.
to the IG Metall union distancing itself from the This Green also caused quite a stir in the state
The statues Coalition, but the Greens expressed solidarity. The assembly when she held up the police club which
head in 1996, distance between the trade unions and others was used to hit her.
seven years after doing anti-fascist work in the Coalition became
it disappeared. greater. The DGB called for its members to pull A Dip In The Lake
out. Even many autonomists were increasingly Although the Rosengarten memorial was restored,
critical of the concept. Even before the Antifa the granite statue toppled by the antifa commando
Week, it was clear that the demonstration on was not put back up. It would take some time to
September 4 would be the last joint action of the replace the head. The granite soldier eventually
Gttingen Anti-Fascist Coalition. Around 400 reappeared in the Field Marshall Rommel Barracks
people took part in the demo on September 4. In in the town of Osterode am Harz. At about the
the downtown area, a few banks got hit with globs same time, the real head reappeared as well
of paint. Shortly after the September 4 without anyone knowing it. On April 19, 1996,
demonstration, the DGB officially called an end to the daily newspaper Gttinger Tageblatt reported
its cooperation, and among the autonomists, the that the soldiers granite had been found after more
former representatives in the Coalition began to be than seven years and eight months.
excluded. Although the Coalition disbanded, A diver swimming in a small body of water
valuable experiences were gained. They were near Barterode found the head buried under some
fundamental for future coalition demonstrations trash in the bottom of a lake in 1991. He put the
German and Bri- against fascist centers in later years. object in his basement, and a few years later he dug
tish military it out and put it on display in his antiques shop in
officers behind Still Relevant Today the town of Bad Karlshafen. In 1996, an old
lines of riot poli- The significance of the Rosengarten ceremony pensioner from Gttingen happened to wander
ce.This photo is declined greatly after 1988. After that year, by. The man recognized the head in the window
from September military delegations no longer took part, in fact and immediately called police.
3, 1988.That was total participation dwindled to little more than a Before the commemoration ceremony in
the last year hundred people. But the meeting is still held every September 1997 another attack on the
ceremonies were year. Now as before, conservative and reactionary Rosengarten took place. A demonstration against
held in the politicians appear and give speeches at the the ceremony was disrupted and attacked by the
Rosengarten. Rosengarten. Because of the decline in significance police. After all these actions, the reactionary
Photo: Rainer of the Rosengarten, there were no anti-fascist Landsmannschaft Ostpreuen resolved to quit
Recke mobilizations against it in the next few years. In the ceremonies in Gttingen.
1996, right-wing CDU politician Alfred Dregger (poster, version A: 1,000 copies, version B, 800
was due to speak at the Rosengarten. So an anti- copies; 1988; see pages 116 and 180/181 of the
fascist action coalition called for an occupation of German edition)

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The Death Of Conny Wessmann the Gttinger Tageblatts newspaper, the role of
Far-right parties launched an offensive the Nazi movement during the Weimar period was
election campaign for the European Parliament compared to contemporary media reports of
elections in 1989. In particular, the Liste D, an clashes between autonomists and fascists. This
alliance of the NPD and the DVU, organized a newspaper regularly calls clashes between
number of events all across Germany. In autonomists and fascists as fights between rival
Gttingen, there were two such public events, on youth gangs. This serves to ignore the political
May 13 and June 16. KuK posters were used to background of the confrontations.
mobilize against both of these events (see pages
182 and 183 of the German edition). Although November 17, 1989
there were clashes with the police during the action On the evening of November 17, 1989, there was
in May, the June occupation of the site of the a clash between anti-fascists and around 20 neo-
planned fascist election rally by anti-fascists went Nazis in the Burgstrae in downtown Gttingen.
off without any problems. The fascists did not Residents called police, who then separated the
show up. skins from the anti-fascists. The fascists were
Starting in July, there were increasing attacks escorted to a bus station so they could take public
from the Nazi scene. Every weekend in Gttingen transportation out of the city. In the meantime, a
there were clashes between Nazis and anti-fascists. phone chain helped mobilize more anti-fascists in
Police always intervened on the side of the Nazis. the direction of Burgstrae. One of these groups of
Whereas the neo-fascists were protected, anti- people headed towards the Iduna Center when
fascists faced criminal proceedings. This led to the they got word that the police were escorting the
creation of a poster entitled We And Our Police Nazis to the bus station. One person in this group
(see page 188 of the German edition). The theme of anti-fascists was 20-year-old Conny Wessmann.
of this poster was relevant in other cities as well as As they made their way towards the fascists, the
was widely distributed in northern Germany. antifas were observed by an ZSK (plainclothes)
In order to make the political dimension of police unit. When officers asked the leader of the
these latest clashes clear, an anti-pogrom ZSK units over their police radio, Should we
demonstration was mobilized for November 9, smash them?, he said yes.
1989 (see page 184 of the German edition). The The ensuing attack by plainclothes and riot
date November 9th is of historical significance in police on the anti-fascists involved baton charges
Germany, for its the date of the November and CS gas. While attempting to flee from the
Revolution in 1918 during the German Empire police attack, the group headed in the direction of
and its also the date in 1938 of the Nazi pogroms the Weender Landstrae, a road with a great deal of
against the Jews. This demonstration was to draw traffic. Conny was hit by a car and killed.
links between these dates and the present situation. In this same night, burning barricades were
The demo route included a number of stops erected outside the JuZI youth center. There were
for speeches at historical locations and actual attacks and spontaneous demonstrations in
meeting points of neo-Nazis. Outside the offices of Gttingen and other cities as well. A vigil occupied

Police brutally
arrest an anti-
fascist during a
DVU, Liste D elec-
tion rally in
Gttingen, May
13, 1989.

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the site on the the political murder of Conny Wessmann. This


Weender Landstrae time, preparations were marked by internal
where Conny had discussions. Some people wanted another
been killed and the nationwide demonstration, while others wanted
road was blockaded just a silent vigil. The political differences behind
for several days. On these divergent opinions could not be resolved.
November 20, riot The splits were also evident in the disagreements
police used baton about the poster design for the mobilization. After
charges to break up days of wrangling, an general assembly meeting in
the vigil and clear the the JuZI decided on KuKs poster No Forgiving
road. No Forgetting! (see page 191 of the German
edition). Because not everyone supported this
Political Murder design, a second poster was made with the simple
Political murder is motif from 1989.
when a person loses
their life during the A City On Edge
course of a political The state tried to scare people away from the
confrontation. It Conny demo in 1990. Gttingens police chief
doesnt matter if their ordered the largest police mobilization of all times
death was planned or in Gttingen. Video cameras were installed on the
The first nation- the result of circumstances. The deciding factor is tops of buildings along the demo route for
wide demon- that persons connection to the political events. surveillance. This general atmosphere of panic was
stration after the increased with rumors and horror scenarios.
death of Conny The Conny Demonstration, 1989 An important role in this smear campaign was
Wessmann, The first nationwide demonstration following played by the images of the days of rioting in Berlin
November 25, Connys death was on November 25, 1989, when following the eviction of the Mainzerstrae squats
1989. 20,000 people marched through Gttingen. All the week before. Newspapers in Gttingen ran
autonomist groups mobilized for this headlines claiming that the Conny demo was
demonstration. Several calls for this demo were going to be used as revenge for Berlin.
issued, and there were three different posters for it These and other rumors brought the mood in
in Gttingen alone. One of these was You Will Gttingen to near hysteria. Some schools
Pay Us Everything And Its Going To Cost You!, a cancelled classes out of concern for kids safety.
poster by KuK. This poster had a very simple The windows of almost all the shops downtown
design, for it was a statement of mourning (see had been boarded up and protected. Right before
pages 116 and 190 of the German edition). the demo, all the streets in Gttingen were swept
Due to the very emotional atmosphere clean to remove all debris. Downtown Gttingen
surrounding this nationwide demonstration, the looked like a ghost town. Apart from
After Connys police kept their distance. Besides, even if they had demonstrators and police, no one was there.
death, a continu- wanted to attack the demo, it would have been
ous vigil was held extremely difficult to maintain control over such a A Peaceful Demonstration
at the spot where large number of people in downtown Gttingen. The political demands of the demonstration on
she was killed. A moment of silence was held on the spot where the first anniversary of Connys death were legal
The last night of Conny was killed. Afterwards, the march headed justice and the abolition of the ZSK special police
this vigil ended towards Gttingens police station, and on the way units in Gttingen.
with a large bon several windows were smashed. Despite a media smear campaign and cold
fire. Photos: After the demonstration had ended, riot police weather, around 7,000 people participated in the
Rainer Recke stormed the JuZI youth center. This resulted in a Conny demo on November 17, 1990. The march
brief but heavy clash between cops and was led by a womens/lesbian bloc.
demonstrators. Around 3,000 demonstrators were masked.
Connys death remained an important issue Riot police marched right alongside the demo.
throughout 1990. A vigil was held on the Weender Only at the site of the vigil did police move back
Landstrae on the 17th of every month. and keep their distance. There were no clashes with
police or attacks on property during the demo.
The Conny Demonstration, 1990 (computer montage poster; 2,000 copies;
On November 17, 1990, another mass demon- November 1990; see pages 190 and 191 of the
stration was organized in Gttingen to remember German edition)

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Everyone On Your Feet! KuK motifs were


Against The Fascist Pigs! used for various
Following the European elections on June 17, actions.This one
1989, Nazi terror in Gttingen and the is from a stencil
surrounding areas was on this rise. Fascist attacks calling for the
became almost normal events. The anti-fascist self- Conny demo,
help organized by autonomists was the only thing 1990.
which kept the Nazis and their terror from ruling
the streets at night and prevented them from
expanding.

Smear Campaign Against Autonomists


The clashes during the nationwide Conny
demonstration on November 25, 1989 resulted in Police Protect Nazi Demonstrators
a media smear campaign against autonomist During the nationwide Conny demo in Gttingen Spontaneous
anti-fascism. For example, the Hessisch-Nieder- on November 25, 1989, Nazis held their own anti-fascist
schsische Allgemeine newspaper reported on march in the nearby town of Duderstadt. demonstration
November 27, 1989 that 63 bags of molotovs and On December 9, 1989, another Nazi demo following an
weapons had been confiscated by police before was organized, this time in Gttingen itself. A few attack by FAP
the demo. hundred members of the FAP marched through members on the
Later on, it turned out that these weapons the streets and attacked the JuZI youth center. JuZI youth center
were car tools and spare gasoline canisters. Although the attack was beaten back, police in Gttingen,
As the press spread these lies widely, reports continued to protect the fascists after this incident, December 9,
about fascist attacks and police conduct were and gave them increased protection later on from a 1989.The
absent. For example, on the morning of November spontaneous demonstration of more than 300 attempt to
24, 1989, fascists carried out arson attacks on a anti-fascists. attack the Nazis
number of students homes. It was only luck which at the place
prevented people from being injured. Although The Poster Motif where their cars
the arson was an obvious act by fascists, the media The text and the visual imagery of the Everyone were parked was
failed to note any political background to the On Your Feet! poster are related to the events stopped by poli-
attack. described above. The design began with a black ce. Police pro-
and white sketch. Later some figures were tected the fas-
The Attempted Murder Of Sebastian B. photocopied and cut out to form a montage. The cists as they got
Another example of media silence followed the poster was used nationwide for various anti-fascist into their cars
attempted murder of Sebastian B. on November actions. Stickers, flyers, t-shirts, and demo banners and busses and
25, 1989. On this evening, Sebastian and a friend also made use of this design. escorted them
came across a skinhead near Gttingens train (1,000 copies; November 1989; see pages 116 away. Photo:
station after the Conny demo. Without warning, and 189 of the German edition) Rainer Recke
the skinhead pulled a knife and charged at the two.
Sebastian was seriously injured with several knife
wounds. As this happened, three bus loads of riot
police were parked across the street. The police did
nothing, and they didnt even call for an
ambulance until Sebastians friend asked them to
do so. Police didnt even begin searching for the
skinhead suspect until after they had checked the
ID of Sebastians friend. The attacker was never
caught.
Police refused to try and identify the suspect
with the help of police files when asked to do so on
November 28 and again on December 1. Such
conduct is unusual, but police justified it by saying
there was no evidence that the attack had been
politically motivated and that police had already
looked through their files but had no information
on young men with short blond hair.

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Abolish The simply shouted at the cops during confrontations


ZSK Special Units! on the streets. Of course they are pure rhetoric.
Since the early 1980s, special police evidence and Such false equations diminish the seriousness of
arrest commandos (AufKdo) existed in the the crimes of fascism. But despite this problem of
Gttingen police force, numbering about 60 men. content, a poster with the provocative slogan SS,
Their task was to spy on and intimidate the leftist SA, ZSK! was created. This was to show a
scene, especially the squatters movement. The continuity in the police from the Third Reich up to
AufKdo have their own information central and today. Of course there are similarities in the
radio frequency. Files full of data on suspicious function of the police forces. Despite political
Stencil against persons were collected and stored in a secret file changes in the country, the police have always been
the ZSK, 1990. called the Spudok to be used later on as evidence. an apparatus of repression against the leftist
There was no legal reason for such data to be resistance. It is this function that the slogan above
collected and stored. The eventual publication of aims at. In order to make the historical
some radio transmissions by AufKdo officers differentiation clear, detailed texts about the
resulted in the so-called Spudok scandal: history of the police appeared along with the
poster.
A: Two of our friends are standing in the basement
of the theater, playing hitchhiker. You all can take The Police Apparatus
them away. During The Weimar Republic
B: Okay! During the Weimar Republic, the police apparatus
C: Chuck them out in Kerstlingerder Field. was used as a means to suppress the revolutionary
A: Dig a little hole, toss them in. movement. Under an SPD government, all
revolutionary uprisings between 1918 and 1923
Public pressure resulted in the AufKdo being were bloodily suppressed by bands of reactionary
disbanded. But in 1986, a very similar unit, the free corps volunteers. In 1918, a political secret
ZSK, was formed. Even many of the personnel service apparatus was set up by the military, aimed
stayed the same. Many of the same officers who against communist organizations and the workers
had been part of the AufKdo from 1982 to 1986 movement. The transition from the Weimar
now became part of the ZSK. Republic to Nazi fascism had no effect on the
police. Although Nazi party members were put
SS, SA, ZSK into leading positions, the majority of the police
Slogans against the political police such as Police, apparatus remained the same as it always had been.
SA, SS! and SS, SA, SEK!, which drew parallels
to the Nazi era, arose during political The SA And The SS
confrontations of the early 1980s. There was no In 1921/22, the NSDAP (the Nazi party) formed
deep analysis behind such slogans, rather they were the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Storm Division.

During a squat-
ters demo on
December 15,
1990, a ZSK
patrol car was
overturned.

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This party army recruited mainly among former


free corps volunteers. As a security force, the SA
was not only responsible for guarding halls during
events, but it was an instrument of terror to be used
against political opponents.
After the failed Hitler putsch on November 9,
1923, and the temporary banning of the NSDAP,
many Nazi leaders lamented the collapse of the
party. The reason for this collapse was, according
to many Nazi leaders, the absence of an internal
party army to maintain order and discipline. This
duty was now given to the Schutzstaffel (SS), the
Security Squadron. The SS gathered information
and spied on everyone. Nothing was secret from
the SS.
Dung the phase of the seizure of power in
1933, SA men were used widely as police
reserves. Many were later accepted into the
regular police forces.

The Police Under Nazi Fascism


After 1933, Germany had a highly modern,
centralized police apparatus. Himmler, head of the
SS and Chief of German Police, allowed the
interior ministers of the individual states to control
only administrative police, keeping all other police
forces under his central control.
At the same time, he gave all high ranking SS Continuity After 1945 Banner on the
officers official police titles as well. On September Although Nazi organizations were disbanded after JuZI, November,
27, 1937, the Reichs Security Headquarters 1945, the police remained largely untouched. The 1990.
(RSHA) was set up to include all state officials, West German police recruited even high ranking
security police, and the SS. During the Second police functionaries who had worked before 1945.
World War, police units were stationed in But it wasnt just the personnel, the structure of the
occupied countries. These units were part of the old Nazi police apparatus survived into the
SS, more specifically the Waffen-SS, and were parliamentary democracy era. The most famous
usually given the task of fighting against partisans. example is the Gehlen Organization, part of the
Throughout the war, these units were given Foreign Legion East secret service of the army.
increasingly heavy arms, including tanks. These Although the Foreign Legion East was part of the
police units were involved in some of the worst RSHA, it had some autonomy. The legion was run
atrocities during the war. by Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen approached
American intelligence experts in July 1945 to
discuss possible cooperation. Gehlen offered his
archives and the fascists concept of the secret
service. An intelligence deal was signed. The cadre
of the Gehlen Organization went on to become the
Federal Intelligence Agency (BND), West
Germanys intelligence service, in 1956. Other
cadre became part of the militarys intelligence
agency (MAD) and the Office for the Protection of Stencil after the
the Constitution (VS). Despite this continuity, murder of Conny
however, its a mistake to equate todays police with Wessmann,In
the organizations of the Nazi period. Changes in favor of the
social conditions require changes in forms of power of the rich
political oppression. they step over
(film montage poster; 1,500 copies; August dead bodies,
1990; see page 192 of the German edition) 1990.

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Germany, Never Again! the counter actions in Gttingen and Berlin


And The Demonstrations On October 2nd received nationwide media attention.
No other event in 1990 dominated German life
more than the so-called reunification. Germany, Shut Up!
Germany was intoxicated by reunification. The celebrations in Berlin were to be given special
Opponents of the annexation of the DDR to West prominence, and official events were organized for
Germany were an absolute minority. October 2-3, 1990.
In Gttingen, autonomist anti-fascists Preparations for counter activities began a few
initiated a Nie wieder Deutschland! campaign. weeks beforehand. Autonomist groups mobilized
There were actions nationwide against West under the slogan Germany, Shut Up! all across
Germany taking over the East. A spectrum from the country.
the Greens to communist groups in the East and The idea was to organize two days of actions,
West formed under the name Radical Left. The with events, demonstrations, and so on. But most
Radical Left agitated under the slogan Germany, events never got off the ground. The counter
Never Again! and organized events and actions on October 2, 1990, were not happy
demonstrations in various cities. This initiative events. More than 100,000 people had assembled
was not directly linked to the campaign in around the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate
Gttingen. German unity. Police presence was extremely high,
with more than 4,000 cops and border police on
Demonstration In Frankfurt active duty. Small attempts at disruption were
On May 12, 1990, the Radical Left alliance called swiftly quashed. Many people were arrested before
for a nationwide demonstration in Frankfurt and actions even got underway, so there wasnt much
8,000 people took part. It was clear from the disruption in Berlin on October 2, 1990.
beginning of the demo that the police were
determined to demonstrate the strength of the A Festival Overshadowed
state. Busloads of demonstrators were searched top Things were very different on October 3rd,
to bottom by the cops. Riot police accompanied however. More than 10,000 people marched in the
the demo, which proceeded behind a bus for Germany, Shut Up! demo. There were several
arrested persons and watercannons. Despite these clashes with riot police. The mass media reported
police provocations, the rally was peaceful. But that the official festivities had been
when the demo was over, police suddenly attacked overshadowed by the violence. This
with clubs and watercannons. This police attack overshadowing included 333 arrests and an
resulted in several arrests and injuries. unknown number of injuries.
The last major demonstration against
Actions reunification was on November 3, 1990 in
Spitting fire, fol- The date for Germanys reunification was set for Berlin. The Radical Left mobilized nationwide
lowing an agit- October 3, 1990. Early elections for a parliament under the motto Death Is A Master From
prop action on of German unity were slated as early as Germany. Several thousand people took part in
the evening of December 2, 1990. Activities by leftist groups this demonstration, many of them autonomists.
October 2, 1991. across Germany in opposition to the October 3rd
Photo: date were varied. In many areas, there were small A Militant Demonstration
Rainer Recke actions, mostly from autonomist circles. But only The evening of October 2, 1990 marked the
highpoint of the Germany, Never Again!
campaign in Gttingen. A demonstration and
other actions were planned to disrupt the
nationalist festivities marking the official
reunification at the stroke of midnight. The idea
was to critique German nationalism and the
imperialist system. The concept developed by
autonomist groups in Gttingen for October 2,
1990 was a broad day of action, involving as many
people as possible.

Agit-Prop Actions
The evening began at five oclock with an agit-
prop street theater action. Four people in

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Authorities responded by launching an Agit-prop action,


investigation into the creation and distribution of October 2, 1992.
counterfeit currency.
Some bills which were left over after the agit-prop
action were distributed during a demonstration in
the city of Kiel on November 10. People handing
them out later received notices to appear in court.
These notices were ignored, and the charges were
eventually dropped.

Burning Flags
The demonstration on October 2 in Gttingen
costumes, with their faces decorated as skulls, began at nightfall. Around 2,000 people joined in
walked down the streets. One was dressed as a the march. Despite some broken windows, the
Prussian officer, another was an SA officer, one was situation did not escalate much. On the
a capitalist, and the fourth was a West German cop Marktplatz in downtown Gttingen, several
in riot gear. These four symbolic figures were German flags went up in flames at midnight.
holding a banner that read We Greet Germany!, The Germany, Never Again! campaign in
written in an old form of Germanic script (see Gttingen ended with the Bundestag elections on
pages 196 and 197 of the German edition). December 2, 1990. An increased agitation for
election sabotage preceded this date, as did a call
The Neanderthals for an active boycott and several militant actions.
As this was going on, thousands of fake 100 mark
bills were handed out on Gttingens Marktplatz. An Autonomist Traditional Demonstration
These bills featured the head of a Neanderthal man The Nie wieder Deutschland! demonstration
on one side and the German eagle sitting on a became the basis for an autonomist tradition in
banana on the other. These bills were a joking Gttingen. Starting in 1990, an agit-prop action
reference to the welcome money of 100 marks and a demonstration were organized every year.
being handed out to East Germans crossing the The date was mobilized for under a different
border into the capitalist market for the first time. motto each year, with an emphasis on domestic
Because German officials were planning to political themes such as the police state or cutbacks
introduce new 100 mark bills at the time, some of in social spending. The October demonstrations
KuKs bills actually went into circulation. were an attempt to turn an independent cultural

Agit-prop action
in Gttingen,
October 2, 1993.
Photo: Marcus
Hhn

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A nearly blind needle, a swastika, a tabloid newspaper, a map of


old age retiree the German Empire in its 1871 borders, a sack of
gets a fresh gold with the emblem of the Deutsche Bank and
printed Nean- the Shell corporation, and flags of the European
derthal bill.The Union and Germany (see pages 201 and 208-210
bank will judge of the German edition). The police and cartload
him, of symbols walked around during the day handing
Gttinger out leaflets and giving speeches. In addition, little
Tageblatt, paper toy cops (see pages 137 and 138 of the
March 6, 1991. German edition) were handed out. Around 1,500
people took part in the demonstration. At the
closing rally, all of the props were burned after
reading corresponding statements.
The motto Increase Anti-Fascist Solidarity!
was the mobilizational call for the demo on
October 2, 1993. The theme that year was the
approach into practice. The aim was to transmit criminalization of the anti-fascist resistance. The
the political content and critiques of the autono- agit-prop action dealt with the complex mix of
mist left to the general public. On October 2, economic and political factors which lead to the
1991, actions were organized under the motto reactionary development of capitalist society. The
Against The Police State And Racism. The main prop was a 3 x 3 meter Pyramid of
centerpiece of the agit-prop action was a paper Hierarchy made of wood and cloth. The sides of
mache police octopus with moving tentacles. This the pyramid were painted with complex images
piece was carried in front of the demonstration. A dealing with the themes of invisible instruments
group of three people marched ahead of the lead of power, patriarchy, racism, and capitalism
banner, dressed up as two soldiers/police and a (see pages 201, 204-207, and 211 of the German
prisoner, wearing a sign reading I will never edition). During the action, a brochure describing
demonstrate against fascism again (see pages 117 the elements of the images on the pyramid was
and 208 of the German edition). distributed. Alongside the pyramid, five people
Riot police marched alongside of this were dressed up as Patriarchy, Fascism, Capitalism,
demonstration. In addition to a poster for the Militarism, and Media Manipulation. These
demo, a fake letter from the police with an ironic symbolic figures made periodic statements
text about the demonstration was distributed as through a loudspeaker before being placed in
well (see pages 136 and 200 of the German coffins. These coffins were carried during the
edition). More than 1,500 people took part in the
A jumping jack action. At the end of the demo, the police octopus
given out prop was burned on the Marktplatz.
at the Agit-prop In 1992, the motto Create Anti-Fascist Unity
action on The Future Belongs To Us! was used for the
October 2, 1992. October 2nd demo. The focus was on the
Im a stupid organization process. Groups from different
jumping jack, countries were invited to Gttingen. Delegations
everbody comes from Denmark, Italy, and France took part in the
and pulls the demonstration, and groups from other countries
string. sent solidarity messages (see page 201 of the
German edition).
For the agit-prop action, a banner 15 meters
long and 3 meters high was hung behind a stage. In
front of this were people dressed up in historical
police uniforms from 1871 to the present. The
banner featured comic drawings of these figures
and the corresponding dates, and all were shown
swinging their batons. Next to these police figures
was a cart of consumer junk. This junk was
comprised of several symbols: a Playboy bunny,
Paragraphs 218 and 129a, a tank, a TV, a heroine

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of rejecting it. This created an opening for People and cars


assembling downtown. After a rally, 1,000 people were searched
held a demonstration through the streets (see page before the
203 of the German edition). The agit-prop actions demonstration
were held three weeks later. This time a small in Gttingen on
theater piece about class justice was performed. October 2, 1995.
This piece was then performed in different cities
throughout the year, for example, in Nrnberg on
the following May Day. A planned performance
near the graves of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Lieb-
knecht during an annual rally in Berlin on January
demonstration, and broken apart at relevant 14, 1996 was prevented by a police attack. The
points during the march. The Pyramid of piece wasnt performed in the capital until
Hierarchy went up in flames after the February 26. The slogan Abolish Capitalism!
demonstration (see pages 134 and 212 of the Struggle Together Against The Police State And
German edition). Social Cutbacks! was adopted for the actions on
For October 2, 1994, the motto was Dont Be October 2, 1996. The agit-prop action that year
Fooled! Unmask Parliamentarianism. The agit- was a theater piece as well. Various scenes depicted
prop action illustrated the function of elections as the decline of the welfare state and the expansion
legitimizing the capitalist system. There was no of the repression apparatus. Around 1,000 people
demonstration in 1994, however, since the took part in the demonstration afterwards.
AA/BO was mobilizing for a nationwide demo in Despite a heavy police presence, the theater props
Bonn one week later (see page 202 of the German were burned on the Marktplatz after the demo (see
edition). page 203 of the German edition).
In 1995, Against Fascism And Class Justice! Agit-prop actions were also performed on
was the motto. In August, downtown Hannover other occasions as well. On March 8, 1995,
had been trashed during the Chaos Days. These International Womens Day, a gameshow was
riots were used as an excuse to sharpen the police performed on the Marktplatz, depicting a man and
laws in Lower Saxony. Although these laws had not a woman competing for a job. Jane had more
yet gone into effect in October, Gttingen was the hurdles to overcome than John did...
site of their first use. Authorities banned the On March 18, 1997, an agit-prop piece was
planned demonstration, and the downtown area performed on the International Day of Action for
became a police state. People were stopped and the Freedom of Political Prisoners (see page 228 of
searched on street corners, and so on. So the the German edition). Police intervened because
Autonome Antifa (M) officially cancelled the one actor was dressed up in a police uniform. The
demonstration. Individual citizens then obtained a uniform was confiscated, and the individual was
permit for a rally, and the authorities had no means charged with impersonating a police officer.

Large numbers
of riot police
accompanied
the demon-
stration through
Gttingen on
October 2, 1995.

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Art As Resistance First World War, such as soldiers with flags and so
A poster was created for the travelling exhi- forth. There is also a cross with a skull on it.
bition Art As Resistance depicting the history of Behind the skull is Kaiser Wilhelm II, standing
resistance in Germany, from the time of the in uniform. His ear fades into a Jesus figure, which
Kaiserreich to the present. The design corres- is embracing a soldier and leading him into
ponded to the content of the exhibition, whose heaven. In the middle of this scenario is an image
historical section began with the First World War. of a medal with the years of the First World War,
The exhibition poster shows a rotating five point 1914-1918, written on it. The word general
red star with the exhibitions motto in front of a strike appears above the war and the emperor, in
collage. This poster was used in all the locations front of a mass of people, a demonstration in
where the exhibition was shown. Space was left at Berlin in November 1918. Connected to this
the bottom for local details about the exhibition. group of people, who represent the November
The plan was to change the poster motif over time, Revolution, is the picture of a worker with a sledge
Poster for the and to make it more abstract. By the time the hammer. This figure is on the left side of the poster
exhibition Art exhibition had reached its final destination, four and rises above the entire First World War section,
As Resistance, versions of the poster had been created. its size steadily increasing. Above the November
showing Ger- Revolution section are women working in the
man history The Collage arms industry, along with the sentence The Kaiser
from the Kaiser- The collage was created very painstakingly, and has abdicated. This section of the poster deals
reich to the pre- displays a number of political and historical with the changing role of women in the society
sent. themes. The collage begins with images from the during this phase of history. As the war dragged on,
more men were sent to the front lines. That led to
more and more women being placed in the
industrial sector.Next to these images are a group
of counter-revolutionaries, carrying a sign that
reads Halt! Anyone who moves will be shot.
Directly beneath this is a tank and a group of
soldiers and Nazis with Kaiser flags and swastika
banners. Across from this scene are a group of
revolutionaries with the slogan To arms! in
view. Beneath this, a group of revolutionaries are
in position behind a barricade of newspapers.
The series of images from November
Revolution show the development of the civil war,
which flared on and off between 1918 and 1921
and which ended with the defeat of armed
revolutionary resistance in Germany. On the right
side of the poster theres a Nazi march, which
starts out rather small among the counter-
revolutionary troops in the middle of the collage
but which grows larger towards the right edge.
At the end theres an Iron Cross, which the
year of the start of the next war, 1939, written on
it. Beneath this is a caged concentration camp
prisoner and a fallen soldier. To the left of this are
multiple images of a Red Army soldier whose
pistol is destroying the swastika of the NSDAP
banner. The series of images from the Second
World War end with images of a woman Red
Army soldier and the hoisting of the Soviet flag
over the Reichstag building. Between the Red
Army soldier and the flag is the newspaper
headline Capitulation. Beneath this are the
Nazi eagle and the new West German eagle
symbol. Next is a scene showing Adenauers re-
armament in 1955. Under this are marching

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Bundeswehr soldiers and the motif from the All


Will Fall! poster. The bottom portion of the col-
lage shows the anti-imperialist resistance up to the
present day. To the left below the All Will Fall!
motif is a police van being overturned. Below this
is a group of people with a banner against police
terror. These people are shown walking on top of
the image of the blown up Mercedes of Deutsche
Bank chief Alfred Herrhausen, who was killed by
the RAF in an attack in 1989. Next to this is a
picture of the anti-NATO demo in Krefeld in
1983. On the left side is a demonstrator hitting a
cop who is trying to arrest someone in the Hafen-
strae. Between the Hafenstrae and a fallen eagle
is a row of riot police, who are shown protecting
the Prussian soldiers which were described in the
beginning, thus completing the history and
tradition of the ruling system in Germany.
(8,000 copies; May 1990 and September
1990; see page 193 of the German edition)

Militancy Concerts Top:The


The aim of the Art As Resistance exhi- exhibition Art As
bition was to give a comprehensive presentation of Resistance on
resistance culture. So each exhibition was accom- October 9, 1994 in
panied by a concert. On some occasions the band Gttingen.
Schwarze Feuer from Gttingen performed. The
band The Ende from Hildesheim accompanied
the exhibition all across Germany. In 1991, the
project came to an end, because everyone involved
was exhausted. A poster entitled Militancy Con-
certs was designed for the concerts that were part
of the travelling exhibition. The motif showed
abstract human figures in bright colors. The
figures appear in five different colors, in reference
to the title of the image, The People Of The Five
Continents. There is no empty space between the
figures. Although there are no double figures, in
other words they are all individuals, the figures
cant move on their own. In order to change their
position, all of the others must change position as
well. Three big brown patches add the appearance
of two eyes and a mouth. The brown color
represents the party color of national-socialism. So
these three figures represent the different faces of
fascism. One figure has a small swastika, another Militancy concert
the German eagle, and the third one has no on February 17,
symbol, thereby representing the racist and 1990 in the JuZI.
reactionary tendencies within the society. The Top:Sutton and
mass of people provide space for the faces of the Handicaps,
fascism, meaning that the size and form of fascism center:The Ende
depend on the movement of people. People can from Hildesheim,
give more space to fascism, or they can wipe it out bottom bottom:
altogether. Schwarze Feuer
(2,000 copies; February 1990; see pages 117 (Black Fire)
and 194 of the German edition) from Gttingen.

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Against Fascism And Police Terror! woman anti-fascist with an ax. The trial ended
The Future Belongs To Us! with a sentence of three years probation. Polacek is
The impetus for the 1991/92 New Years Eve one of the major players on the neo-fascist scene in
(Silvester) demonstration was the anniversary of southern Lower Saxony. The pair of fascists who
the murder of Alexander Selchow, a 21-year-old murdered Alexander Selchow lived for a while in
doing his compulsory military service, in Rosdorf Polaceks house in Mackenrode. After the murder,
near Gttingen. Alexander Selchow was stabbed to authorities in Lower Saxony tried to have Polacek,
death by two FAP members. The two fascists were who is an Austrian citizen, expelled from the
later charged in court for manslaughter, not country. Media reports of his expulsion began in
murder. In the end, the two Nazis received very January 1991 and lasted for half the year. But
light prison sentences. The trial had not yet ended Polacek was never kicked out. On the contrary, his
by New Years Eve 1991/92. The circumstances of house remained an important meeting point for
the murder and the way the justice system deals the neo-Nazi scene. Polacek wasnt deported until
with neo-Nazis were to be two issues raised by the January 22, 1992.
demonstration. There had been quite a lot of
criticisms of the police and the courts in Lower Against Police Terror
Saxony in 1991 for the way they dealt with neo- The political aim of the Silvester demo was to
Nazis. For example, FAP cadre Thorsten Heise was propagate the struggle against neo-fascism.
on trial for a number of charges in 1990. In May, On the evening of November 16, 1991, a vigil
he went underground in East Germany before a was held to remember the political murder of
verdict was issued. Heise left a statement for the Conny Wessmann. Several hundred people
state prosecutor, in which he said he wished to marched to the spot where she was killed and
continue his non-violent struggle from the occupied the busy street, the Weender Landstrae.
underground in East Germany. In the DDR, At around 11:15 p.m., police attacked the 150 or
Heise built up a number of neo-Nazi structures. so anti-fascists who were still at the vigil and
He wasnt arrested until police found him in Berlin injured several people. Considering this fact, the
in February 1991. In June 1991, Heises trial motto Against Fascism And Police Terror! for the
before a state court in Gttingen ended with a Silvester demonstration was not an abstract slogan,
sentence of two years probation. This mild rather it was based on actual events. More details of
sentence was widely criticized. various incidents were described on the flyer for
FAP regional leader Karl Polacek also gained the demo and in speeches at events.
notoriety in a number of trials. In 1991 he went to
court to face charges that he had tried to attack a The Starting Point
For the years end in 1991, Autonome Antifa (M)
made use of the political situation to push through
their offensive concept. The general public
opinion was one of fear for Nazi attacks, and there
was also a great deal of criticism of the way the
police and the courts were dealing, or rather not
dealing, with these attacks.
A large segment of the general public by now
agreed that the dangers of neo-fascism had been
previously underestimated. Meanwhile the
autonomists, who actively struggled against the
fascists, faced continuous repression. But the neo-
Nazis always seemed to receive state protection.
One example of this was Connys death in 1989.
The conduct of the police, courts, and authorities
was coming under increased criticism.

Whos Afraid Of A Political Risk


The Black Bloc? The Silvester demo was a political risk. A black
banner on the bloc was organized in order to turn the slogan
JuZI, before the Against Fascism And Police Terror! into praxis.
1991/1992 Silve- The call for a bloc of people in masks and helmets
ster demo. and carrying clubs was new for Gttingen. By

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pushing through the demonstration, the police


would be openly forced to hold back.
...This New Years Eve, we want to
demonstrate in as big of a black bloc as possible, to
show that we wont be intimidated by the present
conditions and that we are determined to struggle
against fascism and police terror. ... Even when the
police dont attack demos, they always film them
and take pictures so do the Nazis. So its absurd to
make accusations against people just because they
wear masks to protect themselves from optical
surveillance and state repression... (flyer from
Autonome Antifa (M) for the Silvester Demo)

Concept
The political outlook of the Silvester Demo, as
well as the route of the march and other details
about the event, were made public in a published
concept paper. This way of preparing the political
ground for a demonstration beforehand was first
utilized by the Autonome Antifa (M) for the
October 2, 1991 Against The Spirit Of The
Times actions on the anniversary of Germanys
reunification.

A Tense Situation
In 1990/91, there were a series of militant attacks
from the autonomist spectrum throughout Lower
Saxony. Because of these attacks, and others from
previous years, federal authorities launched an
investigation under Paragraph 129. On December
24, a regional newspaper wrote that federal
authorities are investigating members of the
autonomist scene in Gttingen on suspicions that
they are members of a terrorist organization. The
investigations were being directed by federal
authorities from the Federal Prosecutors Office in
Celle. A Crystallization Point The Silvester
By the end of 1991, the series of attacks had The Silvester demonstration took place in a very demonstration,
not ended, and some had a very negative effect on tense political situation. For this reason, careful 1991/1992. Most
the autonomists as far as public opinion was planning was required. During the phase of of the demon-
concerned. One such action was a firebombing preparations, it was clear that only part of the strators were
claimed by the Anti-Germany League autonomist scene in Gttingen was taking on the masked, and
Autonome Violence. The targets of Anti- necessary responsibilities. The date for the march many wore hel-
Germany League attacks made no political sense was seen as provocative and it seemed like the mets.
and seemed to be chosen almost at random. For demo itself could never be pushed through. Many
example, on December 25, 1991 an office thought it would be impossible to assemble on the
belonging to a local gardening club was burned Marktplatz at midnight on New Years Eve. And
down, causing 300,000 marks in damage. The the call for a masked and ready black bloc was
communique for this attack said: Down with the almost like an invitation for the police to smash the
German government Away with Germany demo.
Germany for the foreigners! A few days later, an The Silvester demo became a political
arson attack on a disco caused 200,000 marks in crystallization point. Despite all of the criticisms
damage. A few months later, police caught a from some parts of the autonomist scene, the
psychiatric patient, the person responsible for the Autonome Antifa (M) stood by their plans to go
Anti-Germany League attacks, red handed. through with the march. So on New Years Eve

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Police used 1991/1992, the demo was not a coalition demo,


watercannons to nor was it even a demonstration by the autono-
disperse the vigil mist scene. In fact, only the Antifa Youth Front
for Conny Wess- group joined the Autonome Antifa (M) in their
mann on the call for the demo.
Weender Land-
strae, Novem- The Future Belongs To Us!
ber 17, 1991. In August 1991, Autonome Antifa (M) published
a paper on autonomist organizing. The paper took
a critical look at past autonomist politics and
concluded that they had failed in most areas due to
the lack of a functioning organizational model. of colors on the All Will Fall! posters (see pages
This paper on organizing was distributed 180 and 181 of the German edition), for example,
nationwide and contacts with other groups with a had the effect of highlighting certain visual
similar analysis were sought. elements of the picture. The colors are a means of
By the end of 1991, the debates about the creating artistic expression.
question of organizing had become the dominant This technique of adding colors is one
theme in the autonomist scene. Groups who characteristic of KuKs works. Often times several
wanted to pursue a process of organization were primary colors are used, because the effect of full
already holding meetings. The slogan The Future tones in the printing process is not the same.
Belongs To Us! was a reference to the debates Digital technology made this picture colorization
about the organization process. process less troublesome, because the final effect
could be seen beforehand and adjustments could
The Character Of Photography be made accordingly. This, together with
Photography captured several of the most experience in offset printing, allowed for new
important aspects of the mobilization for the possibilities for artistic work.
Silvester demo. On the poster for the
demonstration, the image of a black bloc The Results Of The Organization Debate
characterized the determination of the demo, The concept of the demonstration was achieved.
without showing any clashes with police or fascists. Around 800 people participated in the Silvester
The effect of showing the black bloc in bright demo, nearly all from autonomist groups, and a
colors together with the word Demo made it large number had come from other parts of
possible to reduce the text on the poster to a Germany as well. This demonstration showed the
minimum. first results of the raging debates on the question of
organizing.
The Colors (computer montage; 1,500 copies; Silvester
Adding colors to black and white photos is a 1991/1992; see pages 117 and 199 of the German
technique which KuK had used for years. This use edition)

The concept of
the Silvester
demo takes hold.
During the entire
march, police did
not appear.
The slogan says:
Together,
the future
belong to us!
Photo:
Rainer Recke

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Go Against and violence. These masses of people sought to


The Fascist Centers! make an honest expression against racist attacks.
On March 20, 1993, Autonome Antifa (M)
initiated a demonstration against the schooling Thoughts About The Demonstration
center of NPD functionary Hans-Michael Fiedler It was against this background that Autonome
at Schulstrae 3 in Adelebsen. Antifa (M) planned a coalition demonstration
Fiedler has been a member of the NPD since which was to pass directly in front of the house of
1964, and is responsible for propaganda and the far-right extremist Hans-Michael Fiedler. The
schooling work within the party. Since 1975, demonstration was to offer a radical orientation
Fiedler has been the editor of Nation Europa, a and concrete possibility for action for those people
publication whose ideology seeks to build bridges who wanted to do something against racism and
between the conservative right and neo-fascist neo-fascism but who were not satisfied with candle
groups. He has also organized anti-antifa work, light vigils. So it was decided to mobilize directly to
namely research on political opponents, including a fascist center.
the compilation of names, addresses, and
photographs. Fiedler has made a name for himself An Anti-Fascist Action Coalition
by filing lawsuits against individuals and anti- The coalition which mobilized for the
fascist organizations. Since 1976, Germanys demonstration in Adelebsen was an action
intelligence agency has referred to him as a central coalition which formed just for this one
figure in West German neo-Nazism. demonstration. The basis for the cooperation was

The Political Situation, 1992/1993


In the second half of 1992, the wave of fascist
attacks on refugees in Germany reached
unprecedented levels. Rostock, Hoyerswerda, and
later Molln became city names synonymous with
such attacks. The heaviest clashes occurred in
Rostock-Lichtenhagen in August 1992. For a
period of several days, a refugee hostel was besieged
by an increasing crowd of people, eventually
numbering almost 2,000. The racist attacks
climaxed when people stormed into the hostel and
set it on fire. These excesses were made possible
due to the non-reaction by the police. Saxonys
interior minister, Stock, was forced to resign.
High ranking politicians publicly expressed
their understanding for reasons behind the racist
attacks, and they utilized this situation to tighten the concept paper prepared by Autonome Antifa
Germanys asylum laws. On May 26, 1993, the (M). The concept offered all groups and Going against
German parliament changed Article 16 of the organizations the possibility to come up with their the fascist cen-
Constitution, the section which deals with own political content for the demonstration. A ters, March 20,
foreigners laws and the right to seek asylum. This way needed to be found to accommodate all of the 1993.This con-
change greatly restricted the right the right to seek coalitions members. From the beginning, it was cept was suc-
asylum in Germany. made clear that a black bloc would lead the demo. cessful and was
This fact didnt seem to bother most of the groups the foundation
Candle Light Vigils involved in the coalition. Even the fact that there of future coaliti-
As the xenophobic atmosphere in 1992 began to was no legal permit for the demo didnt keep the on work.
take on the characteristics of a pogrom, the Greens, individual trade unions, and even the local
established powers felt compelled to do SPD from taking part, although the latter didnt
something. Germanys public image abroad was attend the coalition meetings.
being damaged. In order to do something about The mobilization placed a great importance on
this, a candle light vigil movement was called being accepted by the local population. So a public
into being. The idea was to present an anti-racist event was organized in a local pub which 160
image for Germany to the outside world. residents attended. Various people, including a
Thousands of people took up the governments representative of Autonome Antifa (M), spoke at
calls and lit candles in opposition to racial hatred the event and answered questions.

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ever filed, however. But state officials in Celle


decided to pursue the investigations further. In
charges alleging that the Autonome Antifa (M)
was a criminal organization, mention was made
of the anti-fascist action in Adelebsen. Authorities
were trying to claim that the demo had resulted in
a public disturbance, destruction of property, and
assaults. Other charges included a violation on the
ban on wearing masks and uniforms, threatening
to riot, and threats on an individual by a group.

The Adelebsen Egg


The picture being painted by the authorities in
Celle had nothing at all to do with reality. A look at
the investigators files revealed that. Police had
extensive photo documentation and witness testi-
mony. Among these was a picture of an egg hitting
The black bloc at More Than 800 In The Black Bloc a policemans arm. The eggs shell broke, and the
the head of the The demo formed as planned, and more than 800 uniform got dirty. In the eyes of the state, that
demo in Adeleb- people joined in the black bloc at the front. Of the constituted destruction of property. The egg yolk
sen, March 20, more than 2,000 people who marched, well over dripped down the officers uniform and into his
1993. half were from the autonomist scene. It became glove. That gave the cop an unpleasant feeling, or
clear a few days before March 20 that the police to use the states terminology, it was a case of
would not allow the demo to pass directly in front assault, which in the context of a demonstration is
of Fiedlers house. The concept paper stated that, also creating a public disturbance.
in this event, speeches would be given in front of
the police lines. The autonomists had no interest The Political Results
V.i.S.d.P.: Heinz in clashing with the cops at this demo. A The goal of marching directly in front of Hans-
Kiwitz was an representative of Autonome Antifa (M) made this Michael Fiedlers house could not be achieved. But
anti-fascist artist point clear at the start of the demo. The first that did not lessen the political significance of the
from Germany. speeches were given at the memorial marking the demonstration.
He fought in the location of the former Jewish synagogue. During The concept prepared by Autonome Antifa
international bri- the speech by Autonome Antifa (M), a wreath in (M) was utilized by all the participating groups.
gades against honor of the victims of fascist terror was placed at Agreements were adhered to, and a broad mani-
Francos fascist the monument and a minute of silence was held. festation of different political forces demonstrated
military dictator- With shouts of slogans, the demo then proceeded against neo-fascism. The fact that the black bloc
ship in Spain. through Adelebsen until it was blocked by lines of was successful was a sign of the importance of
Kiwitz fell on the riot police guarding the entrance to the street autonomist positions within the coalition concept.
front lines in leading to Fiedlers house. A few projectiles flew The police were forced to protect the home of the
1938. into the lines of police. The cops did not react.
After a bit of pushing and shoving, the demo
moved on. More and more riot police took up
positions in the side streets. Shouts of slogans,
firecrackers, and signal flares fired towards the lines
of police were expressions of anger about the
protection being given to Fiedler by the police.

Investigations
A few days after the demonstration, which all
coalition members agreed had gone quite well, it
became known that state prosecutors in Gttingen
Some pushing had launched an investigation into the local Green
and shoving party. The authorities were trying to make the
with police lines Greens into the official organizers of the
at the demonstration and charge them with unlawful
Schulstrae. assembly. No charges against the Greens were

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NPD functionary, and the state prosecutor came The variety of people shown is a reflection of
out in public opposition to the anti-fascist action. the coalition character of the demonstration on
The fact that subsequent investigations centered March 20, 1993.
not only on the Autonome Antifa (M) but also on The photos used in the poster were from the
the Greens made many people very upset. May 7, 1988 demo against the FAP center in
Mackenrode.
Nationwide Effects Experiences with coalition work in 1987/
Autonome Antifa (M) is a member of the Anti- 1988, in particular the demonstration against the
Fascist Action/Nationwide Organization (AA/BO). FAP center, played a major role in the preparations
The results of the Adelebsen demo were examined for the demonstration in Adelebsen.
by this organization and applied to other projects. The house shown on the poster is that of Hans-
Other demonstrations were organized under the Michael Fiedler in Adelebsen. But a mirror image
motto Go Against The Fascist Centers!, for of the house is shown. This change was necessary
example in Mainz-Gonsenheim and Detmold- to keep the movement on the poster from left to
Pivitsheide. These demonstrations oriented their right. After a speech by
concepts to the anti-fascist action in Adelebsen. The symbols and the NPD banner shown on Autonome Anti-
the house were added to the poster, since they fa (M), a wreath
The Poster Design arent on the actual house. The poster is also was placed at
The coalition for the Adelebsen demo did not marked by its bright color scheme. The dark blue the former
produce a poster, but did participate in the design sky gives the scene a very positive character, Jewish syn-
of KuKs poster. The focus of the design is on the without losing any of the fighting spirit of the agogue in
flag of Anti-Fascist Action. The demo is shown as a imagery. (2,000 copies; March 1993; V.i.S.d.P.: H. memory of the
group of black-clad, masked autonomists as well as Kiwitz; see pages 117 and 213 of the German victims of fascist
unmasked demonstrators. edition) terror.This was
followed by a
minute of
Fight The Class Justice System! was posted up on thousands of walls last year. On the silence.
The Future Belongs To Us! right side of the poster is a picture of the prison in
The attempted criminalization of the poster Fight Weiterstadt which was destroyed by a RAF
The Class Justice System! marked the heaviest commando on the left side is a picture of a marching
attack against KuK up to that time. Federal black bloc. Beneath this is the slogan: The Future
authorities in Karlsruhe told state officials in Belongs To Us. (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,
Lower Saxony to pursue an investigation under August 9, 1994)
Paragraph 129a, support for a terrorist
organization. This charge was connected to the The Construct Begins With An Allegation
Paragraph 129 investigations which had been The attempts by the intelligence agency, federal
opened against Autonome Antifa (M) in police, and state authorities in Lower Saxony to
Gttingen in 1991. At first, authorities were trying prove a connection between the Autonome Antifa
to prove charges that the group was seeking to (M) and the RAF were accompanied by a media
form a terrorist association. To do this, a special smear campaign. Whether in press conferences or
investigating commission, SOKO 606, was given reports from the state intelligence agency, it was
great leeway to violate the personal rights of several always stated that the group was linked to
individuals. During the early phases of this terrorism.
investigation, it became clear that the charges of To do something about this, one member of
Autonome Antifa (M) being a terrorist association Autonome Antifa (M) filed a lawsuit for libel
would not stand up. So the authorities changed against Lower Saxonys interior minister and
their approach and attempted to prove that the various VS intelligence agents in July 1994. The
group was involved in providing support for the suit was a five page text and was accompanied by
RAF. Supposed evidence of this was the exchange various newspaper clippings.
of letters from Autonome Antifa (M) members Of course there was no chance this legal challenge
and RAF prisoners, and visits to the prisoners, as would succeed. But it was a political step to go on
well as the public solidarity event and poster which the offensive against constructs by the repression
were organized by the group. apparatus, and it primarily had the function of
Duvenhorst [head of the state security division] propaganda.
has no doubts that the Autonome Antifa (M) is very At the end of October 1994, the State Supreme
close to the RAF. He makes reference to a poster which Court in Celle rejected the petition.

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Katharina Ham- A Public Event With Former RAF Prisoners The overall design of the so-called Weiterstadt
merschmidt, a On May 6, 1993, Autonome Antifa (M) organized poster does not fulfill the requirements for prosecution
RAF member a public discussion with two former RAF under Paragraph 129a of the Criminal Code,
from the first prisoners, Gisela Dutzi and Gnter Sonnenberg, banned propaganda on behalf of a terrorist
generation, died and the editor of the magazine clockwork 129a, association, the Red Army Fraction/RAF. The form
of cancer on June Mathias Meyers. and content of the poster lack the necessary
29, 1975 in a The room at Gttingens Ballhaus was filled requirements to be considered a form of support on
womens prison with over 300 people for the event. Discussions behalf of the terrorist association RAF.
in Berlin.The touched on the political situation in the 1970s and The message of the poster, contrary to that
Berlin city 1980s and the conditions and forms of the anti- offered by the prosecution, is not a statement in
government imperialist resistance, as well as state repression support of the RAF bomb attack on March 27,
later paid her and the struggle against it. 1993, nor does the poster say that the RAF should
relatives 5,000 Contrary to what some people had expected, strengthen its organizational capacities in the future.
marks in com- the public event did not face any criminalization. Rather the message of the poster is that the system of
pensation for In fact, two people caught by police putting up class justice must be struggled against and defeated
neglect of posters for the event were released without charges. by a broad anti-fascist action coalition (The Future
duty. Belongs To Us!). ...
Raids The visual impact of the poster shows a marching
The poster for this public event, however, played and threatening black bloc and the symbol of the
an important role in the raids on July 5-6, 1994 Gttingen group Autonome Antifa (M) in the
against 17 alleged members of Autonome Antifa foreground. The image of the prison in Weiterstadt is
(M). According to prosecutors in Celle, the poster optically placed in the background. The visual focus is
represented a violation under Paragraph 129a, placed on the black bloc placed prominently in the
supporting a terrorist organization, in this case the middle of the poster and the color and contrast
RAF. Seven alleged members of Autonome Antifa highlight the banner, with the central slogans Fight
(M) were said to have either hung up or sold copies The Class Justice System! and No Criminalization
of this poster. The Autonome Antifa (M) were also Of The Revolutionary Resistance!, which represent
considered to be the designers of the poster. the central message of the poster. The poster is not
advertising on behalf of the RAF, rather for the goals
Demonstration The State Supreme Court and actions of the group Anti-Fascist Action, to
against the cri- In Celles Description Of The Poster which Gttingens Autonome Antifa (M) belongs,
minalization of In a surprise decision handed down on June 19, supported by, among other things, a black bloc, and
the anti-fascist 1995, the State Supreme Court in Celle threw out the poster is advertising on behalf of the Autonome
resistance,Fight the main charges against Autonome Antifa (M) Antifa (M) itself. The poster does not feature any
class justice, under Paragraphs 129 and 129a. In this ruling, the RAF symbols...whereas the Anti-Fascist Action
March 11, 1995. court gave a detailed description of the poster: symbol appears several times; ...the objective is to
make propaganda for their own group, so it cannot be
determined that the message of the poster is to
advertize on behalf of the RAF.
The use of the image of the destroyed Weiterstadt
prison can be viewed as an artistic and symbolic (and
agitational, representing an actual event)
representation of the demand for freedom for leftist
prisoners, as is the fist which rises into the upper left
corner of the poster.
Even the demand written along the bottom edge
of the poster, Freedom For All Prisoners From The
RAF, Resistance, And Antifa!, was not undertaken
on behalf of the RAF, nor are the makers of the poster
promoting any means of achieving this. This general
demand is repeated all the time by groups of the
radical left and does not unlike, for example, the
demand for regroupment made during the
hungerstrike in March 1981 (cf. the federal courts
ruling on this) imply a connection to the
organization of the RAF. ...

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For the reasons stated above, it cannot be


concluded that the poster constitutes propaganda on
behalf of the terrorist association RAF. The raised
fist and the slogan The Future Belongs To Us! do not
represent more or less hidden association with the
RAF or some sort of joining of forces with the RAF,
rather they represent a more general joining of forces,
if not of the entire, splintered left, at least of the Anti-
Fascist Action and the autonomist movement. ...
Furthermore, the Autonome Antifa (M) has
organized demonstrations on several occasions under
the slogan The Future Belongs To Us!, a fact which
also speaks against an interpretation of a supposed
connection with the RAF. ... This slogan, which
represents a political program, was consciously
selected after breaking with the earlier slogan Trust
Our Own Forces! (cf. Interview with Autonome
Antifa (M) in the scene publication radikal,
Nr.147) and represents a break with past political
positions...and has nothing to do with the attack on
Weiterstadt by the RAF or any sort of association
with them... charges of forming a criminal association. The During a demon-
State prosecutors in Celle immediately charges under Paragraph 129a were dropped, stration on
appealed this court decision in federal court in however. March 11, 1995,
Karlsruhe. On August 4, 1995, the federal court (film montage; 1,500 copies; May 1993; the posters The
ruled that a trial should be opened in the state V.i.S.d.P.: Katharina Hammerschmidt; see pages Future Belongs
court in Lneburg against the 17 defendants on 117 and 217 of the German edition) To Us!, crimina-
lized under Para-
Fight The FAP - Planning The Demonstration In Fulda graph 129a, were
Resist Organized Neo-Fascism! The initiative for the demonstration in Northeim hung up.
The highpoint of the coalition politics of came from the Autonome Antifa (M). By means of
Autonome Antifa (M) was undoubtedly the coalition partners, especially the Greens, local
demonstration against the FAP and its regional groups in the area were contacted. Despite all the
leader, Thorsten Heise, on June 4, 1994 in difficulties, a public event was organized in
Northeim. Northeim before the demonstration. A few
The concept was directly related to the citizens attended the event. Only very late did the
one used for the coalition demonstration of media begin a public discussion of the issue.
March 20, 1993 in Adelebsen. Unlike with that Individuals and groups began to express their trust
demonstration, however, there were very few in the Autonome Antifa (M). The ball starting
approachable structures for anti-fascist work in rolling. Eventually more groups took up the call
Northeim, and it was difficult to judge how the for the demonstration, and the day before even the
police and local authorities would react. It was no DGB trade union association for Gttingen-
coincidence that Heise chose to live in Northeim. Northeim and the AStA of Gttingen University
There, he could remain relatively unbothered by added their support as well. So the action actually
anti-fascist actions. represented a broader social spectrum than the
demonstration in Adelebsen. There was also a
A Neo-Nazi Known Across The Country nationwide mobilization to Northeim. All
Born in 1969, Thorsten Heise became a FAP member groups in the AA/BO participated. Public
activist in 1988. He was thoroughly schooled by events to mobilize for the action were held in some
his political mentor, Karl Polacek. By means of cities as well.
various actions, demonstrations, fights, and
organizing some concerts, Heise became an A Success Beforehand
important figure by 1990. He became one of the Two days before the demonstration, Thorsten
most well known neo-Nazis in the country after he Heise was arrested. The official reason was his
organized a neo-fascist Rudolph Hess memorial participation in an attack on a student party in
march in August 1993 in the town of Fulda. February 1994, but he was not taken into custody

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Authorities accepted the preconditions of the


coalition, namely that the police would not search
people, there would not be a line of riot police
marching alongside, there would not be a police
documentation and video van, the black bloc
would be tolerated, and police would simply
perform traffic control duties. The political
concept was pushed through, and the police state
kept its distance.
As in Adelebsen, police made it known
beforehand that the anti-fascist demo could not
pass directly in front of the neo-Nazis house.
During the demonstration, around 200 fascists
from all across Germany gathered inside Heises
house.

No Pointless Confrontation
The AA/BO bloc at that time. Public discussion and the resulting The demonstration first proceeded into
during the political pressure in the runup to the downtown Northeim. After a few speeches, the
demonstration demonstration against the FAP forced the demo moved in the direction of Heises house.
against the FAP authorities to act. Heise was placed in pre-trial Police had blocked the street about one kilometer
center in Nort- detention, but was released again on July 1, 1994. away, in view of Heises house. There were rows of
heim, June 4, It wasnt until May 1995 that Thorsten Heise was barriers and about 1,000 riot police. During a
1994. Photo: convicted of assault and sentenced to eight months speech in front of police lines, a FAP flag was
Rainer Recke in prison. Another previously suspended sentence torched. Then the first few rows of the black bloc
was now converted to jail time as well, meaning a attempted to pull down the police barriers. But
total of 22 months in prison. there was no plan to attack the police, as had been
agreed to during coalition meetings. There were
Helene Overlach The Demonstration In Northeim some minor clashes, however, as police began
was the deputy On June 4, 1994, around 3,000 people swinging their clubs. Because it wasnt possible to
chair of the Red demonstrated under the motto Fight The FAP! proceed, and any further action would only result
Womens and Resist Organized Neo-Fascism! in Northeim. in a pointless escalation, the demonstration turned
Girls Union This was the largest demonstration against the around and went back into town.
(RFMB). She was FAP since the 1980s. The demo was led by a black
shot at during a bloc, which comprised about two thirds of the A Political Goal Achieved
demonstration demonstration. The high degree of success was The goal of the demonstration was to organize a
in 1931, and she made possible by the nationwide mobilization and broad anti-fascist manifestation against neo-
later emigrated the cooperation of different forces, from the fascism, and this goal was achieved. The coalition
to the Soviet autonomists to citizens initiatives. work had become better and a step
Union. forward had been taken.

Riot police
during the demo
against the FAP
in Northeim.

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Descriptions of KuK posters

Furthermore, autonomist anti-fascism had Thorsten Heise,


become a political factor in the southern Lower in a Panorama
Saxony region. This successful concept is what TV documentary
dogged the state prosecutors attempts at criminal in 1992, descri-
investigations over the years. The open coope- bed the military
ration between radical forces and established exactness of a
parties and organizations was a thorn in the eyes of commando
the police and prosecutors, who wanted to attack against
criminalize these politics and destroy Autonome him.
Antifa (M). Warrants for house searches had
already been approved by the time of the Ridiculous Neo-Nazis
Northeim demo, but the authorities decided to The poster for the Northeim demo featured a
wait. group of neo-Nazis fleeing from a series of
They were hoping for a confrontation which projectiles. The three figures represent different
would destroy the coalition work and make it aspects of the neo-fascist spectrum: party activists,
easier to criminalize the group. But that didnt skinheads, and women. The house the fascists are
happen. seen fleeing towards is Thorsten Heises place in
One month later, the repression apparatus went Northeim.
into action, but the coalition partners expressed (computer montage; 2,000 copies; May 1994;
their solidarity with those affected and the V.i.S.d.P.: Helene Overlach; see pages 117 and 214
Autonome Antifa (M) were not isolated. of the German edition)

Stop State Terrorism November 25, 1989 following the death of Conny
Fight Back! Wessmann. As this demo was dispersing in front of
There was a period of just ten days between the the JuZI youth center, riot police suddenly
police raids of July 5-6, 1994 and the nationwide appeared and provoked the crowd. Following this
demonstration in Gttingen called for July 16, police attack, stones and molotovs flew from the
1994 in response to this state attack. Within this crowd into police lines. Police spokesmen later
short time span, during which there were also two tried to claim that the police action had been an
regional demonstrations and a public information error, that the cops had gone down the wrong
event organized against the criminalization of the street by mistake.
Autonome Antifa (M), a nationwide mobilization
needed to be organized. The slogan Stop State Overall Design
Terrorism Fight Back! Stop The Paragraph In line with the phrase Fight Back!, the picture
129/129a Trial Against Autonome Antifa (M) shows an image of autonomists clashing with riot
was chosen for the demo. This motto arose shortly police, but that incident was not an attack, rather
after the raids and appeared on several banners and an act of defence. The aim is to show the period
flyers. The poster for the nationwide demo needed from the antifa demo in 1989 to the anti-
to be designed quickly, and it required a clear and repression demonstration in 1994 was marked by
impressive form. politically motivated attacks on the part of police
and authorities against the anti-fascist resistance.
The Photography
The motif pictured a photo of the end of the The Solidarity Demonstration
nationwide demonstration in Gttingen on Following the raids on July 5-6, 1994, there was a
wave of solidarity, despite the fact that a local
coalition no longer existed. The call for solidarity
was seen as self-evident. It went without saying
that a black bloc would lead the demonstration.
The technical details would be organized by the
Autonome Antifa (M), and would be supported by
all autonomist circles.
The demonstration was to proceed peacefully,
and a call went out for the police to keep their Police take cover
distance. More than 3,500 people assembled for in front of the
the demo and marched through downtown courthouse.

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More than 3,500 Gttingen, with no cops in sight. It wasnt until The posters utilizes a photo, Gttingen,
people took part the demo reached the court building that a Lotzestrae, November 25, 1989: Auto-
in the demon- large number of riot police were present. nomists show the cops the right way to
stration on July The demonstration reacted to this with a the Wiesenstrae. ... These police
16, 1994. volley of firecrackers, bottles, and rocks. officers were pelted with stones, sling
According to police, eight officers were shots, molotov cocktails, and other
injured. objects, and 97 of them were injured.
Except for the local SPD, no groups The poster, by bringing that date
distanced themselves from this expression to mind and using that picture, in
of militancy. There was a clear conjunction with the slogan
and understandable political back- Fight Back!, leaves no
ground to the attacks in front of the doubt that a militant de-
court, and these events had no monstration was planned,
negative effects on subsequent and that implies riot,
solidarity work. Various assault, and the destruc-
groups, even mainstream tion of property.
ones, stood together for (pages 142 and 143 of
V.i.S.d.P.: Ernst over two years against the charges filed by the
Schneller, born this attempt at state State Prosecutors Office in
on November 8, criminalization. On Sep- Celle; February 13, 1995)
1890, was a sol- tember 16, 1996, the char- The space where the
dier in the First ges were dropped, a victory which resulted from name and address of the posters publisher is legally
World War in broad solidarity. supposed to appear was crossed out with a black
1914. In 1920, he marker.
defected from A Secret Publisher State police went through a great deal of
the SPD to the The investigations against Autonome Antifa (M) technical fuss to remove the marker and make the
KPD, and in 1924 continued after the raids in July 1994. The poster address legible once again. To their great
he joined the Stop State Terrorism Fight Back! was one disappointment, there was none.
RFB. A member excuse for this. The list of charges against the 17 (film montage; 2,000 copies; July 1994;
of parliament for alleged group members included inciting criminal V.i.S.d.P.: Ernst Schneller; see pages 117 and 215
the KPD, he was activity. of the German edition)
arrested by the
Nazis in 1933 and
murdered by the
SS on October 11,
1944 in Sachsen-
hausen.

Anti-criminaliza-
tion demon-
stration on July
16, 1994. Photo:
Marcus Hhn

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Nothing And No One


Is Forgotten!
On November 19, 1994, Autonome Antifa (M)
organized a demonstration to mark the fifth
anniversary of the death of Conny Wessmann. The
political content of this demo was not just to
remember the death of an anti-fascist, but to
remember all those who had died in the struggle
against fascism or who had lost their lives as
victims of fascist or state terror. The theme was the
history of the resistance and the ruling powers.
Despite changes and some historic breaks, the
fundamental structures of the capitalist system
have remained the same over time, and resistance
to capitalism has been repressed and beaten down
in all phases of history this century. Never Forget! Signs with the
The demonstration drew upon political The motto Nothing And No One Is Forgotten! names of people
examples which related to themes taken up by the No Criminalization Of The Anti-Fascist killed in the
Autonome Antifa (M) and the AA/BO. These Resistance! was used for the November 19, 1994 struggle against
included the November Revolution and the demonstration, and more than 1,000 anti-fascists fascism and
councilist movement from 1918 to 1921, the took part. imperialism
systematic destruction of all opposition during the As with the previous demonstration organized were carried
Nazi period, the repression against communists in by the Autonome Antifa (M), the AA/BO was also during the
the 1950s, and the present day criminalization of involved in mobilization and planning. Local demonstration
the anti-fascist resistance. In general, this action AA/BO groups organized participation in their on November 19,
was designed to increase awareness about the cities, sometimes by means of public events. 1994. Photo:
history of the resistance. The slogan Nothing And During the demo itself, the AA/BO took on Marcus Hhn
No One Is Forgotten! is a fighting message against practical roles such as marshalling and protecting
the ruling systems historical revisionism, which the loudspeaker car. In line with the
would like to erase the resistance and forget the demonstrations motto, marchers carried signs
death of anti-fascist Conny Wessmann, among with the names of revolutionaries and anti-fascists
many other things. The system wants to erase the killed and murdered from 1918 to the present.
traces of everyone and everything which reminds There were three stops along the route for
people of the resistance. The demonstration was speeches. In front of a refugee hostel, a speech was
also designed to be a political counterweight to the given about the situation of refugees. In the
November 9-30 Forum, an event dominated by Neustadt district of Gttingen, a speech was given
the social democrats. Attempts to find support at and a memorial was unveiled in honor of Ernst
this forum for the demonstration were Fischer, a communist and anti-fascist who was
unsuccessful, as was the suggestion to make this killed in the concentration camp in Berlin-
demonstration a part of the forums activities. The Plotzensee. A huge banner was hung up at the site
mainstream groups participating in the forum had where Conny was killed. This featured an image of
no interest in remembering the revolutionary the Buchenwald memorial and was in memory of
resistance. Also, the organizational debates within those killed in political murders from 1918 to the
the autonomist scene, which had started in 1988 present. V.i.S.d.P.:Walter
around the issue of coalition politics and which Krmer, state
continually resulted in critiques of the Autonome Police Conduct legislator for the
Antifa (M), reached their final highpoint during Before the beginning of the demonstration, police KPD in Hannover.
preparations for the demo on November 19, 1994. set up checkpoints on all major streets in the city. Walter Krmer
This action was a continuation of the politics Many demonstrators had their ID cards checked, was arrested in
of the Autonome Antifa (M), which would not and it took a long time for people to reach the 1933. On Novem-
allow itself to be limited by the states attempts at downtown area. Police used several video cameras ber 6, 1941, he
criminalization. The spectrum of groups which to extensively document the demonstration. was shot by the
took up the call for the demo was not big, however. There had not been such police conduct in SS in a concen-
With the exception of a few socialist groups in Gttingen since the Conny demo in November tration camp in
Gttingen, support came only from the 1990. But that wasnt all: state prosecutor Endler Goslar.
autonomist scene. from Celle appeared in person on the Marktplatz,

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The Poster Motif


The main motif for the poster was the memorial at
the former concentration camp in Buchenwald.
The resistance against the SS organized by
communists inside Buchenwald has been a
controversial historical topic.
East Germany had erected a national
monument in memory of this resistance, but in
West Germany the history of the resistance in
Buchenwald was either forgotten or defamed. The
demonstration in Gttingen was against a similar
defamation and erasing of the anti-fascist
resistance.
No historical parallels were drawn between the
Buchenwald resistance and the present day anti-
fascist struggle, but the point was made that there
Banner hung on which was a clear provocation since he was mainly is a long history of anti-fascist resistance in
November 19, responsible for the raids and investigations against Germany, which at its core is directed against the
1994 on the Autonome Antifa (M). The state prosecutor was capitalist system, and which the historical
bridge near the chased out of the square. revisionism in West Germany is seeking to
spot where A large number of riot police were in position eliminate from memory.
Conny was killed. in front of the court building, clubs drawn and (film montage; 1,500 copies; October 1994;
Photo: ready to attack. The demonstration was forced to V.i.S.d.P.: Walter Krmer; see pages 117 and 218
Marcus Hhn proceed with three lines of riot police on each side. of the German edition)

Historical Work When demonstrators came across the young


On The Revolutionary Resistance fascists, a heavy clash erupted. Police were unable
The history of anti-fascist resistance has always to intervene.
been a central focus of the works by KuK. Because Under pressure from anti-fascists, police were
this part of Germanys history is always being forced to lead the leader of the fascists through the
pushed out of memory, actions were continually city in chains. Anti-fascists smashed the windows
organized to keep alive the content and events of of the local offices of the Young German Order, the
the resistance. For example, Rock Against The Hotel zur Sonne, and burned the red-white-and-
Right in Northeim in June 1992 had an historical black flag of the Empire to show their rejection of
element to it. In addition to an exhibition and two it.
KuK posters, which were to mobilize for the
concert and demonstration in Northeim, an oil Seventy Years Later
painting was created as well. On June 27, 1992, Autonome Antifa Northeim,
together with Autonome Antifa (M), organized a
Historical Confrontation In Northeim demonstration under the motto Resistance Has
On June 27, 1922, anti-fascists organized a Tradition Organize The Anti-Fascist Resistance!
demonstration in the regional city of Northeim together with a Rock Against The Right concert.
near Gttingen. This was to protest the death of The demo by about 800 people followed the
foreign minister Walter Rathenau, who was of same route as the anti-fascist march seventy years
Jewish faith, murdered by the secret fascist group before. Afterwards, a rally was held outside the
Organisation Consul. Hotel zur Sonne and a window display with a
The anti-fascists chose Northeim as the site of reproduction of an oil painting was displayed. A
their demonstration because at the same a few days later, fascists destroyed this window
propaganda theater performance was being held display.
by the fascist organization Young German Order.
The anti-fascist manifestation was an attempt to Two Events In One Painting
hinder this event. Around 1,000 people gathered Work on the oil painting did not include an
on the Marktplatz in Northeim for the authentic representation of the events in Northeim
demonstration. A red flag waved at the front of the on June 27, 1922. Instead, a motif was chosen
crowd. But by the time anti-fascist procession got which described this regional action with a more
underway, the fascist performance had ended. general presentation of a militant clash between

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Other Campaigns With Historical Themes Poster for the


In November 1993, the member groups of the demonstration
AA/BO organized a series of actions in various on June 27, 1992
cities around the 75th anniversary of the in Northeim.
November Revolution in 1918 in Germany. A
brochure entitled History Is Made! November
9, 1918/1993 was published as well. Under the
same motto and motif, an anti-fascist week was
organized in Gttingen from October 24-
November 14. Part of this week consisted of an
exhibition about the history of the resistance in the
region, various public events, and a demonstration
Nazis and anti-fascists during the Weimar on the evening of November 9. A KuK poster was
Republic. The painting also drew on another created for the events in Gttingen (see page 223
historical event in southern Lower Saxony, namely of the German edition). On the 50th anniversary
the April 1932 riots between Nazis and anti- of the liberation from Nazi fascism in 1995, the V.i.S.d.P.: Karl
fascists in Bad Lauterberg in the Harz region. AA/BO again organized a nationwide initiative Peix, born in
around this historic date. A joint brochure and 1899 in
Proletarian Realism poster entitled May 8th 50th Anniversary Of Herzberg/Harz.
In order to create a picture showing militant anti- The Liberation From Nazi Fascism were Murdered by
fascist resistance during the Weimar Republic, the produced (see page 227 of the German edition). A the SS on
choice of painting is significant. This style is separate KuK poster was created for the series of November 6,
reminiscent of the proletarian realism of the 1920s public events in the Harz and Gttingen regions 1941 in a concen-
and 1930s. The idea was to give the impression of (see page 226 of the German edition). tration camp in
a historical work. The painting itself shows a Goslar.
confrontation between the Red Front Fighting Bad Lauterberg,
Union (RFB) and the Red Womens and Girls A Former Red Stronghold In The Harz Region Exhibition on
Union (RFMB) against the Nazi party (NSDAP). In regions where the anti-fascist resistance April 8, 1995 for
The RFB was founded in 1924 as a proletarian movement used to be strong, the history of these the 50th anni-
militia with an anti-imperialist focus. The political struggles is very rich. That is especially versary of the
organization was close to the KPD, appeared in true in Bad Lauterberg and the Harz region. Bad liberation from
uniforms, and was militarily organized. Following Lauterberg was one of the few areas in Germany Nazi fascism.The
the days of riots in Berlin after May 1, 1929, the so- where a strike movement arose briefly in 1933. exhibition was
called Bloody May, the RFB was banned, but The aim of this general strike was to protest the shown in several
continued to function clandestinely until 1933. seizure of power by the fascists. Karl Peix, a KPD tents outside of
The RFMB was founded as an independent member of the Prussian assembly in Hannover and Gttingens city
organization in 1925, but saw itself as politically one of the most famous anti-fascists from the Harz hall. Gttingen
connected to the RFB. The women of the RFMB region, was from the city of Bad Lauterberg. After was liberated by
wore uniforms as well. engaging in illegal organizing, Karl Peix was U.S. troops on
The NSDAP had various sub-organizations. arrested by the Nazis in October 1933 and sent to April 8, 1945.
In 1921, the SA was formed, and the SS was
formed as an elite formation within the SA in
1925. The SA and SS were brutal gangs, and were
representative of the terror of national-socialism.

An Image In The Style Of That Period


The painting, much like the artistic images of that
time period, does not have any shining victors.
Although the painting makes it clear that the Nazis
are losing, all the figures are the same size and there
is no recognizable leader. The use of the Reich flag
not only has historical connotations for the
Northeim region, the flag is still used by neo-Nazis
in Germany today. A special importance was
placed on showing women in the resistance in the
painting.

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Descriptions of KuK posters

a
3 3 3
c
3 6
i
g d
e
3 j
h 5 e
5 3
3
7
f

4 2

the Buchenwald concentration camp. He became historical riots was confiscated by the police. After
active in the anti-fascist resistance there. On photographic evidence was taken, the painting
November 6, 1941, in a small camp in Goslar just was returned.
outside of Buchenwald, the SS murdered Karl Peix (oil painting; June 1992; see page 224 of the
together with Walter Krmer, another well known German edition)
anti-fascist from Lower Saxony.
In January 1994, a public event and
demonstration were organized under the motto
Resistance Has Tradition Organize The Anti-
Fascist Struggle! in order to commemorate the
resistance in Bad Lauterberg (see page 223 of the
German edition). At a rally on the site of the April
1932 riots, a display was set up featuring a
reproduction of the oil painting depicting the
scene. This action, which involved about 200
Receipt for the oil people, received a great deal of local attention.
painting confisca- On the 50th anniversary of the day when Karl
ted during the Peix and Walter Krmer were murdered, an event
police raids on July and rally were organized to an anti-fascist
5, 1994 in Memorial from the VVN in November 1996 in
Gttingen. Bad Lauterberg. A sketch was created to
commemorate the murders of these anti-fascists
VVN memorial (see page 225 of the German edition).
for three anti-
fascist resistance Confiscated
fighters from During the raids against Autonome Antifa (M) in
Bad Lauterberg. Gttingen in July 1994, the oil painting of the

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Descriptions of KuK posters

1
3 6

5 7

1 RFB banner
2 Badge of the
RFB meeting,
Pentecost 1926, Berlin
3 RFB hat
4 RFB sling
5 RFB members badge
6 Steel rod
7 Badge of the RFMB

a c g

d h

b
a German war flag (World War I) e i
b Tip of a NSDAP flag poll
c SS steel helmet
d SS collar badge
Standardbearer
e NSDAP members badge
f Dagger from the SA f j
g Collar for banner bearer
h Parabellum Pistol 08 (Luger)
i SA hat
j SA collar badge Storm 16/
Standard 132 (Bad Lauterberg/Harz)

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Overview of KuK posters

Kur Concert more than just music and coma Full bottles fly better We chaotic radicals have a long tradition
see page 77 see page 77 see page 79

Repression and expulsion are murder! Attack organized neo-fascism fight the viking Stop the investigations against autonomist anti-
see page 80 youth see page 81/82 fascists! see page 83/84

We attack the fascists For a self-organized All will fall Demonstration for Conny Wessmann
struggle! see page 84/85 see page 8688 see page 89/90

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Overview of KuK posters

Everyone on your feet against the fascist pigs! Against the mainstream, against nationalism, Militancy concerts
see page 91 police state and racism see page 9497 see page 99

Against facism and police terror the future Go against the facist centers! Fight the class justice system the future belongs
belongs to us see page 100102 see page 103105 to us see page 105107

Fight the FAP resist organized neo-fascism! Stop state terrorism fight back Nothing and no one is forgotten
see page 107109 see page 109110 see page 111/112

Art as Resistance 117


Dokument1 21.10.1998 02:20 Uhr Seite 2

Art and Struggle (KuK) was developed in the 1980s as part of the
autonomist movement. It is a conceptual idea for a cultural-political
initiative. The project KuK is based on the idea to use resistance culture
as an instrument in the political struggle. Up to date, there are several
hundreds of posters, oil paintings, sketches and street theater plays.
Every action by Art and Struggle is accompanied by a political action.
As far as concept, realization and in particular continuity are concerned,
the initative KuK is an exception within the autonomist movement.
No other art initiative in Germany has faced as comparibly severe
persecution. On 117 pages with 213 black and white pictures the history
and concept of KuK are explained.
Since KuK is comprehensible only in connection with the political
movement, the development of the leftist movement in Germany
since 1945 is described. The origins as well as the actions of the
autonomist movement are focused on. In particular, the nature of
autonomist anti-fascism is explained.

Kunst und Kampf AktivDruck & Verlag


DM 20,00 e 10,50 $ 12.50 7.50
ISBN 3-932210-03-4