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(en) Germany, PAULA*´s evaluation of G8 protests

Date Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:14:26 +0200



With this paper we want to publish a part of our evaluations and self-criticism.
PAULA, the crossregional plenary for a decentral space of actions and blockades
around the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, has been a heterogeneous, temporary
alliance of groups and sole persons. For this reason we will only evaluate the
decentral blockades and not deliver a collective statement about the G8 protests
in general. We take part in this discussion in another place in our everday
lives and in our groups. --- Meanwhile a series of assessment papers have been
published about the G8 protests, some of them carry approaches that are worth
discussing. a text that quite some people have been waiting for has not been
published, it somehow disappeared in between. So here it is, it should reach
many and play its part in the evaluation-process.

*PAULA explains herself* *The idea and the hope*

The idea for PAULA emerged from the background of years of experience of
protests against the Castor nuclear waste transport inWendland as well as from
our experiences during the defensive summit blockades 2006 in Gleneagles. To
complement the concept of mass blockades of Block G8 and because of our
criticisms of its restricted frame of action, we wanted to try to massively
hinder the summit meeting 2007 with a circle of decentral blockades of the
crossroads to Heiligendamm. We wanted to use the "specific summit" situation- to
be with very many people on the spot - to effectively disturb the course of the
summit at various infrastructural points, thereby expressing our clear and
unmisunderstandable rejection of the meeting and of neoliberal politics. To
create an uncontrollable situation we thought of several material blockades with
materials that were already there, deposited for this. Decentrality should
enable us to act as uncalculable and flexible as possible.

Part of the PAULA concept was firstly) that further groups and networks would be
inspired by PAULA and prepare decentral blockades and secondly) that lots of
activists would join in and take part during the days of the summit. By this we
also tried to get out of the small clandestine circles and open the door for
mass militancy. There was work done to establish a structure of information to
enable groups to exchange points in time and place of an action expected to
happen, and that should guarantee the short term integration of other groups,
especially of the internationals.

*The conditions and us*

* *

Shortly before and especially during the action days we realized our weaknesses
and limits. The result was disillusioning. We only heard of a few actions that
we could count as a decentral blockade (see
http://www.gipfelsoli.org/rcms_repos/maps/action.html). Some of the partly well
prepared decentral actions could not take place. Partly this was because the
cops got infos about planned actions, or because of missing activists, which
against our expectations got very close to the fence and therefor far from our
material depots. At other places the prepared points for blockades and the
material depots collided with other actions, so that these points could not be
reached because of the joyful trafficj am caused by them. Besides these outher
conditions a certain failure has to be ascribed to our own inability to stay
able to act in repressive surroundings. Already in the preparation we put the
focus on the concrete preparation of the individual actions and not so much on
the effective mobilisation for the action plan. Connected with half-clandestine
action-forms is the difficulty to promote the ideas and have spokespersons for
the actions, which became a big problem for us during the days of the summit. In
the preparation we could work with known comrades from other alliances who
spread the decentral blockade-concept in different places. During the days of
the summit we failed totally to get our ideas known in a self-conscious and
offensive manner. Because of fear of repression, we were way too much in the
background, so that even people who sympathised with the idea, had hardly a
chance to participate.

We became aware that the announcing of the actions needs to be much more and
more precisely thought about in the preparation-process. Instead of
concentrating on nice sounding calls we probably would have interested more
people when we would have given more detailed informations about the concept,
how to participate, orientation (accomodation roads, good points of attack) and
how many people are needed for the action. During the days of action we would
have needed an autonomous meeting or we should have been more visible on the
camp meeting, or the last autonomous meeting organised by the internationals in
Reddelich, to propagate our ideas and plans offensively. Another not unimportant
reason for our being absent, we see in the overloading of activists being too
much involved also through our responsibilities in the general
protest-infrastructue, which was mainly taken care of by persons of the
autonomous spectre. They took care of the wholes and helped in this way for the
success in the other concepts, but did not take care enough responsibility for
their own concepts. Finally, we have to say, that even when the hope should die
at last, to hope that many other groups will be animated to organize own
actions, only by calls, is not realistic at this time.

PAULA was an attempt. The result does not only mirror the organisational
weaknesses and limits, but also mirrors the lack of willingness of the
radical-left-scene to participate in this kind of concept by taking their own
initiative. When, because of bad preparation or consuming-behaviour,
self-organized and militant forms of protest stay away, then we see this as a
bad signal for the dedicatedness of the radical left.

*The other way of "friendly fire"*

* *

In the discussion about possible action and blockade-forms during the G8-summit
we have decided not to participate in the concept of Block G8 (BG8), because in
the concept there was this ghost of regulation and the wish to control the
action and a stress on civil disobedience; all militance and further going
actions were rejected and strongly disliked in this concept.

Principally we liked the idea of mass-blockades. But the way it was put into
practice was wrong, in our eyes. Because in its precise and clear description
which forms of action are accepted and which not we do not only see the wish to
make space for participation of young and unexperienced activists. We also see
this way of acting as an implicit taking over of the criminalising view of
militant forms of actions. In this way in the BG8 a polarisation between forms
of action which are justifiable and those who are not took place, which could
not be corrected through the participation of radical left partner associations.

Two days for the blockades representatives of BG8, a person who registered the
anti-militaristic action days in Rostock-Laage took part in conversations with
the cops in order to negotiate their space of action. The background of this
decision for BG8 has been their fear of not having enough space to act, because
of the riots on Saturday. Through the disclosure of their own plans they hoped
for a deescalation strategy of the cops or at least being more able to criticize
and delegitimize the cops when they would behave in a hard way. We see these
kind of conversations with the cops as a political mistake because the idea of
civil disobedience is to break the rules, especially we see this as a problem
because BG8 urged the activists in some cases to keep themselves to the rules
BG8 has dealt out. Our estimation got affirmed already on Wednesday when the
cops managed to neutralize the blockades. In this situation BG8 was not able to
create more space of action or to open the fence.

Our relationship with BG8 cannot be described only with the above mentioned
criticism. We always thought of both blockade-concepts as a complement of each
other and also coordinated our blockades with parts of the BG8 alliance.We were
happy that thousands of people were willing to take part in the blockades and we
learned of BG8 how to promote clearly. In the end also many people of our
circles took part in the BG8 blockades because of missing alternatives.

It is clear that propaganda of militant action-concepts is in contradiction with
the legitimated system and the majoritarian opinion. Therefore it is one of our
biggest challenges to cope with this contradiction in our political practice and
to represent publicly. The emanzipative character of actions and political
campaigns can surely not be measured to their grade of militance, but to their
antigonism towards the established system. Laying behind the discussion of
breaking the rules lays the relationship towards the violence of the state.

Solidair criticisms for the development of militant concepts of action ist
wished for and necessary. But it should be clear in all statements to other
forms of actions not to change sides in the fight for social change. Too fast
exclusion, denunciation and thinking over handling out comrades to the cops has
nothing to do with solidair behaviour.Very quickly a “ do not hit us” can change
in a “do not hit /us”/ .

The dissolution and the future

We have been PAULA. It showed that the concept of PAULA had its weaknesses and
needs changes in the preparation and the putting into practice. But still we
believe that the idea of decentral blockades can be useful, either during
summits, castor transports or fascist demonstrations.

We keep to our belief that unforeseeable and incalculable forms of resistance
are necessary. A logical consequence of our analysis of the society is a
militant practice in the radical left.

We hope that our thoughts can be helpful in the planning of other subversive
actions.

Solidarity greetings with the comrades who are accused with the 129a proceedings

===========================
* PAULA (überregionales Plenum- Antiautoritär-Ünversöhnlich-Libertär-Atonom)
An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
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