As we reported on October 29, the Rote Flora in Hamburg, Germany is under threat of eviction. The occupiers and their supporters are organising resistance. Its not the first time that the social center is under threat of eviction. The Rote Flora was occupied in 1989 and there where numerous attempts to evict the project. Formal owner of the building Klaus Martin Kretschmer and his investor Gert Baer are doing anything they can to escalate the situation.
Tonight there will be a concert of German hip hop act “Fettes Brot” in the Rote Flora. Formal owner Klaus Martin Kretschmer and real estate investor Gert Baer tried to stop the concert. Kretschmer charged Fettes Brot to pay 5.000 euros or he would press criminal charges against the band and ordered them to stay out of the house. The band refused to pay and announced they will definitely play. Its a solidarity concert at the occupied free space and therefore Fettes Brot will play without receiving any money for it. In a mainstream press artcile the band said that they see their performance at the Flora as a statement because nobody needs the commercial entertainment center that Kretschmer and Baer want to build. The band supports the noncommercial cultural center Rote Flora. Apart from Fettes Brot many other muscians also support the project.
On Saturday evening Kretschmer filed charges against Fettes Brot. In the complaint Kretschmer accused the well known band members of “breach of peace” and “breach of domestic peace”. Kretschmer demanded that the police would not let the band into the Rote Flora but a spokesman of the police stated that the police will not intervene.
It looks like Kretschmer and Baer are doing anything they can to escalate the situation. The conflict they created around the concert is an obvious provocation. People could laugh about the silly actions by Kretschmer and Baer against the concert but it should be clear by now that they are determined to destroy the Rote Flora project.
Although Gert Baer stated something else its now clear that he and Klaus Martin Kretschmer rent the building to a letterbox company in Panama with the name Yupin. Kretschmer and Baer already announced that they will file a lawsuit to pave the way for their eviction dreams. The Rote Flora is mobilising for a nationwide demonstration in Hamburg which will take on December 21. The motto of the demonstraton will be to defend the Rote Flora, the Esso houses and the right to stay for refugees. In Hamburg there are ongoing protests after the senate started racist controls in the city and people fight for the right to stay for refugees as well.
Footage of a demonstration for the Rote Flora at April 30, 2011:
Here the call for the demonstration:
21.12.2013: Nationwide Demonstration
Start: 14:00 (2:00pm) Rote Flora – Hamburg – Germany
Defend Rote Flora – Enforce the Esso houses!
Against racist conditions – The right to stay for everybody!
With a nationwide and international demonstration at the 21st of December in Hamburg we want to make clear that massive resistance has to be expected should be tempted to evict Rote Flora. We will focus on the current struggles to preserve the Esso houses, the right to stay for refugees and the radical critique on repression and danger areas (where police harras people all the time, Revoluton News).
In October this year the Rote Flora, occupied for 24 years now, called for a campaign to defend the project. The formal private owner and investor Gert Baer want to end the occupied status of the building which used to be owned by the city. They want to file a lawsuit against the current developement plan and announced that they want to build a 6 floor high building with a concert hall with a capacity of 2500 visitors, an intergrated district cultural center, sales areas and offices, a daycare facility for children and a 3 floor underground parking lot. To realise the project they are planning to found a stock company with international backer.
Baer and Kretschma are critising publicly that the Hafenstraße in Hamburg was not evicted in the eighties and declare the Rote Flora to a contrary political model. According to their press release their goal is to demoralise the squatting scene and to prevent new occupations by smashing Rote Flora and giving no prospects for new occupations. Ideological their attack is not only against Rote Flora as an individual local project but they understand their commitment as a political statement against squatting altogether. The hundreds of users of the house were labeled by Baer as a “criminal and terrorist organisation.”
Because of the concrete threat a general assembly has called for nationwide and internatonal solidarity actions. Before some new financial backers start to dream about new high profits nationwide headlines and deterrence will create a negative image for investors and make them clear that such a development plan will cause more damage than it will generate profits.
We will not rely on reassurances by politicians. Restoration- and development plans can change just like the attitude of politicians and media can. Furthermore the intention of the governing senat seems to be to get themselves out of the political fireline. Inconvenient decisions are regulated by privatisations while the politicans wash their hands in innocence. This reminds not only to the Esso houses which are threatened to be demolished but also to the struggle around Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen.
Thats why Rote Flora always have put straight that the current conflict first of all is a conflict about city and society. The struggle is not about a few walls at Schulterblatt. Its part of and refers to the conditions that surround it. For us the struggle for flora is not only to preserve the house, but the flora as a political project and political idea. We are aware of the fact that we presumably can only prevent a possible evicton politically upfront. With solidarity and strong movements who will not only have a defending attitude, but who will make a change of the conditions to a starting point.
Shut Down Fortress Europe!
The last months and weeks were characterized all over Germany with the struggle of refugees for their right to stay. In Hamburg people took the streets spontaniously to protest and demonstrate for weeks to stop racist controls which are the prelude of the deportation of the refugees from Lampedusa. By using different forms of protest and actions that are operating independently and uncontrolled we achieved that the state government is in the defensive. By now they try to split the refugee group from Lampedusa by using the leadership of the church as a lever for the policies of the senat.
It makes it even more important that all spectrums of protest speak out clear and determined. The sustained stop of racist controls is not a bargaining chip in the struggle for the right to stay for the Lampedusa refugees. The right to stay is not a question of the country of origin or a case by case review as a deportation on rates. The sustainable and unlimited right to stay and freedom of movement for all – Abolish Dublin II !
While many people in Hamburg, Berlin and other cities showed solidarity with the struggle of the refugees, it came to racist mobilisations of residents in the outskirts of the cities and in rural areas and series of arson attacks against accommodation facilities of refugees. Racism still comes from the middle of society and attacks on refugees by the state advance populist sentiment. An antifascst practise is and will stay essential as well as an antiracist reference to urban political struggles.
Capitalist city development
Another example of how struggles in the city can intersect and refer to each other are the Esso houses at St. Pauli. More than 100 tenants shall be expulsed there to make place for a huge new building with luxury apartments. Existing clubs and shops shall close and replaced by high-priced businesses. They tempt to play off the interests of the tenants against those of residents. Politicians dropped every possible alternative city development policy to pave the way for investor Bayrische Hausbau. First notices of termination of tenancy agreements for spring 2014 are already pronounced.
All options to preserve the building or a redevelopment in the interest of the tenants and residents were obstructed, all doors closed. It seems like only a radicalising resistance and wide protests can topple the situation which is reputedly without any alterative. Although the consistence of the resistance at St. Pauli is far more heterogeneous, the Rote Flora and the Esso houses have an astounding similar problem. The city is privatising the conflict and acts as if they are uninvolved. As a result it seems like massiv protests and an escalation are the only prospect against a policy that tries to enforce their political goals as capitalistic inherent necessities.
For the expansion of the struggles
Worldwide cities are places of political struggles and more and more often they are referring to each other and are networking. Not only questions and the structure of investors are overlapping when people in Istanbul, Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam or Copenhagen are protesting against gentrification, eviction or increasing rents but more and more often also the experiences of protest and political objectives.
Political movements newly created and formed out of the social basis in the cities. The struggle to preserve the Rote Flora intersects with the struggles of other occupied spaces and city district projects worldwide. There is resistance of tenants against reassessment and expulsion. Protest against privatisation of urban life, self-organisation and sabotage against repression and the inhuman system of deportation and sealing off of borders.
The Rote Flora is only one of many places where these conflicts are reflected in protests. For us its neither at the Flora nor at the Esso houses or the Centro Sociale or other contested spaces about single projects. Its about a radical different understanding of city and society. About transboundary solidarity, a practise of occupancy and the socialisation of the existing to attack the capitalistic enforcement and patriarchal norms.
Right to the City – Fight Capitalism!
No Border – No Nation!