Climate protests in Germany: new energy against coal


Climate protests in Germany

The biggest student movement in history is also changing the radical left: it has become empathetic and better sorted than ever.

People stand next to each other with their hands raised on a railroad track, in the background a cooling tower

Blockade of the railway line between the coal power stations Neurath and Niederaussem on June 23rd Photo: dpa

AACHEN / VIERSEN / HIGH NEUKIRCH taz | It is Saturday, 13:09, when it is exceptionally confusing this weekend, when suddenly hundreds of people on a highway in North Rhine-Westphalia, between Lützerath and Immerath, turn left into the field: All now run as fast as they can – stumble, get up – first over sand, then through a cornfield and a potato field, to the edge of the open pit, in Garzweiler. A few dozen police officers, lost in the crowd, try to catch what to catch, but they do not catch much. This storming lasts 16 minutes.

On the horizon, right in front, is the Garzweiler opencast mine, one of the largest lignite producing areas in Europe, and the first squatters are already sliding down. They slide down a sandy, steep slope. You have reached your destination.

Such a rush, such a movement: It has become an exceptional situation in a protest atmosphere, in which almost every movement is now well-calculated. More than one thousand people stormed the opencast mine in Garzweiler on the weekend, hundreds of people blocked the nearby tracks at the Neurath coal power plant and the Hambacher Forst some 40 kilometers away for hours and days.

Tens of thousands previously went to Aachen and Hochneukirch for a rapid end to coal mining and a more effective climate policy on the streets. There were again many records of movement, a rebirth of the anti-coal movement in Germany and, above all, the expression of a change.

A growth opportunity

The radical environmental movement has become empathetic over the years, grown up, established and today more organized than ever before. If this movement were a human, then a parent. If she had a kitchen, then a clean one. Now this movement has been recruited: The students are there and the students, the children of “Fridays for Future”, who managed in less than a year, what radical power plant and open-pit developers have been trying for over ten years: that all Germany talks about climate change ,

“Lio” is the name of the 18-year-old boy with a curly-haired head, who appears in a circus tent in Protestcamp Viersen, 20 kilometers away from the Garzweiler opencast mine, as if he were just growing a full meter. He stands straight up and takes his job very seriously, as he explains to young students like a teacher on a poster, how they come together to Aachen on Friday, to the big “Fridays for Future” demonstration and how it can be done that the train ticket costs only 9.20 euros instead of 18.70 euros.

“Lio” is in such a big thing for the first time and you can tell. To the left and right of him are protest introductions and strategy discussions. That's what's special here: radical environmentalists from all over Europe have come, from Italy, Spain, France and the UK, many of them tried and tested in all forms of civil disobedience for many years – but this is their chance: the success of the young student movement, which brought about 40,000 people into the streets on Friday in Aachen, is also a growth opportunity for the capitalism-critical left.

More than 8,000 demonstrators demonstrated at the Garzweiler opencast mine in the Rhenish lignite mining area over the weekend for a climate change and a faster exit from coal-fired power generation. In addition to a bicycle demonstration, a 100 -meter-long sitting blockade and a rally in the endangered village of Keyenberg, there were also numerous acts of civil disobedience around the Garzweiler opencast mine.

A good 1,000 activists of the alliance Ende Ende area invaded the open pit mine on Saturday. In addition, around 800 activists blocked a railway line at the Neurath power plant and at the Hambach open-cast mine some 40 kilometers away. Coal for the corresponding power plants will be delivered via the railway lines.

Previously, up to 40,000 people had been on the streets in Aachen on Friday as part of the student protests of Fridays for Future. The police were predominantly reserved against the actions. Although she stopped on Friday and Saturday some groups the journey to the Garzweiler open pit. At the same time, according to their own statements, in most cases they saw personal identification and prosecution. Last blockades around the Garzweiler open pit ended on Sunday. To the numbers of those arrested, the police could not make any statements until the copy deadline. (epd, taz)

There is one person whose language shows how one benefits from the others and the other from the one. His name is Tadzio Müller, once he was one of the leaders of the European climate protection movement, always good for a blockade call. In 2009, he was arrested during protests at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. He is still one of the speakers and strategists of the movement.

Hochneukirch, 5,000 inhabitants, on the edge of the Garzweiler opencast mine, Saturday noon: What has become different, will be here at 13.17 clock show today, as a demonstration of about 8,000 people of the “Fridays for Future” movement reached the opencast Garzweiler.

At Lützerath, seven kilometers away, the quarrying of the mine has just begun, but everything is still quiet here. A water cannon of the police is at the open pit edge prepared and a Räumpanzer. Tadzio Müller drives on the loudspeaker car and heats the students.

But when the thousands of people now come here on the demolition edge, he says a sentence that he had not said so well before: “Please stay on the way. We do not want to go into the pit. We are here to make a symbolic gesture. “It is an important sentence, a strategic one and a bit lied: it marks that the once extreme left-wing climate movement begins to speak the language of the students; he points out that not everyone has to become a squatter now.

It does not take long, of course, until Muller's friends finally storm into the pit, but they have planned ahead: they run at the end of the demonstration so they do not endanger the students, so that anyone and everyone can do what suits them appears. So that's how it works when the big ones take care of the little ones and the big ones learn from the little ones. This is how it works when the little ones go ahead. This is how it works when the little ones have grown up and lead the march.

A good decade already matured the once very manageable climate movement in Germany at this moment. First, it was a small climate camp, often visited by only a few dozen participants, especially from anti-capitalist groups, who introduced the concept of climate justice in Germany. This meant: to remember that the emission quotas in Germany would have an impact especially on the poor sections of the population at the other end of the world.

Now this message has arrived, probably at least since a YouTube star named Rezo tried to explain it to his viewers in an internet video recently. With the growing up, with the advance into the social center, also the radical left has changed. She has never been sorted like that. Even for the police: predictable.

So clean and tidy

It's 9 o'clock when thousands of people stand in a long line at a protest camp in Viersen, near the Garzweiler opencast mine, to smear stews of beetroot and vegan nutella. it's 9:30 am when they finally set out for the Garzweiler open-pit mine, packed with sleeping bags and supplies for the night, by the thousands. and it's 10.15, when all the breakfast tables are cleaned and polished by the volunteer cleaning crew, as clean and tidy as if nobody had ever crumbled here.

The logistics of extra-parliamentary power, it has reached a quality that is reminiscent of the old days, as demonstrated in 2007 in Heiligendamm tens of thousands of people against the G8 summit. Only sterile has become everything, even more attentive, more organized. And the really militant groups do not even travel anymore.

It is a protest world in which the spokespersons of the climate movement distribute business cards in which buses are chartered, for example when the station in Viersen is closed for hours by the police; There is an Awareness table in this world with a flower on it, an old pink snapdragon, and where everyone can just say what moves them, how they feel or what they are after.

Really thought of everything

In this world, it is discussed during an open-air track occupation whether or not there is a smoking ban on the shared rails in front of the Neurath coal-fired power station. Above, the flying drone that flies produces aesthetic film footage for the volunteer advertising department of the “End of Terrain” protest, and there is a man standing alone all weekend and miles away from everyone else on a meadow near the open pit mine Garzweiler, on which, theoretically, supporters of the movement could park.

He holds up a cardboard sign on which he has written a “P”, but no one parks with him. He has registered for the parking lot service at Keyenberg. He probably does it for the common cause. He does it calmly.

They really thought of everything here, even the sidewalks between the sleeping tents in the protest camp are neatly circled with bats. Spooky, this organizing force, as if everything was done fine when the parents came by, the “Parents for Future”, to see if their children are doing well.

(tTTranslate) Climate Movement (t) fridays for future (t) end of campus! (t) student protests (t) climate change (t) Germany (t) politics (t) focus (t) taz (t) daily newspaper


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