Come to the Opening of the European Central Bank! | Frankfurt 2015
A Call from the Destroika for a Fantastic Convergence of Resistance
From issue-less “days of action” to inconsequential general strikes, the recent struggles in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal invariably seem to stumble over the limit of their own national frame of reference. The standpoint of the nation, long considered synonymous with political activity per se, be it that of the State or one or another revolutionary party, has revealed itself as being the very scale of our own collective powerlessness. It is this powerlessness, turned against itself, that fuels the fire of so many nationalist resentments.
There is nothing more to be done from the national perspective, from the standpoint of the nation as a whole; standpoint eminently suited to every imaginable form of reaction. The nation as such is a dead letter. The State can do nothing more than set the table for the dreary meal dished out by the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission: the Holy Trinity known as the Troika. For us the national perspective is finished. For us there is only the local on the one hand, the global on the other.
The Troika, not content simply to oversee or even directly administer the budgetary functioning of entire States, seeks also to dictate the very conditions of our lives, reducing the latter to a simple question of “human resource management”. The impression of being dominated, overwhelmed, and finally altogether crushed by a self-appointed clique of “Core European” bureaucrats has become one of the more salient features of the present.
Whoever has studied the methods of the IMF knows that the former are not limited to a simple “Shock Doctrine”. The strategic apparatus of the IMF and the World Bank peruses a dual function: one finds on the one hand an effectively brutalizing process of violent economic restructuration, on the other, a system of “micro-credits” that work to soften the impact of the latter, stimulating the creation of small economic units. The goal of this double movement is simple: transform everything, everywhere, into an enterprise. The oft celebrated “social economy”, the “solidarity economy”, are in no way an appropriate remedy to the “Shock Doctrine” but its effective compliment. We do not desire a better economy, be it ever so “social”, we desire the end of calculation, the end of evaluation and measure; the end of the accountant-mentality, in love as much as in the workshop.
We are living through the intentional destruction of the social, a calculated pauperization of our daily lives, a massive acceleration in the concentration of wealth and power, a conscious instrumentalization of xenophobic resentments. The German state, operating as a sort of European metronome for the above phenomenon, is the right target for all those who find themselves in the cross-hairs of this attack: refugees risking their lives, all those whose conditions of existence grow more and more precarious, the
middle-class deprived of its security along with its last remaining illusions. Who will join us on our way? It´s time to get our lives back, to reinvent community, to organize practically.
For many, this is exactly what happened on the squares in Tunis, Cairo, Madrid, Istanbul; and what goes on living in the quarters of Thessaloniki, Rome and Barcelona – everywhere that we share our money and our resources, our know-how and our lives around shared places.
Local today, Frankfurt tomorrow
We don´t intend to repeat the structural mistakes made in the anti-globalization movement: its share of professional activists, scripted riots, and abstract slogans that had made our resistance something altogether rigid. It´s not without reason, at a certain point in the movement, that some of us preferred to anchor ourselves locally, to tear ourselves away from the abstraction of the global in order to shore-up some small part of reality again. Towards the end of the anti-globalization movement the air of its “networks” had become too thin for us. We realized that without spaces of our own, without land, without developing a material force situated in real places, inhabited fully with heart and hand, we too would soon be nothing else than politicians, representatives, administrators. To build new movements, to build a new Left, all of that can only serve to nourish new illusions.
In the interval, various forms of “local struggle” have come to the forefront. Some of them have gone as far as to set the tempo for conflicts spanning an entire country: Val de Susa in Italy, Notre-Dame-des-Landes in France, Gamonal in Spain, Chalkidiki in Greece, Lampedusa-Hamburg in Germany. Still, these struggles, even when they seem to win out, never go beyond a certain political threshold, thereby allowing the national government in question to dismiss them as fringe elements and marginal phenomenon.
Remaining confined within purely self-referential forms of conflict condemns us to defeat in advance. Calls to align our diverse “local struggles”, to create a common front, magically united by simple declarations of solidarity are in no way sufficient to combat the world-wide social attack underway at present. Just as some of us turned our backs on an increasingly abstract global struggle ten years ago, it now seems to be the moment to tear ourselves away, when necessary, from the attraction of the local.
We fight for and with the insubmissive neighborhoods, occupied houses, rebel peninsulas and valleys in revolt. This is fundamentally different from the classical “networking” of struggles, the alliance of political representatives with their sterile negotiation procedures, which, like all bureaucracies, seek first of all to serve themselves. Representation is standing-in for the absent, let us counter that with the real presence of the many!
This is why we will go to Frankfurt
As the restructuration of the European economy takes on the character of outright plunder, as the violence of disciplinary practices becomes more and more generalized, the more it becomes necessary to fight back – to defend our infrastructures and friendships everywhere the present social attack is being planned, prepared and made to operate on a vast scale. Therefore we will go to Frankfurt, because our defense requires us to attack.
It is necessary to transpose our experiences of local struggle to a higher offensive level, beyond the national frame of reference inherent to the movement, in order to sandwich the State on the European level as well. The opening of the new headquarters of the European Central Bank will be the occasion for us to reconverge, to unite our forces against a common enemy.
The difference here, with respect to the mobilizations of the anti-globalization movement is clear: it´s no longer a matter of converging with tens of thousands of activists simply to mobilize, but to organize ourselves in an international discussion, far beyond the confines of Frankfurt.
We want to bring the whole rabble of Europe together: all the employees on the verge of a nervous breakdown, all the disappointed petty bourgeois, all the day laborers and fired workers, all of us who, confronted with the brazen attacks of the enemy, long to strike back . Its a matter of creating an adequate target for the diffuse rage growing everywhere on the continent. We share this rage and we want to turn it into a revolt against those who centrally organize this attack from the confines of their comfortable offices and against those administrations that willingly implement it at every moment in every place.
To see the fear in the eyes of the bureaucrats, to fight together side by side, this is how we will find our way out of the new European nationalism. Neither Europe nor the local offer an alternative to the ruins of the nation state. It is not because we hate the State that we have to succumb to the dubious charm of Empire. Just like the old nation states, Europe is at once fiction and effective structure of governance. We are close to neither one nor the other. We do not want to appropriate Europe and its rotten institutions, we want to destroy them. Our idea of happiness and life is incompatible with its ethic of abstinence, its diktat of output, its penchant for self-discipline.
A new Togetherness – an axis of the rabble
For us the response to the present situation passes by the unmediated presence of those who stand up for themselves, those made superfluous in the Europe of the Troika, those who are not satisfied with an individual resistance to the reign of unconditional self-optimization. To combat this concerted and highly organized attack, we need a new way of imagining how to fight together.
Nothing is worse than a simulated attack. And although many of our efforts are necessarily symbolic in the particular, we welcome every form of combativity that is meant seriously, every action that seeks not only to render our protest visible, but to make itself felt, too.
It´s the struggles themselves, not the movement managers and travel experts of yesteryear, that must come together; not in simple solidarity, but in their own interests as well. Don’t get us wrong: we´ve known the force of good intentions, the power of acting in solidarity – even if the latter implies a rather too comfortable distinction between an “us” and a “them”. But this is the distinction that we need to overcome – a tremendous demonstration by all those who want to take their lives back!
In the last couple of years, with Blockupy and M31 there have already been attempts to render visible the protest against the policies of the Troika, the EU and Germany in the streets of Frankfurt. The reaction of the state forces was severe and unexpectedly repressive. All actions were forbidden, the whole city was taken hostage and paralyzed in order to quell the protest. Last year an approved mass demonstration was stopped by the police, not as the result of an executive order but as political protagonist in its own right.
But our experiences in Hamburg in December 2013 have shown that we are still capable of acting in a state of exception, if we remain unpredictable and therefore uncontrollable. A vast number of people acting with determination, dispersed over the area of a whole city, is sufficient to overwhelm even the most formidable police detachment.
In the protests against the opening of the ECB 2015 we see a chance to bring together the diverse struggles in Europe, to increase our offensive capacity. It must be our aim, as with the protests against the transport of nuclear waste, to understand the diversity of our struggles as a process of mutual enrichment, rather than one of paralyzing contradictions.
In difference to recent years, the protest will not occur on a day chosen for symbolic purposes, rather we will confront those in power during the opening ceremonies of the ECB. Moreover, the economic metropolis Frankfurt accommodates not only the ECB and the head offices of diverse multinational banks, but also numerous insurance firms, real estate conglomerates and communication companies.
Count on us!
They think they can conduct business as usual without reckoning with us. But the number of those
who’ve subtracted themselves from the dreadful business of constant self-assessment grows and grows.
There will be a reckoning to made by all those who’ve suffered through their politics of pauperization and destruction, a reckoning to be made for all the humiliations endured in the corridors of the administration, in the rat-race of our daily lives, for the shame we feel to no longer be young enough, fit enough, or flexible enough to “compete in the global economy”. And the more that their world breaks down around them, the more they seek to redouble their sinister grip on everything that lives.
And to our enemies, who understand no language other than that of calculation – you will pay the bill.
As insurrections all over the world have shown in recent years, revolution is altogether possible.
There´s one knocking at the door in Europe – let´s kick it down!
WHAT IS, IS – WHAT IS NOT, IS POSSIBLE