From climate strike to class politics (

Strikes at school, university and work, that is our answer to your politics! », Echoes from the stage at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin-Mitte. Despite falling raindrops and wet streets, thousands of climate activists stand and sit on Straße des 17. Juni, with their mouth and nose protection at a distance. Soap bubbles fly through the air. The young people laugh, chat, dance and listen attentively to the speeches.

Fridays for Future had announced a global climate strike with over 3000 protest events. Under the motto KeinGradWeiter, the activists demonstrated at over 400 locations. According to the police, almost 10,000 people took part in Berlin alone, and the organizers spoke of 21,000. Many tens of thousands were on the streets across Germany.

What’s next

In the past few months, representatives of Fridays for Future had complained of frustration. Although the movement has made a significant contribution to changing the social discourse, concrete political decisions that could save the earth from climate collapse are still pending. The movement is divided on the question of strategy. Some have announced that they will run for the Bundestag, while others are committed to civil disobedience and radical social criticism. The young climate movement is possibly at a crossroads: foaming Greens or meaningless Autonomous?

Green New Deal as Strategy

Approaches to a Green New Deal are also discussed as controversially at Fridays for Future as elsewhere on the political left. The concept means a social change towards a socio-ecological world, carried as a joint project by parties, unions and climate movements. The core of the concept: stop climate change while maintaining prosperity. This is to be achieved through a state investment program in which the jobs that are lost in fossil energy generation are absorbed by retraining and there is a job guarantee for everyone.

The idea has been discussed in the Left Party for several years. In March 2020, the left even held a strategy conference on the subject. “Climate protection and social justice go hand in hand,” communicated party chairman Bernd Riexinger on request. “The social and ecological crises have the same origin: a system in which profit and more and more profit are the ultimate yardstick.”

A social task

To change course, everyone would have to pull together. The anti-coal alliance at the end of the terrain, for example, sees cooperation with parties rather critically. «We can no longer wait for majorities, commissions or charters – the climate crisis is happening now, and the last few decades have shown that there is no political will to stop the climate crisis. None of the current parties has a concept that would adhere to the 1.5-degree limit, “explains Ronja Weil, press spokeswoman for Endegebiet, the” nd “. However, she emphasizes that it is a task for society as a whole to initiate and implement system change.

At Fridays for Future, some reject the concept because it is too uncritical and cannot overcome capitalism. “Others think the concept is good. There is no uniform perspective on the subject, ”said Asuka Kähler, press spokesman for Fridays for Future, in an interview with“ nd ”.

Most recently, the Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband criticized Fridays for Future sharply and unceremoniously got out as a supporter – in the middle of the hot phase of strike preparations. “What we still miss today is a clear positioning of Fridays for Future as a movement for such a socially just climate change,” said the general manager of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband, Ulrich Schneider, in a statement on the decision. Kähler admits errors: “I think the accusation arose on the one hand from miscommunication on our part and on the other hand is justified. It is serious criticism. We need to raise the issue of social issues and work more with trade unions. We will think more about the social issue in the federal election. “

At Ende Ende it is already clear that they want to “connect the struggles”. “For example in the care area: As the end-of-terrain local group, we fought with the health staff to discontinue the flat-rate system,” says spokeswoman Weil. The new alliances could also be an opportunity for Fridays for Future to get closer to the ambitious goals.


Actions by Ende Ende in the Rhineland: At dawn to the blockade

Despite Corona, Endegebiet is again blocking the lignite mine in the Rhineland this weekend. RWE employees act aggressively.

Activists of the orange finger from Ende Terrain at the action in Garzweiler on September 26th Photo: David Young / dpa

GARZWEILER taz | “That doesn’t help,” the policeman says to his colleague, “retreat!” There are only two of them, he gets back into the police car, slams the door and they drive away. The 200 people in the white painters’ suits can continue their way undisturbed on the small country road in the dark. Your destination: Garzweiler, the largest open-cast coal mine in Europe, a good 30 kilometers southwest of Düsseldorf.

From the camps, which this year are small and decentralized in the Rhenish lignite mining area due to the corona hygiene measures, several demonstration trains set off on Saturday morning, September 26, well before sunrise. As in every autumn or late summer since 2015, the climate activists from Endegebiet have again called for actions of massive civil disobedience in the Rhineland this year.

Around 3,000 activists are there – half as many as last year, but still many in view of the corona pandemic and the cold rainy weather. About half of them use the darkness in the early morning hours and leave between four and six in the morning. As has already been tried and tested in the end of the terrain campaigns, the activists have divided themselves into “demo fingers” of 200 people named after colors.

With sunrise and the closer the demo trains get to the coal mine and power plants, the balance of power between police officers and activists changes. The blue-purple finger, which had come unnoticed by train from the camp to the Frimmersdorf train station, is accompanied on the Landstrasse from seven o’clock by a helmeted hundred. A few minutes later, however, the breakthrough came at a fork in the road: Around a hundred activists ran past the officers into a field, scrambled through a ditch, ran across wet grass and bushes towards the coal mine. The officers fail to stop them. A good hundred people slide down the steep embankment into the coal mine.

At the bottom they are stopped by a police chain and around 30 security employees from the coal company RWE. RWE employees in the orange safety vests also attack press representatives aggressively. They pull a journalist to the ground and put him in a headlock. They try to take away the cell phone from others, press them, run after them and try to kick them between the legs.

“We have house rights here and you turn off the camera immediately,” one of them shouts. In some places the police intervened. RWE spokesman Matthias Beigel says: “Nobody has the right to penetrate here, not even the press.” It’s about security.

Successful blockades, but also police violence

The activists from the blue-purple finger of Ende Terrain are finally surrounded by the police and cannot get any closer to the lignite excavators, but they have achieved one goal: The excavators are at a standstill.

At ten o’clock in the morning the alliance at the end of the terrain reports various other successes. Another finger has reached the Weisweiler coal-fired power station, another at the Lausward gas-fired power station. The fact that the activists are also targeting gas infrastructure is new: natural gas is presented far too often in public discourse as a climate-friendly alternative to coal – a “dirty lie”, says the alliance’s spokeswoman Kim Solievna. “It’s insane to invest billions in natural gas, pipelines and fracking ports instead of renewable energies. We’re here to expose natural gas as a climate killer. ”During the extraction, storage and transport of fossil fuels, a lot of climate-hostile methane is released into the atmosphere.

In addition to reports of success, activists also report police violence. In Cologne-Ehrenfeld, helmeted police officers with batons got on a train and hit the activists.

Another demonstration, the golden finger, tries to break out of Camp Keyenberg around noon on Saturday. Most of the activists, however, are quickly pushed back into the camp by the police, including mounted officers. There is an arrest and the finger cannot start for the time being. The village of Keyenberg is one of the six villages that are about to fall victim to the expanding open pit.

A total of 14 fingers should be on the move in the Rhenish lignite mining area at this end of the terrain campaign weekend. Many of the activists are equipped with sleeping bags, sleeping mats and tins. You are preparing to spend the night on rails or in open-cast mines.


Protests in the Rhenish lignite mining area: Last battle in Keyenberg

RWE is advancing in the Garzweiler II opencast mine. Activists protest against the demolition of the country road that separates the village of Keyenberg from the coal mine.

Garzweiler open-cast mine: In the background the town of Keyenberg, which is to give way for coal mining Photo: dpa

KEYENBERG taz | The ears grow steep, crows enjoy the fields, the sultry summer wind blows across the forests. A good thousand people move through the idyll, many in the resistance yellow of the villages, who are supposed to give way because of lignite – with the help of the “most fossil state government that has existed for a long time”, as a speaker says.

Sunday afternoon: demo near Keyenberg, just a few steps away from the demolition edge of the Garzweiler II opencast mine. In addition to some of the future dredging victims, people from Fridays / Families / Artists / and Students for Future also came. Motto: “Not a meter further!” The final battle over the Rhenish lignite should begin on Monday.

Opencast mine operator RWE Power plans to demolish the L277 highway from 5 a.m. They call it “dismantling”. The L277 separates the large hole right next to it from the town of Keyenberg, which is barely 300 meters away, one of the six villages that are still to be excavated in the Garzweiler II opencast mine for lignite mining.

RWE had the coal exit law gilded with 2.6 billion euros. The company sees it differently: “RWE will bear the brunt of the German phaseout of lignite.” According to a press release, Garzweiler coal will be “needed from 2024 onwards”. Local people have to give way, families have to leave their yards. 900 people still live in the six villages.

An occupation of the street by church groups was also planned for Sunday evening from 8 p.m .: “Liturgical night watch on the L277”. The initiative “Leave the church (s) in the village” had called “against this act of violence, which destroys creation, cuts the connection between the villages and robs the people there of the last remaining protection against the ever closer dredgers”.

The night watch includes prayers, music, readings, singing, intercession. The resistance of the churches in the Christian Rhineland is one of them: Evangelical pastors were the first to be carried away 30 kilometers south in September 2018 when the Hambacher Forest was cleared.

Antje Grothus from the “Buirer for Buir” initiative says: “It is the sole responsibility of RWE and the state government whether the conflicts over coal are now escalating again.” For many, RWE and the state government from the CDU and FDP are one thing anyway: In the scene one speaks of NRWE. As if to confirm this, an RWE employee showed up on Sunday and took drone pictures to see “whether the demonstrators were behaving”. In NRWE, the coal diggers take over the police duties at the same time.