Friday, October 23, 2009

In the UK, we hear a lot about a strong autonomous Antifa movement in Germany. Could you give us a bit of an idea how this has come about?

Interview with German anti-fascist group TOP Berlin

The autonomous Antifa is part of the radical left movement which developed following 1968. After the protests of the early 1970s had faded, the radical left seemed to be in a dead-end. A large part of the left occupied itself with the debate over the armed struggle of the RAF and other armed groups, as well as with their conditions of imprisonment. Another part organized in orthodox communist splinter groups. Although strong in numbers, by the early 1980s both approaches had lost contact to societal discourse and struggles.

The autonomous movement reacted to that with a changed concept of politics. Change should be begun now, instead of waiting for a far-off revolution to take place. The more anarchist outlook of the ‘autonome’ led to a relocation of focus from class struggle to the sphere of reproduction. Therefore struggles for adequate housing, over local planning issues and against large projects like the construction of Frankfurt Airport and a large Mercedes testing-road in Northwest Germany became important. The struggle against organised Nazis had always played a role for the radical left. Since the foundation of the NPD in 1969 and its electoral success in the following years there had been protests against its conferences and other events. An autonomous antifascism could follow on this tradition.

Organised neo-Nazis were seen as posing a threat to the living conditions of those on the radical left, who felt that their occupied houses and autonomous youth centres were under threat. In addition, the struggle against the neo-Nazis was understood to be a revolutionary struggle as the Nazis were perceived as the storm-troopers of the pre-fascist Federal Republic. This system would make use of the Nazis to suppress social and radical left movements. In the 1980s it was possible to achieve wide mobilisation with this analysis. In the early 1990s, however, as a wave of pogrom-like riots and attacks on asylum seekers swept through the country, the radical left found that with this analysis it was not in a position to do anything against it. Racist and fascist ideas seemed to be held by a large part of the population.

Under the impression that the autonomous movement lacked the ability to intervene, many activists founded small autonomous Antifa groups. In order to combine their potentials and become capable of action of a national level, in 1992 they founded the ‘Antifaschistische Aktion-Bundesweite Organisation’ (AABO) and a little later the ‘Bundesweites Antifatreffen’ (BAT). The AABO attempted to establish a stable organisation while the BAT aimed purely at creating a network of autonomous groups. Both attempts proved successful in mobilising large numbers of people against the few Nazi marches which took place in the 1990s. Their meaning decreased significantly, however, as nationwide mobilisation against Nazi marches became problematic, due to the sheer number of marches taking place. In addition, analysis hadn’t advanced much further from the 1980s. Antifa was understood as ‘der Kampf ums Ganze’ (‘the struggle against the system as a whole’): by attacking the most reactionary parts of society a blow would be struck against the whole system. This lacking analysis was proved dramatically wrong during the time of the Red-Green coalition.

When racist attacks in Germany peaked in the 1990s the state and police became increasingly active against neo-Nazi groups. In 2000, you had the ‘Antifa-Summer’. What was that?

In 1998 the conservative government fell and was replaced by a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green Party. This government, unlike the previous government, made the problem of neo-fascist organisation into a political issue, as well as racist and anti-Semitic attitudes in society. Following a failed bombing on a Dusseldorf Synagogue in 2000 came a wave of repression against the organised right. The most important action against the neo-Nazis was the government-initiated attempt to ban the NPD. Although this failed in the end, because too many leading NPD members turned out to be employed by the secret service, the trial led to a series of investigations, confiscations and a large sense of insecurity in the neo-fascist scene. In addition to this, the government pushed through a row of legal changes, which limited the right to demonstrate, banned certain fascist symbols and made it easier for the government to ban organisations which were opposed to the constitution. In the end the government made millions of Euros available for education against racism and anti-Semitism. On a governmental level, the democratic parties in many parts of Germany agreed not to work with representatives of the extreme right-wing parties. The conservative party also often took part in this agreement.

How was the state’s anti-fascism different from that of the Antifa movement? Why was the state suddenly interested in tackling the neo-Nazi problem?

The reasons why the state moved against fascist structures are complex. A major reason is that the government had recognised that it was damaging to the investment climate to have gangs of armed Nazis wandering the streets, or to have fairly openly national socialist parties sitting in the local government. This was especially the case as just at this time foreign investment was urgently needed in East Germany, in order to halt the total decay of the region’s economy.

But also important was that in the time of the Red-Green coalition the German self-identity had changed. While the years after the war were still marked by a denial of guilt, from the 1990s on Auschwitz and National Socialism became an integral component part of the German identity. The responsibility for National Socialism and the Shoah was not only acknowledged but also turned into something which could be utilised for the German identity. The reunited Germany, redeemed from its past misdeeds, and with ‘the experience of two dictatorships’ behind it, could enter the world as a democratic state. In this way the German attack on Yugoslavia during its civil war was justified, as the Serbians were supposedly planning a second Auschwitz for the Kosovans. On the other hand the new German democracy refers to the Eastern Bloc, the ‘second German dictatorship’, to stress the lack of alternatives to the bourgeois capitalist system. In this tense relationship between a newly formed totalitarianism theory and the striving for a good position on the world market stands the new German political outlook. To this also belongs the public memorials to the victims of National Socialism, as well as the German victims of air raids and expulsions in a ‘European history of suffering’. Also belonging to this are the interventions in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, as likewise the German push for the strengthening of the European border regime. And, finally, also belonging to this are the decided measures against neo-Nazis, who threaten the new German self-confidence and the state’s monopoly of violence.

How did radical anti-fascists react to this? Did it strengthen or weaken the movement?

The state’s action against neo-Nazis led the antifascist movement to an identity crisis. If fascist and neo-Nazi groups had up till then been seen as the storm-troopers of the system, who were supposed to suppress social movements on the government’s behalf, now, at the latest, the radical left had to confront the fact that Antifa was not ‘der Kampf ums Ganze’. A part of the radical left denounced the state’s action as hypocritical. It was pointed out that despite the state’s measures against neo-Nazis there remained in society a right-wing consensus. This consensus was supposedly based on a continuity of the concepts of national socialism, which were still virulent in society. This would express itself in the ‘volkisch’ (blood based nationalism) German foreign policy, for example the early recognition of Croatia and the support for the Palestinian cause, as well as in a tendency to historical revisionism. The state’s actions against Nazis were seen as hypocritical as the social structures on which both the German national project and the Nazis were based, were left untouched.

Another part of the antifascist movement accepted that the struggle against fascists offered no revolutionary perspectives and attempted to sharpen their opposition to the system in other ways. In particular the criticism of capitalism came into the foreground. Capitalism was now analysed as a complex network of social relationships, which are structurally prone to crisis. Neo-Nazis provided a negative solution to this inherent tendency of capitalism towards crisis. This solution, however, was based on a mistaken and structurally anti-Semitic analysis of the way capitalism integrates individuals into society and therefore not only had no emancipatory potential but had the potential to create something far worse than bourgeois capitalist society. For this reason neo-Nazis had to be fought, even though this fight had no revolutionary perspectives. These should instead be sought in a confrontation with bourgeois-democratic society.

While the following heavy debates seriously reduced the ability of the radical left to mobilise for years to come, and the resultant insecurity mobbed many antifascists to retire from politics, these tremors opened up the critical examination of the left’s own positions and in the end led to a strengthened theoretical confrontation with the basics of radical left politics.

How, in your group, do you think of anti-fascism now? Did you reconceptualise it to distinguish yourselves from liberal, bourgeois anti-fascism?

TOP Berlin comes out of the tradition of autonomous Antifa groups and still has in this field its greatest potential to mobilise. Accordingly we have intervened in the antifascist movement and taken part in antifascist protests. In the process we have always tried to insist on our own critique of mainstream society. Two examples of this: On 1 May 2008 Nazis demonstrated in Hamburg for ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ (blood based national community’) and against capitalist globalisation. In meetings and texts before the protest, we tried to work out a critique of the volkisch and anti-Semitic positions of the Nazis. In addition, we took part in the direct action against the march in Hamburg. Another mobilisation was against the ‘Anti-Islamisation Congress’ organised by an extreme right-wing party in Cologne, in collaboration with other European extreme right-wing parties. We undertook a nationwide mobilisation with the nationwide communist ‘ums Ganze’ federation, in which TOP Berlin is organised. In articles and in our own congress we tried to work out what role a culturalist understanding of society plays for the German national narrative. With this we wanted to fight not only the thinly masked racism of the extreme right, but also the everyday nationalism of mainstream German society. As well, we presented a criticism of Islamism as a reactionary crisis solution. The ‘ums Ganze’ federation took part in the protests by organising a large demonstration on the eve of the congress.

These two mobilizations display well our approach. We take part in antifascist protests, but try with theoretical content to lay a basic critique and bring this into the movement.

What has that meant practically? Has the focus of your activities changed?

TOP Berlin was only formed in 2007 before the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Therefore our group positions haven’t been affected by the Antifa Summer. But in contrast to its predecessor groups, Kritik und Praxis and Antifaschistische Aktion Berlin, we try to initiate more of our own campaigns, instead of following the fascists’ movements. In 2009 with ums Ganze we have initiated an anti-national campaign with the motto ‘Staat. Nation. Kapital Scheisse. Gegen die Herrschaft der falschen Freiheit’ (‘State. Nation. Capital. Shit. Against the dominance of the false freedom’). As part of this campaign we have published a book on the criticism of the state, organised a series of events on the critique of the nation and called for a nationwide demonstration against the celebrations of the 60th birthday of the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the second half of the year ums Ganze and TOP Berlin will mainly work on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and broaden our criticism of the nation to a criticism of real existing socialism. Besides this we will hold our second Marx Autumn School and devote ourselves to the second volume of Capital.

TOP (Theory. Organisation. Praxis) is a Berlin-based antifascist, anti-capitalist group. They are part of the “…ums Ganze!” alliance ( which consists of more than ten groups from all over Germany. Parts of this text are based on a paper written prior to the G8 summit which can be found in English at To get in touch with them write to mail (at)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The farce is over, and although we didnt really want to believe it that which was expected happened. The three comrades have been found guilty and sentenced to jail terms of three and a half years for two comrades, and three years for the third.

Tonight at 19:00 there are demonstrations in both Hamburg (S-Bahnhof Sternschanze) and Berlin (U-Bahn Kottbusser Tor).

At this point, here is a (very rushed!) translation of todays press release from the „Einstellung“ working group/coalition (the defense campaign for the accused). You can find the german version here

„The trial of Axel, Florian, and Oliver as alleged members of the „militant group“ began over one year ago. All three of them were, together with Andrej, arrested in Summer of 2007. The investigation in Andrejs case is still continuing.

Today, Axel, Oliver, and Florian were condemned of attempted arson as members of the „militant group“ and sentenced to three and a half years (in two cases), and three years (in one case) in prison. They leave the courtroom after over 60 trial dates having refused all acts of compromise, and are now to be punished for their committed resistance against German war policies.

Since the arrests in 2007, the coalition for the „Einstellung“ (Discontinuation) of the 129a investigation has been acting as a political accompaniment to the developments related to the trial. Since the beginning of this trial, our priority has been not only to draw attention to the issues of state surveillance and persecution of political activists, but also to the issue of antimilitarism.

For this reason, we will not at this point discuss the ridiculous line of argumentation and logic used by „BAW“ and the court to justify this verdict. We will also not make reference to the harassment of those who attended the trial. Only this much: In our opinion, the defense lawyers decision to renounce making closing arguments was correct and consistent.

Despite the repressive scenario of a „special“ court, antimilitarist resistance has during this trial gained a more widespread presence. In the last years, resistance against military operations and the civil-military cooperation has increased. Protests against war have taken a clearer and more engaged character, withouth peaceful protest and militant resistance being played against one another. This has also been noticeable in the solidarity which has been expressed from very different political poles.

Despite this, during the trial it has not been possible to pose the question of legitimate resistance to military operations. Few media outlets took up the subject of „political evidence,“ or made the connection between that, and what is daily practice in this country as well as internationally. Neither the war operations of the German military, nor their presence in schools, universities, and on the streets such as in 2007 during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm have been made an issue in the media, or associated with the increasing protests against them. In other countries, such as for example Ireland, individuals have been freed after trials because of sabotage against tools of war, with the explicit argument that these acts prevented worse crimes. This is a debate which is still to be had here. Regardless, we look forward to the continuation of the antimilitaristic struggle.“

Complete background infos on the case (only in German) can be found on the website of the „Einstellung“ coalition.

Stefano Cucchi was arrested by the Carabinieri on 15 October. He spent the night in the police station and the following day, with a fast-track trial,

Image scaled down

While the parents are still waiting to see their son, a week ago, the family receive from the Carabinieri, the notification of the order with which the prosecuting magistrate authorises the autopsy on Stefano’s body.
And that’s how his parents and his sister get to know about Stefano’s death.
Another who died of prison.

Interviewed Ilaria and Giovanni Cucchi, who are the sister and the father of Stefano.

The arrest and the fast-track trial

llaria Cucchi: "Stefano Cucchi was a 31 year old man, a really normal 31 year old guy who on the night of 15/16 October was arrested by the Carabinieri, because he was found to be in possession of a modest amount of marijuana. We saw him leaving the house accompanied by the Carabinieri, who before that, among other things, had searched his room and having found nothing, they took him to their barracks in optimum health, with not one mark on his face and with no complaint about any type of pain. We saw him again dead on 22 October at the morgue. At the moment that we saw him again, my brother had his face completely swollen and full of marks, we couldn’t see his body.”
Blog: “Can we retrace the events of those days? The night between 15 and 16 October, he was stopped by the Carabinieri and taken to their barracks: from there, the Carabinieri brought him here to the house to check if …”

llaria Cucchi: to search his room, yes, where obviously nothing was found.”

Blog: “Basically he spent the night in the barracks and then came …”

llaria Cucchi: Exactly. The following morning, about midday there was the fast-track trial, when the judge decided that this guy had to spend the time until 13 November, the date set for the next hearing, in prison and he was put down for “Regina Coeli”.

llaria Cucchi: After that moment we didn’t see him again. I repeat: the morning of the fast-track trial my brother already had signs of swelling from being beaten. But when he left here he was in top condition.
Blog: What did the Carabinieri say to you when he came home here?

llaria Cucchi: They told us to stay calm, because for so little he would surely be back home the following day under house arrest.”
Blog: Then when they gave you the information, there was a telephone call saying ‘Stefano’s not well’?”

llaria Cucchi: “Saturday evening. The next bit of news we got on Saturday evening. Around 9pm the Carabinieri arrived to tell us that Stefano had been taken urgently to the hospital ‘Sandro Pertini’, obviously my parents went there immediately and there they were denied any type of information. When my mother naively asked to be able to see the lad and to be told what was wrong with him, she was told: “absolutely no. This is a prison. Come back on Monday in visiting hours and talk to the doctors.” My parents returned on Monday morning, at the time they had been told. They were allowed to enter and the details of their identification documents were noted and they were left to wait. After a bit of time, someone responsible came out, and told them that she couldn’t let them talk to the doctors as a certain authorisation had not arrived from the prison. “Anyway, come back, because this authorisation has to arrive and don’t worry because the lad is serene.” When my mother asked “at least tell me the reason why my son is in hospital.” ” The lad is serene.” was the response given to them.
Stefano is dead

Obviously, the following day, my parents went back, yes. It was Tuesday morning when they went back to the hospital, to the prison department o f the ‘Sandro Pertini’ and this time, they were actually not allowed to enter. At the external speaker system, they were told that they couldn’t enter, because there was no authorisation. Finally they were told that it was up to them to ask for an authorisation from ‘Piazzale Gloria’, if they want to see the lad. My father asked for this authorisation and he got it on 25 October, no – sorry, on 22 October, Thursday. On 22 October at dawn, my brother died and my father didn’t get the chance to see him. We know about my brother’s death from the Carabinieri, who came to our house about 12:30. Before that I’d just say that it seems that my brother died at dawn. They came about 12:30 to tell my mother the order with which the Public prosecutor authorised the autopsy following the death of Cucchi Stefano. This is how my mother found out about the death of her son.”


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Letter by the imprisoned comrade P. Masouras (accused for participation in the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.)

On Wednesday September 23 and at 8.15 as I was leaving my house in Galatsi on my way to the gym, I was arrested by 25 persons of the anti-terrorist squad.

In a matter of seconds I found myself on the sidewalk, hands cuffed behind my back, while at the same time they were informing their senior officers that “everything went well” and that they “have me”. I was taken to the 12th floor of Police Headquarters (note: anti-terrorist division). The next day I am informed that at the same time with me another two friends of mine have also been arrested.

In the meantime the show has already started. Without any sleep for 48 hours and physically exhausted, with my face to the wall and then a long questionnaire following, while at the same time some police officer goes from office to office announcing in a delirium of pleasure that what is happening is called war.

After that comes the interest for my career, the friendly chat, the bravado and the humane approach to the misguided youth that followed the wrong path in his life while they self appointed themselves to straighten me out and to make me see reason, not for them as they said but for my own good, to help myself, speaking to them about situations and persons that I know nothing about. Later I was informed from an officer that I was the stupid asshole of the 12th floor because the others as he said had “snitched on me” and “cleared themselves” and that if I didn’t speak I would go down for things other people have done, so I was yet again called upon to answer about situations unknown to me.

The guard shifts started: “good” cops with a sensitive touch and childhood traumas, as they said, that recognized injustice and wanted to help. On the other hand the “tough” commandos wearing full-face masks, “stern” appliers of the law and representatives of morality, acting in an absolute way leading to physical and mental exhaustion, as a means of revenge as they said because “I kept my mouth shut”.

That I refuse the charges against me does not mean that I would ever refuse my political “identity” and “origin”. I would never hide my dignity under the carpet of incarceration, overlooking the fact that I am a political entity which also takes its position against the values and institutions of this society by the means of critical revolutionary thought and practice. I am an anarchist and I am on the side of revolution and at the same time of myself.

The reason why at the present my two friends and I find ourselves in prison is crystal clear. Even the most naïve mind can perceive that fixed situations due to the elections play a role in the present condition, situations moving in the service of political and communication interests.

The hyperbole surrounding the situation, the armed to the teeth EKAM escorts (note: Special Forces Police) and the role of those despicable snitches the journalists in combination with the political condition of these days was enough to create a feeling of order and safety to the average Greek in face of the elections, so he can move sleepwalking in the role of the active citizen towards the voting poll in order to deposit yet again in someone else’s hands his share of responsibilities for his being. It is well known nowadays that public opinion has no opinion, so someone has to take on the role of shaping it. The tone of these days was mostly set by the lowlifes of the media and their all-devouring thirst for “maniacs in Galatsi” and “monsters in Chalandri”, for serial bombers who have ties with “renown” revolutionary organizations from which they take orders to accomplish missions. About guns and bullets found at my house until money that was suddenly a product of robberies because it was well hidden-next time I’ ll leave it outside the front door.

Society is not divided into classes but only into choices and consciousnesses. So let as learn from pain and pleasure, from blood and the street. We were born to exist as a whole in our inapprehensible uniqueness, inapprehensible because we can stand the pain, unpredictable because we were taught on the streets, ruthless because we will move against everyone, because we will learn to meticulously tie steel on our skin and paint the cement with revolutionary blood.

We execute morality as a prologue for destruction, we whisper with rage biting the words: WAR ATTACK because there is only beauty and strength, but some cowards in order to balance came up with justice.

Wherever there are barbed wires, let there be bloodied hands that rip them apart, wherever there is cement let there be cries full of rage that tears it down, wherever there are bars let there be souls like corrosives that destroy them, wherever we are buried alive let us bury with us morality.

We owe it to ourselves to bite on our shackles even if it is that we die biting. Because we are nothing more then our own choices.

For honour, dignity, revolution.



Panayiotis Masouras

Avlona Prisons


Solidarity Poster for Polykarpos Georgiadis and Vaggelis Chrisohoidis (greece)

did anyone speak of a
“…A handful of capitalists
have organized a criminal gang
and have kidnapped the proletarians,
demanding for ransom
their labor force,
merchandising their human activity,
their time (which is turned into money),
their own being itself…”
to vaggelis Chrisohoidis and Polykarpos Georgiadis
who the persecuting authorities, exactly because they denied to betray values and people,
accuse them as participators in the kidnapping of industrialist Milonas
anarchists from Serres from north-greece

Anarchists solidarity protest outside Korydallos prison, the main prison in Athens, at the time of the change of the year. This protest happens every New Year's Eve for the past six years. This year more than 400 people took part in the protest that interacted with the prisoners inside through shouting mutual slogans and fireworks. The main slogan was "The passion for freedom is stronger that your prisons".
Watch live streaming video from agitprop at

A society that punishes/the condition of incarceration/the prison of the mind/the prison as punishment/the rage of the damned will sound on the ruins of prisons/those denying obedience and misery of our era even within its hellholes/will dance together on the ruins of every last prison/with the flame of rebellion avenging whatever creates prisons.

To the prisoners struggle already counting one dead and thousands in hunger strike across greece, we stand in solidarity and anger until the destruction of every last prison.



Keny Arkana - La Rage English Subtitles

1976 - 2000 Greek Anarchists Fight for Freedom

(December Riots in Greece)