Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
This presentation is by Johanna from Ende Gelande, a German Climate Justice mass direct action movement. This presentation was a Zoom webinar recorded on Monday, March 8, 2019. I don’t know how long this video will be available on the Zoom site, so I suggest you watch it as soon as possible just in case it disappears.
It’s called “Scaling Up the Resistance: Stories and Strategies from the German Climate Justice Movement.”
What you will see and hear in this video will blow your mind. Ende Gelande has master-minded a mass direct action strategy to attack and shut down the coal industry in Germany. The campaign includes shutting down coal-fired power plants, stopping coal digging rigs, and blocking coal trains. How Ende Gelande does this is nothing short of tactical genius that I don’t think even the US Military College at Annapolis could have figured out.
Their First principle is that mass direct action requires mass BODIES, thousands and thousands of people. They aim for 6 to 10 thousand people for each direct action. How they do this is by INCLUDING EVERYONE. Everyone is welcome and invited to the Climate Camp to build community, learn skills, learn about the campaign, organize the action, and support those who will be on the frontline. This is the most important point: only a couple hundred people will be actually charging through police lines and barriers, scaling walls and fences and locking themselves to coal digging rigs or entering power plants. But those few hundred people are backed up by THOUSANDS of supporters who will be deflecting police away from the direct action squads, and creating a mass movement that gets media attention.
No one is excluded because they are too “bourgie” or ‘older white hippies’ or ‘Hipster Millennials’ or not ‘pure’ enough for the movement: not anarchist enough, not antifa enough, not politically correct enough. Whatever. The point is that everyone is invited and included so that they have the largest possible number of people for the direct action. Even those who are too old or disabled to actually walk the five miles down to the site are encouraged to stay at the camp and provide food, shelter and care for those who will be marching to the site. Others are sent to do media work and engage with the press.
In fact, they specifically target communications to each kind of identity and affinity group to make sure they are invited and feel welcome. They have signs that appeal to ‘Hipster Millennials’ and ‘older white hippies’ and ‘suburban Moms who care about their kids future’. Etc. They mean EVERYBODY.
Second principle: Split up the police by splitting up the masses. They split the masses into ‘Five Fingers’. Each one of the fingers is a tactical group of several hundreds or thousands that goes to a specific location to do a specific action. That way, the Police have to split up to deal with each of the five fingers. This spreads the police force out as wide as possible, leaving spaces in between that the tactical teams can slip through to get to the site. You have to watch the video to see how this is done in action; it’s brilliant.
Ende Gelande is touring the US giving this presentation with the support of Rising Tide North America and 350.org.