Spaces of Freedom

Autonomist poster, Boxhagenerplatz. Berlin, 2010.

On June 12th 2010 we want to hit the streets with you to call for a different way of organizing the city, one with more self-determination, and for a different society as well. And we don’t want to stay stuck on demands for affordable rents, a “social” city politics or other State-sponsored measures, but rather wish to demonstrate for our vision of a beautiful life — for a society without discrimination and oppression on the grounds, for example, of gender, skin color or sexual identity.

For an everyday life in which hierarchies and competition do not exist; where, instead, emancipation and solidarity are present. We realize that that’s not going to happen between today and tomorrow, that it’s a process. But the more we take our ideas out in public, whether it be through texts, actions or demonstrations, the more probable that, one fine day, the deliverance of this utopia will become a reality. We don’t know how and when the dominant conditions of the present will be overcome, but we hope that they are overcome in the service of an emancipatory society founded on solidarity. The dreadful quality of the status quo in everyday life will be reinforced in the coming weeks when the World Cup begins on June 11th, an event that will once more catapult into our consciousness all the repulsive aspects of the nationalist German mob.

What calls us to this demonstration in a concrete sense is our displeasure with the dominant conditions that confront us day in and day out. Whether it’s because we have to move, since we can’t pay the rent; because of the unnerving presence of the cops right outside the door; or simply the bad mood of the stressed human beings in the subway train, understandable in light of a 40-hour work week: the list can be effortlessly extended, yet it shouldn’t be the conditions that frustrate us every day that become the main content of our protest, but rather the perspectives and ideas that we bring to them.

A “free space” is a form of critique for us, one directed at the present circumstances, a place for the practical conversion to self-organization and also a place of refuge, where the “givens” can at least be evaded for a time, to a large extent. We define as free spaces those which make it possible for us to meet with others, to discuss, and to organize and which are, from the get-go, open to everyone who shares an emancipatory claim. Spaces in which the people who use them or who also live there are entitled to live free of sexism, racism, Anti-Semitism, or other forms of oppression. Always with the awareness that this utopia of the “optimal conditions”, because of the circumstances that dominate outside of the free space, cannot yet be achieved. Existing free spaces can thus be described as germ cells of the utopia to which we wish to move. It’s important in the process not to build up one’s own beautiful world, with the danger of becoming satisfied with it, but rather to step outside with the ideas and content of the project and not to mistake one’s role in the social whole.

We resist making demands on the dominant politics, for the simple reason that we don’t want to give up determining how we want to live and don’t accept that other people can make decisions about us. We also aren’t asking for a better capitalism, with rent control and “social” housing construction. Rather, we want something completely different. Until we reach that point, we aim, together with you, to make life more tolerable by demonstrating for the preservation and creation of new free spaces and thereby once more make it clear that we will never accept the clearing away of Liebig 14.

We all remain enemies of the state!

Translated from the German by Charlie Bertsch. Photographed in Berlin by Joel Schalit.

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