"Extinction Rebellion" in Berlin: impressions of the inner life of a "radical" climate movement

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"Mic check", a person suddenly calls at a crossroads at the Prinzenstraße underground station in Berlin. About 50 people repeat the call. "In Green, we walk on the street," the person calls again. Also this call repeats the crowd. Seconds later, the Prinzenstraße is blocked by dozens of young demonstrators, the police immediately on the spot. But instead of intervening, secure the officials who have arrived specially from Lower Saxony, the young people. Horny cars, annoyed drivers – a traffic jam in the middle of Berlin is unavoidable. Seven minutes later, the group releases the intersection again. Because only so long one may block the passage, without having to fear legal consequences, explains a participant in the seven-minute road blockade.

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin"Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin"Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    "Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

  • Extinction Rebellion "(XR) block the Marschalbrücke

    Extinction Rebellion "(XR) block the Marschalbrücke

    ©
                        Sputnik / Paul Linke

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©
                    Sputnik / Paul Linke

"Extinction Rebellion" (XR) block an intersection in Berlin

This is one of the many actions of the movement "Extinction Rebellion" (XR). "Swarming" is the name given to this "radical" form of action and, through its form of communication, is reminiscent of a swarm of bees, which is also one of the main symbols of the movement. The "rebellious" are based on a "healthy, adaptable and resilient" so-called culture of regeneration, which among other things prohibits non-violence – even in parlance – which is one of the principles and values ​​of the movement. This is what "radical climate protectors" look like, as some German newspapers write.

Numerous groups are dating online and have been blocking bridges, roads and major crossroads in the capital since Monday. It does not always stay with the seven minutes. For years, the activists blocked the "Big Star", the Potsdamer Platz, Oberbaum, the Jannowitz and finally the Marschallbrücke.

With controversial peaceful acts of civil disobedience on the streets, intersections, squares and government buildings in Berlin and many other cities around the world, the self-proclaimed rebels want to draw attention to man-made climate change.

Demands of the movement

In the United Kingdom, where the movement began in the spring of 2018, the lower house has already yielded to some pressure from the "XR". In May these years, the parliament called out the "climate emergency" – at least symbolically. But that's not enough for the activists. Since Monday, police in London have arrested more than 1,000 environmental activists. About 50 supporters of the environmental group "XR" set Scotland Yard on Thursday at City Airport in the British capital. The activists had tried to disrupt the operation there.

In Germany, the supposedly decentralized "XR" has three demands on the Federal Government:

  1. "Tell the truth !: The government must disclose the truth about the ecological crisis and declare the climate emergency. The urgency of immediate change of course must be communicated by all social institutions and the media. "
  2. "Act now !: The government must act now to halt species extinction and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."
  3. "Living New Politics!" Based on participatory democracy in the form of community meetings, ways to overcome the climate crisis should be developed. "

On the occupied Marschallbrücke near the Reichstag building and the capital city studio of the public service broadcasters, we meet hundreds of activists and mix us under the sometimes exhausted, sometimes exuberant celebrating colorful crowd.

©
                    Sputnik / Paul Linke

Extinction Rebellion "(XR) block the Marschalbrücke

"Although the term is stretchy. Everyone can have their own truth, but we rely on the large number of expertise, "says XR activist Hans Hugo to Sputnik on the first point of the demands. "If that's the truth, nobody can say – not even 'Extinction Rebellion'", admits Hugo.

Worldwide, it is observed that the temperature is rising sharply, emphasizes Sibylle Killinger in the Sputnik interview. "We have a temperature increase in the country of 1.5 degrees worldwide. If you add water, it is 1.2 degrees. Already resulting from this is a gigantic species extinction. And this species extinction does not stop people, "warns the climate activist and refers to the website of the Federal Environmental Agency. "More than 19 million people in 113 countries had to leave their homes in 2016 due to natural disasters – most of them within the poor countries of the global South," it says.

"We can not rub our hands and say: then it will be just a few Africans and Asians. If we have over thirty degrees here, then the grain and potatoes will not grow. We already have crop failures and that will get worse, "recalls Killinger.

That's why calling for point two, "Do Now!", Is so important, activist Hugo notes. "Of course that will not be possible, because the western industrialized way of life does not allow that. But we demand the possible to achieve the impossible. " It is calculated that if we save at least half of the emissions that the industrialized countries are emitting in the next ten years, then humanity would have a 67 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees, the rebel explains.

"It's getting uncomfortable"

"You do not feel like changing your habits. But we are now at a point where we find that it needs stronger restrictions from each of us. It's going to be uncomfortable, "says another young activist talking to Sputnik, who does not want to give her name. Because the government alone will not be able to stop climate change. "If everyone changes a little, there is the hope that the world will change for all living beings," the activist is optimistic.

The activist Hugo also says that it will mean much renunciation. "That's why people are here: They see that politicians do not afford what they have to afford by Basic Law," complains the protester, referring to the article 20a of the Basic Law.

"The State also protects, in responsibility for future generations, the natural foundations of life and the animals within the framework of the constitutional order by the legislation and in accordance with law and law by the executive authority and the jurisprudence."

Thus, the people on the Marschallbrücke, inter alia, would exercise the right of assembly under Article 8. "We are doing this in the form of peaceful, civil disobedience. In other words, sit-ins, as well as registered, but also unannounced, actions that disrupt the 'business it is usual' to get people out of their bladder. Many think we can save the world through waste separation or fair trade textiles. We can not do that, that's too little! "Hugo points out.

A more basic democracy?

The activists would not demand a totalitarian regime with their sometimes controversial and "radical" actions, says environmental activist Killinger. On the contrary: "We demand more democracy. We want citizens' meetings – more grassroots democracy. We want the population to become more integrated into politics. "In certain procedures, a certain cross-section of all education, age and professional groups is to be formed at the so-called" citizens' meetings ", following the example of Ireland. This procedure brings together a group of people who seek expertise – "independent of party politics and lobby". These people should in turn give recommendations to politicians on how to vote their laws. "In many other countries, it is not practiced because the established parties are afraid that they will lose their power. And lobbying is a key element in why our politicians do nothing, "says Hugo.

"XR" financing questionable?

Again and again, the financing of the "XR" group is questioned and discussed. Three wealthy US philanthropists – investor Trevor Neilson, documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy and foundation manager Sarah Ezzy – have set up a so-called "Climate Emergency Fund", a climate emergency fund.
The first $ 500,000 was to support the "XR" and other young people who are committed to tackling climate change. In the run-up to the Berlin actions the "Taz" reported about it. But the origin of the money in the movement is controversial. One of the co-founders of the fund, according to "Taz", is to manage the "Aileen Getty Foundation", whose capital was originally derived from petroleum transactions.
As a result of the internal debates, a compromise had been found: "We are freeing the local groups and individual working groups of 'Extinction Rebellion' in Germany to accept or reject the funds," Tino Pfaff told the newspaper. One does not fear that the movement will lose its independence, according to Pfaff.

The activist Hugo, however, support the protests "absolutely spontaneous and completely autonomous". For him, it is more of a "spontaneous happening, a spontaneous gathering". And: he does not get any money for it. "On the contrary, I'll pay for it myself."

No one knows or wants to reveal how long the state of emergency for Berlin will be maintained. From the duration of the strike only a banner in front of the Brandenburg Gate testifies: "Rebellion until something changes!"

The complete interview with Hans Hugo (XR) to listen to:

The complete interview with Sibylle Killinger (XR) to listen to:



Source link
https://de.sputniknews.com/gesellschaft/20191012325847472-extinction-rebellion-berlin-reportage/

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