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Information for an anti-racist approach in the Ende Gelände action 2022 in Hamburg
Dear Ende Gelände activists,
The action in Hamburg will start soon. Like last year, we are sharing some information from the anti-racism groups of Ende Gelände Berlin and the Ende Gelände Alliance in advance.
Disclaimer: We are not anti-racism trainers or racism experts, but activists with different backgrounds and positioning. If you have any comments or feedback, please get back to us at our email address (email@example.com (PGP)).
In recent years, the linkages between the climate catastrophe and racism have increasingly been recognised and named, even in majority white(1) German climate justice groups. This process, which was often initiated by BIPoC(2) groups through solidarity-based criticism, must be strengthened and continued.
For groups within the climate justice movement, we believe it is necessary to show the substantive connections between racism and climate injustice. Modern racism arose as an ideology to legitimise the enslavement and exploitation of non-white people and the land they live on. This exploitation continues to this day and the vast scale of this destruction is the direct cause of the climate catastrophe.
As part of the German climate justice movement, it is also up to us to reflect and criticise our own entanglement in the power relation of racism and to question white dominance. Fighting racism goes hand in hand with preventing the further expansion of fossil infrastructure and fighting for a climate-just world. A climate-just world can only be built on an anti-racist foundation, and this foundation does not come out of nowhere.
For solidarity and anti-racist coexistence, we must not shy away from a critical look at our own structures, good intentions are not enough, it is our actions that count.
2. To white People
The following section is primarily targeting white people
You might think: the goal of climate justice alone is solidary? We think: power relations, injustice and discrimination also have an effect on our actions. People are differently privileged in society and differently affected by racism. Racism, which has long been addressed by BIPoC within the German climate justice movement, also has an effect in radical left structures (e.g. at Ende Gelände). For a few months now, the first signs of a reflection process on racism have been observed within Ende Gelände structures.
Most Ende Gelände activists have white privileges. This includes not being aware of these privileges and having to have them pointed out to them by others. It also involves (unconsciously) inferring from oneself to others, i.e. not thinking that not all people have these white privileges. This becomes visible in actions, for example, when white people do not recognise racist situations or do not realise that BIPoC are at greater risk of experiencing repression (3).
Below we have written a few notes (not complete) so that everyone can feel more comfortable in action and in the climate movement:
Part of BIPoC’s critique of Ende Gelände is that many people do not reflect on their white privilege until now. So: deal with (anti)racism and your whiteness. Because being critically white is also a part of anti-racist practice. There are books and podcasts (see links below) and workshops etc. Also question who you mean when you talk about “we/us”. Reflect on the attributions you have in your head.
Here you can find a small collection of links and materials for self-reflection, which were (mainly) formulated by BIPoC: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/en/anti-racist-and-active-in-solidarity/
The Berlin Ende Gelände anti-racism working group has also created a sheet for individual and group reflection, which you can find here:
Links to books and podcasts can be found below.
2) Cultural appropriation
One topic you will come across is cultural appropriation. You can find a longer explanation from us here (in German): https://www.ende-gelaende.org/news/antirassistische-infomail-3/
An example of the importance of cultural appropriation in the German climate movement is that many BIPoC cannot feel comfortable in a plenary or action with white people wearing locks (“locks” because the word “dreads” can evoke a negative association). Often these people have not engaged with the fact that locks are a Black symbol of resistance and it hurts many Black people when white people appropriate this symbol. Alternatively, they have dealt with it but ignore it. While Black people who wear locks face racism, white people retain their privilege even with matted strands of hair. Cultural appropriation is a complex field and closely linked to colonial violence, capitalism and privilege. Therefore, it is not limited to wearing locks. We want you to engage with cultural appropriation and its critique in order not to perpetuate colonial structures of violence. Below you will find recommended texts to further engage with the topic.
Here you can find information about how we handle white locks on the camp in Hamburg: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/en/news/systemchangecamp-only-anti-racist-on-dealing-with-white-locks/
3) Repression & Racist Police Violence
BIPoC are much more often affected by repression (3) and racist police violence. During Ende Gelände actions, many white people feel protected from repression by the crowd. Racist attributions make it more likely for BIPoC to stand out in a crowd and end up in the focus of the police. The police is a racist institution. Together we have to find ways so that BIPoC can also feel more protected in a crowd. The first step can be as a white person to become aware of having white privileges even in a large group. This is not a given. As BIPoC are more often affected by racist police violence, it can be painful for them to observe white people having “friendly” interactions with the police. Please be aware that not all people can engage in these interactions. This year’s action consensus therefore again explicitly calls for “white positioned people to reflect on their privileged relationship with the police as the executing body of racist legislation.” If contact is made with the police, the motivation, attitude, and goal should be reconsidered and examined beforehand.
Those who practice activism know that the consequence can be repression. Those who enjoy privileges such as good-earning parents and/or a well-paid job can also be sure, for example, that the costs will not be a problem in the end. Such privileges are often linked to white privilege, because racism is often intertwined with classism. That is, structurally, racism often leads to people being denied access to material resources. There are groups that stand in solidarity to support people with their costs of repression. So that not only privileged people can “afford” activism, we all need to strengthen these structures together.
Even if we all have to fear repression as activists, it is important to keep in mind that people are affected by it to different degrees and can take action against it (e.g. people with an uncertain residence status). Here, too, social power relations and injustices are reinforced.
4) Right-wing extremism
During the 2016 Ende Gelände action in Lusatia, there were already intimidation attempts and attacks by Nazis directed against the action, the people and the camp. Even though the political situation around Hamburg is probably different, it cannot be ruled out that right-wing structures in this area also have Ende Gelände on their radar.
BIPoC activists are much more vulnerable to Nazis than white activists. White people should also be aware of this and consider strategies on how to behave in such situations.
As a white person or a non-affected person, racist violence also concerns you. This includes not only racist police violence and other physical assaults, but also, for example, verbally racist situations.
If you see or hear that BIPoC are affected by racist (police) violence, do not remain inactive. It is important, if possible, to ask the person concerned first how they feel and what they need. There is not one single solution. Possibilities are, for example, to stay close by, to observe the situation, to interfere, to create attention, to call the EA, or to get support – if the person wants that. But: all actions can have a different effect on the person concerned and may even make the situation worse. That is why you should talk to each other about such situations beforehand.
Even if you witness a verbally racist situation, such as a racist comment, act on it. White people can also learn to recognise racism and have the responsibility to name and criticise it. This is not about patronising BIPoC, or those affected, or about them not being able to defend themselves without your help. People can and do defend themselves. As a white person, you can show solidarity, support them and perhaps strengthen their backs. There is not one way to do this either. It depends on the situation and the person concerned, but also on you. But you can only develop strategies if you start and try it out.
6) Preparation in reference/peer groups (i.e. Bezugsgruppe)
Talk in your reference groups about your fears and the risks in the action. Don’t just keep it general, but also talk about it in relation to racism. It is not the sole responsibility of the people affected by discrimination to address this, but your collective responsibility. You can’t always deduce each other’s privileges from appearance – so talk about it 🙂 There are also other forms of discrimination, such as classism, sexism or ableism, which can affect the situation of people in action and thus also their fears and concerns.
7) Anti-racism info point
During the action, there will be an anti-racism info point at the camp. There will be a lot of material and books for you to read and borrow. Feel free to come by, even if you have further questions or comments, we from the Berlin Antira AG will be there.
3. To BIPoC
The following section is particularly aimed at BIPoC
There are already many people working on the issues we describe in the email, both looking for resistant strategies and building some: like empowerment. We know that this kind of work, especially that carried out by BIPoCs, is often made invisible. Our concern is to make this work (more) visible in order to put solidarity into practice and to give all allies and those affected the opportunity to network with each other – at least that is our aim. We think that this can be a prerequisite for BIPoC and marginalised groups to participate in an action.
As an AG, we have planned a few things and gathered information. Here is some information for you:
1. BIPoC networking
If you want to network with other BIPoCs before the action and at the camp, please join our Signal channel, which was created by BIPoCs from our AG: Besides networking, wishes and needs can be collected and info can be exchanged here. To join, just click on this link: https://signal.group/#CjQKIPLW_ypTT3BB1CEWMl-ZEW-2zapu5hTZKxfuhQHbjYz6EhCtUx8fzUN79FstmS9HlvJe
2. BIPoC safer-space tent
This year there will again be a BIPoC Safer Space at the camp, organised by the Berlin Antira AG.
A BIPoC safer space is a place where people who experience racism can meet, connect and find some space to relax. It is called “Safer” , because white people are not welcome there and it can be a protected space to talk about experiences of racism or to recover from them. Nevertheless, stupid things can happen in such a space too, that’s why we don’t say “safe space”.
We are also looking for support in the supervision and design of the safer space.
BIPoC meetings will also be held there during the action week. More detailed information will be announced later or in the Signal channel.
3. Mobile support (BIPoC Shuttle) and telephone number
There will be a 24-hour phone number where you can call if you need to be picked up from a station or action, or if you experience a racist incident and want support or someone to talk to etc. The person on the phone is BIPoC, but not a professional counsellor. Phone number: +49 (0) 15206706605. The shuttle will be operated by two BIPoC.
We think that awareness concepts are being worked on again in different places. However, people may not have much time to prepare for the task, or there may be gaps in terms of racism-sensitivity. Therefore, we fear that many people doing awareness will not be sensitive to racism. As in all Ende Gelände working groups, we would also assume that mainly white people will be there as awareness contact persons.
As a working group we want to document racist incidents. If you experience incidents with the police, Nazis or other activists, you can send us your report to our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org (PGP)). We will try to support you if you want us to. Of course we won’t publish anything without consulting you.
If you take part in the action and experience racist attacks, it can be helpful to turn to a counselling centre and solidarity structures. We can recommend these services:
(Most of them are from the book Alltäglicher Ausnahmezustand by KOP-Berlin -> THANKS!)
Nationwide structures without an anti-racist focus:
* Out of Action -> https://outofaction.blackblogs.org/ -> emotional first aid for activists
* Legal Team for All -> email@example.com -> help you with legal repression of EG Action and the financing of it
Anti-racist advice centres:
*Leuchtlinie- Counselling for victims of right-wing violence in Baden- Württemberg -> https://www.leuchtlinie.de/
*B.U.D. – Counselling. Support. Documentation -> https://www.lks-bayern.de
* Campaign for Victims of Racist Police Violence (KOP) – Berlin -> https://kop-berlin.de/
* Reach Out Berlin: https://www.reachoutberlin.de/
* adb – Antidiskriminierungs-Beratung Brandenburg -> https://www.antidiskriminierungsberatung-brandenburg.de/
* Counselling Centre for Victims of Right-Wing Violence -> http://utopiaffo.blogsport.de/borg/
* Opferperspektive e.V. -> https://www.opferperspektive.de/
* Campaign for Victims of Racist Police Violence (KOP) – Bremen -> https://kopbremen.noblogs.org/
* empower – counselling for victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence -> https://hamburg.arbeitundleben.de/empower
* Copwatch ffm – information and documentation centre for victims of racist police violence -> https://copwatchffm.org/
* IBIS e.V. – Antidiscrimination Office Oldenburg -> https://ibis-ev.de/angebote/gegen-diskriminierung-und-rechtsextremismus/
* OBR – Opferberatung Rheinland -> https://www.opferberatung-rheinland.de/beratung/
* Phoenix e.V. -> https://www.phoenix-ev.org
* Public Against Violence Cologne -> https://www.oegg.de/
* RAA Saxony (counselling for all forms of violence, in 9 languages) -> https://www.raa-sachsen.de/
* Mobile counselling for victims of right-wing violence -> https://www.mobile-opferberatung.de/
* zebra e.V. Centre for victims of right-wing attacks -> https://www.zebraev.de/startseite/
* AufAndHalt – Network of victims of right-wing extremist violence and racist discrimination -> http://www.aufandhalt.de/
Many of the podcasts, books and text listed below are in German. We excuse this.
Climate movement + racism
– Open letter from BIPoC to the climate camp and others https://www.ende-gelaende.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Offener_Brief_von_BPoCs_an_das_Klimacamp_und_andere.pdf
– Podcast: EG Podcast: Statement on panel discussion “Colonial continuities in the climate justice movement of the global north https://open.spotify.com/episode/6osul67cH5hQIF0SKzNjbN?si=nomyoLNAQQi9qKyUaz1I-A
– Book: Tupoka Ogette “Exit Racism”
– Book: Noah Sow “Germany Black and White
– Unpacking the invisible backpack http://sanczny.blogsport.eu/2012/10/01/white-privilege-den-unsichtbaren-rucksack-auspacken/
– Migrazine.at Issue 2013/2 Critical Whiteness (various texts) https://barrikade.info/article/3129
– Challange #criticalwhiteness by Josephine Apraku https://www.instagram.com/josephine.apraku/
– Text on cultural appropriation: Noa Ha “Cultural appropriation and colonial violence” https://missy-magazine.de/blog/2016/11/03/kulturelle-aneignung-und-koloniale-gewalt/
– Video on cultural appropriation: https://youtu.be/d6Y5cARFJw8
– on Locks: https://maedchenmannschaft.net/schwarze-widerstandssymbole-auf-weissen-koepfen/
– Podcast “Cultural Appropriation, Blackfishing and ‘Digital Blackface'” by Alice Hasters and Maxi Häcke: https://soundcloud.com/feuerundbrot/33-uber-kulturelle-aneignung-blackfishing-und-digital-blackface
– Podcast: Migrantifa Demo Guide by DIASPOR.ASIA: https://www.mixcloud.com/DiasporAsia/folge-25-migrantifa-demo-guide/
– Podcast: Political work – How to find my role by DIASPOR.ASIA: https://www.mixcloud.com/DiasporAsia/folge-27-politische-arbeit-wie-finde-ich-meine-rolle/
We welcome recommendations for materials.
White, in contrast to terms like Black and People of Color, is not a political, empowering self-description, but describes a dominant position that is usually not named. The name serves to make white privileges visible, because they are usually invisible to white people. Racism also structurally assigns white people a certain social position. This position is associated with privileges, dominance and a standard for judging non-whites, without itself being marked white.
To make clear that whiteness is not an empowering self-designation, we write it in small and italic letters, in contrast to the empowering self-designation Black, which we write in capital letters and non-italic.
The following definition is taken from IN*VISION – many thanks that we can borrow it.
BIPoC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
This includes all people who, through one or more parents, have ancestors from parts of the African continent, Asia and the west-asia. Their ancestors are Rom*nja, Sint*ezza, indigenous people from Australasia, North and South America, the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean.
Descendants of europeans who migrated to Asia, Africa or the Americas for colonial and imperialist reasons are not included.
Repression comes from state authorities, such as the police or the courts, and can be, for example, physical violence, but also the legal prosecution and punishment of political activism. Repression is a means of maintaining social relations of domination. Also and especially in the reproduction of discrimination, such as racism.