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Notes for an anti-racist approach in the Ende Gelände Action 2020 in Rhineland
Dear Ende Gelände activists,
shortly before the action, we would like to share some notes from the anti-racism working group of Ende Gelände Berlin.
We want to strengthen an anti-racist consensus in solidarity among all activists taking part in the upcoming action. We ask from white (2) people to reflect upon their privileges and want to emphasize the difference regarding the experience of repression and racist violence for BIPoC (1). For BIPoC we wrote down which awareness concepts and safer spaces will be in place and how to connect to other BIPoC (1) before the upcoming action.
- We are not experts in the study of racism or implementation of anti-racist forms of organization. We are activists differently positioned and coming from diverse backgrounds. If you have comments or feedback please send us a email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Information in this text will be updated on the Ende Gelände website. For the latest news, look here: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/news/hinweise-von-der-antira-fuer-die-massenaktion-2020/
Understanding of the importance of anti-racism in climate-justice structures has been growing recently, but there is still a long way to go. We are hoping you all took notice and perhaps were even involved in the recent protests of the BlackLivesMatter Movement, and the founding of new Migrantifa groups all over Germany and the anti racist struggles they continue fighting.
Those struggles may not be ignored by the climate-justice movement. Modern racism originated as an ideology to legitimize the exploitation, destruction and enslavement of non-white people and their lands. This exploitation has continued to this day and its gigantic reach is a direct cause for the climate emergency.
It is crucial that we stand in solidarity and support these struggles, but still do not forget working in and on our own structures to become more anti-racist.
It should be the duty of the German climate justice movement to reflect upon its own racism and white (2) dominance in its structures.
2. To white people
Do you think that the goal of climate justice already shows solidarity in itself? We think: power relations, injustice and discrimination also have direct effects on our actions. People have more or less privileges in society. In recent years, gender inequality has been the main issue addressed at Ende Gelände. We think, we urgently need to talk more about racism, because it exists in all areas of our society, including in radical left structures (e.g. at Ende Gelände).
Most Ende Gelände activists have white privileges. This does include not being aware of these privileges and having them pointed out by others. In addition, white people can choose whether they want to concern themselves with their privileges or not. This also encompasses (unconsciously) deducing from oneself to others, i.e.neglecting that not all people have these white privileges.In actions, this becomes visible, e.g. when white people do not recognize racist situations or do not realize that BIPoCs are in greater danger of violence and repression.
Below we have written a few remarks for you (not complete), so that everyone can feel more secure in the action and in our climate movement:
Part of BIPoC’s criticism of Ende Gelände is that many people do not reflect their white privileges. So, start learning more about (anti)racism and your whiteness. Because critical whiteness is also a part of anti-racist practice. There are books and podcasts (see links below) and workshops. Also question who you mean when you talk about “we/us”, and try to think about unconscious assumptions your are holding.
- we are going to send more material via email and put them on the website. These can be printed out and distributed at camps and info-points.
- we are most likely going to be with the red finger and also organizing some program items there.
2) Cultural appropriation
One topic you will come across is cultural appropriation. It appears constantly in left contexts, also and especially in the climate movement. https://www.ende-gelaende.org//en/news/antiracist-infomail-3/
An example of this is that many BIPoC do not feel comfortable in a plenum or an action in which white people are wearing locks (locks, because dreads is a negative term). Often, these people are not aware that locks are a symbol of Black resistance and that it offends many Black people when white people adopt this symbol. Or white people are aware of this, but ignore it. While Blacks wearing locks are confronted with racism, white people retain their privileges even with matted hair. Cultural appropriation is a complex field and closely linked to colonial violence, capitalism and privileges. Therefore, it is not limited to wearing locks. We want you to deal with cultural appropriation and its critique in order not to reproduce colonial structures of violence. Below you’ll find text recommendations to keep you engaged with the topic.
3) Repression & Racist Police Violence
BIPoC are much more likely to be affected by repression (3) and racist police violence. At Ende Gelände actions, many white people feel protected from repression by the crowd. Racist attributions make the risk for BIPoC greater to stand out in an action and end up in the focus of the police. Together we have to find ways to make BIPoC feel more protected in a crowd. The first step as a white person can be to become aware of having white privileges in a crowd. This is not self-evident.
Those who are involved with activism know that there is a lot of repression. Those who can enjoy privileges, such as scholarships, well-off parents and/or a well-paid job, can also be sure that the costs of repression will not be such a problem. Such privileges are often related to white privileges, because racism often overlapswith classism, meaning that structurally racism impedes access to money and education. There are groups that support people in solidarity with their repressive costs. In order that not only privileged people can “afford” activism, we must all strengthen these structures together.
Even though we all have to fear repression as activists, it is important to keep in mind that people are affected by it in different degrees. Here, too, social power relations and injustices are reproduced.
At the Ende Gelände action in Lausitz in 2016, Nazi attacks on the Camp, the people and the action already took place. Although the political situation in Rhineland is different, attacks are possible.
The danger for BIPoC posed by nazis is much higher then for white people. The decentralization of this years action and the possibility of being attacked at train stations, vigils or “on the way” is real. Everyone should have this on their radar and think about strategies to handle such situations.
If you should see or notice that a BIPoC is affected by racist (police) violence, do not remain inactive. It is important, if possible, to always ask the affected person first how he or she is doing and what he or she needs. Because there is not one solution. Possibilities include staying nearby, observing the situation, interfering, attracting attention to it, calling the EA (Investigation Committee), or getting support – but: all actions can have different effects on the affected person and may even make the situation worse. That’s why you should talk about such situations beforehand. :)
If you witness a verbal racist situation, such as a racist comment, it should concern you as well. White people can learn to recognize racism and have the responsibility to name and criticize it. This is not about patronizing BIPoC (or those affected) or about BIPoC not being able to defend themselves without your help. People can and want to defend themselves. As a white person you can show solidarity, support them and perhaps strengthen their back. There is no one way to do this either. It depends on the situation and the person affected, but also on you. But you can only develop strategies if you start with it and try it out.
6) Preparation in affinity groups
Talk in your affinity groups about your fears and the risks of the action beforehand: not only fears and risks in general, but also those related to racism and other forms of discrimination such as classicism, sexism or ableism. It is not solely the responsibility of the people who have less privilege to address this, but your shared responsibility. Privileges are not always visible – so, talk about them :)
7) Anti-racist and anti-colonial banners during the action
- BIPoC voiced their wish to see at least one bigger banner drop with a anti-racist/anti-colonial message. It would be great if that could be thought of, when deciding about potential banners. Also smaller ones. The more the better :)
- One of the action fingers will probably have an anticolonial focus.
3. To BIPoC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)
** The following section is especially for BIPoC **
1) BIPoC networking
If you like to connect to other BIPoC ahead of the action please write use to: email@example.com. BIPoC of our group have formed a Signal group for that. You can discuss wishes and needs and share information.
2) BIPoC safer space tent (last update 22.09., continuously updated)
- You find the latest information about antiracist structures on the camps here: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/antira-strukturen/ (Unfortunately it‘s only written in german)
- On some of the camps there will be BIPoC safer spaces.
- BIPoC safer spaces are big tents, where people who experience racism can meet up, ally and retire. We use the word safer, because white people aren‘t welcome there and it can be a safer space to talk about experiences with racism and recover. Of course also in such a space shitty things can hatten, thats why we don‘t name it „safe space“.
- We as the antiracism working group of Ende Gelände Berlin are going to be at the camp Spreewaldgürkchen and will be in charge of the safer space there.
- We would be glad about support in supervising and shaping the safer space.
- If you are planning a safer space that is not yet listed under the link above, let firstname.lastname@example.org know so they can update the information.
3. Mobil support and telephone number (last update 22.09.)
* We have a phone number that you can call if you want to be picked up from a train station or action, or if you experience a racist incident and want support and/or talk to someone. We have a car and can come. The person on the phone is BIPoC but not a professional in the field. We will be near the camp of Spreewaldgürkchen. But you for talking you can also call us, if you are at another camp. If there is no BIPoC Shuttle at your camp, or if you can‘t reach it you can also call us! Phone number: +49(0)163 – 22 96 743 (you can reach us from Thursday morning on)
- Until now we only have white people to drive. That is to ideal, be we think its better than not having it.
- If you are interested in supporting us with driving let us know at email@example.com or in the signal chat.
Different people are working on awareness concepts. It is quite likely that there will not be sufficient time and resources that these also offer a adequate support structure in case of racist incidents. Perhaps safer spaces and our phone number are more helpful for you.
4. Action trainings
Their are going to be BIPoC only action trainings in some cities.
5. Anticolonial Finger (last update 22.09)
There is going to be an anticolonial, antiracist and internationalist finger (but not BIPoC only!), which will be organized together with the groups Black Power Frankfurt, Young Struggle and Migrantifa Hessen. You can find the german call here: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/news/kommt-mit-uns-in-den-antikolonialen-antirassistischen-und-internationalistischen-finger/ – unfortunately, there is no english version yet.
As a working group we would like to document racist incidents. If you experience racism from the police, nazis, other activists or any other side, you can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to support you if you want. We won’t make anything public without your consent.
7. contact points
If you take part in the action and experience racist attacks, it can be helpful to talk to an advice center or a solidary structure. We can recommend these contact points:
Country-wide structures, without antiracist focus:
- Out of Action -> https://outofaction.blackblogs.org/ -> emotional first aid for activists
- Legal Team für Alle -> email@example.com -> help you with legal repression of the Ende Gelände action and the financing of it.
Antiracist advice centers:
(Most of them are from the book „Alltäglicher Ausnahmezustand“ from KOP -> Thank you!)
* Leuchtlinie- Beratung für Betroffene rechter Gewalt in Baden- Württemberg -> https://www.leuchtlinie.de/
* B.U.D. – Beratung. Unterstützung. Dokumentation -> https://www.lks-bayern.de/?
* adb – Antidiskriminierungs-Beratung Brandenburg -> https://www.antidiskriminierungsberatung-brandenburg.de/
* Beratungsstelle für Opfer rechter Gewalt -> http://utopiaffo.blogsport.de/borg/
* Opferperspektive e.V. -> https://www.opferperspektive.de/
* Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt (KOP) – Bremen -> https://kopbremen.noblogs.org/
* empower – Beratung für Betroffene rechter, rassistischer und antisemitischer Gewalt -> https://hamburg.arbeitundleben.de/empower
* Copwatch ffm – Informations- und Dokumentationsstelle für Betroffene rassistischer Polizeigewalt -> https://copwatchffm.org/
* IBIS e.V. – Antidiskriminierungsstelle 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
* Öffentlichkeit gegen Gewalt Köln -> https://www.oegg.de/
* RAA Sachsen (Beratung bei jeder Form von Gewalt, in 9 Sprachen) -> https://www.raa-sachsen.de/
* Mobile Beratung für Opfer rechter Gewalt -> https://www.mobile-opferberatung.de/
* zebra e.V. Zentrum für Betroffene rechter Angriffe -> https://www.zebraev.de/startseite/
* AufAndHalt – Netz von Betroffenen rechtsextremer Gewalt und rassistischer Diskriminierung -> http://www.aufandhalt.de/
- Book: Tupoka Ogette “Exit Racism” (not translated yet)
- Book: Noah Sow “Germany Black and White” (not translated yet, but English information available on her website)
- Podcast: EC Podcast: Statement on the Panel Discussion “Colonial Continuities in the Climate Justice Movement of the Global North (in German) https://open.spotify.com/episode/6osul67cH5hQIF0SKzNjbN?si=nomyoLNAQQi9qKyUaz1I-A
- Article: “The problem with critical whiteness” (When white activists separate anti-racist theory from their social practice, danger is in delay) – Melanie Bee https://anschlaege.at/das-problem-mit-critical-whiteness/ (in German)
- English version available: https://www.academia.edu/24561065/The_Problem_with_Critical_Whiteness_Authentic_Anti-racist_Relationship-Building
- Text on Cultural Appropriation: Noa Ha “Cultural Appropriation and Colonial Violence https://missy-magazine.de/blog/2016/11/03/kulturelle-aneignung-und-koloniale-gewalt/(in German)
- Video on cultural appropriation : https://youtu.be/d6Y5cARFJw8 (in English)
- about Dreadlocks: https://maedchenmannschaft.net/schwarze-widerstandssymbole-auf-weissen-koepfen/ (in German)
BIPoC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The term, which originates from the US-American civil rights movement, is a self-description and does not describe the biological characteristics of humans, but a social construction that assigns people a certain social position. What BIPoC have in common are shared experiences of racism, exclusion from the white-dominated majority society, and collective attributions of “otherness. The concept sees itself as emancipatory and in solidarity. It positions itself against attempts at division through racism and culturalization as well as against discriminatory designations by white majority societies.
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 white small and italic letters, in contrast to the empowering self-designation Black, which we write in capital letters and non-italic.