EF! Newswire: Reportback from Lützerath

photo credit to Luetzibleibt

cross-posted from the EF! Newswire

In small gangs, cops start charging towards groups of protesters, beating up people with batons and pepper spray, kicking and pushing them to the ground. Dozens of people are injured, many with serious head injuries, treated by paramedics, and waiting for a helicopter to hospital.

Lützerath has become a battlefield, where cops defend fossil capital at all costs, enforcing climate catastrophe. From all over Germany, over a thousand police have come to coerce the eviction of Lützerath – the last remaining village being cleared for the expansion of the Garzweiler II opencast mine run by energy giant RWE. For years now activists had prepared for ‘Day X’ – built camps, barricades, tree houses, and tripods, and occupied houses to stop the destruction of the village. They rebuilt community in an area that had long been politically neglected, inhabitants intimidated and paid off, slowly cut off from infrastructure. The last remaining farmer, Eckardt Heukamp, lost his court case in 2022 and had to leave his family farm. This is the second time he’s had to move and see his home destroyed for the expansion of the mine.

Over the last couple of months, since my last visit, even more land has been lost to the mine, even more carbon dioxide has been emitted, habitats lost, political promises broken, livelihoods destroyed. All too clearly, the German state and energy giant RWE show us that they don’t care about our futures, about climate catastrophe, about the web of life that makes human life possible. Even liberal environmentalists are forced to recognise that the government doesn’t give a shit. It’s a coalition with the Green Party that is making this possible. The government will not protect us.

Cops and security forces are taking down structures, violently removing protesters. They have outsourced some of the dirtiest work to RWE personnel – the RWE fire brigade are evicting two tunnellers who locked on underneath the village, and RWE vehicles are used to transport protestors. In close collaboration with RWE, cops use water cannons, horses, and dogs to repress resistance, several people are bitten by dogs. Of course they refuse to investigate the cutting of safety lines, and the dangerous removal of protestors from treehouses and ropes.

Thousands have built and occupied structures, burning barricades, tripods, and monopods. Some take part in sitting blockades and demonstrations, putting their bodies in the way to stop the destruction. 35,000 came today to show that they oppose the eviction. And they are not giving up – groups of protesters have just entered the mine, people are burning police cars, and sabotaging machinery.

They build on a long history of combative resistance in this region of Germany, called the Rhineland. Since the 70s, local groups have fought back against RWE. For over 10 years, the Hambacher Forest occupation resisted (and partially stopped) the destruction of the ancient forest and the expansion of the neighbouring Hambach coal mine – through blockades, sabotage, occupations, building tree houses, tunnels, and many other forms of resistance. The Hambacher Forest occupation, just like Lützerath, has always been not just about stopping a coal mine, but about alternative ways of living and organising together, about solidarity and mutual aid, about anarchist values and practices – a world without coal, police, prisons, and borders, a fight against colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and the state.

But this resistance has always been diverse too. In Lützerath, we see black bloc and church groups, students and pensioners, Fridays for the Future and antifascists. We see solidarity with Rojava and the Zapatistas. People coming together who might not otherwise meet, talking and connecting, sharing skills and building community.

Lützerath is the latest of dozens of villages that have been evicted, inhabitants dispossessed under old Nazi legislation, to facilitate the expansion of lignite coal mines, the dirtiest and most carbon intensive form of electricity generation. This eviction takes place three years after the eviction of the neighbouring Hambacher Forest in 2018, which lasted over four weeks and led to the death of a young film maker. The eviction was stopped by the courts in October 2018, and later declared illegal.

Financed by Deutsche Bank and HSBC Bank, among others, RWE are planning to extract a further 280 million tonnes of coal from the Garzweiler mine. The company itself has admitted that the coal that is being mined here is not necessary for the country’s energy supply. It’s part of a deal between RWE and the government which brings forward the end date of lignite coal mining in Germany from 2038 to 2030, “saving” five remaining villages. But studies show that by reconnecting two generating units and increasing annual extraction, the amount of total coal burnt is hardly reduced at all.

The ‘gas crisis’ triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine serves as a great excuse to continue supporting the coal industry, appealing to people to cut energy use, switch off their lights and turn down their radiators, while leaving industrial energy use intact. The German armament industry – one of the major electricity users – is thriving. Rheinmetall, the largest German arms manufacturer, based in the Rhineland, made record profits in 2022. There is a lot of money to be made from war.

There is still a lot of money to be made from coal, too, indirectly subsidised by the German state. German coal interests have always been inseparable from state interests in the Rhineland. Politicians from all parties – from mayors to parliamentarians – have been on RWE’s payroll. Revolving door relationships have lubricated the political manoeuvring to defend coal at all costs. Just recently, the office manager of Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Green Party has become a RWE lobbyist. But there are plenty of examples.

Paying out communities in shares, not cash, for decades means that many communities are financially dependent on RWE’s financial well-being. A quarter of RWE’s shares are owned by communities, cities, and towns. That means local authorities are shareholders, licensors, clients, constituencies, employees, and tax collectors at the same time. Through payments for attending advisory councils and supervisory boards, politicians have lucrative side incomes, and revolving door relationships ensure preferential treatment.

The boundaries between RWE and NRW (the state of North Rhine Westphalia) – NRWE – have always been blurry. RWE representatives can be found everywhere – in church choirs and town councils, school board and universities. They finance police barbecues and fire trucks, sponsor football clubs and festivals, concerts and exhibitions, viewing platforms and historic castles. They put up baking carts and public bookshelves, pay for school buildings, organise volunteering activities and tours through the mine. They go into school and hand out lunch boxes to first graders. They create teaching materials, role-playing games, and girls’ days in their training centres, offer school trips into power stations, zoo schools, and environmental education initiatives.

In collaboration with government forces, RWE has been able to stop and repress the publication of scientific reports and censor media coverage, write legislation and pay for university research. They conduct acceptance studies to understand resistance and collaborate with researchers to co-opt and repress dissent.

All of these are classic counterinsurgency strategies to repress, pacify, and co-opt dissent – a combination of psychological operations, intimidation, and surveillance – including rape threats and sexual abuse – combined with physical violence and beatings. They are covered up by a well-oiled propaganda machine that consists of PR agencies, RWE departments, police forces and other state structures.

Intimidation and violence against the press help to reduce negative coverage. During the ongoing eviction RWE published strict guidelines – co-written with police – that restricted media coverage by journalists, requiring additional police accreditation and restricting access to certain areas, times of the day, and only when accompanied by RWE representatives. As predicted, footage of police violence is absent from the mainstream media.

Eagle Nesting Tree Under Imminent Threat by PG&E

cross-posted from Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters

A post shared from our forest defender comrades in Mendocino County:

Protectors have been at the Eagles’ Nest since last Friday. PG&E is there now. Protectors kept the Nest safe . PG&E is still staged  farther down the road and ready to come back in. The Eagles are in the nest and we need more people NOW and until Jan 15th when the official nesting season starts and the tree can now longer be cut until the end of nesting season in August.

 Come today or the next few days. Food is being brought in for the front line defenders. It’s a small group (so far) but includes people from the coast, from the nearby Pomo Coyote Valley reservation, and from Idle No More. Dynamic situation.

 For directions Call Larry 510-590-7100 who is at the site. Or call Monkey 707 357 2595.

Please come if you can!!
Call Heather Beeler at USFW   775 861 6304 or email heather_beeler@fws.gov. She issued the permit to take the nesting tree down.

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Mass Action in Germany:“Who attacks Lützerath, attacks our future”

pic via Ende Gelande

cross-posted from Ende Gelande

Lützerath, 08.01.2023

The action alliance “Lützerath Unräumbar” has announced massive resistance against the destruction of the village of Lützerath at the edge of the Garzweiler II open pit lignite mine. In view of the acute threat of eviction of the village, various actors of the climate justice movement have joined forces to form the alliance. Together with the activists, who have occupied Lützerath for two years, they want to defend the village and oppose the expansion of open pit mining in order to prevent the climate crisis from worsening. For the 17.01.2023 “Lützerath Unräumbar” has called for a united day of action. Already in the coming days, individual groups of the alliance want to resist the currently ongoing preparations for the eviction and against the demolition of the village.

Luka Scott, spokesperson for “Lützerath Unräumbar” (Ende Gelände), comments:

“Germany has just again failed to meet its far too lax climate targets because too much coal is being burned. But instead of finally phasing out coal immediately, Lützerath is to be destructed. This will set off a new climate bomb – with catastrophic consequences. And while the lignite excavator is heading straight for Lützerath, the first ship carrying liquid fracking gas has arrived in Wilhelmshaven. Yet liquid gas is just as much a climate killer as coal. In Lützerath we will stop these climate crimes. We from the alliance Lützerath Unräumbar will fight for every tree, for every house, for every meter in this village. Because whoever attacks Lützerath, attacks our future.”

RWE wants to demolish Lützerath to get to the coal seam underneath. In this way, the energy company wants to mine 280 million tons of lignite in Garzweiler alone. The Green Minister for Economic Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mona Neubaur, and her party colleague, Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck, cleared the way for this after talks with RWE. Yet several scientific studies prove that this is not necessary to secure the energy supply. Instead, the mining and burning of lignite, which is particularly harmful to the climate, would make it impossible to comply with the 1.5-degree limit and become an obstacle to the necessary energy transition.

Soraya Kutterer, also spokesperson for “Lützerath Unräumbar” (Extinction Rebellion) explains:

“The federal government is under lobby influence, this is no secret. Through this influence for the profit interests of the large corporations, the lignite under Lützerath is to be dredged. This will exceed the 1.5 degree limit for Germany. Together we fight for the preservation of Lützerath, the preservation of our livelihoods and against the lobbying influence of the fossil industry.”

Dina Hamid, spokesperson for “Lützerath Lebt” adds:

“Since the police operation in Lützerath started last Monday, we realize again why we have not yet got out of coal. Our state protects here with much money and commitment the profits of RWE. But we protect life. We defend Lützerath because we love Lützerath and because we finally want to decide democratically what energy we produce and for what.”

The action alliance “Lützerath Unräumbar” unites very different groups from different spectrums of the climate justice movement, including Alle Dörfer bleiben, ausgeco2hlt, Ende Gelände, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Die Kirche(n) im Dorf lassen, Interventionistische Linke, Kohle erSetzen, Letzte Generation, Scientist Rebellion, RWE & Co. Enteignen, End Fossil: Occupy! and Ums Ganze. The fact that they are joining forces and being active over a longer period of time and at the same location is a new quality in the movement for climate justice in Germany.

Luka Scott: +49 177 9705757 | Spokesperson of Ende Gelände
Dina Hamid: +49 1575 3980 277 | Spokesperson of Lützerath lebt
Carla Hinrichs: 03023591611 | Spokesperson for Letzte Generation

Here you can find photos of current actions: https://www.flickr.com/photos/194773835@N02/albums as well as https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAmz6r

The Final Straw: Stop Evictions at Winnemucca Indian Colony

cross-posted from The Final Straw

On Tuesday, December 13th, I spoke with Kyle Missouri, a resident of the Winnemucca Indian Colony in Humboldt County, Nevada where a longstanding conflict between residents and the Winnemucca Tribal Council has come to a head recently with the evictions of elders, youths, and other residents into the snow.

Listen in.

We talk about his family’s roots in the Indian Colony, some background on the place and the conflict with the so-called Roja Council, the contested lithium mine at Thacker Pass and the court challenge to evictions, banishment and house demolition this Thursday, 12/15/22. Check our show notes for links to other sources of information, ways you can show up and places you can donate.

  • You can follow Kyle on facebook under the name Kyle Missourii (like the state with an extra ‘I’ at the end)
  • Also see interviews with Elders who’ve been evicted and updates on Instagram at @Neweneensokopa
  • Learn more about background and legal support by following Water Protector Legal Collective on social media and more at linktr.ee/waterprotectorlegal
  • And donate to the cashapp for supporting displaced families at $defendWIC. They’re looking for more lawyers who can support the efforts as well as journalists who can be on the ground and talking about this situation or reaching out for interviews.
  • You can watch the court hearing this Thursday linked in the latest update at Water Protector Legal Collective’s website, waterprotectorlegal.org
  • Kyle’s recent interview with The B&B Indigenous Podcast (appearing about an hour 8 minutes in)