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.

  • Please see this link for more of the story and photos.
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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.

Contact:
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

Citizen Monitors Document Damaged Roads, Felled Trees on Contested Logging Plan in Jackson Demonstration State Forest

photo credit Earth First! Caption: silt runoff from logging road 359 in the Red Tail THP. Silty mud on the road measures 5 inches deep in places, the devastating result of heavy machinery work in wet weather. The fine particle mud can be seen flowing off the road down towards the Noyo River, where the silt will make the water inhospitable to salmonids and other fish species.

For immediate release

  • Dec. 14, 2022
  • Contact: Naomi Wagner (707) 502-6181, (707) 459-0548
  • Andy Wellspring (707) 367-470

 

Citizen Monitors Document Damaged Roads, Felled Trees on Contested Logging Plan in Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Ft. Bragg, CA-Citizen monitors were out in Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF) on Monday and Tuesday this week to check on a contested timber harvest plan (THP) known as Red Tail, which they say is a prime example of the mismanagement typical of CalFire’s antiquated Management Plan. CalFire, the managing agency for the 50,000-acre publicly-owned forest both writes and approves timber harvest plans that are then put out to bid by private timber companies. Activists are calling for a complete moratorium on all logging and road-building activities in Jackson until the old management plan is replaced to address urgent issues of climate change and cultural protections.  Not only is the Management Plan inadequate, but CalFire also disregards its’ own rules, activists say.

The Red Tail monitors split into two groups each day, with one group holding protest signs at the entrance to the THP, just east of Fort Bragg off Highway 20, to alert the public to logging in the “People’s Forest.” Another group entered the THP area adjacent to the Camp One campground and the Egg Taking Station, to document alarming levels of runoff on rutted roads carrying sediment from recent rains towards the salmon spawning grounds below. Activists photographed sediment in the South Fork Noyo and reported it was “not looking too pristine” after only 2 inches of rain and 7″ season total. Many trees had been felled across a class 3 water course marked WLPZ [Watercourse and Lake Protection Zone]. Other photos showed large openings in the canopy, making a mockery of the “Old Forest Development Area” (OFDA).

“It is distressing to see that the rules governing OFDAs (Older Forest Development Areas) CAL FIRE’s Option A are being disregarded.  In the 2016 Management Plan, two continuous corridors of unbroken canopy are called for, one stretching East to West, one North to South, across the entire forest.  However, logging in the Red Tail THP, along with other THPs, has created hundreds of acres of breaks in the canopy, fragmenting wildlife habitat and increasing dryness of the forest floor,” said coastal resident and monitor, Chad Swimmer.

An “Older Forest Development Area” area is supposed to be managed by CalFire for characteristics such as large older trees and snags, connecting it to wildlife corridors. The 345-acre Red Tail THP did contain mostly second-growth redwoods and a few old growth trees before cutting reduced its numbers. Trees measuring up to five feet, or 60” in diameter have been cut.

“Taken all together, these kinds of operations – especially in the winter – create a huge disturbance in the forest. It’s a perfect picture of the usual industrial logging -just extraction – certainly not moving towards older forest development. Who would live there after the habitat is gone?” commented veteran THP monitor, Linda Perkins, referring to the plight of endangered species who need old forest habitat.”

Another citizen monitor, Andy Wellspring, said of the two days in Red Tail: “We are monitoring all THPs that CalFire has approved in this State forest. It is very saddening to see that the largest trees in Red Tail have been cut, even though they provide the most canopy, which both provides habitat for so many species and shades the forest floor and prevents fires. I urge the State to pursue equal co-management with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians immediately. These logging operations must end until equal co-management with Tribal people can restore this forest.”

Created in 1947 under a mandate “to produce high-quality timber products” alongside recreation and wildlife, timber sales provide the annual operating budget and pay the salaries of CalFire employees managing Jackson. This year, however, the State gave CalFire $10 million for “non-timber related” activities after declaring no new timber contracts would be offered. Activists would like to see CalFire buy out Willits Redwood Company’s contract on the Caspar 500, another highly contested Jackson plan.

Protests in Jackson have been non-stop since 2021, with twelve arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience, including six in Red Tail and six at the Natural Resource Building in Sacramento while protesting to protect the forest. No charges have been filed. The Coalition to Save Jackson Forest is waging a State-wide campaign to turn JDSF into a different kind of demonstration, one of equal co-management with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, descendants of the original inhabitants of Jackson Forest, under a new Mandate based on respect, restoration and recreation and without commercial logging.

Photos:

Big trees down: photo credit Earth First! Caption: One of many log decks in the Red Tail THP in JDSF that show large trees cut in what is supposed to be the Older Forest Development Zone.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Xkj_prKQmz9wVssJlEomuEEGQXfgUV_t/view

 

muddy road:  photo credit Earth First! Caption: silt runoff from logging road 359 in the Red Tail THP. Silty mud on the road measures 5 inches deep in places, the devastating result of heavy machinery work in wet weather. The fine particle mud can be seen flowing off the road down towards the Noyo River, where the silt will make the water inhospitable to salmonids and other fish species.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/110H0H-cdrtdlYfjP5bnb9lxDyAwxvL1r/view?usp=sharing

 

Red Tail THP graphic:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rggIyZd0iLQ85nYZ91H6s51hnZlaO8vu/view

 

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