a week after the #occupy protest started in berlin, there was another march today! it wasn’t unregistered, so it wasn’t a march, but just a bunch of individuals who all just happened to go for a walk around the same time. :) on the way we passed a tourist bus, where some girls were chanting out the window “we – are – the 99%!” we met another group of people at brandenburger tor and then went over to the reichstagswiese. probably around 1000 people were there, and we held an asamblea and working groups. there was a great spirit in the air, and i met some really interesting people today.
we still do not have a camp in berlin, because tents are not tolerated anywhere. quite unbelievable considering the “sympathy” all kinds of politicians (including our chancellor) expressed in the press. mr. lammert, please allow this camp!
but even without tents, people have been meeting every day at 3pm at the reichstag, and held an asamblea at 5pm. on sunday (2nd protest day) the asamblea found a very creative way to deal with the problem that the berlin police does not accept public gatherings without a leader (or a leader-less movement). after the cop announced over the human mic that there needs to be a leader, it was suggested that everybody registers a demonstration, so everybody is a leader. facing a mountain of paperwork from 300 registrations, the police seemed to tolerate the meeting.
another very creative solution was found on friday, when the police threatened to fine everybody for breaking the assembly law. thanks to the awesome livestream, a viewer from hamburg helped out by telling them (via chat?) that if people stand 6 meters apart from each other, it is not an assembly according to the law. brilliant! what a great case of the internet allowing information to be shared in meaningful way! of course, with the human mic, the asamblea could still communicate with each other and it even drew a bunch of attention from the tourists!
i’d like to share another story from a dear friend of mine. he was also there last saturday and got carried away by the police. well, after the cop kneeled on his head and twisted his arm to get him to stand up (yeah i know, weird logic..). well, he wasn’t arrested, but taken away from the center and released further to the side of the area. when the cop let him go, he put the visor of this helmet up and said: “my name is <his full name>, and i am sorry.” really great to see that this guy still tried to be a human being. and i certainly didn’t want to overgeneralize the police behavior in my account of the first night, i’m sure most of them do their jobs without any malice, but there are some that really need some anger management courses. anyway, they should realize that they too are the 99%! i can’t wait until the first one takes a seat on the side of the movement.
my thoughts on the current situation:
i think we need more structure in the asamblea. moderators and a speaker list would make it fairer and more effective. currently it’s hard for people with lower voices or that are a little shy to get to speak. and yes, not enough women get to speak. a suggestion: a 2-3 people moderator team: 1-2 people keeping a list of people raising their hands and one person to show whose turn it is.
the movement needs to grow. we need to be the 99%. the crowd today was much more diverse (with even more “rather conservatively” clothed people today), but we should also grow in size. to do this, i think the “agreement” that organizations should not be very visible should also extend to the antifa (who stayed peaceful during this movement as far as i know). the movement needs to speak to a large group of people, and too many media images from the black block won’t be helpful (when they just started chanting today, that’s where most of the cameras ran to).
we need to think about a plan for the winter. we have to continue the asamblea and the working groups. and have weekly walks (‘spaziergänge’). and ideally some form of a publicly visible camp-like demonstration.
as i write this post, i am witnessing the longest occupation so far via livestream: about 25 people are still at the reichstag, and it seems like they are tolerated by the police. awesome, even without tents, i think we can call this an occupation camp now. :)
asamblea tomorrow at 5pm, working groups from 3pm. next march, october 29. join us!!
[EDIT: ’asamblea worldwide’ has become the unofficial protest song in berlin since SAT, english translation of the lyrics in description]