Blockupy Frankfurt: taking the struggle to the next level

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Blockupy Frankfurt: taking the struggle to the next level



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Blockupy Frankfurt: taking the struggle to the next level

Tens of thousands descend upon the continent’s financial capital for one of the most anticipated pan-European demonstrations since the G8 in Genoa.

There is something different about Blockupy Frankfurt, the pan-European days of action on May 16-19. Not only will Blockupy be the largest transnational street demonstration of the Occupy movement so far; it is also expected to introduce innovative new tactics into the movement that could see an escalation of direct non-violent confrontation with the corporatist state and the global financial institutions responsible for causing the current capitalist crisis.

Over the past year, Europe has been rocked by a wave of anti-austerity protests, but the most numerous and most spectacular actions so far have taken place in the periphery: in Greece and Spain, in particular. While the Occupy movement did spread to the eurozone’s wealthy core, these occupations remained largely local or national in nature. Insofar as international coordination was involved, it was for global days of action like October 15 and May 12.

But this week, a coalition of action groups from around the continent will be raising the stakes. In one of the most anticipated international demonstrations since the heydays of the alter-globalization movement, tens of thousands of activists from all across Europe are expected to descend upon Frankfurt — the continent’s financial capital and seat of the European Central Bank and some of the continent’s largest financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank.

Blockupy Frankfurt is a direct response to the deepening eurozone debt crisis, and in particular to the way unelected technocrats and powerful bankers are responding to it by imposing ever-harsher austerity upon the peoples of Europe. At rock bottom, Blockupy is an attempt to reclaim European democracy from the seemingly unstoppable forces of finance capital.

As organizers put it in an official statement:

We place our actions and protests in the context of the progressing struggles for self-determination, freedom and dignity all over the world — such as the uprisings and revolutions of the Arab Spring, the social struggles and general strikes in Greece, the indignados movement in Spain and the worldwide protests of the Occupy movement. We are not alone and our voices can be heard all over the world.

Starting tomorrow, on May 17, thousands will occupy the squares and parks of the city, pitching their tents, engaging in workshops and debates, and organizing for the big events of the next two days. On May 18, organizers have vowed to block the ECB and financial district for a day. Not just as a symbolic action, but as a direct attempt to physically stop financial activities in the city and thereby block the endless flow of capital that sustains European ‘zombie capitalism‘.....

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'Blockupy' protests paralyse Frankfurt

Germany’s financial centre was in lock-down on Wednesday, with Frankfurt police advising those bankers insisting on turning up to work early not to wear suits – as police moved in to clear a protest camp in the centre of the city.

The camp was peacefully cleared by midday on Wednesday, with police carrying the protesters away after a court had ruled they had to leave the area surrounding the Euro sign in front of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Around 40 groups had designated the long weekend one of action to protest the power of banks and “the Europe-wide impoverishment policies”. The groups, which included trade unions, the globalisation critics Attac and various left-wing initiatives adopted the slogan “Blockupy” for the weekend.

The protest was supposed to kick off on Thursday, a bank holiday, when the plan was to occupy central squares, and on Friday a blockade of the ECB was planned. A court had disallowed many of the planned demonstrations, although a rally on Saturday was granted permission. It was expected that many protesters would try to blockade the banks regardless and fears of violence rose during the early part of the week.

By Tuesday evening metro stations had been closed and the Commerzbank said it was going to close its two sky scrapers, while the German Central Bank confirmed on Wednesday it had held a meeting of ECB executives on Tuesday – a day earlier than planned.

And the farewell ceremony for departing ECB executive board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, due to be held in a city centre luxury hotel on Wednesday, was moved to a venue in the countryside....

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Police unilaterally abandon all Blockupy personal exclusion orders

The unsustainable unconstitutionality of the total shutdown of Blockupy is beginning to manifest itself. This evening (15 May) the Police HQ in Frankfurt declared that all person-specific exclusion orders relating to the Blockupy protests on 16-19 May, which banned named individuals from entering inner Frankfurt, were immediately rescinded. The announcement appears to have followed preparatory discussions with the Administrative Court in Frankfurt. The orders were issued to persons whose name had been taken during a protest on 31 March 2012, and the court seems to have indicated that this reason was simply insufficient to justify such a restrictive type of order against persons wishing to exercise constitutional rights.

The draconian generality of the authorities’ attempts to prevent even the occurrence of a single Blockupy demonstration has driven academic constitutional lawyers to sign a resolution condemning the measures as contrary to the foundations of the Federal Republic.....

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