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Interview:
First of all: what is “the platform”? In which organizations of the social movements (trade unions, initiatives, social centers) are your members active? In which cities are the local groups located?

The platform is an anarcho-communist organization on a platformist basis. We founded the organization in early 2019. Since the beginning of 2020 we have tried to fight within the framework of our forces in the social movements of our cities / regions.
Our organization currently consists of five groups: one is located in the Ruhr area, an industrial region in the west of the country, one in the capital Berlin, one in the Rostock region in the north near the Baltic Sea and another in Trier, a city near the Luxembourg border . The fifth and last group is the so-called “supra-regional group”, in which all comrades from regions where we do not yet have the strength to set up a local group come together.
In addition, a local group is being set up in Leipzig, a city in the east of the country. It is important to note that there is no tradition of platformism and especifismo in Germany. So it is a great effort for us to first lay the organizational and theoretical-strategic basis that is needed to ensure effective participation in the struggles of the wage-dependent class.

Our members are currently mainly active in the climate justice movement (especially “Fridays for Future”), in feminist struggles, in the “Black Lives Matter” movement and, to a lesser extent, in tenants’ initiatives and unions or labor disputes.

In January 2020 you announced that you would devote yourself this year to setting your own organizational principles and defining your goals and strategies in the social struggle. What about now, seven months later?

The foundations in this process have definitely been laid. This also shows our continuous practice, which we have already developed in our cities within a still manageable framework. Even if what we have worked out so far enables us to begin with our integration into the social movements, we are still at the beginning of a long-term learning and struggle process.
Many of our members have been socialized in the left-wing scene for years. None of us have ever worked in such a firmly structured, strategic and social movement-oriented organization. So a lot has to grow and develop first. In contrast to a sensationalist left campaigning policy, the daily building-up work and participation in the struggles of our class is often nothing that can be communicated effectively to the public. Just like the continuous internal structure of the organization. But we are on the right path and have taken some bigger and smaller steps to officially establish ourselves as a federation soon.

You want to draw the anarchist movement’s attention to activities in social struggle. Are there any positive developments to be noted here? How are you positioned in the unions?

Certainly there are positive developments to be noted at this point, e.g. that we have reached many individuals and groups in the anarchist movement and in some cases have already inspired them.
On the one hand, this has led to the fact that entire groups that already existed have joined the concept of platformism and are now trying to develop a practice in social movements on its basis. On the other hand, we have of course also inspired groups and individuals who, even if they are still critical of platformism, have cut off one or the other slice of our approach. Our impression is, for example, that with our initiative it has become more normal again in the movement to talk about class struggle and class society itself; something that was frowned upon for many years. Certainly this is not only our success, but we have certainly contributed to the fact that at least the understanding

As for our position in the trade unions, we have to say that it is very weak. In the large trade unions we only have individual members, but they are not pursuing any strategic integration there either. Only in the anarcho-syndicalist “Free Workers Union” (FAU) do we have some active members. In general, many of our members were already active in FAU before they joined our organization, which does not surprise us, since the FAU comrades are socialized with, in most syndicates, a strong class policy.

The main reason why we are so badly positioned in the unions is that we have focused on the social movements outside of union politics. In the current situation we see there more potential for the development of countervailing power. This consideration also depends on the nature of our organization and the situation of the trade unions in Germany. In comparison to France, the experience of political and general strikes in the wage-earning class is hardly or not at all widespread. Instead, the trade union practice of the large and reformist trade unions (so-called “social partnership”) veils the class antagonisms between the ruling class and the wage-dependent class and pacifies them through moderating methods of negotiation, so that more aggressive or more forceful methods of industrial action are implemented far too little. In this area of ​​resistance to the attacks on our class, we will have to clarify our position in the future. Nevertheless, we are of course involved in labor disputes wherever possible and support them, such as the wildcat strike of the harvest workers in Bornheim near Bonn or the wildcat strike of the construction workers in Regensburg. Here we accompany, document, analyze and share the experiences from labor disputes with the movement,

How do you feel about the interventionist left and the communist “UmsGanze …” alliance?

We follow the project of the Interventionist Left (iL) with curiosity and see in it similarities to our approach. Intervention and social insertion seem to us to be two different terms for related approaches. What we lack in the iL, however, is a theoretical basis that has been worked out and shared by all members, as well as a sound analysis of the current situation. And what probably sets us apart the most is our aim to build grassroots organizations. In our view, the iL is pursuing the strategy of influencing political debates selectively and thus obtaining decisions. This is reflected in the fact that the iL is increasingly relying on campaigns with which many people are to be mobilized for certain major political events (e.g. on the G20 summits, but also on the various state elections in 2019). Due to this focus, the iL seems to get into an instrumental relationship with grassroots struggles and only consider them useful insofar as they can be escalated into broad conflicts with strong external media impact. It is less about strengthening grassroots organizations of the oppressed, who can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of acting in the long term and that can stand up for themselves – without a party or state. Due to this focus, the iL seems to get into an instrumental relationship to grassroots struggles and to consider them useful only insofar as they can be escalated into broad conflicts with a strong external media impact. It is less about strengthening grassroots organizations of the oppressed who can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of acting in the long term and that can stand up for themselves – without a party or state. Due to this focus, the iL seems to get into an instrumental relationship to grassroots struggles and to consider them useful only insofar as they can be escalated into broad conflicts with a strong external media impact. It is less about strengthening grassroots organizations of the oppressed, who can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of acting in the long term and can stand up for themselves – without a party or state.

In the “UmsGanze …” alliance (UG) we can see fewer similarities to our approach than was the case with the iL. In our view, UG represents a rather looser, supraregional association of actually only locally acting groups of the autonomous scene or their remnants. Although the groups, like the iL, start joint campaigns and mobilize together for various events, unlike the iL they do not have one deeper political strategy to bring about social change.
Just like the local structures of the iL, the groups united in the UG concentrate heavily in their practice on alliance work with other groups from the left to radical left scene. With our approach, we want to leave precisely this focus on the inner-left alliance work, which is not able to reach and organize broad sections of our own class and the oppressed in the struggle to improve their own living conditions.

Is participating in and / or building self-managed social centers also part of your strategy?

Yes, even if it is currently more of a subordinate. In the medium to long term, however, we want to build appropriate centers in order to provide our organization and the struggles of our class with a strong infrastructure. However, we must not get bogged down in our current phase. We have limited capacities and cannot do everything we would like to do right away.

What is the image of anarchism in Germany and more specifically: How are you in contact with / in relation to the population?

We would say that the public “image” of anarchism is still bad – even if it has improved a bit in the last few decades. This is less because there would be no sympathy among the population for our ideas or because society is so deeply reactionary that everything seems lost anyway. Rather, it is due to the inability and unwillingness of larger parts of the anarchist movement to enter into an open, interested exchange with the population and to develop a noticeable presence. Or even worse: parts of the anarchist movement also actively contribute to a lasting negative impact on the image of anarchism, as do the various individualistic manifestations.

Through our everyday work in our neighborhoods, mutual help, through creative actions, in social movements, even before the founding of the platform, when many of us were still active in other anarchist contexts, we learned how popular our ideas were when we are continuously and deliberately active on the street and in dialogue with people. How intensive our contact with the population is varies greatly. There are neighborhoods with a comparatively strong anarchist presence built up over the years, where comrades of ours are familiar faces in the neighborhood. Just like there are neighborhoods or areas where comrades of ours have virtually no contact as anarchists in their living or working environment. But we are already noticing

How do you see the development of the political situation in Germany and what role would / could anarchism play in this?

The development of the political situation is partly characterized by a radicalization of the people, both positively and negatively. There have been and are very strong right-wing movements over and over again in recent years, such as the protests against the state corona measures of the so-called Corona rebels, Pegida, or various city walks that go in the direction of a right-wing vigilante. Fascist groups and parties have so far not managed to benefit from it on a really sustainable and large scale. Apart from a few areas, they continue to bob around in insignificance. However, the right-wing populist, right-wing radical party Alternative for Germany (AfD) was able to massively expand its influence and achieve high values ​​in elections in virtually all parliaments. Other groups such as citizens of the Reich, Various other conspiracy-theoretical milieus such as anti-vaccination groups are expanding their influence and are getting louder and louder. It is shocking how much influence various rights can achieve through very wide-reaching YouTube channels of all kinds. In every nook and cranny, the right is waging a cultural war, which is of course in conflict with our interests and which makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence as far as the police and the armed forces and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. how much influence various rights can achieve through very wide-reaching YouTube channels of all kinds. In every nook and cranny, the right is waging a cultural war, which is of course in conflict with our interests and which makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence as far as the police and the armed forces and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. how much influence various rights can achieve through very wide-reaching YouTube channels of all kinds. In every nook and cranny, the right is waging a culture war, which is of course in conflict with our interests and which makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence as far as the police and the armed forces and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. which of course stands in opposition to our interests and makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence as far as the police and the armed forces and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. which of course stands in opposition to our interests and makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence as far as the police and the armed forces and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war.

On the other hand, there is undoubtedly a strong mobilization of social movements that tend to be prescribed on the left. Fridays for Future was and is very strong in Germany and has politicized thousands, rather tens of thousands, of young people and radicalized many into a left tendency. The very large protests that recently took place after the murder of George Floyd, as well as the general right-wing attacks on migrant communities, have led to a strong politicization, especially among young people in the communities, and also tends to lead to left radicalization. Unfortunately, at least the “Black Lives Matter” movement quickly lost its dynamism and strength,

So it can be roughly shown that a bourgeois center, which is civically very strong in Germany and is only interested in maintaining social (capitalist) peace, has become smaller. Confidence in the established parties has fallen massively and hundreds of thousands of people are looking for alternatives. They are outraged and politicized about certain events that are happening in our country and around the world.
Unfortunately, we have the impression that the radical left and anarchist movement is very poorly able to exert influence in this historically important situation and to reach people. It shows the marginality and a limitation of most approaches to present our proposals of an alternative to this system to a society in motion. The platform is still too young and too small to have a lasting impact on the situation, even if we do what we can of course.

Anarchism as a theory of ideas and as a diverse social movement could actually develop under these circumstances. Especially in this situation, in which many people are searching, where there are many uncertainties, where social discourse and class struggles are starting to come to a head, anarchism could prove that it can be a source of inspiration for the wage-dependent class and practical solutions for theirs Provides problems. Since neither the anarchist movement nor most radical left-wing approaches really succeed in doing this, our impression is that the right has gained massive ground and is now much better positioned than before.

We hope that this trend does not continue, especially in view of the coming economic crisis. Because there is no doubt that the corona pandemic has made the living conditions of the wage-dependent class in Germany (and worldwide) even more precarious, and a general global economic crisis is widely predicted. The struggles during this time and the development work carried out up to that point will once again clearly show how the social balance of power is, how well we as an organization, anarchism and the radical left in general manage to deal with this situation.

What about your relations with international libertarian organizations?

Since platformism, as we have already mentioned, has not played a role in German-speaking countries so far, it was very important to us from the outset to network with anarchist organizations worldwide that are close to our approach. In exchange with them, we were able to gain experience that advanced and helped us in our own political work. This was and still applies above all to the understanding of especifismo, which was largely unknown in the anarchist movement until the platform was founded last year and for which there is little literature in German.
Since the beginning of this year we have intensified our cooperation with our comrades from all over the world. Together with various organizations from Latin America, Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe – including the UCL – we have published several declarations and analyzes, for example on the occasion of May 1st or the 8th anniversary of the social revolution in Rojava.

This international cooperation shapes and shapes our organization sustainably. It is fantastic to be able to learn and develop from the decades of work and experience of so many allied organizations. We very much hope that after the first steps this cooperation will become ever closer and that we can form a broad union of the anarchist movement.

English Translation
First of all, what is the platform? In which organizations of the social movement (trade union, struggle association, social center, etc) do your members are active? In wich city your the platform groups are?

The platform is an anarcha-communist organization on a platformist basis. We founded the organization in early 2019. Since the beginning of 2020 we have been trying to fight within the framework of our forces in the social movements of our cities / regions. Our organization currently consists of five groups: one is located in the Ruhr area, an industrial region in the west of the country, one in the capital Berlin, one in the region Rostock in the north near the Baltic Sea and another in Trier, a city ​​near the Luxembourg border. The fifth and last group is the so-called “supra-regional group”, which brings together all comrades from regions where we do not yet have the strength to build a local group.
In addition, a local group in Leipzig, a city in the eastern part of the country, is still under construction. It is important to note that there is no tradition of platformism and especifismo in Germany. So it is a great effort for us to first lay the organizational and theoretical-strategic foundation needed to ensure effective participation in the struggles of the wage-earning class.

Our members are currently active in the climate justice movement (especially “Fridays for Future”), in feminist struggles, in the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and to a lesser extent in tenant initiatives and unions or labor struggles.

In January 2020, you wrote that you were committed for this year to lay your own organizational foundations, and to define your objectives and strategies in the social struggle, what about seven months later?

The foundations in this process are definitely laid. This is also shown by our continuous practice, which we have already developed in our cities within a still manageable framework. Even if what we have worked out so far allows us to start with our insertion into the social movements, we are still at the beginning of a long-term process of learning and struggle. Many of our members have been socialized in the left scene for years. All of us have never worked in such a bindingly structured, strategic and social movement oriented organization. So a lot has to grow and develop first. In contrast to a sensationalist left campaign politics, the everyday work of building up and participating in the struggles of our class is often not something that can be communicated in a way that is effective in the public eye. Neither is the continuous internal development of the organization. But we are on a good path and have taken a few larger and smaller steps to be able to officially establish ourselves as a federation soon.

You wish to draw the attention of the anarchist movement to action in social struggles, are there positive returns? What is your establishment within the trade unions?

Certainly there are positive developments to note here, eg that we have reached and partly inspired many individuals and groups in the anarchist movement. On the one hand, this has led to the fact that whole groups that existed before have joined the concept of platformism and are now trying to develop a practice in the social movements based on this concept. On the other hand, we also have inspired groups and individuals who, even if they continue to be critical of platformism, have cut a slice or two from our approach. Our impression is, for example, that with our initiative it has become more normal in the movement to talk about class struggle and class society itself; something that for many years was rather frowned upon. Certainly, this is not only our success,

As far as our standing in the trade unions is concerned, we must say that it is very weak. In the big unions we have only individual members, but there we have no strategic insertion either. Only in the anarcho-syndicalist “Free Workers’ Union” (FAU) do we have some active members. In general, many of our members were active in the FAU before they were active in our organization, which is not surprising, since the comrades in the FAU are socialized with a strong class policy in most syndicates.

The main reason why we are so badly positioned in the unions so far is that we have focused on the social movements outside of union politics. In the current situation we see more potential for the development of counter-power there. This balance is also related to the nature of our organization, as well as to the situation of trade unions in Germany. Compared to France, the experience of political strike and general strike in the wage-earning class in Germany is little or not at all widespread. Instead, the trade union practice of the large and reformist unions (so-called “social partnership”) obscures the class antagonisms between the ruling and the wage-earning classes and pacifies them by moderating methods of negotiation, so that more offensive or powerful methods of industrial action are implemented far too little. In this area of ​​resistance against the attacks on our class, we will have to clarify our position in the future. Nevertheless, we are of course involved in and support industrial action wherever we can, such as the wildcat strike of the harvest workers in Bornheim near Bonn or the wildcat strike of the construction workers in Regensburg. Here we accompany, document, analyze and share with the movement the experiences from labor struggles, which give a perspective of a militant future.

What are your relations with All Around and the Interventionalist Left?

We follow the project of the Interventionist Left (iL) with curiosity and see some similarities to our approach. Intervention and social insertion seem to us to be two different terms for related approaches. What we lack in iL, however, is an elaborated theoretical basis shared by all members and a viable analysis of the current situation. And the thing that probably distinguishes us most from it is our claim to build up grassroots organizations. In our view, iL’s strategy is to influence political debates at certain points and in this way to influence decisions. This is reflected in the fact that iL is increasingly focusing on campaigns aimed at mobilizing large numbers of people for certain major political events (eg the G20 summits, but also the various state elections in 2019). As a result of this focus, iL appears to be placed in an instrumental relationship with grassroots struggles and only considers them useful to the extent that they can be escalated into broad conflicts with a strong media impact. It is thus less concerned with strengthening grassroots organizations of the oppressed, which can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of action in the long term and can stand up for themselves – without party or state. which can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of action in the long term and can stand up for themselves – without party or state. which can fight for their interests and needs in the long term. But this is precisely what is important in order to create movements and organizations from below that are capable of action in the long term and can stand up for themselves – without party or state.

In the “UmsGanze…” alliance (UG) we can see fewer similarities to our approach than was the case with iL. In our eyes, UG represents a rather loose supra-regional association of only locally acting groups of the autonomous scene or its remnants. Although the groups, like iL, launch joint campaigns and mobilize together for various events, unlike iL they do not have a deeper political strategy for bringing about social change.
Just like the local structures of iL, the groups working together in UG focus in their practice strongly on alliance work with other groups on the left to radical left scene. It is precisely this focus on inner-left alliance work, which is not able to reach and organize broad sections of its own class and the oppressed in the struggle to improve its own living conditions, that we want to leave behind with our approach.

Is participation in and / or construction of self-managed social center, also part of your strategy?

Yes, although currently rather a subordinate one. In the medium to long term, however, we want to build appropriate centers to provide a strong infrastructure to our organization and the struggles of our class. However, we must not get bogged down in our current phase. We have limited capacities and cannot implement everything that we would like to do immediately.

What image does anarchism have in Germany and more precisely what contact do you have with the population?

We would say that the public “image” of anarchism is still bad – even if it has improved a bit in the last decades. This is not so much because there would be no sympathy for our ideas in the population or because the society is so deeply reactionary that everything seems lost anyway. Rather, it is due to the inability and unwillingness of large sections of the anarchist movement itself to enter into an open, interested exchange with the population and to develop a perceptible presence. Or even worse: parts of the anarchist movement are actively contributing to the negative image of anarchism, as the various individualistic forms do.

Through our daily work in our neighborhoods, mutual help, through creative actions, in the social movements, we have experienced how much support our ideas have been met with when we are continuously and thoughtfully active on the streets and in exchange with people, even before the platform was founded when many of us were still active in other anarchist contexts. How intensive our contact with the population is varies greatly. There are neighborhoods with a comparatively strong anarchist presence that has been built up over the years, where comrades of ours are also familiar faces in the neighborhood. Just as there are districts or areas where comrades of ours have virtually no contact as anarchists in their living or working environment. But we are already noticing that through the work of the platform in many areas where we are active,

How do you see the evolution of Germany politics and what role would there be anarchism?

The development of the political situation is partly characterized by a radicalization of the people, in the positive as well as in the negative. There have been and still are very strong right-wing movements in recent years, such as the protests against the state corona measures of the so-called Corona rebels, Pegida, or various city walks, which go in the direction of a right-wing vigilante group. Fascist groups and parties have so far not managed to profit from this on a large scale and in a really sustainable way. They continue to bob and weave in insignificance, except in some areas. However, the right-wing populist to right-wing extremist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been able to massively expand its influence and achieves high scores in elections in virtually all parliaments. Other groups such as the Reichsbürger, various other conspiracy-theoretical milieus such as vaccination-opponents are also expanding their influence and are becoming increasingly vocal. It’s shocking how much influence the various right wing groups achieve on their own via very wide-reaching youtube channels of various kinds. At every turn, the right is waging a culture war, which is of course contrary to our interests and makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence even in the police and the German army and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. It’s shocking how much influence the various right wing groups achieve on their own via very wide-reaching youtube channels of various kinds. At every turn, the right is waging a culture war, which is of course contrary to our interests and makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence even in the police and the German army and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war. It’s shocking how much influence the various right wing groups achieve on their own via very wide-reaching youtube channels of various kinds. At every turn, the right is waging a culture war, which is of course contrary to our interests and makes it more and more difficult for us to act within the wage-dependent class. In addition, there is of course an existential threat from armed fascist groups, which have influence even in the police and the German army and which have proven to be preparing for a civil war.

On the other hand, there is also undoubtedly a strong mobilization of social movements that are more left-wing oriented. Fridays for Future was and is very strong in Germany and has politicized thousands, rather tens of thousands of young people and has radicalized many into a leftist tendency. Also the recent very large protests after the murder of George Floyd, as well as the general attacks of the right wing on migrant communities have led to a strong politicization, especially among the young people of the communities, and have also tended to radicalize to the left. Unfortunately, the Black Lives Matter movement lost its dynamics and power very quickly here, but it did lead to the founding of numerous groups of black self-organization and also strengthened the Migrantifa movement that emerged from the assassination attempt in Hanau.

It can thus be roughly seen that a political center that is traditionally very strong in Germany and is only interested in maintaining social (capitalist) peace has become smaller. Trust in the established parties has fallen massively and hundreds of thousands of people are looking for alternatives. They are outraged and politicized by certain events that are happening in our country and in the world. Unfortunately, we have the impression that the radical left and anarchist movement is not very well able to influence and reach the people in this historically important situation. The marginality and limitedness of most of the approaches of a society on the move is evident in our proposals of an alternative to this system. The platform is still too young and too small to have a lasting impact on the situation,

Anarchism as a theory of ideas and as a diverse social movement could actually unfold under these circumstances. Especially in this situation, where many people are searching, where there are many uncertainties, where the social discourse and class struggles are beginning to come to a head, anarchism could prove that it can be a source of inspiration for the wage dependent class and provide practical solutions to their problems. Since neither the anarchist movement nor most of the radical left approaches really succeed in this, our impression is that the right has been able to gain ground massively and is now in a much better position than before.

We hope that this trend will not continue, especially in view of the current economic crisis. There is no doubt that the corona pandemic has led to a further precarization of the living conditions of the wage-dependent class in Germany (and worldwide) and a general global economic crisis is widely predicted. The struggles during this period and the work of reconstruction carried out until then will once again clearly show how the social power relations are, how well we as an organization, anarchism and the radical left in general, manage to deal with this situation.

What are your relations with international libertarian organizations?

Since platformism, as we have already mentioned, has so far played no role in the German-speaking region, it was very important for us from the very beginning to network with anarchist organizations worldwide that are close to our approach. In exchange with them we were able to gain experience that helped us to advance our own political work. This was and is especially true for the understanding of Especifismo, which was largely unknown in the anarchist movement until the founding of the platform last year and about which there is little German-language literature for this reason.
Since the beginning of this year, we have further intensified our collaboration with our comrades from all over the world. Together with various organizations from Latin America, Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe – including the UCL – we have published several declarations and analyzes, for example on the occasion of May 1 or the 8th anniversary of the social revolution in Rojava.

This international cooperation shapes and forms our organization in a lasting way. It is fantastic to be able to learn and develop from the decades of work and experience of so many allied organizations. We very much hope that after the first steps this cooperation will become closer and closer and that we will be able to form a broad alliance of the anarchist movement.




Source: Awsm.nz