[Discussion] Protocol of an exchange among anarchists concerning PEGIDA and democracy

Symbolbild Diskussionen
On 24th january several people of different international backgrounds got together, to talk out of an anarchist perspective on the current wave of racist and nationalist mobilisations on the streets of Germany. The call-out invited for a loose discussion and tried to offer a first position, which is neither compromising with the position of PEGIDA and other right-winged groups, nor the false democratic critics. The callout can be read below. The following is a very subjective summary of these conversations, done by personal notes. I will try to structure it as good as possible, so that other people can refer to it in the comments.

The discussion was opened with 3 general questions: 1st: Is the mass-mobilisation of racism and nationalism actually a topic that needs to be considered? This question came up in the preparation, since the affectedness of anarchist friends ranged from "We have to do something, now" to "Same shit as usual, don't want to orientate on the masses". 2nd: What is that discourse we are faced with? and 3rd: What are strategies to fight and disrupt this current discourse? What is the goal of this? The 1st question was relatively quickly answered by those who were present and it became obvious that there was a big need to talk on this issue, since a lot of people joined the discussion. People shared the opinion that the mobilisations are of very serious matter and that it is important to create a real antagonistic struggle not only against PEGIDA but also against the bourgeois democratic critics. 2nd Question: What is that discourse we are faced with? This was probably the most discussed and wide-ranged question within the discussion, since it seemed obvious that a common foundation on ?What are we discussing?? needs to be created. The current reactionary movements need to be seen within an unbroken continuity of German nationalism and a colonial project of the German elites and bourgeoisie. From the German Revolution of 1848 to the Weimar Republic and Nationalsocialism to the "reunion" of 1989/90. Not without reason the mobilisations started at a time of a blown up hype on 25 years of "reunion", putting themselves in a tradition of the Monday demostrations, claiming "Wir sind das Volk". The attempts of the democrats to save this remembrance from right-winged populism is empty of content, since it is as well based on the very same ideology and by this only a matter of politics. It is also a consequence of Germany's early history. The failure of the diverse protests in the GDR, turning into an uniform fanatism for the Nation and the desires and false hopes on capitalism were dismissed, instead East Germany was turned into a ressource storage and experimental laboratory for western capitalism and democracy. This had deep impacts on people's life in East Germany and not just a few had to face these failures. Xenophobia, Islamophobia and nationalism are in this case a collectively executed way of dealing with this and creating power through white supremacy. But not only this, the western world is indeed in both a crisis and a constant war situation. During the discussion on the current situation the question came up, to which extent the german society is in a crisis. Starting from a statement being made, Germany would not be in a crisis due to its economical power within Europe and its relatively stable seeming economical situation, other arguments argued Germany would be indeed in a crisis: a political and cultural crisis and a crisis concerning identity, as well as a long ongoing tendency of economic redistribution from below to above. The german state would step by step cut social costs and increasingly capitalize people's lifes: The capitalisation of East-Germany in the 90s, the Hartz4-reforms, cuts in the welfare system, precarisation of work, privatisation... to name a few. Additional, there would be a political crisis, which puts democracy into question. This can be recognized by the media hyped democracy discussion a few years ago and the more wide spread identification with ideas of self-organisation as well as calls for a more totalitarian state. A cultural crisis, as not only the current racist mobilisations show, but also the long ongoing debates about an imagined failure of some imagined "multi-cultural" society etc. It was mentioned, that within the population with western societies, lots of people would be fed-up with their imposed identities, be it "the worker", "the immigrant", "the woman" etc. This would be one of the main crisises of the 21st century. Crisis management

 The current mass mobilisations need to be seen as some kind of crisis management. Basically, Islamophobia can be seen as a constitution of a white, christian, civilized "Us" with certain morals and values as opponent to a non-white, moslem uncivilized "Other". This construction helps to maintain stability for the western societies, as seen in the mobilisations in France under the ideology of an united nation after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo Magazine. The racist mobilisation against refugees can be seen as an attempt of maintaining white supremacy, when mass migrations and public struggles of refugees put the same in question. But these current mass mobilisations on the streets are not just a sudden uprise but a consequence of the politics within the last years. (Not only) Since 9/11, state and parliamentary politics were pushing towards totalitarianism and control, towards racism and nationalism. The ground was set for the current drift towards right-winged populism and the political left, without content and perspective for a long time now, could re-legitimize itself by declaring itself as the only opposition and alternative to this tendency and through that, is profiting from this populism. The result is, that there are racist and nationalist mobs on the street, ready to defend "their country, as well as a crowd of good citizens, ready to defend democracy and the constitutional state. And the whole discussion is about the shape and content of Germany's foundations and by that reforming, modernising and legitimizing them. Nothing could be better for an empire. This is to be considered one of the ways, Germany manages to get through the current crisis and how to maintain stability of the basic order and prevent radical conflict. This stability and unity behind national goals also needs to be established when society is in a constant war situation, not only speaking of the ongoing social war but also the colonial war it fights outside its national territory. Islamophobic and racist mobilisations need to be seen in the context of Germany's neo-colonial missions in countries of Africa and the Middle-East. Strategies
The Masses

 It was pointed out that it should not be a guideline to jump on a media hype, to try to catch up with the everyday news or to join politics, since our struggles then would be determined by others. A bigger discussion came up at the question, how to relate to the masses. Should energy be put into agitating or educating people? Should it be tried to draw people away from this nationalist mass movement or catch drifters in their personal radicalisation process? Create a radical mass-movement as counter-force? Or is the orientation on masses wrong at this point, since a struggle against PEGIDA and democracy needs to create spaces and collectivities outside of a mass-identity?
The Political Governing
Sharing an insurrectionist desire, it was stated that the nationalist mobilisations are the realisation of an actual physical counter-insurgency programme, not only by police imposed on society, but a self-governance by society itself. Not only that streets full with reactionary assholes are a threat to emancipatory and anarchist struggles or revolts but also the creation of a public discourse where an artificial binary is created: PEGIDA vs democracy. Both sides can argue against each other, recruit and mobilize for their politics and denounce the other to define and manifest the own identity - but the concepts of nation, state, culture, white supremacy, Volk stay a basic consensus which is seen as natural. At this point in the discussion it was mentioned, that the current conflicts around these issues can be also a chance for anarchists, to open up the conflict even more, or rather, to highlight the actual contradictions within this discourse and destabilize bourgeois power, since a lot of its ideology and legitimisation is put into crisis. A reply on that stated that it seems frightening to open up conflict even more when the power relation is so bad for us. Another bigger point in the discussion. Isn't power systematically against us, don't the reactionary forces always have politics, state, police and secret service behind them? Isn't it also partially only a narrative, that things would be so bad for us in Germany? How are our struggles here influenced by living within a post-nationalsocialist society, that has seen mainly the revolutions of the bourgeosie, the historical failure of the worker's movement and the elimination of everything which is not wanted within the totalitarian society of authority and self-governance? What are historical points in Germany with an anti-national, anti-totalitarian and anti-Volk perspective that we can refer to? So the question is: Are we prepared for this fight? It was considered necessary to sharpen critique and analysis and be less compromising with anarchist perspectives and aims in the conflict. It seemed clear that a radical practice with subversive antagonistic strategies will be in the need of a broad analysis which is as radical as the desired practice, to not reproduce what we actually are fighting against and to not step into the trap of joining the discourse of power. Maybe it is useful to pay attention to what positions are taken within this discourse around that conflict and then intervene and open up conflict with an anarchist practice. For example, if democrats call-out to listen to PEGIDA because "doubts and fears of citizens need to be considered", work on serious attempts of making PEGIDA shut up instead. Doing so, direct action and conflictuality could be more spread and appear more "attractive" then the political game to those who are sharing our ideas or are affected by the issue. Again, negativity towards the existing could transport ideas of positive interhuman relations. This positivity was further discussed within the group, after someone stated there would be a lack of some kind of anarchist ethics, which would be in necessity to deal with the situation. These ethics should redefine our relations with each other and be based on the struggle against our imposed identities. For example: During the struggles against forced evictions people get together on informal level, for an actual goal and with a practice of direct action. They get together not on the base of ethnicity, but because of being precarious renters, a class issue imposed by capitalism and the neoliberal city. Being a renter in struggle puts the imposed identity and hierarchy in question, creates another relation towards oneself and others (which should not become another identity again). This point led to another discussion about the relevance of spreading insurrectionist experiences. People stated how the experience of taking part in riots or direct actions empowered them and made them realise how anarchy is not an utopian idea but an actual and possible state of relation. This world of experiences should be spread and empowered and combined with a deeper radical analysis. The question of goals and how to transport such content through practice came up ? but at this point the discussion went a bit more loose and soon people split up, after some hours of discussion. You can read the additional call-out for this discussion below. (*Note: At the point of the call out the police investigations on the death of Khaled have not been released. The ?truth? these investigations present should be questioned none-the-less) OPEN DISCUSSION ? Perspectives and strategies against the racist society of self-governance We are writing this because we are facing an increasing tendency towards totalitarianism within the state, politics and society. Because we strongly disagree with both the racist mobilization and the demand for democracy and its values. Those racist manifestations are an epitome of a systemic problem within democracy itself. Its aim for population?s self-management (self-policing and/or oppression) is something to critique and reject at all price. We strongly disagree with people?s will to fight for a right to reproduce privilege and social or racial hierarchy through a fight for a fallacious form of freedom. For a long time now racist mobilizations on the streets are visible, climaxing in the current PEGIDA-movement and the reactionary attacks on refugees and their struggles. At the same time, the German nation-state managed to establish a neo-imperialist and neo-colonial line. Both of these politics are working hand in hand under the ideology of nation and Volk. The attempt to come out of this global crisis as ?winners? is achieved by pushing the population to rally around the national cause, for them to become their own police, their own prosecutors, a free-willed militia defending the state. Creating a threat out of ?Islamism? and the demonization of marginalized groups as a means of self-preservation of an imagined national or white western identity aims for a racial war, preventing the logical rise of subversion and the resistance against social war. But this is, what we aim for, a practical and subversive struggle to take our lives in our own hands, to create relations outside of the nationalist bourgeois society, to fight back the constant social war this world is putting upon us. We oppose the privileges of the so- called human rights such as freedom of speech since we see them as fundamental tools to reproduce a division among the population in which one part has the privileged of existence and the other is killed or left to die. The killing of Khaled Idris Bahray in Dresden is an attack against us too ? but because this murder is the result of the politics of self-governance this democratic society is imposing upon everyone. Our perspective is to create a struggle, which attacks the racist bourgeois society, both the openly fascist populists and their false critics and state-loving democrats. By doing so, the aim is to destroy the concept of nation, state and Volk and cause serious ruptures. We want to invite everyone who shares our critique and perspective to discuss on further strategies.