In parallel to the climate camp in 2011 (and as part of it) activists in Hambacher Forst called for the installation of a barrio (span. For quarter) which is critical to domination. This is an excerpt of their call.
Environmental destruction and domination are directly linked. Therefore the best way to „save the climate“ is to uncover relations of power and to attack them: discursively and in the form of direct action.
This we try to achieve on the occupation of the forest in a conscious environment (free/ open space).
The kitchen is vegan, we try to deal respectfully with each other and to respect the needs of others.
Here in the Rhenish mining area, between Düsseldorf, Cologne and Aachen, the energy giant RWE is digging the largest holes of Europe – to extract lignite, the dirtiest fossil energy source currently used. This is then conveyed by the coal railway to the five surrounding power plants where it is burnt. Together, these power plants constitute Europe’s largest CO² emitter, and thus the ‚climate killer # 1′. The fact that such a massive intervention in our common habitat prevail solely through domination, appears most directly in the expulsion and destruction of forests, villages, people and animals here in the area that must give way to the growing hole.
Because of the global “climate roulette” the consequences, however, are no longer limited to the local level. Millions of people are forced to be refugees through the devastation of entire regions.
To examine the social, systemic and economic causes of environmental destruction, as well as the effects of the destruction on them is a discipline of the environmental movement, whose tradition has been broken at some point duing the 90s and which preserved since then somehow only in form of the anti-castor resistance (resistance against nuclear power and its waist). At least in the German-speaking area. Elsewhere – especially in English-speaking areas – since the turn of the millennium exactly this tradition is visible inside the climate movement, from which emerged the first climate camps in England.
The division between environmental and emancipatory movements in the German-speaking area has its reasons both the tendency of large parts of the environmental movement (with the big organizations and the Green Party at the top) towards the role of advising institutional bodies or individual consumption (and a new extreme: being extremely in favor of avoiding conflicts), but also in the fact that emancipatory groups largely withdrew from the entire field of struggles for environmental issues and with this somehow willingly left the field for these associations. Due to the lack of emancipatory counter-models after the turn of the millennium the bourgeois protection of the environment as a „lifestyle of health and sustainability“ became mainstream. Tries of recuperating this topic out of an emancipatory perspective were made since then only very sporadically. Instead, the “citizens‘ positions” are often used as an occasion to attribute the field of environmental protection as a whole as part of middle-class citizenship instead of recognizing the lack of an emancipatory analysis and way of acting as own weakness.

Domination and destruction of the nature

The availability and control over land and raw materials – in addition to those over people and their minds – is an indispensable part of the execution of power. The destruction of the environment and local livelihoods often accompanies this (usually because there are also concepts of “sustainable exploitation” which are still a part of power and controlling others, however). The special thing about the destruction of livelihoods shaped by power and domination is that they also undermine perspectives of emancipation. By destroying the ability to self-sufficient and subsistent lifestyles people fall into greater dependence. Even if non-hierarchical forms of life don‘t necessarily need to be subsistent there should be at least always the possible of subsistence to allow at any time to terminate agreements. If this possibility is not given those involved aren‘t free. The exploitation of the environment shaped by domination therefore somehow paves itself the way for power relationships in the future as well. All of this massively escalates with the climate crisis that is destructive not only at local level but globally destroys resources of life. Nowadays in many parts of the world there is already by fact (as opposed to artificial, capitalist scarcity) a shortage of vital resources such as water, fertile soil and space because of which the effects of climate change are already one of the the biggest causes of flight. An actual situation of shortage increases the probability of competitive behavior rather than solidarity although in such a situation acting in solidarity is the most essential.
The human caused climate change leads by the rise of the sea level, water shortages and destruction caused by natural disasters to a loss of their previous home for many people. Because of this flight and migration is already a direct consequence of the climate change caused by the global north for millions of people. A logical consequence – and a minimum of solidarity dealing with this situation – would be to open the borders for all these people.
But the existing nation states however are based on the concept of exclusion. They could not cope with the challenges associated with the opening of the borders because of which the exclusion of refugees at the borders is being put forward by all means and violence. The fact that because of all this thousands of people die each year is therefore a necessity for enforcing and maintaining privileges and domination.

Perspectives for an emancipatory climate movement – in the Rhenish lignite mining area?

As mentioned above, we are currently regarding the anti-Castor-resistance as some kind of last oasis in Germany where anti-hierarchical movements inside the issue of protection of the environment were able to maintain (movements here in contrast to individual crowds that focus also on other environmental issues out of an emancipatory vision).
Certainly during the last years repeatedly there have been tries to build up such kind of climate movement but it had never managed to gain a foothold which might be also because of to much focusing on the mobilization to some single major events – such as the climate camp in Hamburg or to the climate conference in Copenhagen – which caused a difference between organizing structures and action groups.
In the latest developments inside the anti-coal-resistance in the Rhineland, we see great potential for the renewed attempt to establish a radical environmental movement because the resistance is being broadly established – what is important for effects of synergy like in the Wendland. There are campaign-oriented structures such ausgeco2hlt, eco-anarchist structures at the forest occupation in Hambach forest and there is a spectrum of citizens‘ initiatives. The relations between the different spectra is respectful and productive and supported by the principle of allowing diversity in resistance and to let it become a larger overall picture. With this we have good conditions to build up long-term structures like in the Wendland. In addition, right now there is a kind of explosion of the resistance – while it is not clear yet where the limits mightbe.
This call to get involved in the resistance in the Rhenish lignite mining area or to discuss whether there is a perspective in doing this is aimed at all emancipatory activists and groups. It also appeals for all participants of the climate camp to use the frame of the camp for a debate on the link between domination and environmental destruction. With the domination-critical Barrio we want to carry this aspect inside the climate camp and we look forward to participation.
With this call we refer in the first instance to the participation of the climate camp but is important for us also to emphasize that it is more important for a long-term resistance to think inside action groups with which activities and actions it is possible to resist also beyond this frame. One possibility for this may be the forest occupation which is under eviction threat from autumn. But the most valuable are always one’s own ideas so that the resistance is broad and unpredictable.
From anti-hierarchical perspective against domination the thematic linking between the energy production in the Rhenish mining area and the production of weapons in West Germany (with this electricity) is interesting as it is also the link between climate change and flight (see anti-racist call to the Climate Camp).