To protect the global climate…
…we squatted a piece of wood right on the edge of the Nochtem mine in Lusatia on the 5th of March. With this approach we want to tie in with the ongoing local resistance against the mining of lignite. Important points regarding the impact of the mining in the region of Lusatia have been elaborated upon by both local initiatives and active individuals in their argumentation against coal.
But the protection of the climate concerns every single one of us, therefore we want to broaden the protest and take a closer look at the injustice in this world that is caused by climate change.
Since 1867 lignite has been extracted in Lusatia. Today, 4 large mines produce over 60 million tons of coal per year – and each kilogramm releases roughly one kilogramm of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when being combusted. If the whole world simply continues to do that, we are likely to be facing a temperature increase of about 5°C until 2100 (cf. Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCCC). Whoever dares to take a look at what is going on in this world will know that it indeed does look as if the approach of „business as usual“ is going to continue.
Climate change already has grown to serious proportions. Its effects will be amplified by the increase of temperatures, which is picking up speed aswell:
The climate zones are going to shift, which might make more than 40% of all species of plants and animals go extinct, since they won’t be able to adapt to the new challenges quickly enough, or to relocate further north.
Some regions of this world already get to feel the consequences of climate change, they are suffering droughts, floods, forest fires and the resulting famines, meaning: a loss of livelihoods. This forces them to flee.
We can expect the sea level to rise a couple of meters. It’s obvious what the results might be for a country like Bangladesh, where twice the population of Germany lives right next to rivers and close to the shore, a shore they financially can’t afford to protect.
These effects are the reasons why the increase of the global temperature has to be stopped, and from our point of view they are hardly surpassed by any other reason. We are opposed to solutions that would act within the capitalist logic of growth. We can’t rely on technology solving the problem, since it only maintains the current system of power and domination, also it poses a lot of yet unexplored risks.
We are fighting for a good life for everyone – a self-determined life beyond capitalism, domination and oppression.
The capitalist logic….
Economy and politics are out to garner as much profit as possible and maximise their overall influence. Everyone participating in this system is forced into stone cold competition, which is followed by a never ending pressure to excellerate and expand. On a planet with finite ressources nothing good can come of that. But despite the numerous deaths obviously resulting of it, lignite continues to be exploited.
Destruction of the environment is only taken seriously once it seems profitable from a capitalist point of view – either if it generates revenues, or to secure „social peace“. That’s why on the surface they pretend to act responsibly, while that is not at all what happens on the inside. In fact, it is about keeping structures of domination and privileges in place.
The everlasting pressure to compete has very personal effects on us aswell: it forces us to fight one another, it’s a fight for our lives and for privileges that are only attainable for a select few. The top of the pyramid doesn’t have space for all of us – yet the good life for everyone is what we are fighting for.
The supposed „security of supply“, therefore, the ruthlessness used to defend „our“ wealth, covers up that on other continents millions of people are dying due to this economy.
States such as the Netherlands or Germany can protect their economy and „their people“ from the effects of climate change, but many poorer countries simply can’t afford that – in fossil fueled capitalism, the life of a bank employee from Hamburg is worth more than that of a fisher from Mozambique. If we increase our material wealth, it automatically means that somewhere else, someone elses life is being destroyed.
It’s mainly the industrial countries that are responsible for global warming – Germanys’ CO2 emissions are 24 times as high as those of Ghana. The consequences hit the people from the global south the hardest. Water shortages, floods and droughts already aggravate the situation in many different places, not to far from now they will force millions of people to flee.
When you hear us talk about global climate injustice, you will hear us point out the existence of nation states as one of the main problems. Constructing „us“ and „them“ is the basis on which people are able to just shrug millions of people dying as a consequence of ones very own production of greenhouse gases of their shoulders. Our response to the hence onsetting streams of refugees is a clear: „Open borders for all!“, paired up with decisively proceeding against the root causes of flight. People leaving their homes is not the problem, because everyone should be able to live wherever they want. The problem is that people are forced to leave their homes.
Besides the whole global problem, lignite mining also has serious local effects in Lusatia. This includes environmental damages, like the sedimentation of iron ochre in rivers, fine dust pollution and the lowering of the groundwater level. Also the destruction of villages and their communities via forced relocation. All of these affect the Sorbian population most severely, a group that has been living in agricultural communities in Lusatia for a very long time.
Vattenfall being the biggest and most important employer in the region sets up a range of alarming power structures. Whole villages depend on the companies’ jobs, teams of local politicians (and beyond) listen to its word. Lignite seems to be the only perspective this remote region has, a region that is suffering from massive emigration already nowadays. For many people, living in Lusatia doesn’t offer any perspectives, and the ongoing destruction of the region amplifies these effects.
Vattenfall ignores the grave consequences and instead puts forward that the region would be way worse off without coal mining. But the time will come when there will be no more coal mining, be it because of political pressure or because the ressources are completely depleted. Only few people have started creating a feasible perspective for Lusatia. Alternatives outside of capitalist economy aren’t being considered. We are opposed to any solution withing the current logic of power and we are fighting for a world without exploitation and domination.
The global climate movement is taking the field!
The coal field close to the German-Polish border has been the arena of protest against mining for decades. The local initiatives have mainly emphasized the local implications. We want to add to their work and further include a global perspective into the struggle. Our focus is on the global effects of climate change, which is also enforced in big parts by the coal fired power plants in Lusatia.
We are not demanding anything – we want everything!
Following after the occupation in Lacoma that was evicted in 2003, we also choose the form of direct resistance, to add to the local protest! While protest denounces the existing faults, resistance chooses to actively oppose them. Of course we will include new tactics and methods. We consider this (and the crossing of lines involved) to be absolutely crucial, because global warming isn’t waiting! In this context we want to talk to the local initiatives and everyone living here, to explain our actions to them.
Our aim is to build up an alternative. We are here to stay, and we will not only put up resistance in Lusatia, but also try and point out alternative ways of life. We want our permanent presence to screw up Vattenfalls’ sales plans – whoever wants to buy the coal field in Lusatia can already adjust to constant and lasting disruption of the „operational procedure“!
Actions for another kind of society – not against the workers
We are acting up against the corporation Vattenfall and the state that is defending it. We do not want to fight against the workers and security employees who work there to support themselves. Although we consider an immediate coal phase out to be absolutely necessary, we want to try and find a solution that will drive noone right into poverty. It is not a law of nature, but a result of capitalism, that the loss of a work place leaves people impoverished and the region to die without its biggest company.
Consequently, we will be persistent in our actions and won’t avoid confrontation – but we do not see Vattenfalls’ exploited employees as our enemies. It would be nice to have them as our allies, although that idea seems to only be able to come true in the distant future.
Everything we described results in two things:
First, we do know that Vattenfall and the government will not switch off the coal fired power plants in time to prevent the climate catastrophe. Their structure is supposed to preserve their own system and maximise their profits. Hence, we have to take action and prevent coal mining ourselves.
Second, we don’t only oppose Vattenfall, but also every kind of racism and nationalism in other parts of society. The fight against lignite mining continues to be a fight against the freaking capitalist system in all its forms – and against the state that supports it.
For a good life for all! Realise a coal phase-out yourself!