Some activists of the occupation wrote this open letter to all who feel part of the resistance:
The last weeks have been exciting for all of us in and around the occupation of the Hambach Forest, but especially exhausting and grueling. The massive presence of police and RWE, their brutal actions, the destruction of our home. They hit us in an injuring way, they locked us up and took so much of what was close to our hearts, and what took us so many years to build. But be sure: all that was not in vain!
Even though the occupation, as we have known it for the last six years, experienced its last days: the movement for the preservation of the Hambach Forest and for the immediate coal exit has never been as strong as it is now! You can evict the occupation, but not the movement!
Reflection to the last weeks in Hambach Forest
The eviction of the occupation of the Hambach Forest, the high point that many of us expected, is the largest police operation in the history of North Rhine-Westphalia and another highlight in the long-standing, diverse history of defending our occupation.
The struggle between activists of a strong and diverse grassroots movement and the servants of a militarized police state in recent weeks gives us new experiences. We want to reflect on the methods and tactics to find out how to proceed from here.
In recent years tree houses and the use of constructions in trees as a blockade structure have proven to be highly effective as alternative place of residence and as a symbol of our resistance. But after the last weeks of destructive actions by the police, the situation has changed enormously.
We want to make it clear: At this point, building tree houses does not help us to protect the forest in the same way as in recent years. Before the eviction, there were over 60 tree houses – our homes – which were evicted and destroyed one after the other. In order to attack our occupation and our experiment of a free, self-organized life, RWE and the police have cut wide roads into the forest. If we start building new tree houses now, they very likely will be cleared within hours or days. This does not mean that tree houses are not an effective way to act at all. But we think it’s important to keep this experience in mind as we proceed.
In the weeks of the eviction, it was unbelievably nice to see how many diverse blockades, e.g. tripods and sit-ins, have managed to prevent the machines and eviction vehicles of RWE and police again and again completely of being used and have thus effectively interrupted their work. Our friends and comrades of Aktion Unterholz have played a major role in bringing these methods to the forefront of the struggle.
These methods, easily accessible to otherwise less experienced activists, enabled large groups of people to actively participate in the defense of Hambach Forest. And they helped our movement to grow.
Also outside the forest, activists have supported the struggle in a variety of ways and effectively through direct action against RWE’s coal infrastructure. At the #NiederAUSmachen blockade of the Niederaussem lignite power plant, climbing activists, as well as people in lock-ons and on a tripod, achieved that the power plant has been shut down to 20% of its normal power. In another action, #HambisImExil occupiers who had been evicted from the forest before, chained themselves to the rails of the Hambach Railway with lock-ons. The route, on which only coal from the mine to the power plants is transported, was paralyzed for several hours.
These autonomous, decentralized actions were not only effective in binding police forces outside of the forest, but have proven to be successful, direct attacks on RWE’s infrastructure.
A call to own actions: Reclaim the Hambi!
By 14 October at the latest, the ruling will take place in proceedings between energy giant RWE and the environmental protection organization B.U.N.D. Here the court will decide on the future of the forest: may RWE continue clearing or not? We do not believe in the German legal system and therefore expect the court to decide in favor of RWE. This would mark the beginning of the deforestation season – the time to which RWE and the government of NRW are eagerly looking forward.
That’s why already today, we call you all to organize yourselves until then, to get together and to prepare to recapture the Hambi every day: RECLAIM THE HAMBI!
RWE has got its infrastructure everywhere in the region. There are many possible goals for actions. And as we experienced this year with #NiederAUSmachen und #HambisImExil, there are also many ways to switch off parts of this “machine”! BLOCK RWE! Whether in your own small group actions or in open mass actions – what matters is that we are present in and around the forest, show our protest and come into action!
Get ready for the coming time!
To effectively continue our fight in and around the Hambach Forest, we must prepare ourselves. Use the time from now until the clearing season to prepare you, so organize, learn and share skills, and plan actions – together with friends and comrades, in peer groups or with local climate collectives.
Come to Hambi and share skills at the Hambi camp in Manheim. But this is also possible in your cities. Whether from October 3rd to 8th at the Skillshare camp in the Trebur Forest occupation near Frankfurt, another resistance camp that is threatened by the upcoming clearing season, or in self-organized workshops: participate in blockade training, tripod building and action climbing. You can get support from your local Hambi Soli group or networks like Ende Gelände, Robin Wood and Zucker im Tank. Also Aktion Unterholz will continue their mass actions against the clearing of Hambach Forest and the extraction and combustion of lignite, and also offer action training (stay tuned).
The coming time will be new for all of us, but we are convinced that together we can put a stop to the destructive power of RWE! Let us fight together for a better future!
Hambach Forest is ours! We will not leave him voluntarily! Reclaim the Hambi!