Okay, let's not, let's fast-forward because i did that last post.
Weekend just gone i joined in the demonstration that made headlines all over Europe as the most violent in Berlin for 5 years. 123 cops were injured. Allegedly. Yes, i am quite sure 1 in 15 of the 1800+ riot police equipped with body armor, helmets, pistols, pepper spray and maglites were injured by some kids in t-shirts. Full disclosure: we also had 99 bottles of beer, a handful of cobblestones and 6 guys in skimasks with road flares. Sadly there was no anarchist Jesus amongst us who could multiply the cobbles.
As usual, the right-wing papers parroted the press release from the coppers that we were all a bunch of left-wing terrorists and vandals. You know what? After weeks of heavily-armed riot police treating me and my neighbors like dirt, i'd (ineffectively) throw a fucking cobble at their visored faces too. Except, you know, only a handful got dug up. Because in reality most of us were peaceful folks marching the streets of our neighborhood to tell the cops in unambiguous terms that we think they are complete and utter cunts who need to get the fuck out of our faces.
After a couple days of being accused by the press of being terrorists, the courts vindicated our actions by coming down on our side. It turns out that having an ambitious local politician send 300 cops to forcibly evict residents and trash the interior of a building on behalf of a foreign investor is illegal. It turns out that despite how unsavory it is to have a bunch of dirty, loud, drunk, tattooed hobos and punks all over the street, we have as much a right to assemble and live in a neighborhood as any gentrifying, white-bread, yoga-doing, maid-having, over-paid couple does. It's not right to permanently line the streets of a residential neighborhood with riot police. This is a victory for the little guy. This is a victory for my community.
It probably won't last. It's just a lull in the inevitable advance of gentrification. But it feels good to have been a part of it. Why am i now an anti-capitalist hooligan? Well, first of all, because they are my neighbors. And when someone is your neighbor, you empathize with their plight, even if you don't completely agree with their politics. But even more - because this time i saw what being an angry, violent activist actually can do for your cause. There were several other protests the weekend we had ours. There was a protest for Romany rights. There was a #blacklivesmatter protest. There were several solidarity events for the refugees. No doubt there were more. But you know which event made the Sunday papers? You know which one got reported in Italy, in Sweden, in England, in Russia? The one that started with some guys standing on a roof waving road flares and ended with some guys throwing stones at cops and setting fire to cars. And all this to support a small neighborhood - a crossroads, really - and the buildings for two or three blocks around. Those kids, those soldiers, they fought for us. They made headlines, and now we have our freedom again. Violent protest? Yeah, maybe it has a place.
Also, fuck the police.