Statement by the Free Workers‘ Union in Hamburg (FAU) on the G20

Although some of our members will surely take part in the protests against the G20 in Hamburg, we as FAU Hamburg decided not to join the call for protests. There are two main reasons for this:

On the one hand, we are generally sceptical regarding the summit protests taking place regularly since 1999. The immediate core of syndicalist practice is direct action. As part of this concept, one doesn’t run to those seemingly ruling to then ask them for an improvement of living conditions. Nothing else are the protests during such summits, no matter how militant they are.
At best – with a high personal risk and huge financial expense for those calling for protests – the summit will be interrupted and continued elsewhere. A specific improvement for us wage earners will not be won this way. But that’s exactly what direct action is aimed at.
In one‘s daily political life, this can mean to chase fascists out of the district, prevent forced evictions, or maybe simply improve the equipment on the next playground.
At work, direct action can throttle the operational speed or ease processes for the workforce; and using specific industrial action – with the strike as the strongest form of direct action – employers can be forced to make confessions. But for this more than an adventurous weekend of rallies is needed. It takes continuous work in our direct living environment; while the FAU as an internationally active union stands in solidarity with struggles worldwide.

On the other hand, we don’t agree with the criticism related to the G20 summit presented by most organisations. Indeed, with Putin, Erdogan, Trump and others authoritarian misanthropes come together against which it’s always worth protesting. But the rhetoric of the “rulers of the world that intrigue to exploit the poor people“ is deeply repellant to us.
For one thing, the latest upheavals between the EU and Erdogan or Trump and everyone else show that those supposed rulers are not as homogeneous at all, as some summit protesters like to believe.
Furthermore the election results of Trump and Erdogan show that „the people“ are not that innocent.
Capitalism is a complex system reproduced by all of us on a daily basis, be it a manager, owner of a snack stall, civil servant or wage earner. All of us are caught up by the forces unleashed by the need to generate profit and to be competitive. To a certain degree, everyone is a victim of the system and everyone is complicit, even though it varies considerably. The idea of a small group of people ruling the world is not just outdated, but also offers most unpleasant points of reference for conspiracy theories and antisemitism – no wonder that actors of the new and old political right keep explaining capitalism in this way.
Our goal is not to put the focus on individuals, but to end any type of domination of humans over humans, replacing capitalism as a whole with a coexistence based on solidarity.

We assume that many of the protesters coming to Hamburg will be here to stand up for an improvement of living conditions for all. Also if in our opinion they use a wrong method, we obviously stand in solidarity with them.
Furthermore we look forward to meet many comrades from different parts of the world.

Therefore our social centre „Schwarze Katze“ (i.e. black cat) will be open from Tuesday (July 4th) until Sunday (July 9th) from 10am until 11pm as a meeting point and, if necessary, a place to seek refuge. Warm and cold drinks will be available as well as food while stocks last. Mobile phones can be charged and the latest updates received.

Libertäres Kultur- und Aktionszentrum ‚Schwarze Katze‘
Fettstraße 23
20357 Hamburg