It has been a long and intense morning with hundreds demonstrating on the streets of Kreuzberg to protest against the eviction of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule, against German racist and neocolonial asylum and migration policies, Fortress Europe, and deportations.
Many thanks to all those today in support and solidarity for the people of the school, thanks to the activists and initiatives, such as International Women Space, Bündnis Zwangsräumung verhindern, Initiative Oury Jallou, Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland, Corasol, Stop Deportation Group, Schlafplatzorga, Nachbarschaftsinitiative Ohlauer Straße and KuB for their powerful speeches at the manifestations in front of the school, at Hermannplatz, and on Oranienplatz. What is more, it was very important to have a speech of a representative of the Roma community. They used to live in the school and they were evicted on June 24th, 2014 to be distributed to remote places at the city’s margins, far from their local environment. Their children lost their structures, they could not attend their schools anymore, which led to a far more complicated situation in terms of education and to maintain friendship ties. Almost all of the Roma people were driven into homelessness again, some of them are dead.
After the last long negotiations with the Berlin senate and the district authorities of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg on January 10th, the remaining inhabitants of the school went out of the school building the evening before the set eviction date. After a first month in a camp Schöneweide, they will live in a container camp in Kreuzberg. For some, their asylum cases will undergo revision on the basis of §23 Residence Law – yet, as the so-called ‘Oranienplatz Agreement’ after the demolition of the Oplatz camp perfectly illustrated, there is no guarantee that this re-evaluation will lead to any granted legal status. It is important to support the people (e.g. accompany them to the authorities, etc.), to remain in touch with them and to stay organised and cautious about the senate’s and the district’s next steps. Supporters organised a crowdfunding campaign that that aims to cover most of the urgent needs, such as medicine, lawyer’s fees, and local transport, among others.
The political struggle, the local and international fights against repression, gentrification and every-day racism, against the backdrop of the capitalistic system continue. As was shown on the demo route of December 16th and January 11th, local fights in Kreuzberg against gentrification, daily evictions of individuals and projects, such as Friedel54, or against GoogleCampus in Ohlauer Straße need to be stronger addressed as linked to the fights of the lower classes, the poor, exploited and disenfranchised, the refugees, migrants and newcomers.
A second article in taz tries to evaluate the eviction in light of the political fight that has lasted for many years. Taken into account, the journalist states, that the majority of German society aligned with the mainstream media shows an obvious tide to right and conservative attitudes, the very fact that the refugee movement has maintained through the committed fight of political activists, can be seen as a (small) success. However, their demands and political goals – abolishment of the lager system, an end to deportations, freedom of movement for everybody – have been ignored.
Before the eviction, there was a concise summary on Indymedia of the history and the background of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule (in German)
One of the best long-reads in English on the history of the Ohlauer school can be read here: http://politicalcritique.org/world/eu/2016/refugees-berlin-ohlauer-school/
You can evict a building, you can evict people, but you can’t evict a movement!