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The Anti-Nuclear "Free Republic of Wendland" (May 30, 1980)

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All of this is in the forest, where there is neither electricity nor water, only sandy paths. But nothing basic is lacking, not even for those used to affluence. In the morning you wash yourself at the pump connected to the well. And people either go to the toilet alone or in groups of five: squat next to me in the wooden cabin (which is open to the front and back); read the Tageszeitung as I do, and otherwise just let your legs hang down – with your pants around your ankles. Breakfast is as plentiful and healthy as it is in most group households. If you need anything, ask the people next door. And anyone can eat anywhere, or at the counter of the kitchen house, where any stomach can be filled for two marks: soup, muesli, big open-faced sandwiches.

What pedantic housewife wouldn’t enjoy seeing her “long-haired kid” separate the trash neatly into glass, compost, and non-organic waste? And the tourist who drives his caravan to the Adriatic and leaves his trail of plastic bags in the sand would have much to learn here about developing a concrete environmental consciousness.

Self-responsibility, self-discipline, self-organization – these are not new words in the leftist and ecology movements. And here on this squatted land they stand the test particularly well. If there had been the slightest hint of authoritarian instruction, then this village would have never come into being – or it would have collapsed on account of contradictions that had not been discussed. But here you discuss your problems and concerns with your “affinity group,” which sends a delegate to the speakers’ council, whose decisions are then brought back to the groups for discussion before they take effect. That way, the people participate in and know most of what’s going on.

Differences arose regarding the question of resistance in the event of the anticipated eviction by the police. Most people at the site were absolutely in favor of passive resistance – that is, letting themselves be carried off and watching as police bulldozers razed the circular village. A few people from the outskirts of the big city had picked up on some of the police’s logic through frequent contact with these forces. They have trouble understanding why they should let the state authorities destroy the houses they built, the trees and flowers they planted, the precious models of alternative technology they created; why they should allow these constructive contributions to the resolution of energy and environmental problems be destroyed without even defending them. This standpoint, as dangerous and senseless as it might seem to the other squatters, is taken seriously. Because non-violence means dealing both with issues and each other.

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