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

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Violence and passive resistance was also discussed during the religious service that Pastor Richter from Prezelle held on “1004.” There were gentlemen in knickerbockers squatting next to “Freaks” in baggy t-shirts, ladies in traditional outdoor dress next to women in “water-cannon–proof” leather, and after the pious prayer – “May God give us hope not to become resigned in the resistance we have started” – they talked about violence.

If a similar mix of people – landowners and welfare recipients, businesspeople and left-wing students – assembled elsewhere around such a subject, then the familiar terms of endearment (“establishment swine” and “rowdies,” “reactionary pigs” and “chaotic anarchists”) would be heard. But here, on the contrary, people – and there were well over a hundred of them – turned it into a kaffeeklatsch without ingesting the tension. People like Andreas Count of Bernsdorff, who also participated in the service, became acquainted with the rage of the big city eco-proletariat. And those who have been confronted with violence their whole lives, in the family, school, work, and on the street, were able to learn from the Lüchow-Dannenbergers that there are more imaginative ways to resist injustice and police dominance than just striking back.

Although they pushed through to the generally binding declaration of passive resistance, the risk of eviction – how could it be otherwise – continues to hang over the “Free Republic” like the sword of Damocles: Wrapped up in my sleeping bag, I am lying in one of numerous tents. Someone trips in the dark over one of my tent stakes, puts it back in, and quietly wishes me a “good night.”

From the “friendship house” and other little wooden palaces, the sounds of singing and guitar-strumming make their way through the entire village to me. Half-awake, I can see them in front of me, crowded around the fire, a little romance of a campfire mixed with the sparkling humor of people who have never given up – in their lives, the office, school, the company, college. I’ve turned around in the hubbub of circle-dancing and kicked up some dust so that it hangs in the starry night sky. From the strings and horns of a music group from the teacher’s college in Berlin come roguish melodies, a mixture of folk and polka. Now I feel as warm as the vegetable bed that Peter Wollny, a farmer from Vietze, covered up today in order to protect it from the cold.

Suddenly fear startles and awakens me: “The cops are coming.” Police troops surround our little village and start coming closer – heavily armed; convoys of police squad cars and bulldozers follow, and the song stops. In its place is the mechanical sound of a loudspeaker demanding that we disperse.

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