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Germany: Neo-nazi march in Dresden stopped by mass antifascist activity

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  • Cort Greene
    http://www.marxist.com/germany-neonazi-march-dresden-stopped-130210.htm Germany: Neo-nazi march in Dresden stopped by mass antifascist
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2010
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      Germany: Neo-nazi march in Dresden stopped by mass antifascist
      Written by Walter Held in Germany Monday, 01 March 2010
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      February 13 German neo-Nazis tried to exploit the commemoration of the death
      of 25,000 civilians in Dresden during heavy Allied carpet bombing. However,
      the reaction of German workers, youth, trade unionists, left activists was
      swift and massive. Huge numbers turned out and with skilful use of modern
      communication techniques thwarted the attempt of the fascists to march
      through the town, in spite of the clear unwillingness of the police to do
      anything serious to stop them.
      Introduction by Hans-Gerd �finger

      *German Nazis can be stopped. This is the clear message of the events on
      Saturday, (February 13) in the Saxon capital of Dresden where a well
      coordinated national intervention by antifascist and left wing groups, the
      Left Party (DIE LINKE) including many MPs, trade unionists, left Social
      Democrats and others managed to mobilise a decisive number of activists to
      block the roads and prevent the Fascists from marching through the city.
      Given the determination and stamina of the anti-fascists and the endeavour
      of the state apparatus and the ruling class to avoid worldwide TV and media
      coverage presenting Dresden as a Nazi stronghold, the heavily armed riot
      police forces that were mobilised in big numbers from all over Germany
      refrained from using teargas and water cannons against the antifascist

      *[image: Fascists from all over Germany are blocked by the riot police
      outside Dresden Neustadt railway station on Saturday, February 13,
      from all over Germany are blocked by the riot police outside Dresden
      Neustadt railway station on Saturday, February 13, 2010.Unlike in previous
      years, this year's mobilisation was a success for the anti-fascists and Left
      which was not highlighted in many bourgeois media who just hammered home
      that there were "left and right-wing extremists" trying to smash each other,
      separated only by the police. Out of sheer frustration, some 400 demoralised
      fascist thugs travelled to the nearby town of Pirna on the same evening,
      rioting in the local town centre and smashing the door and windows of the
      local SPD office. Fascist websites reveal that many of their activists are
      pretty frustrated and a debate about future tactics has started where sharp
      differences between "legalists" and more violent thugs have come to the

      *After the success in Dresden, however, there is no room for complacency and
      sitting back, hoping that the police will always defend us. The fact that
      some of those fascists will now resort to blind terror against the left and
      some will try to utilise the capitalist crisis and play the
      "anti-capitalist", "socialist" card is a warning for the left and the labour
      movement as a whole. Especially DIE LINKE has an enormous responsibility to
      offer a clear internationalist alternative to capitalism and a full-fledged
      socialist programme.*

      *Read the following report on the events in Dresden by Walter Held from

      Dresden: Neonazi march stopped by antifascist barricades

      *By Walter Held*

      The Germans have repeated the experience of the Iranian demonstrators in
      exploiting fully the possibilities offered by the new media and
      communications channels including Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, smart
      mobile phones and laptops.

      It was heralded as the biggest show of neo-Nazi strength to date. On the
      anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by British bombers in 1945, Germany's
      neo-Nazi groups have tried to hijack the commemoration of the death of the
      25,000 victims by staging their own extreme right-wing march through the
      centre of the Saxon city.

      There is a fraction of the NPD in the Saxon regional parliament and the
      party has distinguished itself by refusing to join in official
      commemorations and by walking out of the building. One veteran NPD MP was
      even found to have a weapon in his office. But the extreme right scene is
      shifting to more localised grouplets of "autonomous nationalists" who wear
      black hooded jackets.

      [image: Part of the antifascist demonstration. Photo by realname on
      of the antifascist demonstration. Photo by realname on flickr.The organisers
      of the right-wing march - the Verein Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland -
      proclaimed that 8,000 neo-Nazis from across Europe would attend. All the
      other political parties and public bodies set about organising a defensive
      chain of democratic protestors, ringing the old city centre. In spite of a
      ban on counterdemonstrations marching against the Nazis, the autonomous
      youth groups joined a united front called "Nazifrei - Dresden stellt sich
      quer" (Free from Nazis - Dresden blocks their path") decided on courageous
      direct action. Before the trains carrying the Nazis could reach the
      stations, railway lines between the two main Dresden railway stations were
      blocked by barricades by the left. Sit-down barricades of up to 2,000 people
      blocked strategic roads into the city. Trade union youth from Thuringia
      arrived in strength. Thousands of police were mobilised and promised not to
      act against the left provided there was no stone-throwing, which was
      generally respected by the left. Police stopped and turned back out-of-town
      vehicles heading for the demo.

      In the event, between 1500 and 4000 autonomous nationalists were able to
      march some distance after police broke up a left barricade on the Dammweg.
      Meanwhile 10,000 local citizens were able to close their defensive ring, two
      or three deep. Left blockades on the Hansastrasse and Albert Square held and
      the Nazis broke up into smaller groups, taking other routes and beating up

      The organisers used Twitter to organise and reorganise counter measures,
      reporting on developments, sending activists to particular points to occupy
      and block roads. Television stations ignored the events except for short
      snippets showing the established politicians. Bizarrely the regional TV
      broadcast scenes from a carnival procession in a nearby town.

      By 3pm, the Nazis appealed to the police to clear a path for their march but
      this was refused at first; they abandoned their initial route for an
      organised march owing to the determined strength of the opposition. An
      alternative route was allowed by the police but immediately reported via
      Twitter minute by minute to the activists giving the exact street names
      where the Nazis would pass through and appeals were sent out to block that
      new route with links to Google Maps showing the precise road junctions which
      needed to be blocked off. Participants sent video reports via their mobile
      phones with links back to Twitter. The antifascists eavesdropped on the
      Nazi-Twitter pages to learn of their plans and reactions. Rumours flew back
      and forth that the police had mobilised heavy anti-riot vehicles, water
      cannon, etc., in the Hansastrasse in the event of a direct clash of both
      sides. The police announced that the Nazis would be allowed to hold a short
      march in the 30 minutes remaining of their allotted time. The other hour and
      a half were taken up by avoiding barricades. The flood of Twitter tweets
      with updates comes in faster than you could read them. A police baton charge
      failed to open a human barricade for this final attempt to march. The Nazis
      stood in the freezing cold chanting "We want to march!" The police told them
      the road was not clear, �you cannot march�. A burning barricade was
      extinguished by water cannon. They threatened to attack a left-wing local
      radio station later that evening. Antifascists were warned not to walk alone
      in the streets. The police escorted the demoralised Nazis back to their
      busses so they could leave. The Nazis were trapped at the railway station.
      Dresdner Neustadt attacked the police with lumps of ice, bottles and
      fireworks. Special police commandos from Saxony arrived with baseball clubs
      and helmets. The Nazi demo was declared finished punctually at 5pm. A
      complete fiasco! The lesson: Direct action, not polite vigils stopped the
      Nazis in their tracks.
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