In Germany, Tractors bring Traction

   On Wednesday, January 10th of this year, Letzte Generation (or Last Generation Germany) performed civil disobedience actions blocking roads in cities throughout the country, including in Passau, Munchen, Leipzig, Freiburg, Bremen and Berlin. Supporters of Last Generation brought tractors drawn on or cut out of cardboard, in imitation of the recent farmers protests in Germany, seeing many farmers from all over the country blocking roads with tractors to pressure the government. The farmers called these protests after the government decided to cancel a tax break for agricultural diesel. Letzte Generation is critical of the government's sympathy for the farmers while stonewalling and persecuting climate and environmental activists.

Lina Johnsen, a 25 year-old spokeswoman for Letzte Generation, had this to say about the actions: "We wonder why our government is so much more open to the protests of the farmers than those of the climate justice movement? In the event that the government simply prefers tractors to high-visibility vests, we have also bought tractors. We are already very curious to see if we will soon have offers of political discussions."

"The protests of the peasants show: You can make yourself heard by the federal government extremely quickly and effectively through road blockades and demonstrations with massive traffic disruptions. Nevertheless, the farmers were treated respectfully by politics instead of being insulted as terrorists, criminals and chaotic. The website of the farmers' association was not confiscated, no one was taken into preventive detention and the association president Joachim Rukwied probably does not have to be afraid of a house search. It is therefore possible for the federal government to deal constructively with protests from the population."

All of the things Lina mentioned above have happened to members of Letzte Generation. In May of last year, German police raided 15 properties associated with the group, and seized several bank accounts and other assets owned by LG. The groups' website was then shut down, likely to halt fundraising. Then, in September of 2023, nearly 30 members of the group were arrested and placed in preventive detention in Bavaria ahead of a protest action they had announced online. Writes Ela Maartens for the World Socialist Web Site: "The aim [of preventive detention and legal repression] is to criminalize and intimidate peaceful protest, civil disobedience and other forms of resistance."

Joel Schmitt, 24 years-old, who protested in Freiburg on January 10th, had this to say: "The climate catastrophe is already leading to droughts, floods, flight and deaths. With every additional ton of CO2 that we emit, the risk of the climate system continuing to collapse increases. Therefore, we must immediately reduce all emissions that are not absolutely necessary and have managed to phase out oil, gas & coal by 2030 at the latest. For this we need a socially just political turnaround!"

In a press release, Letzte Generation writes: "The subsidies in the agricultural sector must be fairly and ecologically redesigned... For the socially equitable ecological transformation of agriculture, we will be on the 20th. January at the We are fed up! demonstration with farmers protesting together."

It is clear that Last Generation Germany are not cowering before repression, but will continue to agitate nonviolently for serious, systemic and rapid societal change on every level to protect the people of Germany from the ravages of the ecological crises.

Letzte Generation is a member of the A22 network for civil resistance.

In Solidarity, Jon Tijerina

 

 

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Jon Tijerina

About

Jon Tijerina writes for the Daily Rebellion. He 's been arrested 14 times for civil disobedience to get government action on the climate crisis. He loves falafel, reading classics and spending time with good people. He lives in California.