Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'No Pasaran!' - 'They won't get through!'

Something very exciting has happened in Germany.

For the first time a coalition of Anti Fascists group called
“Nazifrei – Dresden stellt sich quer!”
(Tranlation 'Nazi free - Dresden is standing square!')
formed from the two grassroots groups
'No pasarán! – they won't get through' – and
'Dresden nazifrei! - Dresden without Nazis',
were able to prevent the biggest European neo-Nazi March through
Dresden, which the neo-Nazis have been doing since the fall of the
wall on the same date of the Dresden bombing by the Allies in
Worldwar II on February 13th.

The Nazis calling it a mourning march to memorialize the deaths of these
bombings but instead are using it as a rallying point to rewrite the history
of the 2nd World War, calling the bombing a 'Holocaust' for the Germans
and spreading their propaganda of hatred and violence.
The city of Dresden and the majority of it's residents, have had enough of
this political fringe which every year converges on the city for the annual
memorial ceremonies defining Dresdens image as a hot bed of Naziism.
Even tough the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which
practically is an offshot of the former Nazi Party, holds eight seats in the
Saxon parliament, representing 5.6% of the population and is a major
contributor of Nazi demonstrators at this yearly march, the majority of
Dresdens don't want to be defined by these right Wing elements.

After the city hall was unsuccessful preventing the Nazi march by
trying to enforce them to a stationary assembley, with the appeals court
ruling it unconstitutional against the right of freedom of assembly but in
it's ruling moving the start of the march to the other side of the river at
Neustadt and giving the police permission to take steps to stop the march
if it threatened public safety, the population of Dresden cried for help and
the help came from Anti fascist -, Peace - and Human Rights groups,
including members of the German 'The Left Party',
The German 'Green Party', the 'Social Democratic Party', local politicians
from all parties, well know activist Musicians, Religous leaders, Unions,
Conservatives and liberals and 15000 -20000 ordinary citizens from all
over Germany and Dresden.
All working together to rid the city of the Nazi elements. The amazing
solidarity of all the different groups, from the conservatives to the
progressive left was what made this organized blockade and counter
demonstration successfull.

Under the Initiative of the Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz, under the slogan
“For an open-minded city. Against violence and xenophobia,”
which was displayed on a huge banner hanging from the city hall, a wide
coalition of counter demonstrators organized a human chain which originally
was planned to connect the old Synagoge and Old Market to close off the
Dresden Old Town symbolicaly against the Right Wing but because
many more counter protester came then expected the human chain ended
up surrounding all of the inner city with about 15000 people holding hands
ringing the city center.
Dresden became a "Fortress against Intolerance and stupidity' said Helma
Orosz the mayor. 'For the first time we have been sucessfull to bring
together many Dresden Organizations and Institutions.'

Meanwhile across the river at the Neustadt Railway station where the march
was moved to, neo-Nazis gathered at the station (It was surprising that the
court moved the Nazi march to this spot then the Neustadt Railway station
is significantto the neo-Nazis because during the war, it is the train station
where the Nazis sent off trains full of thousands of Jews and other people
to Auschwitz.) 
The organizers of the counter demonstration when the word came out that
the march had been moved to this spot, had to quickly reorganize their
blockades, now trying to keep the Nazis from leaving the area of the rail
way station.

Already in the early morning, thousand of, especially young people blocked
critical exit points around the station mostly peaceful. They were sitting on
isolation mats, shivering in the wintery cold, in the middle of the streets
and railways determined to not let any Nazi through or let them march.
"No Paserane!-they won't get through!"
could be read on many of the signs.

It was a long, cold day for the counter demonstrators, some trying to keep
warm by dancing and hopping, Music was playing from small, live,
orchestras or from speakers. On Albertsplatz some of the participating
musicians sang their songs of encourage and wishing the participants a
'good Blockade'. Ordinary citizens using their right of civil disobedience,
peacefully assembling, protecting their city from xenophobia and
intolerance. "Today, no Nazi will walk here!" calls a woman,
everyone cheers to that.
The protesters were in a good mood, it was almost like a party
atmosphere. "Dresden is colorful!" a sign says referring to the
Nazi nick-name 'Browns'and colorful it was.

The left wing's approach according to the deputy head of Germany's
'Die Linke -The Left' party Katja Kipping was to compel police to
cancel the neo-Nazi march for security reasons.
By law the police has to be able to keep the two factions apart from
each other, keeping them from harming each other, securing their safety.
"Feb. 13 should not be used to distract from Nazi crimes.
Germany started the war --it just came home on Feb. 13." she said.

Even there was a huge presence of police of around 5600 police, they
were not able to prevent some escalations from the Nazi marchers. As the
Nazis became more and more frustrated with the situation, groups of them
broke out and became violent, people started getting hurt.
There also were clashes between police and neo-Nazis, resulting in injuries,
barricades were lit on fire.
As the violence became more spread the police with counter-protesters
ready to move nearby, contained the neo-Nazis in a barricaded area outside
the train station, where an estimated crowd of 6,400 Nazi listened to
re-enactments of the Dresden bombing.
Ultimately, the police concluded the left-wing blockade to be intractable
and they could not guarantee the safety of the Nazis and ordered the
neo-Nazisto disburse the area by train. Ending the march before it could

An anti-fascist leader, speaking on a stage shortly after the neo-Nazi
gathering ended, announced proudly with a satirical tone:
"The Nazis are being deported, destination unknown" --
an allusion to the fact that the Neustadt train station had been used
by the Nazis to deport Jews.

The blockades of the access roads as a means to civil disobedience
worked. "We hindered the March of the Neo-Nazis" said the speaker
of  the coalition 'Dresden Nazifrei' Lena Roth later that evening.

When the news emerged that the march had been canceled the
Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz preclaimed:
"Dresden doesn't want them and these groups do not belong here," -
"I am proud of you."

After the Nazis were sent home on their buses, large groups of them
with covered up faces, against orders stopped on their way in small towns
got out of their buses causing trouble. Smashing Cars and Windows,
vandalizing, attacking people and police. Marching through these towns
waving their flags and yelling paroles like "We are the national resistance"
"Fame and Honor to the Wapon-SS", Showing their real face.

They knew, they had lost a big fight this day.

But nothing could put a damper on the happy celebration,
They Nazis were shown the way out of Town.
They were kicked out of Town.
They were not welcome!

The praise for this successfull action came from all over Germany and

From the local Saxon Newspaper:
"February 13th belongs to the Dresdeners again."
For eleven years, the Neo-Nazis defined the image of Dresden on this
date. Today, the city was defined by the people who formed a human
chain through the historical center.

Stanislaw Tillich, the CDU governor of the state of Saxony, said:
"Dresden has stood up to the neo-Nazis."
And Andrea Nahles, the national general secretary of the
Social Democrats, said: "the integrity of our democracy depends on
our ability to combat right-wing extremism."

Former German Interior Minister Gerhart Baum, who as a 12 year old boy
experienced the bombing of, said: "We are deeply committed to making
Dresden an example of peaceand understanding, of democracy and
human rights."

Politicians across Germany were praising Dresden's response to the planned
neo-Nazidemonstration on Feb. 13. Police prevented far-right protesters
from marching on the 65thanniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden -
a victory for the city and Germany's far left.

This police deployment also drew wide praise across Germany. The state's
police president, Bernd Merbitz, said Monday that the decision not to move
against the counterprotesters so that the neo-Nazis' march could go on was
the correct decision.
"Where would we be today if the police had cleared the march route on
Saturday?" he asked.
"We were forbidden from using violence against children and older women."

The Counter Demonstrators were braving the snowy, cold weather that day,
it did not keep them away from this important day. Some Demonstrators
got hurt, a few very badly but the common message was:
"It was all worth it!"

It shows what groups of people, even they hardly agree on most
philosophical and political points, can do if they stand together, work
together to get something done, what needs to be done. This day,
people from all walks of life, old people, young people, children,
conservatives, progressive left, people in the middle of politics came
together to give this city back to it's citizens.
To define Dresden not by it's Nazi past but by it's courages citizens
standing up against xenophobia, hatred and violence.
And to rid the city of the Nazi elements once and for all.

What is possible there, can be possible here in the USA.
Now my ending question is:
"Why are we not standing together, working together on issues
which effects us all?"
"Why are the Americans, fighting each other over small issues instead
banding together, fixing the problems what ails their country?"
"Can we not find a common ground?
Why we need Health-care for all people?
Why we need a good education for our children?
Why we need to take care of our world, planet?"
"Is money really the only thing we care about most?
More then Health, Education, our Environment, our Neighbor?"

"And why are the progressive groups in this country not working together,
railing their supporters to work together, to tell the politicians in the
White House, in the Congress that we have had enough of the status quo?"
That we are tired of our children loosing their health care because they
turned 19 and are not enrolled in school anymore.
That we are ashamed of our neighbor loosing their home and becoming
destitute only because they got sick.
We are worried about our children not being able to make it in this world,
because they can't compete with the low grade education they are getting
and because most of the good jobs are gone overseas and anyway their
planet is dying right in front of them because their elders are not caring
enough about them to stop the dying.

The status quo is, because we let it be. Because nobody works together.

"Together we stand!" Yeah, Right!
The standing together in this country has been forgotten, for a long,
long time.


Post a Comment