An Anarchist Guide to the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg
With a Review of Previous G8 and G20 Protests
This July, the rulers of the twenty most powerful nations in the world—the G20—will meet in Hamburg to coordinate the preservation of capitalism and state power at the expense of the natural world and the freedom and dignity of humanity as a whole. Anarchists and other foes of tyranny will be in Hamburg, as well, to demonstrate the kind of assertive resistance it will take to put control of our destinies back in our hands. For your convenience, we have prepared an overview of the actions that are planned in Hamburg, and a variety of resources on the mobilizations against previous G8 and G20 summits. In addition, this week we will publish retrospectives on the demonstrations that took place in Scotland and Germany against the G8 summits of 2005 and 2007.
A sign in Hamburg, 2017: “See Hamburg… while it’s still standing.”
Historically, anarchists have utilized the summits of the WTO, IMF, G8, and G20 as opportunities to dramatize our opposition to the hierarchical bureaucracies that govern our world, in hopes of inspiring ever wider resistance. Be it G7, G8, G20, or G1000, any system that empowers heads of state and their lackeys to decide the fate of billions is fundamentally exclusive and coercive. We oppose the G20 summits because we believe that only horizontal grassroots initiatives can solve the problems facing humanity. Financial crisis, climate chaos, ethnic violence, and state repression are the necessary consequences of markets and governments that concentrate power in the hands of the most ruthless few. When everyone is forced to compete for resources and power rather than being free to develop ways of life based on sharing and peaceful coexistence, no one wins, not even the 20 most powerful people on earth.
The German government intends to hold the 2017 G20 summit in a famously rebellious part of Hamburg, the St. Pauli / Karoviertel / Sternschanze area. It is difficult to understand this decision except perhaps as further evidence that today, no one in any position on the political spectrum has any idea what to do about the conflicts of our time except to continue blindly escalating. This event will position nationalist authoritarians like Trump, Erdogan, and Putin alongside neoliberals like Merkel and Macron against the rank and file of humanity.
Previous G20 summits have seen inspiring and confrontational forms of resistance and appalling violence from the state—for example, at the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, at which police murdered Carlo Giuliani and permanently injured many other people. The way things have been going, we can only expect resistance and repression to escalate in Hamburg. Already, railway sabotage has caused massive delays around Germany, with a communiqué on German indymedia claiming credit.
Welcome to Hell—Hamburg 2017
2017 G20 in Hamburg: Schedule of Events
July 2: “Wave of Protest”
The liberal demonstration involving Greenpeace, Oxfam, and other NGOs is taking place days ahead of the summit, underscoring organizers’ desire to avoid any real conflict with the authorities (and anyone else). Considering that they are simply demanding that the G20 make capitalism “equitable” and “sustainable,” to “fight tax evasion” and “strengthen parliaments,” it is hardly surprising that they have no plans to do anything that could lend force to these watered-down requests. Today, liberal moderation is less realistic than the most maximalist anarchist program: it is not hard to imagine that capitalism could crash and burn, but no one has any idea how to restore social democracy.
July 5: Street Theater
July 5-6: Global Solidarity Summit
Vandana Shiva and others invite you to a series of panel discussions and workshops in which “scientists, activists, and politicians” will propose their alternatives to the current order. If only changing the world were simply a matter of discussion!
July 6: Welcome to Hell
This is an open call for a massive black bloc demonstration rejecting capitalism and the state in their entirety.
July 7: Hamburg City Strike
July 8: Massive March: “Solidarity without Borders”
A mass demonstration including a black bloc and a Kurdish bloc, organized by the left-wing party Die Linke and others.
Welcome to Hell.
Some Campaigns and Calls to Action
NoG20 2017: The most comprehensive overview of events.
NoG20 Climate Campaign: Activists already carried out an effective blockade of the harbor in Hamburg.
Shutdown Hamburg: The effort from the libertarian communist group ums Ganze! and Beyond Europe.
In Hamburg sagt man Tschüss: An explicitly anarchist call to action in English. “We want to destroy, by July 2017, the rule of patriarchy over women, the rule of the states over their borders and urban centers, the rule of labor over our time, the rule of money over our social behavior, the domination of goods over our lives, the rule of the cops over us, the fear of repression in our minds.”
G20 Entern: A largely Leninist communist group, which nonetheless included anarchist banners in their video, with the mysterious consequence that the video was shared by a North American anarchist group, SubMedia.
From Rojava to Hamburg: Fight G20
Resisting the G8 and G20: Previous Coverage
For nearly two decades, CrimethInc. has published firsthand accounts and analyses of demonstrations and acts of defiance at summits including the G8 and G20. These stories of strategy, courage, and adventure deserve to be passed on from one generation to the next.
2003 G8 in Évian, France
2009 G20 in Pittsburgh, USA
2010 G20 in Toronto, Canada
Past Precedents: Riots in Hamburg, December 21, 2013.
A scene from Hamburg on December 21, 2013.