How to fight the Google-Campus
From The Anarchist Library / 2018
The question of how to fight or prevent the Google-Campus can be answered in different ways. The answer depends on the perspective of the fight itself. The following proposal is not only addressed to anarchists, although it is an anarchist proposal. It can be shared by all those who not only want to prevent the Google-Campus, but also seek to completely change the conditions we live in. The Google-Campus in Berlin Kreuzberg is just another project of domination seeking to restructure the power of state and capital (among other things digitalisation of the economy, new technology of control and repression, commercialisation of everyday life ...). In Berlin-Kreuzberg this kind of restructuring is most visible in new building projects. Examples are the planned Zalando building on the evicted squat grounds of Cuvrybrache, the new 'Factory' at Görli (Europe's largest start-up complex), the continuing changes on Oranienstraße with the Oranien-Luxury Hotel adding a new quality, or the planned Google-Campus at Ohlauer Straße. In other words, there is a gradual change in the neighbourhood, which is part of a process of refinement of the relations of power as a whole. It is about recognizing property development in Berlin and elsewhere, not just as isolated projects but as global shift in power relations on an economic, political, and social scale. The list of ventures of state and capital is long and one can get caught up trying to resist every single construction project. The decision to pick one project of power, to focus, to go beyond a defensive struggle, to develop an antagonistic project of one's own, derives above all from an intensification of the quality of the attack on domination - on its profiteers, advocates and servants. This choice marks the fight against all kinds of domination – in Kreuzberg, Berlin, or internationally. The perspective should not be limited to a "neighbourhood struggle", it should be aimed at a generalized revolt against any rule and authority: the transformation of social conditions. Starting from this perspective, as well as the choice of the target of the attack, the following proposed methods of action against the campus are suggested for a world without domination, exploitation and oppression.
The fight against the Google-Campus should be self-organized. This means that the participants have an immediate relationship with confrontation - without a representative group or person speaking or acting on their behalf. On the contrary, the persons involved organize themselves and act according to their own ideas and capacities, without appealing to the state and capital or to their representatives, such as politicians. This is mainly due to the fact that, by appealing to politicians and those in charge, the action is shifted from their own hands to the political table. The discussion about the prevention of the Google-Campus is then left to those who (as was heard in the Senate) have an interest in the Google-Campus in Berlin or pursue other power-political interests. Just as there should be no dialogue with political parties and those in power, there is no dialogue with the press. The press, whether it reports positive or negative, operates within the logic of the capitalist system. Events and information are made marketable through journalistic processing. What counts is the spectacular character, the sales value of the information. The reporting and communication among each other in the neighbourhood and beyond, should take place through our own projects, e. g. through own flyers, newspapers, posters, discussion evenings, spontaneous demonstrations, meetings and direct actions. If we reject politics to speak in our name we must also refuse to allow the press to write for us. A useful example of of something that would stand in the way of self organisation would be to wait for "the big demonstration". To be self-organized means to think of our own initiatives and then to act instead of waiting until someone else does or organizes this for you.
Social and Anti-Political
The political actions of parties or (political) groups aim at (among other things) the management of protest and the growth of their own (political) power. Quantity, or rather the mass, plays a central role in political calculation – through the masses, political pressure can be exerted and the interests of the respective group can be enforced. In short: the growth and quantity of a protest, as well as the exertion of control over it, is the focus of such a political approach. In order to become a mass movement, the struggle dies, as do many campaigns - with the acceptance of the lowest possible denominator. The anarchist proposal of an anti-political struggle is more of a search for quality thus abandoning the political field entirely. It is not about building a political power, but rather about intervening on a social basis. This kind of intervention should not, however, be subordinated to such a social basis and neither should the agency of the individual be diminished. This autonomy negates the management of a limited goal, it becomes practice through the attack on power relations, with the perspective of social change. Social tension is the starting point here. The fight against the Google-Campus should be related to a social basis in which Kreuzberg or the whole of Berlin is understood as an intervention base and not as an intervention of isolated small groups. The social basis can be felt, for example, through points of contact, meeting places, individual or regular actions and attacks. Also to create an understanding of the struggle against the campus and the associated criticism of power, to facilitate discussions within a conflict and to spread the attacks on a social level. This "social" understanding also reveals the dividing line to campus supporters and control by technology.
Independent and Self-determined
The maintenance of independence should ensure that the struggle cannot
be (so easily) taken over by a group. Not as easily as it destroys power relations caused by representation. Dependence on, for example, political parties and their foundations or media does not extend the scope of action. It concentrates the action framework on an area that is conveniently controllable for (political) power. Independence and self-determination does not only mean to be autonomous from the state, but also in the individual act itself. This means that an autonomous fight cannot allow any permanent specialists among the participants. This means that an autonomous fight cannot allow (fixed) specialists among the participants. Certainly there are fields of action in which one or other people know their way around better, or it seems useful to divide up some actions. However, this must not lead to the creation of dependencies between specialists among each other. A way to avoid this is to share and spread information and knowledge. Be it about the Campus itself or about different fields of action. It's about taking responsibility and acting on your own.
On an organisational level we propose informal organisation. This means
that there is no formal group (no centre of struggle against the Google campus) no group identity, and no membership. Instead those participating associate based on their affinity (even if this is just or one action). Informal organisation enables a broad and diverse range of actions to take place and makes it possible without requiring the permission of any particular group. The informal groups are formed on the basis of affinity, relating to shared ideas and a basis of trust
between individuals. The separate affinity groups can be different in their praxis and must not necessarily stand against each other. Such affinity, shared ideas, desires and trust can only be found through a process of 'encountering' one another. This leads us again to the point of a social basis and the creation of (ongoing) spaces and situations that make such encounters possible. Informal organisation requires coordination in order to avoid the isolation of participating individuals and groups. This coordination does not require a centre, rather functioning through the existence of different projects. This newspaper can contribute towards this just as can the Anti Google cafe face2face, larger discussion evenings, regular actions... The goal of the coordination must not necessarily be a collective action. It is rather about a physically visible struggle against the Google campus both for those who are interested and for those who are participating. In the last few months it has become obvious that the progression and plans of both Google and the State would rather be kept hidden. An exchange between comrades makes it possible to spread information about the Campus.
Since resistance against the Google Campus has begun it has become clear that, on the one hand, Google wants to sell itself as a social organisation and as an not having 'bad intentions' and, on the other, that many people don't know much about Google or it's machinations. One of Google's weakpoints is without doubt its image which it defends at all costs through its charm offensive in the neighbourhood. The point here is not to present Google as an evil American multinational but rather to recognise its part in the development and refinement of domination through technology and how this is supported by interested parties linked to politics and economy. This makes it possible to link this struggle against the Google Campus with other conflicts. The counter information, the spreading of information about Google and its research initiatives, is an important point. This must not however remain limited to a small circle of interested people. It should rather take place on various levels in order to avoid attacks on Google being misunderstood and thus leading to a perception of the struggle as a 'small war' taking place between Google and it's enemies. This would both dull the social tension and reduce the likelihood of any kind of social revolt.
Direct attack means attacking the campus and those in charge of it without detours, for example through state institutions. The question of the legality does not arise, since begging for permission (e. g. for a demonstration) accepts the state structures instead of recognizing their responsibility for the status quo. Thus, the choice of means cannot depend on the framework set by the state. The Google-Campus Berlin can only be prevented if there are widespread attacks against the project. It is not a question of creating a hierarchy of means: a conversation with the neighbour is not "less valuable" than a flyer or a direct attack. Crucial factors are initiative, determination, continuity, personal creativity, and a variety of attacks (which not only affect the building in Ohlauer Straße, but all those responsible for the Google-Campus Berlin). The direct attack does not seek reconciliation with power, but aims to intensify the social tensions that are visible in Kreuzberg. Google tries to gain a foothold in a neighbourhood that is rapidly being pushed to change. To the disadvantage of poorer people and "the excluded". In the fight against the Google-Campus, different motives are focused on its prevention: from displacement of the neighbourhood, through data abuse of Google, to criticism of power and technology. A "connection" of these motives can be made possible by a shared intensification of a social conflict: the refusal to solve the conflict politically, the resistance against any attempt to control the resistance and the opposition to a pacification of the conflict.