The largest trial against autonomist antifascists in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany is scheduled to begin on August 14, 1996. 17 antifascist activists from Göttingen, in southern Lower Saxony, will be tried for being members of the Autonome Antifa (M), charged with being a criminal organization according to § 129. This law is intended to fight organized crime, similar to the RICO laws in the United States.

 Looking at the the conditions of the trial, it is clear that a real defence is impossible and that the defendants have received a sentence before the trial has even begun. They will be financially ruined, regardless of the outcome of the trial, and their lives interrupted for up to several years.

 The state attorney's office has scheduled 131 trial dates in the first year of the trial. Attendence at all dates is mandatory for each defendant and his or her two (compulsory) lawyers. The trials will be held three days a week in a town over 150 miles from Göttingen. The travel expenses and lawyers costs for these 131 days are estimated at over 4 million DM - almost 3 million US-dollars! 

The importance of this trial goes beyond the fate of 17 individuals. This trial could mean the criminalization of the Autonome Antifa (M) and the end to its politics. The successful prosecution of the group would have significant meaning for the German left. The possibilities for legally organized political work, including demonstrations and other forms of grass-roots politics, would be severely limited. A guilty verdict would set a precidence, clearing the path for an expanded use of the § 129. Other similarly organized groups, like the groups in the Antifascist Action/Nationwide Organization (AA/BO), would be potential targets for criminalization. 

This trial could sharply confine antifascist resistance and make political work outside the confines of electoral politics vulnerable to new forms of repression!


Since the break-up of the USSR and the annexation of German Democratic Republic by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1990, the FRG has intensified its politics of international agression and domestic repression. German economic and territorial interests are being fought for with military means for the first time since the end of Nazi-fascism in 1945. Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are the targets for the conquer of new markets with favorable conditions for German business. 

The flip side of the coin is domestic repression. The left is the object of a wave of criminalization intended to wipe out opposition and raise the price of resistance against the current system.


International aggression

 For the first time since the end of World War II, German soldiers are engaged in a war area. For the third time in this century, German forces have been sent into the former Yugoslavia. The first two times ended in world wars and were an intregal part of German expansionist plans in Eastern Europe. In Bosnia, the path is being cleared for future German military presence in the rest of the world. 

Turkey, too, plays an important economic and military-strategic role for the FRG. Germany is the largest weapons importer and second largest trade partner for Turkey. Turkey's war against Kurdistan could not be continued much longer without German weapons and military expertise. Weapons from the former East German army and military and police training by German forces are just two ways in which this war is supported by the FRG.


Domestic Repression

 The support of the war against Kurdistan is carried out within the FRG as well. The ban of the Kurdish Worker Party (PKK)in November, 1993 is used to criminalize kurdish organizations across the board. Just speaking out for freedom for Kurdistan is frequently enough to be charged with support of or membership in the PKK and to banned as well. 

The Geman left is also subject a wave of criminalization. In July, 1995, a series of raids and arrests was carried out against the underground magazine radikal, the Berlin group K.O.M.M.I.T.E.E. and the controversial group Anti-Imperialist Cells (AIZ). The Autonome Antifa (M) has been the object of investigations since 1991.


The Autonome Antifa [M]

 The Autonome Antifa (M) grew out of the autonomist movement of the 1980's with a new concept. Some of the original goals were to break out of the isolation of the leftist movement, to go beyond single-issue politics and to bring revolutionary antifascism into broad circles of society. 

Coalition demonstrations, AgitProp theater, information and discussion plena, historical and art exhibits, and other cultural events make up the praxis of the Autonome Antifa (M). 

The Autonome Antifa (M) is most often associated with the coalition demonstrations against fascist training centers. The years 1992/1993 were witness to fascist pogroms in Hoyerswerda, Solingen, Mölln, and Rostock. During this time, the neo-fascists stepped up their activities in Lower Saxony as well. Attacks on people of color and leftists - like the murder of Alexander Selchow on New Year's Eve 1990/1991 and countless other everyday terror acts - were not uncommon. Especially the fascist Free German Workers' Party (FAP), banned in Spring 1995, was on the uprise.

 One characteristic of these demonstrations is the so-called black block, a part of demonstration where the participants mask themselves to protect themselves from potential fascist and police observation and attack. The black block be298SY8,߃T?FT(FmO7N-FAջx,tXoՄysۈsHfwBݫ6_ TE;(l/O֬ FK'g̣(Er*%n \DH 4ڭ-R%3jx3S6n8Je~)3t@/HdhxSi?Wzwب&2)w_{)&٩urýYR %szJK|nzkpOmޱs ,>Y \u2$hOj5wJDtF~1I8L" ݒ3,nnHGh27ܞݻ/!rױrri\HȩMxWσl~$=Ax٠bT} ?{`j( ׹MKrsBuPiCZ,%:5X& f0lic has always been a part of the politics of the Autonome Antifa (M).It is a double-sided sword, however. Whereas antifascist positions are made available to a wider audience through the mainsteam press, the press often reduces these positions to superficial slogans or reports only the sensational events. 

Fighting the roots of fascism

 The politics of the Autonome Antifa (M) is not confined to fighting neo-fascism. An effective antifascism has to attack the roots of fascism, roots that are embedded in the capitalist system. Ongoing work groups and public presentations on the history of antifascist resistance and internationalism, for example, are also part of the politics of the Autonome Antifa (M).

 October 2nd, the eve of "Reunification Day, is one example of the group's broader politics. Every year since 1990, the Autonome Antifa (M) has organized demonstrations, agit-prop theater, talks and published a brochure on different topics. In 1995, the motto was "Against Fascism and Class Justice! The Antifascist Action!. The city of Göttingen banned all activities planned from the group - a reaction the ongoing investigations. The association of antifascism with "criminal deeds strengthens the conservative position within the city and serves to intimidate potential coalition partners.

 An integral part of leftist politics is also the struggle against patriarchy. The Autonome Antia (M) works regularly on this issue, by organizing exhibits on the history of (anti)-abortion laws and lectures, agit-prop theater on March 8th - international women's day - and incorporating an anti-patriarchal standpoint into the rest of its politics. 


 In 1991, shortly after its founding, the Autonome Antifa (M) set off a nationwide discussion with its organizing paper. An effective antifascist politics and the development of an alternative to the current system is only possible within an organization. The Antifascist Action/Nationwide Organization grew from this discussion in 1992 and the Autonome Antifa (M) has been a member since then.


Inner Security

 This political work is under attack and is part of a development towards more observation, more control and repression of the left in the FRG. 1996 is election year and one hotly debated issue is inner security, in which § 129 plays a special role. § 129 allows basic rights like protection of privacy to be abused through observations and tapping. With § 129 an individual defendant does not have to be proven to have committed any particular crime, but rather just has to be proven to be part of the group charged. It is a classic guilty by association law.

 Historically, § 129 has been most frequently used against leftist groups, not agains the mafia or against fascists. It is used to build up political pressure against leftist groups and to defame political actions as unpolitical criminal acts.


Now is the time for an international solidarity campaign!

 The outcome of the trials against the Autonome Antifa (M) have a significant meaning for the left in Germany. If the Autonome Antifa (M) is successfully prosecuted, it means a strengthening of reactionary forces in the area of "inner security and reduction in possibilities for grass-roots political organizing outside of electoral politics.

 International publicity and activism is needed NOW to build up pressure to stop the criminalization. A broad solidarity campaign is growing within the FRG, independent of the specific politics of the Autonome Antifa (M). 

Join this campaign and help defend antifascist resistance!


- become an international trial watcher in Fall, 1996
- publicize the trial in print and electronic media
- organize an information plenum 
- raise funds for legal costs
- take part in an ongoing solidarity campaign
- contact us for more information

 Autonome Antifa [M], March 1996


Game over, Celle

Charges to be dropped against the Autonome Antifa [M]

The Autonome Antifa [M] was investigated 2 1/2 yeras long for being a terrorist organization, then 2 1/2 years long for being a criminal organization. 13,292 telephone calls were tapped and transcribed. 143 people were checked with all available technical means for being possible members of the Autonome Antifa [M]. Visitors of political events and public presentations were filmed and 30 raids were carried out. In the end 17 people were charged. The highest German court was called in to decide if the charges would be brought to trial. 131 court dates were set for 3x a week in a town over 250 km from Goettingen. 380,000 DM in funding was approved to turn a stable into a special courtroom for the trial. 

The only thing that remains from all of this is a fine with a statement from the defendants tacked onto it. 
For months the state attorney general's office and the court tried to pressure the defendants into distancing themselves from the politics of the Autonome Anifa (M) and to admit to having committed crimes. In exchange, the charges would have been dropped and the defendants freed from certain financial ruin and a possible conviction. The defendants refused this plea bargain, clearly an attempt to defeat the Autonome Antifa (M) politically if not juristically. In the past few month the conditions for an out of court settlement have been watered down significantly. The current conditions for the out of court settlement are: 
1. The lawyers declare that they have informed their client 
about the content of the assembly laws and they, in turn, state that they "will take them into account." 
2. Each defendant pays 3,000 DM to a former concentration camp memorial and museum. 
3. The items seized in the raids on July 5th and 6th, 1994, including the computers, will be returned. Documents from the Autonome Antifa (M) will be given to the Institute for Social Research in Hamburg. All investigations against the 17 defendents and the further 17 suspects in the case will be dropped. All related cases and investigations surrounding the demonstrations initiated by the Autonome Antifa (M) since the raids in July 1994 will also be tropped. The millions of DM in costs will all, without exception, be payed by the state.
At first the state attorney's office rejected these conditions for an out of court settlement. On June 25, 1995, with the added condition that they retain the monopoly on interpretation of the conditions, they agreed. The defendants are not allowed "to contradict the state attorney's office's interpretation of the statement" until the charges are officially dropped in the end of July, 1996. 
Not only did the state attorney's office put a political muzzle on the defendants, but also told the state court how it is supposed to interpret the statement. This statement, regardless of how it is interpreted, has absolutely no judicial meaning. The interpretation from the state attorney's office is simply the desperate attempt to find a political justification for the immense and, in the end, unsuccessful investigations. 

The Autonome Antifa [M] still has the responsibility to fight the roots of fascism. Just as it has in the past, the Autonome Antifa (M) will continue to use adequate means in its political engagement. 

Autonome Antifa [M]


July 1, 1996