When I went back to work in the first week of January 2014, I was surprised. Right before Christmas some rallies started in Hamburg. For whatever reasons, some folks started to make fun out of the high demand of police that was present in certain areas of Hamburg – the so called danger zone. Let’s see what I learned from the news about those folks.
The folks who went on the streets were protesting against arbitrariness of police forces. For up to three weeks parts of Hamburg were put under special rights. Police forces were allowed to check every person – and so they did.
The gamification on the internet though became very creative. “You get one constitutional law for 100 checks by the police.” Folks attended those games started to put toilet brushes in their trousers and cloths to make the impression they were wearing more serious weapons – thus being checked more frequently.
I think these folks were really artists. They were creative in their minds, and didn’t let the felt oppression kick in. Instead they took the courage to make some obvious fun out of it. Their acts were artisanal.
Next time I feel oppressed I will free all my jiggling skills, start being creative, and become an artist.
The crowds in Hamburg at the beginning of 2014 were driven by a vision of a future. On one hand they were afraid of a future where the police – the executive force – can act arbitrarily against anyone. They were afraid of a police state where the executive force became judge and politics. An imbalanced view.
On the other hand these crowds were motivated by their future, a future of freedom, where everyone could express their thoughts freely without risking to be put into prison. These folks were driven by the vision they had in their minds. They knew they had a better vision of the future in mind. They knew it was worth fighting for. They knew they needed to pick their battles.
The danger zone soon became a vision of a future that no one wanted, and everyone fought against. Mothers with children, tourists like me, yet everyone on the streets were confused about that. Even politics outside Germany took notice. The US warned about traveling to Hamburg in that period. The crowds fought that outside picture of Hamburg, Germany as well.
The next time, I feel something’s deeply going into the wrong direction, I will fight passionately for a better future.
These folks also knew that they had a higher impact if they joined forces. That did not only happen through the internet in online forums, but they also met in person to march through the danger zone. People joined forces because they knew that only made them stronger. They knew that would make their message stronger.
While walking through Sternschanze and St. Pauli in those days, you could hear the voices of those crowds. They were forming teams. They had a clear goal in mind. They had a shared vision. They knew where they were heading.
The next time I will pick a fight, I will find people who share my vision. I will find people that I can convince about my vision. I will know that I need to find other folks that can support me.
The shouts of the crowds were scary to me as someone who just wanted to work for a week in Hamburg. It was frightening, and it felt sort of like anarchy. I remember on Sunday I left the train in the danger zone, and didn’t notice much at first. When I left the train station, I was confronted with some folks. Folks on the street ran into my way to provoke me.
From a distance I didn’t always realize it, but it was anarchy. People on the streets did everything in order to expose the police state that was in place in those districts under the danger zone.
The Romans considered anarchy to be democracy turned bad. In hindsight, I think the anarchy in place wasn’t bad after all. These folks were fighting for something they believed in. These folks convinced me about their goals. They convinced me enough that I would have felt oppressed when being checked by police guards. These folks knew it was easier to ask for forgiveness rather than allowance.
The next time I am finding myself oppressed, I will get rid of this feeling, and take action. I will call out anarchy, and move forward. Maybe I will never have to ask for forgiveness.
In 2009, Brian Marick talked about Artisanal Retro-Futurism ⊗ Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism. He was referring back to early days of Agile in the software world where people would tear down cubicle walls on the weekend. He was talking about information radiators put on office walls that were protected by the furniture police (state). He talked about joined forces rather than sole people fighting for their rights while others watch.
The situation in Hamburg in early 2014 reminded me about that talk. Next time at work, I will apply artisanal retro-futurism crossed with team-scale anarcho-syncdicalism when I truly believe it will be necessary. Would you join me?