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  • Wladek Flakin: Lefty pyros


Wladek Flakin: Lefty pyros

Early Monday morning, anonymous lefties set fire to train lines across Germany. Wladek says: Time for a re-think.

Image for Wladek Flakin: Lefty pyros
Photo by Sumpfchiller (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Monday morning at the S-Bahnhof Neukölln. The platform is full and the S41 isn’t coming. Nothing new on the S-Bahn. But the problem is a fire in a cable box at S-Bahnhof Treptower Park, the announcer informs us. After ten minutes, a Ringbahn arrives. But for the rest of the day, southbound travel is only possible by bus.

What caused the fire? Berlin’s public transport system has suffered more than a decade of cuts. For users and workers, this means endless delays. This was just another unfortunatae byproduct of insufficient funding. Or was it? Everyone’s faces went straight to their smartphones. And it turns out this time, it’s not the Deutsche Bahn that caused the delays – it was what German tabloid BZ deemed “hooligans” and “left-wing extremists”.

A few people, including me, made their way to the left-wing discussion platform Indymedia Linksunten, where a statement claiming responsibility was published:

“We are interrupting the all-encompassing economic exploitation. And thus the thoroughly internalized debasement of life. We are attacking one of the central nervous systems of capitalism: several tens of thousands of kilometers of railways.”

There were 13 fires just like this at the same time, all across Germany. Apparently, this is supposed to be a protest against the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg.

I am totally opposed to the G20 summit. The government is spending over a €100 million to host some of the most despicable politicians in the world, including Donald Trump, Mauricio Macri and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I will be at the massive demonstration on Saturday, July 8.

But I am also totally opposed to setting fires – and in public transport even more so. I mean, these people say they want to interrupt the circulation of German capitalism. Do they think this mainly goes via the S-Bahn in Ostberlin?

Based on their pseudopoetic declaration, I am sure they were trying to inspire people – people like me, i.e. people who are waiting for the S-Bahn – to join some kind of resistance movement. As far as I understand their statement, my ideal reaction is supposed to be: “If these anonymous heroes can set fire to those cables, then I can go on strike for higher wages.” But I think they are mistaken.

Let me be the first to tell my self-appointed saviors: This is just a big waste of my time. The only thing you’re going to do is give the right-wing tabloids another stick to beat over the left’s collective head.

What’s the plan, anyway? I am reminded of South Park’s underwear gnomes. These magical creatures go into people’s bedrooms at night and steal their underwear. Why? They have a big plan: Step 1 is to get underwear. Step 3 is to make profit. But what is Step 2? None of the gnomes can remember…

I think these pyromaniacal lefties are working with a similar plan: Step 1 is to set fires. Step 3 is to reach a liberated society beyond capitalism. But what is Step 2? Hmmm…

I am working with a different plan. It turns out, a majority of people in Germany have a favorable attitude towards protests against the G20. So as the left, all we have to do is find ways to not make people hate us. And, another idea, maybe avoid damaging the train lines that we will use to get to Hamburg in the first place.