As my plane landed in Hamburg a lightning bolt almost hit it. I was looking out the window and saw the bolt streak down barely 300 feet from the plane. I landed without being blown to pieces, which was nice. However, I sincerely hope it is not an omen.
Never having been to Germany, Hamburg appeared to me as an anarchist paradise. Political graffiti was everywhere. You can identify people like you by sight. And the Rote Flora, the convergence center for Hamburg, is incredible. An old theatre from the 1800's, it is now a political center/squat with dozens of rooms all for specific things. There also a bike shop. Take the best community bike shop in the US and amplify it 100% and you will understand.
Which brings me to the Critical Mass. At first I was bummed, not having a bike. But then I learned of the bike shop and was given one of dozens and dozens of bikes. It worked too. So off I was. European cities were not built around the automobile, as ours were, mostly, thus allowing us to evade the cops ("bullen" in German, or bull) and ride for longer. There well over 200 of us, probably more. Every time I looked backwards I could not see the end. We were pursued by a dozen green vans. When they thought they had us, black and green clad cops streamed out of the vans. But we always got away, thanks to the sidestreets. The filming on the part of the cops is a lot more intense than it is in the states and it is big concern for the people in Hamburg, now that they are being called terrorists by their government, just as we will be soon. We rode for over an hour, causing joyous mischief in our wake, mischief I cannot recount because my memory is real bad.
When I got back and returned the bicycle I was dead. I hadnt slept in a couple of days. The people at the convergence center got me a place to stay which I cannot go into detail about, although I would like to. But its really great. As I passed out I heard those wonderful European sirens.
The next day, it turned out that after the St. Pauli football game there was a riot. Things were thrown, the bullen let loose the water from their cannons and there was a standoff near the Rote Flora. I wish I could have been there, but right now, typing as Peaches plays on the stereo, I am grateful for my sleep. Today there is a demonstration against the EU's desire to privatize education so Europe can have an education system as good as ours where we have to pay to work in an office or work in a kitchen with a degree in philosophy. On Monday the EU is having its Asia summit and things will get really crazy. When I can I'll get as much information out as possible.
Until then, remind your friends that something is about to happen in Germany. Their biggest weapon is the suppresion of information and they use it well. The only way to counter it is to spread it all ourselves. Perhaps what is happening here can give you some form of hope. It is giving me hope.
until next time,