Hamburg no longer likes its Antifa, but are the inhabitants scared of them? The affected middle class is backtracking after proposals to close down the Antifa HQ in an alternative neighbourhood with not too expensive restaurants, and scene of the violent riots during the G20.
Out of sympathy with the affected residents, hundreds of Hamburgers came to the Schanzenviertel on the Sunday after the riots to clear the mess and remove the worst graffiti. A construction market made buckets available, and other entrepreneurs came with sandwiches and coffee for the cleaning volunteers.
But from Schulterblatt 71, where Rote Flora – the anarchist Antifa headquarters – is located, there was icy silence.
Lawyer of the Rote Flora, Andreas Beuth (65), who stood before the anarchist looters and plunderers during the G20, rejected the destruction and robbery, but only because he argued that they had picked the wrong spot.
“Why not in Pöseldorf or Blankenese”, two chic Hamburg neighbourhoods, Beuth told the cameras. “You’re not going to plunder in the neighbourhood where we live and where we do our shopping!”
Mayor Olaf Scholz has called the Rote Flora the “spiritual combustion engine” of the riots. From that spot, the Antifa’s destructive actions were coordinated, and the injured were transported there to be taken care of. Federal politician Armin Schuster (CDU) thus demanded the immediate closure of the Rote Flora. Soon he was supported by CDU Secretary General Peter Tauber and CDU Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
The popular young Hamburg shipping company owner Alexander Tebbe started a petition for immediate removal. It would be better to replace it with a nursery for kids, he argued. The petition was signed by thousands of Hamburgers in no time. But a few days later Tebbe suddenly retracted the initiative for “personal reasons”. He said he had been threatened.
And right after Tebbe’s surprise announcement, “entrepreneurs” from the district published a letter stating that the vandals were not originally from the Rote Flora. They had just wanted to prevent vandalism. The vandals mainly consisted of some “party animals and football fans” who had come down from all over Hamburg to the Rote Flora, it stated.
The letter was from no less than the former RAF terrorist Karl-Heinz Dellwo. But according to the Berliner Tageszeitung, Dellwo had earlier welcomed the violence.
Dellwo, sentenced to life twice in 1977, and released in 1995, lives in the Schanzenviertel. He is (jointly) owner of the Peruvian cafeteria Cantina Populair. After over thirty years of presence in the neighbourhood, many more activists from the first hour started a store or catering business. The new Hamburg anarchists also live in Schanzenviertel, which makes things less easy for the former RAF terrorist.
The respondents at the residents’ meeting a few days after the riots, began their statements by mentioning their political affiliations, ranging from “leftist” to “radical leftist”. The main causes of misery were announced as the “media”, “police violence”, “injustice in the world” and the “money system”. With an increase in the minimum hourly wage, a lot of misery could be solved, they all agreed. And not a word about culpability for the destruction.
For August, the Schanzenviertel looks relaxed. The terraces are full and the organic market is busy. Groups of tourists get an explanation at the Rote Flora, where a film crew is busy with recordings.
According to Guido Neumann, the media man of Hamburg, a “ceasefire” has been called with the Antifa. For example, the hotel industry operators on the other side of Rote Flora do not want the activists to be in their business. But officially it’s “no comment” from everyone concerned.
Even the Hamburger Morgenpost, was unable to get anybody in the neighbourhood to comment. Professor Sebastian Zenker explained in the paper why it might be better to forget all about the rioting and violence. The closing of Flora would be even more violent, Zenker predicted.