Matthew Lyons
The Grassroots Network in Germany, 1972-1985 - III. ECOLOGY AND THE ANTI-NUCLEAR MOVEMENT
Article published on 16 July 2018
zuletzt geändert am 5 August 2018
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Grassroots groups were the first organizations of the West German Left to join the movement against nuclear power. (1) They were drawn to the movement partly because they saw in it a broad-based liberatory process: freeing political action from bureaucratic control. Local "citizen initiative" groups, the backbone of the movement, developed outside the established political framework. In contrast with the bureaucratic political parties, many citizen initiatives were relatively democratic and encouraged people to participate directly in politics rather than to "delegate" their political voice through elections. Opponents of nuclear power focused on issues of democracy as well as ecology. They were angered by government and corporate efforts to ignore or manipulate public concern. Many saw the problem as structural, not individual: they identifled the increasing political repression of the 1970s, for example, with the demands of the "nuclear State." These radical tenciencies in the anti-nuclear movement were welcomed by Grassroots activists, who argued that the issues of State power, economic exploitation, militarism, and ecological destruction were integrally connected.

Before the 1970s, most popular activism in the FRG centered on the cities. The Old Left, whether Social Democratic or Communist, had placed its hopes on the urban working class. Even the student movement, while opening many new political pathways, remained tied to the traditional Marxist emphasis on urban struggle and attempted to form alliances with the industrial workers.

One fact gave the anti-nuclear movement a different shape: most nuclear power plants were slated for the countryside. Most of the people who first opposed their construction were farmers, small townspeople, and others who lived near proposed plant stes. Many of them were from conservative, parochial backgrounds with little or no experience of political activism. They opposed nuclear power as a concrete, immediate threat. As the anti-nuclear movement developed, it drew large numbers of leftist students and other young middle-class people from the cities, with a culture, political orientation, and style of work very different from the rural protesters. For the urban leftists, many of them familiar with conflict with the State, nuclear power represented less an immediate threat than one part of an oppressive social system. Political contrasts such as this, and the differences of class, regional identity, and age which they reflected, created serious tensions withn the anti-nuclear movement. (2)

At the same time, the anti-nuclear movement stimulated many urban leftists to place more emphasis on ecological issues. In part this reflected growing awareness of the dangers posed by nucicar power and industrial society as whole. But it also reflected increased contact with life in the countryside and a growing interest in the positive aspects of work and social organization within rural communities. For the Grassroots network, this shift resonated with the themes of ecology and rural communitarianism long present in the anarcho-pacifist traditions.

For the most part, however, Grassroots groups placed little emphasis on developing a discussion of anarchist politics within the anti-nuclear movement. Usually they presented themselves simply as "nonviolent action“ groups and played down their revolutionary goals. (3)

Advocating nonviolent action within the ecology movement was not easy, however. Grassroots activists were confronted by widespread prejudice against "passive resistance" and, in the later 1970s, principled opposition from Leninists and autonomists advocating violent struggle. "Thus it was logical," one Grassroots activist commented, "that our first priority bad to be creating understanding for the means [of nonviolent action]; otherwise we would have had to leave the struggle."(4) The sharp debates within the anti-nuclear movement in the late 1970s over the issue of violence partly reflected the tension between rural und urban groups. Rural citizen initiatives in several regions, often suspicous of urban leftists to begin with, were deeply alienated by the approach of the "militants" and feared violence would undermine their own support locally. Many Maoists und autonomists, in turn, had little patience for the nonconfrontational, legal approach favored by many local opposition groups.

Grassroots activists attempted to articulate a "third way"’: a political approach both confrontive and nonviolent, and employing civil disobedience in ways which would strengthen, rather than alienate, local support. As some Grassroots activists expressed it, they hoped through nonviolent action to bridge the split between urban and rural, or radical and moderate, wings of the anti-nuclear movement. (5)

In this, as in all its work, the Grassroots network was limited by its size. But given that Grassroots activists numbered only a few hundred people in a movement which involved perhaps hundreds of thousands, the extent of their influence on anti-nuclear actions and campaigns is remarkable. They struggled continually to initiate and improve forms of nonviolent action: including site occupations, fasts, boycotts of electricity payments, and organization of large actions through affinity groups. In this process, debates over the principles of nonviolent action also emerged within the Grassroots network.

The composition of the Grassroots network did not change radically during this period. Students continued to predominate, and turnover was high in many of the groups. The network struggled with the problem of regional and national organization, experimenting with a variety of forms of loose coordination. These included a council of delegates and, later, a bi-annual "network meeting" of Grassroots members as coordinating and decision making bodies. But irregular participation, fear of centralization, disagreements about purpose, and the high turnover rate combined to stymie these efforts at coordination. A long, intensive process of discussion about the network’s organization from 1978 to 1980 resulted in the formation of a new organization, the "Federation of Nonviolent Action Groups" (FÖGA). Not all Grassroots groups joined the new federation, however, and the underlying problems persisted within the new structure. (6)

In this chapter I will begin with a brief synopsis of developments in the ecology movement as a whole through 1980. After that I will examine Grassroots groups’ role in some of these campaigns, and the series of political conflicts which helped to shape the Grassroots network during this phase.


Organized opposition to nuclear power in die FRG began in the early 1970s. In Baden (south-western FRG), Alsace (France), and northwestern Switzerland, farmers and small townspeople initiated an international movement against ecologically dangerous industrial projects, especially nuclear power plants. They were joined by people from the cities, including Grassroots activists. Citizen initiatives played the leading role, although the movement also received support from some church groups and local party chapters.
The anti-nuclear movement employed a combination of educational campaigns, court battles, symbolic protests, and direct action in its efforts to halt construction of the plants.

The principle form of direct action was to occupy the construction sites, as activists did in Kaiseraugst (Switzerland), Marckolsheim (Alsace), and Wyhl (Baden). Grassroots activists had an influence in all three cases: with certain exceptions, these actions avoided physical violence. The second Wyhl occupation involved thousands of people and lasted from February 1975 to January 1976. The Wyhl campaign ended in 1976 with victory for the nuclear power plant’s opponents.

After the successful occupation at Wyhl, anti-nuclear activism spread quickly to other parts of the FRG through the citizen initiative movement and its umbrella organization,the Federal Association of Environmental Citizen Initiatives (BBU). Focus shifted to the north, especially to the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where local farmers and fishermen organized against planned nuclear power plants at Brokdorf and Grohnde. But several Leninist groups, which were strongest in northern cities such as Hamburg, increasingly tried to take the leading role within the movement. As police became increasingly violent in blocking efforts to occupy construction sites, Leninists - and, later, autonomists - responded with counter-violence. Mass actions at Brokdorf and Grohnde in 1976-77 resembled pitched battles and resulted in hundreds of injuries. Anti-nuclear activists split over the issue of violence and, as police repression increased, the BBU suspended mass demonstrations in the fall of 1977. A phase of relative inactivity and lack of direction followed.

In the period 1978-80, the anti-nuclear movement focused on the Bonn government’s plans to build a nuclear waste storage and reprocessing complex near the village of Gorleben in Lower Saxony. In contrast to the Wyhl campaign, local resistance here was initiated by middle class immigrants’ from the cities. Farmers and other long-time residents joined only gradually. Supporters throughout the FRG formed local "Gorleben friendship circles“ which organized a series of coordinated, decentralized actions in 1978-79. After a March 1979 mass legal protest in Hannover drew over 100,000, the state government announced suspension of plans to build the reprocessing plant. But preparations continued for the waste storage facilities.

Grassroots activists then helped to initiate a plan to nonviolently occupy one of the drilling sites at Gorleben. The action, in May, 1980, involved over 5000 occupiers who created an anti-nuclear village, named the „Republic of Free Wendland." The occupation sted for 32 days before the protesters were removed by the police. After the Gorleben occupation, political actions against nuclear power dropped off until the mid-1980s.
The protest campaigns, coupled with legal suits in the courts, had succeeded in temporarily halting most of the planned nuclear power projects. After 1980, more and more activists shifted their attention to the peace movement.


From early on, Grassroots activists played an important role in the ecology movement. GA Kaiseraugst, a Swiss nonviolent action group with close ties to Grassroots groups in the FRG, became the focal point for resistance to the Kaiseraugst nuclear power plant in 1973-74, beginning with a site occupation in December 1973. During a 1974 occupation of the Marckolsheim chemical plant construction site members of GA Freiburg joined Eric Bachman in organizing a nonviolence training which involved 300 people. GA Freiburg also worked closely with the coalition of groups opposing the Wyhl plant. (8)

After the Kaiserstuhl Summer gathering of Grassroots activists in 1974, which focused on the politics of nuclear energy, GA Freiburg’s work received incrcasing attention ad support from other Grassroots groups.

The Wyhl campaign typified several of the issues that Grassroots groups faced in the ecology movement. Partly at GA Freiburg’s urging, the citizen initiatives endorsed nonviolence in principle,. but most of their members had little or no experience or training in nonviolent action, and many had ingrained prejudices against the effectiveness of "passive resistance." Thus the campaign was often marked by an atmosphere of hostility which contained a threat of violence, and occasionally demonstrators responded to the police with physical force.

Grassroots activists argued that nonviolence was an important source of political strength for the movement. For many people in the region, participation in actions, and television coverage of police aggression against demonstraters, unmasked the State’s violence for the first time. (9) Counter-violence, they contended, only confused the issue. Nonviolence could also help to undermine police discipline. At the first Wyhl occupation in mid-February 1975, for example, nonviolent protesters were able to draw a number of policemen into discussions about nuclear power. About 200 police even refused to remove the demonstrators. (10) But nonviolence required more than declarations of intent. At the beginning of the second Wyhl occupation five days later, several hundred protesters surprised the police guarding the site. Without nonviolence training or clear preparation for conflict with the police, the action was conducted in a chaotic fashion and some demonstrators injured policemen by throwing rocks. (11)

During the following year, the potential for violent conflict simmered but did not erupt. During the first weeks of the second occupation, Grassroots activists criticized "a hectic atmosphere expressed in continuous false alarms, in construction of barricades, in sharply increased fear of spies, etc. the nonviolent spirit of the first occupation was gone completely"? The occupation site resembled "a fortress ... which was looked on as a possession to be defended with all possible means. The megaphone became a mouthpiece for those who considered it necessary to give out military orders." As the threat of police attack subsided, a calmer atmosphere developed. (12) The occupiers created a "popular university" at Wyhl, with a range of courses related to ecology, State repression, and political activism. (13)

Members of GA Freiburg reported only limited success in increasing awareness about nonviolence. Too often, Gabi Walterspiel commented, Grassroots activists were forced into acting as a "fire brigade" to prevent violence quickly in heated situations. (14) But the Freiburg group also put their energies into increasing dialogue with supporters of nuclear power. "Nonviolent behavior must begin at this level, or else it will hardly be possible with the police." They countered the sharp political polarization in Wyhl and neighboring communities by writing and speaking to local inhabitants opposed to the site occupation. "Many Wyhl residents were astonished to be addressed individually and treated without prejudice, and were amazingly open to discussion." Many nuclear power opponents were surprised when GA Freiburg members visited local bars frequented by supporters of nuclear power and held long discussions with them, without being attacked and thrown out. GA Freiburg members also held fruitful discussions with police and tried in particular to contact those policemen who had been wounded in the second occupation. (15)

Along with their frustration about violent attitudes, GA Freiburg members also criticized incipient hierarchy within the citizen initiative coalition. The group commissioned by the coalition to negotiate with state officials displayed mistrust toward other members of the movement, they charged, and withheld information about the negotiations. At the same time, the negotiators seldom received direct instructions from "below". In the following years Grassroots activists repeatedly criticized such organitational problems within citizen initiatives. (16)


While the Wyhl occupation was underway, a separate anti-nuclear campaign touched off conflict within the Grassroots network over principles of nonviolent action. In 1975, anti-nuclear activist Hartmut Gründler initiated a moral appeal to government officials to demonstrate their credibility as democratic representatives. Gründler conducted a series of fasts to persuade officials to put into practice their talk about a "citizens dialogue" deciding the future of nuclear energy, and to declare a temporary a moratorium on nuclear power pending that decision. He called on the Grassroots network to support his campaign with solidarity fasts. A number of Grassroots groups did so in January 1976. But many Grassroots activists sharply criticized Gründler for using moral coercion to seek support: he virtually threatened to commit suicide if others did not follow his plan. Tragically, Gründler ended his campaign and his life in 1977 by immolating himself as a last protest against the government’s intransigence. (17)

Although Gründler’s case was extreme, other sections of the Grassroots network, such as the nonviolent action group in Siegen, conducted fasts without such self-destructiveness. (18) But a debate opened within die Grassroots network over Gründler’s central principle of action—appealing to the government’s conscience and stated principles through voluntary suffering. The lines of this debate reflected the distinct traditions of religious and anarchist nonviolence upon which the Grassroots network drew. Like these traditions, however, the debate involved a variety of overlapping positions; here I will represent only two basic poles.

Some Grassroots activists argued in favor of forms of voluntary suffering, such as fasts, along lines laid out by religious pacifists such as Theodor Ebert and Wolfgang Sternstein. Nonviolence, they claimed, meant regarding one’s political opponents as potential allies: the strength of nonviolent action lay in its ability to win over those in power. The effectiveness of actions thus depended on the spirit in which they were conducted, not on the number of participants. Through openness and trust, nonviolent activists could appeal to the consciences of the powerful. Willingness to suffer was an important proof of commitment and a powerful form of persuasion. (19)

Opponents of this view included members of GA Göttingen, who identified clearly with the anarchist tradition of nonviolence. Nonviolent action, they countered, did not win new supporters by appealing to a universal human conscience; people’s responses were strongly shaped by their roles in society and sense of social interests. The key to radical change was to undermine the structures of power; depending on the rulers to change was naive and dangerous. Historically, appealing to the rulers had led many nonviolent social movements to defeat through "false tactics, such as exercising power through demonstrations in the streets while underestimating or practically ignoring the economic sphere in its significance".(20)

Voluntary suffering, they argued, simply redirected violence inward, rather than eliminating it. And Germany’s experience of Nazism demonstrated that suffering could as easily strengthen coldness and cruelty as weaken them.

„ ...let us remember: First they shot the children, then they let the parents beg for death. A long time later they shot them too. That was in Germany. Probably they were Christians. Nothing stopped them, no God, no world conscience, no inner voice.
To the fascist, his victim’s weakness is the exact proof of his guilt: the sufferer suffers because that is all he deserves."

This debate remained primarily theoretical, however. As Grassroots activists involved themselves more intensively in nonviolent actions, they found a great deal of common ground on which they could work. Their sense of political unity was strengthened by the need to confront activists within the anti-nuclear movement who rejected all forms of committed nonviolence. (22)


The Wyhl occupation, despite the tensions noted above, was peaceful by comparison wilh later actions elsewhere in the FRG. The situation at many Brokdorf and Grohnde demonstrations in 1976-77 encouraged violent conflict on a large scale. On one side stood large numbers of police in paramilitary gear and helicopters with instructions to prevent site occupations at all costs. On the other side, amorphous masses of protesters gathered, sometimes numbering tens of thousands, many with littte or no clear plan of action or preparations for dealing with the police. Among them were a growing number of "militant» leftists eager to fight back against the State.

The handful of Grassroots activists could do little in such situations. As at Wyhl, some of them took on the role of "fire brigade" at demonstrations: working to defuse violent situations where possible by intervening with both the police and their fellow demonstrators. (23) Local anti-nuclear groups in Schleswig-Holstein responded to the violence by organizing separate legal rallies early in 1977. (24)

In January, 1977, Grassroots groups sent a collective letter to the Lower Elbe Environmental Citizen Initiatives (BUU), the regional citizen initiative coalition coordinating the protests at Brokdorf and Grohnde, urging it to take positive steps to make future demonstrations nonviolent. They questioned whether mass site occupations were still the most effective tactic for the movement.

They recommended that the BUU:
• publicize clear goals and plans for each action;
• call on all participants to act nonviolently, not to attack or provoke the police, but rather to try to talk with them about the action and its purpose;
• commisson trained marshals to intervene with provocateurs, outbreaks of violence, panic, etc. and to help other demonstrators remain calm;
• take the initiative to end demonstrations early, if they got out of hand;
• in order to reduce tensions and fears, make contact with the police while planning and at actions, and avoid treating them as enemies? (25)

This was the first time that Grassroots groups had taken a collective position publicly. The guidelines outlined in the letter became a focus for debate on the issue of violence within the anti-nuclear movement. Grassroots activists joined others in citizen initiatives and regional planning conferences in speaking out against the "militants" for a nonviolent course of action.

"Militants" from the K-Groups argued that it was the State, not the protesters, which determined the level of violence at demonstrations. In their view counter-violence was the only effective means of resistance: nonviolence meant either non-action or passively accepting police attacks as political martyrs; neither of which threatened the State’s power. To organize actions which were strictly nonviolent excluded those members of the movement who did not accept a nonviolent approach. Instead, they argued, demonstrations should maintain the unity of the movement by allowing a wide range of tactics, and "spontaneous" decisions about courses of action depending on the immediate circumstances.

Grassroots activists responded with several points. "Counter-violence" obscured the State’s violence, isolated the movement from broader popular support, and ruled out the possibility of creating sympathy among the police. Militaristic mass actions created situations in which most demonstrators could not get an overview of the situation and were forced to depend on information and instructions from a few (often self-appointed) leaders. The Leninists’ calls for "unity" were a guise for centralization of power in their own hands. This undercut the anti-nuclear movement’s strength since "the struggle against industrial amd state-organized destruction of our environment is also a struggle for self-management." (26)

The campaign against nuclear power, many advocates of nonviolence argued, must be a political struggle, not a military struggle to control pieces of territory. Not only does a military approach undercut the radical content of anti-nuclear actions, but it also must fall. In the long run, anti-nuclear activists could never arm and discipline themselves more effectively than the police (or, in the extreme case, the army). All actions must be part of a strategy for activating broad sections of the population. (27) "A critical point of conflict,’ one activist wrote about a 1977 occupation at Grohnde, is the question, where do we expect the crucial force for defending the occupation to come from:

From the big cities or from the nuclear power plant’s immediate surroundings? From a school and university subculture or from housewives, workers and farmers?" Active nonviolence, they argued, was the most effective way to root the resistance movement in the local communities?


The political climate in the FRG in the 1970s was dramatically shaped by left-wing underground violence and accompanying State repression. Several urban guerilla groups, particularly the Red Army Fraction (RAF), the June 2nd Movement, and the Revolutionary Cells (RZ) conducted a series of secretly planned bombings, prison-raids, kidnappings, etc. claiming that they were acting in solidarity with Third World national liberation movements. The SPD-led coalition government in Bonn responded with the most severe political crackdown the FRG had experienced thus far. The State’s powers of political surveillance and control were extended widely through new mechanisms such as the Berufsverbot, which required a vaguely defined "loyalty" from all State employees. Fear of "terrorism" was used to isolate and punish a wide range of leftist groups and facilitated the violent crackdown against anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Grassroots activists suffered relatively little direct repression: as a small number of "peaceful" activists, they were seen as less of a threat than organizations such as the K-Groups.
( Günther Saathoff cites only one Grassroots supporter who was penalized through the Berufsverbot. And in only one case, the "Mescalero Affair" (Göttingen 1977), were Grassroots activists confronted directly with heavy police repression, such as house searches amd confiseation of newspapers. See Saathoff,140.)

But the atmosphere of hysteria encouraged by the government and much of the media (especially the right-wing Springer press) inhibited the work of all leftist groups. Grassroots activists were angered, for example, by the Right’s systematic confusion of language: playing on popular misconceptions, the Schmidt government and the Springer press labeled urban guerillas such as RAF as "anarchists" and equated "violence" with any action challenging the State’s authority. (29) As nonviolent anarchists, many Grassroots activists felt a need to defend themselves and the anarchist tradition from association with these groups.

Members of the Grassroots network addressed the situation in terms partly shared by other independent leftists. Along with condemning the State’s efforts to tighten political control over society, they criticized the urban guerillas for helping the government legitimize its campaign. They denounced the destructive political effects of organizations based an secrecy: increasing isolation from the population, internal mistrust and suspicion, and an inability to hear criticism or develop realistic political analysis or goals. They denounced terrorist violence as brutal and ineffective (30). Unlike some leftists, who disagreed with the guerillas but defended them publicly against State repression out of a sense of solidarity, Grassroots activists took little part in the campaigns against solitary confinement and other measures used against imprisoned guerillas. Many felt no sense of solidarity with "those groups...which destroyed our political work again and again." (31) Rather, Grassroots activists argued that underground violence and State repression mutually reinforced and Iegitimized each other. One Grassroots Revolution article was entitled, "Grand coalition of rightist and ’leftist’ militarists? (32)

Although the issue of armed struggle and State repression was peripheral to the Grassroots network’s day-to-day political work, many (particularly anarchists) believed that lt was central to the network’s self-definition. One Grassroots activist told me that RAF and the Grassroots network were the two principal directions in which radical currents moved after the extra-parliamentary opposition collapsed in 1969.

The 1978 pamphlet, Feldzüge für ein sauberes Deutschland („Campaigns for a pure Germany"), made a similar point. The pamphlet, written by members of GA Göttingen, was published as the second "political declaration of nonviolent action groups in the FRG." (The 1977 letter to the BUU was the first.) Although it focused on terrorism and repression, the pamphlet was one of the Grassroots network’s most theoretically comprehensive statements of principles, representing an explicitly anarchist perspective. Its authors distinguished between "two currents of the revolutionary movement" that have existed at least since World War 1: "On one side there is the theory and practice of armed struggic for the dictatorship of the proletariat." On the other side: „the nonviolent anarchists“. Other important radical tendencies, such as the women’s movement and the ecology movement, raised issues which cut across this division. But regarding the role of violence and terror in the revolution, RAF and the Grassroots network were not only in conftict, they represented two fundamental poles. (33)

In Feldzüge, members of GA Göttingen also challenged those who argued for a revolutionary violence more "spontaneous“, "anti-authoritarian" or even "joyful“ than that of die urban guerillas. RAF, they argued, was simply taking the doctrin of armed struggle to its logical conclusion:
II the use of violence is to be effective, then it cannot be spontaneous, and it will quickly be everything but joyful. Those who want to win a war just become the cold and obedient murder-machines of which Che Guevara spoke. In war, victory does not go to justice and truth and happiness; here weapons, discipline and hardness decide. Violence is never anti-authoritarian» (34)

The legacy of Nazism is a thread which runs throughout GA Göttingen’s discussion of political violence. "In Germany ... the experience of fascism..., which we have still not overcome, in a certain way always remains a threat? This memory made "the idea of armed struggle currently plausible" because it lends a greater sense of urgency to the need for revolutionary change. (35) Unanswered questions about the past (How could it happen? Why was the resistance so infrequent and weak?) shaped the urban guerillas of the 1970s. People such as Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof (both early members of RAF) wanted to avoid the burden of complicity and to resist fascism as they saw it perpetuated in the Third World. Ironically, GA Göttingen argued, these good motives led them to useless and destructive actions. (36)

For anarchists of the Grassroots network, too, the legacy of Nazism was important, but it produced different results. „For us the consequence of this crime is: that we must do everything to avoid situations where we act as lords over life and death ... . This is a source of our rejection of violence, not least the State’s violence". (37) lt separated them from Marxists, who could justify violence - even Stalin’s forced labor camps-in the name of historical ’progress." "The superiority of anarchism over other political theories is, for us, that there can be no anarchist concentration camps." (38)


The anti-nuclear movement introduced ecological themes into thee FRG’s political discourse—themes which emphasized human interdependence with the natural world. Previously, discussion of nature in a political context had been discredited in Germany by association with the Nazis. (The West German Right has thus repeatedly invoked the specter of Nazism in an effort to discredit ecological groups. (39) But the political ecology of most sectors of the anti-nuclear movement has stood fundamentally at odds with Nazi ideology. The Nazis justified their genocidal policies by invoking a "Nature" defined by dominance, submission, and ruthless struggle for survival. Most ecology groups, however, have stressed the interdependence of organisms in ways that render "natural hierarchy" a meaningless term.
This is particularly true of the Grassroots network, which has tried to integrate ecological analysis with its general critique of structural violence.

Like other leftists concerned about ecology, members of the Grassroots network identified market forces and other structures of capitalism as a central driving force behind ecological destruction.The ecological crisis also exacerbated other aspects of capitalist rule. Political repression was needed to impose nuclear power on an unwilling population, and dangerous technologies, including nuclear power, were removed to Third World countries. At the same time, Grassroots activists criticized the ecological destruction perpetrated by "socialist" States. Thus the problem could not be tied to capitalism alone. (40)

Anarchists, radical libertarians, und pacifists have long challenged the Marxist credo that capitalist development of the „productive forces" provides the basis for human liberation. Writers such as Peter Kropotkin, Gustav Landauer, Lewis Mumford, and Mohandas Gandhi argued that technology could not be considered politically neutral. lt was not simply the capitalist system of property relations which alienated and oppressed the factory worker but also the labor process itself as defined by industrial technology. These radicals rejected a linear model of historical «progress« und envisioned a synthesis of machine technology with certain aspects of pre-industrial society. Kropotkin, for example, argued for the integration of decentralized, small-scale industry with farming communities and for agricultural self-sufficiency through conservation of resources. Many of Kropotkin’s ideas in Mutual Aid, a book written in response to social Darwinisrn, anticipated in cruder form modern ideas of ecological interdependence. (41)

Many Grassroots activist took similar positions in formulating their critiques of current society and their visions for the future. Creating a nonviolent, nonhierarchical society involved transforming technology und restoring close awareness of human participation in the ecological web. This meant a shift from large scale industry to many small, simple, flexible machines; "human-scale“ organization; diversified, largely self-sufficient communities; and a revitalized sense of regional identity und responsibility. (42)

Grassroots activists saw many aspects of this vision in the rural communities they encountered through anti-nuclear work. While there may have been some tendency to romanticize life in the countryside, Grassroots activists also found reasons to view rural communities critically. Some saw parochialism, local hierarchies, conservatism, and political passivity in farming areas such as Wendland. They sought to draw on the positive aspects of industrial and pre-industrial life as, in a parallel way, they sought to mediate between urban and rural sections of the anti-nuclear movement. (43)


Within the movement against nuclear power, Grassroots groups often found themselves in a defensive position. After the mass actions at Brokdorf, for example, they argued against the violence of "militant" activists, but had few positive examples of anti-nuclear nonviolence to which they could point. Increasingly, however, Grassroots groups initiated actions to offer a positive alternative and demonstrate the viability of their approach.

In February, 1977, on the same day as a mass action at Brokdorf which left 500 wounded, Grassroots activists helped to organize a nonviolent site occupation at Grohnde. Over 1000 "antinuclear activists surprised the police with flowers and carnival confetti and then occupied the site for two hours. They withdrew voluntarily when faced with hostility from local citizen initiatives." (44) A smaller nonviolent occupation at Grohnde in June drew somewhat more favorable responses from local inhabitants. (45)

In February 1977, GA Freiburg organized an occupation by several citizen intitiatives of state government offices in Freiburg. They demanded that the state government publicize its plans for dealing with a disaster at the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in Alsace. The government refused to comply and removed them fron the building, but the action drew favorable media coverage. One week later the plans were stolen, and GA Freiburg helped to make them public. The plans’ complete inadequacy drew attention across the FRG. (46)

In early 1979, Grassroots groups initiated a campaign to withhold the 10% of electricity payments used to finance nuclear energy projects. Participants put the money into a trust fund, to be paid only if a series of demands were met. By the middle of 1979 households in 20 cities were participating; by mid-1980 at least 3500 households in 83 cities were taking part. When the utility companies went to court to cut off the electricity, court decisions conflicted. But the continuous threat of the repression, together with the campaign’s long-term character, discouraged many anti-nuclear activists from participating. (47)


Grassroots groups’ most dramatic influence on the anti-nuclear movement came during the Gorleben carnpaign of 1978-80. As a concession to anti-nuclear pressure, the Bonn government announced in 1976 that construction of nuclear power plants would be halted until a project was initiated to deal with nuclear waste. The planned Gorleben - complex for waste storage and reprocessing thus became a pivotal issue in the nuclear debate, as anti-nuclear activists soon realized. If they could stop the Gorleben project, they could stop the entire expansion of nudear power.(48)

In an effort to avoid the violent clashes and anti-nuclear "tourism" of the mass demonstrations in 1976-77, Grassroots groups joined with other activists in 1978 to develop a plan for nonviolent "decentralized resistance“. They looked to the example of the Wyhl campaign when anti-nuclear activism was firmly rooted in the local communities. In contrast to the Wyhl area, however, the resistance in Wendland, the area around Gorleben, developed only slowly and cautiously and rested largely on middle-class "immigrants“ from the cities. Only gradually did local farmers join the struggle.(49)

Thus the decentralized resistance campaign emphasized formation of Gorleben ’friendship circles’ throughout the FRG. Many Grassroots activists saw the friendship circles as new opportunities to develop long-term community alliances and to connect the central danger of the Gorleben project with local branches of the nuclear industry across the Federal Republic. The new organizations faced some friction with older anti-nuclear groups and became active only slowly. Many who joined apparently endorsed nonviolence simply out of fear of the police. But a series of nationally-coordinated "action days" gradually drew in up to 28,000 people in over 40 cities. Decentralized resistance took the form of many small colorful actions on Ihe streets, which ranged from street theater to blockades and other civil disobedience actions. Some groups joined and publicized the electricity payment boycott. A few attempted to focus political education on the police. In this way the beginnings of a locally based nonviolent-action network, which extended substantially beyond the Grassroots network, were established. (50)

Other groups within the anti-nuclear movement did not support the decentralized resistance strategy. ’Militants’ argued for a return to centralized clashes with the police. Liberal groups organized legal mass rallies in Hannover and Bonn in 1979, and a variety of anti-nuclear groups began to focus on electoral politics. All of these approaches, Grassroots activists maintained, simply rehashed old ideas and encouraged political passivity. (51)

In September 1979, drilling began for the nuclear waste storage facility. In early 1980, after heated debate, a conference of anti-nuclear organizers decided to call for a nonviolent occupation of the drilling site. While some "militant" groups promptly dropped out of the planning, Wendland resistance groups offered their support. (52)

Grassroots groups had a decisive rote in formulating the plan for a nonviolent occupation. They were strongly influenced by the example of the nonviolent anti-nuclear occupation at Seabrook, New Hampshire in the spring of 1977. In 1979 the Berlin group Klatschmohn ("Corn-Poppy"), composed largely of Grassroots activists, spent four months in the US to learn about nonviolent action techniques and principles. Klatschmohn and other Grassroots groups deve!oped a plan of action for Gorleben closely patterned after the model of Seabrook. (53)
(Among the many organizations which the Klatschmohn group visited were the Community for Creative Nonviolence in Washington, D.C.; the Center for Nonviolent Action in Voluntown, Connecticut; and the Movement for a New Society in Philadelphia.)

Whereas the actions at Brokdorf had brought protesters together as an amorphous mass, the Seabrook model showed how a large group could conduct an occupation as a coherent, articulated network of groups. In the weeks leading up to the Gorleben occupation, members of the Grassroots "training collectives" conducted nonviolence trainings in many towns and distributed many copies of a "handbook“ for the occupation. The handbook contained information about nonviolence, guidelines for organization and actions, legal information, a history of the Gorleben campaign, an exp!anation of the occupation plans, and other materials. Organizers encouraged participants before and during the occupation to form "affinity groups" with other people from their own towns. These groups formed the organizational basis for the village of occupation—.the Free Republic of Wendland. (54)

The concept of "affinity group" was first developed by Spanish anarchists in the early decades of the twentieth century, and in recent decades it has been revived by nonviolent anarchists in many countries. lt is a small close-knit action group (usually 10-20 people) that functions autonomously. In larger organizations or actions such as those at Seabrook and Gorleben, affinity groups are intended to counteract feelings of anonymity and isolation, maintain nonviolence and flexibility during actions, und decentralize information and power by giving each person a direct voice in planning and in decisions. Affinity groups send rotating representatives to a "speakers’ council" that does not make binding decisions but rather tries to reach agreements which are then sent back to the affinity groups for approval or revision. Both the affinity groups and the speakers’council make decisions not by majority vote, but rather by consensus, a process in which any person may choose to block a decision. The purpose of this system is not to reach unanimous agreement, but rather to ensure that all participants feel their views have been heard adequately. (55)

The Gorleben occupation, which took place in May 1980, involved thousands of people from across the FRG. The Free Republic of Wendland became a place of continuous, wide-ranging, often spontaneous activity: house construction, music, theater, educational events, political discussions, etc. The preparation through trainings and affinity groups helped the creation of the village to proceed quickly and efficiently. In the village, the affinity group structure encompassed a wide range of organizational forms, from insular "family" units to large loosely-connected groups from big cities. (56)

Relations with local residents were mixed. Few local farmers took part in the occupation directly, but many expressed their support by bringing food, water, and straw and by offering advice on house construction. Activists set up an information service in the village of occupation which helped to improve communication between visiting local residents and the city radicals. But when activists attempted to go out into the surrounding communities, they had much less success. (57)

There were also problems with the speakers’ council system. While some members of the village declined to take part in decision-making, others took on the role of "professional politicians" and tried to use the speakers’ council to promote their individual views and influence. Some autonomists rejected the speakers council system in principle as anti-democratic and held protests against it within the village. The autonomists and other "militants" also criticized the agreement to keep the action nonviolent. They argued that the main tactic used when the police arrived to remove the occupiers— sitting down and refusing to move— was simply an expression of weakness and passivity. To claim the removal as a moral "victory" was disastrous. (58)

Several Grassroots activists, too, criticized the action, partly in response to the autonomists. Too many people, they pointed out, still confused nonviolence with legality or the avoidance of conflict. A great deal of work was still needed to develop forms of nonviolent action which were imaginative, flexible, and confronted the State actively and directly and to articulate decision-making processes which did not easily revert to forums for power politics. (59) Nevertheless, the system of nonviolence training, affinity groups, speakers’council, and consensus process provided a model that Grassroots groups continued to develop, and which was widely used in anti-nuclear and anti-militarist actions over the following years.


In one criticism of the Gorleben occupation, autonomist groups argued that adherence to nonviolence reduced the action to a tool of electoral politics. Organizers, they charged, wanted to use a nonviolent occupation to help improve the image of anti-nuclear candidates in the coming local elections. While this claim had factual basis in statements by some local organizers, it radically distorted the position of most Grassroots activists with regard to electoral politics. (60)

From the beginning of the network, most Grassroots groups had consistently avoided or rejected supporting any parliamentary approach. In the 1976 general elections, some members of the Grassroots network supported ecology-oriented candidates fielded by a splinter party. (61) The majority of Grassroots activists, however, did not support the initiative, and both Grassroots Revolution and GA Freiburg publicly called an electoral boycott. Not only, they charged, did the major parties offer no significant political choice, but any support for the electoral process only created false hopes because parliament was an integral part of the State apparatus and could not be used significantly to undermine structural violence. (62)

But as early as 1977, other members of the anti-nuclear movement began to enter local elections on platforms emphasizing ecology. Over the following two years, a range of local and regional groups fielded candidates under "Green", "Multicolored", and "Alternative" lists in elections across the FRG. These groups included a range of conservative and liberal environmentalists, undogmatic leftists, feminists, Third World solidarity groups, members of citizen initiatives and other new social movements, and —increasingly at the end of the 1970s— former K-Group members disillusioned with Leninist politics. In 1979-80, many of these groups coalesced to form the Green Party.

The Greens presented an alternative very different from traditional parties such as die SPD. Unlike the major parties, the Greens endorsed many positions that Grassroots groups shared such as unilateral disarmament and an immediate end to nuclear power. They advocated a radical shift toward a decentralized, collectivist ecologically-oriented society. (As conservative and liberal influence declined within the party in the early 1980s, the Greens’ platforms took on a more clearly socialist orientation.) They endorsed the principles of nonviolence and participatory democracy (Basisdemokratie) and attempted to create party structures which would minimize centralization of power. With streng roots in citizen initiatives and other activist groups, the Greens advocated a "double strategy" of parliamentary and extraparliamentary work and claimed to be a voice within parliament for the new social movements. (63)

To most Grassroots activists, however, the Greens’ choice of the electoral road remained a fundamental mistake. At the beginning of 1980 a "network meeting of nonviolent action groups" drafted the Grassroots network’s third collective statement, a position paper on the Greens. The statement addressed the Greens in friendly terms, noting the two groups’ political commonalities and proposing cooperation on a variety of civil disobedience campaigns. But the statement also outlined the Grassroots groups’ reasons for refusing to support the Greens’ electoral bid.(64)

Rather than strengthen the ecology movement, the Grassroots groups argued, the Greens weakened it by absorbing the energy of many experienced activists. Citizen initiatives, despite a number of problems, had begun to offer crucial forms of self-organization, in which many people took political action ’into their own hands." The Greens undermined this process by focusing attention on elections and the "substitute activity" (Ersatzhandlung) of a few months later during the Gorleben occupation, the Grassroots groups pointed to the Wendland-area citizen initiative, whose concern for electoral success increased its reluctance to endorse civil disobedience.

At the same time, the Grassroots statement challenged the Greens to strengthen and act upon their stated endorsement of nonviolence. The Greens, they argued, reflected two common misuses of nonviolent action and the concept of nonviolence: a conservative tendency to identify nonviolence with legality and passivity, and a leftist tendency to regard nonviolent action opportunistically as a "phase" in the miltarization of the movement. Both of these tendencies obscured the real potential of nonviolent action. (65)

In the following years, Grassroots and Green groups often worked together closely on local and regional campaigns. But many Grassroots activists continued to question the Greens’ commitment to nonviolent direct action. (66) Some Grassroots activists refuse to vote as a matter of anarchist principle, although many others have voted for the Greens and have supported their policies in the short term. Often they have done this with considerable ambivalence. As one Grassroots activist (who voted for the Greens) put it:

I think it’s clear what’s going to happen to the Greens in the long run. They will (if they survive) become something like a left-SPD. There’s no other way. If you participate in the system, you have to conform to it, I think. You can’t found a party and claim that you don’t want any features of a party. That’s idiotic. (67)


Grassroots Revolution, the central publication of the Grassroots network, experienced a number of changes during the 1970s. The editorship moved several times: from Augsburg (1972-73) to West Berlin (1973-76), then to Göttingen (1976-77), and finally to Hamburg in 1977. The composition of the editorial collective also changed frequently, particularly from 1977 on. Although the magazine had at first appeared somewhat irregularly, in the mid 1970s it began appearing regularly every two months, and in the 1980s publication increased to ten issues per year. In 1978 circulation stabilized at about 4,500-4,800, where it remained until a temporary rise in 1982-83. The majority of copies were sold by Grassroots groups and activists in a number of cities.

Until the late 1970s, all work an the magazine was unpaid. Several times there was difficulty in locating new people to work on it. Later the magazine hired one half-time employee, increased gradually to two full-time positions.

During the years 1978-80, Grassroots groups experienced a series of protracted debates about the organization of the network. Many activists were frustrated with the general lack of coordination between the different groups, but they disagreed about how to deal with the problem. Some wanted to create an organization with regular channels for national decision-making. Others argued that the network should remain a loose association of local groups, with stronger communication und cooperation only around specific projects and actions of regional or national concern. They feared structured organization as a step towards institutional hierarchy. In the end, the majority of activists involved in the discussions decided in favor of forming a new organization. They chose the name "Grassroots Revolution- Federation of Nonviolent Action Groups", and held the founding meeting in Göttingen in November 1980. (69)

FÖGA, as it was called, encompassed a number of local groups (eleven in 1981), individual members, the magazine, "Grassroots Revolution", and the Grassroots "Work Center" (Graswurzelwerkstatt) in Kassel (later moved to Göttingen). The national Training Collective and the KGW (Collective Nonviolent Resistance (see next chapter) joined as afilliated projects. Local groups retained their autonomy of action.

FÖGA also set up two new national structurcs with decision-making power for the organization: a meeting of activists (Bundestreffen), to take place at least once a year; and a coordinating council (Koordinationsrat, or "Korat"), which met every two months. Participation at the national meeting was open to all members. The Korat included delegates from all member groups und projects, delegates from the Werkstatt and from "Grassroots Revolution," and representatives of the individual FÖGA members. Both bodies worked by consensus. If the national meeting could not reach consensus on an issue, it was empowered to make decisions by majority vote, if 50% of the members present approved the proposal and no more than 15% opposed it. (70)

Not all Grassroots groups joined FÖGA. For example, the Berlin Grassroots group, whose involvement had been key in organizing the Gorleben occupation, remained separate (although it later joined FÖGA in 1984). Informal communication and cooperation continued in the broader Grassroots network. In practice, the existance of FÖGA did not radically change the shape of the network, and many activists felt that it simply carried over the earlier problems in a different form. it did, however, give a name and a loose form of national identity to at least part of the network. This proved helpful in dealings with other organizations, notably within the peace movement.


Since the highly decentralized Grassroots net-work rarely took collective positions publicly, the occasions when it did so seem particularly significant. There were three during this period: the letter to the BUU offering guidelines for nonviolence at large demonstrations, the Göttingen pamphlet on armed struggle and state repression, and the position paper on the Greens. In all three cases, Grassroots to other leftist groups: "militant" demonstrators, RAF, and the Greens. In this way, involvement in the internal debates of the anti-nuclear movement and the Left helped the Grassroots network to clarify its own political stance.

At the same time, Grassroots groups attempted to act as mediators between different social and political groups —from the visits to pro-nuclear-bars in Wyhl to the efforts .during the Gorleben campaign to maintain a broad coalition between "militant" and conservative farmers. Not only did Grassroots activists consider such a mediator stance strategically important, but it also flowed directly from their emphasis on nonviolence as a principle of organization as well as action.

During the course of the anti-nuclear, campaigns, Grassroots groups gradually initiated, practiced, refined and disseminated a variety of forms of nonviolent action. By 1980, several thousand activists across the FRG had taken part in nonviolent civil disobedience actions — a number which grew rapidly over the next few years. Nonviolence was still sharply debated on the Left, but it could no longer be dismissed as incomprehensible.


1.) Saathoff, 40.
2.) On the anti-nuclear movement’s social base in the FRG, see Dorothy Nelkin and Michael Pollak, The Atom Besieged: Antinuclear Movements in France and Germany (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1981) 105-112. On the urban-rural tension, see Dieter Halbach and Gerd Panzer, Zwischen Gorleben und Stadtleben (Berlin: AHDE- Verlag, 1980) 52-57.
3.) Saathoff, 84, 90.
4.) Cornelia Nath, Letter to Günter Saathoff, March 3, 1984, 4.
5.) Interview with Dieter Rau (West Berlin, August 15, 1985); Halbach and Panzer, 68-69.
6.) Grassroots Revolution 59 (October 1981),12-13; Saathoff, 164-70, 192-93.
7.) In The Atom Besieged Nelkin and Pollak provide a more detailed account of the anti-nuclear movement’s evolution through 1979.
8.) Saathoff, 84-87.
9.) Gabi Walterspiel, "Wyhl: Platzbesetzung von innen beobachtet", Grassroots Revolution 14/15 (May 1975) 1.
10.) Saathoff, 88.
11.) Saathoff, 89.
12.) Walterspiel, "Wyhl," 1. Original text: "[Angst vor einem Polizeiangriff hat] auf dem Platz eine Hektik ausgelöst, die sich in dauernden Fehlalarmen, in Barrikadenbauten, in hochgesteigerter Angst vor Spitzeln usw. äusserte. Das, was bei der ersten Besetzung als gewaltfreies Verhalten bezeichnet werden kann, war nun völlig umgeschlagen. Beim einfahren in den Platz hatte man den Eindruck, auf eine Festung zu gelangen, die als ein mit allen Mitteln zu verteidigendes Besitztum angesehen wurde. Das Megaphon wurde zum Sprachrohr derer, die es für nötig hielten, militärische Befehle auszugeben..".
13.) Nelkin and Pollak, 63.
14. Walterspiel, "Wyhl," 2.
15.) Walterspiel, "Wyhl," 1.
16.) Martin Hoffmann, "Wyhl, Wyhler, am Wyhlsten," Grassroots Revolution 16 (Summer 1975), 6.
17.) Saathoff, 91-92.
18.) "Fasten: ein Kampfmittel ?", Grassroots Revolution
29 (May or June 1977) 6-7.
19.) Saathoff 235-37. Grassroots activist Theo Hengesbach represented this kind of perspective in his book Ziviler Ungehorsam und Demokratie ("Civil Disobedience and Democracy) (Kassel: 1979).
20.) Saathoff, 237-38. The quotation is from Feldzüge, 30.
21.) Saathoff 237. "..let us remember..." is quoted from Grassroots Revolution 20/21 (1976) 19.) "To the quoted from Grassroots Revolution 18/19 (1976) 9.
22.) Cornelia Nath, Letter to Günther Saathoff, 5.
23.) Jan Stehn, "Gewaltfreiheit zwischen den Fronten," Grassroots Revolution 29 (May or June, 1977) 4.
24.) Nelkin and Pollak, 66-67.
25.) Nonviolent Action Groups in the FRG, "Letter to the BUU and other opponents of nuclear energy," January 8, 1977. Published in INFO (January 1977).
26.) Hajo Karbach, "Wenn die Ziele feststehen, ist die Wahl der Mittel nicht mehr beliebig", Grassroots Revolution 29 (May or June 1977) 3; Jan Stehn, "Gewaltfreiheit zwischen den Fronten," Grassroots Revolution 29, 5.
27.) Hajo Karbach, «Wenn die Ziele...,« 4; Jan Stehn, "Gewaltfreiheit.......5.
28.) Hajo Karbach, "Gewaltfreie Besetzung in Grohnde," Grassroots Revolution 30/31 (Summer 1977) 2. Original text: "Letztlich läßt sich der Konflikt auch auf die Frage zuspitzen, von wo man die entscheidende Kraft zur Verteidigung der Besetzung erwartet: aus den Großstädten oder aus der unmittelbaren Umgebung des AKWs, von einer Schul- und Unisubkultur oder von den Hausfrauen, Arbeitern und Bauern“
29.) Although members of RZ and the June 2nd movement used the label "anarchist" , RAF fighters considered themselves Marxist-Leninists and took pains to avoid the label "anarchist" See Michael Baumann, "Terror & Love?“ Rote Armee Fraktion, "Das Konzept Stadtguerilla," in Texte der RAF (Lund, 1977). On the distortion of language, see Uwe Timm, "Nachhilfeunterricht fur einen Bundeskanzler," Grassroots Revolution 14/15 (May 1975) 7; and Gewaltfreie Aktion Göttingen, Feldzüge für ein sauberes Deutschland (Göttingen, 1977) 9-11, 14-15.
30.) Feldzüge, 33-34.
31.) Cornelia Nath, Letter to Günther Saathoff, 7
32.) Wolfgang Hertle, "Grosse Koalition der rechten und ’linken’ Militaristen?," Grassroots Revolution 14/15 (May 1975) 8. See also Saathoff, 256.
33.) Feldzüge, 4.
34.) Feldzüge, 16. Original text: "Wenn Gewaltanwendung effektiv sein soll, dann kann sie nicht spontan sein und sie wird bald alles andere sein als fröhlich. Wer einen Krieg gewinnen will, der muß tatsächlich die Tötungsmachine werden; kalt und gehorsam, von der Che Guevara gesprochen hat. Im Krieg gewinnt nicht das Recht und die Wahrheit und das Glück, sonden hier entscheiden Waffen, Disziplin, Härte. Gewalt ist niemals antiautoritär."
35.) Feldzüge, 4.
36.) Feldzüge, 11.
37.) Feldzüge, 20. Original text: "Für uns ist die Konsequenz aus diesen Verbrechen: alles zu tun, um nicht in Situationen zu kommen, wo wir als Herren über Leben und Tod agieren .... Dies ist eine Quelle unserer Ablehnung der Gewalt, nicht zuletzt auch der Staatsgewalt."
38.) Feldzüge, 13. Original text: "Die Überlegenheit des Anarchismus über andere politische Theorien ergibt sich für uns daraus, da es keine anarchistischen Konzentrationslager geben kann."

39.) Similarly, the Right has suggested repeatedly that any political action outside the narrow channels of parliamentarianism—such as citizen initiatives or other social movements—is "fascist." With the growth of the peace movement and the Greens in the early 1980s, neo-rightist groups in France and liberal publications in the US such as New Republic and The New Yorker joined this propaganda effort. See John Ely, "The Greens: Ecology and the Promise of Radical Democracy," Radical America, vol. 17.1 (1983) 31-33; John Gott; "The Every Day Struggle for History Free Press Brown-Baiting of the Greens and the West German Peace Movement" Unpublished paper.
40.) Bernd Clever, Ökologie und strukturelle Gewalt," Grassroots Revolution 16 (1975) 3-4; Saathoff, 214-16.
41.) See George Woodcock, "Anarchism and Ecology," The Ecologist, 43 (March/April 1974). Woodcock’s article was translated by Michael Schroeren and republished in Grassroots Revolution 16 (1975), Special Anarchism Supplement, 1-3. Works in this tradition include Peter Kropotkin, Fields, Factories and Workshops [Tomorrow], Colin Ward, ed. (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974); Kropotkin, Mutual Aid A Factor of Evolution, Ashley Montague, ed. (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, Inc., 1955); Gustav Landauer, For Socialism, David J. Patent, trans. (St. Louis: Telos Press, 1978); Lewis Mumford, The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970); William Morris, News From Nowhere, James Redmond, ed. (London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974); and Martin Buber, Paths in Utopla, R.P.C. Hull, trans. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958).
42. Dieter Halbach & Gerd Panzer, Zwischen Gorleben und Stadtleben (Berlin: Ahde-Verlag GmbH, 1980) 29-41. See also Christoph Besemer, Zurück zur Zukunft? Utopische Kommunen — Anspruch und Wirklichkeit (Berlin: Ahde-Verlag, 1981).
43.) Halbach and Panzer, 52-57.
44.) Nelkin and Pollak, 67; see also Saathoff, 98.
45.) Hajo Karbach, "Gewaltfreie Besetzung in Grohnde," Grassroots Revolution 30/31 (Summer 1977) 1-2.
46.) Saathoff, 99-100.
47.) Saathoff, 102-4.
48.) Interview with Dieter Rau (West Berlin, August 15, 1985); Nelkin and Pollak, 87.
49.) Interview with Dieter Rau; Saathoff; 108-9.
50.) Halbach and Panzer, 75-82; Saathoff, 107-18,
51.) Interview with Dieter Rau; Saathoff, 113-14.
52.) Halbach and Panzer, 152-63; Saathoff, 114-17.
53.) Interview with Dieter Rau.
54.) Interview with Dieter Rau. The Gorleben Handbook ("Gorleben Handbuch für Trainings zur Besetzung der Bohrstelle 1004") was published by the Training Collectives for Nonviolent Action in April 1980. A revised edition was published in October 1983.
55.) See the Gorleben-Handbook, 20-28.
56.) Halbach and Panzer, 163; "Turm und Dorf könnt Ihr zerstören, aber nicht die Kraft, die es schuf," Grassroots Revolution 49 (Summer 1980) 5-6.
57.) "Turm und Dorf," 5-7.
58.) Grassroots Revolution published excerpts from a Hamburg autonomist critique of the Gorleben occupation: "Widersprüche und Fragen zur Besetzung und Räumung von 1004," Grassroots Revolution 50 (October/November 1980) 23-26. See also Halbach and Panzer, 164-176; "Turm und Dorf," 5, 9-10.
59.) “Turm und Dorf“,’ 8-13.
60.) „Widersprüche und Fragen" Grassroots Revolution 50 (1980) 24.
61.) The party was the Action Committee of Independent Germans (AUD) one of the groups which later helped to form the Green Party. See Fritjof Capra and Charlene Spretnak, Green Politics (New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1984) 15.
62.) Saathoff, 32-33, 261-62.
63.) Literature in the FRG about the Greens is extensive. The best book-length study in English that I know of about the Greens is Ehm Papadakis, The Green Movernent in West Germany (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984). Papadakis’ book covers only the period until 1983. See also Fritjof Capra and Charlene Spretnak, Green Politics (New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1984). Phil Hill presented a good analysis of intra-party conflicts in his article, "The Crisis of the Greens,’ Socialist Politics, Number 4 (Fall/Winter 1985). A shortened version of Hill’s article was published in Radical America, 19.5 (1985). See also Carl Boggs, "The Greens, Anti-Militarism and the Global Crisis,’ and John Ely, ’The Greens: Ecology and the Promise of Radical Democracy," both in Radical America, 17.1 (1983).
64.) "Stellungnahme des Netzwerktreffens gewaltfreier Aktionsgruppen zu den ’Grünen’ (Bunten/Alternativen)", INFO 51 (January/February 1980).
65.) "Stellungnahme."
66.) Interview with Ulrich Wohland (Heidelberg, July 26, 1985).
67.) Interview with Bernhard Willeke (Hannover, June 23, 1985). Original quote: "Ich denke es ist klar, was mit den Grünen passiert, langfristig. Sie werden (falls sie sich halten) so was wie eine linke SPD werden. Es geht gar nicht anders. Wer sich an den System beteiligt, muß sich auch da anpassen, denk’ ich. Man kann keine Partei gründen, mit dem Anspruch, keine Partei-Sachen zu wollen. Das ist idiotisch.“
68.) Saathoff, 183-85.
69.) Donna Wetter [Pseudonym?], "Gründung der Graswurzelföderation," Grassroots Revolution 59 (Fall 1981) 12f
70.) "Graswurzelrevolution—Föderation Gewaltfreier Aktionsgruppen, Arbeitsrichtlinien" (Work Guidelines), May 1985 edition.

Read also the introduction The Grassroots Movement in Germany, 1972-1985

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