Matthew Lyons
The Grassroots Network in Germany, 1972-1985 - II - THE EARLY YEARS
Article published on 11 June 2018
last modification on 24 October 2023

In this chapter I will focus on the period from 1972-1974, from the founding of the newspaper Grassroots Revolution, to the point when the Grassroots network began to concentrate on opposing nuclear power. During this period of formation, the Grassroots network grew from a loose network of individuals into a small alliance of nonviolent action groups. While local concerns varied widely, the staff of Grassroots Revolution tried to pull the network together by focusing on a series of international campaigns such as support for Spanish conscientious objectors and the flrst Greenpeace effort to halt nuclear testing. These campaigns helped to develop ties between the local groups, but the network found it difficult to generate strong support by focusing on problems outside the FRG. The 1974 shift towards anti-nuclear work resulted partly from this weakness.


Until the mid-1960s, the FRG was characterized by political constriction, repressive conformity, and near-paralysis of the independent Left. Cold-War anti-Communism led not only to the suppression of the old Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1956 but also to a general stultification of the political climate. The Communists endorsed the repressive state socialism of the GDR and the USSR. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) became increasingly conservative; its Godesberg Program of 1959 formalized the retreat from a party advocating working-class power and socialism, to a mildly reformist "people’s party“. Independent Left groups remained politically isolated.

A series of broad-based anti-militarist campaigns from 1950 until the early 1960s opposed many of the government’s Cold War policies. These extra-parliamentary movements encouraged popular participation through legal forms of pressure such as petitions and mass rallies, and they helped to lay the ground-work for later social movements. But they were single-issue movements, often highly centralized like the political parties, and they avoided civil disobedience. (1)

The student movement of the 1960s broke sharply with the prevailing political „consensus" on many issues. SDS, the movement’s focal point, attacked the FRG’s power structure and repressive atmosphere as legacies of fascism and criticized both sides of the Cold War from an „anti-authoritarian" socialist perspective. The students broke the taboo against illegal protest and used many nonviolent-action techniques, such as sit-ins, occupations, and street theater. They also used loose organizational forms, such as mass meetings, through which they claimed to reject hierarchies of power. Their "anti-authoritarianism“ however, systematically excluded women and often relied on a few charismatic male leaders. And their commitment to nonviolence was largely tactical; repression by the State and media eventually provoked the students to fight back. (2)

In rejecting the political culture around them, the students looked back-ward to earlier radical traditions, such as the Socialist and Communist movements before Nazi rule, and outward to political movements in other parts of Europe, in the US and in the „Third World.“

After SDS collapsed in 1969, many political values and characteristics of the movement persisted among university students. The Grassroots network, which shared the same social base and much of the same political culture, tried to give greater coherence and consistency to the 1960s traditions of antiauthoritarianism and nonviolent action. Many Grassroots activists also shared SDS’s interest in radical history and its internationalist outlook.


The Grassroots network cannot be seen simply as an outgrowth of SDS, however. Few Grassroots activists participated in the student movement itself; most became politically active after its zenith in 1968. And unlike SDS, whose starting point for ana1ysis and action was the university, Grassroots groups focused most of their attention elsewhere. Conscientious objector organizations, religious peace groups, and early groups advocating nonviolent action, all contributed members and ideas to the Grassroots network.

There were three conscientious objector federations in the FRG in the 1960s: DFG (German Peace Society), IdK (The West German branch of the War Resisters International), and VK (Union of Conscientious Objectors). These organizations provided counsellng services and other forms of support for conscientious objectors, and they accepted the system of civilian alternative service provided by the West German government. All three shared a traditional "pacifist“ approach: a centralized, top-down system of organization; a narrow political focus (primarily military service and rearmament); and work through legal channels. DFG and IdK merged in 1968, and were joined by VK in 1974 to form DFG-VK (3)

But during the 1960s, young members of these organizations who were influenced by the student movement began to challenge the ’traditionalist" structure and orientation. Some wanted the organizations to take more comprehensive anti-militarist positions, and to address issues such as the Vietnam War and the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1969, members of VK who favored such a shift broke away to form PPK (Union of Progressive Pacifists and Conscientious Objectors). Others joined the Grassroots network a few years later. (4)

Like the conscientious objector federations, most peace organizations in the 1960s interpreted „pacifism" in very narrow terms, but a few groups propagated ideas about radical nonviolence which were more far-reaching. In particular, the religious peace organization, the Versöhnungsbund, or Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), combined the nonviolence theory of people such as Gandhi and King with calls for radical social change. The peace researcher Theodor Ebert became a prominent analyst and proponent of nonviolent resistance and social defense. In 1969, Ebert founded the theoretical journal gewaltfreie aktion (Nonviolent Action), published in West Berlin. Both FOR and Ebert’s circle confined themselves to discussion and education, but they influenced the formation of the Grassroots network, and some sections of the network maintained close contact with these groups through the 1970s and 1980s.

According to Wolfgang Hertle (one of the founders of Grassroots Revolution), there were also three independent nonviolent action groups in the FRG between the late 1950s and the early 1960s: the Action Circle for Nonviolence in Hamburg; the Nonviolent Civilian Army in Stuttgart; and Direct Action in Hannover. (5) The Stuttgart group, which included Theodor Ebert and Wolfgang Sternstein (who, like Ebert, later became prominent as a peace researcher), combined a vision of nonviolent social defense with an anti-communist orientation. (6) Direct Action in Hannover, which published a Journal of the same name in 1965-66, was much further to the Left. (7) Anticipating the Grassroots network of the 1970s, it attempted to synthesize Gandhian nonviolence with the European anarchist tradition (in particular, the nonviolent German anarchists of the 1920s). (8) All three of these groups, however, were unknown to the people who founded the Grassroots network in 1972.


In 1969, Augsburg Nonviolent Action (Gewaltfreie Aktion Augsburg) was formed. Its members hoped to bring together nonviolent theory and action, and to "seek out like-minded groups". The Augsburg group saw itself as part of an international movement, having contact with nonviolent action groups and publications in France, Britain, the US and Switzerland. (9)
In 1971 they decided to found a newspaper, and the name they chose reflected their interest in foreign political movements: graswurzelrevolution or Grassroots Revolution, was explicitly borrowed from the English-language usage. The first two issues of Grassroots Revolution appeared in 1972, followed by four in 1973. The response was unexpectedly strong: although news about the publication was spread almost entirely by word of mouth, circulation grew steadily. By 1974 it had reached 2000 copies. (10)

Early issues of Grassroots Revolution included theoretical articles, "to demonstrate the connection between the two most consistent forms of struggle against domination and force, i.e. nonviolence and libertarian socialism.“ There were also reports from movements in other countries, portraits of historical figures in the anarchist and pacifist movements, and calls to action through international campaigns. The founders of the paper saw themselves as helping to reintroduce a lost tradition in the FRG. They hoped
„ to illustrate the effectiveness of nonviolent methods through reporting about forms of action and organization in other countries ... as well as from the past, and thus to stimulate ideas for activity in Germany.“ (11)

Initially, Grassroots Revolution editors conceived the Grassroots network largely as a network of individuals within other organizations. They wanted
„ to contact the scattered sympathizers (first of all, conscientious objectors), to bring them in contact with each other, and to support them in consciousness raising within the peace federations or in founding autonomous groups." (12)

Following the formation of GA Augsburg, nonviolent action groups formed in 1973 in Betzdorf, Freiburg, Göttingen, and Würzburg. By the end of 1974 the number of these groups had risen to eight, among a total of 22 local organizations loosely affiliated with the network. (13) At this point the network included perhaps 200-250 core activists.
Grassroots activists hoped to develop closer ties through organs of communication rather than hierarchical structures that would limit local groups’ autonomy. Thus in the Summer of 1973, Grassroots activists in Betzdorf founded a monthly newsletter to supplement Grassroots Revolution with more frequent exchange of information within the network. (14) ’INFO" (short for "Information for coordination of nonviolent revolutionary groups in the FRG“) had an initial circulation of about 100-150.

Many groups used INFO as an opportunity to publicize their work and to learn about one another, but at first the contact seldom went much beyond that. Along with "nonviolent action" groups, which more or less closely identified with Grassroots Revolution, there were also groups afliliated with other peace organizations (such as VK, PPK, and the Catholic peace group Pax Christi), and single-issue groups representing much of the range of concerns within the emerging social movements: solidarity with the "Third World," neighborhood politics, foreign "guest workers," house squatters, prisoners, nuclear power and ecology, and other issues. (15) Many of these groups soon disappeared from the Grassroots network, while new ones joined or formed within it.

From the beginning, most members of the Grassroots network were university students. Only rarely, however, did Grassroots groups focus on school or university politics: they concentrated on issues and problems outside their own sphere of activity. (16) Cornelia Nath, then a member of GA Göttingen, has commented that her group rejected SDS’s concept of a "long march through the institutions," and mostly avoided direct confrontation with the K-Groups, which dominated the student political scene at that time. In addition,
" the university seemed to us a kind of children’s playground for democracy.... We preferred to deal with ’real’ citizens (Bürger), who had not developed their political opinions in an artificial free space within society. Of course that meant that we disowned or rejected our own student identities, which is not surprising: You know the middle-class prejudices against long-haired do-nothings? (17)


Because their country was without a living tradition of active nonviolence Grassroots activists looked toward movements in other countries for ideas, support, and, in the eanly years, a focus for political action. Grasroot Revolution carried in-depth reports about other nonviolent struggies in Europe, the US, Latin America and, Asia. A few Grassroots activists maintained direct international contact with groups advocating nonviolent revolution in other countries: Britain’s Peace News magazine; France’s "Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-Violente" (MAN), and the journals Anarchisme et Nonviolence and Combat Non-violent; and the United States’ WIN Magazine and Movement for a New Socicty (MNS). (18)

The War Resisters International (WRl), foundcd in 1921, provided a framework for these international developments. In its early years, WRI had included many anarchists, and in the 1960s, a major radical current reemerged within it. In 1972, a number of Grassroots activists from the FRG attended the WRl’s three-year conference in Sheffield, England, where declarations about nonviolent revolution were presentcd and debated. Grassroots Revolution was admittcd to WRI as an associatcd publication. (19)

The Grassroots network was also in contact with the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), and its offshoot, the European Work Group (EWG). Founded in 1971 and based in the West German city of Bückeburg, the EWG was an international collective of about thirty rnernbers. lt "considered itself to be a transnational nonviolent action group.“ (20) The EWG worked mainly as a catalyst, trying to stimulate activism in several European countries through educational tours and small public actions. lt participated, for example, in the Greenpeace campaign of 1973 and in a 1974 campaign for Namibian independence. (21) lnternationally, Grassroots activists took a particular interest in nonviolent struggles of the countryside. They argued that the United Farmworkers (UFW) in the western US, and the farmers’ anti-militarist struggle in die Larzac area of southern France were models of „grassroots" organization and nonviolent action. Grassroots groups helped to publicize the UFW’s international boycott of California lettuce and grapes. A special Grassroots Revolution supplement on the UFW described it as a "revolutionary development beyond M.L. King’s civil rights movement" and compared its organization and political goals to those of the European syndicalists at the turn of the century.“ (22)

Wolfgang Hertle of the Grassroots Revolution staff provided periodic reports on the Larzac struggle, which began in 1971 when Larzac farmers opposed plans to incorporate their land into an army base used for maneuvers. By using nonviolent action creatively, the movement grew to be a broad-based, national struggle linking issues of anti-militarism, ecology, regional self-determination, and solidarity with the Third World. Grassroots activists’ interest in and support for both the Larzac and UFW struggles anticipated their ready support for West German farmers’ opposition to nuclear power, which I will discuss in the next chapter. (23)


Studying nonviolent action and organizing in other countries helped Grassroots activists to counter their sense of political isolation in the FRG. The pattern was quickly established in many sectors of the network of emphasizing political action rather than theoretical analysis. This meant that the concepts of nonviolent-anarchism and "Grassroots revolution" remained largely unclarified. (24) In part, too, the lack of theoretical clarily reflected deep-rooted political differences within the network, even in its most active "core."

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and sixties, the article contended, focused on "organization of Blacks in the reproductive sphere (integration of schools, lunch counters, bathrooms, buses, etc.) and, confronted with the exploitation of the urban proletariat, was unable to adjust its nonviolent strategy to the conditions of the North." The UFW, by contrast, represented die self-organization of farmworkers to transform both the spheres of production and "reproduction."

The Grassroots network represented die convergence of two distinct currents of thought: a Christian tradition of active nonviolence, and an anarchist anti-militarist tradition. These did not constitute distinct factions within the network, but rather two tendencies which overlapped and intertwined both politically and personally through the network’s history. Some Grassroots activists considered themselves both Christians and anarchists. (25)

The Christian current was connected with religious peace groups, especially IFOR. According to the tradition of religious activists such as Gandhi and King, nonviolent action was rooted in respect for all persons’ underlying spiritual goodness and ability to change. By demonstrating both their personal commitment to confront oppression and their refusal to strike back, nonviolent activists appealed to the conscience of their opponents. In this view, effective social change was fundamentally a transformation of attitudes and values.

The anarchist current was rooted in the left socialism of the student movement, drawing on independent Marxism and social theorists such as Hannah Arendt and the Frankfurt School as well as on traditiona1 anarchism. Grassroots anarchists emphasized the need for radical changes in the social and economic structures, which shape people’s attitudes and actions. Nonviolent action’s effectiveness, in their view, did not depend on persuading the people in power to change, but rather on challenging or removing the basis of that power through noncooperation or direct intervention.

The tension between anarchist and Christian tendencies also influenced Grassroots activists’ early efforts to "place" themselves historically. Anarchists within the Grassroots network argued that there had once been a large and active nonviolent-anarchist current in Europe; and specifically in Germany. Michael Schroeren outlined this position in a 1975 article in Grassroots Revolution. Although there were many debates within the anarchist movement over nonviolence, he argued,
„and although a series of bloody terrorist attacks were carried out in the name of anarchism, it was precisely this movement— long before Gandhi— which produced determined supporters and advocates of principled, revolutionary nonviolence, and brought a whole collection of nonviolent methods of struggle to fruition, methods which pacifists, too, later recognized: strikes, boycotts, conscientious objection, tax resistance, etc." (26)

Articles such as Schroeren’s, and the anonymous Grassroots Revolution-supplement, "Anarcho-syndicalism and Nonviolence" cited several European anarchists in the early twentieth century who developed theories of nonviolent resistance and revolution. Among them were Rudolf Rocker and Fritz Oerter from Germany, F. Domela Nieuwenhuis and Bart de Ligt from the Netherlands, and Pierre Ramus from Austria. Their ideas found strong support within anarcho-syndicalist organizations such as the Free Workers’ Union of Germany (FAUD) and the International Anti-Militarist Bureau (formed in conjunction with the WRI in 1921). Up until World War II, many anarchist individuals, such as Bart de Ligt, who was a member of the WRI executive council until his death in 1941, and groups worked closely with the WRI. (27)

Wolfgang Weber-Zucht, in contrast, emphasized more of a Christian-pacifist perspective in discussing the history of European war resistance. The conscientious objectors of World War I, he asserted, "were in large part Christian socialists.« And for the founders of WRI after the war, Weber-Zucht argued, "nonviolent revolution meant above all a revolution in values". Like Schroeren, however Weber-Zucht distinguished these early nonviolent revolutionaries from traditional pacifists, who appealed "to the good will of the government" to bring about peace. The early twentieth-century conflict between traditional pacifists and nonviolent revolutionaries, as both of these writers outlined it, paralleled the conflict the Grassroots network itself faced with the "traditional" peace organizations (28)


Weber-Zucht’s reference to World War I conscientious objectors emphasized the Grassroots network’s continuity with the past in a very specific way. Solidarity with conscientious objectors played a central role in the work of many Grassroots groups in early years, as it continued to do later. During the early 1970s, the number of conscientious objectors denied official recognition rose substantially, and many were jailed for refusing military service. Grassroots activists helped to organize a network of groups to exert public pressure on behalf of individual conscientious objectors, with substantial success.

Grassroots groups also participated in a series of international campaigns, publicized through the newspaper Grassroots Revolution. These campaigns included: solidarity with imprisoned Spanish conscientious objectors, the first international Greenpeace campaign (against French nuclear testing in the Pacific), a "British out of Northern Ireland’ campaign, a boycott of South African citrus products, and support for the UFW’s struggle in the US through boycott and educational work.

These campaigns helped to develop the Grassroots network and gave many groups important experience in decentralized political work. But they had important weaknesses which later led the groups to shift their focus. They were responses to outside calls for help rather than self-initiated actions, and they were oriented exclusively toward other countries rather than toward changes in the FRG itself.

In the early 1970s, nonviolent activists from several countries began protests against die Spanish government’s repression of men who refused to serve in the military. Grassroots Revolution joined this campaign with its first issue in July, 1972. The call brought little response in the FRG until Wolfgang Kroner of the Grassroots Revolution editorial staff chained himself to a street sign in Barcelona as a protest. His imprisonment drew international attention to the campaign and "personalized’ the issue for many in the FRG. After three months of protests by the Grassroots "Wolfgang Kroner Solidarity Committee" (including civil disobedience at the Spanish Embassy in Bonn) he was released. After his release, however the campaign again dwindled. Many groups redirected their focus closer to home as repression of conscientious objectors in the FRG increased. (29)

In 1973, Grassroots activists took part in the first international Greenpeace campaign, against the French government’s continuation of surface nuclear testing in the Pacific. They conducted legal protests in over a dozen cities in the FRG and took part in an international march from London to Paris, which the French police violently blocked at the Belgian border. The campaign ended in the summer as France suspended its nuclear testing program (30)
As with the campaign for Spanish conscientious objectors, the response to the Greenpeace campaign was limited. Many groups within the Grassroots network perceived it as a distant concern with little connection to their ongoing work. As Grassroots Revolution editor Wolfgang Hertle wrote in 1973, "the consequence should future more and more to intervene directly against military arrangements in the Federal Republic." (31)


Along with these early campaigns in nonviolent action, the Grassroots network also helped to introduce a program of "nonviolence trainings" in the FRG. (32) Such trainings, which ranged in length from a few hours to ten days or more, were designed to help participants develop the skills and awareness important for collective political work and nonviolent action. Erich Bachman, a US-American member of the „European Work Group" organized the FRG’s first nonviolence trainings in Bückeburg in 1972. He was influenced by ideas and techniques drawn from the civil rights and anti-war movements in the US, and by the radical pedagogy of Paolo Freire in Brazil. A number of Grassroots activists took part in these early trainings. (33)
Like the campaigns on behalf of Greenpeace, Spanish conscientious objectors, etc., nonviolence trainings were brought into the FRG in order „to fill a political gap." As Jamie Walker (a nonviolence trainer in West Berlin) has pointed out, trainings in the US developed out of political action.

"But in the FRG the development went the other way around: The idea of nonviolence was less well-known than in the USA. The training methods were "imported" and often the actions have been the result of the training." (34)

This was particularly true during the early years of the Grassroots network, when many activists had little experience with political action. There had been seminars on nonviolence in the FRG in the past, but they were mostly theoretical, and relied solely on lectures and discussions in order to transmit information. Participants in nonviolence, by contrast, helped to determine the structure and content of the sessions themselves. Trainers tried to involve participants as concretely as possible through role plays, action-strategy planning, and exercises in group dynamics and conflict resolution. Often trainings both analyzed specific nonviolent actions or campaigns and discussed long-term goals of nonviolent revolution. (35) In Bachman’s view, it was particularIy important to address issues involved in collective decision-making. Many activists, particularly in the network’s early years, feared any kind of structure or leadership. While they were consciously "anti-authoritarian" in reaction against Germany’s strongly hierarchical tradition, dependence on authority persisted underneath. Thus participants often looked to Bachman as trainer to tell them what to do. (36) This contradictory attitude toward participation and leadership probably hampered effective political work by the Grassroots groups.
At first the connection between nonviolence trainings and the Grassroots network was close but informal. Gradually more people became nonviolence trainers, and "training collectives" were established in different towns and regions beginning in 1975. (37) Most of the training collectives became afflliated with the Grassroots network.

With a small but growing base of support, shaky connections between local groups, little experience in direct action, and a lack of clear political focus, Grassroots groups struggled to strengthen their network. Beginning in September 1973, members of the network from throughout the FRG held a series of meetings to deal with this question. In each of these meetings, a few dozen activists discussed ’theory, specific issues and campaigns, and organizational options. (38)

Merger with PPK, the conscientious objector organization formed in 1969, was considered. PPK and the Grassroots network had a lot of informal contact and overlap and similar origins: rejection of the traditional peace organizations in favor of a more radical anti-militarism and nonviolence. PPK included libertarian-socialists with perspectives similar to Grassroots Revolution, along with proponents of a range of other political tendencies. With about 500 members, PPK was slightly larger than the Grassroots network. (39)

But discussions about a merger in 1973-74 broke down after a few months. PPK members charged that the Grassroots network refused to organize itself effectively. Many Grassroots activists saw PPK as increasingly bureaucratic and rigidly structured. They also contended that PPK represented an incoherent assortment of politicäl positions held together only by a rejection of DFG-VK. (40) Thomas Iffert, a member of GA Göttingen, sharply criticized PPK. But he also argued that the Grassroots network had more in common with PPK than it was willing to admit. Both displayed

"theoretical endorsement of nonviolence without sufficient clarification of content, a lack of praxis combined with (pseudo?-) scientific pretensions, false approaches to building a movement (whether through an organization or through a newspaper is not all that different), a small number of severely isolated groups, fixation on a few people ...(41)

While most Grassroots activists may not have agreed with Iffert’s stark characterization, they did take steps to strengthen the network’s organization. In April 1974 they decided to form a coordinating office, the "Grassroots Workshop“ (Graswurzelwerkstatt) in Kassel. Helga and Wolfgang Weber-Zucht, two Germans recently returned from several years working at the WRI office in London, were asked to organize the office as half-time paid staff members for one year. They also took over the publication of INFO from the Betzdorf group. Funds were sought from supporters and sympathetic organizations. At a summer gathering in the hills of Kaiserstuhl, near Freiburg, a few months later, Grassroots activists formed a council of delegates to help with coordination (Saathoff 37-39).

The Kaiserstuhl gathering, entitled a "Life Celebration" (in English) after a form established by Movement for a New Society in the US, was designed to combine political work with community-building among members of the network. Discussion at the gathering focused on nuclear power, an issue presented by members of GA Freiburg involved in the struggle against the proposed nuclear power plant at Wyhl. As I will argue in the following chapter, this marked the beginning of the Grassroots network’s concentration on the anti-nuclear power movement.


The Grassroots network struggled for organizational cohesiveness and political direction during its first years. Grassroots Revolution and INFO drew together a loose network of local groups focused on a variety of issues. In an effort to develop greater unity and political coherence, some members tried both to focus the network on international campaigns and to "import“ ideas from other countries, and to reconstruct indigenous German traditions of radical nonviolence. These efforts had very limited success.

Part of the problem was that many early Grassroots campaigns were disconnected from the daily lives of the activists and those they hoped to reach. As small groups of (predominantly) students choosing to do political work outside the university, and West Germans focusing on political problems in other countries, it was difficult for them to escape isolation. The shift in 1974-75 toward a focus on nuclear energy partially solved this problem: from then on the Grassroots groups focused on immediate problems facing people in the FRG, and came in contact with large sectors of the population who shared similar short-term goals. Although the Grassroots network remained small after 1974, its political influence increased substantially.

1. For an in-depth discussion of developments in the period 1945-67, see William David Graf, The German Left since 1945 (New York: The Oleander Press, 1976). On the history of the peace movement from 1945-82, see Uli Jäger and Michael Schmid-Vöhringer, "Wir werden nicht Ruhe geben.,." (Tübingen: Verein für Friedenspolitik e.V., 1982). On the Easter March Movement of the 1960s, see Karl A. Otto, Vom Ostermarsch zur APO. Opposition in der Bundesrepublik 1960-1970 (Frankfurt-am-Main: Campus Verlag, 1977).
2. On the history of the student movement, see Graf, The German Left since 1945. 218-278;
Tilman Fichter and Siegward Lönnendonker, "Berlin — Violence and Counter-Violence," in Berlin: a Critical View. Ugly Realism 20s-70s (London/Berlin: Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1978). Barbara and John Ehrenreich, Long March, Short Spring: The Student Uprising at Home und Abroad (New York/London: Monthly Review Press, 1969) has a chapter an the student movement in the FRG in 1968. Michael Baumann, Terror or Love? (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1977) describes Baumann’s experiences in the student movement and in terrorist groups of the early 1970s, including the June 2nd Movement. As a working-class radical, Baumann has important comments on the class dynamics of these movements. The original German title is Wie Alles Anfing ("How it all began’).
3 Interview with Wolfgang Weber-Zucht (Kassel, July 17, 1985). See also "Wir werden nicht Ruhe geben," 39.
4. Interview with Wolfgang Weber-Zucht; Saathoff, 25-26.
5. Wolfgang Hertle, „Graswurzelrevolution in der Bundesrepublik?“ Vorgänge: Zeitschrift für Gesellschaftspolitik. Nr. 31 (1978) 88-9.
6. Interview with Wolfgang Weber-Zucht. 7 Saathoff, 11.
8. Interview with Wolfgang Weber-Zucht.
9. Hertle,“’Graswurzelrevolution" 89.
10. Saathoff, 14, Appendix XV.
11. Hertle, "Graswurzelrevolution...", 89. Original text: "Den Zusammenhang zwischen den beiden konsequentesten Kampfarten gegen Herrschaft und Gewalt aufzuzeigen, nämlich der Gewaltfreiheit und dem libertären Sozialismus..."
"...durch die Berichterstattung über die Aktions- und Organisationsformen aus dem Ausland ... sowie aus der Vergangenheit die Effektivität gewaltfreier Methoden zu illustrieren und so die Phantasie für die Praxis in Deutschland anzuregen.
12. Hertle, "Graswurzelrevolution.." 89.
13. Much of the information in this section on the early development of the Grassroots network is from Saathoff, 24-43.
14. Saathoff, 24..
15. INFO No. 1, Summer 1973.
16. Saathoff, 36
17. Nath,. Letter to Günther Saathoff (March 3, 1984), Original text: "Drittens schien die Uni so eine Art Kinderspielplatz für die Demokratie zu sein.... Wir wollten lieber mit ’richtigen’ Bürgern zu tun haben, bei denen man davon ausgehen konnte, dass ihre politische Meinung sich nicht in einem künstlichen gesellschaftlichen Freiraum entwickelte. Damit haben wir unser eigenes Studentsein auch verleugnet bzw. abgelehnt, was aber nicht verwunderlich ist: Du kennst ja die Vorurteile der ’Bürger’ gegenüber den langhaarigen Nichtstuern?"
18. Saathoff, 33-34 19. Saathoff, 31-32 20 Interview with Eric Bachman (Lippinghausen, June 24, 1985)
21. Interview wich Erich Bachman. See also Saathoff, 32-33.
22. Farmworker,’ special supplement to Grassroots Revolution 9/10 (1974) 4.
23. On the Larzac struggle, see Wolfgang Hertle, "Larzac 1974," Grassroots Revolution 16, 1975; Hertle, Larzac 1971-1981 (Kassel: Weber, Zucht & Co., 1982); Roger Rawlinson, Larzac— a victory for nonviolence (London: Quaker Peace & Service, 1983),
24. See Saathoff, 41-42.
25. Interview with Reinhard Treu (Heidelberg, July 27, 1985).
26. Michael Schroeren, "Zur Geschichte der WRI: Anarchismus und Gewaltfreiheit,’ Grassroots Revolution 16 (1975), Special Supplement on Anarchism, 4. Original text: "...und obwohl im Namen des Anarchismus eine Reihe von blutigen Terroranschlägen verübt wurde, hat gerade diese Bewegung — lange vor Gandhi— entschiedene Befürworter und Verfechter prinzipieller und revolutionärer Gewaltlosigkeit hervorgebracht und das ganze Instrumentariun an gewaltfreien Kampfmethoden zur Blüte entwickelt, zu denen sich später auch die Pazifisten bekannten: Streik, Boykott, Kriegsdienstverweigerung, Steuerverweigerung etc.“
27. Schroeren, Zur Geschichte,’ See also "Anarchosyndikalismus und Gewaltlosigkeit " Supplement to Grassroots Revolution 32 (October 1977).
28. Wolfgang Weber-Zucht, Supplement in INFO 22 (1975).
29. Saathoff, 15-19.
30. Saathoff, 19-21.
31. Wolfgang Hertle, quoted in Saathoff, 22.
32. German activists, following activists in the U.S., use the English word "Training" as a noun to refer to each training Session.
33. Interview with Erich Bachman.
34. Jamie Walker, "Erfahrungsbericht," 1.
35. Saathoff, 129-31.
36. Interview with Erich Bachman.
37. Interview with Erich Bachman.
38. Saathoff, 37-40.
39. Interview with Wolfgang Weber-Zucht; Saathoff, 26.
40. Saathoff, 27-28
41. Thomas Iffert, INFO 3 (1973), quoted in Saathoff, 28. Original text: "...theoretisches Bekenntnis zur Gewaltfreiheit ohne genügende inhaltliche Klärung, mangelnde Praxis und (pseudo?-) wissenschaftliche Ambitioniertheit, falsche Ansätze in Bezug auf den Aufbau einer Bewegung (ob über Verband oder über Zeitung ist ja soo unterschiedlich nicht), wenige und obendrein stark isolierte Gruppen, Fixierung an einzelne Personen..."

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