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Who Are the Interventionist Left?

? | 13.07.2007 10:21 | G8 Germany 2007 | Analysis | Gender

The following short article is from the Red Pepper website (, and was linked from the end of the article '5 Fingers Beat 16000 G8 Cops: Are we winning again?' by Ben Trott

The Interventionist Left (IL) is something between a network, a coalition and an organisation.

It is made up of around 15 different locally-based groups (such as the Antifascist Left and FelS in Berlin, the Radical Left in Nürnberg, and Avanti, based in several different cities across northern Germany), a number of publishing projects (like Fantomas, ak - analyse und kritik, arranca! and so oder so), several networks (like War is Peace), and individuals from the social fora and other areas of the 'movement of movements'.

IL first came together as a loose discussion group following the G8 and EU summits in Cologne, Germany in 1999. The idea was to contribute to the development of a left capable of moving beyond merely commenting on or developing a critique of the current social reality and to try and influence its direction; in other words: to intervene.

The 2007 G8 summit was chosen as the first field of experimentation in precisely such an intervention. Primarily, this took the form of broad coalition work, primarily through the co-organisation of and participation in a series of three action conferences in Rostock, which involved everyone active within the mobilisation against and around the summit - from NGOs and church groups through to parts of the autonomous movement. There was, on the one hand, a concerted effort to move the coalition to the left, attempting to establish a rejection of the political and democratic legitimacy of the G8, as well as a mutual tolerance of different forms of action, as a common basis for the coalition. On the other, there was a preparedness for compromise and a commitment to making binding decisions; for example in relation to refraining from practicing certain forms of action in particular places or at particular times. It was an attempt to introduce radical anti-capitalist politics to a broader public and to involve as wide a range of people as possible in active disobedience.

The concept of 'directional demands' [Richtungsforderungen] is important to the IL's conception of what interventions from the left could look like. Directional demands are those, which, on the one hand, form the potential basis around which a broad movement could form; and on the other, point a way out of and beyond capitalist social relations. They are demands, which may not immediately sound 'revolutionary' (for a global guaranteed income, for example; or for freedom of movement), but nevertheless could not be realised within a capitalist society. They are a utopian Realpolitik.

Quite how the IL - or indeed, many of the other actors present in the G8 mobilisation - will develop after the summit remains an open question. Watch this space!

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