"Ultimately it is in the streets that power must be dissolved: for the streets where daily life is endured, suffered and eroded, and where power is confronted and fought, must be turned into the domain where daily life is enjoyed, created and nourished."
Though we don't know too many urban eco-communes, we would like to see more of them, and are intrigued by the possibilities which only exist in the city. WaWaVox was the first one we visited this trip, and we rented a room in the Lake Merrit EcoVillage (Oakland, California) for 2 months in 1999, but back then our revelation in regards to co-living was not as clear as it is today.
A packed tram delivered us to Alla Hopp, an activists' commune in the liberal city of Bremen. The group and ideas started to form in 1992, and in 1998 they acquired an old candy factory in a residential area in the center of Bremen. About 20 people, aged between 25 to 40, live in the yellow freshly renovated (somewhat ecologically) building and in the caravans (in the back yard). About half are women (lesbian majority), along with one family with two children (which we didn't meet but slept in their room while they were on vacation).
Behind the building, was a neglected and potentially beautiful back yard with huge apple and pear trees. We could never buy such good pears. They were exceptional, so hard and sweet, and so many! We would clear the ground and the next morning it would be full of fruit again.
The Alla Hoppers are also quite exceptional, devoting half and more of their daily-life to radical-left and direct political activism - to free society from sexism, racism and capitalism. Using their house as a center and together with people from outside the commune, they organize themselves in groups each targeting a different injustice from Nazism and Fascism to satanic multi-national corporations to gay rights.
One group is campaigning to help the Lebanese-Kurd refugees stay in Germany. These people fled Lebanon years ago and have already mature kids which were born in Germany, yet the authorities refuse to give them a permanent status, and they would've been deported to Turkey by now without the help of local activists. OfeK joined them on one demonstration and together with other people from the city we all rode our bicycles to the meeting point with the Kurd families. We were around 50 activists and 30 Kurds. We organized ourselves in units - one to distract the guards, one to watch for and delay the police, etc. - and together we marched to the immigration and naturalization office. Once there, the smoking executive clerks had to give in to the immediate pressure, and on the spot they held an hour long meeting with the Kurds' representatives. Many uniformed smokers (police) showed up shortly after we did, but they did not interfere with the meeting.
Many of the Alla Hoppers also have been to the demonstrations against the WTO in Genoa earlier this year. Hearing the horrifying first-hand stories about what happened in Genoa, was only reaffirming - that the world of the west, is far from free and far from democratic, and if one dares to display opposition to the exploitive trade agreements of this new age of corporate dictatorship, he's going to be beaten and shot to death and it doesn't matter how peacefully he was demonstrating or how old he is.
Living in a commune, sharing living space with other people, sharing all capital, eating and working together and having each others' support makes it possible to first, economically survive in the city yet work only part-time, and second, be able to constantly be on the front-line in the struggle for justice yet remain sane.
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