Shut down armaments companies! Large anti-war action/ camp in Kassel at the beginning of September

Hier kun je discussieren over Shut down armaments companies! Large anti-war action/ camp in Kassel at the beginning of September.
Disarming Kassel is (not) art

While the production and maintenance of tanks and weapons at Rheinmetall is in full swing, one of the world’s largest art events, held every five years, opens its doors in the same city: the documenta. How does this fit together? Hasn’t art in the history of humankind always been a way to break through given conditions, to open gaps, to gain a different view of the world, to stand up for the the radically different, i.e. the fundamental negation of the existing? Or is art, after all, just a beautiful illusion which casts relations of exploitation and oppression in a rosy light?

So we ask: What role does art play in this game?
Let’s not deceive ourselves. Art is used, abused and appropriated as part of the ideological cover of the game called capitalism. The managers of Rheinmetall also have aesthetic needs. But once again it will become visible that art resists this, and it would be unfair to the artists who come to Kassel for documenta 15 to immediately accuse them of wanting to be part of the game. On the contrary. Many of them will try to counteract it.

The thematic focal points of this year’s documenta, sustainability and cooperation, catapult us right into the middle of the confrontations. Kassel is an intersection of conflicts taking place worldwide. Right now we are experiencing the rebirth of imperialism, or rather imperialisms, and it is by no means enough to refer to the figure of Putin alone. Changing forms of imperialism are shaping geostrategic disputes, including those over the natural resources from which energy can be extracted, resources which permeate the world order in which we live. The war in Ukraine cannot be separated from the catastrophic condition of this earth called the „ecological crisis“: the destruction that capitalism needs to generate profits is openly revealed here. In and through war capital valorizes itself at the price of the destruction of human beings and nature.

We want to make this visible in Kassel this summer. And to this visibility belongs an agonizing visibility of the invisible. The ecological catastrophe, to which VW with its plant in Kassel contributes, mainly takes place elsewhere, and for Rheinmetall’s tank production, sustainability becomes the an-aesthetic of a socially-responsibile identity. „Entrepreneurial action“ – according to Rheinmetall – „has far-reaching effects. A company can only achieve lasting success if it integrates economic, ecological and social criteria into its business activities in a coordinated manner and creates surplus value for itself, its employees and society. For Rheinmetall, it is therefore self-evident to contribute to an economically stable and ecologically responsible development of society within the limits of its possibilities.“ Do these sentences, untopable in their absurdity, come from art, perhaps from a satirist, or from the marketing department of a specialist in killing?

The documenta also focuses on sustainability. But let’s give them the benenfit of the doubt: differently from Rheinmetall! The artists of ruangrupa have something quite different in mind when they place lumbung, the Indonesian term for a communally used rice barn, at the center of this year’s documenta: „lumbung as an artistic and economic model is rooted in principles such as collectivity, communal resource sharing, and equal allocation, and is embodied in all parts of the collaboration and the exhibition.“ In this way, ruangrupa puts the question of art and politics on the agenda. But if this art exhibition is opened with pleasant words of the „responsible persons“ from „politics and the economy“, then their words are to be distrusted: They are meant to deceive us about what art would have to tell us of disturbing matters. They are meant to integrate it into the social spectacle and deprive it of any potential to transcend it.

More than 50 years ago, Guy Debord and the artists of the Situationist International coined a term for the state of capitalism that is still, perhaps now more than ever, applicable: the spectacle. „The form and the content of the spectacle are identically the total justification of the conditions and the ends of the existing system.“ For this it needs art, even if not all art can be used for it. In reality, this spectacle is for Debord „the visible negation of life.“ The most visible negation of life, however, is war, regardless of whether it serves to expand or secure empires, is waged as a war against the ecological foundations of life on this planet, or the propagation of „homo economicus“ as life’s ultima ratio and privilaged model of subjectivity.

Art as aestheticization plays an important role in this. As Walter Benjamin, some years before the Situationists, well knew. More than ever, we are experiencing the determative power of medial aestheticizations, most of all in politics. This isn’t new, but the scope that this phenomenon has gained is beyond anything Benjamin could have forseen. But he understood that: „All efforts to aestheticize politics culminate in one point. That one point is war. War, and only war, makes it possible to set a goal for mass movements on the grandest scale while preserving traditional property relations. “

We are activists from the alliance „Rheinmetall Entwaffnen“ [Disarm Rheinmetall]. We believe that art knows more than is acceptable to those in power. If art had no effect, then capitalism would not have to undertake such efforts to appropriate it into the capitalist spectacle. We believe that political activism can learn from art: in terms of our capacities to perceive, in the search for means and for the forms of life and irreconcilability with the prevailing conditions of oppression, exploitation and war. In this sense we welcome all artists, as well as all visitors to this documenta, and invite them to visit us from August 30th to September 4th at the camp in Kassel and to participate in actions against the arms industry. We are looking forward to a creative, political and activist summer in Kassel. We believe that neither Rheinmetall and VW, nor the capitalist art market, nor war will have the last word. Venceremos!

Re: Shut down armaments companies! Large anti-war action/ camp i

So what is your propose in a case of Russian aggression? Do Ukrainian nation need to give up to defend own land?

Rheinmetall was until this

Rheinmetall was until this year sneakily supplying russian army-industry on massive scale sooo fuk em.
But i do get you in germany radical people were actively protesting weapon deliveries to ukraine something that is incredibly ignorant.
saying they were against war, yeah who aint, but denying crucial weapons for actually real people power against imperialist fascist invaders aint just at all if thats pacifism than fuck that right?

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