Do or Die

An article from Do or Die Issue 7. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 134.


Before Green Anarchist, the German magazine Radikal has weathered a storm of repression stretching over 16 years. In spite of this they have managed to continue publication, developing an impressive underground production/distribution structure which operates largely outside state control.

Beginning in 1982, 20 homes, bookstores and printing shops were raided on the pretext of prosecuting Radikal for "supporting a terrorist organisation". Following these raids, 2 alleged editors were given sentences of 21/2 years each for their involvement with the magazine. (They evaded prison only by election to the European Parliament as Green MEPs!) In 1986 a further 100 homes and shops were raided. 200 cases were initiated as a result, with 5 people ultimately awarded suspended sentences of up to 10 months. In 1989 the repression extended beyond Germany's borders for the first time, when a Dutch publisher was harassed for printing an interview with Radikal.

In June 1995 the German government finally went the whole hog and declared Radikal a "criminal organisation", and the magazine "entirely criminal content" (!), under the infamous Paragraph 129 of the German Constitution. This is widely applied against political groups, particularly those on the left. Another 50 addresses were raided, some on suspicion simply of distributing Radikal, and 4 people imprisoned. Interior Minister Kanther even admitted that "the action was an aimed preventive measure designed to deter the left-radical scene." More 'deterrents' were in evidence later in December when a 5000 strong demonstration in Hamburg in solidarity with Radikal faced 4000 cops, and 100 people were 'preventively arrested'.

The battle moved into the virtual arena in September 1996. When the German authorities tried to shut down Radikal's website, numerous 'mirror sites' (reproducing Radikal's contents) were raised all over the world, defiantly circumventing the attempted censorship.

Finally, the repression went trans-European once more. In December 1996 German and Dutch police raided an alleged Radikal journalist in a Dutch border town, even though Radikal is not illegal in Holland!

Nonetheless, Radikal endures, providing a space for discussion of alternative visions, and of the varied ways in which we might realise those visions. We desperately need that space (as they say, "We need an uncontrollable resistance media!"),and we can draw practical lessons and inspiration from their struggle to keep that space open.

Do or Die DTP/web team: