07 Dec

Solidarity needs trust – Thoughts on the outcall Domhöver from ABC Dresden

In various texts [2,3,4] the outcall of Johannes Domhöver (hereafter JD) is currently discussed. We also want to comment on this topic. A few weeks ago we learned by chance on the Internet that there are serious accusations of (sexualized) violence and rape [1] against JD, who is currently charged in the §129 trial Antifa-Ost for being part of a criminal organization.

When we speak of accusations against him in the following text, we do not mean the accusations of the cops, but the accusation of (sexualized) violence and rape.

We would like to express our solidarity to the person(s) affected. We find it incredibly important and extremely brave to go public with the issue despite the threats described in the outcall [1]. We hope that the affected person(s) will encounter a caring and open environment that will support them in their healing. At the same time, we are angry and shocked that JD’s violent behavior could be part of a scene for so long that stands up for human rights.

On the structural problems in society and the left scene, other groups have already written very good texts [2,3], whose contents we share. We would therefore like to share our thoughts on what we understand by solidarity work and how problematic the current handling of accusations of sexual/sexualized violence in soli-campaigns is.

Our understanding is that the allegations of sexualized violence against JD had been known to persons in his circle for years. There have also already been attempts to work with him on his behavior. For us, this raises the question of why the information was not shared earlier. Whether people from the solidarity alliance Antifa Ost knew about it is left open in their statement [4].
People like JD are dangerous to political contexts in many ways. It is quite obvious that the patriarchal violence that FLINTA* experience within the scene threatens their lives. The inability to deal with and address this patriarchal violence also shakes our values, structures and credibility. Furthermore, many of the accusations against JD are criminally relevant and can be used by the cops as a pressure point to get information about other people and contexts. It can also be feared that the outcall and the associated exclusion from “the scene” will cause a desire for revenge, which could lead to internals being published or people being attacked. In this context, it is absolutely incomprehensible and dangerous that despite the serious accusations and the failed processing, political cooperation with JD continued. Criminals for freedom share the analysis [3] that people who use violence in our contexts often hold extreme positions of power and a kind of superhero status. It is all the more important to pause cooperation with people who have such deep insight and influence on our structures until they have dealt with their shit. A person who is not ready to deal with his own violent behavior cannot be a political partner!

Crass accusations against a defendant in the context of a soli campaign caused us a very strong déjà vu. In 2018, the so-called “network case” in Russia became known – the arrest and torture of several anarchists and antifascists in Penza and Petersburg, around the construct of a terrorist organization. A broad solidarity campaign was launched [5]. Over time, the facade of the ideal image of the activists crumbled and serious accusations of sexual violence, rape and finally murder came to the public. This was a shock for us in several ways; how is this political movement set up? Why does this keep happening? Why was this information kept secret, even though it was known to the soli campaign? How can we trust our own networks in solidarity work? [6]

Solidarity campaigns with people affected by repression often try to build a non-contradictory image of perfect activists. Those superheroes that everyone longs for. This is what happened in the Russian network case, and we fear that it is similar here. In this context, it is understandable that contradictions in people who do not fit into this image are suppressed in order not to endanger the soli campaign. We also understand that due to the necessary clandestinity and privacy of a person, not every information can be discussed in public. In the case of JD, however, it is clear from our point of view that the info should have been published at least in an abstracted form.
From our perspective, trust is the base of solidarity work. When a support group calls for solidarity with a person, we rely to a certain extent on the fact that we can stand behind our companions affected by repression. The basis for this is, of course, that the support group trusts the people they support. It is quite possible to support a person for a political action even though the person has behaved like shit in other contexts. However, in order for such a decision to be comprehensible and for one’s own solid positioning to be possible, transparency is needed.  This way, everyone can decide for themselves whether they want to continue to show solidarity with the person. We therefore consider it absolutely necessary to share such serious accusations in agreement with the person affected by the violence as soon as a soli campaign is started. 

We do not need superheroes. What we need are social contexts that do not look away in the case of violence, but stop the persons committing violence and support those affected. 

The Antifa Ost trial is very problematic for our movement in its political dimension. The state constructs left-wing terrorism and supports hostile images of Antifa, which has become a swear word in parts of the population. And this at a time when right-wing positions are strongly anchored not only in parts of the population, but also in the investigative authorities. Much of the information from the trial was passed directly from the cops to Nazis. [7]

This makes it clear that we must not let repression get us down and that we need broad networks and support to counter this political development. But exactly for the broad support, trust in our own solidarity structures is necessary. In order to meet our own demands and to continue to do credible solidarity work, we need not only texts and confessions, but also a transparent handling of the accusations by the Soli-Antifa-Ost campaign and the other defendants. It takes dealing with one’s own behavior and in one’s own groups.

Stop sexualized violence in our structures and deal with it transparently and proactively!Solidarity is our weapon against state repression!

[1] Outing (21.10.2021) https://de.indymedia.org/node/156448
[2] Antifa Friedrichshain (21.10.2021) https://de.indymedia.org/node/156449
[3] Criminals for Freedom (26.10.2021) https://criminalsforfreedom.noblogs.org/2021/10/statement-zum-outing-ueber-den-taeter-johannes-domhoever/#more-1040
[4] Statement Solidaritätsbündnis Antifa Ost (26.10.2021) https://www.soli-antifa-ost.org/statement-des-solidaritaetsbuendnis-antifa-ost-zum-outcall-von-johannes-domhoever/
[5] Soli campaign about the Rupression network casehttps://rupression.com/
[6] Solidarity is fragile – thoughts on the “Network” case from ABC Dresdenhttps://abcdd.org/en/2020/04/06/solidarity-is-fragile-thoughts-on-the-network-case-from-abc-dresden/
[7] Wer ist der Maulwurf? – Nach Veröffentlichungen aus Ermittlungsakten im Fall Lina E. ermittelt die Staatsanwaltschaft gegen die Soko Linxhttps://www.akweb.de/politik/lina-e-ermittlungen-gegen-soko-links-in-sachsen-wer-ist-der-maulwurf/

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