Statement regarding the X*CSD 2016 from parts of the organising Team

We, the Rattenbar collective, as well as some of the other co-organisers find it compellingly necessary to make statements regarding the organisation, the course of the gathering and the incidents during the rally.

Why are we going public only now? We wanted to allow joint and wholly supported statements – this requiring a course of post-event group evaluations leading up to it – from the whole X*CSD-organising groups to come first – this intention failed. Our subsequent group processes took time.

We find it beyond all bearing, that on the X*CSD people have been sexually molested.

We also find it unacceptable, that antisemitic and also otherwise agitating speeches have been held and anyone critical of these speeches were physically attacked, insulted and had their pictures taken.

For us the X*CSD is a day of struggle as well as a holiday for the LGBT*IQ- communities. On this day, we should be brave, colourful and loud, take to the streets for that what unites us.

We condemn any and all violence that took place during the X*CSD.

What happened? For one it came to sexual attacks and assaults on the Oranienstraße. The present public assistance posts were not used, because they had not been sufficiently communicated/announced. For the size of the event, the number of contact persons and public assistance posts were insufficiently visibly pointed out on the street.

Further during the closing rally two talks were held, that were clearly antisemitic. The talks in question were those of the groups “Berlin against Pinkwashing“ as well as the Wagenplatz „Kanal“. Both are part of the BDS/F.O.R. Palestine-campaign.

From our observations, these groups‘ supporters positioned themselves in front of the stage in order to intimidate, threaten and attack any listeners, who dared to express their discontent publicly. As a reaction to the second very agitating speech, a paper cup was thrown from the public. This was used as an argument for the aggressive behavior of these supporters, also for them being aggressive during the first speech. For us throwing a paper cup is an unacceptable means of dissent.

Already during the preparations, dissent and controversies within the organising groups became apparent. Although it was, in this case, sometimes challenging for us, we agreed to the concept of a pluralistic gathering. There was common understanding among the organising teams, that nothing should take place on stage that could not be supported by all parts of the organising structure.

The contents of both speeches were not known beforehand to the Rattenbar Collective and other coorganisers. We regret, that they could be held as such. We did speak about our disapproving views regarding BDS/F.O.R Palestine groups, as we hold them for antisemitic. During the plenum it was assured, that the individual co-organisers‘ sympathies in this regard would not matter, as these sympathies were not supported by the whole group.

We are aware, that we as part of the organising structure, have made mistakes, that with the benefit of hindsight were avoidable. For an event of this size, the infrastructure was insufficient and the present awareness-teams, safer spaces and stewards had not been sufficiently publicised nor sufficiently visibly pointed out to the gathering. There has to be a swift and quick reaction to sexual attacks. The sexual and bodily self-determination of X*CSD participants must be protected (at all times).

Achieving a minimum consensus within a broadly-based joint gathering like the X*CSD provides a lot to discuss content-wise. It is unacceptable however, that a group of people use this and other gatherings, to apply questionable methods to circumvent the plenary, to make their opinions public. It is a slap in the face to the majority of the organising teams, the participating artists, the helpers, in particular to the other groups, whose speeches did not get the public attention they should have gotten, due to this.

The physical attacks on participants due to political differences represent a clear break with  everything, for which we struggle.

We will not support a CSD with agitating contents and hurtful conduct.

For us this day concerns queer, alternative and self-determined contents:

  • For the acceptance and inclusion of all identities, genders and bodies; sexual orientations;
    and consensual practices that preclude abuse;
  • for the resistance against inhuman migration, asylum and social politics;
  • for the struggle against homophobias and transphobias as well as all sexisms, racisms,
    antisemitisms and islamophobias;
  • for life choices beyond heterosexual norms, societal and reproductive attributions;
  • for the rights of trans and inter*people without authoritarian paternalism;
  • for a freely accessible queer scene without structural racism;
  •  for living queer solidarity!

The X*CSD should make us stronger and not fully demoralize and drain us. We do not want to split nor abandon the X*CSD. We want to make it more transparent, more diverse and more respectful.

The Rattenbar Collective and individual co-organitors

Berlin, September 2016

Download PDF: X*CSD Statement from Parts of the Team (English)