Lützerath stands on an artificial high plateau. The former village street ends in a muddy field on which groups of young people are walking. Some wear white corona protective suits to hide their identity from the police. That fits into the dystopian image: Barely more than 100 meters from the small, deserted hamlet in the Rhenish Revier, one of the largest holes ever created by human hands opens up: the Garzweiler II opencast mine Pit as big as a container ship. Day and night, it expands – through layers of clay, sand and gravel to the lignite seams that are millions of years old.
Garzweiler, Otzenrath, Borschemich, Immerath: These are the names of some of the places that have been sacrificed for opencast mining in recent years. Lützerath is to fall soon – as the last place. This is what the agreement that Robert Habeck and Mona Neubaur, the two Greens responsible for economic and climate protection at federal and state level, concluded in October with the opencast mine operator RWE. Garzweiler II will once again be significantly reduced in size, leaving 280 million tons of brown coal, which is particularly harmful to the climate, in the ground. Coal-fired power generation in the Rhenish mining area will not end in 2038, but in 2030. Five places destined to go under will not be demolished after all: Kuckum, Beverath, Unter- and Oberwestrich and Keyenberg. For Habeck and Neubaur, this is a “huge success”, a “milestone for climate protection”.
For Dina Hamid from “Lützerath Leben!” it is a “huge betrayal”, if only because the two Greens got involved with “fossil capitalism”. As spokesperson for “Lützerath is alive!”, the young woman is one of the few undisguised activists. “As soon as the Greens are in government, they represent the interests of RWE,” says Dina Hamid. No, that’s why there was no break between the climate movement and the Greens, the activists never expected anything from the party anyway.
Hamid is one of around 100 men and women from all over Germany who have been holding out for months in empty courtyards, in tents and tree houses, wanting to live out their anarchist utopia in Lützerath. She is not concerned that the end of Lützerath was sealed by courts and parliamentarians according to all the rules of the rule of law. They want to fight to the end because they see Lützerath as a symbol for the big picture. They want a society with new rules beyond parliamentary democracy and capitalism. As one of Dina’s activist friends puts it: “It’s about confronting the destructive myth that you can just green capitalism, it’s about fundamental systemic changes.”
Lützerath will fall. The tree felling squads, protected by riot police, and the armada of caterpillars and excavators that have been leveling the fields around the hamlet for a week are an unmistakable sign. An area the size of a freeway parking lot has already been created. Dozens of personnel carriers are parked there. When the operation begins in the middle of the week, the police obviously want to cordon off and evacuate Lützerath as quickly as possible. Since the beginning of the year, groups like Fridays for Future, but also the left-wing extremist group “Ende Gelände” have been trying to mobilize. “It’s very successful,” claims Dina Hamid. More activists are added every day, there are now 700. “We hope that we can hold Lützerath for six weeks.”