Thursday December 06 2012

Assoziation Dämmerung

Susann Witt-Stahl explains a little about her political group, the 'Assoziation Dämmerung'

The group to which I belong to, the Assoziation Dämmerung, is based in Hamburg. The name refers to a collection of aphorisms written by Max Horkheimer, which were published on the eve of the Third Reich. The word Dämmerung has a double meaning in German, referring to dawn on the one hand and dusk on the other. What Horkheimer was trying to say was that it is up to the working class to rise against burgeoning fascism or be paralysed and silent for many, many years.

One of our key subjects is the Marxist theory of the human-nature relationship and the perspective of animal liberation. For our group it is very important to revive internationalism and to practise international solidarity. One significant activity was the organisation of an anti-repression conference called New Roads of Solidarity, which was held in Hamburg in 2010 with speakers from all over the world, including the US and Israel.

The other main practice we engage in is what you might call ideological critique. In particular we critique the regressive developments on the German left and we have organised a conference called Well Adjusted People - taken from a quote from Theodor Adorno - where we looked at the decline of autonomism in Germany. Also, we are in a big coalition with other Marxists and communist groups involved in organising an ongoing series of events called Capitalism in Crisis.

I myself come from a union background, and for more than 15 years was chair of a union committee in a Hamburg theatre - if any of you want to know how to silence Andrew-Lloyd Webber then you can ask me! I helped organise a successful musical theatre strike in Germany to fight for wage contracts. At the moment I work as a freelance journalist for the biggest socialist daily paper, Neues Deutschland, for the leftwing magazine, Hintergrund, and also for a union art magazine called Kunst und Kultur. One of the issues I focus on is the influence of the culture industry, especially its influence in war propaganda. I belong to a milieu which thinks that the average leftwinger is underestimating the level of indoctrination that the culture industry is responsible for.

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