10,000 Marchers Demand Intersectional Queer Liberation At Berlin’s First Internationalist Pride
On Saturday 24 July 2021, over 10,000 people took to the streets for Berlin’s first Internationalist, anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist Pride march. Held on the same day as the mainstream Christopher Street Day parade, the march was the most representative queer Pride demonstration ever to take place in the city, bringing together diverse queer communities under the banner “none of us are free, until all of us are free”. More than 450 viewers joined the simultaneous livestream.
Berlin’s queer movement has hit a milestone. In 2019 police were called to remove pro-Palestinian queers from a so-called “radical Pride” march. This year the very same streets echoed with thousands of marchers chanting “Free, Free Palestine”, “Hoch die Internationale Solidarität” and “Aqui, está, la resistencia trans!”
Organised by a coalition including QuARC, Bloque Latinoamericano, Migrantifa Berlin, Jewish Bund, Palestine Speaks, Constellation of Liberation, Berlin Migrant Strikers, BDS Berlin, and Berlin Against Pinkwashing, the demonstration created a space for everyone in Berlin who is not represented by either the commercial CSD, or the white-centric activist networks.
Marchers carried giant fists, papier mâché roses, and signs reading “Sisters and brothers of Poland and Hungary you are not alone”, “Jewish Queers for a Free Palestine”, and “Free Egypt’s Tiktok Women!”
The demo was made up of many self-organized blocks, including queers with disabilities, an anti-Bolsonaro block, queer Palestinians, the Jewish Bund, Kurdish queers, Syrian revolution queers, and an Abya Yala – Sudaka – Latino block. Powerful speeches were given by Migrantifa, queer Palestinian activists, the Jewish Bund, MAD and Disability Pride, DW Enteignen, International Women* Space, Bloque Latino Americano, and the queer Polish activists of Constellation of Liberation.
“All refugees are denied the right to choose where they want to stay, but it even gets worse with LGBTQI+ refugees who face danger and discrimination in everyday life. We demand the right to safe housing, not isolated from LGBTQI+ communities and wider society! We demand the right to choose where we live. We demand for Germany to take charge like it did in 1884 while partitioning the African continent, to do the same now and serve a formal apology to countries affected by colonialism, followed by the return of antiques and artefacts back to where they belong, the motherland. Reparations are not up for discussion; they are way overdue. And we should dictate the terms. We demand an expanded curriculum in schools, teaching extensively about Germany’s colonial past, racism, and a more diversified education covering gender and sexuality.” – M.A., activist.
“The Israeli state spies on us and uses our sexuality and gender identity to blackmail and threaten us, in an attempt to weaponise society’s homophobia against us. All the while, it projects a virtuous image of its respect for gay rights. But there is no pride in occupation. There is no pride and no safety under colonisation, no pride in apartheid. We refuse to be used as a tool for the Israeli occupation to pinkwash its image before the world. Our freedom as queers is inseparable from our freedom as Palestinians.” – a queer Palestinian activist.
“All and any fights against fascism, imperialism, and fundamentalism, against capitalism, are all part of our same internationalist fight for liberation. This is why we are here today. To use one of the main slogans from the Polish protests – you will never walk alone!” – an activist from Constellation of Liberation.
“Just like queer liberation, Jews and antisemitism are often instrumentalized to justify racism against Palestinians, against Muslims and Arabs. We refuse this role! Queer spaces must be defended against gentrification and must be liberated from nationalism, Zionism, and all forms of white supremacy.”- an activist from Jewish Bund.
During the demonstration, some right-wing “journalists” began to take close-up photos of participants. When organisers demanded the photographers respect the marchers’ privacy, the journalists claimed they had suffered attacks on their press freedom. Asking journalists to refrain from taking portrait photos without consent does not impinge on press freedom. Despite this harassment and police violence during the demonstration, the Pride march continued to the end of the planned route. Two people were arrested during the march; both were released within an hour and are being supported by the demonstration organisers.
The march organisers stand rooted in their convictions, in their commitment to the struggle for a Free Palestine, and in solidarity with all oppressed peoples. As a broad and diverse group with members and supporters from many different backgrounds and identities, organisers politics are both radical and soft, guided by revolutionary love and rooted in principles of justice, equality, care, and liberation.
The Internationalist Pride showed that while our struggles might differ, we are many, and together we can be a powerful force against the status quo. In the words of Marsha P. Johnson, one of the mothers of the trans and queer liberation movement, there is “no Pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us”.
ANTI-RACIST, ANTI-COLONIAL, ANTI-CAPITALIST, QUEER PRIDE FOR LIBERATION
This year QuARC, Bloque Latinoamericano, Migrantifa Berlin, Jewish Bund, Palestine Speaks, Constellation of Liberation, Berlin Migrant Strikers, BDS Berlin, and Berlin Against Pinkwashing have organised something historic: the most diverse and representative queer pride demonstration ever to take place in Berlin.
The Internationalist Queer Pride for Liberation on Saturday 24th July brings together Berlin’s radical queer, anti-colonial and anti-racist communities under the banner “none of us are free, until all of us are free”.
On the same day as the official CSD parade in central Berlin, the Internationalist Pride will wind through Neukölln and Kreuzberg, stopping for speeches, and to mark locations which speak to a wider queer experience than the Pink-washed, corporate mainstream event. From racial profiling and gentrification to police brutality and white supremacism – these are examples of the struggles that for us represent the true spirit of pride.
For those who can’t join the demo on the streets, a simultaneous livestream will take place via twitch.tv/QuARC_Berlin, featuring speeches, performances, interviews, and solidarity statements from around the world.
Our liberation will be intersectional. We stand together; Black people, People of Colour, Roma and Sinti, Jews, migrants, Muslims, people without housing, sex workers, disabled people, precarious workers, trans* people, refugees and asylum seekers, intersex people, and Indigenous peoples everywhere. From Latin America, to the Philippines, to Palestine, to Tigray. From Western Sahara, to Kurdistan, to Kashmir. From the factories to the farms. From the urban to the rural, for climate justice and animal liberation. We are wholeheartedly committed to challenging the structures of white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. We will not allow corporations to commodify our sexualities and make profit off our backs while they continue to inflict grave economic and social injustices.
The march is made up of many self-organized blocs, including queers with disabilities, an anti-Bolsonaro bloc, queer Palestinians, a Jewish Bund bloc, Kurdish queers, Syrian revolution queers, an Abya Yala – Sudaka – Latino block, and many more. Protestors will carry signs reading: “LAND BACK”, “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi”, “Palestine is a queer issue” and “sex work is work” while marchers carry giant papier mâché roses and fists through the streets. The protest will be loud, with chants of “Palestina, Kurdistan! Intifada, serhildan!” and “Hoch die Internationale Solidarität”.
Beginning at Hermannplatz at 17:00, protesters will gather and listen to speeches from Migrantifa, a queer Palestinian activist, and a Trans* sex worker. From there the march moves up to Kottbussser Tor to hear queer activists from the DW Enteignen campaign speak against gentrification, followed by solidarity statements from the Jewish Bund and MAD and Disability pride. Next the march heads to the recently renamed “Audre Lorde Strasse” for speeches from trans Kenyan activist M.A., and solidarity statements from the organisations “Bloque Latino Americano” and the queer polish activists of “Constellation of Liberation”. From there, the demo will move to Oranienplatz for a closing speech from activists involved in the squatter refugee movement of 2012 about the migrant and refugee struggles in the city. The whole event will come to a jubilant finale with a program of performances and music until 22:00.
Queers Against Racism and Colonialism formed and continues to organise out of a need for a more representative, internationalist politics among the 2SLGBTQIA+ left in Berlin. A politics that represents an understanding of how structures of racism, colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism intersect, and why solidarity with anti-colonial struggles the world over is a crucial foundation of any effective organising.
Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin
Network of Latinamerican social and political organisations in Berlin. Leftist, Feminist, and Internationalist.
By migrants, for migrants. Yallah!
Jewish Antifascist Bund Berlin based Bundists fighting for social justice, labour rights and doikayt in the 21st Century.
Coalition for the rights of Palestinians and against racism
Constellation of Liberation
Berlin-based, Polish speaking, Queer-Feminist collective
Berlin Migrant Strikers
Migrant and precarious self-organisation in the global metropolis
BDS Berlin is part of the world-wide BDS movement, which supports the Palestinian civil-society call in 2005.
Berlin Against Pinkwashing
Activists challenging the instrumentalisation of LGBTQI* issues by Israel to mask its human rights violations in occupied Palestine
Quotes and statements:
“The transgression of sexual and gender boundaries is only the beginning of radical queer politics. We say: Enough with capitalist corporate CSD. Enough with homonationalism and pinkwashing of the racist German state. Enough with the white German hold of queer politics and spaces of Berlin!” – an activist from Jewish Bund
“All our fights are interconnected. All and any fights against fascism, imperialism, and fundamentalism, against capitalism, are all part of our same internationalist fight for liberation. This is why we are here today. This is why we will keep talking about Palestine. This is why our name is CoLiberation – we believe we need each other to achieve liberation. So let’s liberate each other! And to use one of the main slogans from the Polish protests – you will never walk alone!” – an activist from Constellation of Liberation