The radical methods of the ‘Last Generation’ climate group are hotly debated. Behind the Kleber activists is a structured system with an international support organization.
They glue themselves to the street, interrupt the flow of gas in pipelines and tie themselves to a soccer goal during a Bundesliga game: the climate activists of the “last generation” don’t want to be liked, they want to cause outrage.
The climate activists are currently being sharply criticized. The background is an incident in Berlin on Monday: a cyclist was run over by a concrete mixer, whereupon a recovery vehicle from the Berlin fire brigade got stuck in a traffic jam that the “last generation” had triggered – the cyclist died.
Even if an earlier arrival of the fire brigade would probably not have prevented the woman’s death according to current knowledge, Germany is discussing the activists’ radical methods. Because behind the “Last Generation” are far-reaching structures with an international network of supporters.
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The activists, who are made up of the 2021 ‘last generation hunger strike’, range in age from 19 to 73. They met for the first time in 2021 during the federal election campaign. There, seven activists called a hunger strike for the climate.
The aim was to force a discussion about climate change with the chancellor candidates – with success. The election was followed by a series of protest actions in several cities. It is not known exactly how many members the activist group has, but it is assumed that there are several hundred.
The majority of activists work part-time, reports Die Welt. All professional groups are now represented, from nurses and students to professors. But they all have one thing in common: They want to force the federal government to take measures against the impending climate collapse. No resource is too much for them.
Specifically, the initiative calls for a law against food waste and for an agricultural turnaround. Since the beginning of the year, they have been regularly blocking busy roads by sticking to the asphalt.
Die Welt reports that the “last generation” quickly developed a core group with a decision-making mandate. The group is organized by various smaller working groups. According to Welt-Information, work is increasingly being carried out on further professionalisation.
Nevertheless, the “Last Generation” cannot have a legal form: they are not registered as an association, company or brand. There is only one name in the imprint of the website: Ingo Blechschmidt, a mathematician from Augsburg. The face of the group is 25-year-old Carla Hinrichs – she regularly appears as a spokesperson for the “Last Generation”.
A look behind the facade of the group shows how clearly the activists are structured among themselves: members would be categorized internally according to how far they go. According to world information, the classification is in three categories: “Yes” are ready to be arrested. “Jakk” stands for “Yes, but no prison”, while “Nos” would only provide logistical support.
Based on the categorization, “affinity groups” are then formed – these consist of several “yes” that would live together for the duration of the protest campaign, according to Die Welt.
Arrested activists can also contact an investigative committee – psychologists from the group “Psychologists for Future” would also be available to the activists.
But where does the initiative get its funding from? In addition to donations from private individuals, the “Climate Emergency Fund” supports the group. The foundation was founded in California in 2019 and has already supported groups around the world with donations running into the millions.
The support primarily supports groups that want to draw attention to climate change through civil disobedience. Stars such as film director Adam Mckay (film “Don’t look up”), who donated a total of four million dollars to the foundation, donate to the foundation.
By the end of September, the Climate Emergency Fund said it had transferred $3.5 million to eleven groups that were particularly active in the fall, including the Last Generation. How much the payment was, however, is unknown.
All organizations supported by the foundation use similar forms of protest: street blockades, food attacks and the like are on the agenda. Strategy meetings are held at international level with the motto: “We are the last generation. We do whatever it takes,” reports Die Welt.
Overlaps of various other action groups, such as with the “Extinction Rebellion” or the “Save Old Growth”, are also known.