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The author, writing under the pseudonym of Geronimo, has been an autonomous activist since the movement burst onto the European scene in 1980-81.

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Fire and Flames: A History of the German Autonomist Movement
Author: Geronimo, with an introduction by George Katsiaficas and afterword by Gabriel Kuhn
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-097-9
Published May 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 9 by 6
Page count: 208 Pages
Subjects: Politics-Activism/History-Europe

Fire and Flames was the first comprehensive study of the German autonomous movement ever published. Released in 1990, it reached its fifth edition by 1997, with the legendary German Konkret journal concluding that "the movement had produced its own classic." The author, writing under the pseudonym of Geronimo, has been an autonomous activist since the movement burst onto the scene in 1980-81. In this book, he traces its origins in the Italian Autonomia project and the German social movements of the 1970s, before describing the battles for squats, "free spaces," and alternative forms of living that defined the first decade of the autonomous movement. Tactics of the "Autonome" were militant, including the construction of barricades or throwing molotov cocktails at the police. Because of their outfit (heavy black clothing, ski masks, helmets), the Autonome were dubbed the “Black Bloc” by the German media, and their tactics have been successfully adopted and employed at anticapitalist protests worldwide.

Fire and Flames is no detached academic study, but a passionate, hands-on, and engaging account of the beginnings of one of Europe's most intriguing protest movements of the last thirty years. An introduction by George Katsiaficas, author of The Subversion of Politics, and an afterword by Gabriel Kuhn, a long-time autonomous activist and author, add historical context and an update on the current state of the Autonomen.


"The target audience is not the academic middle-class with passive sympathies for rioting, nor the all-knowing critical critics, but the activists of a young generation." —Edition I.D. Archiv

"Some years ago, an experienced autonomous activist from Berlin sat down, talked to friends and comrades about the development of the scene, and, with Fire and Flames, wrote the best book about the movement that we have." —Düsseldorfer Stadtzeitung für Politik und Kultur

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fireandflamesFire and Flames: A Review
By Luther Blissett
December 18th, 2016

"A classic German text about the history and emergence of the Autonomen, Gabriel Kuhn has provided the English reading world with access to this engaging text. Initially published in 1990, various versions emerged; this is a translation of the fourth, the 1995, edition.

Just over 180 pages, the book is engaging and filled full of interesting and fascinating details.

The book is a collection of vignettes..."
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fireandflamesFire and Flames: A Review
By Michael Mccanne
The New Inquiry
January 3rd, 2013

Before “the cancer of occupy,” there were Germany’s Autonomen; a new translation of Fire and Flames, a history of the struggle, shines a light on this proto-Black Bloc.

Six years before the Chernobyl disaster, several thousand people occupied the construction site of a nuclear waste facility in the forests of West Germany. Within days they had built a makeshift encampment and were holding general assemblies and demonstrations. Local farmers donated food, which was prepared and shared communally, and local politicians and celebrities came to give speeches. The occupiers for their part represented a broad cross-section of West Germans: environmentalists, suburbanites, students, Leftists, pensioners and local farmers united to prevent the waste holding facility’s construction. They built wooden lookout towers, walls, and communal lodges, and the occupied site started to resemble a festive medieval village. The encampment was called, “The Free Republic of Wendlend,” after the area’s traditional name.

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