To try and express with words what we have experienced through our presence at this year’s Antira Tournament in St.Pauli is in itself a very hard task to undertake. Feelings of joy, happiness, pride and hope spring to mind when we think of all we have been through during the days which we were blessed to endure in this most glorious of yearly Antifa events. We will try though, within this report,to give you a detailed account of the Rebel Ultras teams’ experiences and contribution towards making this perhaps the most successful Antira tournament to date. So here we go:
The Rebel Ultras team set off on a Wednesday, from various parts of mainland Europe and the Mediterranean. The author himself set out by air with first stop being Belgium. Using cars, buses and trains we all had one final destination; the historical St. Pauli district of Germany’s second largest city- Hamburg, and the temple of anti-modern football known as the Millerntor!
We got rid of the pre-flight stress with a few beers and shots at the airport bar and then boarded our long flight to Brussels. A few hours later we where on Belgian soil and a merry lad of the Ultras Inferno from Liege was waiting for us with even more fine Belgian brew at hand. A short 50 minute drive later and the aura of the Schlessin stadium of Standard came into view which could only signal one thing; we were back again in the Toxcity known as lovely Liege!
We had no time to leave our belongings as more Ultras Inferno were waiting for us at a local rock bar for some welcoming drinks. As such we hastily parked our car and made way through the narrow streets of this town we grew to know and love so much. We had agreed that this night would be a “quiet one” as we had to leave early (10 a.m.) the next day to start our six hour drive to Hamburg. Of course, as we all know, “quiet” by Ultra Inferno standards basically means little to no rest! :D As such we gobbled down our drinks and went on a substantial barhopping spree. On the road we stopped at odd corners and narrow streets to “decorate” the city with stickers and colours of both the Inferno and the Rebel Ultras (thankfully we had packed thousands of stickers!).
Many litres of brew later (and some other things) and while the sun had begun making its shy presence, we stumbled to the house of one of the Inferno lads who would host us for a couple of hours. A true hidden Antifascist treasure within central Liege, proudly decorated with flags from many Antifascist teams. I myself found refuge on the couch beneath the flag of the Commandante and laid my head to rest for a couple of hours before the main part of the journey begun.
The day was finally here! Our joy by far overshadowed our hangover and we swiftly made way to a nearby gas station where a car of the old school Inferno lads was waiting to chauffeur us through the six hour drive to Hamburg. The beers inside the car where served for breakfast and the company was fantastic. We sung songs through the drive and joked around that “Ausfahrt” MUST be the largest town in Germany as its signs are all across the German Autobahn ! :D The pit stops where ever present and the closer we got to our destination the more the excitement grew! at the last pit-stop before Hamburg we took it upon ourselves to clear any filthy hsv hamburg presence we found!
The six hour drive flew by and the first sign to Hamburg sprung up in front of us. Shortly later the all towering cranes of Europe’s third largest port were seen in the horizon and that signaled only one thing…. we were finally here!
A few short minutes later the footballing “temple” was seen and we parked our car behind the Millerntor stadium to be greeted by two USP comrades who escorted us to the camping ground. I myself would be staying at the house of a dear friend of the USP and so I hastily got on his scooter and made way there to leave my stuff and come back quickly so as not to miss any of the Antira action!
Once we left the stuff we were back on the scooter again whereby my host had the ingenious idea of taking me on a short tour round the historic St.Pauli district. A lovely experience indeed and a magical place which we recommend to any avid Antifascist to visit! Shortly later we made our way to the USP Headquarters in a small neighbourhood close to the Millerntor. The bulk of the Antira Ultras would arrive on Friday in St.Pauli but even though it was Thursday a lot had already been present in Hamburg as the tournament had already started. We entered the USP room to find a beautiful medley of colours and comrade Antifascists from all four corners of Europe. We started greeting people we knew and also people we had talked to but had never met before in person. The local beers started flowing and a party atmosphere loomed in the air. Strangers amongst strangers, living kilometres apart, but ever so close in our beliefs, our attitudes and our mentality. It was truly one big family feeling !
If the Millerntor is known as the “temple” of Football then surely The Jolly Roger is by far the “Temple for Drinking” in Hamburg; and that would be our next stop ! For many of us it was our first time in St.Pauli and being able to see and live these memorable places which we had seen so many times in photos and videos was a truly unique and proud experience. We tried to let it all sink in while we sunk the first drops of Jolly Rouge draught into our stomaches!
The presence of the Skinheads St. Pauli at the Jolly was more than evident and so was their brothers and sisters of the Bohemians (the Barflies as they are so well known); but this time they were joined by many many more like minded brothers and sisters from all across footballing Europe! It was not long before the first songs started piercing the Hamburg silence and the first pyro lit up the night sky! the Party was truly ON!
The hours passed by like minutes and at some point (i think around 6 am) we managed to make our way to our beds. Tired but ecstatic!
This was the day when the main Antira events were scheduled to commence as such we did not want to miss out on a second of it! We quickly got up, on our trusty scooter and headed back the two minute drive to Millerntor. We thought we woke up late after the bender of the last night but coming up to the camping ground at around 11 am we realized that mostly everybody else (except the ever hard working Fanladen) where still comfortably dreaming away! :D
Not to lose any time we quickly made our way inside the Millerntor stadium on this lovely Hamburg morning (the weather throughout the tournament was EXCELLENT!) and took the time to walk around the stands and take some pictures! The all imposing “Kein Fussball Den Faschisten” (No Football for the Fascists) left us in awe, while my personal favourite was a smaller “Kein Bier Den Faschisten” (No Beer for the Fascists) so cleverly placed in one of the stand entrances leading behind to the bars.
We strolled around the stands for a bit taking in the aura of this magnificent ground only for our senses to be interrupted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee and cakes! Too hard to resist on a hangovered morning! :D The St.Pauli ladies had set their breakfast stand behind the terrace and for that we were truly and utterly grateful (We love your chocolate cake and apple pie by the way! Hope you send us the recipe!).
Slowly slowly you could hear voices in the air which signaled that our Antifa comrades where waking up. It was about time as the daily programme of events would commence at 14:00 with kickoff INSIDE THE MILLERNTOR for the Antira football teams! We would participate firstly as part of the Bukanero-Gate 9 team but as the tournament progressed we gladly pitched in to kick the ball around as part of other mixed Antira teams.
At the same time when football was being played there was a guided tour of “Jewish Life during the Nazi Regime in Hamburg” and a “Colour our stadium” whereby fans would design designated Millerntor stadium walls with Antira Colours. We didn’t participate in the latter as we are by far utterly useless with a can of spray! :D However football was our forte and we gladly kicked the ball around with comrades on the Millerntor grass and enjoyed beer during our thirst breaks and great company and Antira conversation.
At around 17:00 we where invited to attend the Alerta pre-meeting and we felt great honour in attending. The agenda was laid down for the meeting that would follow early the next day Saturday and involved serious matters of discussion for the actions and continued success of the movement. We contributed towards this by raising ideas in the discussion area of communications, which we felt we can assist as an Antira Ultras blog.
At around 19:00 was a very interesting panel discussion regarding the Role of Football Fans in Social Protest Movements where the brothers and sisters from Turkey shared their experiences in the Taksim Square Protests and the mobilisation all over the country; while giving very vivid accounts of the brutal and murderous interventions of the Turkish police forces. It was noted that the ongoing uprising also leaked into other areas of Europe like Hamburg, which culminated in clashes at a demonstration in the St.Pauli district back in Dec 2013. USP fans gave their own account of the events. Truly vivid descriptions and the discussion that ensued included ways to counter police brutality and improve co-ordination among the movements.
Football continued until later in the afternoon by which time we made our way quickly back to freshen up and return to the Fanraume at the Fanladen for the Antira Party scheduled for 21:00 that evening! Most of the Antira turnout by this time had arrived in Hamburg and trust us when we say it was a MASSIVE turnout! Hundreds upon hundreds of like minded supporters and we tried to mingle with as many as we could. The party at the Fanladen was really very well organised and seeing that the camp ground was right next to it we often found our way from the Fanladen bar to one of the tents and back again, partying along with Ultras throughout the night! Excellent stuff!
We woke up early the next day as we had the main Alerta meeting scheduled at 11:30. The only football to be played on this day, Saturday, was a couple of important friendlies in the afternoon which we will mention below. However the day was solely devoted to the all important meetings and workshops that really make this annual gathering one of high importance.
We had a quick coffee and cake breakfast (thanks again St. Pauli Ladies…you are life savers!) and made our way to the Alerta Main meeting held behind the terrace in Millerntor. There for about an hour and a half we went through all agenda items we had highlighted the day before in the pre-meeting and arrived to important decisions regarding the future actions of the movement. Rebel Ultras blog also has a significant role to play in this future and for that we vow to work hard to achieve the goals we set at this all important Alerta meeting.
During this time various interesting workshops were being carried out across the grounds at Millerntor. Refugees from the Lampedusa in Hamburg group talked about their situation and experienced solidarity in Hamburg; while other European groups like the White Angels of Zagreb presented their work on refugee policies inside and outside their stadia.
Furthermore,in another area the Green Brigade of Celtic and USP presented their views on the topic of “Repression Targeting Fans & Methods of Fighting Against this Repression ” while giving details on actions such as “Fans against Criminalisation” and the “Brown-white Aid”.
Additionally in another area fans from Eastern European clubs and the Balkans highlighted their own views and methods of fighting against the ever growing presence of Nazis and Nationalists in their stands and offered real experiences on events and actions taken as they happened during the last year in their respective groups and countries.
Following the lunch break at 15:00 a very interesting talk was planned which involved contemporary witnesses of the Nazi Regime and its detrimental effect on society and life at the time. This was highly important cause as the years pass and more Nazi Regime and Holocaust survivors leave us, it is becoming increasingly hard for these heroes to travel and make public appearances. As such their real life accounts and the hardships they endured under the Nazi scum must be remembered, respected and taken well into account so that never again shall actions of the past repeat themselves in our future!
With the talks and workshops concluded it was time for some friendly football with the Lampedusa Refugee team facing the Antira All Star team, a game filled with action and suspense that kept the crowd firmly at the edge of their seats and ended in a well deserved draw! Following that was a short Antira All Star match.
During this time the brother and sisters from Vamos Bien and Kara Kizil in Turkey spoke to the crowds at the Millerntor giving a detailed account of the events that happened throughout the passed year in Turkey (click here for speech). Most importantly high tribute was paid to the eleven fallen comrades of the Turkish uprising. While their banners were placed in the South Stands and their names called out inside the Millerntor the whole crowd lay deep in remembrance with their left fists punching the Hamburg sky! As the last name was called out we all burst in one united cry
ALERTA ALERTA ANTIFASCISTA!
Upon this time the all important group picture of the tournament. A picture which highlights the true magnitude of this year’s events as the Antira fans from all over Europe numbered in their thousands! A picture (below) that during the past few days has gone viral and signifies a very important message- All Colours Are Beautiful!
Following that it was time to march to the Rote Flora. We gathered outside the Fanladen and begun the 1 KM walk with Pyro and Smoke throughout the whole march. It was amazing to see thousands of comrades marching in Antira fashion to a landmark venue of St.Pauli and the Antifa culture! The venue of course of a great Antira concert to be held that night featuring groups like Nesthockr from St. Pauli, Moscow Death Brigade from well …ehh…Moscow :D and Movement from Denmark!
We marched together with the comrades of Kara Kizil Turkey and had some very interesting discussions throughout and found time to cultivate an even stronger bond between us, forged within a common mentality and view of the world.
The night that ensued was of EPIC proportions, lots of fun within the Rote Flora which at some point was continued to, were else, the Jolly Roger! Frankly we don’t remember too many details from the night as we had partied extremely hard but we do remember the songs, the endless laughter, the drinks and the sweet smell of the Hamburg morning air as we stumbled slowly but surely back to our pillows! An Epic ending, to and even more Epic Day!
Sunday was the last day of this magnificent gathering of Europe’s finest! This day was going to be mostly devoted to Antira football (knock out stage and final) but mostly to casual interaction and celebration of our Antifa/Antira culture. We participated again in the proceedings by strutting our talent (or not!) on the historic Millerntor pitch. We particularly enjoyed our game versus the Barflies from Bohemians as there were an endless amount of laughter and friendly teasing going on throughout the encounter! :D If we remember well the mixed team of USP/Celtic beat the Bordeaux crew in the Final but that was of little significance as all the groups where winners and everyones presence was ever so important in its own unique way!
As afternoon drew closer we knew that it was unfortunately time to start saying our last “till we meet again” (cause we NEVER say Goodbye!) to all these magnificent brothers and sisters we came to meet, share a drink (thank you Barflies for the Czech beer!), and have important and fruitful conversations with. All these people who shared with us their views, beliefs and experiences while making us once more understand that even though we are thousands of miles apart, we are all one of the same. A true Rebel Ultras thank you to all of you and especially to the hard working St. Pauli boys and girls who made this tournament extremely successful and highly enjoyable!
Until we meet again then comrades…..