This already somewhat older article by Janna and Tadzio still has topicality when it comes to explaining why Sand im Getriebe should oppose auto-capitalism on its own stage. Supplementary to this, updated reasons for a renewed action in the context of the car fair in Munich in September 2023:

1. Unchanged or aggravated problem of motorized individual traffic

a. The transport sector is the biggest climate policy construction site in Germany: the persistently high emissions have even risen again in the last two years.[1] In the medium term, the phasing out of internal combustion engines seems to be a done deal, at least for Germany and Europe, but what good is that if the car industry is planning at the same time to sell almost 800 million cars with internal combustion engines worldwide. And thus 300-400 million too many internal combustion cars to be somehow compatible with 1.5°C and the remaining emissions budget[2].

b. Continuation of neocolonial exploitative relations: A drive turnaround does not make a transport and mobility turnaround. The one-sided focus on the type of drive and CO2 emissions ignores the many other problems that motorized individual transport brings with it in this country (accidents, land sealing, cities hostile to life, inequality, etc.). Above all, however, it means increased access to human labor and natural resources in the global South. With our protest we want to explicitly draw attention to the neocolonial dimension of auto-capitalism.

c. Backbone of German capitalism: Sales figures of 411 billion euros, employment figures of almost 786,000 and over 11,000,000 cars produced in the German automotive industry alone in 2021 show that the automotive industry is not only the key industry but also the most important industrial sector in Germany. But the endless economic growth cannot be realized without environmental destruction and exploitation. In order to intervene in this capitalist economy, however, we see a real window of opportunity in the auto industry in particular: the drive turnaround is causing German manufacturers to falter – BMW and Porsche are trying to save themselves in e-fuels, Daimler is betting on luxury cars and VW is expanding abroad. Slowly, the facade is crumbling under political and global pressure. This gives us leverage to call for a socio-ecological transformation of the auto industry and thus a fundamental questioning of capitalism.

d. PS for patriarchy: the car system is sexist and patriarchal. It is sexist because the auto industry objectifies women and cements role models to increase sales and profits. It is patriarchal because traffic planning, production, and urban planning are done by and for cis men.

2. The IAA continues to be THE place to oppose auto-capitalism

Even if the fair has lost some of its original importance in terms of visitor and exhibitor numbers, it is still the crystallization point for activist and disobedient protest against the „system car“, whose „sites of destruction“ (as an equivalent to the coal mine) are millions of times on the road in Germany and can therefore mostly only be grasped individually and not systematically and manifest themselves in the car industry. Highway and road construction protests, as important and correct as they are, have particularly identified politics as an opponent. Ultimately, the IAA also seems to us to be a suitable venue because the trade fair in itself experiences and generates a great deal of public attention, which can be used to place one’s own narratives.

3. A campaign #blockIAA2.0 is connectable to radical discourses

a. The topic of inequality is more important than it has been for a long time because of the Ukraine war, the energy crisis and inflation. Also our car-centered transport system and the car capitalism behind it is permeated by relations of inequality and exploitation, here in Germany as well as elsewhere. We have shown why in our speech for the Redistribute demo on 12.11.2022 in Berlin.

b. Socialization in the mobility sector: Daimler’s future business strategy is fully focused on the upper class segment, luxury and ostentation[3]. At the same time, the bus division of DaimlerTrucks is to cut massive numbers of jobs, which would be extremely important for a socio-ecological transport turnaround[4]. This shows that what is produced in the future must not depend on profit interests and the willingness of a market to pay. On the contrary, there is a need for a democratically organized mobility economy, which goes beyond the current company co-determination, in which the mobility needs of all are included and which is compatible with climate and ecosystems.

c. Although the technological course has now been set for electric cars (BEVs) at most corporate headquarters, the topic of eFuels does not yet seem to have been completely cleared up, thanks to government coalition partner FDP. In the future, the hydrogen required for this would be imported primarily from countries in the Global South, with high potential for new forms of energy colonialism. Here, as well as in the raw materials issue as a whole, we see connections to the struggles of Ende Gelände, Debt4Climate and other actors.

4. Diversity of strategies

We are also enthusiastic about the growing „labor turn“ in the climate justice movement and the plans for organizing workers in the mobility and automotive industries. However, we are convinced that there is also a need for actors who bring radical demands into the discourse through activist and disobedient interventions. The IAA is the ideal context for this. At the same time we plead for strategic agreements and common narratives despite different approaches and we are looking forward to a close cooperation with other actors of the mobility transition and climate justice movement.

5. Importance of the IAA protests for the local context

Repeatedly, activists from the Munich area told us what an extraordinary experience the IAA protests 2021 with nationwide mobilization (and beyond) was for the local groups and structures: „A left-radical protest and climate camp on the Theresienwiese!!!“ Since the next camp for the IAA will certainly take place and is already being organized, we hope that Sand im Getriebe with a stable widespread mobilisation can again be part of the anti-IAA protest and camp.

6. Oops, we blocked it again!

Despite Corona and Bavarian cops, the expectations (especially our own) for #blockIAA2021 were pretty high and not all of them were fulfilled in the end. Due to the situation at SIG, we are unfortunately far away from thinking the action comparatively big at the moment. And it may not even be necessary to do so in order to be (similarly) successful. However, from our point of view it would be an extreme pity if Sand im Getriebe as an uninvited but indispensable guest could not participate in the car party. Therefore we need you to block the car party again! So that this time it really will be the last IAA.