“Tesla – No Thank you!” Rally Report & LEA Speech

On Sunday, March 10, 2024, more than 1,200 people protested in Grünheide against the expansion of the Tesla factory and the associated further deforestation and construction in the local water protection area. The largest demonstration so far by the alliance “Tesla den Hahn abdrehen” also addressed the municipal council. In the survey of Grünheide residents in February, the majority of 62.1% voted against the Tesla expansion. The result must now be implemented! Brandenburg must also respect democratic will and not grant any dubious exemptions.

Representatives of the local citizens’ initiative against the expansion as well as members of the forest occupation, who have been fighting against the factory expansion for nearly two weeks, spoke at the rally. In addition, representatives of international environmental struggles made their voices heard, including activists from the Congo, who reported on the excessive neo-colonial exploitation of rare minerals and ores in the country. These minerals also find their way into Tesla cars. Representatives from France reported on their local struggles for water.

LEA’s speech during the “Tesla – No Thank You” Rally

Hello Grünheide, hello activists from everywhere!
Bienvenues les camarades de Soulévements de la Terre!
Welcome fellow activists from Zimbabwe and Botswana!

Just as production at the Tesla factory came to a halt for a few days, the state government is already concerned about law and order. How astonishing! Where were these concerns when hundreds of Tesla workers were injured because safety regulations were ignored? Where were they when accidents and mishaps were covered up? Where were they when Tesla works councils were mobbed out of the company in violation of every labor law? Where is the outrage when Tesla operates an illegal gas station in the water protection area? What does Woidke say when wastewater limits are exceeded?

For years, people turned a blind eye and countless environmental violations and breaches by the Tesla corporation were allowed. To now act outraged and call for law and order is hypocrisy. Equally hypocritical is to invite the right-wing billionaire Elon Musk as if he were a state guest and at the same time join rallies to warn against the shift to the right. Elon Musk is the shift to the right!

We are tired of these obvious manipulation attempts!
Grünheide said no to development plan B 60, no to the factory expansion. But they are not being listened to. The residents of Grünheide were not misinformed by negative publicity, as Mayor Christiani claims. They were even personally driven to the Tesla factory to be influenced there by the company, the municipality, the state, and the Deutsche Bahn (railway) to give up the forest in favour of the factory. But this propaganda did not work. The citizens democratically made the right decision! They say clearly: Stop the clearings! No expansion! No cosmetically altered development plan 60. Enough is enough!

What’s going wrong here? Why is the state turning a blind eye to Tesla and not listening to the will of the people? Berliners have also had frustrating experiences with referendums. Keyword: Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co. The majority of Berliners wanted the big housing companies to be municipalized. A sensible and necessary measure in the face of the housing crisis and skyrocketing rents. The result was a clear yes to “expropriation of Deutsche Wohnen & Co.” for affordable housing, against profiteering from rent. But this was the wrong choice in the eyes of the politicians, the profits of the big housing corporations were threatened. Suddenly everything became difficult, the will of the people was ignored and talked away in commissions, and in the end, none of it was implemented.

Why does politics function in that way? Politics is the intermediary between the interests of the economy and the will of the people. It is not impartial but on the side of the economy, the side of capital. As a result, the state and politics must prioritize private profits over the common good. This is also clearly evident here in Grünheide. We should ask: Why is production happening here anyway? The goal is to produce as many new cars as possible and as quickly as possible, regardless of demand or needs. Already today there are major problems selling them, but a quarter of a million cars are not enough; they want to produce a million Teslas here at all costs. The Tesla stock is completely overvalued, and the company can only avoid its downfall through growth. That’s what drives it. Overcapacities have to be built up to push the competition out of the market, even if hundreds of thousands of new cars become scrap unused. That’s the reason for the “Tesla pace” and the insane corporate goals. That’s the everyday madness of capitalism.

Let’s not be made to feel guilty by politicians. It’s not true that the referendum’s vote was against jobs and climate protection! It’s not about jobs for Brandenburg, it’s about profits for Tesla. Elon Musk ultimately wants to add another zero to his already senselessly large fortune. No one in their right mind sacrifices forests and water here in Brandenburg for that, the health of workers, water, and natural treasures in the deserts of Latin America (lithium), the rainforests of Indonesia (nickel), or the health of people in the cobalt mines of Central Africa!

An electric car is not the answer to our problems. Mobility is a basic need. It connects us with our parents, grandparents, children and friends, and covers the distances necessary to participate in social life and to cover our day-to-days such as shopping. Mobility is a basic need, and a properly organized society takes care of it. Public transportation should be extensively expanded and made accessible to everyone, instead of building millions of SUVs for the rich. Politics only offers us illusory solutions.

Yet there are reasonable solutions to these real problems. We must change our mode of production, instead of continuing to hope that our problems will be solved by capitalism, which is their cause. Capitalism means senseless pressure for growth that destroys people and nature.

Let’s stick to saying no. No to Tesla’s expansion, no to deforestation, no to water pollution and environmental destruction – here and everywhere. No to growth pressure and profit orientation! No to corruption and false promises! Because only through this no can we achieve a better life for all.