Christopher Laumanns

Christopher Laumanns thinks social and ecological questions together

Far too often ecological and social issues are played off again each other. For instance, in the recent debate about phasing out coal: Inefficient coal-fired power plants which are damaging to health and the environment are supposed to serve as back up power plants, although they are not flexible and not suitable to be started up quickly – on the premises not to threaten jobs and to avoid an alleged gap in the electricity supply. This costs tax payers and electricity customers billions of Euros, in contrast to the initial plan to simply shutting down these power-plants – taking into bargain to threatend many well-paid industrial jobs.

Christopher Laumanns (born 1983) wants, on the one hand, to make transparent the vested interests that lie behind such decisions; on the other hand to develop alternatives which lever out the alleged lack of alternatives and which combine social as well as ecological goals. For instance, he was part of project „Economic Transition“ that put forward a social-ecological solution beyond neoliberal austerity and Keynesian demand policy. Apart from that, he organizes events, actions, media work, lectures and workshops to stand up for for climate justice and an economy that enables everyone to lead a Good Life.

Christopher bei der Degrowth-Konferenz 2014.
Christopher at a demonstration in Granada

He began his political commitment at the University of Heidelberg in 2004 – even though his friends had called him „Captain Planet“ already before that because he carried after them the garbage that they carelessly thrown away. During the first protests against university fees he found friends with who he is still working together closely, today. Their circle of friends soon dealt with alterglobalization and a critique of capitalism, took part in several blockades against the transport of nuclear waste, and contributed to the protests against the G8-summit in Heiligendamm in 2007 as a part of the „blockaid“ coalition.

In 2007, Christopher went to Granada in Spain, initially as a part of his studies. Soon he took part in squats and the foundation of the Centro Social Ocupado y Autogestionado (occupied and self-organized Social Centre) „Fábrica de Sueños“. The friends he made during this time are still an imporant point of reference and political inspiraton for Christopher. During the time in Granada Christopher decided that he would not look for a job after university but to make independent political acitivism his main occupation.

Christopher at the Degrowth Conference in Leipzig

Back in Germany, in 2011, he founded with his Heidelberg friends and other activists the Leipzig-baseed Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, a Leipzig-based Think Tank devoted to the development and dissemination of concepts for a social, ecological and democratic economy. The activists of Konzeptwerk try to put their ideals into practice in their daily work. For example, all decisions are made by consensus and salaries are paid out according to invidual needs. Therefore, being funded as a movement worker is for Christopher also a support for the grassroots context in which he works. Christopher emphasizes: „I always commit for groups in which we decide by consensus. In the beginning that was not a conscious decision but a culture that developed naturally. Now I enjoy passing on this way of organizing on to other people. - At the same time, being funded by sponsors enables me a very free development of my activism, which I appreciate a lot.“

The Konzeptwerk was from right from the beginning very much involved in the organization of Degrowth Conference 2014 in Leipzig that together 3000 people from activism, scholarship and the practice of alternative economics. On the final panel of the conference, Christopher, one of the press spokespeople of the conference, stressed the importance of a joined degrowth and climate justice movement.

After the very successful Degrowth Conference, Christopher and two friends worked towards the follow-up project of the conference: the Degrowth Sommerschool about Climate Justice in August 2015. They invited for conference calls and plenaries, wrote concepts, and had talks about fincancing with foundations, they facilitated meetings and built networks with other activists. Since then, that's what's Christopher works for: bringing together degrowth and climate justice movement. He does this, on the one hand, as a part of his work for Konzeptwerk by coordinating the organization of the Summer School „Degrowth in action: climate justice“; on the other hand by co-organizing an action of civil disobedience against lignite mining in the summer of 2015.

Christopher in Polizeigewahrsam nach der erfolgreichen Aktion von "limity jsmy my" in Tschechien 2017.

Hinzugekommen ist in den letzten Jahren eine stärker länderübergreifende Arbeit: So nahm Christopher 2017 am ersten tschechischen Klimacamp und der dortigen, von Ende Gelände inspirierten Aktion teil. Anfang 2018 war er an der Organisation des Treffens von Climate Justice Action beteiligt. Dieses Netzwerk von europäischen Klimagerechtigkeits-Aktiven trägt zur Koordination der europaweit wachsenden Bewegung bei. In letzter Zeit widmet er sich insbesondere der Zusammenarbeit mit Betroffenen vom Kohle-Bergbau, unter anderem durch die Mitgründung der Bündnisse „Pödelwitz bleibt!“ und „Alle Dörfer bleiben!“, welche sich gegen die Abbaggerung von Dörfern für die Braunkohle stellen.

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