Vienna in March 1981: A ‘Puzzling Demonstration’ and Its Consequences

  • Robert Foltin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


On Sunday afternoon, 1 March 1981, some hundred demonstrators gathered at Stephansplatz in the First District of Vienna, the centre of the city. They marched along the most expensive shopping street, the Kärntnerstraße and approached the ‘Ring’, which circles the inner district. The crowd consisted of hippies, a few dozen punks, other freaks and political eggheads, mostly anarchists or non-dogmatic left-wingers (Spontis). There was only one visible banner, stating: ‘High sein, frei sein, Terror muss dabei sein’ (To be high, to be free, there has to be terror). This motto fell on fertile ground with the media, who quoted it repeatedly. The demonstration circled the First District and entered it again. A few windows were smashed, most of them in the Rotenturmstraße, another important shopping street. Finally, the police kettled the whole demonstration, and about hundred protesters were arrested.1


Autonomous Action European City Social Democratic Party Youth Centre Housing Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Arenazeitung (1981), vol. 6, no. 3/4; R. Foltin (2004) Und wir bewegen uns doch. Soziale Bewegungen in Österreich (Vienna: Edition Grundrisse), p. 130; R. Foltin (2014) ‘Squatting and Autonomous Action in Vienna 1976–2012’, in B. van der Steen, A. Katzeff and L. van Hoogenhuijze (eds) The City Is Ours: Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present (Oakland: PM Press), pp. 255–77, p. 258;Google Scholar
  2. A. Suttner (2011) ‘Beton brennt Hausbesetzer und Selbstverwaltung im Berlin, Wien und Zürich der 80er (Münster: Lit-Verlag), p. 243.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. Holm (2010) Wir bleiben Alle! Gentrifizierung — Städtische Konflikte um Aufwertung und Verdrängung (Münster: Unrast-Verlag), p. 13.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    S. Mattl (2007) ‘Kultur und Kulturpolitik in der Ära Kreisky’, in W. Maderthaner, S. Mattl, L. Musner and O. Penz (eds) Die Ära Kreisky und ihre Folgen. Fordismus und Postfordismus in Österreich (Vienna: Löcker), pp. 121–92, p. 185.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See also L. Wieger (2010) Soziale Bewegung im öffentlichen Raum. Strategien und Praktiken emanzipatorischer Raumaneignung und gesellschaftlicher Raumproduktion (Vienna: MA Thesis).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    See also W. Förster and H. Wimmer (eds) (1987) Stadterneuerung in Wien — Tendenzen, Initiativen, Perspektiven (Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag).Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    S. Mattl (1998) ‘Die lauen Jahre — Wien 1978 — 1985’, in M.W. Drexler et al. (eds) Idealzone Wien: Die schnellen Jahre (Vienna: Falter), p. 86.Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    See H. Berger (1984) Gebietserneuerung 1974–1984. Das Wiener Modell (Vienna).Google Scholar
  9. 24.
    Drexler et al., Idealzone Wien; A. Bauer, M. Fürth and S. Kratochwil (eds) (2001) Schwarzes Café: … das andere Wien 1981–2001. Wir haben keine Chance aber wir nutzen sie (Vienna: Triton).Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    See S. Lotringer and C. Marazzi (2007) Autonomia. Post-political Politics (Los Angeles: Semiotext).Google Scholar
  11. 31.
    See also R. Foltin (2011) Und wir bewegen uns noch. Zur jüngeren Geschichte sozialer Bewegungen in Österreich (Vienna: Mandelbaum Verlag).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert Foltin 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Foltin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations