Kommune 1 or K1 was the first well known german commune in the 1960s. It was founded by eight men and women from the “APO” (extra-parliamentary opposition) in Berlin in January 1967. It existed for two years and had great influence on both the development and perception of communes in Germany at the end of the sixties. The members became well known for their mixture of artistic and political provocation, their long hair and their presumed promiscuity. This cliche´ image of young, political hippies was to haunt the german commune movement for many years. One of the most famous visitors to K1 was Jimi Hendrix.
Formation and ideology of the commune
After short periods in different apartments in different parts of Berlin, the Kommune 1 group eventually settled in a flat in the Stephankiez in Moabit, West Berlin. The members pf the commune believed that the patriarchal nuclear family was the basic building block of the capitalist state and of fascism. They also believed that men and women were too dependent on one another, and that the “normal” heterosexual couple relationship prevented the development of free individuals. Therefore, they believed in the abolishment of the nuclear family and all it stood for. At the start, the members of the commune concentrated on examining the roles that they had and on working on their own personal biographies. They tried to abolish private property and private space. They were against the idea of reward for performance and in favour of the passion principle. And they began to exploit their new fame by giving interviews and photo shoots for cash.
The Pudding Assassination – Custard pies not smoke bombs
The first big action outside the commune was the “Pudding Assassination”. A group of communards and their friends planned to “bomb” the visiting US Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey, with custard, joghurt and flour bombs. As the original proposal on the 2nd of April, had been to throw smoke bombs, and as the circle of friends had been infiltrated by an undercover agent of the Berlin “Office for the Protection of the Constitution”, it was only a matter of a couple of days before the commune was raided by the political police and eleven people arrested. As it became clear that they were not a band of murderous assassins (despite such descriptions in the popular and conservative press such as “Bild” and “Die Zeit”), they were released the following day.
Later the communards created a scandal with this photo, with the added caption, “The personal is political”.
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