Autonomous center

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The entrance of the Köpi, which is considered a residential project and autonomous center
Autonomous Center Cologne

Autonomous Centers ( AZ ) are self-governing and independent socio-cultural institutions with political claims that are mostly assigned to the spectrum of the undogmatic left . As a rule, they distinguish themselves from the influence of state and municipal institutions . Autonomous centers are mainly found in squats . Nationally known autonomous centers in Germany are the Köpi in Berlin and the Rote Flora in Hamburg. Internationally, autonomous centers are referred to as social centers .


Since the operators are connected to the idea of ​​a self-determined and self-governing life without authorities , they often refuse to cooperate with public institutions such as the building inspectorate . The differences in sponsorship are great, however, ranging from autonomous centers in squatted houses to autonomous youth centers financed by the city .

An autonomous center is not managed hierarchically, but organized on a grassroots and collective basis. Decisions are made by discussing problems in plenary . A consensus is being sought.


Events such as concerts and lectures take place in autonomous centers, most of which come from the politically left- wing spectrum. Occasionally they also serve as a meeting point for left-wing groups and offer young people and adults alternatives in terms of leisure activities , such as sporting activities. In the autonomous centers there are often information shops of the left-wing alternative and anti-fascist political scene.

Political importance

In the 1980s and 1990s, autonomous centers served the radical left movement primarily as communication centers. After the turn of the millennium, their use changed with the spread of the Internet, in that they were used to raise money for political events and the myth surrounding them was an important factor in motivating the autonomous movement.

Literature and media

Individual evidence

  1. a b Karsten Dustin Hoffmann: Autonomous Centers. Federal Agency for Civic Education , February 9, 2012, accessed on November 23, 2016 .