Detlef Hartmann has been actively involved in social struggles, especially those concerning housing, since the end of the 1960s; and always in open opposition to formal party formation, Marxist orthodoxy, or the belief in the possibility of uncontrolled objective scientific knowledge.
After studying in both Hamburg and Berkeley – the latter a center of the 1968 revolts and movement against the Vietnam War – Hartmann worked as a lawyer in Cologne; fighting against urban redevelopment, evictions, psychiatry, and immigration policy. He formerly worked on the magazine Autonomie and is to this day a member of the editorial collective “Materialien für einen neuen Antiimperialismus” (Materials for a new Anti-Imperialism).
Hartmann published the book Leben als Sabotage, Zur Krise der technologischen Gewalt (Life as Sabotage, to the Crisis of Technological Violence); alongside numerous texts for the publishing house Assoziation A, including Irak. Schwelle zum sozialen Weltkrieg (Iraq. Threshold to the Social World War); ’Empire’ – linkes Ticket für die Reise nach rechts ('Empire' - Left Ticket for the Trip to the Right), und Cluster – Die neue Etappe des Kapitalismus (Cluster - The New Stage of Capitalism).