Is Chemnitz the writing on the wall? Is Fascism imminent in Germany (or at least in East Germany)? Or is the danger of Fascism being orchestrated? Or are we meant to be permanently distracted from the real problems? …
Many more questions can be asked... and currently it makes more sense to ask questions than to give answers. Even officials like the Chancellor and the President of the [German] Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution have issued contradicting statements.
It is now two weeks since the homicide in Chemnitz; there have been two arrests; a third suspect is wanted. There have been demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. Many people have been mobilised. Every day numerous prominent people are commenting the issue; the topic is dominating the headlines. The situation is complex.
Chemnitz was not a singular event. In several cases there have been demonstrations and rallies when a person had been killed by persons with migration background, by asylum seekers – in East and in West Germany. Since summer 2015 the atmosphere all over Germany has been very tense. Now the claim is that the new protests had been controlled from the extreme right wing.
What many people are missing, however, is appropriate steps and contributions from politics and media to pacify the country and solve the real problems. The first public reactions after the events in Chemnitz have not improved the situations. The claim was that thousands of right-wing extremists from all over Germany had shown up in Chemnitz; Chemnitz and Saxony was a stronghold of German right-wing extremism; once again the Saxon police had failed etc. etc. The fact that one person was killed and two others injured almost ceased to be an issue. Public statements of empathy and concern for the victims and their relatives were rare.
Now there have been differentiations, which is a good thing.
But why has almost nobody raised the topic that in Germany a lot of things are not in order, especially since summer 2015. But this was just one more step on a much more general German pathway, a questionable development which has now lasted for nearly 30 years.
Many people have experienced that statements and deeds of responsible politicians, reports and commentaries of many media have little to do with their personal experiences. Some will have read books. Regarding the question of the state of law for example the book of the policewoman Tania Kambouri “Deutschland im Blaulicht. Notruf einer Polizistin” (Germany in the emergency light. A police officer calls for SOS) or the book of the head of the German association of judges, Jens Gnisa “Das Ende der Gerechtigkeit. Ein Richter schlägt Alarm” (The end of justice. A judge sounds the alarm), or the recently appeared book by the former policeman Stefan Schubert “Die Destabilisierung Deutschlands. Der Verlust der inneren und äusseren Sicherheit“ (The destabilisation of Germany. The loss of internal and external security). In important areas, Germany and German politics have moved away from what we have learned about a state of law at school, but also from a liberal democracy. Dealing with this is not so easy. Turning a blind eye to the issues is not a solution. But we should stick to the principles of not to respond to wrongdoings with wrongdoings, to stand up for the state of law, to remain liberal and democratic, to respect the law.
It is necessary to think about why politics and media tend to react inappropriately. Are these premature reactions, shots from the hip? Is it due to ideological delusions? Is it consistent ignorance towards facts? Or is it connected with political plans? It will depend; there may also be combinations. We can also read that the events in Chemnitz may serve to prepare for the usage of the Bundeswehr (and hence NATO) for missions inside Germany. This would not only lead to a further weakening of federal structures and options but also to a further weakening of national sovereignty.
But this is not the way to pacify Germany.
Can the statement that all people, including the Germans, have a right for one’s home only be made outside Germany?
Just like the following lines from the feuilleton of a big Swiss daily newspaper of 3 September 2018:
“The East Germans were surprised to learn that the West German elites were indeed not as liberal as they pretended to be. They looked into the ugly face of class warfare. Suddenly the critic, the dissident was labelled as the class enemy. If a realistic problem analysis is dismissed with the apodictic statement ‘we’ll make it’, if in face of extensive changes a government is not offering any solutions, severe disputes like the recent ones in Chemnitz will arise. [...] Problems are lying deep and in order to prevent a radicalisation they need to become the object of the democratic discourse. The citizens feel that they are losing what is background, home, identity. They realise that processes are being set in motion and nobody has asked them if this is what they want.” •
km. Germany suffers from an alienation between a large part of its population and those politically responsible in parliament and government in a representative democracy. Even with some court decisions, the citizen wonders whether this is really right and “in the name of the people”.
One of these is the legitimate impression that citizens have only limited direct impact on political decisions. Although Article 20, paragraph 2, sentence 2 of the German Constitution stipulates that the state authority of the people is also excerted by “votes”, this fundamental democratic right has so far been denied to the Germans at the federal level. The reasons, which are mentioned for this up to today, cannot convince all of them. Some arguments could well be taken into account in the concrete shaping of direct democratic rights, for example the obligation of the media and official publications to allow both sides of a vote to have their say. Perhaps it would also make sense for party organisations to forego the initiative for a direct democratic decision.
Since 1848, when the federal state was founded, Switzerland has shown how direct democracy at the federal level can be achieved step by step and thus make a significant contribution to social peace. After all, every Swiss knows that if he disagrees with a law and wants to prevent it (referendum) or if he wants to amend the constitution (popular initiative), he has the rights to do so.
Swiss direct democracy does not only guarantee its people their people‘s rights. It would also be a mistake to believe that these people‘s rights are directed against parliament and government. On the contrary, Switzerland‘s direct democracy has led to more contact and exchange between the people and politicians and has made it the duty of politicians not to ignore the people.
Initiatives for the introduction of legislative referenda and constitutional initiatives, and even legislative initiatives, have been in existence in Germany for many years.
In 2002, a corresponding proposal was even put to the vote in the German Bundestag and achieved a clear majority, but unfortunately not the necessary majority to amend the constitution. Since then, similar initiatives have been blocked by the parties that have the majority in the Bundestag. However, nothing has changed in the sense and necessity of direct democracy at the federal level. Especially today it could be an essential contribution to pacify Germany and help the country to progress.
Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel in a press conference on 29 August 2018:
“We have video footage showing that there was hounding, that there was rioting, that there was hate on the streets, and that has no place under our rule of law,“
President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maassen in an interview with “Bild“ of 6 September 2018: “I share the scepticism towards media reports on right-wing extremists hunting down people in Chemnitz.”
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution had no reliable information that such pursuits had taken place […].There is no evidence to suggest that the video of this alleged incident circulating online is authentic […] According to my cautious assessment, there is good reason to believe that this is deliberate misinformation, possibly to distract the public from the murder in Chemnitz.“
(Translation Current Concerns)
At a meeting with the Under Secretary of State Stephan Mayer (CSU) and other representatives of the Ministry on Saturday, Maassen affirmed his position.
Maassen argued that nobody could confirm the authenticity of the video, reports the “Bild am Sonntag”. According to him, the Saxon police, the Federal police and his Office for the Protection of the Constitution have no evidence for such houndings.
According to the participants, the head of the German intelligence agency reiterated his doubts that a video published on the internet was proof of the often claimed thesis that there had been “houndings” in Chemnitz.
Maassen justified his doubts, among other things, with the unclear origin of the video. There was no information about the organisation “Antifa Zeckenbiss” which had published the video with the reference to “manhunt”.
(Translation Current Concerns)
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