Protecting our democracy against false arguments!

by Christian Fischer, Cologne

On the one hand, Germany has a livelier democratic life: An increasing number of people is using our opportunities for direct democracy and has created a much more differentiated spectrum of political parties compared to many other countries. On the other hand, centralisation at the European level is progressing in the interests of major economic players and, in important areas, is creating political lock-step despite a variety of political parties. At the same time, there are also patterns of thinking in the minds of theorists and players that reveal disdain for our democracy.

Shaping the EU as a “European House” has been underway for many years, in the past with the argument of peacekeeping, today with the argument of economic competitiveness. Many citizens do not realise that they are also taking leave from a sovereign democracy based on a division of powers. Moving sovereignty rights from the bottom to the top is giving freedom and self-determination to distant entities. This is what 90% of our parliamentarians wanted almost three decades ago, when they deleted the following passage from the preamble of the Constitution: “the German people [...] inspired by the will [...] to preserve their national and state unity [...]”. Since 1990 the German people has allegedly only been inspired by the will “to serve the peace of the world as an equitable member in a united Europe”. Since then, dissolution of the legislative sovereignty of Germany, compliant to the new preamble, has been regulated in the newly phrased Article 23, entirely tailored to the EU.1 That was one slice of many in adherence to the salami tactic – not only on paper.

“It is about preserving democracy. Democracy must be organised nationally and federally, because we as citizens want to determine how we live together in our respective habitats and cultures. We also wish all other cultures to live in democracies in their territories and in continuity with their history. Of course we like to exchange ideas with other nations, cultures and people. But without giving up sovereignty, i.e. freedom for self-determination – neither at home nor elsewhere.”

Political centralisation follows the interests of minorities

Some now say: United Europe, a peaceful world, what speaks against it? Not only this: Nobel Peace Prize-winner EU and export world champion Germany are pushing their economic strength above all by means of the armament industry and engaging as many soldiers in the crisis regions of the world as never before during the pre EU decades. But also that: The “dismantling” of our national democracy is by no means compensated by the assembly of a European democracy.
For decades, the majority of our laws have been enacted by the executive in Brussels. Every parliament from Lisbon to Tallinn not implementing such orders nationally or deciding something contradictory will be urged to change via EU jurisdiction2 – unless the mental self-censoring was active already before. Is this a new kind of “division of powers”? Elected MPs have agreed to this structure and now insult supporters of the “old” constitution, i.e. sovereign democracy, as anti-democratic nationalists. “Stop thief!” the thieves are shouting.
It is common knowledge that the interest groups behind the European centralisation process are lobbyists from major corporations and banks. They no longer want borders within Europe because their businesses have long been supranational. Why do they care about the folkloric hustle and bustle of the ordinary people? As global player, why should one constantly have to deal with different national regulations, that is annoying. It would be better if the environment were culturally or at least legally homogenous everywhere …
The interest groups behind the European centralisation process are lobbyists from major corporations and banks. They no longer want to have borders within Europe because their businesses have long been supranational. Why do they care about this folkloric activity of the little people? Why, as a global player, should one constantly concern oneself with different national regulations, that’s annoying. It would be better if the environment were culturally or at least legally the same everywhere...
Those who, for “professional” reasons, (have to?) think this way do not form a democratic majority, but they have a disproportionate influence on decision-makers and on media groups that launch anti-national propaganda.3

Anti-democratic politics from the left …

In addition, they have political supporters who argue against outdated nationalism: the outdated left! They have always been of the opinion that progress must somehow be international; they have at best used real civic democracy “strategically”, but have basically rejected it as a superstructure phenomenon of the capitalism to be fought against. The way of thinking of these left-wing flag bearer of globalisation nests today in the mind of many “anti-fascist” demonstrators, if only in the theoretically less mature unconcious.
Also some articles about the “deep state” show an astonishing affinity to this thinking. Simultaneously from this side sharp analyses are presented on masquerading the re-usage of democratic institutions for legitimating the economically powerful.4 However, this is not characterised as abuse, but argued to be the actual meaning of the concept of “representative democracy”. Democracy and capitalism are considered as mutually exclusive, because our “fake democracy” would not, after all, touch capitalist property structures. Since the ancient times and also in modern times for 250 years “participatory concepts of democracy” have only been fought against by those on the side of owners. “Participatory” means “democratisation” of property structures, or less veiled and formulated in the sense of the Marxist godparents: the expropriation of private property of the means of production. Only when it was discovered in the 19th century that “representative democracy” could simultaneously secure these property structures and the democratic façade even could win broad approval, “democracy” had become acceptable as a form of ruling in capitalism. But real democracy could not exist without “democratisation of property structures”.
In times of neo-liberal exploitation of the world by a few powerful people, the ruling classes would have in the meantime dropped the idea to let an organisation appear democratic and have moved on to new forms of totalitarian rule. They could afford this because the anti-enlightenment democracy propaganda had blinded not only the people but also the intellectuals to such an extent that people now take neither themselves nor important political issues seriously. From the point of view of the rulers, “democracy” has done its historical duty, it can depart; people are so counter-informed that they do not contradict. Whoever does not understand these theses on the history of democracy – by the way, they refer not only to Germany, but to the whole Western world – is probably already a victim of the counter-enlightenment propaganda, because true enlightenment can only show that our democracies are not and never were real democracies.
As captivating as some of the descriptions of those critics are: This kind of criticism can only withstand historical and psychological facts if they are perceived selectively. It remains structurally without perspective, because capitalism and its political superstructure of “democracy” are presented as an almost hermetically closed system. Adorno summarised this attitude in the famous sentence: “Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen” usually translated into english as “Wrong life cannot be lived rightly”. The citizens, including the intellectuals, remain propaganda victims and are expressly incapable of real insights. As a political perspective, the meager hint is given that the necessary emancipatory educational work “can only be carried out in extra-parliamentary ways”.4 What is obviously meant by this can be read elsewhere, where sympathy is expressed for the lawbreakers at the G-20 Summit and in the Hambach Forest.4 This is not a call for the preservation, recapture and further development of our democratic achievements, even if it is recognised coincidentally,4 that there cannot be a single globalised worldwide democracy. The neoliberal world order does not strive for this either – but the left critics do not draw any consequence, what this recognition should mean for the “real existing” democracies with their achievements: their defence! And their better utilisation. Not “unmasking” them as being always just undemocratic.

... and of the Green [party]

Some Greens have inherited parts of this way of thinking. It fits in well with the less theoretically inspired arrogance of the well-off citizen towards the “common people” and repeatedly generates proposals to patronise people, see the daily press. This way of thinking may have other political motives, but it also supports an intellectual disdain for our democracy, this time with an emphasis on its national organisational structure. Positive references to national affairs are increasingly associated with fascism and confronted with the construction of the European house as being without alternative. As if a democracy could emerge from the European House. However, since the EU does not have a good reputation with many citizens either, other anti-national driving forces are also being sought. And found.
 The current migration movements are being abused to undermine citizens’ rights. The German Chancellor’s well-known solo action “Wir schaffen das” (We can do it) was misunderstood at the time by many as the desired replacement of law and order by humanity and human dignity, but today is underpinned by a green up-and-coming politician: “The first article of the Constitution does not read: The dignity of the German is unviolable. But: Human dignity shall be inviolable”.5 As if the word human dignity were sufficient to ignore  citizenships. And such people accuse the “populists” of falling for “simple solutions”! Should citizenship rights or national sovereignty now be placed in the historical cabinet of curiosities with human rights phrases that can be interpreted at will? Apparently, they should.

Human rights and climate change are serving globalisers

The further argumentation is interesting and enlightening. In the same interview, Green Party Vice-President Claudia Roth asserts: “Meanwhile climate change is causing migration. The EU must lead the way, because EU countries are predominately causing the climate crisis.” And her younger colleague puts it in political terms: “A climate passport would be helpful – the offer of citizenship by states that make a particular contribution to climate change.”5 Soon, following the lead of another anti-democrat it will be said: I no longer know any citizens, I only know people.
This is meant seriously. It is completely overlooked that the migration to Europe are not spontaneous or climate-induced flight movements, but – in addition to Western warfare – above all the result of inhuman economic policies of multi-billionaires6 and their non-governmental organisations. They guide the people on their way north and support the trek logistically. At present, this sovereignty-destroying project is to be “legalised” with a worldwide migration pact7 to control our labour market – a further step towards the devaluation of national legislation in favour of global control. Is it really a matter of human dignity?
Do we really have to remind that man is an individual, but at the same time a social and cultural, and yes, in the 21st century also a political being? Man is always part of a certain culture, which can develop and change – but not according to the needs of the global economic players, but according to his own rules! The present migration debate and movement leads to the destruction of cultures – not only here, but where people are uprooted. This human trafficking is a new form of colonialism. It robs people of their soil, both literally and figuratively.
Of course, a person can adapt to other cultures, which can lead to mutual enrichment. But what does this human self-evidence have to do with a political agenda that wants to replace democratic nations with an undemocratically organised supranational bureaucracy in order to push people in a multicultural, unified society where the big economic players want them to be? These are ideologies guided by interests with the aim of completely melting away (still) existing democratic sovereignties in Europe.
By the way, climate protection is proving to be a helpful argument in this context. For about 30 years, roughly at the same time as the EU was being transformed into a superstate, the man-made greenhouse effect has been put on the political agenda. For 20 years, the responsible party has presented itself pro-Atlantic and no longer pacifist. Who wants to stick to borders when global warming is on the increase and it is mankind’s primary task to prevent it by all means?
It is hardly possible to hold objective discussions on this subject; it has been proven that the rise in temperature since the 19th century has been man-made. And that is that. Indications of amazing correlations between fluctuations in temperatures and solar activity since the beginning of observations from early modern times to the 21st century8 are only indications for unteachable nationalists clinging to borders because of fear of foreigners (a popular political pathologisation!). Regardless of the actual extent of human influence on warming, this is a wonderfully fitting propaganda act for the political project of nation-destroying: The climate does not care about borders!

Democratic reflection

It is about preserving democracy. Democracy must be organised nationally and federally, because we as citizens want to determine how we live together in our respective habitats and cultures. We also wish all other cultures to live in democracies in their territories and in continuity with their history. Of course we like to exchange ideas with other nations, cultures and people. But without giving up sovereignty, i.e. freedom of self-determination – neither at home nor elsewhere. Above all, we should be glad that history has left us a legacy of democratic institutions that we must develop further, but we also have to use them and to fill them with life.
Deep reflections on the impossibility of democracy in capitalism act like a brake block, despite astute but ideologically tinted descriptions. And a flat instrumentalisation of human rights or climate change are targeted attacks against our democratic rule of law. On the other hand, many citizen activities give us hope, which, yes, of course also have to have an extra-parliamentary effect, but which do not “enlighten” us by rejecting a decepting “façade democracy”, but rather let us enjoy our democratic possibilities constructively and without physical violence and, if possible, also parliamentary. Let us not be misled by neo-liberally controlled migration movements, by exaggerated climate hysteria and other propaganda hypes or by the “proof” that our democracy is not a democracy. Let us preserve and develop our democracy! With arguments and deeds.    •

4; Mausfeld, Rainer. Phänomene eines «Tiefen Staates» als Erscheinungsbild des autoritären Kapitalismus, in: Mies, Ulrich; Wernicke, Jens (Hg.). Fassadendemokratie und Tiefer Staat. Wien 2017;
5    Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger vom 9.11.2018, S. 7
6    Beck, Friderike. Die geheime Migrationsagenda. Rottenburg 2016