German Establishment Losing East Germany

Germany's nationalist turn is accelerating. Back in early 2016, anti-Islam protests increased after thousands of women in Cologne were sexually assaulted at New Year's festivities and police covered it up. Counter-demonstrators swarmed the anti-Islamic protesters and police used water cannons to disperse the protesters.

The Independent: Cologne attacks: What happened after 1,000 women were sexually assaulted?
Against the cries of, "Nazis out, refugees welcome", Robinson uses a megaphone to say: "Islam is the cancer, Pegida is the cure."

He adds: "Angela Merkel is handing out the birthright of Germans like she is handing out sweets to children."

Eventually, captured on film, anti-Islam protesters are dispersed by police using high-powered water hoses.
Fast forward two years. There are still counter-demonstrators, but they are greatly outnumbered (perhaps mainly because this is East Germany where nationalist support is far higher).

DW: Violence in Chemnitz as leftist and far-right protesters clash
The eastern German city of Chemnitz was gripped by a febrile atmosphere on Monday night as several thousand people took to the streets to demand foreigners leave Germany. At the same time, roughly 1,000 opposing demonstrators collected in a small park opposite far-right protesters to call on "the Nazis" to get out of the city.

...The evening began calmly enough, as a heavy police presence kept the two sides apart and the groups confined themselves to jeering at each other beneath the gaze of Chemnitz's colossal Karl Marx monument. But by around 9 p.m., when the demonstrations began to move, six people were injured by fireworks and rocks thrown by members of both camps who were wearing the customary black hooded tops, gloves, face coverings and dark glasses.

The protests eventually subsided and "everything was quiet during the night" the police said on Tuesday morning.
The protests were sparked by the murder of a German man:
The 35-year-old, named only as Daniel H., died in hospital on Sunday after having been stabbed multiple times during a fight late on Saturday night. Two other men, also reported to be of immigrant backgrounds, were also injured in the attack. Two younger people, a 22-year-old Iraqi and a 23-year-old Syrian, remain in custody over the killing.
The police and media are losing control on social media because their history of lies (outright or by omission) has destroyed their credibility, creating fertile ground for rumors. They're also taking flack from the left who want a more authoritarian crackdown:
Police in the state of Saxony, where Chemnitz lies, spent much of Monday struggling to re-assert their authority following an awkward few weeks. After detaining a TV news crew in Dresden at the behest of a PEGIDA supporter who turned out to be a police employee, they faced serious criticism for their failure to control spontaneous outbreaks of violence on Sunday afternoon, which led to the Chemnitz festival being cut short.

Apart from preparing for two potentially violent demonstrations, the police also spent the day quashing rumors on social media, including that one of the other two attack victims had died of his injuries, and that the fight had been triggered by a sexual harassment incident.

Earlier in the day, there was some criticism that the media had chosen the word "demo" to describe Sunday's far-right marches. These were, organizations such as the Turkish Community Germany (TGD) said, pogroms. The police did report two cases of physical assault during the marches on Sunday night, while videos posted on social media showed neo-Nazis attacking people they considered to be of foreign origin in the street.
Another accounts describes the police losing control of the situation.

DW: Opinion: A predictable fiasco in Chemnitz
Nightfall marked the end of reporting for many journalists in Chemnitz in the eastern state of Saxony on Monday. The situation was too chaotic, too dangerous. Groups of potentially violent far-right radicals lurked throughout the city, and the situation kept on escalating. One reporter sustained a broken nose, another man performed the Hitler salute [an illegal gesture in Germany — editor's note] live on television and then sought to impede the journalists. Hundreds of neo-nazis, hooligans and violent residents were seeking an outlet for their aggression.

The police was out of its depth, lacking the necessary manpower. It was a black day for fans of an open society.
The future will see many black decades for fans of the "open society." They have created the conditions for extreme violence across the world.
The police knew about this mobilization and about the structures enabling it. Nevertheless, they did not arrange for more officers to provide security and order on the streets. Politicians and policing services simply aren't taking the threat seriously enough.

Why not?

Because the majority of politicians and civil servants are not the primary object of the right-wingers' rage. What's lacking is empathy with the victims.
Put another way: some of the state apparatus are not going to stick their necks out for their superiors' decisions. The establishment is losing control.
One dangerous misconception ought be cleared up now: The hatred shown by people on the streets is not directed against refugee policies or Angela Merkel.

It's against German democracy as a whole.

For this seething mob reject pretty much every key point of the German constitution: human dignity, citizens' equality, the ban on discrimination on the basis of religion, sex or country of origin.

For years now, this new right has gone after people with different political views, or different color skin, and in recent years, they've focused increasingly on Muslims. They freely associate themselves with Adolf Hitler, performing Nazi salutes, celebrating the German Wehrmacht's World War II crimes, and fighting their opponents wherever possible. They want to return terror to the streets.

But there's a larger danger.

In recent years, extremist marches are merging ever more, as is the case now in Chemnitz, with protests by those who are disappointed or feel left behind by globalization. This latter group does not support fascism. But they have dangerous tie-ins with racist and anti-democratic schools of thought.

This is alarming because German history teaches us that an organized mob can go a long way, if it manages to unite the broader society in frustration and anger.

German politicians should consider themselves warned.
The establishment are the extremists. They are implementing policies that make ordinary Germans willing to march alongside neo-Nazis. The establishment is in trouble because they think they are in a fight over German democracy as a whole, when they are in a fight over Germany as a whole. The people increasingly believe their choice is Germany or not-Germany.

Breitbart: German President Declares There are ‘No Native Germans, We are a Nation of Immigrants’
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has declared Germany “is a nation of immigrants and will remain so”, asserting: “There are no half or whole Germans, no biological or ‘new’ Germans”.

Speaking at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, where a small group of people with Turkish heritage had been invited to share their views on immigration, integration, and xenophobia in Europe, the German president strongly denounced “exclusion of and discrimination against people with foreign roots”.

“A permanent suspicion of immigrants, no matter how long they have lived in Germany, is not only harmful for the individuals involved but it is a cause of shame for our country,” said President Steinmeier — who serves as a largely symbolic head of state, while Chancellor Angela Merkel is head of government.
Great conflict is coming because nationhood is defined as a people, not only abstract lines on a map. Empires and kingdoms have been multicultural in the past and can be in the future, but they are rife with identity politics if they are democratic. Democratic movements and movements for self-determination have typically fallen along ethnic and religious lines. Germany was founded as a nation-state, the state of the German people. Now the establishment wants to change the definition, but they do not have the complete agreement of the German people. Hence the threat to democracy is actually coming from the establishment. Either they will decide to end democracy because it will risk their multicultural project or they will whip up such opposition in the process that the people will choose whatever leader is the best positioned (in their eyes) to defend the German people.

In Germany, the potential for conflict may be heightened because there is a clear geographic split. East Germans are more similar in their politics to Eastern Europeans. Those nations were under Soviet occupation for decades. They view their independence and self-determination as precious. They are still working on removing the last vestiges of communist influence in countries such as Hungary and Poland, and are not interested in new projects that undermine self-rule. East Germany will become a stronghold for nationalists in the coming years.

No comments:

Post a Comment