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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz calls for nationwide protests to defend democracy against the consequences of his own policies

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz calls for nationwide protests to defend democracy against the consequences of his own policies

During the pandemic, our leaders claimed to act on behalf of the health concerns of the oldest and the sickest, effectively reducing all of Germany to a farcical authoritarian care home for the immuno-compromised. While the worst abuses of that era have passed, the lunacy and hysteria have persisted, assuming ever new forms. We have left the era of care-home politics, and entered a brave new world of Germany-as-lunatic-asylum. Every day it gets crazier.

It will come no surprise to my readers to here that all is not well in the Federal Republic. We have entered a prolonged economic recession, and our future prospects are very dim. Inflation, de-industrialisation, labour shortages and increasingly dysfunctional public services have all become uncomfortable features of everyday life. Our most immediate problems are all self-inflicted. The government that came to power in 2021, via the votes of a complacent and politically ignorant electorate, has ruled as badly as expected. They eagerly supported the catastrophic European Union sanctions against Russia, they presided in awkward silence over the unprecedented Nord Stream attacks, and they’ve made up the energy shortfall by burning more coal and importing liquid natural gas from the United States. As a result, Germany has one of the highest-emitting power grids in Europe, but in other areas our leaders have chosen to exacerbate the economic damage by pressing forward with nuclear phase-out and the energy transition, driving energy prices even higher. They’ve increased social entitlements, reducing incentives to work precisely as the baby boomers retire. They’ve harassed their own people with enormously expensive laws like the building energy ordinances, which have no prospect of doing anything to save the climate, but will cost individual Germans and the federal government alike billions of Euros. Then, to make it all worse, the doubtful budgetary tricks they employed to pay for all of this were declared unconstitutional, and so they have gone back on prior promises and sought to raise taxes in oblique ways, whether with the CO2 toll or the cancellation of tax rebates on agricultural diesel. And this in a country that already has one of the highest tax burdens in all of Europe.

In response to this sad history of misrule and failure, approval ratings for the government have fallen to all-time lows. Only 20% of Germans still support Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and 82% say that they are dissatisfied with the government in general. Anti-government protests erupted across the country in January, led by farmers, truckers and tradesmen who have had enough of traffic light lunacy. The only true German opposition party, Alternative für Deutschland, are polling at or above 22%. They are the second-strongest strongest party in all of Germany, and far and away the strongest in the five east German states.

The Scholz clown car, however, tell a much different story about what has gone wrong. They declare themselves to be the very embodiment of liberal democracy and all that is right and good in the world. To the extent that bad things have happened, it is the fault of anti-democratic forces foreign and domestic. They lay blame for the energy crisis and the ensuing economic disaster at the feet of the profoundly anti-democratic Vladimir Putin and his anti-democratic war of aggression against that beacon of democracy known as Ukraine. Their domestic problems they ascribe to the nebulous, self-directing “hate” of the Germans and the allegedly anti-democratic Alternative für Deutschland, who have inflamed the anti-democratic tendencies of the German people. Failure to support ruinous government policies is thus by definition contrary to democracy and ought to be illegal. Many leading heads are hard at work spinning arguments about how we need to ban the opposition and limit the political expression of opposition leaders. In short, we must abolish democracy if we are to have any hope of saving it.

To reinforce this narrative, and precisely as the farmers’ protest began to draw attention, taxpayer- and NGO-funded journalists published a long story about an alleged “secret meeting” in Potsdam, where (they said) opposition politicians plotted the unconstitutional mass deportation of migrants. Almost everything about the story was inaccurate or exaggerated. It was a private meeting, not an AfD event; nothing anybody said there was secret; and in many points their discussion hardly differed from demands made by Chancellor Scholz himself. Nevertheless, the establishment press turned gratefully to this new story as an excuse to stop talking about the farmers. Regime-adjacent parties, especially the Greens who control extensive activist networks, began organizing protests against “the right” – that is to say, against the AfD, the party whose very popularity is a direct consequence of their own policies.

On Friday, at least 50,000 people took to the streets of Hamburg to express their resolve “against right-wing extremism and Neo-Nazi organizations.” The event was co-organised by SPD politician Kazim Abaci and his pro-migrant organisation “Entrepreneurs without Borders.” Thereafter, Chancellor Scholz posted a speech calling for more protests across Germany, as if he were an opposition politician and the AfD were running the government:

From Cologne to Dresden, from Tübingen to Kiel, hundreds of thousands are taking to the streets in Germany these days to show their support for our democracy and against right-wing extremism. I was there too – at a large rally at my home in Potsdam. Because what we are now experiencing here in our country really concerns us all. Each and every one of us. I’ll say it clearly and bluntly: right-wing extremists are attacking our democracy. They want to destroy our cohesion. At a secret conference, these extremists discussed how they could drive millions of people out of our country. Families who have lived here for many years and decades. Our neighbours, work colleagues and school friends, men and women who work in our hospitals and nursing homes, who own the restaurant or bakery on the corner, who teach in our schools or do research at our universities. This thought sends shivers down your spine. You can only imagine how the more than 20 million citizens with migrant background feel. They know that these right-wing extremists are talking about them. They would be directly affected by this diabolical plan …

This weekend, too, many rallies are planned against the right-wing extremist enemies of our democracy. I think that’s right and good. If there is one thing that must never again have a place in Germany, it is the racial ideology of the National Socialists. The extremists’ repulsive resettlement plans express nothing else. They are an attack on our democracy, and therefore on us all. That is why I now call on everyone to take a clear and unequivocal stand. For cohesion, for tolerance and for our democratic Germany.

And take a stand they have: “Tens of thousands demonstrate in Cologne and Bremen against the right – on Saturday there were 300,000 people on the streets,” says state media RND. “Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has praised the nationwide demonstrations against right-wing extremism and described them as an encouraging sign for democracy,” says tagesschau, who for some reason thing it newsworthy that this leading Green politician should support the very protests his party has helped organize. A sub-genre of these stories are very eager to tell you where the protests are happening so you can join in. “Where their demonstrating against the right this weekend,” wrote Der Spiegel on Friday; “‘Defend democracy’: Alliance calls for anti-AfD demonstration in Berlin on Sunday – this is the route,” said Tagesspiegel on Thursday. This is press activism at its finest.

As promised, the farmers have not left the Street of 17 June in Berlin; they and the truckers and tradesmen continue their action, but the press will only report on the anti-right demonstrations and so it is as if they don’t exist. The Greens are pushing hard to make the protests the central theme of state media reporting, and public media outlets have been caught numerous times interviewing supposedly random demonstrators who turn out actually to be Green politicians – a tiresome tactic for which they’re notorious. Nor are the anti-right protests univocally “democratic” except in the fantasies of journalists; Antifa, the communists of Rote Hilfe and various pro-Palestinian activists have such a prominent presence at many of these events that their flags can’t be excluded from public photos.

This flag from Friday’s Hamburg demonstration declares that “Zionism is right-wing” – hardly a message that the Scholz government would be all that comfortable with.

We have before us a bizarre politics unfolding entirely within the parallel reality created by the government parties and the media, in response to a story about an insignificant meeting and the non-existent threat of a largely imaginary right wing. Germany has a long of list of problems, but AfD are not in government and bear no responsibility for any of them. As for our sacred constitution, the only people who stand clearly guilty of offenses against it are the coalition parties who schemed to reappropriate emergency funds contrary to our constitutionally established debt ceiling. The protesters on the streets today demonstrate on behalf of parties that are already in power; there is nothing for their sound and fury to achieve beyond the political simulacrum in which it is unfolding.

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