Hauke Benner – Germany: Climate activists of the Last Generation to be put behind bars

Just that the Brits know that in the Germany and the EU law and order still reign supreme. The Fuhrer would have been so proud.

Hauke Benner is a former journalist and decade long activist against climate change.

Translated and edited by BRAVE NEW EUROPE

Lese die deutsche Version hier

An unprecedented smear campaign by the political class and the media in Germany has reached its goal: On 13 December, house searches were carried out against 11 suspects throughout Germany on charges of forming a criminal organisation. The search was not for serious criminals or neo-Nazis but for members of the climate activists “Last Generation” (LG). They are accused by the judiciary of the state of Brandenburg, which is currently governed by a coalition of Greens, Social Democrats and Conservatives, of having turned off the valves of the oil pipeline of the Schwedt refinery on the Oder in spring this year. This constituted a serious interference with the supply of infrastructure, according to the public prosecutor’s office.

Now this and other actions such as blocking motorways by gluing themselves to the road or runways of airports in Berlin or Munich are not even damage to property, but legally, if at all, coercion or trespass. This is because in the legal sense, many such actions are protected from state encroachment by the federal German right to demonstrate.

Germany and in particular the morning car traffic was blocked for a few hours in the metropolises at individual points, not only the drivers got out of control but also politicians from the conservative camp, but increasingly also the leaders of the traffic light coalition.

The cue for the incipient media agitation was the CSU (Christian Democrats in Bavaria) politician and former Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt, who a few weeks ago blathered about the new “green RAF”. (The Raf was an armed urban guerrilla in the 70s and 80s that murdered several leading managers, politicians and lawyers). Dobrindt has always seen himself as a representative of the influential car lobby in Germany. Along with Lower Saxony, Bavaria is the main production location of Germany’s favourite product. And the car companies have been making their profits in recent years mainly from the production of the most climate-damaging SUVs. And anyone in Germany who does anything against the freedom of car traffic is as much of an outlaw politically as the opponents of the gun lobby in the USA.

Bavaria then introduced preventive detention for the LG before the beginning of November. According to this, a suspect can go to jail for a month without a court order and without having committed a crime beforehand.

But this has apparently not deterred the activists from further blockades. A conference of interior ministers therefore publicly brought into play the legal manslaughter charge of “criminal association” under paragraph 129 of the Criminal Legal Code before the beginning of December. In German law, this is one of the most serious charges. Paragraph 129 already makes the formation of a fixed group or the preparation of actions and the promotion of the group punishable by imprisonment.

As a rule, this means the end of political campaigning, as the LG has been doing in recent months – and this is exactly what is intended.

In their statement on the house searches, the LG spokeswomen point to the real criminals, namely the political class in the Germany, which permanently violates the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court on the completely inadequate Climate Change Act of 2019.

“Criminal organisation: that sounds so dangerous. But what the real danger is, is rather swept under the table: that we are in a climate crisis. An unprecedented crisis, threatening everything, endangering all our lives. That the plan presented by the German government with its climate package has been declared unconstitutional by the highest court. The deadline for rectification is running out, there is no sign that this government will get a grip on the crisis. And yes: this is a breach of law. This is unconstitutional. This is criminal.”

In April 2021, the German Costitutional Court had called on the federal government to quickly “make amends” by the end of 2022, because otherwise the dangers of climate change would be postponed to periods after 2031 and thus at the expense of the younger generation, the judges said. Limiting an increase in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees would then only be feasible with increasingly urgent and short-term measures. This would violate the young generation’s “rights to freedom”.

The new legal threat spiral now being executed will come to nothing, according to the LG’s statement: “We realise that attempts are being made to intimidate us, to make us afraid. And yes, in a way, of course it is scary. Not just for us, but for our friends and family that we live with. The ones that many of us joined the resistance for, to protect them, to guarantee them a safe future. (…) We stand by everything we do, with our name and our person. We know what we are doing. We know why. But isn’t it absurd that peaceful people are being investigated here while the real criminals are pouring out billions in profits to themselves and sending destroying our nation?”

According to the opinion polls of the last few weeks, fewer and fewer people in Germany like the actions of the LG, allegedly 80% reject them. In this respect, politicians like Scholz, Habeck or Dobrindt are swimming in the middle of the populist stream. All condemn the actions as “counterproductive” for climate change. Instead, the ministers of the traffic light coalition jet through the world and conclude new contracts with all kinds of dictatorships for the supply of fossil fuels. The ‘business as usual’ of green-painted capitalism must continue – whatever the cost. And the troublemakers of the “last generation” are best locked up behind bars. This is “market-based democracy” (according to ex-Chancellor Merkel) with its rights to freedom reduced to moral posturing.

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