June 15, 2006

The Constitutional State as Self-Service Shop

I am late with my ''news'', I realise that. But then, I am only a one-woman show, have some off-Internet duties as well and when, on top of that, the abominability that thinks it is an "Internet service provider" lets me down, it's even worse. But what the heck, nobody would expect that I can beat Reuters or AP anyway, so here are my belated views on some not-so-new news.

This time it's on last Saturday's bloodcurdling 200 (legally) parading neo-Nazis in the West German city of Gelsenkirchen, while on Sunday a whopping 16 defied a rallying ban in Nürnberg.

Judging from the headlines alone, one would have thought that Bubba Adolf, entourage to the last drummer boy included, had risen from hell and that a tiny bunch of upright citizens, as proud as daredevil-ish, had defied this apocalyptic sight.

It wasn't quite so.

There had been a tug-of-war for the right to rally through several judicial authorities until the Federal Constitutional Court, Bundesverfassungsgericht , had ruled that the NPD, a party that is NOT banned, had, like any other party, indeed the right to rally. They were subjected to several severely restricting requirements, though. The route of the rally was limited to one kilometer, as was the number of banners the attendees were allowed to carry.

As a response to the Nazi rally with 200 (TWOHUNDRED) participants, 5000 (FIFETHOUSAND) protesters had gathered, among them Vice Chancellor Franz Müntefering.

''Münte'', as he is popularly known, and who is not as daft as he looks, holds a jersey here saying (popularly as well) ''The world '06 hosted by chums''.

Müntefering accused the rightwing extremists of abusing the FIFA World Cup to sow xenophobia. Müntefering: ''This brown sauce will never get a chance in Germany again. Never!''

At the same 5000 vs. 200 counter-rally, Norbert Lammert (CDU), President of the Bundestag and as such deputy to the head of state, the Bundespräsident, asked for ''some understanding'' for the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, because in a democracy one has to accept the decisions of a court of law, yet to prevent the rightwing extremists from ''dominating the streets and squares''.

You get that? He asked for ''some understanding'' for the verdict, as if the Federal Constitutional Court were a gaga old uncle who had exposed himself happily and indecently to a bunch of adolescent schoolgirls. ''Understanding'', mind you, for a legally inescapable decision.

When dealing with the extremist Right, it isn't, so it seems, so much a matter of facts, but of proffering the politically correct reaction, a reaction which is resolutely removed from the law and its rule -- which is frightening, because it makes a self-service shop of the constitutional state.

But hey! Not to forget the "dominate-the-streets"-bit. 200 (TWOHUNDRED) Nazis. DO-MI-NA-TE!

And nobody laughed!

No doubt, banning that shitty little party would deprive a lot of people of the opportunity of looking noble.

But to get back to Müntefering, in April 2005 the then SPD Party Chairman had compared, always the anti-xenophobiac, ''some financial investors'' to a ''swarm of locusts'' that ''descend upon enterprises, strip them, and move on''. The SPD parliamentary group had helpfully put together a study paper including a list of private equity firms to back up Müntefering’s charges. According to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ''the names of the take-over firms are KKR, Apax, Carlyle, BC Partners, Advent, CVC, Permira, Saban Capital or Blackstone'', which seems to speak rather of an aversion of anglo-dominated capitalism, not necessarily of an aversion against capitalism as such.

Of course, the statement was criticised for its strong antisemitic and anti-American overtones, two resentments that seem always to go together well.

Those who slashed ''Münte'' for it, however, had a strong point:

From the ''Hep-Hep'' Disturbances, Baden, 1818-19:
These Jews, that live here among us and that spread out like rapacious locusts [verzehrende Heuschrecken] and that threaten to overthrow all of Prussian Christianity, they are the children of those who screamed: ''Crucify! Crucify!''
From Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s The Foundations of the 19th Century:
Napoleon protected [the Jews], when after such a short time bitter complaints and entreaties for protection against them were sent in to the Government from all France, and he did so although he himself had exclaimed in the Council of State, ''These Jews are locusts and caterpillars, they devour my France!'' -- he needed their money.
''Sturm'' from the Nazi propaganda film ''Jud Süß'' on the arrival of Jews in Stuttgart:
They descend upon our country like locusts!
Münterfering is, at the end of the day and despite of all his anti-xenophobia waffling, a national Socialist.

And in a self-service shop everything goes!

''Locusts'' quotes with thanks from The Transatlantic Intelligencer.