Civil Rights Hero Angelika Barbe Writes Open Letter to Singer-Songwriter Wolf Biermann

Angelika Barbe was an Eastern German civil rights activist. After the end of the dictatorship she co-founded the Eastern German branch of left-wing party SPD before she joined Merkel’s then conservative party CDU.

She published the following open letter on October 6th, 2017. It is addressed to songwriter Wolf Biermann who once moved to Eastern Germany as a believer of socialism before he fled it again when the regime turned against him. Biermann who criticizes the regime has never left the political left. The open letter is a reaction to his denunciation of voters who elected conservative party AfD.

Dear Wolf,

Since we participated in a hunger strike with Bärbel Bohley and other civil rights activists in the East Berlin headquarters of the stasi in 1990 we know each other personally. Before that I already worshiped you for your songs. I wrote down their lyrics and distributed them secretly. I was the only member of my party SPD who joined the hunger strike to open to the public the archives that kept the stasi files. I was defamed for it by [leading SPD politician] Wolfgang Thierse. You know I’m not a coward. And the majority of Eastern Germans are neither.

It’s too bad that you had no opportunity to talk with the many citizens I met in Dresden over the past years. Of more than 500 letters which we received at Saxony’s Institute for Political Education (German: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung) more than 90 percent complained that their petitions, letters and inquiries are not answered no matter if they go to mayors, deputies, land committees or other representatives of the establishment.
The writers feel unaccepted, mocked, and insulted as racists.

Angela Merkel lands with the helicopter in Heidenau, flees again after an hour and does not solve a single problem. At the [townhall style TV show] Wahlarena she advises a cleaning woman to put her little money into the [subsidized semi-private] Riester pension scheme. It shows that they do not understand the citizens’ lives. She does not lose a word about what judge Jürgen Borchert calls a “transfer exploitation of the families”. She dares to promise raising the monetary payouts to parents with children (German: Kindergeld), which is at best a “restitution of theft” (Borchert). The practice is an unconstitutional taxation of the bare minimum income needed to eke out a life with children.

[translation note: She loses me here. It is mind-boggling what our rogue supreme court justices find in the constitution. Apparently, taxing parents with little income is unconstitutional]

Merkel leaves us citizens behind with the constant threat of terror. It’s even worse than that. Numerous media outlets, which deny us the full truth, appease us and say that hundreds of thousands unregistered illegal migrants are harmless despite numerous Islamic terror, knife and truck attacks. The government is silent on the loss of control. Ultimately, THEY are not affected personally. Rather “Merkel barriers” are set up when the politicians have their public appearance as it was the case on 3rd October 2016 in Dresden. There were even snipers on the roofs.

The victims of Islamic terrorist attacks are kept secret, true to the motto of socialist Eastern Germany’s ruling uniparty SED: “Where there are no victims, there are no offenders!” The loved ones of the Christmas truck attack victims on the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin were deliberately kept out of the Wahlarena TV show which featured [a rare] Merkel [public outing].

The Eastern Germans could not be conned and see fundamental rights such as Art 16a GG abolished [note: Art 16a GG is the right to asylum and refuge from war. Barber probably sees it threatened by its abuse for mass immigration, which sidelines the most pressing cases]. People are afraid of the future. As Merkel disregards the law [leader of the Bavarian branch of her party] Horst Seehofer calls it the “reign of injustice” for good measure. Norms and rules were wantonly overridden by Merkel without consent.

We have no real political culture at all. I miss the anti-totalitarian consensus, I miss the open debate on controversial issues, I miss the respect for those who disagree. A caste of elitist ‘opinion makers’, who even call themselves like this, abuses concepts such as tolerance and turn their meaning upside down.

Those who follow the press on a daily basis are faced with journalists, who are silent about the truth, knowing that people have access to the internet to communicate with friends and relatives in Western Germany about the situation (e.g. in Berlin-Neukölln, in Duisburg-Marxloh , in Essen).
After all, we no longer have the Berlin wall.

Whoever compares ISIS with peaceful Pegida protest marches must hate people who disagree. The Islamic scholar Bassam Tibi misses a culture of debate. A culture which does not alienate dissenting opinions and does not indulge in ad hominem attacks.

How can a citizen actually express his dissatisfaction? To go to the street is not respected, says the media and the ruling parties.
Now many have gone to the ballots who eschewed them in the past. They are villified as stupid because they did not vote the “respectable parties”. But the Eastern Germans did not follow the advice of [Merkel’s right hand] Peter Altmaier or of some of the church leaders and stayed at home. They rather voted AfD because abstention from voting only strengthens the stronger parties. Such anti-democratic views as expressed by Peter Altmaier is a sign of a totalitarian mindset.

My grandfather was also a communist, fighting against the National Socialists in the underground. He was a simple toolmaker and later joined the newly formed SED. This changed after the [brutally cracked down protest on] 17th of June, 1953. He threw away his party membership booklet [comparable to the registration cards in the US] in anger for all his comrades to see. He had not fought the Nazis and put his family in danger to find his friends jailed.
He did not want to support fascists who are only varnished in red. From then on he was considered a traitor.

I have opposed the second German dictatorship, the communist one, and I have been defamed as a “hostile-negative” element. I was punished with spying and professional boycott. I had to experience collective punishment with my three children and the poverty that followed from it.
I do not want to have to endure a third dictatorship on German soil, especially not an Islamic one.

This is why I am supporting Sabatina James who converted from Islam to Christianity and has received death threats because of it which force her to live in the underground under permanent police protection. Her foundation helps many Christians with the same fate. How can aggressive Islamists in Germany be threatening peaceful citizens with impunity in the name of their faith? What do our ruling parties do? This is also the story of [civil rights lawyer] Seyran Ates. She lives under death threats after she founded a liberal mosque in Berlin. Where is the protest of the supposedly peaceful majority of Muslims living here?

Dear Wolf, as a Christian and an admirer of Václav Havel “I want to live in the truth”. I do not turn my eyes away from reality just because that would benefit the ruling parties. I am a CDU member and I support the CDU program of 2002, which is now represented by the AfD. If one has to leave the party, it’s not me but Angela Merkel.

After 1990, I have listened to hundreds of persecuted SED victims with grief and anger, trying to help them organize in my office and through the foundation. I organized talks to make amend the broken Eastern German biographies. And I have been badly slandered by the SED [now under the name Die Linke].

Where there are no victims, there are no offenders. With this motto they hope to cover up the crimes and to deceive their naive contemporaries. To date, the SED refuses to compensate the victims for the unlawfully disowned property.

I understand the sorrow, the rage, the hopelessness, the helplessness, the powerlessness of many of my Eastern German fellow citizens in the face of their political, legal and social incapacitation, and I understand their decision on the ballots, which was also mine.

When the law is applied unequally, a society disintegrates. From inequality before the law follows injustice. The prerequisite for democracy and freedom is the rule of law. Those who have learnt to appreciate the lawful state, as the political prisoners of the lawless state of Eastern Germany (GDR) have, want to defend it and will not give it up. At every Pegida demonstration in Dresden a transparency is held up that says, “Because we know servitude, freedom is sacred to us!”

In the GDR the rulers said, “He who is not for us, is against world peace.”
Today it is said, “He who votes AfD is a Nazi.” There is no worse defamation.

Whoever stands strong has the courage to contradict. No, we are not cowards. Anyone who dares to join Pegida must reckon with violent left-wing extremists who are physically assaulting the protesters, and whoever admits sympathy to the AfD must expect to be harassed personally and professionally. Do you know that retired President Gauck has said, “the elites are not the problem, the people are the problem right now”? Is there clearer evidence of the arrogance of power and the courage of the citizens who defy it?

With kind regards and the hope that you take my arguments seriously,

your “loser”, who “has been dwelling in Germany for a bit longer”,
your descendent of the “unhinged middle-class”,
your AfD voting “change denier” and
villain from “Dark Germany”,
also known as “the mob” (German: ‘Pack’, a common misquote attributed to SPD politician Sigmar Gabriel which symbolizes the arrogance of the elites),

Angelika Barbe

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German Greens want anti-austerity Eurogroup head

Yes, we will install a committee that will deliberately try to waste money.

BERLIN (Reuters) – A co-leader of Germany’s Greens, a possible partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s next government, said on Wednesday the next head of the Eurogroup should support a shift away from austerity and toward investment and more fiscal solidarity.

The Greens are set to start exploratory talks next week with Merkel’s conservatives on forming a coalition government that also includes the pro-business, fiscally hawkish Free Democrats (FDP) after an election in September.

Unlike the FDP, who have cautioned against proposals by French President Emmanuel Macron for deeper fiscal integration in the single currency bloc, the Greens support common tax collection and an investment pact within the 19-country euro zone.

In January, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem will step down as president of the Eurogroup, an informal body that plays a key role in shaping the economic policy of the bloc. The group will vote for a new chairman at a meeting in December.

“The upcoming leadership switch at the Eurogroup should be used as an opportunity for a new start in European fiscal and economic policy,” Greens co-chief Simone Peter said in a statement.

more on Crusader Journal

Man Lost Court Case About Sex/Gender Discrimination

A father of two applied for a job as equal opportunity commissioner in a government department. He worked as a part-time state official before while raising his kids and decided to help other part-time parents to deal with their problems.

The law in his state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern demands that each government agency must have at least one commissioner for equal opportunities who is elected by the female staff there.

Both the active and passive vote is restricted to women only. The suitor saw this as a discrimination against his sex.

The court decided that the law restricting the vote to only one sex is constitutional because the state constitution of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern includes a plea to end inequality between men and women. In the eye of the court the structural discrimination against women would justify the discrimination against men with regards to these specific positions to offset the perceived disparity.

Pamela Geller About ‘Hello Refugees!’ by Tuvia Tenenbom

Tenebom used to write as an alibi Jew for the left-wing anti-Israel news outlet ZEIT. I haven’t seen much of his writing lately and my guess is that he was not leftist enough for them. Yes, this means that they are more leftist than a Jewish New Yorker theater artist!

Pamela Geller, who also happens to be a Jewish New Yorker, read his latest work. They both share a fascination with the immigration turmoil in Germany. Here is her reaction to the book.

WSWS on Censorship Law NetzDG

Then Justice Minister Heiko Maas Authored NetzDG

Despite all other political differences I am happy to see allies in the autonomous socialists of WSWS when it comes to the fight against censorship. I assume they don’t mind that I reblog their article here for you. You can also sign a petition against their blacklisting by Google.

https://petitions.wsws.org/fightcensorship/

On October 1, the Network Enforcement Act took effect in Germany. Under the cover of a fight against “fake news” and “hate speech,” it creates a legal framework for censorship of the Internet.

The law requires operators of Internet platforms with over two million users to “remove or block obviously unlawful content within 24 hours of receipt of a complaint.” In what are called less obvious cases, a seven-day period applies. A platform must regularly report on its handling of complaints. If it does not comply, it faces fines of up to 50 million euros.

The assumption behind the law is the expectation that companies will opt to delete a controversial post rather than risk severe financial penalties. There are no sanctions against platforms that erase legitimate posts. In this way, the basic rights of users are undermined.

When the bill was passed in the Bundestag (the federal parliament) at the end of June , the World Socialist Web site warned of a “major attack on freedom of expression,” adding that the law “turns giant corporations such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into prosecutors, judges and juries, determining what is and is not permitted on the Internet.”

There is a transitional period ending in January 2018, during which time social networks must take measures to implement the new legal requirements. Facebook already announced in August that it was setting up a new data centre with 500 employees in Essen to handle take-downs; one already exists in Berlin. This is where Facebook systematically carries out censorship of the Internet. A spokesman proudly told business daily Handelsblatt, “We have already made considerable progress in the removal of illegal content.”

It is still unclear which Internet platforms will be affected by the new law. The text of the law, which was published on September 7, defines social networks as “telemedia service providers operating for-profit platforms on the Internet for the purpose of enabling users to share any content with other users or make it available to the public.”

All online platforms which, in the eyes of the Federal Office of Justice, meet this definition must undergo scrutiny in the coming months. According to the news weekly Der Spiegel, this includes not only well known social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but also other networks such as the photo sharing site Flickr, the video portal Vimeo, the social news aggregator Reddit, the blogging platform Tumblr and the Russian equivalent of Facebook, VKontakte.

The Federal Office of Justice has set up a new department with two units, one to deal with questions of principle and one for individual cases. Half of the 50 new employees will begin work next week, according to Der Spiegel, to determine the number of registered members of each platform. Networks with more than two million registered users will then have to comply with the new law from January of 2018.

Networks are obligated to appoint a contact person in Germany who will be responsible for user complaints and will answer queries by the investigators within 48 hours. This is to ensure that deleted posts, which the provider must retain, can be effectively used in prosecutions.

Facebook, which cooperates closely with the US government in the field of Internet censorship, is implementing these regulations swiftly and obediently. Questioned by broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, a Facebook spokeswoman stated: “We have our own team for cooperation with law enforcement agencies, which consists largely of former employees of law enforcement agencies. The task of this team is to answer queries from the law enforcement agencies.”

At the same time, Internet platforms are now “permitted,” for civil law purposes, to provide information on the authors of posts that evoke complaints. The only requirement is an order from a regional court. Up to now, such personal data could already be provided to police and secret services. This tightening of the telemedia law is another attack on anonymity and privacy on the Internet and prepares the ground for the targeted intimidation of political opponents.

Although numerous associations and experts, including eight out of ten experts at a hearing in the Bundestag, declared the bill unconstitutional, Social Democratic Party (SPD) Justice Minister Heiko Maas whipped it through parliament in a few months. It is no coincidence that the SPD is playing a pioneering role in the implementation of censorship measures. It conducted itself as a law-and-order party in the recent general election campaign and has tried to overtake the Christian Democrats and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) from the right.

The new law is part of a political offensive against the working class, which is entering a new phase following the election. The incoming German government will speed up the arming of the state at home and abroad. The myth of the fight against “right-wing hate speech” and “fake news” serves as a pretext to silence left-wing and critical voices on the Internet.

A look at recent months and years is sufficient to demonstrate that the day-to-day producers of “fake news” and lies can be found in the executive offices of the political establishment and the mainstream media. Who invented the story of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003 to reduce a whole region to rubble? Who propagated and supported the Maidan movement in Ukraine in 2014 as a supposed “revolution” in order to strengthen right-wing extremism and nationalist forces and foment conflict with Russia? Who used the lie about mass rape in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015/2016 to ignite a wave of anti-refugee sentiment? And who spread images of alleged “left-wing extremist” violence at the G20 summit in Hamburg to criminalize left-wing opponents and ban left-wing websites such as linksunten.indymedia.org?

All of these state propaganda campaigns—genuine examples of fake news—have served to legitimize wars, repression and witch-hunts, with catastrophic consequences for millions of people.

Even the justification for the new law is fake news, to use its own terminology. The law is not, as claimed, predominantly directed against hate crimes, right-wing extremism or racism, but rather against left-wing opposition. It is especially those posts and articles that uncover the crimes of capitalism and the return of German militarism that are thorns in the side of the ruling elite.

This is particularly clear in light of the censorship being carried out by Google. In April, Google modified its search algorithms allegedly to promote “authoritative content” and downgrade “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” in Google searches. In fact, this has been used to censor left-wing, progressive and anti-militarist websites, which have since recorded a massive decline in traffic from Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has been hit particularly hard.

As Google’s censorship and the collaboration of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with the US government show, Germany’s Network Enforcement law is part of an international phenomenon. Similar mechanisms have been and are being created worldwide to control and censor the exchange of opinions on the Internet.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the new German law has already served as a model for Russia. In mid-July, deputies of the pro-Putin party “United Russia” introduced a very similar bill to control social networks and explicitly cited the German law. When the Russian counterpart is adopted, it will also come into effect on January 1, 2018.

The European Union is also working to reduce freedom of expression on the Internet. A week ago, the EU Commission published guidelines for online platforms to “proactively” identify and remove illegal content. The press release states that the EU Commission will “closely monitor and evaluate the progress of online platforms in the coming months,” in order to decide whether “legislative measures to complement the existing legal framework” may be necessary.

The bourgeoisie is aware of the danger it confronts from social media. The global networking and mobilization of the working class using the Internet is causing concern for governments and think-tanks worldwide. The Science and Politics Foundation recently published a study on “Urban Protests in the Digital Age.” It states that decision-makers and experts increasingly regard the “occupation and blockade of public squares, streets or buildings as a global political challenge.” The study continues: “This ‘politicization of the streets’ is being amplified by the accelerated digital and often (audio) visual distribution of protest activities via social media. It allows events to be visible all over the world.

Germany to slash funding for Islamic organization DITIB

Note that Germany is not a secular country despite the fact that her constitution would demand it!

Berlin plans to cut project funding for the Turkish Islamic organization DITIB by around 80 percent, according to a newspaper report. DITIB has been criticized for having close ties to the Turkish government. Despite concerns over the Turkish Islamic organization DITIB’s relationship with Ankara, the German government will continue to provide the organization funds for projects, […]

more on Peace and Freedom

AfD Have a Bigger Share of MPs of Foreign Descent Than Merkel’s Party CDU

BERLIN (Reuters) – The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) will have proportionally more lawmakers with an immigrant background in the new parliament than Chancellor Angela’s conservatives, according to a survey.

The AfD, which enters parliament for the first time after winning 12.6 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, has been sharply critical of Merkel’s decision to take in 1.3 million mainly Muslim migrants and says Islam has no place in Germany.

more on Reuters