Despite the necessity to face an impending food crisis the European Union and the Dutch government have shoved down an anti-agriculture directive which keeps stirring up mass protests and violent altercations in the Netherlands. The German parliament Bundestag has turned down the option to continue nuclear energy. The ECB keeps flooding the place with money, but given the inflation that is going to change. A disorganised brainstorm.
Authorities Struggle with anti-Covid-Policy Street Walks
All across Germany people demonstrate against corona restrictions and mandates. This is the emergence of a new form of protest and they call it the ‘street walks’ (‘Spaziergänge’; the singular is ‘Spaziergang’). Their main characteristic is that they are a widely decentralized expression of anger that hinges on no established institution. And they are a reflection of our times.
Old institutions have failed the public and their leaders are mentally transfixed on only consolidating the interests of society’s pseudo-representatives while ignoring the ordinary people they are supposed to represent. The street walks represent the street walkers.
After years of defaming one protest organizer after the other, independent of their cause, as “right-wing extremist” (or whatever proxy-word for “Nazi” they use) people are now taking to the streets either without registration or with registrations of independent individuals.
The threshold to register a protest in Germany is actually lower than most people think. You only have to announce your protest to the appropriate authority (which differs by location) until two days before the fact (§14 (1) VersG). You don’t have to wait for a permit (Art. 8 (1) GG) and, as I will explain later, the authority can only ban you in very few contexts. All it takes is to drop a letter into the letter box of the police station or into that of whatever the appropriate local authority is. Alternatively, one can send either a fax or an email, or make a phone call. The registration must only include your name, the cause, the time and date, the crowd size you personally take responsibility for (can be yourself, i.e. one ), materials (loudspeakers, banners …) and the venue. In case you take responsibility for a larger crowd, you may also name helpers that make sure people follow general laws. If you only register your family and a couple of friends, even that is not necessary. It might be strategically conducive for more and more people to formally register protests even if a registration is made by almost every participant. It gives less legal ground for the authorities to counter your ambition.
The actual reason why people might hesitate to register their protests might be the justified mistrust of our authorities. It makes people uncomfortable to operate politically. Out of fear more and more people would prefer to be anonymous entirely, cover their faces and hide their traces online. However, protests are registered locally and there are boatloads of rules in place that prohibit an aggregation of data across government bodies.
Which authority can ban protests differs locally and is referred to in the law as ‘the responsible office’ (die zuständige Behörde). The grounds on which they may do so in advance differ from those on which the police may disperse an existing one. A ban can be justified by a threat to the public ‘safety and order’ (§15 (1) VersG), a venue being a memorial for Nazi victims ( §15 (2) VersG ) or an absence of registration ( §15 (3) VersG ). The police can, of course, also end a protest when it gets violent ( §13 (1) 2 VersG ). Additionally, they can do that when people with weapons are not removed from the crowd ( §13 (1) 3 VersG ), when the leader/organiser (usually the person who registered the protest) tries to abolish the free democratic order or belongs to a banned political party or outlawed group. Outside of the leader/organiser provision, the event can only be ended when other police interventions, including temporary pauses, have failed (§13 (1) S2 VersG). The law does not give the right to end an unregistered protest to the police. Instead, the ‘responsible office’ comes to ban an ongoing process (it’s §15 (3) VersG) and the police acts on that order.
Freedom of assembly is a basic human right without which a people cannot govern itself. In German law there are five conditions the government must meet in order to curtail human rights. They are colloquially called the ‘limits -limits’ (German: Schranken-Schranken) because they limit the government in its power to limit the exercise of a citizen’s rights. The first is the ‘law requirement’ (Bestimmtheitsgrundsatz). Any restrictions of a human right must explicitly be based on a law passed by parliament. A second limits-limit demands that an order to that effect must transparently quote said laws (citation obligation, Zitiergebot). Many newspaper articles quote a fear of the authorities that corona infection regulations are violated. This is supposedly one of the motivation for the protest bans. But the assembly law does not allow the government to ban assemblies based on diseases. The best match in the law would be §13 (1) 4 VersG which allows a ban based on criminal behavior or misdemeanors. Those misdemeanors must, however, be a significant disturbance since the third limis-limit is the ‘proportionality principle’ (Verhältnismäßigkeitsgebot). Your human rights are not supposed to be taken away from you upon dropping a chewing gum on the pavement or breathing outdoors without a mask. A fourth limits-limit is the prohibition of a law to target individual cases. The parliament can pass the competence to an executing body which may specify directives and orders more specific to the cases at hand. Essential is, however, the last limits-limit which calls for the protection of a right’s core (Wesensgehaltsgarantie). While a right may be compromised, it may not be taken away entirely. The right of possession, for example, can be compromised by a fine or through taxation, but you remain entitled to accumulate a property of your own. Likewise, protest bans must ensure that the citizens can protest their cause otherwise (different date, place, or in keeping of different regulations). A cause of a protest must not be banned as long as it does not violate the free democratic fundamental order of the republic (freiheitlich demokratische Grundordnung).
Many of the mentioned concepts are fuzzy enough to require a clarification by precedents. And the go-to-case to check whether protest bans are legitimate is the Supreme-Court verdict on the anti-nuclear-power protests in Brokdorf, a municipality in Northern Germany (state of Schleswig-Holstein).
Since that verdict in 1985 the assembly-ban law (§15 VersG) has changed in 1999 and in 2005. The changes don’t touch anything the Brokdorf ruling clarified. In 1999, it became more difficult to ban protests in the area around the federal government buildings in Berlin and in 2005 the mentioned Nazi-victim-memorial ban was included. The law on which the police can disperse an existing protest ( §13 VersG) has not changed at all.
When the planning of the march against the construction of the nuclear power station in Brokdorf was completed, the county administration (Landrat) preempted its registration for the envisioned period from February 27 th to March 1 st, 1985, with a ban. The organisers filed a formal complaint (Widerspruch), which was only formally rejected after the fact in summer. The protest went ahead, anyway. So this precedent clarifies something that looked already clear in the law. As I mentioned above the law says clearly that a protest can be banned when it’s not registered. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the right to protest is so important that a lack of registration does not suffice. Additionally, the community council (Landrat) argued at the court that the protest would have been banned with or without registration. The reason the authorities feared a march on and in Brokdorf was that leaflets openly called for violence and previous nuclear movement protests turned violent regularly, both at the same site, but also on the construction sites of other nuclear power stations, reprocessing plants, or waste rod deposits.
The worst incident was four years prior. On March 19th , 1977, the aptly called ‘Battle of Grohnde’ spiraled out of control. With 1040 injured (800 participants and 240 police officers) the demonstration against the construction of the nuclear power station in Grohnde was the most violent protest in post-war German history at the time. With that in mind, the authorities had every reason to fear the protest. And they were right. 3,000 rioters threw stones and Molotov cocktails. Yet, as you know by now, the Supreme Court decided that the ban was unlawful.
The related term that needs clarification is ‘safety and order’ (Sicherheit und Ordnung). This word pair has a long legal tradition and remains weakly defined. The general understanding is that laws are kept and nobody harasses uninvolved individual by either noise, traffic blockade or by any other means. The Brokdorf incident involved said 3,000 well-organised rioters and a 1,000 individuals stormed the property of the company. A police officer who stumbled and fell to the ground was beaten on the head by two men with a club and a spate.
There have also been minor brawls around the street walks, but nothing that comes close to that scale. It would have made national news, probably international news, if we talked about a comparable magnitude.
The authorities don’t fear rioting. They say that they fear the violation of Covid rules during the protests. The assembly law explained above does not contain the rights of any ‘responsible office’ or the police to ban or end a protest on the ostensible basis of disease control. The case for that is extremely weak since, at worst, gatherings can be dissolved for misdemeanors. But as the Brokdorf verdict showed those must be very grave and even violence and property damage – as long as it is only committed by a comparatively small fraction of the participants – would not allow the police to end a march.
I found an order of the town Ostfildern which is likely to be typical of many other bans justified with infection risk excuses. The order of the town is based on an administrative order of its state – in this case the state of Baden-Württemberg. The latter is named ‘Corona order of the state of Baden-Württemberg ’(Corona-Verordnung des Landes Baden-Württemberg). And this order refers to a federal law because – as you know by now – restrictions of human rights require a law. And that law is §§28 – 32 IfSG.
Unsurprisingly, the law does not speak about dissolving a protest at all. The closest to it is the line §28 (1) S. 2 IfSG which allows to end events and gatherings of whatever kind if there is a presence of one or more highly infectious individuals. That law is about epidemics in general and was written for deceases like the bubonic plague or smallpox. It even mentions an infectious corpse (‘ein Verstorbener’) as a reason to clear gatherings or to ban people from a place. Covid is not a drop-dead disease that requires hysterical intervention.
The flood of annoying regulations that are put in place whenever a protest gathers finds its closest justification in the law §28a IfSG. That section, however, requires an ‘epidemic situation of national significance’ (epidemischen Lage von nationaler Tragweite). That sounds like a match, but the legal expression is very specific and the parliament has formally ended the ‘epidemic situation of national significance.’ The official end was the 25th November last year, but the instruments justified by it may persist until 19th March this year. This could theoretically be extended once (by a majority vote of the parliament Bundestag) for a period of another three months (19th June). In the meantime local authorities can randomly impose all kind of restrictions as they see fit. And some, like the City of Ulm abuse that legal construct to mandate masks outdoors in the time slots when they expect protesters. In the City of Frankfurt (am Main) the police used yardsticks to measure the distance between participants.
The reason why the police can go full draconian on enforcing dubious procedures is §5 (1) No 4 VersG . The ‘responsible office’ may ban assemblies only under a few conditions and one of them is that the ‘organiser or his surroundings may hold views or condone speech that include crimes or other misdemeanors enforced by authorities.’ Unfortunately, the German original is grammatically as dubious as my translation. What I translate with ‘include’ (original: zum Gegenstand haben) is a weasel expression that can broadly mean anything and everything. I could have translated it with ‘that have to do with crime and misdemeanors.’ In the light of multiple anti-speech laws, the views and words themselves could be illegal, or they could be broadly on a topic of a crime (e.g. what penalty would be appropriate) or they could condone crimes and misdemeanors committed by the protesters. The last one of my interpretations is apparently the reason why the police is excessively checking up on potential misdemeanors that otherwise – for example, at the gay pride march – were not an issue. The interpretation that broadly the organizers’ views or speech must not deal with misdemeanors or crimes in any capacity makes the section so universally applicable that it could ban any protest against any prohibition independent of Covid. A protest that asks for prohibitions that don’t yet exist like the marches to ban the construction of nuclear power stations or Fridays for Future does not ‘deal with’ a crime or misdemeanor. Yet all protests for freedom could conveniently be dissolved by the government because they ‘deal with’ an existing prohibitive rule. As far as I know, this is not the way the sentence materialises in actual court cases. The most sound interpretation is probably in use which is that the views and speech must condone rioting or comparable offenses in order to justify a protest ban.
The Brokdorf Supreme Court verdict says that the right of the police to wrap up a march is proportionate to the unwillingness of the participants to cooperate. It commands both sides, the protesters and the police (and other government entities), to be as cooperative as possible. In Section Rn 21 the verdict lists as a behavior that should be avoided ‘police operations that appear unnecessary, exaggerated or incomprehensible.’ And while the disease control law does not specify what restrictions a local authority can place on a time and location, keeping distance or wearing masks outdoors are obviously policies that are only in place for the sake of harassment as they are not enforced elsewhere. This undermines the credibility of the police and puts it at odds with the cooperation mandate of the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, both sides have to show cooperativeness. The municipalities issue statement after statement to say that registrations are required and protests without them could carry a fine of up to 3,000 EUR (e.g. Munich). One way to deal with this – if you are in the money – is to pick the bill and run with it through the court circuit to (possibly) shoot the way free for others. Brokdorf was unregistered and banned. Another option is that more and more people drop a registration into the respective post boxes two days in advance. Showing cooperativeness increases the chances of a successful lawsuit against the authorities, should they crack down.
Hamburg Protests Saw 11,500 Protesters
In multiple cities people protested against covid policies. The largest crowed turned up in Hamburg where 11,500 people gathered to make themselves heard.
10 Ways The Western World Must Reform
We live in a time of multiple crises, some of which particularly the economic crisis will exacerbate a lot very soon. All of them are based on one or the other strand of mass madness. And like all mental disorders their discussion and analysis is a crucial part of the healing process. Unfortunately, our problems are entrenched in so many societal structures right now that we also have to reflect our goals. The following ten proposals are not a comprehensive agenda. They are just some bottleneck issues that must be addressed.
1 Open communication channels!
1.1. Break-up legacy media
Public broadcasters should be disbanded. All of their assets should be sold off or rented out (including frequencies and licenses). The public hand should neither cross finance any corporate media outlets. Government agencies must not advertise in any publication. They have websites and social media at their disposal. If government has any role in mainstream media at all, it is to enforce anti-trust provisions and the dissolution of speech monopolies.
1.2. Only users can block and filter other users on social media
Social media platforms above a certain threshold of users must provide an interface that allows post-response notifications across platforms. The US Congress must pass a law to force platforms of a given size to accommodate notifications of and links to post replies written on other platforms above a certain threshold of users. This is the only way a fair social-media market place can be established in which providers compete on the merits of technology, service and flavor. Users only can set filters and ban users to reduce spamming. Platforms can delete accounts and provide intelligent filter services for their users, but they cannot exclude individuals from online communication altogether. They can delete accounts to counter bots, but they cannot delete all accounts across platforms and take away people’s ability to speak.
1.3. Americanize speech laws
Speech finds its limits in
– privacy violations (including disregard for military and corporate secrets)
– indecent imagery (such as pornography)
People have a right to judge, like and dislike whatever they want and they have an unfettered right make their own conclusions about publicly available information. There should be no viewpoint discrimination.
2 Defund interest groups!
A good many of so-called Non-Government Organizations are government-funded. Through foreign aid, intransparent “projects” and state-run slush funds like ‘Demokratie leben’, ‘All-Russian People’s Front’ or ‘Belaya Rus’ the money circles from “charity” to “charity.” Government funding must go into transparent action only. The state should not act through third parties. Organizations that raise donations should be banned from giving money to other organizations that live from donations.
3 Whittle down the deep state-run!
As the Afghanistan war showed a substantial portion of military and intelligence agencies are dysfunctional. They were not only incapable of teaching Afghan forces how to fight and what to fight for, but also unwilling to report back to decision makers and the wider public, the sovereign, that the war does nothing but fill the pockets of NGOs. While Westerners believe “nation building” failed, something was built, but unfortunately it is best represented by the George Floyd mural, the Kabul university gender studies program and the bank accounts of the so-called “charities.”
Meanwhile military and intelligence services are replacing meritocracy with affirmative action and ideology in their own ranks. Those forces who seek to upend our security and disrupt our defense must be purged before they purge us. And they are in the process of removing citizens from access to arms and from positions inside the forces, with Q-Anon allegations or vaccine mandates. Everybody who is a citizen and not just a subject is treated like a potential risk that must be eliminated. We need forces and a secret services who are single-minded on actual defense.
A clear focus is of paramount importance at inland secret services. They are not supposed to spy on their own citizens (who are not active on behalf of foreign powers). The actual task of secret services are:
– foil attacks
– gather information on hostile powers
– detect and end espionage from hostile powers
Any other activity should be stopped. If more heterodox activities follow, a parliamentary disciplinary committee has to investigate the matter and punish the officials who solicited them.
4 Formation of a citizenship and a minimal social contract
The right of the citizen not to be surveilled and controlled is essential to avoid a totalitarian dictatorship. While secret services must look into the actions of people who seek to set bombs or steal vital military information, the citizen must be protected. There must be a clear distinction between the rights of a citizen and the rights of a guest (who might act on behalf of a foreign power). Likewise our entire legal system serves the purpose of forfeiting arbitrary rule. It is designed as a shield of the citizen against the powerful. It is not supposed to be DDOSed by floods of wannabe immigrants. Neither is its purpose to rework laws from the court benches.
The citizenry has to reassure what we must share. We must share a minimal consensus on how we govern ourselves. Our rights and institutions serve the purpose of protecting us from repercussions while we as individuals can organize majorities in our interests. This is the bottleneck. Whatever else is important to you, you may organize a majority for it, but first make sure that you and others remain able to organize majorities.
5 Delimit the boundary of the government!
Unlike private citizens state entities are bound to limitations in order for them not to accumulate tyrannical power. But what if the king just rents the torture chamber or merely buys torturing services? American law provides that any entity paid by the government must be limited by the same constitutional restrictions as the government itself. This should be the norm across all the Western world. Moreover, the state should act as little as possible through third parties and thus remain accountable and transparent. Merely calling some group ‘independent’ does not make it so.
The state should not act as an arbiter who decides what interest groups get advanced and which ones are set back, who are the “good” activists and who are the “bad” lobbyists. Therefore we must remove tax-exempted status or tax-privileges for groups with a certain number of employees or with an income above a certain threshold. The playing field must be leveled.
6 Make government accountable!
Elections are a human resources procedure. The sovereign chooses representatives who are going to work for them for a term. Like a business owner the voter does not have a real interest in a candidate’s affiliations and group memberships. He needs a skillful person capable of carrying out certain tasks in his job assignment. Most of the talk in the media is not to enlighten the public, but to obfuscate this basic reality. Irrelevant quotes, sightings with an “unperson” and group memberships are talking points that allow powerful circles to exclude competition. Candidates are supposed to be shunned on those grounds. This is possible because power elites rely on the uninformed voters. And there are a lot of tricks to usher exactly that electorate to the voting booths: multiple language ballots for people who don’t even know what the candidates said, party names and initials on the ballots to ensure that people don’t have to remember the names of the people they hire, lowering voting age, expanding election days to long periods to “harvest” the senile elderly and the utterly disinterested, printing images of the candidates on the ballots (Russia) for voters who remember neither names nor party names … So my rabble rousing proposal would be: Nothing but public offices and the names of the candidates on the ballots. Every position is voted independently from other election choices. Not taking part in the human resource procedure for this or that decision should not be seen as a shame. Voting should be left to the people who care about the results and being voted by 25 people who care grants more legitimacy than being voted by 25,000 who don’t care. We must learn humility.
Public offices are seats in the parliament or local mayors, of course, but it is worthwhile to rethink what powerful position in your community in your country could become an electable office: police district chiefs, leading judges, leading attorneys (attorney general) and others. Some of the most important positions that are not yet directly electable are the ministers. Maybe we can grant parliament the right to form and disband ministries, but reserve the right to elect their leaders directly.
Constitutional judges (supreme courts) are bound to interpret whether some government actions violates the letter of the constitution. They are not supposed to read ambitions in writings the writers of which most certainly did not mean to write (abortion, gay marriage, public broadcasting funding, climate targets …).
The hierarchies of government, from local to national, must be separated. In order to stop the upstream transfer of power all levels need to finance their ambitions and tax their residence on their own. The national tax collection office holds in confidentiality the relevant data on individual and corporate income and (maybe) their property (balance sheets), but communities, counties, states and nations should each be able to decide what taxes they want to raise on what basis. The tax collection office should carry out the taxation as a service and invoices the parliaments in question.
7 Term limits
Power is networking and absolute power corrupts absolutely. For a system to corrupt it needs little more than people knowing each other, become chummy over time and eventually trade favors. This can only be helped when positions are held for short periods of time only. For a leadership position in the executive branch two terms should suffice. Each parliamentarian should not remain longer than three terms in one parliament. A term should not exceed five years.
8 Government should not finance political parties!
While the left complains about ‘campaign finances’ and how expensive elections are and how money talks, they usually mean to say that they want the German system. Election campaigns in Germany are largely message-free portrait photo posters and a few TV commercials in between. And the reason is the learned helplessness. How to collect money from supporters, how to organize money raising events, how to organize PACs to support promising candidates, those are all skill that have not been learned. Finding no organizational structures and cultural support outsiders have a hard time to make it into parliament. That is because those who are already in power hand taxpayer-money to each other based on the number of seats established parties had won in previous elections. An entire system of party offices have emerged and the height of democratic intuition in Germany is to demand a ‘separation of party office and public office’ (German: Trennung von Amt und Mandat) because having both is just too much power at once. The English speakers among you will probably scratch their heads right now: ‘What the heck are party offices? What are they doing?’ And the answer is: ‘Receive tax-payer money. That’s what they are doing.’
Politicians must be required to raise funds on their own. Their salaries should also be linked to the income average of the residents in their constituency. There should be no extra payments except for the most essential expenses an MP can be expected to have to serve his duties.
9 Subsidies should be limited to military purposes only!
Subsidies are a distortion of the market, one company gets funds that a competitor does not get, one product is privileged over another. The reason why the government tweaks and twists the market in the fashion from time to time is because it must protect the most strategic, bottleneck resources and facilities like energy, ports and weaponry. Everything else is economic planning by incompetent bureaucrats and destined for failure. We must watch all the stated ambitions with more scrutiny.
10 Supranational government bodies must be cut back!
As a rule of thumb power must be controlled the most the more people an institution governs. Unfortunately, we see the opposite. NATO, European Union, Council of Europe and the various bodies of the United Nations have amassed unprecedented powers. They should shed responsibilities while opening some of their positions to elections. The European Union is a special case because the corruption as reached a level that led to a complete debasement of the ruling bureaucrats. Its narrative is that if you do not support everything they do and every of their organizational arrangements, you risk war. It makes every citizen a potential threat of life as such. The narrative also includes that before the European Union, its nations were fighting each other. The EU was founded in 1992, but don’t let that get into the way of a dangerous end-times cult. Before us there was darkness, with us there is light.
Unlike the other organizations who can be reformed, the European Union has reached a level of derangement that can only be helped with its disbandment and its replacement with a more light-weight form of cooperation.
Queer Games Played on Hungary
Last week Hungary passed a law supposed to restrict the exposure of LGBT lobby material to children. It’s application is largely public schools, but Bertelsmann’s TV channel RTL Klub warns already that they were perportedly so scared that they could shift the program schedules of classics such as Harry Potter(?!?) or the sitcom ‘Friends.’
As a reaction the stadion in Munich was planned to be lit in protest garish. Tonight Mayor Dieter Reiter wanted to project the rainbow flag on the hall where the soccer match between the multicultural German team and the brute, yet to be enlightened Huns, eh, Hungarians takes place. That plan was scrapped. The organizer UEFA declined. A first and silent attempt to fight back against the constant politicization of everything all the time.
Children’s Book Publisher Carlsen Kowtows To China
A Chinese newspaper („Chinesische Handelszeitung“) with a focus on news around German-speaking countries has found mission and purpose in being offended by a children’s book. It contained the “racist” statement that the Covid-19 virus came out of China. The outrage errupted in protest letters that denounced the “disinformation” and demanded an apology. The Chinese ambassador’s envoy for the city of Hamburg got involved. A manual how to protest German companies appeared on WeChat. Yet, publisher Carlsen stood the ground … no, of course, they didn’t. They promised to change the book and to destroy all printed copies that have not yet been sold.
Corona Policy Protest Banned – ZEIT Columnist Christian Bangel Cheers
It was announced today that an anti-corona policy protest, which was to take place the coming Saturday, was banned. The happening was scheduled to draw a crowed of around 20,000 demonstrators. But worse than the ban itself is the overall contempt of our elites that is echoed in the cheering of ZEIT columnist Christian Bangel. He celebrates the ban with an article titled ‘New Toughness’ (German: Neue Haerte).
Extinction Rebellion Protested Various Airports Across The Country
Today, a number of planes have been delayed by the activist group “Extinction Rebellion.” They climbed onto the property, chained themselves up, used glue, unfolded a banner and gave stupid speeches. I show you the footage of two of their sermons and give my two cents.
What The Farmer Protests Are About
The peasants are out to protest the new flurry of prohibitions from Berlin and Brussels. The protests were already going on for weeks. I run through the demands and explain how a subsidized industry becomes too pussified to confront their opponents as vigorously as the situation demands. Instead they watch how their work is made unproductive on purpose and wonder why in the world they even get up early in the morning.
The demands in the German original:
The Pattern Counter-Protest Foiling Original Protest
Last Saturday Generation Identity was stopped from protesting. A car was burned, a smoke grenade thrown and the police is investigating at least one case of bodily harm. Outside of that the counter-protesters also achieved that the group of about 200 could not walk the streets. They did not even come together. One of the attendants who was stranded at the trainstation was Martin Sellner, the husband of Brittany Pettibone. Sit-ins, strategically placed bikes and human chains blocked the streets. This is not a rare occurence. As far as I can remember we have been normalized to counter-protests stopping the original protests from speaking.