Instead of striking, 221 bus drivers of the public transport company of the German state of Saarland joined laste year a party [translator’s note: the left party Die Linke of Oscar Lafontaine] to prevent looming privatisation. The workers at Schaeffler and Porsche cried tears of gratitude for their capital owners, instead of sending them packing. At the same time many Germans adore the economics minister Guttenberg, thinking he is something special. Why is their perspective so petit bourgeois and meekly submissive?
Baron Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph, Otto, Sylvester von und zu Guttenberg, more commonly known as Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, is the offspring of a famous family of the Bavarian aristocracy (his great-great-uncle Karl Ludwig was assassinated by the Gestapo on the night of 23 April 1945 and his namesake and grandfather Karl Theodor was a military opponent of national socialism and co-founder of the CSU, who stood out with his opposition to the Ostpolitik – the policy of opening toward the socialist countries - of Willy Brandt) and general secretary of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) – the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats; at age 37 he became the youngest minister for economics and technology in Germany. He was appointed to this post by Angela Merkel in February 2009.(Tlaxcala)
Sometimes it almost does not seem to matter who caused the world economic crisis – the main thing is that the perpetrators and the administrators of misery have good manners. The bourgeoisie picks pre-democratic bits from “aristocratic culture” (rituals, manners, upbringing, militarist stuff) for the production of their own “elite”.
Almost 90 per cent of people in Germany (as reported by the public service broadcasting station ARD’s evening news programme Tagesschau on 6 August 2009) think that as a result of the world economic crisis their social situation will deteriorate and that the banks will continue with business as usual. And all these millions of people are saying: “There is nothing we can do.” Millions – who are not willing. One would have to fight, find out and organise. So it is more convenient to gripe, to moan and to wait for … what? The coming of a Führer?
To keep people from protesting in order to liberate themselves from the existing conditions, the poison of nationalism is brought up. This is supposed to suppress the thought that these conditions deserve to be opposed. But we do not sit “in the same boat”, some are drowning in the sea or toiling in the engine room and the others are residing in the penthouse of the shipping company. So what is needed is a mutiny.
The poison of nationalism in Germany is always aggressive. It is usually injected when capitalism is under threat. Then the ideology of the “national community with a common destiny” emerges and before you know it – have you not noticed? – there are no more social classes and no international solidarity. There is an assumption that the capitalist German state, of all things, is a caring institution, committed to the wellbeing of all Germans, in particular the weakest of them. The unemployed worker in England, the migrant worker in China, the trade unionist in Venezuela, the revolting youth in Greece – all of a sudden, they seem to move far away. To the German intoxicated with nationalism the German capitalist seems closer than a person in a similar social situation who, as the luck of birth would have it, grew up in a different part of the world.
And what will the meek subject receive in return for his submission? He is promised ostensible protection: “from major disasters, from strangers, from changes and other ‘security’ problems. Genuinely precious basic values like social equality of all humans; freedom from exploitation, humiliation, racism, anti-Semitism and sexism; solidarity across all national borders and a comprehensive emancipation of society are never offered by the nation; especially not the German nation, which does not even recognise a right to resistance. (see my book Zeit des Zorns [A time for wrath], pp. 219/202)
Who will they direct their rage at when they find out that all their submission is useless? Some people destroy themselves. But others are easily agitated against more socially disadvantaged people.
“The attorney general of Hesse, Fritz Bauer, to whom we owe the fact that the Auschwitz trials (1963-1965) took place, pointed out shortly before his death in July 1968 that humans have a fundamental right of resistance, directed against the state and the authorities. […] For Bauer the contrast between Germany and France was palpable: ‘France had its revolution. It avowed itself to human rights. They included the right to resistance. In Germany it was different. In the wake of the authoritarian state, the German philosophers did away with the right of resistance of millennia.’ Bauer cites Kant, who does not allow the subject any measure of resistance, no matter what crimes the state commits to cause people unhappiness. ‘Kant’s words, which are very similar to what Hegel, […] Treitschke und many others have said, are the mirror image of the social reality in Germany.’” (Zeit des Zorns [A time for wrath], P. 214)
Isn’t it nice that there are many people who escape from this distorted reality?
Source: www.jutta-ditfurth.de and Verlagsgruppe Dromer Knaur - Guttenberg oder wie kleinbürgerlich-untertänig sind die Deutschen?
This article is a contribution to the debate on the book ZEIT DES ZORNS. Streitschrift für eine gerechte Gesellschaft, [A time for wrath], Droemer Verlag, EUR (D) 16,95, EUR (A) 17,50, sFr 29,90, ISBN: 978-3-426-27504-7. © Jutta Ditfurth
Original article published on Aug. 10, 2009
About the author
Susanne Schuster and Machetera are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the sources, author, translator and reviser are cited.
URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8367&lg=en