- Category: Federations
- Published on Monday, 15 October 2012 14:59
- Written by Föderation deutschsprachiger Anarchist*innen (FdA)
- Hits: 1333
Uprisings in Germany
To begin with, we would like to note that we have deliberately bracketed some protest movements out of the discussion (such as the struggles of civil society, or those aiming for an increased citizen participation or political transparency).
Not least because of the lack of rebellious uprisings here and language barriers (concerning what is happening in Greece, Russia, North Africa), we would hope that other federations might provide the necessary analyses of uprisings of this kind.
The reasons there are virtually no insurgent uprisings in Germany are, in our opinion, diverse in nature. Essentially, they can be divided into four interrelated areas, namely:
A) Economic reasons
The crisis in Germany did not have the same dramatic impact as it had elsewhere, which is mainly due to the (privileged) economic situation
Anti-crisis measures (Agenda 2010) have already been implemented under the SPD government before the crisis
The economic changes here tended to be gradual (erosion) processes (privatization, increased flexibility, expansion of precarious employment, tax policy)
B) Historical reasons
In Germany, uprisings/revolutions from below have no tradition
Improvements were never successfully fought for; rather, they were implemented from the top down as a means of pacification
Radical movements have always been frowned upon, and they have been criminalised as a 'danger' to individuals and the government, and as 'extremist positions'
C) Political and social reasons
Lack of radicalising actors within the civil/social democratic spectrum (i.e. radical trade unions or radical initiatives from political parties)
Social pact between unions and companies within a legal framework
Society has already achieved a high degree of individualization, which has led to alienation and a significant loss of solidarity (at the local level, but also in terms of nature, production, etc.)
Media influence (e.g. in Germany the BILD newspaper, which is estimated to reach about 17.9% of people over 14)
D) Sociocultural reasons
'Proper functioning' as the basis for all actions. Failures are perceived as a personal insufficiency (e.g. burnout as a private problem, not as a result of (working society)
A culture of scapegoating that often leads to certain groups of people being blamed (e.g. the Greeks, the bankers, the Muslims), so that the Germans' own government is not responsible and individuals do not have to act
The regard of others are very important – combined with a mentality that seeks to avoid being the victim, hoping instead that someone else falls victim
In the context of the drab culture of everyday life that facilitates personal "invisibility," every outbreak (including emotional ones) becomes a cause for shame, embarrassment, and is something that "is simply not done" Widespread deference to authority/subservience/confidence in or lack of questioning of the decisions of elites ("Prussian mentality")
There is a vague awareness of the problem of ungratifying work and social life, but there are no readily visible ways to act against this Fear of social descent despite the lack of extreme poverty (compared to other countries, including those in Europe): in this sense, a rather irrational fear
Poverty counts as a stigma (e.g. in the form of looking down on Hartz-IV recipients), which can be a barrier that keeps people from identifying with a precarious situation (even if one finds oneself in this situation)
The feeling of powerlessness (combined with the widespread expectation that you can only express criticism within a legal framework)
The belief in authorities is strongly enforced by the state school system (school as a sphere between individual support and the education of a functional object within mainstream society)
We do not think that the present moment offers a foundation for an insurrectionist uprising in Germany. We do not think that attempts to promote such ideas through a 'rebellious politics' are very fruitful; on the contrary, they could be fatal, as there is a pronounced concern about what shape such a rebellion might take in the given context (namely in the absence of libertarian structures). We consider it likely that this would tend to go into a conservative-reactionary direction. This does not in itself constitute a fundamental rejection of insurgent politics under more suitable conditions.
Perspectives of anarchist politics in Germany
We hope for the intensification and expansion of libertarian activity in three (parallel and mutually contingent) ways:
Libertarian propaganda in the sense of a change in consciousness in society or in the positions of individuals.
The building of libertarian structures that include both the political arena (in the form of libertarian federations) and other sectors of society (economic, cultural, etc.)
Promotion of and intervention in social conflicts (in the libertarian sense), e.g. in the form of labour struggles, action in areas such as refugee work, animal rights, anti-nuclear activism, etc., and of course the active promotion of libertarian topics and perspectives.
We maintain the clear goal of achieving an anarchist society. And although we view a total societal transformation as unlikely at the present moment, we are open to surprises.