German Interior Minister Faeser wants to fight climate change activists “with all her might”

While right-wing extremist terrorist networks operate unhindered in Germany’s state apparatus and are covered up by the highest authorities, federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (Social Democrats) has called for a fight against alleged “left-wing extremists” and young climate change activists. The occasion for her remarks was a peaceful protest at the Port of Hamburg last Saturday, which was brutally attacked by the police.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) [Photo by Olaf Kosinsky / CC BY-SA 4.0]

On Sunday, Faeser then explained in the Bild am Sonntag: “We are alarmed by the attempt by left-wing extremists to instrumentalize climate change protests.” It was a matter of “combating them with all our might.”

“We must be prepared for possible attacks on gas terminals and other critical infrastructure,” declared the Interior Minister.

In order to organize the fight against the climate change activists as well as to fight against an alleged “massive disinformation campaign by Russia” and other “dangers,” the Interior Minister announced 1,000 new posts for the Federal Police. In the coming years, an additional €20 billion will be spent on cybersecurity alone. The police and secret services have already been massively upgraded.

Alleged attacks by “left-wing extremists” on gas terminals are fictitious. On Friday, climate change activists only briefly occupied the construction site of an LNG terminal in Ludwigshafen symbolically. On Saturday, around 2000 mostly young climate activists demonstrated around the Port of Hamburg and symbolically blocked rail access to protest against the expansion of fossil fuel production, rising energy prices and the exploitation of the global South.

While the demonstrators limited themselves to civil disobedience and did not use violence, the police used brutal methods against the activists. During a blockade at the Kattwyk Bridge, the police used batons, water cannon and pepper spray against the demonstrators. Ambulances were reportedly called out to another police blockade because the police deliberately prevented the activists from being supplied with water despite the high temperatures.

The state apparatus’s crackdown against climate activists is not surprising. The group “Ende Gelände,” (End of the Road) which co-organised the weekend's protests, was already included as a left-wing extremist organisation in a May 2020 report from the Berlin secret service—which is overseen by the Social Democrat/Green Party/Left Party coalition state government—and thus subjected to state surveillance.

Even at that time, the authorities justified the move due to alleged “left-wing extremist activities” by the group, which uses civil disobedience tactics, classifies “police measures, on the other hand, as ‘repression,’” links climate protection with the “subject areas of anti-capitalism and anti-fascism,” and tries to “capture and radicalize the—mostly young—climate change experts.” The secret service thus puts under surveillance anyone who understands global warming as a consequence of capitalism and opposes the growing danger of fascism.

Faeser not only supports this line of argumentation when she slanders the climate activists as “left-wing extremists” and blusters about alleged left-wing terrorist attacks. She also justified the brutal police intervention in Hamburg and announced that the young climate change opponents would be fought by the police and secret services “with all their might.”

Faeser’s position makes clear that the promise in her January 12 inaugural speech to combat right-wing extremism with “special priority” was nothing but empty chatter. In fact, all neo-Nazi networks in the police, army and intelligence services remain intact and are covered up by the highest levels of the state. While right-wing terrorists such as those behind the Hanau massacre or the assassination of Christian Democrat politician Walter Lübcke regularly murder migrants and dissidents, the Minister of the Interior declares climate change activists the target of the state apparatus.

This is not primarily about the climate change protests. Faeser's tirade is a declaration of war against the working class. The proxy war waged by Germany and the other NATO powers on the backs of the Ukrainian people against Russia is rejected by a broad majority, especially among workers. With horrendous inflation and the gas surcharge, the costs of the war and armament are to be passed on to the population.

The same nurses who have spent the last two-and-a-half years in the most difficult conditions in hospitals whose budgets were cut to the bone are now to receive real wage cuts of ten percent and more. Workers in the car industry are facing mass layoffs, plant closures and wage robbery. A social explosion is developing, which is coinciding with the rejection of war. Faeser's campaign against “left-wing extremism” is directed against this mass opposition.

The Interior Minister’s action underlines the importance of the constitutional complaint filed by the Socialist Equality Party (SGP) against Faeser's ministry and the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), Germany’s secret service. The party is combating its surveillance by the intelligence agencies and its naming as “left-wing extremist” in the secret service’s report.

The Interior Ministry justified the surveillance of the SGP by noting that the party advocates “for an egalitarian, democratic and socialist society” and speaks out “against alleged ‘imperialism’ and ‘militarism.’” The Berlin Administrative Court supported this anti-democratic argument and even declared any criticism of the army and secret services to be undemocratic and anti-constitutional.

Regarding the significance of its constitutional complaint against this authoritarian argumentation, the SGP declared: “In the face of the proxy war that the German government is waging against Russia, the most extensive rearmament since Hitler, and ferocious attacks on workers through galloping inflation, wage theft and mass layoffs, the aim is to silence anyone who speaks out against this aggressive class policy or even calls it by its name.

“If the Supreme Court follows the government and the ruling in the lower court, it will be a step towards dictatorship. Every strike by workers, every protest against rearmament and every demonstration against the far-right could be banned as anti-constitutional. The ruling against the SGP has already been applied almost verbatim in a court decision against the left-wing daily junge Welt.”

The Interior Ministry is now taking action against peaceful climate change protests and using the term “left-wing extremism” to criminalise young activists. The SGP strongly rejects this attack on democratic rights and defends the climate change protests against state attacks. The SGP calls on all readers to support the constitutional complaint today by signing our petition on Change.org.