The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Punishing the Innocent

Posted by rantingkraut on May 2, 2006

Back in March I commented on the German state prosecuting anti-fascist protestors using the swastika in a clearly recognisable anti-fascist message. What looked like an amusing if dodgy one-off occurrence then has now been shown to be part of a systematic policy.
Several anti-fascists have been prosecuted for similar reasons and one activist running a mail order company selling anti-fascist paraphernalia had his office and flat raided by police as well as having €10,000 (approx. £6,000) worth of stock confiscated.
The German weekly der Spiegel also reported, that the prosecutor in charge openly stated that he knew that he was punishing innocent victims, but hoped to get a useful legal precedent by doing so. Another alleged motive is that people could get too used to that symbol. This is an interesting motive: the state is not concerned about the swastika helping diehard Nazis to re-group, it is concerned about weak German minds getting confronted with a logo they can’t handle!
If anything, this shows the consequences of having a politicised judiciary –even in a democracy: the prosecutor obviously doesn’t mind driving small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy if only their political objective is achieved. There is no concern that punishment should –at least in theory—be reserved for actual offenders whenever possible. It also shows that once the state takes it upon itself to authorize some worldviews and proscribe others, statements of opinion will eventually need prior authorization –if only in the form of a ‘clarifying precedent’.
If these were only strange tales from some continental European Hinterland there might be no reason to worry back here in the UK. Those aware of recent Blairite efforts at passing various types of ‘thought crime’ legislation should by now be seeing which way things are going in Britain. As they say in Germany: wehret den Anfängen -it is never to early to fight back.

(Source: Roland Maier-Leliveldt “Wir wissen, dass wir die Falschen bestrafen” Der Spiegel-Online, 28 April 2006)

One Response to “Punishing the Innocent”

  1. clausi from germany ;D said

    hey, i´m a 15 year old student from germany.
    a lot of my clothes are from “nix gut”, the mailorder which was punished by the german state. our politicians are to silly to make a right decision
    my friends and me are wearing this symbols the politicions dont want to be weared. what makes us really angry is that our school wanted to ban this symblos from school,because we “punks” have a “bad influence” to the other pupils! is this right? we don´t think so!
    so, thanks for writing this articel, so that people in your country know what the german politicians do.
    and at least:”Wir lassen uns das DAGEGENSEIN nicht verbieten!” (“we don´t let us forbid to be against!”)

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