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)
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