On Wednesday, Greta Thunberg was lugged off by riot cops. A perfect symbol of German climate policy in 2023!
Soon, the whole area around Lützerath will be turned into a toxic sinkhole
Last Saturday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated near the small town of Lützerath. They were attacked by police with batons, noxious chemicals, and dogs. Paramedics reported that hundreds of people were injured, including numerous broken bones. The cops claimed, as they always do, that they had been attacked first. But (absolutely hilarious) video evidence shows that many of the “70 injured officers” had actually gotten stuck in the mud.
This police violence was in the service of far greater violence: soon, the whole area around Lützerath will be turned into a toxic sinkhole, as 280 million tons of lignite coal are dug up and burned. That, in turn, will led to yet more extreme violence: as the energy company RWE makes billions, people in places like Pakistan and Bangladesh will have their livelihoods destroyed by climate change.
Who is responsible for this crime against humanity? Germany’s so-called Green Party. The two energy ministers who made the deal with RWE are Greens. All the Greens in the Bundestag voted for it. The police chief managing these thugs in the service of fossil capital is a Green. Soon, Titus Rebhahn, the longtime chief of staff of Green foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, is set to become chief lobbyist for RWE.
The two energy ministers who made the deal with RWE are Greens. All the Greens in the Bundestag voted for it. The police chief managing these thugs in the service of fossil capital is a Green.
Germany’s Green Party was founded 40 years ago by a motley group of pacifists, squatters, and more than a few demoralized communists. They used to organize protests — now, people are protesting against them.
Last week, activists nailed yellow wooden crosses (a symbol of the Lützi protests) to the Green Party national HQ in Mitte.
The same thing happened at Green offices all over Germany. In Flensburg, climate activists occupied the local office of energy minister Robert Habeck. In Düsseldorf, a few dozen people, wearing the white painters coveralls that have become a symbol of the climate movement, took over the Green Party’s provincial headquarters. The Greens — of course — called the police so they could continue their work lobbying for big energy companies.
Naturally, Berlin’s radical left scene was not going to let itself be outdone.
What about people who don’t have hours or days for an occupation? They have been making their feelings known with graffiti. In Halle, the windows of a Green Party office now say: “Lützi will remain!” and “Traitors!” In Aachen, a message said “Greetings from Lützi!” In Leipzig, where there appears to be a shortage of spray paint, someone smashed the windows. These were not isolated cases.
Naturally, Berlin’s radical left scene was not going to let itself be outdone. Last Friday, up to 200 people expressed their rage in Mitte, attacking the windows of 26 shops. That evening, two more Green Party offices were decorated with political slogans.
The Green Party is denouncing this “violence” — “violence is never a means of democratic debate,” they like to repeat. They have said not a word about the violence committed by their uniformed thugs. They have no problem with the violence committed by their coal baron friends against billions of people. No, the only “violence” that seems to upset them is when it’s directed against a window pane of an Apple Store. In their eyes, murdering poor people across the Global South is not violence — it’s just part of a day’s work to keep the wheels of German capitalism running.
Don’t they understand better than anyone what 280 million tons of lignite coal will mean for their own children?
The hypocrisy is shocking. And it’s nothing new. The early Green Party once organized massive demonstrations against NATO. Now they have become the most militaristic party in Germany, with a greater affinity for German weapons manufacturers than ever the CSU.
As far back as 1999, it was a German foreign minister who organised the first German war of aggression since 1945, in obvious violation of the Basic Law. As a result, Joschka Fischer was hit with a balloon full of red paint during a party congress. At least Greens today know that people don’t like them.
So why do Greens do this? Don’t they understand better than anyone what 280 million tons of lignite coal will mean for their own children? We shouldn’t underestimate the role that simple corruption plays. It’s not that Green Party politicians are getting envelopes full of cash — we’re talking about far larger sums than could possibly fit in an envelope. After a few years of loyal service for fossil capital, they all know they can get millions from these same companies as “consultants” or “lobbyists” — just like the faceless “Green” bureaucrat hiring on with RWE. This is just a fancy form of bribes.
The problem is bigger, though. The Green Party has long claimed that capitalism can be made environmentally friendly, if you just put the right people in positions of responsibility. Now the Greens are at the levers of power, and we see them making deals to buy natural gas from Qatar while violently repressing climate protesters. We see them selling the scam of electric cars while making cuts to public transport. Green capitalism has always been a reactionary illusion, and nothing shows it better than an image of Greta Thunberg being carried away by “Green” cops to make way for a coal mine.
Don’t vote for the Greens in Berlin on February 12! Next week I’lll write a column about who not to vote for.