“All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, should no other remedy be possible.” Basic Law Art.20(4).
After a five-hour administrative court hearing today (Sat. 12 May 2012) Frankfurt am Main’s Public Order Department has reiterated its total opposition to any protest whatsoever against Europe’s austerity politics.
“We have fought hard to ensure that the event is prohibited,” said Councillor for Public Order Mark Frank (CDU). There was a police assessment of the situation, making it reasonable to suspect that it should come during the days of protest blockades and violence, “so it is not possible to waive the ban.” The city, acting through the CDU half of the CDU-Green governing coalition, has adopted in the past week a total of 19 prohibition orders, with support from Hessian Interior Minister and hardliner, Boris Rhein.
Bundestag member Ulrich Wilken (Die Linke), who participated at the hearing as a representative of the Blockupy Alliance said he was disappointed. “The city is not willing to even understand the purpose of our event; we want to discuss openly with the public alternatives to the Fiscal Pact and then demonstrate.” Several alternative modes of demonstration were discussed at the hearing, including the Alliance’s proposal to limit their activities to just five locations. The city rejected them all, stating it would only allow any action to take place in a newly converted rail goods yard in the far west of the city. “That we could not accept,” said Wilken.
Wilken accused the clerk’s office of basing their analysis on an “insane threat scenario.” The police’s own assessment of the potential for violence was much more reserved. The city has made it clear that they “will not on principle allow” the event, said Wilken.
As became clear during the hearing, the authorities are proposing to construct a long “safety corridor” between the ECB and the outside world which would cut straight through the Occupy Frankfurt activists’ camp in Willy-Brandt Platz. This would mean activists leaving their camp temporarily, according to Frank, because it lies within the fences for the safety zone.
In conversation with Your Crit in Frankfurt, Occupy confirmed they had also filed a complaint against this decision, though they were willing to negotiate to permit Blockupy’s occurrence (thusfar banned). The seized administrative court must decide on this matter, and that of the Blockupy actions, on Monday. Any appeal must go to the Hessen State Administrative Court in Kassel, and from there to the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. A final decision could be taken until shortly before the start of the campaign days.
Your Crit in Frankfurt has noted several calls in Frankfurt and beyond for respect of Art.20(4) of the German Basic [Constitutional] Law. This provides in essence that every German has, in the absence of any other remedy to protect the German Basic Law, including its fundamental and “eternal”1 claim that Germany is a “democratic and social state”,2 the right of resistance.3 In shutting down even the possibility of peaceful protest, left activists are thus beginning to consider the Blockupy protests as critical not just to European austerity politics, but to the character of the Federal Republic also.
- Technical point: Certain clauses of the Grundgesetz are deemed eternal – that is, they cannot be amended ever. Art.78 is the effective clause, and it covers Art.22. However, Art.20(4) was added by amendment in 1968, and legal academics argue that being the product of an amendment, it does not qualify as eternal in the same way as the original art.20(1-3) which were contemporaneous with Art.79(3) (1948) ↩
- (1) Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist ein demokratischer und sozialer Bundesstaat. ↩
- Gegen jeden, der es unternimmt, diese Ordnung zu beseitigen, haben alle Deutschen das Recht zum Widerstand, wenn andere Abhilfe nicht möglich ist./ All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, should no other remedy be possible. ↩