Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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Austerity as a Vehicle for Breaking Up Nations

COMMENT: Over the years, we have cov­ered the Hapsburg/Thyssen UNPO and its cham­pi­oning of eth­nic minori­ties as a vehi­cle for break­ing up large nations into small­er, more pli­able states. Using the human suf­fer­ing and social dis­lo­ca­tion brought about by its “aus­ter­i­ty” pro­gram to frag­ment large nations, Ger­many is active­ly sup­port­ing the seces­sion of Cat­alo­nia from Spain and, in coop­er­a­tion its Aus­tri­an part­ner, the South Tyrol from Italy.

The Aus­tri­an dri­ve for the inde­pen­dence of South Tyrol is dri­ven by the “Free­dom Par­ty,” for­mer­ly head­ed by Jorg Haider. That par­ty was found­ed after the Sec­ond World War to allow Third Reich vet­er­ans to par­tic­i­pate in Aus­tri­an pol­i­tics.

Man­i­fest­ing what, for lack of a bet­ter term, might be called “eth­nic impe­ri­al­ism,” Ger­many is using far-right, neo-Nazi ele­ments as foot sol­diers to assist the ver­triebene groups in pro­mot­ing the seces­sion of Ger­man-speak­ing minori­ties in Poland and oth­er parts of East­ern Europe.

Tar­get­ing Chi­na, Ger­many con­tin­ues its equiv­o­cal sup­port for indi­vid­u­als and eth­nic groups seek­ing to frag­ment that nation.  As we have seen in past dis­cus­sion, the Unit­ed States is also tar­get­ed for Balka­niza­tion and sub­ver­sion. 

When we first pre­sent­ed our view that the U.S. was tar­get­ed for frag­men­ta­tion, the response was deri­sive and alto­geth­er unkind. With a num­ber of states float­ing seces­sion­ist peti­tions and with right-wing politi­cos advo­cat­ing the frag­men­ta­tion of the Union in the wake of the 2012 elec­tions, those crit­ics might help them­selves to gen­er­ous slice of hum­ble pie.

If the eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion here wors­ens sig­nif­i­cant­ly and the cen­trifu­gal polit­i­cal forces gain eco­nom­ic and/or para­mil­i­tary strength, the seces­sion­ist move­ment may well grow.

This top­ic is com­plex and we have pre­sent­ed  it at length in the past. Listeners/readers who wish to sup­ple­ment their under­stand­ing should exam­ine the past broad­casts and posts on the sub­ject. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the Hapsburg/Thyssen connection–a direct trib­u­tary lead­ing to the Under­ground Reich.

Past broad­casts ana­lyz­ing this top­ic include: FTR #‘s 550, 615,  616, 627, 635 & 636, 652, 668, 676.

Be sure to keep abreast of the impor­tant infor­ma­tion feed­ing along the bot­tom of the front page of this web­site, fea­tur­ing Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy, Ger­many Watch and The Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Report


“Cri­sis Prof­i­teers”; german-foreign-policy.com; 11/27/2012.

EXCERPT: Despite his recent elec­toral set­back, the seces­sion­ist-mind­ed prime min­is­ter of Cat­alo­nia is keep­ing Europe’s debate on the Berlin-sup­port­ed seces­sion­ist move­ments alive. In Cat­alo­nia, whose inten­sive efforts to secede from Spain has recent­ly been sup­port­ed by Ger­many, main­ly those forces, which had been even more adamant in the strug­gle for Cat­alo­ni­a’s seces­sion, have ben­e­fit­ted from the prime min­is­ter’s unex­pect­ed set­back. At the same time, seces­sion­ist forces in oth­er Euro­pean nations have received a boost — for exam­ple in the Ger­man-speak­ing regions of Italy, where bud­get cuts, imposed by the Ger­man aus­ter­i­ty dic­tate for com­bat­ing the cri­sis, have esca­lat­ed the con­flict between South Tyrol and Rome. The prin­ci­pal par­ties in South Tyrol have now gained Aus­tria as its “pro­tec­tive pow­er,” there­by remov­ing the con­flict from Italy’s hands. Efforts to con­vince Vien­na to grant Aus­tri­an pass­ports to Ger­man-speak­ing North Ital­ians, along­side clear­ly seces­sion­ist demands are being inten­si­fied. Ini­tial tar­get dates for seces­sion are already being pro­nounced.

Major­i­ty in Favor of Seces­sion

A con­tin­u­a­tion of the debate over Cat­alo­ni­a’s seces­sion from Spain seems appar­ent in the after­math of the recent region­al elec­tions. Even though the par­ty of Prime Min­is­ter Artur Mas — with its pre­cise sched­ule for seces­sion — has won the elec­tions, albeit while suf­fer­ing a loss of votes — some observers attribute this loss to its strin­gent aus­ter­i­ty course, to com­bat the Euro cri­sis. Accord­ing­ly, the lost votes did not go to his con­ser­v­a­tive anti-seces­sion­ist oppo­nent of the Par­tido Pop­u­lar, but rather to the left-wing Esquer­ra Repub­li­cana de Catalun­ya, (Repub­li­can Left of Cat­alo­nia) which is strug­gling even more adamant­ly for seces­sion from Spain. The next region­al par­lia­ment, there­fore, will have a clear seces­sion­ist major­i­ty. Ger­many has recent­ly been sup­port­ing Cat­alo­ni­a’s seces­sion­ist efforts, which are ori­ent­ed on the notion that Cat­alo­nia — the rich­est region of the coun­try — would not have entered the cri­sis, if it would not have to share its wealth, via the cen­tral gov­ern­men­t’s redis­tri­b­u­tion with Spain’s poor­er areas. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1])

“Pro­tec­tive Pow­er” Aus­tria

While Cata­lan sep­a­ratism is grab­bing atten­tion through­out Europe, South Tyrolean seces­sion­ist efforts are also mak­ing big­ger waves. Once more, the Ger­man aus­ter­i­ty dic­tate to counter the Euro cri­sis is the direct cause. Rome is oblig­ed to exe­cute dras­tic bud­get cuts, as demand­ed by Berlin, which effect the finan­cial mar­gin of maneu­ver for the Bolzano Alto Adi­ge (“South Tyrol”) province. The can­cel­la­tion of resources ear­marked for South Tyrol has pro­voked protests. The ques­tion of whether Aus­tria can inter­vene in Rome on behalf of South Tyrol, is again being raised in this con­text. Aus­tria pre­sumes the “pro­tec­tive pow­er” func­tion for the Ger­man-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion of North­ern Italy. “We are speak­ing here about Ital­ian domes­tic prob­lems, there is no need for Vien­na’s competence,”[2] admon­ished Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter, Mario Mon­ti, in late Octo­ber. His obser­va­tion har­vest­ed vehe­ment protest in South Tyrol and Aus­tria. “On the ques­tion of South Tyrol” thun­dered Aus­tri­a’s for­mer Nation­al Coun­cil Pres­i­dent, Andreas Khol (ÖVP), Mon­ti must “be urgent­ly giv­en tutoring.”[3] In Bolzano, the rul­ing South Tyrolean Peo­ple’s Par­ty (SVP) has announced it would inter­vene both in Rome and Vien­na — Aus­tri­a’s func­tion as “pro­tec­tive pow­er” is not an issue. It has even been sug­gest­ed that North Ital­ian pub­lic squares be named after Aus­tria — as “clear evi­dence of the ties.”[4]

Ambas­sador Sum­moned

This month Vien­na react­ed. First, the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment sum­moned Italy’s ambas­sador to the for­eign min­istry to protest Mon­ti’s state­ment. Last Fri­day, the Nation­al Coun­cil gave an audi­ence to a del­e­ga­tion from the South Tyrolean par­lia­ment in Vien­na, which com­plained “about the pres­sure” exert­ed “from the Ital­ian cen­tral gov­ern­ment” on South Tyrol. An SVP par­lia­men­tar­i­an com­plained that “in its aus­ter­i­ty reg­u­la­tions,” the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment “was ignor­ing the auton­o­my statutes” and infring­ing on “South Tyrolean com­pe­tence.” It is fur­ther­more intend­ing “to reform Italy’s con­sti­tu­tion to make it even more cen­tral­ist.” To which the pres­i­dent of Aus­tri­a’s Nation­al Coun­cil replied that Vien­na, under no cir­cum­stances, would alter its pre­vail­ing polit­i­cal stand­point. It will “main­tain its pro­tec­tive func­tion for South Tyrol.”[5]

Aus­tri­ans Abroad

A par­lia­men­tar­i­an from the “South Tyrolean Free­dom” par­ty, which cam­paigns for the seces­sion of this North Ital­ian province under the mot­to “South Tyrol is not Italy!” was also par­tic­i­pat­ing in last Fri­day’s meet­ing in Vien­na and report­ed on “the aspi­ra­tion of many South Tyroleans” to “attain Aus­tri­an cit­i­zen­ship.” “This would facil­i­tate Aus­tri­a’s exer­cis­ing its pro­tec­tive func­tion for South Tyrol, because Aus­tria would then be pro­tect­ing not only a minor­i­ty in the neigh­bor­ing coun­try, but its own cit­i­zens.” Accord­ing to a report, an Aus­tri­an state sec­re­tary explic­it­ly replied, empha­siz­ing that “grant­i­ng South Tyroleans Aus­tri­an cit­i­zen­ship would lead to no bilat­er­al prob­lems,” because “Italy has made no objec­tions” — “and has grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship to Ital­ians liv­ing abroad.”[6] This refers to descen­dents of the so-called Ital­ians abroad, liv­ing in regions of Slove­nia or Croa­t­ia, which had once been Ital­ian ter­ri­to­ry, a prac­tice, also applied by the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many to “Ger­mans Abroad.” In fact, the nego­ti­a­tions on grant­i­ng Aus­tri­an cit­i­zen­ship to the Ger­man-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion of South Tyrol are mak­ing head­way. The prin­ci­ple hur­dles seem to have been mas­tered.

Free State South Tyrol

Where­as Bolzano’s rul­ing South Tyrolean Peo­ple’s Par­ty (SVP) con­tin­ues to abstain from open­ly call­ing for seces­sion from Italy, and right-wing extrem­ist forces, such as the South Tyrolean Free­dom par­ty, have had their eye on being annexed by Aus­tria for a long time, the North Ital­ian “the Lib­er­als,” the sis­ter par­ty of Aus­tri­a’s Free­dom Par­ty (FPÖ), is now call­ing for found­ing a “Free State South Tyrol.” Accord­ing to their plans, prepa­ra­tions for a “ref­er­en­dum on whether South Tyrol should take recourse to its right of self-deter­mi­na­tion,” should be ini­ti­at­ed. . . .

“Evi­dence of Ger­man Pres­ence”; german-foreign-policy.com; 11/23/2012.

EXCERPT: Ger­man right-wing extrem­ists are polit­i­cal­ly exploit­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ed cul­tur­al events for the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty in Poland. Accord­ing to reports, mem­bers of the “Sile­sian Youth” recent­ly estab­lished con­tacts in neigh­bor­ing Poland dur­ing this year’s “Cul­tur­al Fes­ti­val of the Ger­man Minor­i­ty” in Wro­claw. The “Sile­sian Youth” have been clas­si­fied as right-wing extrem­ist. Sev­er­al of its lead­ing mem­bers had been active mem­bers in cur­rent­ly banned neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions. Anoth­er asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man right-wing extrem­ists also called for par­tic­i­pa­tion at the fes­ti­val. Ear­li­er, “Sile­sian Youth” activists marched in a demon­stra­tion in Katow­ice demand­ing “auton­o­my for Upper Sile­sia.” The Sax­on region­al sec­tion claims to be secret­ly tak­ing care of for­mer Ger­man ceme­ter­ies (“Evi­dence of Ger­man Pres­ence in Sile­sia”) as well as sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly expand­ing its rela­tions to the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty — in coop­er­a­tion with a “relief orga­ni­za­tion” under the direc­tion of a for­mer activist of the neo-Nazi NPD.

Ger­man Cul­ture

Activists of the “Sile­sian Youth” par­tic­i­pat­ed in this year’s “Cul­tur­al Fes­ti­val of the Ger­man Minor­i­ty” held Sep­tem­ber 29, in Wro­claw, and accord­ing to reports, used the oppor­tu­ni­ty to estab­lish new con­tacts to Poland’s Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty. The fes­ti­val has been tak­ing place every third year since 2003, draw­ing sev­er­al thou­sands of mem­bers of the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ger­man reset­tled groups, who have close sen­ti­men­tal ties — as “Heimatver­triebene” (expellees from the home­land) to the “Heimatverbliebene” (those who remained in the home­land) also reg­u­lar­ly, attend the fes­ti­val. Accord­ing to the even­t’s orga­niz­er, the objec­tive of the cul­tur­al fes­ti­val is to put “the cul­tur­al rich­es of the Ger­man minor­i­ty” on pub­lic display.[1] In addi­tion, it pro­motes future cohe­sion with­in the minor­i­ty and rein­forces an ori­en­ta­tion on Ger­many, whose Gen­er­al Con­sul in Opole con­tributed finan­cial­ly. The Ger­man nation­al anthem was sung at the event. The report points out that the Ger­man ambas­sador attend­ed the fes­ti­val “up to the end,” — “a great hon­or,” says the organizer.[2] Also in atten­dance was a right-wing group that had split off from the Ger­man League of Expellees (BdV), whose leader has been con­vict­ed of rel­a­tiviz­ing the Shoah.[3] A cer­tain “Own­ers Asso­ci­a­tion — East,” which seeks to have Pol­ish prop­er­ty tak­en over by Ger­man “expellees” was also beat­ing the drums for peo­ple to attend. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[4])

Neo-Nazi Con­tacts

The Sile­sian Youth was found­ed in 1983 as the offi­cial youth orga­ni­za­tion of the “Home­land Asso­ci­a­tion Sile­sia.” Through adver­tiz­ing for younger mem­bers, the home­land asso­ci­a­tion sought to reju­ve­nate its aging orga­ni­za­tion, attract­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of mem­bers, born long after reset­tle­ment. Over the past decade, the Sile­sian Youth has clear­ly made a right-wing devel­op­ment, even though some region­al chap­ters have not fol­lowed. For exam­ple, the Bavar­i­an region­al chap­ter broke with the nation­al orga­ni­za­tion in April 2008, declar­ing that in the lat­ter, “extrem­ist forces” were in action and “were chal­leng­ing, to a cer­tain extent, the Ger­man Constitution.”[5] The Sile­sian Youth in Sax­ony and Thuringia are still the main activists. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment offi­cial­ly accus­es them of main­tain­ing “links to the neo-Nazi milieu includ­ing to the NPD.” As of May 2011, “lead­ing offi­ci­at­ing func­tionar­ies” had also been active “in the neo-Nazi ‘Heimat­treuen Deutschen Jugend’ (‘Home­land-Faith­ful Ger­man Youth’).” The Ger­man gov­ern­ment boasts pos­sess­ing “con­crete evi­dence” “that — ema­nat­ing from the Thuringia Sile­sian Youth region­al orga­ni­za­tion — right-wing extrem­ists also exert influ­ence on the Sile­sian Youth Nation­al Organization.”[6] Inde­pen­dent research has con­firmed con­tacts to neo-Nazis.

“Break with War­saw!”

Activists of the Sile­sian Youth, who, for years, had lim­it­ed them­selves to “East Trips” as tourists to Poland, have now begun to engage in pol­i­tics on Pol­ish ter­ri­to­ry. The Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony claim that they not only par­tic­i­pat­ed in the “Cul­tur­al Fes­ti­val of the Ger­man-speak­ing Minor­i­ty,” but also in a demon­stra­tion July 14, 2012 in Katow­ice, where sev­er­al thou­sands demand­ed “auton­o­my for Upper Sile­sia.” The orga­niz­ers are not Poles of the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty, but rather activists of a move­ment that inter­prets the Polish-“Silesian” region­al dialect to be evi­dence of a “Sile­sian” minor­i­ty and there­fore demands they be grant­ed spe­cial rights — even includ­ing polit­i­cal auton­o­my. There are also Ger­man-speak­ing nation­al­ists in this move­ment. The move­ment is said to be “un-Pol­ish well orga­nized” and is in con­stant growth, prais­es the Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony. At the July 14 clos­ing ral­ly, mes­sages of greet­ings from Ger­many and from sep­a­ratists in Cat­alo­nia and Flan­ders were read. “Numer­ous con­sul­ta­tions” had tak­en place and “many new friends” were made, accord­ing to the orga­ni­za­tion’s web­page. “All the best, at ‘Break with War­saw,’ See you again next year, promised.”[7]

In the Cold of East Ger­many

Accord­ing to the Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony, they con­tin­ue to be active in Poland, car­ing for “evi­dence of Ger­man pres­ence in Sile­sia” — “even if this only means the ceme­ter­ies.” They report, for exam­ple, hav­ing vis­it­ed and pro­vi­sion­al­ly repaired the ruins of a protes­tant ceme­tery of Ger­man graves “not far beyond the Neisse.” “The infi­nite dam­age caused there by the pride of the Pol­ish nation (...)” could not be com­plete­ly “erad­i­cat­ed” on such short notice, but mit­i­gat­ed — with, for exam­ple, the restora­tion of a memo­r­i­al to Ger­man sol­diers killed in action.[8] Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony also report on their var­i­ous vis­its to mem­bers of the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty, which they intend to inten­si­fy. In the “cold of East Ger­many” they made “Christ­mas dona­tions” to some of the Ger­man-speak­ing Pol­ish women, explic­it­ly promis­ing to “return more often” in the future.[9] In a self-por­trait, the Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony answer an objec­tion from right-wing extrem­ists — refer­ring to regions of Poland — that “East Ger­many is in any case lost.” They declare that “lost and dead is only that which is forgotten.”[10]

“Ger­mans Help Ger­mans First”

Accord­ing to their own account, the Sile­sian Youth from Sax­ony explain that thanks to Klaus Hoff­mann, head of the “Fre­und­schafts- und Hil­f­swerks Ost” (“Friend­ship and Relief Ser­vice East”) their “Christ­mas dona­tions” were made pos­si­ble. Hoff­mann — a for­mer activist of the neo-Nazi NPD and “Gauführer” (dis­trict leader) of Low­er Sax­ony’s “Viking youth” (banned in 1994) — and his orga­ni­za­tion of 80 mem­bers, found­ed in 1991, reg­u­lar­ly deliv­er “relief sup­plies” to the Ger­man-speak­ing minor­i­ty in Poland. . . .

” ‘Smash Chi­na’ (II) “; german-foreign-policy.com; 10/16/2012.

EXCERPT: Applaud­ed by the Ger­man Pres­i­dent and offi­cials of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, the lau­re­ate of a promi­nent Ger­man cul­tur­al award made a plea for smash­ing Chi­na to pieces. Chi­na is a “heap of rub­bish,” he said, it must “be dis­mem­bered,” insist­ed the Chi­nese author, Liao Yiwu, a res­i­dent of Ger­many, who was award­ed the pres­ti­gious Peace Prize of the Ger­man Book Trade last Sun­day. His accep­tance speech, in which he made a plea for dis­mem­ber­ing his native coun­try, received hefty applause from Ger­man Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck and oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cials. This diplo­mat­ic affront occurred only a few days after the Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter and his Chi­nese coun­ter­part had signed a “Com­mon Dec­la­ra­tion,” in which Berlin declared its inten­tions to enhance its “strate­gic part­ner­ship” with Bei­jing. On the one hand, this dec­la­ra­tion has result­ed from the fact that, because of Chi­na’s eco­nom­ic strength, Ger­many, for the time being, needs a cer­tain form of coop­er­a­tion, not only to sat­is­fy the busi­ness inter­ests of its enter­pris­es, but also to get sup­port in solv­ing the Euro cri­sis. On the oth­er hand, the applause for Liao’s recent anti-Chi­nese invec­tive shows that Berlin still con­sid­ers Bei­jing as its rival to be com­bat­ed, on a long-term basis.

“Heap of Rub­bish”

Sun­day, the exiled Chi­nese author Liao Yiwu declared dur­ing his accep­tance speech for the Peace Prize of the Ger­man Book Trade, that the Chi­nese nation must be “dis­mem­bered.” He said, Chi­na is an “infi­nite­ly huge heap of rub­bish” — a “dic­ta­to­r­i­al (...) great empire,” in which “many regions and peo­ples are forcibly chained togeth­er.” It must be dis­mem­bered into numer­ous small coun­tries — “for the sake of peace and peace of mind of the whole of human­i­ty.” A sit­u­a­tion should be sought, in which Tibet, for exam­ple, is “a free coun­try,” in which “bor­ders sep­a­rate Sichuan from Yun­nan.” Sichuan and Yun­nan, are two provinces of Chi­na, which Liao evi­dent­ly would also like to see become sep­a­rate coun­tries. Liao said that the famous philoso­pher Laozi, who is sup­posed to have lived in the 6th Cen­tu­ry BC, had made a plea for the cre­ation of “small­er coun­tries with few­er inhab­i­tants.” Back then, Chi­na was in fact com­prised “of innu­mer­able small splin­ter states.” Although, he says, “through­out this peri­od, the fires of war were nev­er” extin­guished, “one nation has per­ma­nent­ly occu­pied the oth­ers.” Nev­er­the­less, Liao says in essence that the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na must absolute­ly be replaced by numer­ous small nations.[1]

Spon­sored by the For­eign Min­istry

The week­end appeal for smash­ing Chi­na, has sig­nif­i­cance through Liao’s con­nec­tions to Ger­man pol­i­tics. The author, born in 1958 in the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na, has been in seri­ous con­flict with the Chi­nese author­i­ties since the 1980s and has spent time in jail. After his works were made avail­able in Ger­man trans­la­tions in 2007, Ger­man gov­ern­ment agen­cies endeav­ored to win wide pub­lic­i­ty for him. Liao’s planned appear­ances at the Frank­furt Book Fair in Octo­ber 2009 as well as at the Inter­na­tion­al Lit­er­a­ture Fair (lit.COLOGNE) in the spring of 2010, had been explic­it­ly endorsed by the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry, which was aware of him being an oppo­nent of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, but author­i­ties in Bei­jing thwart­ed these appear­ances. The author came to Ger­many in 2011, where he has since resided, liv­ing on a schol­ar­ship from the For­eign Min­istry financed, Ger­man Aca­d­e­m­ic Exchange Ser­vice (DAAD). After receiv­ing the Geschwis­ter Scholl Award (2011) of the Bavar­i­an Region­al Asso­ci­a­tion of the Stock Mar­ket Soci­ety of the Ger­man Book Trade, Liao has now received the even more pres­ti­gious Peace Prize of the Ger­man Book Trade, which, accord­ing to its offi­cial expla­na­tion, is award­ed each year to a per­son, who has “con­tributed to the real­iza­tion of the idea of peace.” Sun­day, when the author called for smash­ing Chi­na, the Ger­man Pres­i­dent, the Pres­i­dent of the Ger­man Bun­destag, Ger­many’s Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion, along with numer­ous oth­er promi­nent Ger­man offi­cials attend­ing the cer­e­monies, applaud­ed.

Busi­ness Inter­ests

Liao’s invec­tives, which were wide­ly acclaimed in the Ger­man media, were uttered only a few days after the Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter and his Chi­nese coun­ter­part had signed a “Com­mon Dec­la­ra­tion.” Gui­do West­er­welle had vis­it­ed Chi­na dur­ing the sec­ond half of last week, to cel­e­brate the 40th Anniver­sary of diplo­mat­ic rela­tions between the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. Using the occa­sion, he point­ed to the fact that Berlin, in the mean­time, has estab­lished a “strate­gic part­ner­ship” with Bei­jing — since Chi­na has become a “great pow­er cen­ter,” to which Ger­many wants to strength­en its ties.[2] On the one hand, this is because of very strong Ger­man busi­ness inter­ests, devel­op­ing out of Chi­na’s grow­ing eco­nom­ic influ­ence. The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic has devel­oped into Ger­many’s sec­ond largest sup­pli­er and fifth largest cus­tomer, both with an upward trend, as well as an impor­tant loca­tion for Ger­man invest­ments. Dur­ing Chan­cel­lor Merkel’s most recent vis­it alone, com­pa­ny con­tracts were signed with a com­pos­ite val­ue of sev­er­al bil­lion US dol­lars. Volk­swa­gen has announced new invest­ments worth bil­lions. In addi­tion, Berlin is also seek­ing Bei­jing’s sup­port in help­ing curb the Euro crisis.[3] The Com­mon Dec­la­ra­tion, signed Octo­ber 11, 2012, pro­vides for new steps toward a clos­er coop­er­a­tion, includ­ing an annu­al “strate­gic dia­logue” between the for­eign min­is­ters as well as reg­u­lar “con­sul­ta­tions” of the chiefs of staff.[4]

Seces­sion­ists as Allies

The sig­nif­i­cance of the devel­op­ing coop­er­a­tion with the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic can now be seen in the applause for Liao Yiwu’s anti-Chi­nese invec­tives. While Berlin, for the time being, is inten­si­fy­ing its coop­er­a­tion in the inter­ests of Ger­man busi­ness­es and mea­sures to gain con­trol of the Euro cri­sis, it is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly inten­si­fy­ing its con­tacts to those forces, who could poten­tial­ly become Chi­nese allies in oppo­si­tion to Bei­jing. Liao Yiwu is exem­plary in two ways. First, he calls for Chi­na to be dis­mem­bered and there­by joins the seces­sion­ists, who had already begun to impli­cate the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many in the sec­ond half of the 1980s. This was par­tic­u­lar­ly the case of the old Tibetan feu­dal clique around the Dalai Lama. He had been dis­em­pow­ered in the 1950s, sub­se­quent­ly waged an under­ground war against Bei­jing, with­out suc­cess, in spite of com­pre­hen­sive west­ern sup­port — par­tic­u­lar­ly from the CIA. He is today in exile in Dharam­sala, India, where he con­tin­ues to pur­sue his strug­gle against the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. Their struc­tures and some of their sub­ver­sive activ­i­ties have been sup­port­ed by Ger­many. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) Since some time, Ger­many has been giv­ing the seces­sion­ist activ­i­ties of the Uyghurs in west­ern Chi­na’s Xin­jiang province much more attention.[6]

Ambi­tious Mid­dle Class as Part­ner

Sec­ond­ly, Liao, in Berlin’s views, seems apt to infil­trate social set­tings that can be brought into posi­tion against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment on a long-term basis. These are the ambi­tious, for the most part, urban influ­enced and mid­dle class, whose grow­ing prof­it and pow­er inter­ests could one day com­pel them to join with west­ern lib­er­al­iz­ers against Bei­jing. This has been the idea pro­pelling Berlin’s efforts, over the years, to win part­ners among the Chi­nese civ­il rights activists and artists, acces­si­ble to the West. They, in the long run, could gain ben­e­fi­cial access to the mid­dle class­es. This explains Ger­man sup­port for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize lau­re­ate, Liu Xiaobo, who does not want to com­plete­ly dis­mem­ber Chi­na, but still trans­form it into a loose con­fed­er­a­tion of rel­a­tive­ly inde­pen­dent units (a “fed­er­al repub­lic”). . . .


20 comments for “Austerity as a Vehicle for Breaking Up Nations”

  1. Chi­nese mass xeno­pho­bia may prove to be a force for the over­all glob­al good. In Rus­sia, west­ern cap­i­tal inter­ests sought to cre­ate a class of new­ly wealthy oli­garchs who would take covert con­trol of the machine of the Russ­ian state and ally them­selves ful­ly with their coun­ter­parts in the west. The forces that fore­stalled that are not beyond moral con­dem­na­tion them­selves and belong to the slip­pery gra­di­ent of nation­al­ism, racism and fear of the oth­er. Even if the full analy­sis of those mass dri­ves escapes us, they did con­crete­ly result in the emer­gence of Putin as a ful­ly Russ­ian leader with spe­cif­ic raisons d’e­tre. It’s instruc­tive to real­ize that reestab­lish­ing Russ­ian sov­er­eign­ty was accom­plished only par­tial­ly and was pro­por­tion­al to the degree of nation­al resis­tance to inter­na­tion­al vul­ture cap­i­tal.

    The mas­sive bureau­cra­cy that is Chi­na can­not respond so dra­mat­i­cal­ly and quick­ly as did chaot­ic Rus­sia to the inroads of for­eign ratio­nal­ized cap­i­tal but a reac­tion has been long obvi­ous and is undoubt­ed­ly strength­en­ing. Is a Chi­nese entre­pre­neur who con­sid­ers him­self belong­ing more to the class of glob­al cap­i­tal­ists than to the class of being Chi­nese a moral trai­tor of some type? Accord­ing to the atavis­tic and dis­tort­ed mass psy­chol­o­gy that is play­ing out glob­al­ly, he is, and so will not attain all his ends. The resis­tance is com­ing from a deep reserve of the desire to pre­serve Chi­nese iden­ti­ty for its own sake rather than the desire to pre­serve high­er human val­ues. Social­ism in Chi­na has devolved to become just a way of say­ing to the west that we are not you, but if the local emer­gence of less vir­tu­ous motives delays the imple­men­ta­tion of com­plete glob­al fas­cism, we should glad­ly accept that result.

    No purist moral judge­ments can sur­vive in this storm and we must cheer as bad guy X fights bad guy Y. Since no social mech­a­nisms exist that can effec­tive­ly iden­ti­fy, vil­i­fy, resist and dis­man­tle the deep fas­cist state in its present viral, glob­al incar­na­tion, we must live out our dai­ly lives in the midst of sec­u­lar evil and most­ly just watch it destroy. It grows and it hunts and it dreams its col­lec­tive fan­ta­sy of immor­tal­i­ty for itself and is out of the con­trol of even its fiercest advo­cates. Know­ing this and see­ing no way to reverse course, its adher­ents must become real­i­ty-deny­ing and moral­ly cor­rupt to the same degree as the human tragedy that grows dai­ly. And for the rest of us, we must devel­op the trick of selec­tive­ly damp­ing down con­scious­ness to exist from day to day. The glob­al Pavlov­ian break­down of the human psy­che is being accom­plished by the very vis­i­ble specter of an onrush­ing destruc­tive process, immi­nent­ly pre­dictable but equal­ly unstop­pable by direct­ed human effort.

    We are left to hope that com­pet­ing evils leave us or our prog­e­ny a space to sur­vive to a bet­ter future.

    Posted by Dwight | December 1, 2012, 6:10 am
  2. Hi Dave

    Here’s the map of their plans for Europe. Note Britain too is bro­ken up.

    Every coun­try is small­er, except Ger­many.


    Posted by GW | December 1, 2012, 7:59 am
  3. Also


    MI5 files on Ger­man intel­li­gence run­ning the Scot­tish Nation­al Par­ty to break up Britain;

    Posted by GW | December 1, 2012, 8:03 am
  4. @Dwight: “Chi­nese mass xeno­pho­bia may prove to be a force for the over­all glob­al good.” Sad­ly, I will HAVE to com­plete­ly dis­agree with that notion. If any­thing at all, mass xeno­pho­bia in that coun­try will aid the aims of our enemies(you need only look at what’s hap­pened in Amer­i­ca).

    Despite what the main­stream media and the Under­ground Reich would like us to think, today’s Chi­na is NOT a social­ist state, Dwight, not in the least. It is in fact, Mus­solin­ian FASCIST thru and thru. It is now com­plete­ly and total­ly ruled by its mil­i­tary and its cor­po­ra­tions, and the Under­ground Reich and all the rest of the mem­bers of the World Crime Net­work would love noth­ing more than to repeat their suc­cess in Chi­na through­out the whole world, includ­ing the U.S. and Rus­sia.

    The balka­niza­tion game? It’s def­i­nite­ly out there, but in Chi­na’s case, it’s lit­tle more than a ruse at the moment; their real over­all goal so far has been to keep Chi­na in its cur­rent state as long as pos­si­ble.

    Per­haps, how­ev­er, if the Democ­ra­cy move­ment starts to look like it will have some suc­cess, then per­haps Balka­niza­tion efforts will begin in earnest(after all, they’d rather see two or more divid­ed Chi­nas fight­ing amongst each oth­er than a uni­fied demo­c­ra­t­ic Chi­na whose gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly does turn into a force for good). As for now, though, it’s not real­ly hap­pen­ing yet.

    Posted by Steven L. | December 1, 2012, 6:02 pm
  5. Stephen, our mutu­al loose usage of the word ‘social­ism’ should not con­fuse the issue. Chi­na’s brand of state-dom­i­nat­ed cap­i­tal­ism or fas­cism (as you describe it and I don’t agree with that label) is designed to pre­vent the west­’s per­pet­u­al project of col­o­niza­tion while still being an com­pet­i­tive play­er in the world mar­ket. The bal­ance is main­tained by close­ly mon­i­tor­ing and lim­it­ing the degree of for­eign cor­po­rate own­er­ship of Chi­nese enter­prise. Pre­serv­ing Chi­na as Chi­nese is a much dif­fer­ent goal than world con­quest.

    The total­i­tar­i­an mar­shal­ing of any coun­try’s econ­o­my to pre­vent out­side dom­i­na­tion might loose­ly be called either social­ism or fas­cism but the term ‘fas­cism’ is less apt if fas­cism describes a process where some posit­ed enti­ty must con­tin­u­al­ly encroach on and absorb oth­er com­pet­ing enti­ties.

    With­out sug­gest­ing there is any­thing remark­ably benev­o­lent about Chi­na or the Chi­nese nation­al char­ac­ter, I am sim­ply point­ing out that Chi­na’s geopol­i­tics are large­ly slant­ed to self-preser­va­tion rather than con­quest and that this may delay the real­iza­tion of a bor­der­less free-mar­ket/­fas­cist world state.

    The Balka­niza­tion project is prob­lem­at­ic for the west and will have lim­it­ed suc­cess, since Chi­na is rel­a­tive­ly less eth­ni­cal­ly diverse, con­sid­er­ing its size, than most oth­er regions of the world.

    Posted by Dwight | December 2, 2012, 6:05 am
  6. If we want the Ger­mans to stop play­ing this game of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal pol­i­tics of oth­er nations then the best strat­e­gy is ‘fight fire with fire’. The rest of the world should start sup­port­ing Bavar­i­an, Prussian/E. Ger­man and Sax­on seces­sion move­ments.

    Posted by Chris | December 2, 2012, 12:14 pm
  7. One inevitable con­se­quence from the balka­niza­tion of a nation is an increase in peo­ple relo­cat­ing. So it’s worth not­ing that it’s also a con­se­quence of the euro­zone cri­sis:

    Euro-Zone Woes Fuel Immi­gra­tion to Ger­many
    cgh — with wire reports

    The oft-cit­ed pos­si­bil­i­ty of a dou­ble-dip reces­sion in the euro zone has become real­i­ty. Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics released on Thurs­day by the EU sta­tis­ti­cal office Euro­stat, gross domes­tic prod­uct in the 17 coun­tries in the com­mon cur­ren­cy area fell by 0.1 per­cent in the third quar­ter fol­low­ing a 0.2 per­cent drop in the sec­ond quar­ter. With two con­sec­u­tive quar­ters of neg­a­tive growth, the euro zone has entered its sec­ond reces­sion since the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis of 2009.

    Fur­ther­more, pre­lim­i­nary sta­tis­tics released by Ger­many’s Fed­er­al Sta­tis­ti­cal Office on Thurs­day indi­cate that the tough eco­nom­ic con­di­tions in south­ern Europe are con­tin­u­ing to fuel migra­tion to Ger­many. The num­ber of immi­grants arriv­ing in Ger­many in the first half of the year was greater than at any point since the mid-1990s, exceed­ing even the lev­els seen in the sec­ond half of 2011. Much of the growth is com­ing from those euro-zone coun­tries hit hard­est by the debt cri­sis.

    Climb­ing Immi­gra­tion to Ger­many

    That, though, has not stopped the influx of immi­grants com­ing to Ger­many from cri­sis-strick­en nations fur­ther south. Accord­ing to the Fed­er­al Sta­tis­ti­cal Office on Thurs­day, just over half mil­lion peo­ple arrived in Ger­many from abroad from Jan­u­ary to June of this year. That was some 66,000 more than came in the first half of 2011, an increase of 15 per­cent and mark­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of a trend. Last year, immi­gra­tion was up 20 per­cent over 2010.

    The steep­est increas­es in the first half of this year have come from euro-zone states. More than 15,700 peo­ple arrived from Greece in the first six months of 2012, a 78 per­cent increase over the first half of 2011. The 11,000 peo­ple who arrived from Spain mark a jump of 53 per­cent over the pre­vi­ous year. The influx from non-euro-zone coun­try Hun­gary rose by 46 per­cent, par­tial­ly due to tough eco­nom­ic con­di­tions there.

    Numer­i­cal­ly, how­ev­er, Poland remains on top of the list of ori­gin coun­tries. Some 89,000 peo­ple arrived from Ger­many’s neigh­bor in the first half of the year.

    With that in mind, it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how the “move to Ger­many if you can”-model for the econ­o­my works out as this trend con­tin­ues because east Ger­many pur­sued a very sim­i­lar strat­e­gy for reduc­ing its unem­ploy­ment rate since reuni­fi­ca­tion and it has­n’t exact­ly worked out well:

    Merkel’s euro push leaves east Ger­many out in the cold

    By Stephen Brown

    EISENHUETTENSTADT, Ger­many | Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:50am GMT

    (Reuters) — This fad­ing indus­tri­al city, like many in Angela Merkel’s for­mer East Ger­man home, is stony ground for the chan­cel­lor’s mes­sage of Euro­pean inte­gra­tion and fer­tile soil for oppo­nents try­ing to stop her win­ning a third term next Sep­tem­ber.

    More than two decades after uni­fi­ca­tion, income and jobs in the five east­ern states, home to 15 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, still lag behind the west and tril­lions of euros in trans­fers have not stemmed an exo­dus that has left some areas look­ing like ghost towns.

    “Peo­ple have too many prob­lems to wor­ry about the euro cri­sis,” said Michael, a 40-year-old steel­work­er in the town of Eisen­huet­ten­stadt, east from Berlin near the Pol­ish bor­der.

    Orig­i­nal­ly called “Stal­in­stadt”, it was built in the 1950s as an indus­tri­al com­plex and “the first Social­ist city in Ger­many”. The pride of the GDR, it was renamed in 1961 and had 50,000 inhab­i­tants in its hey­day.

    In a famil­iar sto­ry across east Ger­many, reuni­fi­ca­tion meant mass unem­ploy­ment as com­mu­nist-run indus­try failed to com­pete on the free mar­ket. About 40 per­cent of the town’s pop­u­la­tion went west and much of the hous­ing for GDR work­ers stands emp­ty.

    In a coun­try whose con­ser­v­a­tive chan­cel­lor ded­i­cates a lot of time to blue-sky think­ing about the future and demo­graph­ic change, the most demo­graph­i­cal­ly-chal­lenged areas of do not feel their plight is a polit­i­cal pri­or­i­ty.

    “Future? We have no future,” said Suzanne, wheel­ing her bicy­cle past an Ger­many aban­doned pre­fab tow­er block with bro­ken win­dows on the banks of a canal. She would not give her sur­name, like many peo­ple in a coun­try with his­toric sen­si­tiv­i­ties about pri­va­cy.

    Merkel’s plans for a third term, if she wins, are typ­i­cal­ly undra­mat­ic and give the impres­sion of fine-tun­ing a well-oiled machine. The Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU) will make her the focus of a per­son­al­i­ty-based cam­paign which will be new for Ger­many.

    “The elec­tion will be won by who­ev­er is most con­vinc­ing that our cur­ren­cy and jobs are safe,” said one senior Merkel ally.

    Judg­ing by what peo­ple in Eisen­huet­ten­stadt would like to see dis­cussed — a legal min­i­mum wage and greater job secu­ri­ty — there is still a lot of work to be done con­vinc­ing peo­ple in the east, where unem­ploy­ment is way over the 6.9 per­cent nation­al rate and incomes are a fifth low­er than the aver­age in the west.

    “We just want rea­son­able hope for our future,” said steel­work­er Michael, walk­ing home on a raw win­ter evening from the plant that dom­i­nates the town’s sky-line and its thoughts.

    Still pop­u­lar­ly known by its com­mu­nist-era name EKO-Stahl, the plant that used to employ 12,000 peo­ple now gives work to 2,700 and is owned by Arcelor­Mit­tal.


    “The steel­works won’t go on pro­duc­ing for­ev­er because of all this com­pe­ti­tion from Chi­na,” said local woman Suzanne. “The kids just move away. They go where the jobs are.”

    The town’s 9 per­cent unem­ploy­ment rate is bet­ter than many oth­er areas of east Bran­den­burg, but May­or Dag­mar Pueschel says it has only fall­en that far — from over 20 per­cent in the ear­ly 1990s — because so many thou­sands of peo­ple have left.

    “May­ors in the area around Berlin wor­ry about how to pay for new schools, kinder­gartens and hous­ing. Here it’s the oppo­site — we have to close down kinder­gartens and demol­ish hous­ing. We’ve already demol­ished 6,000 homes,” she said.


    Over at the steel­works, Arcelor­Mit­tal’s Schmidt said EU and nation­al ener­gy tax­es, prices and pol­i­cy were hur­dles that meant the Ger­man steel indus­try “is in a race it can­not win”.

    If more indus­try leaves, the exo­dus will accel­er­ate. Already the pop­u­la­tion of the east­ern states is seen shrink­ing by a fur­ther 15 per­cent by 2030, near­ly three times faster than the rate at which the over­all Ger­man pop­u­la­tion is fore­cast to fall.


    Also note that the spikes in Ger­man immi­gra­tion could be an espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult trend for low­er-income Ger­mans already strug­gling to get by because, accord­ing to a new OECD report, Ger­man employ­ers pre­fer for­eign unskilled labor over the domes­tic coun­ter­parts for the low wage seg­ments of the econ­o­my. And the unem­ploy­ment rate for immi­grants liv­ing in Ger­many is already unusu­al­ly so there’s a lot of avail­able cheap labor for Ger­man employ­ers. In oth­er words, while this employ­ment trend may ben­e­fit a few inter­est groups, the over­all job sit­u­a­tion for low income east Ger­mans does­n’t look good:

    OECD report: immi­grant employ­ment rate up in Ger­many
    Date 03.12.2012
    The Organ­i­sa­tion for Eco­nom­ic Co-oper­a­tion and Devel­op­ment (OECD) has report­ed improve­ments in the employ­ment rate among immi­grants liv­ing in Ger­many. How­ev­er, Ger­many could do more for for­eign work­ers, it said.

    Over the past decade, the unem­ploy­ment rate among immi­grants in Ger­many rose to 65 per­cent, a full sev­en per­cent, accord­ing to Mon­day’s report from the Paris-based eco­nom­ic orga­ni­za­tion. While the report’s oth­er analy­ses revealed a com­par­a­tive­ly bet­ter pic­ture in Ger­many than in oth­er OECD coun­tries, it drew atten­tion to a sit­u­a­tion still in need of improve­ment.

    The edu­ca­tion lev­el also report­ed­ly rose by 12 per­cent among Ger­many’s pop­u­la­tion with for­eign roots. How­ev­er, the cen­tral-Euro­pean eco­nom­ic pow­er lagged in hir­ing high­ly edu­cat­ed work­ers over the past decade — regard­less of where they had been born — com­pared to their Ger­man coun­ter­parts, espe­cial­ly in the pub­lic sec­tor.

    “In Ger­many, [employ­ers] rarely make use of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to hire a teacher or police­man with for­eign roots,” said OECD immi­gra­tion expert Thomas Liebig.

    By con­trast, low-skilled migrant work­ers were hired more often than Ger­mans lack­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

    “Many employ­ers con­sid­er these for­eign­ers as poor­ly edu­cat­ed, but will­ing work,” said OECD expert Liebig.

    kms/hc (dpa, dapd, epd)

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 3, 2012, 3:59 pm
  8. I think some more meta-analy­sis would be wel­come from Pter or Dave or oth­ers in the thread of this spe­cif­ic line of inquiry. It is not an exact sci­ence, to be sure, but some greater ven­ture into the realm of cumu­la­tive per­son­al opin­ion would let us know which ques­tions we are col­lec­tive­ly pon­der­ing. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to come to more def­i­nite con­clu­sions should not be missed when we have some seem­ing­ly like-mind­ed and capa­ble thinkers in this infor­mal forum. The raft of data sup­port­ing the idea that destruc­tive forces are at work on the plan­et is sure­ly wel­come and nec­es­sary, but is that enough?

    For instance, I see the glob­al accu­mu­la­tive cap­i­tal­ist (fas­cist) process as hav­ing only inci­den­tal pre­pon­der­ance and ori­gin in Ger­many. The evi­dence I see of the glob­al mech­a­nism points to an over­all recent ‘slip­per­i­ness’, where­in no geo­graph­ic focus will be found and no weak cen­ter will be allowed to coa­lesce.

    I see no over­ar­ch­ing con­tra­dic­tion in the his­toric data which points to Ger­many as the his­toric focus (con­sid­er­ing only a his­to­ry of two cen­turies or so) of the most vir­u­lent brand(s) of fas­cism and my own con­tention that the forces we are wit­ness­ing are not, in the end, geo­graph­i­cal­ly, eth­ni­cal­ly, cul­tur­al­ly or lan­guage based.

    Accord­ing to this pos­tu­late, the Ger­man peo­ple will be vic­tim­ized as thor­ough­ly as any­one else in the future, by forces that have no loy­al­ty to nation­al iden­ti­ty.

    And, by this same inter­pre­ta­tion, WW2 was essen­tial­ly a pre­ma­ture ejac­u­la­tion in the lean­ing curve of of an elite glob­al col­lec­tive. They learned that nation-based, ‘great leader’-based fas­cism is high­ly vul­ner­a­ble. Giv­en that, I do not think that mod­el will be repeat­ed, except for high­ly lim­it­ed and local incar­na­tions.

    As great as the evi­dence is for Ger­many’s ongo­ing impe­r­i­al ambi­tions, I think we make a mis­take in too much focus on Ger­many. The urge to dom­i­nate and escape suf­fer­ing by mak­ing oth­ers suf­fer is char­ac­ter­is­tic of all times, all peo­ples, and sad­ly, of each of us.

    It’s a crude anal­o­gy, but sup­pose a man named George was the first to suf­fer a crip­pling and con­ta­gious dis­ease. Would it wis­er to spend all our time ana­lyz­ing George and his sus­pect char­ac­ter or would we we do bet­ter to look at the dis­ease itself?

    Com­ments, please.

    Posted by Dwight | December 4, 2012, 12:02 am
  9. Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 4, 2012, 12:54 pm
  10. George Osborne just announced that Britain will self-impose an addi­tion­al year of planned aus­ter­i­ty in order to achieve its deficit tar­gets because poor eco­nom­ic per­for­mance due to the planned aus­ter­i­ty has result­ed in high­er than pro­ject­ed deficits. Yep. It will be inter­est­ing to see how the con­se­quences of the Cameron gov­ern­men­t’s aus­ter­i­ty fetish impacts nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments in the UK.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2012, 9:06 am
  11. Just a reminder: Berlin views falling wages as a “struc­tur­al improve­ment”:

    Pub­lished on 2012-11-28 17:54:24
    Exclu­sive: Ger­man Gov­ern­ment Cov­ers Up, Waters Down Pover­ty Report

    By Thomas Öch­sner

    BERLIN — Crit­i­cal pas­sages in the Ger­man government’s lat­est “Pover­ty and Wealth Report” have been smoothed over, and crit­i­cal pas­sages have been excised, reveals Süd­deutsche Zeitung.

    The news­pa­per was able to com­pare a draft ver­sion with a revised ver­sion dat­ed Nov. 21 and released for com­ment by the trade unions.

    In the intro­duc­tion of the report, a state­ment say­ing “Pri­vate wealth in Ger­many is very uneven­ly dis­trib­uted” has been removed.

    The first draft of the “Pover­ty and Wealth Report,” which is released every four years by the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Labor went out to mem­bers of Germany’s gov­ern­ment in mid-Sep­tem­ber. It con­tained mate­r­i­al that was crit­i­cal of the sta­tus quo, includ­ing the fol­low­ing about salaries: “While upper-end salaries showed pos­i­tive growth, in price-adjust­ed terms low­er-end salaries went down in the past 10 years, thus increas­ing income dis­par­i­ty.” This dam­aged “the pub­lic sense of fair­ness” and could “pose a threat to social cohe­sion,” said the report.

    This has been replaced by state­ments say­ing that the fact that salaries went down in price-adjust­ed terms reflect­ed “struc­tur­al improve­ments” on the jobs mar­ket and that between 2007 and 2011 numer­ous new low­er-paid full­time jobs opened up that had enabled many of the job­less to find employ­ment.

    The new ver­sion is also watered down with regard to sin­gle peo­ple whose hourly wage at a full-time job does not add up to enough to live on per month. The first ver­sion stat­ed that this increased the risk of pover­ty and weak­ened the social fab­ric – a state­ment that has dis­ap­peared from the present ver­sion. All that remains is a com­ment that this “should be seen as crit­i­cal.”


    You have to won­der what the impli­ca­tions of falling Ger­man wages are for the rest of the euro­zone, because by the “king of the hill” log­ic now in place, increased com­pet­i­tive­ness in the Ger­man econ­o­my means the rest of the euro­zone economies will just have to get that much more com­pet­i­tive in order claw their way out of the aus­ter­i­ty death spi­ral. And what could pos­si­bly go wrong with such an approach to eco­nom­ic har­mo­niza­tion? Noth­ing...as long as increas­ing pover­ty is defined as a “struc­tur­al improve­ment”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2012, 2:35 pm
  12. Seces­sion move­ments:

    It’s worth becom­ing aware of the Pacif­ic North­west left-wing ori­ent­ed seces­sion move­ment, “Cas­ca­dia”:



    One can fore­see a path for the Cas­ca­dia Move­ment becom­ing polit­i­cal­ly seri­ous or sig­nif­i­cant, when viewed in con­text of the forth­com­ing Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion response to mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion in Wash­ing­ton state:


    The Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion will have lit­tle choice but to crack­down on Wash­ing­ton’s legal­ized mar­i­jua­na. Oba­ma’s DOJ can­not fea­si­bly admin­is­ter two dif­fer­ent sets of rules, for the oth­er 48 states.

    When fed­er­al Democ­rats crack­down on Democ­rats, and attempt to nul­li­fy the results of a legal elec­tion ref­er­en­dum in Wash­ing­ton State, the Cas­ca­dia Move­ment may get a sig­nif­i­cant boost.

    Posted by R. Wilson | December 8, 2012, 10:04 pm
  13. @R. Wil­son et al, on the pot ini­tia­tive... Proud times for Amer­i­ca: Where­as sil­ly, old-fash­ioned JFK sent fed­er­al troops to Mis­sis­sip­pi, enforc­ing the pro­tec­tion of con­sti­tu­tion­al rights, Oba­ma will have them in Seat­tle, shoring up the War on non-whites Drugs.

    Things will indeed get inter­est­ing. A hand­ful of Latin Amer­i­can states are already more than hap­py to enter­tain notions of opt­ing out of such a non­sen­si­cal, crime-enabling War. It will be enter­tain­ing to com­pare Pres. O’s vac­u­ous sound­bites, before and after the inevitable comes to pass... at least those utter­ances not drowned out by a hail of stage-man­aged small arms fire.

    Posted by Rob Coogan | December 9, 2012, 4:30 am
  14. @R. Wil­son: The Cas­ca­dia move­ment def­i­nite­ly is an inter­est­ing thing for sure, but I doubt it will suc­ceed at any time in the near future. Hell, even the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment has­n’t tak­en off yet, and that’s about 100x more viable at this point. So I’m not wor­ried about the North­west break­ing off at this junc­ture.

    @Rob C.: One thing to keep in mind is that Oba­ma does still have to deal with the Repubs. One must won­der what they’d want to pull if Oba­ma relent­ed on this. Can you say “impeach­ment”, any­one?

    Posted by Steven L. | December 9, 2012, 1:46 pm
  15. @Rob Coogan: You’re illus­trat­ing my point exact­ly. Mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion is a wedge issue that will divide Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port for Oba­ma, and fuel an already-exist­ing minor seces­sion­ist move­ment.

    When mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion was on the bal­lot in Cal­i­for­nia two years ago, it failed due to a right-wing effort that poured cash into adver­tise­ments — cash from out­side Cal­i­for­nia. Although the right-wing ads suc­ceed­ed in Cal­i­for­nia, no such effort was under­tak­en in Wash­ing­ton state. Why not?

    Posted by R. Wilson | December 9, 2012, 2:28 pm
  16. It looks like the Cat­alon­ian seces­sion­ist move­ment in Spain might get PR assists in the form of anti-seces­sion­ist neo-Nazi move­ments threat­en­ing vio­lence to main­tain ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty. It looks like the pro-Fran­co and neo-Nazi groups are also get­ting a PR assist in the form of being some­what pop­u­lar with Spain’s rul­ing Pop­u­lar Par­ty:

    CS Mon­i­tor
    Fran­co-fas­cism on the march in Spain: Is the gov­ern­ment doing enough?

    Crit­ics say Spain’s fas­cist threat comes not from small groups like those set to march in Barcelona Sat­ur­day, but from the rad­i­cal fringe that is part of Spain’s gov­ern­ing Pop­u­lar Par­ty.

    By Andrés Cala, Cor­re­spon­dent / Octo­ber 11, 2013


    Extreme, neo-fas­cist groups in Spain are prepar­ing for a show of force dur­ing this weekend’s nation­al­ist hol­i­day, and Span­ish author­i­ties are keep­ing a close eye on the sit­u­a­tion.

    But experts wor­ry that the real fas­cist con­cern in Spain is not from small extrem­ist groups, but rather from grow­ing pub­lic dis­plays of fas­cist sym­pa­thies by a small part of the con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­men­t’s con­stituen­cy – and even among elect­ed offi­cials.

    “Spain has not been ‘de-Fran­coized,’ as Ger­many has been de-Hit­ler­ized,” explains Félix Orte­ga, a soci­ol­o­gy pro­fes­sor and expert in pub­lic opin­ion in the Uni­ver­si­dad Com­plutense de Madrid. “There are still Fran­co sym­bols even in my uni­ver­si­ty!”

    An alliance of rad­i­cal right groups – includ­ing vio­lent neo-Nazi ones – have mobi­lized to trav­el from around the coun­try to Barcelona to protest Cat­alon­ian nation­al­ism on the Octo­ber 12 “Día de la His­panidad,” or “His­pan­ic Day,” hol­i­day. Author­i­ties said Thurs­day they plan to pre­vent vio­lent groups from enter­ing Cat­alo­nia.

    The hol­i­day march is held annu­al­ly, and is nor­mal­ly small and peace­ful. But the nation­al­ist under­tones of His­pan­ic Day – which orig­i­nal­ly com­mem­o­rat­ed Christo­pher Columbus’s dis­cov­ery of the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent until was renamed in 1958 by the fas­cist regime of Gen­er­al Fran­cis­co Fran­co – make it a flash­point.

    Five groups – includ­ing vio­lent neo-Nazi cells and a polit­i­cal par­ty that the Supreme Court is con­sid­er­ing ban­ning – in July formed a com­mon plat­form called “Spain on the March.” Its lead­ers have warned they will resort to vio­lent acts if required to pre­serve Spain’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al uni­ty, which they feel threat­ened espe­cial­ly by region­al inde­pen­dence aspi­ra­tions.

    Nation­al and region­al offi­cials and secu­ri­ty ser­vices have since increased secu­ri­ty ahead of Sat­ur­day’s march. Barcelona author­i­ties this week denied access to part of the route the marchers had request­ed in order to reduce the risk of vio­lence and clash­es with pro-inde­pen­dence march­es.

    And in Catalonia’s par­lia­ment on Fri­day, the cham­ber passed a motion to char­ac­ter­ize fas­cism, Fran­co, and Nazis as ide­olo­gies “incit­ing vio­lence and hate” – which would have giv­en author­i­ties more pow­er to pros­e­cute them. Although mem­bers of the Pop­u­lar Par­ty, which gov­erns Spain but is a minor­i­ty in the Cat­alon­ian par­lia­ment, walked out on the motion, it ulti­mate­ly passed with the sup­port of oth­er par­ties.

    The week­end march is not an iso­lat­ed inci­dent. As Cat­alon­ian plans to hold a ref­er­en­dum on inde­pen­dence move for­ward, the extreme right has re-ener­gized, even if it remains small com­pared to the resur­gent move­ments in Greece, France, and else­where.

    Last month, a dozen rad­i­cals forced their way into a library where Cat­alo­ni­ans were com­mem­o­rat­ing their own nation­al day, injur­ing sev­er­al peo­ple and tear­ing down Cat­alon­ian sym­bols. Police arrest­ed them in the after­math.

    The real con­cern

    Police esti­mate there are about 10,000 mem­bers involved in vio­lent extreme right groups. They lost polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in par­lia­ment in 1982, sev­en years after Fran­co died. But they didn’t tdis­ap­pear. They meld­ed into the now gov­ern­ing PP.

    The con­cern is not so much over the very small group of vio­lent groups, which author­i­ties con­stant­ly mon­i­tor. These are most­ly con­tained, experts agree. The real prob­lem is in from those with­in the gov­ern­men­t’s rul­ing par­ty that sym­pa­thize ide­o­log­i­cal­ly – even if they con­demn the use of vio­lence.

    “I’m more con­cerned about com­pla­cen­cy and per­mis­sive atti­tudes in the PP than I am about these reac­tionary groups,” Dr. Orte­ga says. “The PP has many faces. Is it an extreme right par­ty? No. But the extreme right is part of the PP. And they now they have to ten­der com­plex elec­toral mes­sages to dif­fer­ent con­stituen­cies, includ­ing the extreme right.”

    Cat­alon­ian seces­sion­ist plans have unit­ed the tra­di­tion­al­ly frag­ment­ed nation­al­ist forces and rad­i­cal fas­cist groups. And the extreme right is part of the con­stituen­cy of the con­ser­v­a­tive PP, with some experts esti­mat­ing as much as 10 per­cent of the par­ty sym­pa­thizes with rad­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy, although it’s impos­si­ble to con­trast.

    The polit­i­cal heirs of Fran­co merged with the PP, which is ide­o­log­i­cal­ly a cen­ter-right par­ty. And amid the euro­cri­sis, they could gain more polit­i­cal clout that could be sig­nif­i­cant­ly more dan­ger­ous than the vio­lent groups, experts warn.

    The gov­ern­ment has been crit­i­cized by the oppo­si­tion, region­al gov­ern­ments, and human rights groups for con­don­ing fas­cist pub­lic sup­port among its own fol­low­ers – which even if small in num­ber, were unheard of until recent­ly – even if vio­lent groups are sup­pressed.

    Such crit­i­cism arose again on Thurs­day, when PP leg­is­la­tors vot­ed down a motion like that in the Cat­alon­ian par­lia­ment to crim­i­nal­ize pub­lic sup­port for fas­cism, Fran­co, and the Nazis. The PP said the move was unnec­es­sary, because such a ban is already implic­it in the law.

    “They pub­licly con­demn it, but they clear­ly tol­er­ate it,” Orte­ga says.

    Fran­co nos­tal­gia

    The cri­sis has brought an unprece­dent­ed pub­lic dis­play of Fran­co nos­tal­gia, with some pub­lic offi­cials and mem­bers of the PP open­ly mak­ing the Nazi salute, dis­play­ing the for­mer regime’s flag and oth­er mem­o­ra­bil­ia, and post­ing pro-Fran­co mes­sages on social media sites.

    Munic­i­pal, region­al, and even coun­try leg­is­la­tors have rem­i­nisced about Franco’s era, most­ly sub­tly, though some have open­ly said those killed by Franco’s forces deserved it.

    On Thurs­day, the PP may­or of a Madrid sub­urb tweet­ed that he would send some “skin­heads” to tar­get the Social­ist Par­ty as part of a broad­er pub­lic debate. He lat­er said he was just jok­ing.


    The gov­ern­ment and the PP lead­er­ship so far have lim­it­ed their reac­tion to con­demn­ing vio­lence and pro-fas­cist dis­plays with­in its ranks. No offi­cials have been rep­ri­mand­ed. “The prob­lems are not majors or coun­cil­men. It’s that high-rank­ing leg­is­la­tors and min­is­ters con­done this,” says Orte­ga.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the PP is try­ing to revise his­to­ry to paint a rosy pic­ture of the Fran­co dic­ta­tor­ship, while blam­ing the deposed and demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed left-wing gov­ern­ment for the bru­tal Span­ish Civ­il War that end­ed in 1938.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 13, 2013, 5:37 pm
  17. Some Span­ish col­leagues told me the same thing about fran­quists in the Par­tido Pop­u­lar. I was suprised as I’d always thought it was a cen­ter right par­ty. Madrid and Barcelona had their dif­fer­ences, but a few years ago it did not seem like a major­i­ty of Cata­lans would seri­ous­ly con­sid­er inde­pen­dence. From the out­side it is puz­zling: Cat­alo­nia is seen a region, not a coun­try. Things don’t look good in Spain. I find it so sad. They’re a tal­ent­ed, endear­ing peo­ple. You could see it com­ing, with all that growth based on the real estate mar­ket. Many Spaniards saw it com­ing too. “Aus­ter­i­ty as a vehi­cle to break up nations”: indeed.

    Posted by de_lec | October 14, 2013, 5:50 am
  18. When your post-seces­sion mon­e­tary pol­i­cy plans are even more dan­ger­ous than join­ing the euro­zone would be you need a new plan:

    The New York Times
    The Con­science of a Lib­er­al

    Feb 24, 8:15 am
    Scots Wha Hae

    Paul Krug­man

    I don’t have a posi­tion on Scot­land becom­ing inde­pen­dent; as an Amer­i­can, I like my democ­ra­cies big and diverse, but I also under­stand the frus­tra­tion of Scots tied to David Cameron’s Eng­land.

    Whether it’s over­all a good idea or not, how­ev­er, inde­pen­dence would have to rest on a sound mon­e­tary foun­da­tion. And the inde­pen­dence move­ment has me wor­ried, because what it has said on that that cru­cial sub­ject seems deeply mud­dle-head­ed.

    What the inde­pen­dence move­ment says is that there’s no prob­lem — Scot­land will sim­ply stay on the pound. That is, how­ev­er, much more prob­lem­at­ic than they seem to real­ize.

    It’s true, as point­ed out here, that Eng­land, I mean the rump UK, I mean con­tin­u­ing Britain, what­ev­er, can’t pre­vent the Scots from using the pound, just as the Unit­ed States can’t stop Ecuador from using dol­lars. But the les­son of the euro cri­sis, sure­ly, is that shar­ing a com­mon cur­ren­cy with­out hav­ing a shared fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is very dan­ger­ous.

    In fact, Scot­land-on-the-pound would be in even worse shape than the euro coun­tries, because the Bank of Eng­land would be under no oblig­a­tion to act as lender of last resort to Scot­tish banks — that is, it would arguably take even less respon­si­bil­i­ty for local finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty than the pre-Draghi ECB. And it would fall very far short of the post-Draghi ECB, which has in effect tak­en on the role of lender of last resort to euro­zone gov­ern­ments, too.

    Add to this the lack of fis­cal inte­gra­tion. The ques­tion isn’t whether Scot­land would on aver­age pay more or less in tax­es if inde­pen­dent; prob­a­bly a bit less, depend­ing on how you han­dle the oil rev­enues. Instead, the ques­tion is what would hap­pen if some­thing goes wrong, if there’s a slump in Scotland’s econ­o­my. As part of the Unit­ed King­dom, Scot­land would receive large de fac­to aid, just like a U.S. state (or Wales); if it were on its own, it would be on its own, like Por­tu­gal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 25, 2014, 3:12 pm
  19. Posted by David M | May 29, 2014, 9:55 am
  20. It looks like the EU and euro­zone might have anoth­er ‘-exit’ on their hands. But not an exit from the EU or euro­zone. It’s the exit of Cat­alo­nia from the rest of Spain: the Cata­lan region­al gov­ern­ment wants a ref­er­en­dum. Spain’s courts have already ruled it ille­gal. But the region­al gov­ern­ment wants ref­er­en­dum any­way and it’s going to go ahead an hold one over the oppo­si­tion of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Madrid. Or at least it’s going to try:

    Politi­co EU

    Cat­alo­nia drafts secret seces­sion bill: report

    Gov­ern­ment sets out steps to inde­pen­dence, whether Madrid agrees to a ref­er­en­dum or not.

    By Saim Saeed

    5/22/17, 9:47 AM CET
    Updat­ed 5/22/17, 5:33 PM CET

    The Cata­lan region­al gov­ern­ment has draft­ed a secret bill that is designed to over­see the Span­ish region’s tran­si­tion to an inde­pen­dent state with or with­out a seces­sion ref­er­en­dum, El País report­ed Mon­day.

    The pro-inde­pen­dence Cata­lan gov­ern­ment, known as the Gen­er­al­i­tat, is cur­rent­ly locked in a bat­tle with Madrid over its demands for an inde­pen­dence vote.

    Accord­ing to El País, the Generalitat’s bill indi­cates it intends to move toward inde­pen­dence even if the Span­ish gov­ern­ment for­bids it from hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum. The rul­ing coali­tion promised a vote no lat­er than Sep­tem­ber this year when it came to pow­er in 2015.

    If the gov­ern­ment does hold a ref­er­en­dum, the ques­tion will be: “Should Cat­alo­nia be a state inde­pen­dent from Spain?” There won’t be a min­i­mum par­tic­i­pa­tion thresh­old and if a major­i­ty is in favor of inde­pen­dence, the deci­sion will be rat­i­fied and bind­ing.

    The Span­ish con­sti­tu­tion does not allow for seces­sion. Ear­li­er this year, a fed­er­al court barred the for­mer Cata­lan Pres­i­dent Artur Mas and two oth­er for­mer offi­cials from pub­lic office for hold­ing a sym­bol­ic inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum in 2014. The for­mer offi­cials were also fined thou­sands of euros.

    The bill would appro­pri­ate Cat­alo­nia-relat­ed cas­es from the nation­al courts to the new­ly formed Cata­lan courts, which would dis­miss all pend­ing cas­es against peo­ple charged with inde­pen­dence-relat­ed ille­gal activ­i­ties.



    “Cat­alo­nia drafts secret seces­sion bill: report” by Saim Saeed; Politi­co EU; 05/22/17

    “If the gov­ern­ment does hold a ref­er­en­dum, the ques­tion will be: “Should Cat­alo­nia be a state inde­pen­dent from Spain?” There won’t be a min­i­mum par­tic­i­pa­tion thresh­old and if a major­i­ty is in favor of inde­pen­dence, the deci­sion will be rat­i­fied and bind­ing.”

    A bind­ing vote won by a sim­ple major­i­ty with no min­i­mum par­tic­i­pa­tion thresh­old. That’s going to be view as ille­gal by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Sounds like quite the hot mess in the mak­ing! A hot mess that’s heat­ing up rapid­ly:


    Spain is brac­ing for ris­ing ten­sions over Cat­alo­nia inde­pen­dence dri­ve

    12 June 2017 13:14 CEST+02:00

    Madrid is brac­ing for ris­ing ten­sions over Cat­alo­ni­a’s uni­lat­er­al sep­a­ratist dri­ve, Spain’s deputy prime min­is­ter said Mon­day, just days after the north­east­ern region announced an inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum for Octo­ber.

    Cat­alo­ni­a’s pro-inde­pen­dence exec­u­tive has insist­ed on hold­ing the ref­er­en­dum in a move strong­ly opposed by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment which says it is ille­gal.

    On Fri­day, Cat­alo­nia Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont said his region­al gov­ern­ment would hold the vote on Octo­ber 1st in defi­ance of Madrid

    “We need to pre­pare for a strat­e­gy of ten­sion imple­ment­ed by the region­al gov­ern­ment and pro-inde­pen­dence par­ties,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Soraya Saenz de San­ta­maria said in a tele­vi­sion inter­view.

    “They are look­ing to pro­voke and they are look­ing for the state to react,” said Saenz de San­ta­maria, who is in charge of nego­ti­a­tions on the mat­ter.

    Cat­alo­nia, a wealthy region of 7.5 mil­lion peo­ple, is fierce­ly proud of its lan­guage and cus­toms and has long demand­ed greater auton­o­my from Madrid.


    And while Cata­lans are divid­ed on the issue, with 48.5 per­cent against inde­pen­dence and 44.3 per­cent in favour accord­ing to the lat­est region­al gov­ern­ment poll, close to three-quar­ters sup­port hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum.

    In Feb­ru­ary, the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled against the planned vote and warned Cata­lan lead­ers they faced reper­cus­sions if they con­tin­ued with their project.

    Region­al author­i­ties face a host of chal­lenges just to hold the ref­er­en­dum with­out Madrid’s con­sent, and the issue has put civ­il ser­vants in Cat­alo­nia — who are need­ed to help organ­ise the vote — in a del­i­cate sit­u­a­tion.

    If they dis­obey orders from their Cata­lan boss­es, they could face dis­ci­pli­nary sanc­tions.

    But if they obey, they will go against Span­ish law and also face sanc­tions, which may even entail los­ing their jobs.

    “You can dis­obey and assume the con­se­quences,” Saenz de San­ta­maria said.

    “But what you can’t do is force civ­il ser­vants try­ing to do their job as best they can to break the law.”


    “Spain is brac­ing for ris­ing ten­sions over Cat­alo­nia inde­pen­dence dri­ve”; AFP; 06/12/2017

    “On Fri­day, Cat­alo­nia Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont said his region­al gov­ern­ment would hold the vote on Octo­ber 1st in defi­ance of Madrid

    And Cat­alo­ni­a’s Pres­i­dent makes it offi­cial. Unof­fi­cial­ly offi­cial in the eyes of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, but offi­cial for Cat­alo­nia. So between now and when the vote is sched­uled to hap­pen in Octo­ber, Spain is going to find itself in a new exis­ten­tial cri­sis. Espe­cial­ly the civ­il ser­vants expect­ed to actu­al­ly imple­ment the ref­er­en­dum. A ref­er­en­dum that 3/4 of Cata­lans want to see hap­pen but is against Span­ish law:

    And while Cata­lans are divid­ed on the issue, with 48.5 per­cent against inde­pen­dence and 44.3 per­cent in favour accord­ing to the lat­est region­al gov­ern­ment poll, close to three-quar­ters sup­port hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum.


    Region­al author­i­ties face a host of chal­lenges just to hold the ref­er­en­dum with­out Madrid’s con­sent, and the issue has put civ­il ser­vants in Cat­alo­nia — who are need­ed to help organ­ise the vote — in a del­i­cate sit­u­a­tion.

    If they dis­obey orders from their Cata­lan boss­es, they could face dis­ci­pli­nary sanc­tions.

    But if they obey, they will go against Span­ish law and also face sanc­tions, which may even entail los­ing their jobs.

    Who to fol­low? The answer isn’t entire­ly obvi­ous for Cata­lan civ­il ser­vants. But they’re going to have to come up with an answer to that ques­tion soon. Which is part of what makes this com­ment from Spain’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter so chill­ing: the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is fear­ing “a strat­e­gy of ten­sion”:

    “We need to pre­pare for a strat­e­gy of ten­sion imple­ment­ed by the region­al gov­ern­ment and pro-inde­pen­dence par­ties,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Soraya Saenz de San­ta­maria said in a tele­vi­sion inter­view.

    They are look­ing to pro­voke and they are look­ing for the state to react,” said Saenz de San­ta­maria, who is in charge of nego­ti­a­tions on the mat­ter.

    They are look­ing to pro­voke and they are look­ing for the state to react

    It’s gen­er­al­ly not a good sign when phras­es asso­ci­at­ed with Oper­a­tion Glad­io get used to describe your coun­try’s emerg­ing sit­u­a­tion. But for Cat­alon­ian civ­il ser­vants, that’s the sit­u­a­tion. And the pro­pos­als by Cat­alo­ni­a’s leg­is­la­ture to remove the region from Spain’s legal sys­tem and man­date all civ­il ser­vants fol­low region­al law only under threat of sanc­tions won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly make that ques­tion any eas­i­er to answer:


    Cata­lan pub­lic work­ers caught in ref­er­en­dum cross­fire

    By Daniel Bosque
    10 June 2017 09:24 CEST+02:00

    Whose orders to fol­low? Civ­il ser­vants in Cat­alo­nia may not know which way to turn if the Span­ish region holds an inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum that Madrid deems ille­gal.

    Car­les Puigde­mont, Cat­alo­ni­a’s fierce­ly seces­sion­ist pres­i­dent, announced on Fri­day that he would go ahead with a vote on Octo­ber 1st despite Madrid’s oppo­si­tion, draw­ing a sharp rebuke from Spain’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment — and con­cern from pub­lic work­ers.

    They will be called upon to orga­nize a ref­er­en­dum which the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court has ruled is unlaw­ful, by car­ry­ing out such steps as open­ing schools to serve as polling sta­tions, or polic­ing the 7.5‑million-strong region in Spain’s north­east.

    As a result, they may be forced into a del­i­cate posi­tion — hav­ing to choose between obey­ing their imme­di­ate supe­ri­ors and fac­ing pos­si­ble sanc­tions for dis­obey­ing Span­ish law, or stick­ing by the Con­sti­tu­tion.


    Not risk­ing ‘my salary’

    In Cat­alo­nia, like in the rest of Spain, civ­il ser­vants are first and fore­most under oblig­a­tion to respect Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tion.

    If they dis­obey orders by their Cata­lan boss­es, they could face dis­ci­pli­nary sanc­tions.

    But if they obey, they will go against Span­ish law and will there­fore face sanc­tions, which may even entail los­ing their jobs.

    Josep Miquel Mila­gros, an agent in Cat­alo­ni­a’s Mossos d’Esquadra police force, summed up the sit­u­a­tion: “I’m pro-inde­pen­dence but I’m not going to risk my salary.”

    The 17,000-strong Mossos d’Esquadra force is under the con­trol of the region­al gov­ern­ment but is also bound to respect Span­ish law.

    “We could find our­selves between a rock and a hard space,” says Mila­gros, who is also spokesman for the USPAC police union.

    “As police offi­cers, we have to obey the law, we have no oth­er choice.”

    Dis­con­nec­tion law

    Exact­ly how Cat­alo­nia is going to go against Madrid and organ­ise a ref­er­en­dum deemed ille­gal by the courts remains unclear.

    In a bid to cir­cum­vent all the legal and prac­ti­cal chal­lenges in organ­is­ing such a vote, the region­al gov­ern­ment has draft­ed a law seek­ing to extract Cat­alo­nia from Spain’s legal sys­tem.

    It is expect­ed to present the bill in the next few weeks to the region­al par­lia­ment, where pro-inde­pen­dence law­mak­ers have an absolute major­i­ty.

    The law will in the­o­ry force all civ­il ser­vants who work in Cat­alo­nia to obey the region­al gov­ern­ment come what may, fur­ther rais­ing the stakes for pub­lic work­ers.

    “Those who don’t obey will be sanc­tioned,” pro-inde­pen­dence law­mak­er Lluis Llach said recent­ly at a con­fer­ence.

    How­ev­er, just like the ref­er­en­dum itself, the law will like­ly be sus­pend­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court.

    On Fri­day, Spain’s gov­ern­ment spokesman Ini­go Mendez de Vigo said Cat­alo­ni­a’s region­al exec­u­tive was not only under oblig­a­tion to respect the law and pro­tect the rights of all Cata­lans, but also “pre­serve the neu­tral­i­ty of all Cata­lan civ­il ser­vants.”

    And the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has more dras­tic ways to stop the ref­er­en­dum.

    It can ask the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court to sus­pend Puigde­mont for dis­obe­di­ence, or it has the pow­er to take tem­po­rary con­trol of the region­al gov­ern­ment, even if this would be a last resort.


    “Cata­lan pub­lic work­ers caught in ref­er­en­dum cross­fire” by Daniel Bosque; AFP; 06/10/2017

    “In a bid to cir­cum­vent all the legal and prac­ti­cal chal­lenges in organ­is­ing such a vote, the region­al gov­ern­ment has draft­ed a law seek­ing to extract Cat­alo­nia from Spain’s legal sys­tem.”

    And if civ­il ser­vants don’t fol­low region­al rules after that bill pass­es, they get sanc­tioned:

    It is expect­ed to present the bill in the next few weeks to the region­al par­lia­ment, where pro-inde­pen­dence law­mak­ers have an absolute major­i­ty.

    The law will in the­o­ry force all civ­il ser­vants who work in Cat­alo­nia to obey the region­al gov­ern­ment come what may, fur­ther rais­ing the stakes for pub­lic work­ers.

    “Those who don’t obey will be sanc­tioned,” pro-inde­pen­dence law­mak­er Lluis Llach said recent­ly at a con­fer­ence.

    So that might per­suade some civ­il ser­vants. Sanc­tions will do that.

    But then again, even if the region­al gov­ern­ment pass­es that bill and removes Cat­alo­nia from the rest of Spain’s legal sys­tem, it’s not like those civ­il ser­vants don’t have to wor­ry about the cen­tral gov­ern­men­t’s response, which might include march­ing in and tak­ing tem­po­rary con­trol of the region:

    How­ev­er, just like the ref­er­en­dum itself, the law will like­ly be sus­pend­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court.

    On Fri­day, Spain’s gov­ern­ment spokesman Ini­go Mendez de Vigo said Cat­alo­ni­a’s region­al exec­u­tive was not only under oblig­a­tion to respect the law and pro­tect the rights of all Cata­lans, but also “pre­serve the neu­tral­i­ty of all Cata­lan civ­il ser­vants.”

    And the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has more dras­tic ways to stop the ref­er­en­dum.

    It can ask the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court to sus­pend Puigde­mont for dis­obe­di­ence, or it has the pow­er to take tem­po­rary con­trol of the region­al gov­ern­ment, even if this would be a last resort.

    “It can ask the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court to sus­pend Puigde­mont for dis­obe­di­ence, or it has the pow­er to take tem­po­rary con­trol of the region­al gov­ern­ment, even if this would be a last resort.”

    Yep, at the same time we have the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter warn­ing peo­ple that the region­al Cat­alon­ian gov­ern­ment might imple­ment a “strat­e­gy of ten­sion”, we’re get­ting reminders that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment does indeed have the right to tem­porar­i­ly take con­trol of the region as a last resort.

    Feel­ing tense yet?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 12, 2017, 3:17 pm

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