Hesse Election: Social Democrats Embrace Right-Wing Agenda

Older residents of Hesse will probably remember with distaste the right-wing campaign with which Christian Democratic Party (CDU) member Roland Koch won the 1999 Land elections. nationality, it fueled xenophobic feelings and created a climate conducive to the development of far-right terrorist groups, such as the assassins of Walter Lübcke, a state official in Kassel, and ultimately the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

In the Land of Hesse elections, which will be held on October 8, it is the Social Democratic Party (SPD) that is running with a xenophobic program. SPD candidate Nancy Faeser, who is seeking to replace CDU minister-president Boris Rhein as head of the Land government, has retained her post as federal minister in order to be highly visible as a candidate for law and government. order in these elections.

As German Interior Minister, Faeser not only plays a leading role in expanding ‘Fortress Europe’, which hands over millions of refugees to authoritarian regimes, locks them up in concentration camps and let them drown at sea or die of thirst in the desert. Hardly a week goes by without her publicly presenting new proposals to curtail the last democratic rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

In early August, Faeser’s ministry presented a “Discussion Draft” that lists 35 pages of blunt, even sadistic legislative proposals that make a mockery of basic democratic principles. We could call this document “Strangers outside”!

A total of twelve legal measures are intended to facilitate the deportation of refugees and asylum seekers. These people can still legally invoke certain rights, but without practical effect since they will be expelled anyway.

Thus, according to the draft, appeals against entry and residence bans will no longer suspend deportation measures; anyone filing an asylum application can still be detained pending deportation; the number of cases requiring a lawyer will be greatly reduced; the maximum period of detention pending departure will be increased from ten to twenty-eight days; and the authorities will be granted extensive search rights in accommodation centres.

A particularly dastardly plan is that deportation will no longer be announced in advance, even in the case of people with long-term “tolerated” status. Without warning, the police may apprehend those targeted during nighttime raids and expel them from the country. Until now, people who have been tolerated for more than a year in Germany had to be informed of their impending deportation at least a month in advance.

One can imagine what that means. Families living in Germany for years but so far only ‘tolerated’ go to bed every night fearing the police will ring their doorbell, put them on the next plane and ship off to a country where they don’t have not the means to live. The last time such psychological terror existed in Germany was under the Nazi regime.

More than 6,000 young people who are currently undergoing vocational training as tolerated persons are threatened by Faeser’s new projects. More than half of the tolerated persons, or 136,000, have lived in Germany for more than five years. Most of them have a regular job, have their own apartment and send their children to school.

Another proposal that Faeser has been propagandizing in recent weeks is the introduction of “Sippenhaftung” [clan liability] under the pretext of the existence of so-called clan criminality. Members of families designated as criminal clans should be deported even if they have not committed any crime. In response to skeptical questions from the regional daily Rheinische Post, Faeser stressed that she wanted “effective solutions”: “Here the rule of law has to show its teeth.”

Why is the Hessian SPD running an election campaign far to the right of Koch’s infamous 1999 campaign?

The answer to this question does not lie simply in the person of Nancy Faeser, but in the changing political circumstances. Today, the SPD leads a federal government that is carrying out the largest military rearmament since Hitler and escalating the NATO-led war against Russia regardless of casualties, even if it means risking nuclear war.

The German government is ruthlessly downloading the costs of this policy onto the working population in the form of social cuts and lower real wages. As interior minister, Faeser is responsible not only for refugee policy, but also for collective bargaining in the public sector, where she has imposed massive real wage cuts with the support of the Verdi services union.

The German Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution [domestic intelligence] also fall under the remit of Faeser, which systematically strengthens them. While right-wing terrorist networks operate unhindered in the state apparatus, the domestic intelligence agency cites the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (the Socialist Equality Party in Germany, SGP) as an “object of observation” and the denounces as a “left extremist” because he fights for a socialist society through democratic means. In the preface to the latest Report on the Protection of the Constitution, Faeser warns that all views that run counter to the German war effort must be banished from public discussion.

Faeser is also responsible for the criminalization of climate activists, such as the organization “Last Generation”.

This policy, which could come directly from the AfD’s electoral program, is supported by all parties. This applies not only to the Greens, who are members of the federal government and govern from Hesse together with the CDU, but also to the Left Party, which has long been led in Hesse by current Left Party chairwoman Janine Wissler.

Wissler tried for years to form a coalition government in Hesse with Faeser’s SPD. In December 2021, she congratulated Faeser on her swearing-in as interior minister and absurdly called her a “comrade-in-arms in the fight against far-right violence.” This underlines the fact that the Left Party, like the SPD, defends capitalism and the bourgeois state, which it is ready to use against the opposition of the working class.

Faeser, from Schwalbach/Taunus, represents the electoral district of Hochtaunus, which is one of the affluent suburbs around Frankfurt with the highest per capita income in Germany. Twice as high, for example, as that of the cities of Offenbach, Duisburg or Gelsenkirchen. As a lawyer, she worked at the business law firm GÖRG in Frankfurt.

Faeser’s xenophobic election campaign is driven by fear of a working class rebellion. As resistance to war and social austerity grows, this campaign is a desperate attempt to divide the working population through nationalism and xenophobia. The attack on the democratic rights of refugees, the weakest members of society, serves as a prelude to the abolition of all democratic rights of the working class.

This article is originally published on wsws.org

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