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Inchoate reactionary coup attempt December 7, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Does anyone else find the news today that there was an attempted coup in Germany remarkable? Or are the times just so strange, so event-filled, so seemingly uncontrolled, that it is yet another oddity in a world filled with oddities? But the details are striking.

Twenty-five people including a 71-year-old German aristocrat, a retired military commander and former MP for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) have been detained in Germany on suspicion of a terrorist plan to overthrow the state and renegotiate the country’s post-second world war settlement.

Thousands of police carried out a series of raids across Germany on Wednesday morning in connection with the far-right ring.

 

Federal prosecutors said 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states against the group, whose members it said adhered to a “conglomerate of conspiracy theories” including the QAnon cult and the so-called Reich Citizens movement.

It gets even more bizarre. 

German media have identified as the group’s ringleaders Heinrich XIII, 71, a descendant of the noble Reuß family that used to rule over parts of eastern Germany in the 12th century, and a former senior field officer at the German army’s paratrooper battalion named only as Rüdiger von P.

Last year, the pair founded a “terrorist organisation with the goal of overturning the existing state order in Germany and replacing it with their own form of state, which was already in the course of being founded”, with Rüdiger von P in charge of planning the military coup and Heinrich XIII mapping out Germany’s future political order.

The group had even started to nominate ministers for a transitional post-coup government, reported the newspaper Die Zeit, in which one of the suspects, the former AfD MP Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, 58, was to be federal minister for justice.

Note that their motivating belief was that Germany was ‘run by a deep-state conspiracy’ and that ‘was about to be exposed by an alliance of German intelligence agencies and the militaries of foreign states including Russia and the US.’

Note too the language used:

“Everything will be turned upside down: the current public prosecutors and judges, as well as the heads of the health departments and their superiors will find themselves in the dock at Nuremberg 2.0”, one of the suspect said in a message posted on Telegram minutes before the start of Wednesday’s raids, Die Zeit reported.

That’s imported wholesale from Covid denialism.

And then there’s this:

After their takeover, the group had envisioned renegotiating the treaties Germany signed after the end of the second world war with the allies. “For now, the Russian Federation was exclusively to be the central contact for these negotiations,” prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, what to make of the following dispiriting news? From a similar point on the political compass, but one that is also alarmingly, pulling together previously disparate strands.

It is a Monday and for several years, Monday night protests – drawing attention to everything from the “over-Islamification” of Germany to “dictatorial” Covid prevention measures – have become a mainstay on the calendar of many German towns and cities in the former GDR or communist east…

In recent months, it is the cost-of-living crisis that has driven the agenda, with Germans in the east having been hit disproportionately hard by rising prices, owing to having lower wages, smaller pensions and less long-term accumulated wealth – whether property, inheritance or investments – than those in western Germany.

Observers have watched with varying degrees of fascination and horror to see in some cases the far-right and far-left in effect join forces for the first time to voice their anger, as a “heiße Herbst” (hot autumn) has turned into what organisers and media refer to as a “Wut Winter” (angry winter).

And:

To what extent the collaboration was planned or not it is hard to say. But what has emerged is a growing sense of cooperation due to an overlap of issues, elegantly compared to a “horse shoe” shape (the ends of which curve towards each other). There are suggestions that there might even be the possibility of both camps – the far-right AfD and the far-left Die Linke, or breakaway elements of that party, Sahra Wagenknecht and her husband Oskar Lafontaine, the erstwhile Social Democrat finance minister – entering government together.

Everyone is invited into the fold. “Have courage and join us, even if it’s just for a brief while,” a woman in an orange anorak says to onlookers through a microphone, speaking in time to the drum beat.

And:

Demonstrators’ demands to the government include dropping sanctions against Russia so that it is persuaded to resume its gas flows, doing away with coronavirus restrictions, a rent cap, “and an end to all the insanity”, the protest leader shouts shrilly, to cheers.

Comments»

1. Former reader - December 7, 2022

What I make of it is that it’s The Guardian, a belief in “horseshoe theory” is a first-class mark of an idiot, and if the CLR Dad demographic hadn’t been so centre-pilled by Ukraine, they’d recognise that straight away.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

That’s a lot of assumptions on your part in there not so ‘former reader’. The question was raised in order to see if anyone closer to the ground in Germany might have an insight in order to see if there was any truth in it or whether it was an incorrect framing. I’d be disappointed if it were the case though some sections of Die Linke have offered a curious narrative in respect of sanctions.

I don’t personally believe in any such horseshoe theory, which surely is something I’ve made clear over the years. Whatever my thoughts on Ukraine they have literally nothing to do with my broader politics and I’m no centrist. And as for using the word dad as an insult – I’m proud to be a parent and all too aware of the chances that I would be were slim to non-existent at one point due to various reasons. It’s made me a better person and a better leftist.

Liked by 3 people

2. NFB - December 7, 2022

Scary stuff, even if their ability to carry out these grandiose aims was probably very limited (makes one think of Mulcahy’s judgement of O’Duffy’s would-be coup as “barrack room bluster”, or perhaps more pertinently the overly-optimistic outlook of the Valkyrie plotters for what came next). They could still have killed people and damaged the stability of German democracy before being stopped.

Still interesting to wonder just how deep this goes. Did these people think the police and military would just fall in line?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Yeah, it has that blustery aspect – sort of a barrack room rhetoric gone too far almost. That’s the key question you ask there at the end. How serious a threat was this from the far-right? The Capitol attack wasn’t serious in the sense of overthrowing the state though it’s been somewhat toxic in respect of enabling or accentuating a tendency in the US polity into anti-democratic positions. But this seems to be a different sort of effort.

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3. alanmyler - December 7, 2022

Probably making the news headlines a bit too because of the Oath Keepers trial in the US in relation to the January 6th attack on the Capitol last year.

Now having said that, I did read a thing god knows where a few years ago about the number of German police and military personnel whose names were found on some list of members of a far-right terrorist organisation. My first thought at the time was of course that it’s typically German that such an organisation would actually keep a list of members, good book keeping etc. So it’s not something to be dismissed out of hand, regardless of how comical it might sound.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Exactly. It is enormously serious. Anything where the actual security state is involved is.

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alanmyler - December 7, 2022

I should mention here a book that I read a couple of months back, the German Genius, a history of German cultural evolution for which the main underlying theme was an analysis of whether or not there was anything inherently predisposing in the culture towards far-right extremism. A fascinating book, although I can’t remember offhand what his conclusion was! Dad-brain strikes again!!
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/oct/09/german-genius-peter-watson-review

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Too many books brain! That’s interesting – I’d like to know what his conclusion was.

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alanmyler - December 7, 2022

Yes you’re right, too-many-books-brain. As Homer (Simpson) famously said, “every time I have to learn something new I need to forget something else to make room for it in my brain”. Or words to that effect anyway.

I think his conclusion was affirmative, though not necessarily inevitable that it would manifest itself as it did in the 30s and 40s. It’s a terrible shame that the Weimar Republic didn’t survive those tensions, isn’t it.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

+1

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benmadigan - December 7, 2022

at least the german authorities picked these people up, preventing any action – unlike the Americans who didn’t prevent Jan 6th

Liked by 1 person

4. irishelectionliterature - December 7, 2022

It’s fairly scary and the way these things operate it’s a bubble…. also

Liked by 3 people

5. Liberius - December 7, 2022

A music teacher, who gives her name as Janine and does not want her employer to know she’s participating, says she feels empowered by the crowd. “The most important thing for me is that we’re all together, venting our frustration and worries, not sitting at home alone hugging hot-water bottles and wondering how on earth we’ll get through this winter, and then the next,” she says…

…Whereas in the past, Monday night demonstrators were more discerning about who they marched alongside, recent surveys show the barriers are down, with 67% in a recent survey saying it was “irrelevant” to them who had called the protest, the reasons for calling it were seen as more important.

The attitude towards the protesters has also changed. In the not-too-distant past their demands were often interpreted as outrageous, or at best out of touch, but sympathy towards them is on the rise. In a recent poll by the broadcaster MDR, 80% said they could understand why people felt compelled to go out on to the streets.

I think both the opinion expressed in that first paragraph and the stats in the following ones are worth keeping in mind, people who are struggling will look for support and if that is only seen to be offered by the far-right then it’s they who will gain, I’ve said before that the von der Leyen rhetoric of “send your bills to Moscow” is going to ring hollow to anyone struggling to pay those bills or heat homes or put food on the table, I think it needs restating, the coming winter is going to be very hard for many of us, the consequences if not handled with care could be catastrophic.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Given you were the one who was advocating that Ukraine cease all resistance to military coercion and accept Russian occupation with the idea that somehow civil resistance would at some indeterminate point in the future push back the Russian I find your position remarkable in that you balk at sacrifices that states can (as noted in the Economist) relatively straightforwardly mitigate for their populations. I can’t quite work out what level of resistance or sacrifice you would actually support.

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Liberius - December 7, 2022

Who is against states implementing those measures? I don’t think any of us are, but that doesn’t mean agreeing with von der Leyen style rhetoric.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

It’s irrelevant what she said – I don’t agree with it either. No one seriously is going to do what she said, it was a rather silly rhetorical flourish, but the real action is at state level where mitigations are being rolled out, and rightly so. I don’t want my elderly relatives any more than you want yours to suffer. But hanging everything on one statement by her as if that is the beginning and end of the matter isn’t particularly useful in terms of the issues at play, is it?

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Liberius - December 7, 2022

I never said it was the end of the matter, it’s just a useful reminder of the sort of dangerously dismissive rhetoric to avoid excoriating people for protesting against their hardships. The quotes from the Guardian article I think show why, it’s dangerous to be dismissive and leave the field to the far-right who will make hay out of it. Making sure the left is spearheading campaigns against the rising cost of living is very important, here, in Germany, everywhere around Europe. Was looking at a press release from the PvdA-PTB in Belgium earlier today about their Trop is te veel movement, that’s a positive to see in contrast to the protests noted in the Guardian.

https://international.ptb-pvda.be/articles/trop-te-veel-enough-enough

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

No disagreement with the PvdA-PTB statement at all.

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6. Paul Culloty - December 7, 2022

Meanwhile, there has been a parliamentary coup in Peru, impeaching the recently-elected leftist President Castillo:

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

What force does that have?

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Paul Culloty - December 7, 2022

His VP will take over forthwith.

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WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Bloody hell.

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Gearóid Clár - December 8, 2022

Am I out of the loop here – I thought they made this move against him as he tried to rule by decree?

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WorldbyStorm - December 8, 2022

It does look a little more mixed at this point. Not sure what’s going on.

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7. irishelectionliterature - December 8, 2022

I wonder has the recent spate of protests finally woken the Government and Authorities here to the dangers posed by our own fascists.
If they were “Republican” they would have been dealt with in a different fashion rather than basically ignoring all of them, trusting election results as their potential influence.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 8, 2022

That’s a great point IEL, they certainly would have been.

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - December 8, 2022

You’d like to think so, but one of the larger parties in the current government is the successor of Ireland’s most significant fascist party of the 1930s.

Liked by 1 person

8. entdinglichung - December 8, 2022

just to add that the part of Eastern Germany ruled by the Reuss family (divided into two principalities) was a rather small part of Thuringia, around 1.100 sqkm with a bit more than 200000 inhabitants (including the city of Gera, an important industrial centre back then), one of the Reuss princes in the late 19th century, Heinrich XXII, Prince Reuss of Greiz was a rather interesting maverick figure, on the one hand a conservative Lutheran with absolutist leanings who e.g. opposed civil marriage and the new civil code, on the other hand an ardent opponent of Prussia and Bismarck who was the only German prince who voted in the upper chamber against the anti-socialist and the anti-catholic repressive laws and several times against the military and the colonial budgets and against German participation in the crushing of the Chinese rising 1900 … the Reuss prince involved in the current plot is shunned by most of his family members

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