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The 9 coffin nails of democracy
by Roland Rottenfuss
Friday Jul 17th, 2020 11:41 AM
Democracy is an achievement and must be won anew, expanded and defended against attacks in every era... The political conformity of the mainstream press is a sad chapter. "Representative democracy" is a fine word, but who do the representatives actually represent today? Citizens want "representatives of the people."
The 9 coffin nails of democracy

by Roland Rottenfuss

This article published on 7/15/2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

"Democracy is an achievement in the best sense of the word, and it must be won anew, expanded and defended against attacks in every era. Even if today it were a matter of nothing more than resisting its decay, stopping it for some time or just slowing it down, then this attempt would be worth every effort." How the principle "All violence comes from the people" is gradually being eroded. And what gives us hope. Roland Rottenfuss

For some time now, a collective nightmare has been dawning on the horizon of history: the frightening vision of a worldwide system of oppression, which differs in nuances from region to region, but which is largely uniform in its foundations of thought, and which has also been called "democracy". What is meant is a capitalist oligarchy protected by police and authoritarian state structures with residual democratic structures which, however, only have a fig-leaf function.

The starting point of this development is slightly different in each individual state, but the end result could be the same. In China, for example, the old one-party dictatorship is evolving in a capitalist direction, while in NATO countries capitalism is becoming more dictatorial through the use of increasingly police-state means. In Russia, a democratic episode under Gorbachev and Yeltsin was used to establish a nouveau riche oligarchic caste, the spoils of which are now being secured under Putin by a return to "accustomed" totalitarian state structures. Common to all models is a view of the people of the state as a docile herd of people, lulled into a political deep sleep by "embedded" media chorus boys, left at the mercy of the economy by the state for the most efficient economic exploitation.

Representative democracy in the originally intended form has failed when the representatives no longer represent the "demos" (people) but force them to submit to the interests of a third force from the economic and financial sector. Of course, nobody openly says, "We are now abolishing democracy." People can still vote what they want as long as they can think what they should. Paradoxically, the main task of "democratically elected" politicians in such a system is to dismantle democracy, i.e. to limit democratic popular power to that which is harmless to the financial oligarchy.

This is done with the help of a few tricks, which I have also called the 9 coffin nails of democracy. I would like to make them a little more precise here on the basis of German conditions.

False alternatives: Several parties, who basically say the same thing, compete in mock battles. What would really be in the interest of the people does not even become part of the range of offerings in the political arena. As in a small Bavarian country inn, one can choose between roast pork or knuckle of pork, for vegetarians there is no dish on the menu at all - they can vote against their conscience or have to go home hungry.

Marginalization of real alternatives: The current structures mean that many citizens choose not what they want, but what they think has the best chance of gaining power. The undemocratic 5% hurdle discourages the founding of new parties, makes it more difficult to finance them, hinders the influx of competent personnel from all parts of society, virtually eliminates small parties in the media and effectively hides them from the people. This often leads to tactical electoral decisions based on the principle of "lesser evil".

Failure of control instances: Federal Constitutional Court and Federal President are occupied by personalities from the same "camp", neoliberal bucks are turned into gardeners. In the end, the economic political mainstream "controls" itself. Thus, for example, it was possible that in 2005 a parliament elected by the people for four years was actually only dissolved because a single man - Gerhard Schröder - wanted it that way. Köhler and Germany's highest judges waved through the act, which was contrary to democracy. In Heiligendamm, the Federal Constitutional Court allowed the right to demonstrate to be further eroded by allowing protest to take place only at a great distance from the event being protested against.

Referendums - no thanks! Plebiscites at federal level are still not possible today. A grand coalition of the four "old parties" feels that the idea of more control through direct democracy is like sawing through the branch of its own power and opposes it. Similar to the long-time ban on women's suffrage, here the already privileged determine by majority vote that those not yet privileged can be kept small. A long-standing civil rights activist, Bernhard Fricke of the Munich environmental initiative "David against Goliath", said on this subject: "We have been content with a democracy initially designed by the victorious powers, which has found a very mature, worthy of consideration in the Basic Law. However, fundamental rights have been increasingly eroded in a long process - sometimes to the point of insubstantiality. Nor has there ever been a referendum on our Constitution. Nor later, in the case of monetary union, of reunification, of the European Constitution. To this day, these people are still denied the right to a say on such existential issues; they have been declared incapable by their representatives in a boundless arrogance".

"Ears to and through": The common political practice is to simply ignore the concerns of mass demonstrations and other popular expressions of opinion. The citizens were thus educated over several decades to a political and demonstration fatigue. From the relatively small number of demonstrators, it is then easy to deduce that they agree with the prevailing policy. In truth, it is more likely to be a testimony to resignation, which was partly caused by the politicians' refusal to listen to the people's concerns. The rulers reinterpret, as it were, a shrugging "better-than-nix relationship" into a hot love affair between the people and their representatives.

"Courage to make unpopular decisions!" Politicians constantly encourage each other to be tough on the popular cause. The "courage" to resist "populist tendencies" is almost considered a mark of nobility for belonging to the political caste. Yet it is simply undemocratic thinking and arrogance. Franz Josef Strauss said that a politician should "look the people in the mouth, but not speak to their lips". What is meant is: Listening does not do any harm as long as we (the politicians) do what we want afterwards. No modern politician can afford to annoy those forces to whom he is actually obliged to serve by showing consideration for something banal like the will of the people. Political courage in the 2000s can be summed up in a formula that turned Willy Brandt's original vision into its opposite: "Dare less democracy".

The political conformity of the mainstream press is as sad chapter. The media in this country predominantly represent the interests of their (usually super-rich) owners, their advertising customers from the economy and the political forces to which they are committed. Of course, a newspaper also needs the approval of its readers, but they prefer to be befuddled by a supply of easily digestible banalities. Noam Chomsky's groundbreaking book "Media Control" describes the propaganda character of the US media very well. Television, radio, newspapers and magazines not only determine what we think, but also, through their choice of topics, what we think about or which topics that are perhaps important to us do not even cross the threshold of our consciousness. Alex Cary makes the following apt observation: "The twentieth century can be characterized by three major political developments: the growth of democracy, the growth of institutional power, and the growth of propaganda to protect that institutional power from democracy.

"Opinion research does not matter": In more and more fundamental political questions, the rejection of an overwhelming majority of the population is tangible and is documented by various independent opinion research institutes. This applies, for example, to the introduction of genetic engineering in agriculture or the German Armed Forces mission in Afghanistan. When such poll results become known, however, it is simply stated that governments are determined by elections, not by opinion polls. "Representative democracy" is a fine word, but who do the representatives actually represent today?

Citizens want "representatives of the people" who take their will into account throughout the entire legislative period, not autocrats who, once elected, are completely deaf to any expression of the will of the people for four years. After all, democracy is more than a one- or two-party dictatorship limited to four years, after which the next power elite (or the same one again) can be elected from a pool of similarly minded politicians. In a largely self-contained neo-liberal community of opinion - divided up among several parties that differ only in nuances - the only remaining controlling factor is the politician's fear of being voted out of office. However, even this threat loses its horror in view of increasingly cynically planned political careers. In the event of being voted out of office, incumbents - like Gerhard Schröder - have secured their positions in the economy long in advance by making themselves popular with their future employer by making concessions during the politically active phase. Whether Laschet or Scholz will soon become chancellors - it is likely to affect them both in a similar way as the question of which of two teammates will be footballer of the year. You have your own personal ambitions, but you know that the just (neoliberal) cause is in good hands with the other.

Police state on the advance. The current wave of police state measures resembles a restoration that immediately follows the Ancien Regime - without the intermediate step of a revolution. The intention is clearly to nip a possible protest movement in the bud. Even more common than extreme measures such as caging, however, is the trend to make demonstrations so "uncomfortable" for the demonstrators that many are deterred from exercising their right to demonstrate. Strict demonstration requirements, an often exaggerated, martial police presence and a strict spatial separation between the protesters and the addressees of the protest are antidemocratic excesses of an increasingly nervous state power. Especially in Munich, one usually feels that demonstrations are monitored, unwanted and oppressed by an atmosphere of latent threat of violence, rather like being driven through the streets like a group of prisoners of war between police lines. Civil rights that can no longer be interpreted away are undermined by invoking a "state of emergency" that is extended until it has become the norm.

So are we on the way to a post-democratic society? Strictly speaking, democracy cannot be abolished at all, because it has never existed in its pure form in history. Egalitarian democracy ("one head - one voice") has always been in a certain tension with the efforts of a superior elite to give its interests a disproportionate weight. This tension is currently unbalanced towards an exclusive dominance of the political and economic "authorities". "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others", mocked George Orwell in his satire "Animal Farm". Democracy is on a downward slope towards self-dissolution.

Of course, the state of "creative chaos" must not be idealized too one-sidedly by spontaneous actions of civil disobedience. Just think what would happen if right-wing radicals or football hooligans were the "civil disobedient" and if state power capitulated to their onslaught! However, we are not, as in some old John Wayne films, in a situation of lawlessness, in which an ordering power has to assert itself against an anarchic primeval chaos in the first place. Rather, today we are dealing with an over-regulated society in which a small "elite" has secured for itself all the de facto power to shape things and systematically excludes the remaining citizens (beyond the little cross on election night) from participating in the democratic process. Demonstrations and creative protest actions are a modest approach to creating a civic counter-power, which I welcome, as long as only rules are violated and not people.

Democracy is an achievement in the best sense of the word, and it must be regained, expanded and defended against attack in every era. Even if the aim today were nothing more than to prevent its decay, to halt it for a while or only to slow it down, then this attempt would be worth every effort. Today we have respect for those groups and individual fighters who said "no" to the decline of the Weimar Republic under the onslaught of the brown mass insanity. Eugen Drewermann wrote: "It is not only worthwhile, it is absolutely necessary to live the truth, no matter in what form and at what time it will assert itself in the space of history. But perhaps democracy dies less from the strength of its opponents than from the indifference of that "demos" (people) for which it was once created

Ulrike Spurgat
15 July 2020
"Under Gorbachev" note; and the dancing and drinking Yeltsin a phase of democratization" ? But yes, in the spirit of the third-rate actor Reagan, the disgusting Kissinger and all our eternally yesterday's politicians, such as Kohl, for example, whose ambition has always been wealth and mineral resources. Russia, the largest country on earth. What is there to criticize there today. True.

I'm laughing all wrong.

After this "brother kiss" in 1991 with the greatest war criminal of all times, the USA, a whole nation fell into the social and economic abyss. What I have read about it from serious and reliable sources still brings tears to my eyes. It is always difficult to believe that what is being hawked here as "democracy" is the ultimate truth. The arrogance of the West does not stop. NATO is once again at Russia's doorstep and some will certainly think that the Russian, as before, is at our doorstep.

Since it never occurred to me that we have the right to judge others how and in which society they want to live, that goes without saying and so I find some statements simply unsympathetic. The truth is that Russia is struggling with great economic problems. That they have to go their own way but also. We are the last ones who have to change their ways and kick everything into the bin because it does not fit into any world view of democracy. We don't have to "save Russia." After all, the natural resources there are decided by the people themselves. And I'll never understand how anyone could ever believe that imperialism "liberates" the East. For that they are and will remain too greedy for what lies in the soil of Russia and belongs to the western capitalists. 27 million dead and every family had a death toll after this barbaric war. A caesura in the history of mankind and history has passed its judgment and spoken its mind. And that sanctions always hit the Russian people is as clear as a dumpling, like Cuba and also Venezuela. That there the oligarchs are at work is just as clear. The capitalism, which was supposedly brought to the Russians with "democracy", makes me really suspicious. The contacts that exist in Russia today are such that many people there are fighting for their daily survival. That is not much different here. Here, a clique of media, politicians, lobbyists and corporations have a hold on it. What kind of authoritarian politics is this here, which denies the dying the helping hand and the friendly word at the end of life, because a subordinate law, the infection protection law and blah is used to muzzle the people and to make them suffer the death of their relatives alone. And these are social realities. I can tell you a thing or two about that. "Empty word of the poor rights, empty word of the rich duty.

Russia belongs to Europe and this false EU yakety-yak yakety-yak of EU = Europe is just shameful. A whole country that German fascism wanted to extinguish, the people as "subhumans," as forced laborers, where even the concentration camp prisoner got a slightly larger food ration than the Russian prisoner of war makes me shudder again and again when I continue to research there.

Any justified criticism is in order from me. But we do not have the right to tell other societies where the hammer hangs. Especially not with this inheritance in our luggage.

My conviction is this and I am with Maxim Gorki: "Look diligently into the past, there you will find all the riddles explained."

I wanted to refer to Russia, and to do so in the way that is important to me.
Baron of Anarch
16 July 2020
Answers wake up slowly and gain a level of knowledge? - Too bad that you have already buried it - the 'democracy', woke up too late...

It has been a ' political-finance-capital-economic dictatorship' for a very long time ! - The constitution and basic rights are subordinated to these powers and deformed in their sense - a judiciary that was supposed to prevent exactly that as an independent legal authority committed to the constitution is no longer existing. An all-powerful police and surveillance state enforces this dictatorship. Freedom of opinion and assembly - the rights of freedom and resistance in general - are no longer given, are completely tolerated and approved, and only behavior that conforms to the system is approved.

Articles 1 to 20 ( above all ) are switched off with a politically dictatorial snap of the finger, omnipotent powers of the police ensure compliance with constitutional non-compliance.

Civil society organizations and channels are banned, switched off if critical of the system, laws of repression and measures prevent counter-opinions and these are criminalized, criticism of the system is increasingly even a criminal offense.

The 'demos' is rendered incapable of action, the demonstrator is arrested.

The political abolition of a state welfare system alone violates the constitution in hundreds of thousands of individual cases every day.

The state is a constitutional breach in and of itself.

Whoever goes to the polls chooses exactly that and nothing else.

Resistance necessary ? - Yes, but only if nobody gets hurt! ‚ –


'The non-injurious resistance against a dictatorship ! ' - mi lext am Oasch, rarely laughed so much...

Peter Boettel
16 July 2020
In one sentence:

The people are running out of power.
16 July 2020
NATO is once again at Russia's doorstep and some will certainly think that the Russian, as before, is at our doorstep.

And since we are and will remain vassals of the USA via NATO (and have learned in the meantime to defend our freedom in the Hindu Kush, among other places), he is also at our borders. Fodder for the new Cold War, which this time we will try to bring into a hot phase less patiently than the previous one ...

How do we get rid of this bondage under this unfortunately well-equipped failed state? 🙁
Bernd Kulawik
17 July 2020
So are we on the way to a "post-democratic society"?
Yes, since 1945.
Because for all "coffin nails" - and some more essential points like redistribution, ruling by fear of unemployment, building up right-wing extremist parties by "constitutional" "protection" and old parties etc. etc. - there are enough examples since 1945 with which one can prove that this "democracy-dismantling" has always existed: namely as "prevention of democracy" and thus camouflage of the "dictatorship of capital". Everything that came across or was sold as "democratic" was only cosmetics, which is becoming more and more transparent for a part of the population, while the other part believes it to be all the more wildly determined. Because the alternative: to admit to oneself that one is being lied to, cheated, robbed and exploited and that one lives in an illusory world(s) that the media and politics sell you (at their own expense) - THAT would be a realization too frightening for many, who therefore reject it with all their might. "Yes, in the past, politicians (on behalf of big business) lied and cheated people - but they wouldn't do that today! Then we would have to be quite stupid to put up with that - but we DO NOT WANT to be stupid! That would not only be as embarrassing as falling for a hatter's trick, but it would be admitting the failure of one's own existence all along the line. On the other hand, the destruction and devaluation of East German biographies would be a joke!
"Nobody has the intention of building a wall!" - But even fewer have the intention to look behind the walls they have built or had built without resistance around their own thinking. For the insights they might well suspect are behind these walls would be far too frightening. And, as is well known, one does not give up life lies at all. Certainly not THIS one: That one would have lived in a "democracy" in the West, which could prove to be a slightly disguised continuation of the dictatorship of the same "elites" who had already ruined the country before '45 (only not themselves).

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