Berlin administrative court confirms secret service sighting of left-wing newspaper Junge Welt

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On March 18, the administrative court in Berlin rejected a request for interim relief from the left-wing daily Junge World that he no longer be called a “left-wing extremist” in the annual report of the secret services, which subjects him to state surveillance.

The significance of this decision goes far beyond the immediate case. This points to the fact that in Germany anyone who professes Marxism or even calls the class division of society by name must be persecuted and their operations massively hampered by the state.

Judge Wilfried Peters (left) before the start of the SGP trial in 2011 (photo WSWS)

The main judgment is still pending, but the grounds for the interim decision, which the World Socialist Website saw, leave no doubt that the result will be the same.

Junge World had filed a summary procedure and sought an interim injunction because being named in the report of the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), as the German secret service is called, harms his work and threatens to destroy its economic existence. The main process can often drag on for years.

The administrative court recognized that Junge World had credibly demonstrated that being named in the Secret Service report made distribution of the newspaper more difficult, among other things because paid advertising was denied, photos were not available, and access and cooperation with the newspaper were restricted.

Junge World said: “For example, Deutsche Bahn and various municipalities and radio stations are refusing to rent advertising space with reference to the Verfassungsschutz entry, libraries are blocking online access to the newspaper and a printing house has refused to produce another print publication with an advertisement by the Junge Welt.

It is also intentional, as stated by the federal government in response to a parliamentary question on surveillance of Junge World by intelligence agencies last year. Such discrimination against left-wing publications is a “duty for society as a whole” and aims to “deprive them of [a] another fertile ground.

Nevertheless, the administrative court questioned the urgency of the request. She then decided that it didn’t even matter because the claim was also substantially unfounded. It was mainly because Junge World is a “Marxist-oriented daily”.

Taken “as a whole”, “left-wing extremism” Junge World resulted from its “spreading of the class struggle”, its presentation of “socialist-communist states and societies as preferable”, and its demand for the “overcoming of capitalism” and a “socialist alternative”.

The draft of his decision against Junge World had previously been created by the Administrative Tribunal itself. Last November, the same court, presided over by the same judge, its vice-president Wilfried Peters, rejected the complaint of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) against its name in the Verfassungsschutz report. In the case brought by Junge Worldthe Court has now partly reproduced verbatim the wording of that earlier judgment.

In the ruling against the SGP, the court declared undemocratic and unconstitutional statements such as crying out about social inequality is not compatible with democracy; the power of the big banks and corporations stands in the way of real government by the people; and state organs serve the interests of the wealthy.

Since, according to the constitution, all state power emanates from the people, the court said, all state institutions were also democratically legitimized. Thus, it was illegitimate to specifically question “the Verfassungsschutz and the Bundeswehr [Armed Forces].” The court also found the reference to the class struggle to be undemocratic and extremist, as was the reference to Marx, Engels and Lenin and the defense of a socialist alternative to capitalism.

As in the judgment against the SGP, in the case of Junge World the administrative court also referred to the discredited banning of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) by the Supreme Court in 1956. The administrative court constructed its own version of “Marxism-Leninism”, which it accuses all who refer to Marxism and revolutionary socialism. advocacy perspective.

Accordingly, “Communist state models” following the “teachings of ideologues such as Marx, Engels and Lenin” envision “one-party systems” with all-powerful “state parties”, meaning that there is ‘no place’ for general and equal elections. There are no limits to the judicial imagination. The Berlin Administrative Court provides no evidence of where, when, and how Marx, Engels, and Lenin “considered” such systems.

It also does not show where Junge World advocated such a state model. The decision simply states that it presents the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and Cuba in a positive light. For example, on German Unity Day on October 3, 2010, under the title “Against the distorted image”, he stated, among other things: “As long as the GDR existed, no war emanated from any Germany” – which is obviously true.

As proof of Junge World’s supposed hostility to democracy, the court also cited its support for Venezuelan President-elect Nicolas Maduro, who had to fend off several right-wing coup attempts.

The court also attempted to somehow bind Junge World to violence and terrorism. However, he was unable to prove that the newspaper called for violence or endorsed terrorism. He was simply referring to the publication of interviews with various organizations and individuals and the documentation of confessional letters, which thus “provided a platform”.

The administrative court did not cite any concrete evidence that the newspaper identifies with the politics of Islamist Hamas, for example, because one of its representatives gave it an interview.

However, according to Supreme Court case law regarding intelligence monitoring of news outlets, it is mandatory: “Freedom of the press also covers the decision to provide a forum only to a certain political spectrum, but to allow authors a great deal of freedom there and subsequently not identify with any individual publications.

“So it should,” the Supreme Court wrote in a 2005 ruling on the right Junge Freiheit“particular indications as to why the editorial staff does not identify with these articles but identifies with the articles cited by the courts”.

The Administrative Court does not cite such “particular indications” but resorts to a classic circular argument – what is to be proven is assumed – to draw conclusions as to an “overview” of the articles and the “political orientation of the writing”. .”

It is legally untenable. The goal is to slander, criminalize, and silence any left-wing criticism of the capitalist system and government policy as undemocratic, even if, as the federal government and administrative court also admit in the case of Junge World[…]to do so, it uses exclusively democratic and peaceful means.

In this case, the court repeated the anti-Communist tirades against Marxism, against the overthrow of capitalism, against socialism and against the call for class struggle, partly word for word on several pages of the judgment against the SGP. It thus expressly confirms the warning of the SGP at the time:

The judgment targets the SGP because it gives that opposition a voice and a socialist perspective, but it is also directed against anyone who criticizes capitalism and rejects the government’s right-wing policies. Based on this judgment, every author who refers positively to the Marxist classics, every sociologist who examines the effects of social inequalities on society, every journalist who sheds light on far-right terrorist networks in the armed forces and every striker could be declared an enemy of the constitution.

This is exactly what happened with the decision against Junge World. The SGP and the World Socialist Website call on all readers to defend Junge World and all other groups that are spied on and attacked by the Verfassungsschutz for their leftist opposition to capitalism, militarism and imperialism.

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