• Winter Of Discontent. German Farmers Rise - Minister Chased Back To Island

    January 7, 2024
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    Germans are not known for being particularly rebellious. Or prone to strikes like the French are. Lenin is said to have quipped “if the Germans want to storm a train station, they first buy a platform ticket”.

    Empirically there is some truth to that, few countries lose fewer working days due to strikes than Germany. Yet, German farmers are up in arms and are planning a big nationwide strike and demonstration day. Some other unions are said to join them for a general strike - the first of its kind since 1948.

    But even before that general strike the German farmers grabbed headlines and had the pundits clutching their pearls - when the farmers chased the German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economy and Climate back to the tiny island (95 inhabitants) of Halig Hooge in the North Sea, in Germany’s Northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein. Mr Habeck had vacationed there and word had spread quickly that he was going to leave for the mainland that day. Spontaneously, 150 or so farmers of the area had mobilised and waited for him there. After some heated exchanges, a handful of rabble rousers instigated roughly 30 people to try and force their way onto the ferry. A minor scuffle ensued that did not escalate. The Mr Habeck invited a maximum of 3 farmers to speak to him on the ferry - but they preferred to speak to him as a group and also refused to leave. In the end Mr. Habeck and his protection team left for the island of Hooge again. At 1:50am Mr Habeck finally sneaked back and made his way back to Berlin.

    Needless to say, condemnations of the farmers “unacceptable” and “violent” conduct poured in from the mainstream media and social media accounts of various politicians. The Green Party Minister of Agriculture, Mr Özdemir spoke of how these "radicals“ did not care about agriculture but had dreams of, you guessed it, insurrection.

    Even the president of the German farmers union distanced himself from their conduct. But judge it yourself - watch the last half of the following clip does any of this looks anything like violence or an attempt or an angry "mob“ as some outlets described the farmers?

    It is interesting to contrast the outrage of the media and political establishment with their reaction to the climate lunatics who deliberately glue themselves to roads or pieces of art. So sympathetic indeed is the treatment of these state supported climate rebels that they even had a 6-part-television series made where they are portrayed in a favorable way - even though some of their publicity stunts involved storming the tarmac of Hamburg Airport earlier this year.

    Just like the Canadian truckers and the Dutch farmers, the German farmers cannot expect such lenient "attaboy“ treatment by the media or the police. Yet they seem determined to go ahead with it. What is it that has brushed up against the grain of the otherwise docile German farmers?

    Unlike the Dutch farmers, they are not facing overt land confiscation over alleged nitrate levels. No, the war on the German farmers is more subtle, but threatens their livelihood all the same. As a result of Germany‘s suicidal energy policy German energy and fuel prices are soaring. As if this was not bad enough news for German farmers, the German coalition government had planned to slash their fuel tax rebate. Furthermore, the coalition planned to introduce the regular vehicle tax from which farmers are so far exempt.

    So why did especially Robert Habeck catch their anger? As Minister for Economy and Climate he was the main decider for turning off Germany‘s last three remaining nuclear power plants in the middle of an energy crisis (aggregated by certain mysterious operatives blowing up Germany‘s critical Nordstream pipeline). Furthermore, he has demonstrated a comically bad understanding of basic economic principles - like that one time he explained to a worried baker, that even if he was not able to sell any bread due to sky-high energy prices this would not mean bankruptcy. The baker begged to differ.

    This was reiterated when he recently celebrated that for the first time ever renewables made up 50% of all the electricity consumed in Germany. What he failed to appreciate is that this was due to the fact that the demand from industry had collapsed, due to collapsing production and rapid deindustrialisation.

    There are a couple of things that are remarkable about the German farmers movement - it is truly grass roots (unlike, say, BLM or the climate activists), no charismatic leader has emerged yet and it is very decentralised. Also, as the Dutch farmers protests have shown, the state truly fears them. Just like the Canadian truckers they are fiercely independent people that can’t be easily threatened with job losses or lack of career advancement. Whereas the Canadian government broke the back of the Canadian truckers movement by financial warfare, doing that to the people who produce your food, would be suicidal.

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    Also, whilst the Canadian government tries to limit the power of the truckers by deliberately importing truckers from abroad - that does not work in agriculture; climate and soil are too unique (and require intergenerational expertise). So, here is a group that is too hard to control - something that globalist, technocrat governments really do not like.

    There is another aspect that enrages the German elites about the farmers protests: they are targeting the elites themselves. Whilst the climate protests mainly affect ordinary people going to work, the farmers are bringing their protests to the powerful themselves , like their protest against Mr. Habeck showed. Therefore, no doubt, we will see the mainstream media and politicians going into overdrive trying to vilify the hard working farmers.

    Still, as the developments around the Dutch farmers and their farmers party showed, it is worth to watch this space. It is all the more interesting since Germany‘s „far right“ party, the AfD, has nearly doubled in the polls compared to 1 year ago, it now polls as the second strongest party at 23% whilst all the coalition parties (the (not so) liberal FDP, the Social Democrats, the „Green“ Party) combined barely exceed 30%. Needless to say that there are increasing calls for banning the AfD - to American readers that might sound eerily familiar (yes, Colorado and Maine, I‘m talking to you).

    It will be interesting to observe what will happen in this German winter of discontent. Maybe, there still is some hope to stop the rapid destruction of Germany and its industry.


    Christian Geib

    Christian studied law in Germany, the Netherlands and the US (LL.M. Stanford). He has worked in retail, hospitality, translation, government (such as the European Commission), IT and is currently working as an IT/business consultant. He is a reserve officer of the German Armed Forces. He is particularly interested in the architecture of political systems and international regimes, recruitment and education of elites, how narratives shape political reality and everything related to currencies.
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