Two members of the Socialist Organisation Solidarity (CWI Germany) and two other left activists are on trial in Lemgo, Germany. They are facing accusations by State Security (the police department for “fighting against politically motivated crimes”) and the public prosecutor’s office that, more than four years ago, the accused are alleged to have been responsible for damage to property at a building where against the AfD (Alternative for Germany, a right-populist party with a far-right element) planned to meet. This was alleged to have occurred during the run-up to a protest rally which the Lippe linksjugend (‘solid’) and DIE LINKE (Left Party and its youth section) were organising against the AfD event. Through the inspection of files, the basis for the house searches and the court proceedings has now become known: the State Security is working with a known right-wing extremist activist who has been threatening LINKE members for years.
The only basis for the proceedings are allegations made by Nick-Patrick S.. S. was briefly involved with JuCa Libre, a youth café in the premises of the LINKE office, at the end of 2016 before his turn to the right. After a short time, however, he was unanimously expelled. After his expulsion, Nick-Patrick S. radicalised himself further to the right via the Identitarian Movement and was active in right-wing hooligan groups and the right-wing rocker scene.
Threats against leftists
On 31 October 2019 – one week before a Nazi demonstration in Bielefeld for the release from prison of the convicted Holocaust denier and neo-nazi, Ursula Haverbeck – Nick-Patrick S. and a group of fascists threatened several comrades in front of the LINKE office in Lemgo. The comrades decided to file a complaint with the Lemgo police. However, the police officer on duty unlawfully refused to accept the complaint on the grounds that he could not recognise any criminal offence in the threats. It was only after an intervention by Friedrich Straetmanns, a LINKE member of Bundestag (the German parliament), that the complaint was taken up and an investigation was carried out by the Bielefeld State Security unit.
The investigation by State Security against Nick-Patrick S. was stopped after a short time and instead proceedings were taken against the comrades concerned. These were based on Nick-Patrick S.’s abstruse claims that, among other things, linksjugend[‘solid] was a criminal organisation. But State Security and the public prosecutor’s office in Detmold obviously saw Nick-Patrick S.’s statements as a welcome opportunity to repress socialists. At the beginning of August 2020, in the midst of a local election campaign, the state police searched the houses of the accused but found no evidence of their involvement in the alleged crime.
We note that the police first refused to investigate a known right-wing radical for threats. After pressure from DIE LINKE, the investigations are taken up, but then discontinued after a short time and now the allegations of Nick-Patrick S. are used to criminalise LINKE members and to raid their homes.
Now, despite the lack of evidence, the public prosecutor’s office has brought charges and wants to start court proceedings at Lemgo District Court on 7 May 2021. Socialist Organisation Solidarity (CWI Germany), together with DIE LINKE and linksjugend[‘solid] Lippe, demands that the proceedings be stopped immediately. We will not be intimidated and will mobilise solidarity with the defendants.
Repression against the left has a system
This incident must be put in context with the uncovered right-wing extremist networks in the state apparatus, the recent revelations regarding the “NSU 2.0” (where police information was used to make anonymous threats to LINKE members and others while also implying that the fascist terror group, NSU, which murdered 10 people between 2000 and 2007, had been revived) and far-right chat groups within the police. In recent years, the Bielefeld public prosecutor’s office has mainly attracted attention with the criminalisation of left-wing and Kurdish organisations. In the past, the public prosecutor’s office in Detmold, for example, tried to intimidate a refugee aid worker who was campaigning against deportation by demanding exorbitant prison sentences.
The aim of the current political proceedings is to discredit the work of Socialist Organisation Solidarity (CWI Germany), linksjugend[‘solid] and DIE LINKE in Lemgo. We are active supporters of the struggle of the tenants at the Biesterberg for good and affordable housing, of company struggles against job cuts, such as at ISRINGHAUSEN, and fight for higher wages and better working conditions. We are currently campaigning for safe schools and, in the face of the Corona crisis, we are demanding hospitals that are equipped to meet demand and get more staff. Consistently, we link all our struggles to the goal of overcoming capitalism and building a socialist democracy in which the working people and not the profits of the capitalist system are the only ones who have a say.
The fact that the police and the public prosecutor’s office are ‘blind to the right’ and, in our case, cooperate willingly with right-wing extremists, is no coincidence but is systemic. The far-right and fascists generally face state pressure when they “overstep the mark”, become too provocative or threaten to provoke a big counter-reaction. The fact that attacks on leftwingers, racism etc. are spreading in the country is linked to the security services’ basic task: namely the defence of the ruling power and property relations of capitalism. It was because of this role that when the German capitalist state was rebuilt after 1945, many former supporters or servants of the Nazi regime were given senior positions, including in the police, judiciary and military. Today, as in other states, it is the ruling class with its representatives who use repression and divisive mechanisms, such as racism, to divert attention from the real causes of unemployment, housing shortages, layoffs, etc. In the struggle against racism, fascists and police violence, we cannot rely on the bourgeois state and the police but need solidarity, organising and mobilisations of the working people.
The CWI asks for solidarity messages to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org