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Trust the state

The federal government has commissioned a major survey to investigate the causes of declining trust in the state. The most important questions: Do you think it is democratic when big corporations and financial investors such as BlackRock, Amazon and Apple have more influence on politics than the sovereign, i.e. the people? Are the federal government and parties doing enough for social justice and against inequality? Should Health, Education and rents continue to be at the mercy of private investors ' pursuit of profit? Stop, this is of course Fake News – the government will be careful not to conduct such a survey: it knows the expected result.

The crisis of confidence in the state": this was the title of Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who dealt with the relationship between the population and the state and its institutions. Based on data from the Edelmann communications agency, he noted that “the Western world is experiencing an increasing crisis of confidence in the state and fewer and fewer people trust their state institutions to solve the problems of our time.” The great loss of trust in the competence and ethical behaviour of politicians, especially in Germany, is frightening.

If you look at the priorities and current developments of German government policy and the actions of its staff, the question is less where the distrust comes from. Rather, the impression arises that little of this could give rise to the conviction that the state institutions would solve problems in the sense of the common good. Anyway, they are currently busy with self-inflicted scandals.

There is, for example, the affair of Philipp Amthor. The CDU member of the Bundestag lobbied for the US company Augustus Intelligence (AI) and accepted a director position and stock options. Gradually, the people of the state have become accustomed to such inter-interests on both sides of judicial corruption. The deputy Amthor admits a mistake, but contributes nothing to the clarification. So far, no one knows exactly what AI operates as an AI industry company; nothing is apparent in the concise self-presentation about goals (“data solutions for the benefit of humanity”) and employees. What makes it so attractive for – to put it cautiously – controversial leaders of German politics and intelligence services: for ex-Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and the ex-intelligence chiefs Hans-Georg Maaßen (BfV) and August Hanning (BND)? The politician of the Left party Martina Renner expresses the suspicion that AI could be a cover company of an intelligence service. You can look forward to the processing. For years, a lobby register has been required in order to at least be able to record the extra-democratic influence of powerful actors in the economy and media; the CDU also persistently opposes such minimal control of lobbyists in politics.

Even in the case of inhumane, unscrupulous greed for profit, the government is hypocritical about concern and ethical competence: the head of the meat company Tönnies has so far over 1500 employees suffering from Covid-19 to answer for. Politicians such as the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet blamed Romanian migrant workers. This shift in political responsibility is as infamous as it is typical. For many years, labor contracts, the ruinous price war, the slavery-like working conditions in German slaughterhouses have been known and politically tolerated. Especially about Tönnies, Europe’s largest producer of cheap meat, you could read several times how he exploited thousands of Eastern European migrant workers. Never did Legislative or executive power draw the necessary consequences – quite the contrary. Tönnies was accused of illegal price fixing and tax evasion with cum-ex-deals; however, the group escaped punishment through legal ingenuity. Only every third employee is employed by collective agreement, the majority works on the basis of work contracts. The minimum wage is only on paper; rent, work clothes and Transport to work are often deducted from the Minimum at subcontractors. So cheap workers were imported, cheap meat exported. The publicist Werner Rügemer States: a “permanent, nationwide breach of law”, which is politically responsible.

When the Left Party addressed a parliamentary question to the government at the beginning of March on the conditions in the slaughterhouses, a revealing answer came: it had no knowledge of the proportion of work contracts, of the working conditions, of the companies working on the basis of work contracts, of the number of controls. How trustworthy is such a policy? By the way, the company Tönnies is by no means the only Corona-Hotspot: diseases of the workers there were also in müller meat in Birkenfeld, at the westfleisch plant in Coesfeld, and others – estimated at 2500 Ill. Who takes responsibility, who compensates the exploited? The responsible politicians, who allow and promote such conditions, prefer to revolt in public about a tasteless Satire in the daily newspaper, in which police officers should be thrown on the garbage, than about the fact that people are actually treated in this way.

Such” affairs " are shredded by politicians and sham solutions are fed, superimposed by new ones, thus soon forgotten. It’s hard to get behind: right – wing networks are spreading in the German Armed Forces, police and intelligence services; BlackRock is advising the EU; corporations are preparing lawsuits against states for coronabeded losses-the series of daily reports on outrageous injustices and threats is almost endless. The media are already reporting the next frauds: the financial service provider Wirecard had 1.9 billion euros disappear under the eyes of the Supervisory Authority, the federal financial supervisory authority (BaFin), and the responsible politicians. By the way: the wealth of the super-rich has grown by a whopping 434 billion dollars in and through the pandemic globally from March to May. New message: old-age poverty is increasing. The educational disadvantage of poorer children according to the Education report also. They are not systemically relevant. None of the profiteers and managers has scruples, feels guilt. Why: this is the System we live in!

While poverty and inequality continue to grow massively, the welfare of life shrinks and instead large-scale contracts are awarded to arms companies, it becomes apparent how few people count, their lives, their health, their security. And how contemptuously those are treated who do not belong to the Elite. According to official statements by politicians, the Covid-19 patients in the Göttingen poor Hotspots are themselves to blame for the infection; they are guarded by Bundeswehr soldiers. The same happened to hundreds of sick refugees in their camps. As if all this were not violence that would require immediate countermeasures. Such are demanded with loud indignation and threat in Stuttgart, after the riots, in which also policemen were attacked. Riots are of course worthy of criticism, especially since they tend to aggravate the situation of the disenfranchised. But where is the research into causes, the honest reflection on the reality of life of young people, who have less and less reason to trust state institutions?

The “confidence index” cited at the beginning could provide further substance for reflection: in rich Germany, social inequality is higher than in most industrialised countries – but the chances of advancement through education are much lower. Every second person considers capitalism to be a harmful form of society, because it does not represent the interests of the population. It becomes clear that the state only works well for the Elite: they have 50 percent more confidence in the state and its institutions than the average of the population!

The corona pandemic has clearly shown that neoliberal radicalized capitalism does not do justice to global problems. Democracy and human rights are seen as business damage and as a weapon that can be used against China. It would be completely unrealistic to hope for the insight of the power elites and to expect decent consequences – such as a fair distribution of wealth, peaceful solutions to conflicts, control of economic power. The corporate lobbyists are already working to prevent any restriction on their profits and power (CF. LobbyControl: “the German EU Council presidency: industry in the lead role?"). The state is rearming, internally with new Control and police laws, externally with massive rearmament and threatening gestures. Trust is replaced by violence. The systemically relevant heroines in clinics and day care centres have already been forgotten – they go out empty-handed in the redistribution. The” pig system " of Tönnies becomes a clear example of a system of misanthropic exploitation to which billions of people in the world are at the mercy. This System and its representatives no longer enjoy confidence; it is the task of the left to show convincing alternatives. Because the System must be changed from the ground up before it flies around our ears.