People are further than politics

Last Sunday, September 26, 2021, there were two elections that are in many respects historic and hardly reported. On that day, 56 percent in the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany were in favor of expropriating the large housing corporations. And why was there such success?

Because millions of people see the right to affordable housing as a fundamental right and because up to 2000 active people have supported this campaign in the capital with enormous commitment.

On the same last Sunday in the capital of Styria, in Graz, Elke Kahr was elected mayor. Ms. Kahr is a member of the Communist Party of Austria. It continues today to assume that "wage-dependent people are the most conscious part of society."

And why did Elke Kahr and her team have this success? Certainly not because they are communists. But above all because they are seen as role models with their concrete, modest way of life, because they have been standing up for the interests of tenants in particular for decades and because they demand a comprehensive public housing sector. Of course, those who are in alliance with rental sharks and housing corporations do not like this. The headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung read: "Welcome to Leningraz".

But let us turn to what is widely reported – the Bundestag election in Germany. The results, which are also reported almost nowhere in the following clarity, are:

9.7 Million people of voting age – around one million more than four years ago - were not allowed to vote because they do not have a German passport.

14.3 Million or just under a quarter of the eligible voters – i.e. people with a German passport – did not even go to the election. 400,000 People voted invalid. Another 4 million – or 8.6 percent – made their mark with small parties, whose results remained below the undemocratic five percent hurdle. They gave away their voice more or less consciously.

Then the election winner SPD received 11,9 million votes, which corresponds to 25,7 percent of voters. But at the same time, only 19 percent of eligible voters. It even represents less than 15 percent of the population of voting age.

The results of the CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP were even more poor.

And the Green Party's Cem Özdemir described this overall event on election night at "Anne Will" as "the high office of our democracy".

No, I am not making fun of the elections. It is good that they exist as reasonably free. And of course I (the LEFT) voted. First of all, because this is the only party that opposes militarization and foreign operations. To the reasons why the LEFT is almost completely smeared, it is necessary to return.

Basically, the conditions must be analyzed as they are. What is now taking place after the election is even more pathetic than the bare results. The runner-up – this lightweight sailor from Aachen - wants to form a "future coalition" with the FDP and the Greens. The two smaller parties declare on election night that they do not rule out a government with the Union of Losers.

If the banking friend Olaf Scholz succeeds in forming a government in the end, then the chancellor who lost in 2020 in two SPD internal elections for the party presidency - and whose policy is considered by a majority of SPD members as little social and not environmentally oriented.

Three things are made out with it:

First, it is obvious that the new government is a politically weak government, where the commonality is essentially that all parties want to get to the feeding troughs. After 16 years with a relatively stable Merkel government, our country is approaching the EU standard in this area. This can have dramatic consequences for the European Union, where the centrifugal forces have so far been held together by Merkel's grace through a relatively strong German government and a Berlin-Paris axis. A new EU crisis, such as the one that occurred in 2010-2012, could prove to be an explosive device for the entire construction of this bloc, and even more so for the euro currency.

Secondly, it is obvious that this government will have a fundamentally antisocial character. In any case, it pursues the goal of "compliance with the debt brake". If it realises that additional spending – for example, on climate protection – will be necessary, it will not get the money from the better–off and the highly profitable companies, but from the small people - via "pension adjustment", higher social contributions, rising energy prices or a VAT increase. The two important elements for which Olaf Scholz stood in the election campaign and which gave his election campaign a certain social touch are already identified as the foreseeable no-go of a new government. The FAZ wrote: "12 Euro minimum wage and stable pension: These promises from the election campaign complicate traffic light negotiations."

Thirdly, it is clear that this government will not be able to cope in any way with the tasks facing it. Let us confine ourselves to two areas – climate protection and rail policy.

*On climate protection: * All relevant players of a new federal government rely on purely market-based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gases. Laschet raves about a "unleashing of market forces". Scholz rages about an "industrial modernization". For Baerbock, there is "a path of climate neutrality that industry has already taken".

In fact, market mechanisms work in the opposite direction. This is the case with a concentration on CO2 pricing. This must then serve as an alibi for abandoning effective emergency measures such as taxation of kerosene, the elimination of company car subsidies, the removal of diesel subsidies and, above all, a decision on effective speed limits of 120 km/ h on motorways, 80 km/h on all other trunk roads and 30 km/h in all residential areas.

This is particularly evident in the electric car craze, for which there is not by chance a grand coalition consisting of the Union, SPD, Greens, FDP and the Association of the Auto industry. Scholz and Laschet try to outdo each other in their praise for the new Tesla plant in Grünheide.

Keyword Paris: It is instructive that in this country the topic of 30 km / h seems unenforceable in all residential areas, but that this elementary requirement was implemented in Paris a few weeks ago. For Paris as a whole, the speed limit is now 30 km/h, with the exception of the Peripheriqie urban motorway. The French are not much less car-loving than the Germans. Obviously, there is more reason there, at least at the moment.

On rail policy: The new federal Government and Deutsche Bahn AG will stick to the Deutschlandtakt project. That also sounds good: nationwide integral timetable; Switzerland is supposedly the model. And all this as a central measure for climate protection. But it is precisely not Switzerland that is the role model – the negative role model is the policy of Deutsche Bahn itself. In concrete terms, the aim is to invest more than 75 billion euros over the next 10 to 15 years, under the cover of the "Deutschlandtakt", above all in false, often destructive large-scale projects. On a new Hanover – Bielefeld connection, as in the Stuttgart – Ulm case, they want to build a bolt line for a lot of money and with an energy guzzler speed of 300 km/h.

What is interesting is that in the circles that are drumming for the Deutschlandtakt, the new absurd large-scale projects, which are actually part of the Stuttgart21 tradition, are justified by the fact that everything here is "very different from Stuttgart". The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had a page 1 article a few weeks ago with a song of praise for the newly projected Frankfurt long-distance railway tunnel with the headline: "NO Stuttgart 21 am Main". Among other things, it says: "All above–ground track systems in Frankfurt Central Station remain intact - thanks to additional platforms at a depth of 35 metres... This really has nothing to do with Stuttgart 21."

The timeframe alone shows that the project is questionable. On this again the FAZ:

"Even if citizens do not climb the barricades ... so it will take at least two decades before the first trains rush through under the (Frankfurt) city center."

In times of a rising climate catastrophe, in which the next decade will be decisive, a concrete railway tunnel is planned, which would not go into operation until 2041 at the earliest. Incidentally, there was the Frankfurt21 project at the end of the 1990s. This was part of the 21 projects with the core of Stuttgart21, which the then railway boss Heinz Dürr had initiated and which were primarily fed by the interests of real estate speculation. Against the Frankfurt21 project, a broad alliance was formed locally called Frankfurt22, in which the railway friend and director Klaus Gietinger was a leader. This alliance prevailed; Frankfurt21 had to be kicked in the bin. And there was an alternative plan, which was jointly supported by the then railway boss Hartmut Mehdorn, by the then Hessian CDU-FDP state government and by the Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth. This concretely elaborated alternative plan provided for an optimization of the track apron of Frankfurt Central Station, with which the efficiency of the Frankfurt railway node would have been increased by about a third. Almost two decades later, almost no element of this alternative planning has been implemented. Instead, part of the old Frankfurt21 planning is presented as a new project and - so far successfully – speculated on the forgetfulness of the media.

By the way: The goal of doubling the number of rail passengers mentioned in connection with the Deutschlandtakt is also such a bluff. Doubling the number of cars will do nothing for the climate if all other types of motorised transport continue to grow rapidly. Then we have a CO2 plus from air traffic, one from car traffic and yes also one in the field of rail. A plus on the railways only makes sense if the other motorised modes of transport are drastically reduced. But this is precisely not part of any of the parties that want to form a new government.

Repulsive professional politics

A major factor in the lack of enthusiasm of the electorate is the tiredness of the politicians. And I mean it as formulated; there is no talk of "policy fatigue". People's experiences with official politics are simply repulsive. Again, two examples:

Example War & Peace: For more than a decade there was a clear majority of the population against the Bundeswehr deployment in Afghanistan. In the Bundestag, however, a good 80 percent voted for the defense of Germany's freedom in the Hindu Kush. And how did "politics" react to the collapse of NATO and the USA in Kabul recently? The construction of an EU army must now be accelerated in order to be able to carry out foreign missions autonomously.

Olaf Scholz sounded: "In this legislative period we have the largest growth for the Bundeswehr ... achieved - an increase of 36 percent. This is something I believe to be right from the bottom of my heart."

This statement alone is an oath of revelation for a potential Federal Chancellor and especially for a Social Democrat: 14 percent of children in this country live in Hartz IV households. Millions of livelihoods are threatened because of (legitimate) pandemic measures. Far more than 100,000 jobs are missing in the area of hospitals. Tens of thousands of employees are missing in rail transport, including more than 2,000 train drivers.

But on all these issues it is said that there is "no money". And against this background, the Chancellor then says in pes that he considers immense increases in arms spending "from the deepest conviction for right". With such behavior, the responsible citizen MUST have the impression that the making of crosses in the ballot box moves relatively little.

Example Stuttgart 21: The green-black coalition agreement for Baden-Württemberg was presented only six months ago, in May 2021. It states: In addition to Stuttgart 21, the underground station with eight through tracks, a terminal station with six to eight tracks is considered necessary, also located underground and somehow flanged to the actual S21 underground station.

The Action Alliance against Stuttgart 21 correctly interpreted this as the project of a *"second Stuttgart 21" *.

Since then, it has not only been the flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. In the first half of 2021, there were also two floods in Stuttgart's city center, with the existing and in operation underground city trains or S-Bahn trains failing for several hours at one time.

Remember Frei Otto? This was one of the two S21 architects; the second alongside S21 profiteer Christoph Ingenhoven. Frei Otto left the S21 project in 2010. He said at the time that he had to give up his support for S21 "out of moral responsibility." He recognized the danger that the station, in the gigantic concrete tub sunk deep into the ground – I quote – "could be flooded by the diverted streams of water" – or that the opposite happens and it rises from the earth "like a submarine from the sea".

The S21 planners certainly see this danger. That is why they have made huge vertical slots in the two huge concrete walls that laterally delimit the S21 trough. These are then opened when these "diverted water streams" – the Nesebach, which is dammed again by the culvert that passes under the trough - threaten to let the S21 trough rise. This means in plain language: One plans specifically for such a case, to flood the S21 station.

Now you can flood a road tunnel without too much cost - such as the tunnel in Cologne, which runs between the Rhine and Cologne Cathedral. Since you have to "only" pump out the water after a flooding and get dirt and mud out. After that, the cars can use the tunnel again.

However, if you flood the S21 station - then high-tech electronics and a variety of sensitive and extremely valuable station infrastructure are affected. This means: After such a process, a central station in Stuttgart is completely paralyzed for weeks, if not months.

Until some time ago, all this seemed to many like exaggerated cassandra calls. But at the latest since the flood disaster in 2021, at the latest since the regular heavy rain events, it is clear: these dangers are absolutely realistic. It is already absurd for this reason to continue operating the S21 project. It is doubly absurd if a green-led state government and if soon a Federal Minister of Transport with a green party book, be it Cem Özdemir or Anton Hofreiter, continue to pursue this destructive project, which defies any climate policy.

People are not necessarily tired of politics. On 24 September, tens of thousands of Fridays-for-future young people took to the streets again to promote an effective climate policy.

A few thousand railway workers showed just a few weeks ago how effective strikes can be. The colleagues of the GDL were able to assert themselves almost completely after three strikes, which in the end will benefit all railway employees.

In Berlin, the mentioned 56 percent voted for EXPROPRIATION of the large housing corporations - although the SPD top candidate branded "expropriation" as a "red line".

If the LEFT, which is the only one in the capital to support this campaign – even if not with full force – receives only 14 percent of the vote, then this contradiction becomes clear here too: official politics are not trusted for good reasons. After all, so far the LEFT is part of a red-red-green senate, which wants to smash and privatize the Berlin S-Bahn, for example.

A crucial lesson from last Sunday's elections is that a large number of people know that their own strength, grassroots mobilisation and strikes are important! Against a suspended railway executive! Against the Hambach Forest Destroyers! Against rental sharks! Against the monster project Stuttgart 21! Against new large-scale projects of this kind such as the Frankfurt long-distance railway tunnel or in Hamburg the relocation of Altona station to Diebsteich. And thus for a decent future!