Street violence in Stuttgart: A change in political culture is needed

Violence against policemen is almost part of good manners in Western society. In Germany, the example of Joschka Fischer and the rise of the Greens and parts of the SPD from extreme left-wing contexts had a symbolic effect on the establishment of the party.

When a city center is ravaged by an out-of-control mob, as has just happened in Stuttgart, this is a political issue per se. In the green-ruled model state of Baden-Württemberg and in the capital Stuttgart, which is also green-ruled, the government of the city and state does not want to have known anything about the potential for violence that was discharged last weekend. So much stupidity or cowardice on the part of political leaders is also a political issue.

The Stuttgart police chief briefly brought up the completely misleading formulation of a „party scene“; the man obviously knows neither what a „party“ is nor what a „scene“ is. The managers of the Stuttgart clubs were right to protest immediately.

The perpetrators seem to have been neither politically nor religiously in any way high spirits, but they apparently shouted intensely and repeatedly: „Fuck the police, fuck the system! And under this self-drumming the attacks against the police, all uniformed officers, police cars and even police stations escalated.

„System overthrow“ and „The cops are pigs“ are slogans that have a fifty-year-old beard, even if the hooligans from Stuttgart don’t know anything about the story. One origin of the partial acceptance of violence against policemen can be found in June 1970: That was when the article „Natürlich kann schießen werden“ („Of course you can shoot“) appeared, which had been leaked to the „Spiegel“ from the „underground“ by the RAF, which was just being founded. This text opened the door to violence against policemen as representatives of the „capitalist“ system for the first time after the Second World War.

The perpetrators of Stuttgart, at any rate, in a society that publicly delegitimizes the police and portrays them, for example, as racist suspects (like SPD leader Saskia Esken), literally feel called upon to pound on police officers. How could it be otherwise, when for decades brutal, radical leftist demonstrations against police officers have been part of good social manners in most Western countries?

As different as the demonstration fashions have been over the decades, the protest scenes are united by a strange „rage“ against the police. In Frankfurt in the seventies there were phases of a downright civil war. The mixture at that time was made up of militant squatters, left-wing terrorism references, Maoist K-groups, militant street fighting „for the Third World“, against capitalism, imperialism, against the state and the system.

From this phase comes the 1973 film scene in which a militant Joschka Fischer, later Green foreign minister, together with other violent criminals, steps on a policeman lying on the ground, which in January 2001 triggered a discussion about the Green’s violent past. And it was from this phase that the Molotov cocktail attack by the radical left-wing militant scene in Frankfurt in 1976, in which a policeman narrowly escaped death, originated.

This street violence against the police continued in the following decades until the violence excesses in Frankfurt in 2015 at the opening of the European Central Bank and in Hamburg in 2017 on the fringes of the G-20 summit.

Thus, in the last fifty years, practically every German, including every German with a migration background, has, with strong media support and encouragement, at least become a police sceptic: „All cops are bastards“ – ACAB, in plain English: All cops are pigs.34

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