Here it comes, the revolution. All the things that would be possible in Parliament

By Uli Gellermann

Those who think of revolutionary changes never think of the German parliament. Ritually and sleepily, the elected parliamentarians deal with their agendas. One rarely gets excited, one rides GROKO and not roller coaster, one is civilized. Outside, the extra-parliamentarians may want to change the world, inside everything is going its way. But no political machine receives as much attention from the media as the Bundestag. From Tagesschau to Bild-Zeitung: everyone speaks, broadcasts and prints about the elected parliament as if something important were happening there.

In fact, the Bundestag is a big stage, but the play that is constantly played there is not very popular, despite its over-presence in the media: the audience prefers watching sports, casting shows or Bares-für-Rares. Fine, actors like Mrs. Merkel or Olaf Scholz have their talents in pretending false facts, but obviously can’t hide the lack of content on the state stage. Philosophers like Karl Marx, who said “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”, have become rare. The trend is generally towards interpretation, but changes presuppose precisely those contents that have become so scarce in the political show business.

But sometimes there are small doors in the calendar of events which, if you just open them, can bring surprises. Such a sensation is provided by the ARD-Germany trend these days: In fact, 72 percent of those questioned argue for a wealth tax! And this is the case in Germany, where quite a few already consider their condominium to be a fortune and fear taxation as the first step towards expropriation.

Even less attention than the pre-revolutionary taxation survey was given to a paper from the margins of the SPD party conference. Under the heading “A new welfare state for a new age”, the “right to work” is hardly veiled. Genuine. The survey on wealth tax and the SPD demand are in fact closely linked. Because even a right to work would turn ownership structures upside down. No longer the owners of productions and other enterprises would mercifully allocate the jobs to the shabby rest of the republic, the workers would have a right. As it was formulated in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”: “Everyone has the right to work, to a free choice of occupation, to just and satisfactory working conditions and to protection from unemployment”. As proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Now would be the hour of the SPD to improve the production in the parliament and to put the right to work in the parliament to the debate. To open the discussion about what work is: No mercy but a right. A discussion which forces other parties to show their colors, which could put an end to the routine in parliament and use the raised stage of the Bundestag as a space for a really exciting production. A performance that, in the mirror of the media, could create the tension that is in keeping with real social dramas. But the door to the social democratic surprise is still only paper, not even a parliamentary attempt, which could surely be applauded by LINKEN and GRÜNEN.

The GDR had already enshrined the right to work in its constitution. If the mostly inadequate media should notice this, the debate about the “injustice state” will experience an interesting turn.

Already the application for the right to work would be a step towards changing the small German world. The fact that there is a mood for change far beyond parliament is shown by the survey on the taxation of wealth. The fact that Parliament can do more than routine would still have to be proven.

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Picture source: Vincenzo De Bernardo / shutterstock

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This article was posted on the Rationalgalerie blog on 16 December 2019.

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