On the 12th of October an article was published in the newspaper Taz about the Dannenröder Wald. Apart from informing the reader about the fact that treehouses have been constructed in the forest, the article mentions an invitation by the Homberg local Greens to their superior Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessen’s minister of mobility endowed with the decision-making power over the A49-question, to take part in a demonstration against the motorway construction. Al-Wazir declined, ‘referring to his green heart that is connected to the forest, but above all to the coalition agreement between CDU and the Greens, in which the continuation of the construction of the A49 is stipulated.’
In the following text we want to briefly return to and comment upon the article published in the Taz, more specifically the above-cited statement about Al-Wazir’s ‘green heart’. The occasion that prompts us to commit a blog entry to some minister’s vital organs is the following.
As veterans in the decades-old protest against the A49 point out, the occupation of the Dannenröder Wald has given the resistance a new momentum. Also those in power, in casu the coalition of Greens and CDU, have little choice but to acknowledge that henceforth the forest squatters are a factor to be reckoned with in their strategical deliberations. This is evinced not only by uniformed and civil cops, on foot, mounted or helicopter-borne, observing and registering the construction of the treehouse-occupation (although the occupation in itself is in no way a criminal offence and, a priori, no established criminal offences have been perpetrated therefrom) but also by the ironical development that roughly two months after having declined an invitation from their own party-members, the Green party’s Hessian central offices have now invited themselves to a rendez-vous with the unwashed forest-dwellers. It is in the context of this ironical twist that the author of this text wants to share some thoughts on Al-Wazir’s statement and the general imbroglio of a Green minister who has committed himself to an ecocidal infrastructural project.
Let us start with the statement itself. The critical reader will have little difficulty identifying the statement as demagogical rhetoric. The method applied by Al-Wazir is a quite simple one. By combining two rhetorical fallacies (false or misleading argumentations), Hessen’s most popular politician attempts to maintain his impeccable (eel-smooth) public image unblemished. The reader is asked to believe that fettered by a Faustian pact with the Christian-democrats, benevolent and innocent Al-Wazir is left with no choice but to stab his own green heart. The critical reader, however, will identify the argument as an emotional fallacy (his poor green heart!) that refers all responsibility to external factors – passing the buck (or Schwarzer Peter) to the CDU. The embarrassing reality is of course that Al-Wazir co-authored the coalition agreement and, in his ministerial position, is endowed with the prerogative to cancel the construction (and spare his poor green heart from being stabbed by his own doing).
Self-inflicted heart-ache is sadly no rare pathology among Green politicians, its occurrence positively correlating with their taking off their warm woollen jumpers and exchanging them for the paraphernalia of bourgeois respectability such as suits and ties. A recent and particularly tragic case in the record of bleeding green hearts is that of former French Minister for the Ecological and Solidary Transition (sic) Nicolas Hulot. Which pathogen exactly caused him to resign from Macron’s government remains open to medical debate – a belated bad conscience over the hundreds of injuries caused by military violence against people who deem it more reasonable to grow organic potatoes than to build new airports (see: the struggle at la ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes), or a frustrated will to power? Fact is: the good man entered government and it did his poor old heart no good.
The medical record is longer but let us not panic. A cure is at hand. There is still hope for Hessen’s most popular politician. When a couple of years ago Jeremy Corbyn (a politician who, incidentally, used to prefer woollen jumpers over suit and tie) grew to prominence in the British Labour party, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the remorseless warmonger of New Labour and George W. Bush’ lapdog, prescribed all Labour voters who were considering a ‘vote of the heart’ for woollen-jumper wearing Corbyn a heart transplantation. (Whether Blair himself had long since had his own transplant or had merely ruthlessly exploited the malleable Labour electorate in his pursuit of power is of secondary importance.) So perhaps all that poor Al-Wazir requires in order to be able to cut the Gordian knot of his heart-tearing dilemma is a heart transplantation. (Any prognosis on when Joschka Fischer’s becomes available?) It will greatly reduce the occurrence of internal bleeding and his political career will be allowed to expand unabated.
To sum up: Al-Wazir’s nonsense about his green heart can be identified as politicians’ claptrap and translucent hypocrisy and is therefore deserving of ridicule. But of course the statement is also indicative of a recurrent pattern in Green politics. What happens when Green politicians grow frustrated with their opposition seats? They sell out. In the name of pragmatism Green politicians have gone to any length necessary to enable themselves to participate in government. From the Swedish Green boot-lickers who agreed to sell the Vattenfall-owned lignite mining infrastructure in Lusatia to the highest bidder in 2016 to the aforementioned Nicolas Hulot who in 2018 had little scruples with mobilising thousands of gendarmes armed with grenades, rubber bullet-launchers, teargas and tanks to manu militari crush a rural squatting project that attempted to challenge the ecological and social crisis at its roots. (Despite the military invasion Hulot even maintained that the ‘gendarmes have not sought the contact’ as if to emulate Martin ‘Polizeigewalt hat es nicht gegeben’ Scholz).
At the end of October in SPD-Green governed Hamburg an emergent occupation in Vollhöfener Wald, a riparian pioneer forest offering a green haven to bird and human alike that is threatened by harbour expansion, got evicted. For verily, what is required in times of mass extinction and imminent ecological collapse, oversea resource extraction and land grabbing, dispossession and migration crises, is more harbour infrastructure, more container ships and more power for exploitative transnational enterprises.
In Hessen last year Treburer Wald was destroyed in favour of the Frankfurt airport expansion under the CDU-Green coalition. For every sane green politician sees that in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (in case anyone at all still cared about climate change?) the first step must be to further promote untaxed air traffic.
Whichever the colour of their tie, don’t be fooled by the demagogical political clowns. Their circus is that of bourgeois politics. The political economy of the bourgeois project reduces everything in this world, every life-form on this planet, to a means for generating financial profit. Das Leben zuliebe, lasst euch nicht verarschen.
All of a sudden, when the protest against the A49 gains momentum, Al-Wazir falls victim to an acute green heart-ache. The challenge of the resistance against the construction of yet another motorway in the land of motorways seems to be to render the project too costly – financially for Deges, perhaps, but especially politically and electorally for Al-Wazir and his fellow sell-outs. But however this single little struggle turns out – for what is the Dannenröder Wald if not a single passing autumnal leaf swirling down from the sick tree of life infected with human progress -: as long as Green politics’ main ambition is to integrate itself into the fabric of power, into bourgeois government with its inherent ties to capitalist enterprises and a general political economy predicated on aimless productivistic growth, it will continue to render itself complicit in the ongoing ecocide and the repression of subversive endeavours to call a halt to this madness.
– This text was conceived by a single occupant of Dannenröder Wald. It is not necessarily representative of other people’s views. –