The non-Democratic "Democracy" of the German Grundgesetz

Dec 2018
113
North Dublin
Articles 1 and 21 of the German Constitution (Grundgesetz) are those that were historically
imposed as restrictions on the Constitution, and could be considered to be anti-Democratic
because they are enshrined in law by a committee that was chosen by the post-war United
States government. The German Constitution was built under the careful watch of the
American occupiers. During this period, Jurists, such as Carl Schmitt, who were overly
Conservative, were banned from the Committee. Indeed, any Jurists who disagreed with
American policy were prevented from participating in the Committee. This effectively meant
that the United States government was controlling the outcome of the German Constitution
making it impossible to create another National-Socialist regime, without destroying the
government. To call this democratic is quite a stretch. It may even be said, that Germany was
and is simply a vassal of the United States today.
Many Jurists in Germany compromised their position, before the war by continuing to
work under the national socialist regime. After the war, these Jurists were probably excluded
from the creation of the Constitution, under the precept that they would have just created
another pre-war situation, but this seems overly spurious. If the United States government
had intended to create a system which was completely antithetical to national socialism, they
would have created it in a completely democratic manner, meaning that they would have
allowed anyone who was qualified enough to join the Committee.
Carl Schmitt was initially a very conservative Christian Jurist in the Weimar Republic,
who, during the National-Socialist regime compromised his integrity by becoming a judge.
This was problematic because from the perspective of most people, post-War, the ethos of the
party was reprehensible. After the War, jurists like Schmitt were no longer allowed to
participate in the Constitution. This meant that the quality of the Constitution was arguably
diminished, as the framework was then diluted in its range of viewpoints. Arguably, the
exclusion of high quality jurists based on their adherence to the National-Socialist system of
law, was a heavy blow to the quality of the Committee designing the Constitution, because
removing the highest quality of expertise results in a lower calibre of advice.
The Constitution in general - even in situations where it is not restricted - is actually in
practice quite restricted as it is difficult to change the terms of the document. There had been
women’s rights in the period preceding the National-Socialist situation, but under the new
Constitution, these rights were difficult to bring into effect in any serious fashion. The
Nationalist-Socialist ideology placed an emphasis on a patriarchal system of rule, which was
antithetical to the preceding Weimar Republic view of women’s rights. While it is true that
the Constitution could be changed, aside from Articles 1 and 21, it is much more difficult
than any other law, since it is constitutional.
Article 1 states that “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall
be the duty of all state authority” (Government of Germany, 1949). This is overly vague and
could be used for any political purpose, for instance, implying that it can never be possible
for Marxism to be an accepted political stance within West Germany. This sounds very
democratic, but due to its vague nature, could actually, ironically, be used in order to
undermine “human dignity”, which is a subjective viewpoint. It makes little sense. Article 21
states that “Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behavior of their adherents, seek to
undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the
Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional” (Government of Germany, 1949).
What is meant by this, is, of course, that National-Socialism is outlawed. Again, this sense of
analyzing people’s behavior in an overly vague manner and punishing them based on this a
loose interpretation of right and wrong, which arguably seems completely and ironically anti-
democratic. Emphasis on liberty and democracy, in general, also seems a bit ridiculous. If
Germany wished to be genuinely democratic, then it should have been so naturally, not by
virtue of some words written in a book. The most shocking line in the articles, though, is this
idea of “endangering the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany”. If this is not clear
evidence of the United States Government protecting the status quo of a vassalised state, it is
difficult to state what is.
However, not all constitutional laws are met with in praxis, further elucidating the
vague nature of the Constitution itself; There are political parties who have managed to work
around this such as National-Demokratisches Partei Deutschland, Aufbruch Deutscher
Patrioten und Die Rechte. Additionally, it is not clear whether they have National-Socialist
leanings, but Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) appear to reflect a similar ethos. This could
lead one to believe that the Constitution was written in order to prevent Leninism from
spreading, more so than National-Socialism.
While it is true that the Constitution’s first and 21 st articles are unchangeable and the
document itself very rigid, the Constitution of Weimar, for instance, was destroyed by Adolf
Hitler. Considering recent developments in German politics, the 1949 Constitution could be
destroyed in a decade or two due to the rapid rise of the AfD, through the imposition of
martial law, should there be a coup in response to a perceived rise in economic decline and
crime, as a result of immigration. Propaganda suggests that immigration causes crime, which
has resulted in small pockets of reaction.
The German government have done much to stem the tide of these existing political
parties, taking out law-suits against them, but as they know their jurisprudence well and can
tip-toe around it, these law suits have not established any power over these political factions.
There are conspiracies about NPD: that they have been infiltrated by secret police, but they
are probably not verifiable. AdP are a new party, which seem similar to NPD, but refuse to
collaborate with them. They were a splinter party, which AfD threw off from themselves. In
the next election, it is likely that both these parties will grow in popularity. Die Rechte are a
very small party with little to no representation, but with links to small illegal groups of
National-Socialists, who probably do not even vote and whom could build up a large voter-
base, when gathered together to vote for a new, more radical coalition of AfD, AdP, NPD and
Die Rechte. Perhaps what would need to happen is a split between CDU and CSU, which
would lead to half of the large pool of votes from the Conservatives going to AfD and similar
parties, which is not unrealistic, considering Seehofer’s (2016) (CSU) recent comments,
regarding immigration:
We want a solution to the immigration problem. To do that, we first need a ceiling. We
don't want unlimited immigration like we saw last year and that's why we need binding
measures as a guarantee. When announcements are made that we are combatting the
root causes of flight, then they must be combined with concrete measures. When it is
said that those who don't have a right to asylum will be sent back, then we together
with the federal government must enact a detailed, binding repatriation program. We
want a clear system of rules that clearly and credibly reduces immigration to a
reasonable level.

However, that is not the only factor which will influence the rise of the “far-right” within
Germany. Arguably, if the United States is continuing to influence German politics, the
current trend within policy of nationalism, autarky and Fascist-like politics may have an
effect on Germany in terms of encouraging parties such as AfD, whose ideas are reminiscent
of the earlier ethos of the National-Socialist party of pre-War Germany. This trend seems to
exist in other countries, currently, where parties which seem Fascist-like are already in
power, such as in Hungary and Italy. It is also of note that these two countries were also part
of the Axis.
So why should one argue in favor of a more democratic constitution, if it could lead to
the dissolution of itself by means of its very democracy? The point is, that calling a
constitution democratic, when it is not, is not democratic. Furthermore, this Constitution
represents the interference of the United States government. If there is to be another
Constitution, it should be re-written in order to be completely democratic, as chosen by legal
German citizens. If this would lead to its own dissolution, then so be it. Democracy would, in
attaining its ideal, destroy itself. Otherwise, this is arguably essentially a dictatorship which
pretends it is not despotic, which ostensibly is not that different from a dictatorship itself,
albeit much more incompetent. If it was expected that this essay should be about the virtues
of democracy (a very vague term, also used by Marxists in a completely different sense), then
that expectation should not be fulfilled. The purpose of an essay of such a nature should
simply be the rectification of confusion surrounding such a topic. It has no other purpose.

-


References

Government of Germany, 1949.
https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/German_Federal_Republic_2012.pdf

Seehofer, H. Interview with Die Spiegel, September 16, 2016, retrieved from
An Interview with Seehofer: 'We Want a Solution to the Immigration Problem' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - International on 4th April 2019
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,074
Lorraine tudesque
Well yes, but you seem to be really interested in German history and this book is a very good start.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,972
Portugal
So you are saying that this article isn’t democratic:

“Article 1 [Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]

(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.

(3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.”

And this also isn’t:

“Article 21 [Political parties]

(1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organisation must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.

(2) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality.

(3) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be excluded from state financing. If such exclusion is determined, any favourable fiscal treatment of these parties and of payments made to those parties shall cease.

(4) The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality within the meaning of paragraph (2) of this Article and on exclusion from state financing within the meaning of paragraph (3).

(5) Details shall be regulated by federal laws.”

Source: https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf

May I ask you what is a democracy at your eyes? I think that in this case a definition is relevant.
 
Dec 2018
113
North Dublin
So you are saying that this article isn’t democratic:

“Article 1 [Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]

(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.

(3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.”

And this also isn’t:

“Article 21 [Political parties]

(1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organisation must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.

(2) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality.

(3) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be excluded from state financing. If such exclusion is determined, any favourable fiscal treatment of these parties and of payments made to those parties shall cease.

(4) The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality within the meaning of paragraph (2) of this Article and on exclusion from state financing within the meaning of paragraph (3).

(5) Details shall be regulated by federal laws.”

Source: https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf

May I ask you what is a democracy at your eyes? I think that in this case a definition is relevant.
Democracy is not attainable, was my point. You inevitably end up with a dictatorship pretending to be one, unless you have a situation in which the majority of people genuinely want to live in it, which is rare. "Democracy" is oftentimes just a way of suppressing genuine economic theories.