Solidarity with Heiner Bücker! Down with censorship clauses 130 and 140!

Restriction of freedom of expression in the struggle of imperialist “democracy” against “autocracy”

On 22 July 2022, VVN-BDA and Die Linke member Heiner Bücker gave a speech at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptow Park, in which he described with factual precision the crimes of Ukrainian Bandera fascism in the 1930s and ‘40s and the suffering of the Soviet population due to the Nazi German invasion. Bücker noted that the NATO proxy Zelenskyy government refers positively to Bandera’s legacy, while in Russia today the trauma of 27 million dead civilians and soldiers still lingers. Placing this in the context of the current Ukraine conflict, he said:

“We must openly and honestly try to understand the Russian reasons for the special military operation in Ukraine and why the vast majority of people in Russia support their government and their president in it.

“Personally, I very much want to and can understand the view in Russia and that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I have no distrust of Russia, because the renunciation of revenge against Germans and Germany determined Soviet and then Russian policy since 1945.”, 22 July 2022

Such statements are a thorn in the side of the German government, which does not want to see the broad social consensus of the first months after the beginning of the conflict – generated by deafening propaganda – undermined by troublesome counter-arguments. Within this framework, atonement has been demanded of all better-known public figures who have even wanted to trade with Russia in the past or who have advocated diplomatic solutions. The moral pressure also extends to “convinced transatlanticists” and high-ranking military officers who question the constant success stories of the Ukrainian government based on their knowledge of the real situation on the front. These figures’ voices are marginalised, as the former military policy advisor to Angela Merkel, General Erich Vad recently rightly deplored:

“Military experts – who know what goes on among the intelligence services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the discourse. They don’t fit in with the media’s opinion-shaping. To a large extent, we are witnessing a media conformity that I have never seen before in the Federal Republic of Germany. This is pure opinion-making. And not on behalf of the state, as is known from totalitarian regimes, but out of pure self-empowerment.”, 12 January 2023

This social marginalisation of any opposition to government positions was obviously not enough for the “traffic light” coalition [the current German government coalition, named according to the party colours of red for the SPD, green for the Greens and yellow for the FDP – The Free Democratic Party]. It therefore adopted a tightening of clauses 130 and 140 [of the German Criminal Code], which illegalise all expressions of sympathy with the Russian special military operation in Ukraine under the pretext of endangering public life. It thus takes a further and large step away from bourgeois “democracy” towards a Bonapartist regime of emergency. Ostensibly, this law is about making the “rewarding or approving” of “wars of aggression contrary to international law” illegal. It is obvious, however, that this only refers to those which German imperialism considers to be contrary to international law and not to its own breaches of international law or those of its NATO allies. Since equality before United Nations international law would lead to the sentencing of not only numerous German governments, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recently made the proposal to set up a “special international court” without a UN base, in which, in the event of a Ukrainian victory that is believed to be certain, Ukrainian judges can then pass judgement on high-ranking representatives of the Putin government. The Tagesschau wrote:

“Baerbock made the proposal for a special tribunal because she fears falling short of the majorities needed for an international tribunal at the United Nations.”, 27 January 2023

There is no more apt expression than the “rules-based international order” that the federal government wants to maintain, in which an imperialist legal system passes sentence on its recalcitrant victims. At the same time, the arbitrary implementation of UN law suggests that the UN is a toothless organisation when it comes to persecuting imperialist war crimes; revolutionaries can have no illusions in its role. High-ranking politicians of the Schröder government, which together with other NATO countries mobilised public opinion against Serbia in 1999 with the help of forgeries, and subsequently attacked it, enjoyed the “high life”, while the then Serbian head of government Slobodan Milošević was jailed in The Hague for years.

With such an arbitrary understanding of law on the part of the German government, it is not surprising that the Berlin District Court should set itself up as the interpreter of UN law in the Bücker case. The Putin government justified the invasion of Ukraine to protect the population of the Donbas with the same legal construct that the NATO imperialists used to bomb Serbia and secede Kosovo. Both Merkel, former French President François Hollande and former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko have since publicly admitted that a diplomatic solution to the intra-Ukrainian civil war through the Minsk Accords was merely a feint to buy time for the military strengthening of Ukraine for the fight against Russia – the exact opposite of a peaceful diplomatic solution. Thus Die Zeit wrote:

“According to the Spiegel report, Merkel believes she bought time at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 and also later during the negotiations in Minsk, which Ukraine could have used to better resist a Russian attack. Ukraine is now a stronger, more defensible country. Back then, Merkel is sure, the country would have been overrun by Putin’s troops, the magazine reports. The Russian attack had not come as a surprise.”, 25 November 2022

Apart from the formal question of why the Berlin District Court presumes to have sovereignty over the interpretation of UN law, the judge’s decision in the Bücker case reveals the true aim of German class justice. It is about criminalising politically inconvenient statements that could cast doubt on Germany’s war course – especially at a time when the fortunes of war on the front are developing to Ukraine’s disadvantage. Foreign Minister Baerbock’s statement that Europe is at war with Russia and the delivery of German Leopard II tanks, which will ensure that German tanks will fire on Russians for the first time since 1945, speak volumes. Thus, the Berlin District Court sentenced Heiner Bücker to a fine of €2,000 plus covering the expenses of the court on the grounds that:

“Your speech has – as you at any rate condoned – in view of the considerable consequences which the war also entails for Germany, the threats on the part of the Russian leadership specifically against Germany as a NATO member in the event of support for Ukraine, and not least in view of the presence of hundreds of thousands of people from Ukraine who have found refuge in Germany, the potential to shake confidence in legal security and to stir up the psychological climate in the population.”, 24 January 2023

Accordingly, German imperialism considers itself a victim and threatens anyone who questions this self-attribution and its warmongering with fines and prison sentences of up to three years. Heiner Bücker and his lawyers have lodged an appeal. We support him in this and demand:

Solidarity with Heiner Bücker!

Down with the restriction of freedom of expression through clauses 130 and 140!

Down with German imperialism and its class justice!