Authoritarianism on the rise – New laws in Denmark and Germany

Two important and worrying new laws are on the way in Denmark and in Germany which evidence the ongoing increase in the authoritarian nature of the State across Europe. These laws come in response to the loss of legitimacy that is a hallmark of states in this era of monopoly capitalist crisis.

Denmark is set to introduce a new law to restrict the use of foreign flags in the country. The Justice Minister said that the Danish flag is the most important national symbol and that other flags should not be freely flown in Danish territory. However, there are exceptions and interestingly, Germany is an exception. While a legal ruling based on the flying of a US flag was cited as justification, it is hard not to see this as an attack on the wave of solidarity across Europe from ordinary people with Palestine. Waiving a flag or flying one from a window or garden is an important act of solidarity and support for other peoples. This is an overt and direct attack on this. It is further evidence of authoritarian clamp-down on any thinking or action outside of loyalty to the State and the EU.

Similar to this, and arguably more worryingly, in Germany, the new citizenship law now requires all new German citizens to explicitly declare the right of the Israeli state to exist. This is in effect linking German citizenship to loyalty to Israel and to the acceptance of settler colonialism, which the Israeli state embodies. Again, this can also be seen as part of a deeper crisis of legitimacy that many states are suffering as working people, from both a left- and right-wing perspective, challenge accepted “norms”. Of course in Germany, this is also part of their ongoing forceful repression of solidarity with the Palestinian people and anti-imperialist support for the Palestinian struggle, for their right to exist. We have already seen protestors beaten up by police, protesting banned, individuals like Yanis Varoufakis banned from Germany and conferences on Palestine prevented from taking place.

While there is much scoffing from the media and arrogant commentators in Ireland about repression in states like Hungary, Russia or Georgia, there is very little critical commentary on the authoritarian moves by states like Germany or Denmark. With the climate crisis literally heating up, with the potential of 1.5 billion immigrants to Europe in the coming decades and US hegemony creaking, authoritarian responses from European states are likely to continue. The veil is increasingly lifting off the EU, and its member States, and its true nature as a political and economic alliance of European imperialist states becomes increasingly clear.