“Environmental” Minister of North Rhine Westphalia, Christina Schulze Föcking has just been forced to resign over a shit-storm of a scandal having to do with severe animal abuse recorded by animal rights activists who broke into her family pig farm(run by her husband) at night.
A little background that is excellent also in explaining why a largest single CO₂ dumping conglomerate in Europe, RWE, can continue to operate with full impunity in NRW not only shielded from any legal consequences of causing global climate calamity but also influences the local government enough to have multi million Europe repressive police operations protecting its interests and the resistors are locked in jail for months without access to evidence against them, and if they do not speak German all their mail is blocked isolating them even more.
Ahh. Where should one even start? Ok first of all it is not even “Environmental Ministry” from which Föcking was deposed. Its full name is Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Environment which is rather unusual for Environment to be piled into such large general mishmash but it is very reflective of government of NRW not having any biodiversity, habitat or even quality of life focus that is usually associated with environmental issues. Instead looking at nature, environment and habitats as a realm of resources to be exploited, collapsed and monetized, with ministry heads like Christina Schulze Föcking having agricultural and hence very conservative and industry driven backgrounds and agenda. Shortly after joining CDU she became a member of Committee on Petitions and the Committee on Climate Protection, the Environment, Nature Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The wide scope of committees and ministries such as this allows for not experts but members of the industry like Föcking to be their member and heads in effects turning governmental bodies into open industry advocacy, lobbying and protection bodies. As a deputy member of NRW parliament Föcking sat on business, energy, industry and climate committee which again removed any controls by alowing polluters and industry to make their own laws and police the resistance which is then obviously seen as not a voice of reason but a simple enemy of their profits. Being member/owner of one of the most CO2 intensive industries and being on a Climate related panel brings a parallel to the present Interior Minister of NRW and its Police Chief, Herbert Reul a paid board of advisors of Rhein Energie, who while in European Parliament was on a Commission on Climate (While also holding his paid for post at Rhein Energie – with corporate watch pointing it out as conflict of interest even then) Now Reul is on war path with Climate Justice activists trying to protect millenarian Hambi & stop carbon intensive lignite extraction and he is calling for unprecedented large scale police actions to not just evict Hambach Forest occupations but also to drastically change police laws allowing for unprecedented since World War II suppression of protest and resistance.
So the climate killing machine of RWE working hand in hand made it possible for Christina Schulze Föcking soon after becoming a minister to eliminate a Commission for Environmental Crimes Unit which for past 14 years was the only body of its type in Germany investigating and persecuting ecological crimes in ultra industrial region of NRW that contains the Ruhr Valley and countless high tech, chemical, pfarma and coal industries. Before the unit was eliminate large kerosene leak took place at the Shell facility in Cologne and investigators were not sent with the unit being eliminated when it was also trying to investigate the footage of animal abuse from the minister’s own farm. The kerosene spill, the minister claimed and lied, was not a matter of concern for the Unit, while countless files were published in which the unit was still investigating press reports, account, and research coming from the site, even not being there in person. This was called an Envio scandal and the distractionary response at that time was to claim that a hacker attack took place on the minister’s family home that turned out to be a member of family accessing a tv remotely and playing a pig fattening video, which is what the family farm engages in. An extremely abusive and unethical precedent with animal rights activist group that entered their barns at night discovering animals with abrasions, abscesses and deep wounds. Footage which showed to veterinarian evoked a response that the animals affected would have to be anesthetized. CDU/industry party machine at the same time responded by stating that night barn break-ins will be further criminalized, same response as with Hambi activists when profits are endangered and uncomfortable issues are being brought forward. Fortunately since then courts have absolved involved animal rights activists involved and others stating that larger emergency was taking place and that their actions are justified when animal abuse and torture is being uncovered and publicized. Which still gives more legalistic leeway to animal rights activism here in Germany than the repressive Animal Industry Protection laws in US which have criminalized taking photos of any factory farms even from a distance regardless of conditions of the animals.
So one crooked and unethical politician is forced to step down from a ministerial position, but still remains a member or regional parliament, while the capitalist industry motivated machine of CDU and other mainstream political parties with their not connections but being in effect one body with planet destroying industries such as factory farms and open cast mining continues. With their cataclysmic to the global ecosystems and communities extractionism and profit only being able to continue because of centralized State and industry power but also coming very easy due to the the bubble of arrogance, wealth and privilege that removes the industry tycoons turned politicians or pulling their strings from any awareness to the consequences of their actions and erases all empathy to those that they do affect, kill and repress through blood coal in Colombia and Siberia through Climate Chaos and through the Jails of North Rhine Westphalia imprisoning and isolating Hambach Forest activists with all illusion of any legal or “democratic” processes removed more and more with each action with each arrestee and with each climate and temperature record, drought, unprecedented wave of fires and of climate refugees.
The power structures that surround us as this case once again shows will not address any of those global and local emergencies but will only amplify and make them more extreme. Then take advantage of a disaster of their own making as if instead of Burning of the Reichstag the Whole Planet Burning was even a grander excuse to gain more power, install more repressive laws, slap a repression/injustice-justifying label of terrorists on all eco, climate activists and eco-saboteurs (who have not killed a single person) while millions are continuing dying because of their actions.
This fucked up sh*t is the best call to mobilize, to become active, to express and exercise solidarity with regional and global struggles that one could get.
For Hambi, For the Climate, for the Planet!