Animal Rights Group Brings Down “Environmental” Minister of NRW!

“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!

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3 Comments

  1. I would say in the end it was some kind of domino effect that led to the minister’s resignation.
    I think it’s worth mentioning that media (especially journalists of radio WDR) and members of other political parties were also involved in the process.

    I’m sure that this also means the end of the ex-minister’s political career after the current parliamentary period.
    The impact is also large insofar that the CDU and FDP ruling parties have only a majority of one seat in NRW, so that they now have to rely on a member of the parliament who acts obviously foolish.
    It puts also pressure on Minister-President Laschet who has now to find a successor who doesn’t also fail.
    And even Laschet nearly failed to be elected as a member to the current parliament. So his political future is also not guaranteed. (On the other hand he could also become the successor of chancellor Merkel since he is one of the vice-presidents of the nation-wide CDU).
    As it was also openly communicated in Merkel’s cabinet the members should also fulfill certain criteria as a whole. So it would be no wonder if the successor of Schulze Föcking will also be a woman and under 45 yo.
    Maybe it could also be a mother who didn’t give up her name after marriage. But okay, I probabably go to far here.
    Don’t think I’m sexist. It’s just the way it is.

    It’s really obvious that the whole political system is in desperate need of a reformation.
    Big problems exist nationally as well as internationally.
    Especially when the highest court in Europe has to be called eventually to save Hambi and we are not able to decide this politically nationwide ourselves, there are really big problems ahead.

  2. FCKMee Hard and Slow

    Yes there is really big problems ahead a viscous loop of climate chaos seen only from a profit and not a solution angle, peak everything resource extraction-ism with more repression being the only answer all of this is why Hambi has been occupied for last 7 years and 10s of thousands converge on Rhineland.

    To say that Fuckers fall from the ministerial seat is some domino effect and not by the animal abuse scandal is self-contradictory. The severe abuse documented on enviromental and agricultural ministers own farm? With the party still closing rank and trying to defend them. Yeah that sure is “a domino effect”. Giving creadit for the downfall to the media is just ridiculous with documented and published evidence they had no choice to jump in and get some credit or sacrifice any remaining credibility of letting coal and RWE off the hook for a global disaster and closing their eyes on prisoners and repression of Hambi activists.

    Interesting that the animal activists who risked criminal persecution are totally absent from your response, we are talking about high level politics aren’t we? The more groups and individuals are excluded the more power those on top have to collapse the global climate and turn the laws back to closer resemble national socialism.

    Talking about Laschet as the next candidate for chancellor of Germany and completly seeming to ignore the hacker scandal in which he was just implicated in parliament of knowing for two weeks that it was a sham and still helping defend Fucker by claiming that animal rights activists or extreme left did it.

    Good remedie for elitist myopia is coming to Hambi for couple of days to see its destruction or going to places in the Global South like Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands are aready dying from RWE ensuing Climate Chaos, this last journey should also be at least couple of days or weeks longs. Otherwise its also possible to stay here spin everything selectively with just a slight tone of cynicism but not criticism of those in power and wait for Hambi and Bangladesh to come to your door. It might be sooner than you think, don’t wait holding your breath waiting for the Media to tell you when that moment will arrive.

    You can not breathe money!

  3. Hi user FCKMee Hard and Slow,

    I like the last two paragraphs of your comment and I think it’s an excellent idea in general to connect Bangladesh with the Hambi conflict. But Bangladesh has nothing to do with the circumstances that led to the resignation of Schulze Foecking, so I would prefer to keep things separated, ie I only would like to concentrate on the last-mentioned issue.

    For further convenience I write what I think for every “group” involved separately:

    Role of the activists: In general I have much respect for everyone who tries to make the world better and is willing to put his own interests on the back seat and to suffer hardships. I’m sure that this is true for the animal rights activists.

    Role of the media:
    It was definitely the media and the work of some journalists who did an in-depth research and scrutinized many files to find out that an office of environmental crime had been abolished by Schulze Foecking.
    BTW probably the only reason I know this is that I read your Twitter accounts and you often have retweetet one of the journalists (jdoeschner).

    Role of the parties:
    a) Opposition: I think that it was also an important step in the process that Schulze Foecking was forced to give a statement in the parliament, where she terribly failed.

    b) Ruling parties: From my point of view the main reason for her resignation was mainly that she acted foolish. If you know that all eyes are on you then you must be able not to make the slightest mistake. Every 5 yo. child is more clever in lying than Schulze Foecking.

    Laschet is vice president of the CDU. Nobody knows who will win the next election to the Bundestag and who will become the candidate for the CDU. But it won’t be a surprise in general if a vice president becomes president. (Traditionally the chancellor is always the president of the CDU). So there are and will be many make or break situations for him in NRW now and in his current term because his majority is only one seat in the NRW parliament.
    What you have to see here is that if Laschet had not backed Schulze Foecking that could have meant that he looses her vote in parliamentary decisions and therefore his majority. So he had not really a choice. I think you have to see that he has responsibility for thousands of members of the party, for every voter, for every citizen. I don’t want to neglect that Laschet most probably lied in the hacking attack. It’s okay if you find this terrible and also because you have high standards in regard to honesty yourself. But the rest of the world can’t keep up here.

    In the end I would say that what was good to see is that it can go fast that things can change and that there is indeed an awareness for environmental issues. This wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of activists, media, politicians and of course also the general population. The one thing that is important is that it couldn’t have been accomplished without anyone of these groups and that it started with the activists. It doesn’t really seem to make sense to me to try to quantify which group did how much. I just don’t find it appropriate to “celebrate” the resignation “alone”.

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