Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Germany’s Intelligence Agency Is Observing the Climate Strikes

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the German state of Bavaria is working to denounce left-wing activists in the climate movement. The Marxist Youth of Munich explains why it won’t be intimidated. 

Left Voice

September 23, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share
Headquarters of the Bavarian intelligence agency in Munich.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency calls itself the “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” (VS in German). It presents itself as a “democratic” agency. But in reality it was established by former Nazi officers. This secret police agency has been deeply entangled with the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), a right-wing terrorist organization that murdered nine immigrants over a period of nine years. In line with its history, this agency regularly denounces left-wing activists and groups whose only “crime” is working toward a society based on solidarity. 

Every year, Germany’s intelligence agency puts out public reports. The Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has just identified a new supposed threat to democracy. According to the spies, “left-wing extremists” are allegedly “instrumentalizing” the Fridays For Future (FFF) demonstrations for anti-capitalist aims. As proof, the State Office published this photo showing flags of the Marxist Youth of Munich and Linksjugend Solid (the youth wing of the left party Die Linke) at an FFF demonstration in Munich: 

Screenshot taken from: Verfassungsschutzinformationen Bayern, 1. Halbjahr 2019, Linksextremismus. p.6.

Particularly bizarre is that despite the intelligence agency’s statement that FFF, “as a democratically supported environmental and climate movement,” is not subject to its “observation mandate,” it does not prevent the agency from publishing its very own photograph of one of the FFF demonstrations. In other words: Of course they are observing FFF—and they would like everyone to know it as a way of intimidating people. 

We staunchly oppose this attempt at intimidation—and we will not be intimidated. This is far from the first time that the intelligence service has attempted to criminalize parts of the environmental movement. In the German city of Aachen, close to the borders with the Netherlands and Belgium, police “warned” high school students against taking part in a climate strike. They did this by resorting both to false allegations and threats—a “deliberate attempt at division,” according to the Aachen FFF group. In Vienna, the police used extreme violence, including staging a mock execution, against peaceful climate activists. And this is hardly news. Since the late 1970s, when there were mass protests against nuclear power, organs of the state have carried out extreme repression against the environmental movement. 

Neither the intelligence agency’s denunciation nor threats and violence by the police diminish the legitimacy of the climate protests. On the contrary, these measures call into question the legitimacy of state authority . We will continue to take to the streets and fight for our future, for climate justice, and of course against capitalism, which in its incessant pursuit of profit is destroying our lives.

The case of Kerem Schamberger showed how the intelligence agencies attempt to criminalize left-wing activists—and fail. The Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution initially denied the Munich PhD candidate a university position  because of his membership in the German Communist Party. Public pressure and indignation at the university, however, forced the “protectors of the constitution” to cave, and he was able to take up his post. 

The “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” has proven, especially since the scandal surrounding the NSU, which side it is on: the far right. Intelligence agencies are anti-democratic institutions. They do not protect the populace—they protect right-wing terrorists. We demand their abolition! 

First published on September 12 on Klasse Gegen Klasse.

Translation: Marco Blechschmidt

Facebook Twitter Share

Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.


Thousands of Police Deployed to Shut Down Congress on Palestine in Berlin

This weekend, a Palestine Congress was supposed to take place in the German capital. But 2,500 police were mobilized and shut down the event before the first speech could be held. Multiple Jewish comrades were arrested.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 12, 2024

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine — Interview with Nancy Fraser

The University of Cologne canceled a guest professorship with the philosophy professor from The New School. In this interview, she speaks about Germany dividing between "Good Jews" and "Bad Jews," her politicization in the civil rights movement, and her time in an Israeli kibbutz.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 10, 2024

Pro-Palestine Activists in France Get Summons from Anti-Terrorist Police

As part of a repressive campaign against the movement for Palestine in France activists have gotten summons from “anti-terrorist” police. The movement for Palestine in the United States must oppose all repression of our movement here and in Europe.

Samuel Karlin

April 9, 2024

Berlin’s Mayor Loves Antisemites

Kai Wegner denounces the “antisemitism” of left-wing Jews — while he embraces the most high-profile antisemitic conspiracy theorist in the world.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 22, 2024


Liberal Towns in New Jersey Are Increasing Attacks on Pro-Palestine Activists

A group of neighbors in South Orange and Maplewood have become a reference point for pro-Palestine organizing in New Jersey suburbs. Now these liberal towns are upping repression against the local activists.

Samuel Karlin

April 12, 2024

“We Shouldn’t Let this Stop Us”: Suspended Columbia Student Activist Speaks Out

Aidan Parisi, a student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, was recently suspended and has been threatened with eviction from their graduate student housing for pro-Palestinian activism on campus. Aidan talked to Left Voice about the state of repression, the movement at Columbia, and the path forward for uniting the student movement with the labor movement and other movements against oppression.

Left Voice

April 11, 2024

The Movement for Palestine Needs Independent, Working-Class Politics

As the brutal genocide of Palestinians continues with the help of the Biden administration, there is maneuver underway to co-opt the movement for Palestine. We need to have a democratic and independent movement that relies on the power of the working class, the student movement, and mobilizations in the streets.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

April 7, 2024
A hand holds a phone which displays the TikTok Logo

We Don’t Want TikTok Under Control of U.S. Capitalists — Put It Under the Control of its Workers and Users

The U.S. government wants to force the sale of the incredibly popular Chinese social media app. A TikTok owned by U.S. capitalists will only make things worse. We want TikTok under workers' control!

Nathaniel Flakin

April 6, 2024