ȘTIINȚA RĂSPUNDE LA ÎNTREBĂRILE „CUM?” ȘI „DE CE?” RELIGIA RĂSPUNDE LA ÎNTREBAREA: „PENTRU CE?”
Q Magazine. Celebrul scriitor Dan Brown a declarat de curând că „Dumnezeu nu va supraviețui științei”. Ce părere aveți ? Patriarhul Chiril I. Există un om de
știință atât de renumit, Dan Brown? Glumesc, bineînțeles, dar, cum zice
un proverb rusesc, „în orice glumă există un strop de adevăr”.
Eu nu am auzit însă că predicțiile scriitorului Brown ar avea
autoritate în lumea oamenilor de știință. Are dreptul la opinie, dar
aceasta nu înseamnă și că ea are o valoare foarte mare.
De multe ori, Biserica, este învinuită de obscurantism și de nepolitețe. Însă, în unele situații, Biserica este de fapt cea consecventă atunci când vine vorba să sprijine „știința pură”. În
conștiința oamenilor moderni, știința este, adesea, un mit ce ia locul
unui idol, în care aceștia cred orbește, la care se închină și căruia i
se aduce jertfă, dacă o cere.
Credem că știința va dezlega toate tainele privitoare la cum a fost
creată lumea, că ne va spune ce trebuie făcut pentru a trăi o viață
fericită, cum să învingi moartea, bolile, suferința, nedreptățile, cum
să dezlegi tainele problemelor sufletești. Dar toate convingerile
acestea sunt bazate pe credință oarbă, nu pe rezultatul concret al
studiilor științifice. Câteodată, această „credință în știință” devine agresivă și
incompatibilă cu înțelegerea celor mulți, deoarece, de cele mai multe
ori, folosește un jargon, pretinde și aspiră la universalitate și cere
să fie scoasă din zona de critică.
Haideți să nu uităm,totuși, de contribuția majoră pe care a avut-o
creștinismul la baza științei și a cercetării, prin intermediul
studiilor. Acesta este un aspect pe care îl va recunoaște orice istoric
Religia și știința nu pot evita cu ușurință apariția unor conflicte
între ele. Ambele au anumite sfere de manifestare bine determinate, în
conformitate cu diferiți vectori. Ambele depun eforturi pentru
rezolvarea conflictelor de idei. Știința răspunde la întrebări precum „Cine”, „Cum?” și
„De ce?”, religia răspunde la întrebarea care incumbă finalitatea:
Teologia nu se (re)găsește în limitele de competență ale științei. Sugerarea
existenței unei competiții între ele transformă religia și știința în
instrumente de propagandă atât anti-știință, cât și anti-religie. Pentru ambele, acest lucru este la fel de dăunător.
Altă idee demnă de reflecție, este aceea că religia, și în particular
creștinismul, insistă pentru necesitatea limitării experimentelor
științifice pentru a respecta principiile etice. Și știința, la rândul
ei, admite că nu are dreptul să facă experimente pe oameni.
Ajungem la cunoașterea completă doar atunci când devenim capabili să
studiem același fenomen din puncte de vedere diferite:
științific,filosofic,religios,istoric. Să excludem religia din cercul acesta al cunoașterii-este o mare greșeală.
Așadar, dați-mi voie să nu fiu de acord cu domnul Brown! CREȘTINISMUL RĂMÂNE ÎN AFARA CONCURENȚEI Q Magazine. În zilele noastre sunt pregnante
două fenomene: în primul rând, peste tot în lume numărul ateilor este în
continuă creștere, în al doilea rând, problema majoră a omenirii de
astăzi este individualismul. Către ce anume se va îndrepta omenirea în
viitor: apropierea față de Dumnezeu sau înstrăinarea de Acesta? Patriarhul Chiril I. Răspunsul e
simplu: totul este în mâinile noastre! Orice predicție este deseori
desprinsă de misterul iubirii divine-misterul libertății care a fost dat
omului drept cel mai mare dar al lui Dumnezeu. Respectul divin
pentru om, dreptul acestuia de a-și folosi libertatea, inclusiv în
detrimentul său și chiar împotriva lui Dumnezeu, merită toată admirația.
Dacă te uiți la „modelul” actual al vieții, în totalitatea ei, atunci
da, probabil, există undeva în lume regiuni și țări în care putem vedea
o creștere semnificativă a numărului ateilor sau de persoanelor care nu
vor să se identifice cu vreo religie, oricare ar fi aceasta.
Dar există și societăți în care numărul credincioșilor crește. Și în
termeni absoluți, numărul ateilor este extrem de mic. Aceste comunități
sunt concentrate, în principal, în societățile cu cel mai înalt nivel de
consum, ai căror membri cred, aparent, că pentru ei Paradisul a venit
Un alt aspect de remarcat este faptul că ideile ateiste sunt adesea propagate agresiv în sfera publică.
În acest sens, ateii, precum și susținători ai secularismului radical,
au făcut încercări constante de instituire a dominației lor ideologice
asupra tuturor credincioșilor care alcătuiesc majoritatea planetei
noastre, dar care, din păcate, de multe ori, sunt în imposibilitatea de a-și proteja drepturile colective și propria viziune asupra lumii religioase.
În același timp, știm că îmbrățișarea Adevărului lui Dumnezeu și
întoarcerea la dreapta Credință a oamenilor din Rusia și din alte țări
din Europa de Est, succesul misiunii creștine în Africa, nivelul ridicat
de religiozitate în America Latină și din lumea arabă, toate arată că,
în plan global, comunitățile de atei sunt destul de lipsite de
Credința religioasă nu se dezvoltă treptat: ea necesită o depășire
constantă a provocărilor cu care se confruntă și, adesea, a mișcărilor
împotriva curentului major. Aș propune să nu vă grăbiți cu concluzii
ample. Și, mai ales, iată de ce, iar acum mă îndrept spre a doua
dumneavostră întrebare- cea despre individualism.
Aș extinde și mai mult dilema. Întrebarea nu este numai despre
individualism, ci despre Om ca atare. Cine este Omul? De ce este și de
ce există? Individualismul este o consecință directă a învățăturilor
savante, profund greșite, în centrul cărora NU se află Dumnezeu,
Creatorul lumii și al Universului, ci omul evoluat din maimuță și lipsit
de reflexia luminii divine, lipsit de perspective de îndumnezeire și de
Imaginați-vă, dacă unui copil de șapte ani i s-ar spune: „Gata, asta e
tot! Nu vei mai crește. Niciodată. Ai atins deja limitele maxime ale
evoluției. Nu poți deveni nici mai inteligent, nici mai frumos, nici mai
puternic. Acum poți face absolut tot ce vrei. Nu mai trebuie să mergi
la școală. Nu este nevoie să respecți regulile sociale și poți să te
limitezi la ceea ce știi deja. Nu trebuie să te mobilizezi să faci ceea
ce poate nu dorești, dar este necesar societății. Ești Perfect !” Față
de acel copil această abordare ar fi o crimă, pentru că în loc să-l
ajute să crească și să se dezvolte, i-ar deschide calea spre
degradare,spre subdezvoltare. Tragedia umanismului secular este că acesta a plantat în
mintea oamenilor ideea falsă că reprezintă apogeul rațiunii omenești,
și, dacă s-a atins acest nivel, nu mai este loc pentru evoluție.
Prin urmare, de aici rezidă și problema. Copiii sunt, în mod natural,
mult mai egocentrici decât majoritatea adulților- dar acesta este doar o
etapă din viața lor, prin care trebuie să „crească“ și să ajungă la
Care este diferența dintre un adult și un copil? Un adult știe să
construiască relații cu ceilalți, astfel încât toată lumea să fie bine.
Creștinul- este un „adult“, capabil de a face nu numai „bine“ pentru
alții, ci și de a-i face pe ceilalți fericiți- pentru că el este
fericit, iar din lumina care-i încălzește sufletul poate oferi căldură
divină și altora. Contemporanului nostru i se oferă un program de „infantilism cronic”, cu care, bineînțeles, creștinismul nu este de acord.
Rădăcina tuturor păcatelor și dorințelor, așa cum ne învață Sfinții
Părinți ai Bisericii Ortodoxe, este dragostea de sine, incapacitatea de a
iubi dureros până la dăruire și sacrificiu de sine. Iar Biserica are un
arsenal bogat de modalități pentru a rezolva această problemă- începând
cu Tainele Bisericii, prin care Dumnezeu Însuși vine în contact cu
omul, și terminând cu formele delicate ale ascezei creștine, care ajută
la înțelegerea tribulațiilor sufletului, iar prin conectarea cu lumea
interioară ajută la o mai bună percepție a harului divin . În afara Bisericii, nimic din acestea nu există.Da,
există psihologie, psihoterapie-dar sunt doar o încercare de a găsi o
soluție în cadrul sistemului în sine, și de aceea în mod constant apar
greșeli și eșecuri.
În acest sens, Creștinismul a fost și rămâne în afara concurenței,
pentru că oferă o legătură indestructibilă de comunicare Dumnezeu-Om
viu- prin Domnul nostru Iisus Hristos, adevăratul diapazon al
umanității. Pană în ziua de azi, Evanghelia rămâne cea mai eficientă și mai scurtă cale de instruire spre fericire,
atât pentru individ, cât și pentru întreaga societate. Principalul
obiectiv este de a-l învăța cum să O citească, nu doar ca pe o carte
„ritualică”, ci ca pe una care îl învață cum să pătrundă dincolo de
simțuri, pentru a înțelege contextul și, a privi cu atenție la cei a
căror soartă este zugrăvită acolo. Individualismul este lipsit de sens și este imposibil de depășit doar de dragul colectivismului.Creștinismul este incomensurabil mai profund.
El afirmă că doar în slujba lui Dumnezeu și a celui de lângă noi se
dobândește acea plinătate unică a ființei pe care este capabilă să o
ofere inspirația divină și, dincolo de prezentul limitat al existenței
pământești, Fericirea. ÎNTRE RELIGIE ȘI STAT NU ESTE UN ZID OPAC Q Magazine. Poate fi religia un factor politic ? Patriarhul Chiril I. Religia,din
punctul de vedere al înțelegerii creștine a lumii,face posibilă
conectarea între credincios și Creatorul Cerului și al Pământului,
religia aduce oamenii împreună într-o comunitate, iar Biserica îi ajută
să își practice credința lor în comuniune.
Dar orice religie existentă procedează și interacționează similar cu
oamenii. Și interacționează și cu factorul politic, desigur.
În special, religia nu poate să nu fie afectată de conflictele, de contradicțiile care apar în orice societate sau între națiuni și state. Religia nu este apă distilată. Dimpotrivă, este direct legată de istoria și aspirațiile poporului pe acest segment specific al istoriei sale.
De exemplu, dacă vom compara istoria și circumstanțele viețuirii
Bisericii Ortodoxe sub Împăratul Iustinian, țarul Ivan cel Groaznic sau
Petru cel Mare și felul cum arată ea astăzi, vom vedea că circumstanțele
și formele de exprimare a vieții bisericești sunt foarte diferite.
Desigur, lumea seculară, și lumea politicii în special, va afecta, în
mod inevitabil, religia- și vice-versa. Istoria noastră, istoria
Ortodoxiei mondiale, cunoaște cele mai diverse forme de interacțiune
între Biserică și Stat. Ne putem aminti de bizantina „simfonie a
puterilor”, ne putem aminti de subordonarea directă a ierarhiei
bisericești sistemului de stat, așa cum a fost în Rusia după reformele
lui Petru I. Dar putem aminti fapte și episcopi ortodocși aleși să fie
conducători seculari ai unor teocrații pe termen scurt – să privim către
Muntenegru și Mitropolitul Petru Negos sau către Cipru și Arhiepiscopul
Makarie al III-lea. Biserica nu se implică în responsabilitățile constituționale ale statului. Dar această separare nu înseamnă că între noi este un zid opac.
Nu, noi astăzi avem legături active cu statul. De pildă, în prezent,
lucrăm la soluționarea problemelor sociale și de învățământ.
În Rusia, în regiunile unde locuiesc un număr mare de credincioși, lucrăm împreună cu statul și numim această colaborare parteneriat social. Toată munca noastră comună este pentru bunăstarea societății.
În același timp, Biserica își menține poziția oficială de a nu se
implica în politică, preoților le este interzis să participe în campanii
electorale, să fie candidați sau, în timpul alegerilor să fie agenți
electorali. Acesta este prețul independenței noastre și, în același
timp, al bunăstării societății.
Biserica este mândră de toți enoriașii săi, trebuie să ocrotească
binele lor și să nu facă discriminare bazată pe interese politice. FIECARE UTILIZATOR DE INTERNET ESTE UN OM VIU Q Magazine. Cum se raportează Biserica la internet și la lumea virtuală, care seduce o mare parte din generația tânără, în special ? Patriarhul Chiril I. Sigur, în lumea
virtuală se întâmplă o mulțime de lucruri oribile, proaste,
necinstite,uneori chiar infracțiuni. Așa cum de fapt se întâmplă și în
lumea reală. Important este să ținem cont de aspectele negative care ne
pot aștepta acolo.
Pe internet poți găsi foarte multă informație falsă, care de cele mai
multe ori îl irită pe om, îl abate de la ce trebuie să facă în mod
obișnuit, îi creează sentimente neplăcute și, mai ales, sunt foarte
multe cazuri când se pune o informație pe internet cu titlu de
certitudine, deși este doar o speculație, o bârfă. Care de obicei este
și foarte agresivă. Este foarte important să ținem minte cuvintele
Mântuitorului: „Cu cuvintele tale ai să fii mântuit și tot prin
cuvintele tale ai să fii judecat”.
Nouă, creștinilor, ni se poruncește să mergem în lume pentru a face
cunoscut cuvântul Evangheliei lui Hristos, care dă iertare și o viață
Dumnezeu vrea ca toți oamenii să fie mântuiți și să ajungă la
cunoașterea Adevărului Credinței (1 Timotei 2: 4) – după cum spune
apostolul Timotei, Biserica îi îndeamnă pe toți oamenii – inclusiv pe
cei pe care îi întâlnim pe internet, iar de multe ori, pe mulți dintre
ei, nicăieri în altă parte. De aceea, Biserica poate și trebuie să ducă lucrarea sa în spațiul virtual, predicând Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu și mărturisind despre Adevăr. Cu toate acestea, trebuie înțeles un lucru: ceea ce facem în lumea virtuală este orientat spre lumea reală. Fiecare utilizator al rețelei este o persoană vie, nu un obiect virtual.
În plus, sacramentele Bisericii nu sunt comise în spațiul virtual, ci ele sunt nucleul vieții unui credincios.
Creștinii sunt chemați să fie martori ai unei vieți transfigurate de
lumina Credinței peste tot – inclusiv pe internet și ar trebui să se
manifeste nu numai în ideile expuse, dar și în modul în care acestea
sunt prezentate interlocutorului. AȘTEPT SĂ MĂ ROG ALĂTURI DE POPORUL ROMÂN Q Magazine. Ce aşteptări sau speranţe aveţi de la vizita în România? Patriarhul Chiril I. Vizita mea în
România este legată de evenimentele importante organizate zilele acestea
de Biserica Ortodoxă Română, dedicate amintirii luptelor împotriva lui
Dumnezeu, în urma cărora au suferit toate Bisericile din Europa de Est. Noi toţi am fost victimele ideologiei ateiste şi ale sistemului în care nu mai era loc pentru credinţa în Dumnezeu.
În spatele lozincilor care arătau grijă pentru popor, se ascundea
antipatia pentru Biserică şi pentru tot ce era legat de religie. Astfel
de schimbări revoluţionare periculoase ar fi fost imposibile dacă o
parte semnificativă a concetăţenilor noştri, cu voie sau fără voie, nu
ar fi împărtășit ideea construirii Raiului pe Pământ , aşa cum o vedeau clasicii marxism-leninismului.
Acest rai presupunea distrugerea tuturor disidenţilor și a celor care luptau pentru credință.
Cu toate acestea, autorităţile nu au reuşit să îi despartă pe
credincioşi de credinţa lor, iar acum noi – în Rusia, în România, dar şi
în alte ţări -, trăim epoca renaşterii religioase.
Se construiesc biserici, se dezvoltă viaţa parohială, actele de
caritate făcute de Biserică, lecţiile de catehism şi educarea
credincioşilor. Dar înflorirea vieţii religioase are loc, paradoxal, pe
fundalul răspândirii ideologiei consumerismului şi al propagandei
libertăţii separate de responsabilitatea morală a omului pentru
cuvintele şi faptele sale. O astfel de libertate distruge omul, familia
Locuitorii Europei de Est au reuşit să-şi apere religia atunci când
erau forţaţi să renunţe la ea. Acum însă mulţi preferă benevol bunurile
de consum în locul credinţei. Folosirea lor nu necesită efort moral,
dar duce la uitarea lui Dumnezeu şi limitează viaţa la o iubire
inconsistentă şi necondiţionată pentru sine. Bisericile ortodoxe se adună în România pentru a
aminti timpurile de persecuţie pentru credinţă, dar şi pentru a vorbi
despre pericolele vieţii fără Dumnezeu. Alegerea de a trăi fără Dumnezeu este la fel de distructivă
atât pentru om, cât şi pentru societate, indiferent dacă este impusă din
exterior sau este rezultatul unei alegeri libere.
În plus, vizita mea este legată de celebrarea celei de-a zecea
aniversări de la întronizarea Patriarhului României, Preafericitul
Biserica Română este vie şi puternică. Ea se străduieşte din toate
puterile să păstreze valorile creştine în Europa modernă. Suntem
întrutotul uniţi cu ea în acest demers, de a mărturisi Adevărul
Evangheliei. Prin urmare, aştept cu nerăbdare să împărtăşesc
rugăciunea cu poporul român credincios, cu episcopi şi preoţi, să simt
bucuria unităţii noastre în Sfânta Euharistie.
Citeşte AICI interviul în limba engleză şi AICI în rusă.
by Crina Boros, Investigate Europe (Text) and Johnny Green (Photos)
24 October 2017
Romania’s leaders sold off their citizens’ rights
and kept their wages at rock-bottom to satisfy foreign investor
lobbyists and billion-Euro lenders from the EU and IMF, argue labour
experts and unions Romania was used as a ‘guinea pig’ by foreign
investors with the support of lenders, as a test case in the EU to
weaken workers’ rights to bargain for higher salaries, details academic
Romania is a country viewed as an economic miracle in the European Union.
Its unemployment hovers around five per cent, its growth rate is an
EU best of over five per cent, and its GDP grows five per cent each
The statistics are clear: the country is booming.
But a closer look inside Romania reveals a shocking reality -
crippling poverty, widespread labour exploitation, low purchasing power
and a mass emigration by working-age citizens from all its regions.
How has the country become an economist’s dream and a worker’s nightmare?
A key reason is that Romania is a country of a cheap and flexible
labour force, where most workers are defenceless in the face of their
employers, and the minimum wage is a reference salary for millions.
With one in three Romanians trapped in a contract on the lowest
possible salary, this country contains a dumping ground of cheap and
desperate labour within the EU.
How did this happen?
Forced to liberalise its labour market by the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC), and following intense
lobbying from foreign investors, Romanian officials demolished the
country’s power to bargain with employers for decent wages, and pushed
people from stable jobs into precarious circumstances.
Labour researchers believe over 40 per cent of workers in Romania are
on the minimum wage, if unofficial jobs are factored into the figures.
Meanwhile, the latest Government data shows that around 30 per cent of
total contracts pay the national minimum wage or under. This is still a
massive number, and contrasts with nine per cent in Germany.
“In other countries, the minimum wage is the ceiling below which you
shouldn’t pay. In Romania, it is an orientation mark!” says Stephan
Meuser, head of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Romania, a political
foundation close to Germany’s Social Democratic Party.
So what is stopping the Government from securing a better than
minimum wage from west European big business, who are shifting
production and services eastward?
Its own laws.
Three-quarters of Romania retail workers - over 0.5 million people - have no access to union protection, argue syndicate leaders
Operation: Target Labour Rights
The attack on workers’ rights kicked off in 2008. As the global financial crash hit Europe, Romania was in a cash-flow crisis.
Desperate for money, it agreed to a 20-billion Euro bailout package
in March 2009. The lenders were the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the European Commission, the World Bank (WB), and the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The IMF put up the largest sum: 13 billion Euro.
But this was not charity. The cash came with conditions. The lenders
wanted Romania to deregulate its labour market. The secretary general of
the union Cartel Alfa, Petru Dandea, sat in the negotiations. In the
meetings, he says that the EC and the IMF were keen to push for a
flexible labour market, although the Commission did not specify how
Romanian officials should loosen its labour laws.
But an IMF technical memorandum from 2010 shows their experts were
involved in helping draft the country’s Social Dialogue policy - the
process of negotiation between workers, unions, employers and Government
- and review the existing Labour Code, to replace Romania’s old
“Before end-December (after consultation with social partners and
with the IMF, the World Bank and the European Commission), we will send a
revised social dialog code and an improved labor code to parliament,”
reads a document written by then-Finance Minister Gheorghe Ialomiţianu.
Avoiding any public debate, Romania's leaders launched draconian
anti-labour policies. These were aimed at attacking workers' rights and
reducing its unionised workforce, which dropped from approximately 90
per cent in 1991 to 20 per cent of workers today, according to Conect
Association, an advocacy group.
In 2011, the Democratic Liberal-led Government of Prime Minister Emil
Boc axed Romania’s yearly bargained National Contract from the old
Labour Code. This contract contained a salary grid that forced
businesses to factor in a person’s education level, professional skills
and experience when calculating their pay.
With this protection removed, employers only had to comply with one law: paying the minimum wage.
Leaders of Cartel Alfa union, the National Union Block (BNS), the
Retail Unions Federation and Conect Association agree this was a blow to
salaries, and opened the door to a country where around a third of
contracted staff are on the lowest wage possible.
Behind this move were large multinationals. According to Petru Dandea
and other union leaders, major corporate lobbying groups in Romania,
the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) and the American Chamber of Commerce
(AmCham) had been relentlessly lobbying for a more flexible labour
market since 2002 - well before the crash.
But AmCham is proud to see the law move in a direction more
favourable to its members. Today the group’s spokesperson Andreea Roma
believes that the new code “has had a positive impact on Romania’s
Meanwhile the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) also admits that it was
instrumental in proposing the new changes. It took part in “over 20
meetings with officials and other organisations” to discuss the 2011
Labour Code and policy on Social Dialogue, according to spokesman Radu
The group submitted their labour-related proposals for the
Government’s consideration in 2010. Among their requests, they asked
officials to facilitate short-term hire, particularly temporary and
This would allow companies to avoid full or part-time employment commitment and commission work for brief periods.
In other words, companies would not need contracts with their staff,
and they could hire workers by text message the day before with the
number of work hours available - this could be eight, or it could be
Workers’ rights to bargain for wage rises “smashed” by new law, Petru Dandea, union leader
European Commission: interference without the right?
The collective bargaining system was “smashed” due to the new law,
complains Petru Dandea. Since 2011, four-fifths of all wage negotiations
held at company level have been concluded without legitimate workers'
representatives, he argues.
Now close to a third of the workforce receive the minimum wage -
1,846,498, if registered freelancers are included. “We are paid as if we
were a country of unqualified workers,” complains the trade unionist.
The European Commission encouraged this practice. In 2012, a new
government in Bucharest announced that it would undo the reforms and
make country-wide collective agreements possible again. Officials for
Olli Rehn - then EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs -
together with the IMF, attacked the proposal.
“We strongly urge the authorities to ensure that national wage
agreements do not contain elements related to wages and/or reverse the
progress achieved in the labour code in 2011,” they wrote to the
government. The American Chamber of Commerce issued a similar letter of
protest. The ‘troika’ lenders also called on officials not to introduce
annual collective bargaining. The government gave up the plan.
With this intervention, Rehn and his officials staked a claim to a right to which they were not entitled. Article 153 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty,
which describes the tasks of the Union regarding social policy and work
standards, states that the EU and its agencies have no competence to
regulate wages. In the letter above, Rehn’s officials only ‘strongly
urge’ - the text of which means ‘we are not telling you to do this’, the
subtext of which most would understand to mean ‘we are telling you to
In practise, the Commission was more intrusive, argue witnesses. The
leader of Romania’s National Union Bloc (Blocul National Sindical - BNS)
Dumitru Costin, who was also part of many negotiations with Romania’s
‘troika’ lenders, confirmed that the European Commission discussed
“Of course wage-setting was discussed! The only wage-setting topic
the Commission is interested in is the mechanism behind establishing the
national minimum wage,” says Costin.
Costin and Dandea say that during Romania’s meetings with the
‘Troika’ lenders, the Commission did not oppose the business lobbyists’
suggestions on how laws on workers’ rights should change. “They were
accomplices,” argues Costin.
We approached Rehn, who is today a member of the board of the Finnish
Central Bank, but he declined to be interviewed on these meddling
allegations with the labour reforms of other countries, and whether the
EU was acting outside of its jurisdiction.
Right to Fight Back Attacked
Want to form a union in Romania?
It should be easy.
The Romanian Constitution says “Citizens may freely associate into
political parties, trade unions, employers' associations, and other
forms of association”.
And this has international confirmation.
The European Convention of Human Rights gives workers “the right to form trade unions for the protection of members' interests”.
But these two legal obstacles did not get in the way of Romania’s labour reform.
Before 2011, a minimum of 15 people from the same profession, working
for different employers within the same industry could form a union.
The new Social Dialogue Act from 2011 said those 15 now needed to
work for the same company, and they cannot include freelancers.
But even if workers can form a union, it could be powerless. If a
union wants the recognition to bargain for higher wages within a firm,
it must have a membership of 50 per cent plus one of all employees in
that company - and big retailers in Romania employ upwards of 15,000.
This is a vast number for a union to enlist.
“Every year, the bargaining power of workers is diminishing and you
get into a situation where roughly half of the persons get or end up
with the minimum wage,” says Stephan Meuser.
Romanian unions accuse the then-Boc Government of passing policy that
barred their access to the negotiating table, leaving employees in
“I call it the Anti-Social Dialogue Act,” says Retail Union
Federation president Vasile Gogescu. “It was passed to almost dissolve
the collective bargaining contract.”
No protection for vast majority of shop-workers
The numbers quoted by unions paint a grim picture of the impact of 2011’s Social Dialog Act.
This has hit the boom sectors of shops and warehouses.
There are at least 800,000 employees in Romania’s retail sector,
which has been key in the last three years to fuelling the country’s
Of these, over 600,000 work for companies with fewer than 15 members of staff, according to Gogescu.
This means three-quarters of some of Romania’s most vulnerable workers cannot have access to union protection.
Workers also have little control over their job requirements.
“Countless tasks and responsibilities are piling up,” says Gogescu, “and
contracts [stipulating the requirements of the job] end with the
sentence ‘And any other assignment designated by the line manager’. This
means that you can never refuse a job.”
According to a report from Conect Association, in 2015, there were
468,374 enterprises with fewer than 15 employees, comprising 1.29
million employees. This reveals a huge number deprived of protection
from a collectively-bargained contract.
The association’s president Rodica Novac says the Social Dialogue
policy was passed without any assessment of its public impact, or
consideration of the realities of Romania’s labour market.
“There are companies who don’t favour the unionisation of their
workers,” argues Novac. “Japanese companies, for instance, are
straightforward about it. Also, Auchan - a France-headquartered
multinational supermarket chain - and the Schwartz group [German owner
of retail brands Kaufland and Lidl] are anti-union employers.”
Cartel Alfa’s Secretary General said unions met ten times with the
lenders in the ‘Troika’ loan implementation years and “explained to them
what effects the legislation had: the [collective bargaining] contracts
started to disappear, the [number of] minimum wages… was increasing
This is also against international labour laws. Needing 15 persons to
form a union from the same company violates both EU laws and
International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on the freedom of
association. This law article is contested by unions and the case is
being considered by Romania’s Constitutional Court. “We hope that this
provision will be killed,” adds Stephan Meuser, from Friedrich Ebert
Hope that anti-union law will be seen to break constitution, Stephan Meuser, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Romania: a “Guinea Pig” to reduce workers’ rights
But could this method of deregulation spread beyond Romania?
Corporate lobbyists were using the 2008 financial crisis to propose
changes to the country’s labour laws in a move to create a ‘test case’
for a nation of hollowed-out workers’ rights in the EU, argues new
"Representatives of both employers’ associations and unions consider
that Romania was used as a ‘guinea pig’ by foreign investors with the
support of the so-called Troika (IMF, EC, World Bank), to decentralize
collective bargaining radically,” according to a 2016 European Journal
of Industrial Relations study by Aurora Trif, a social scientist from Dublin University.
Trif quoted a union official anonymously in the document: “All the
labour market reforms [in Romania] were initiated and adopted at the
recommendation of two players; one is the American Chamber of Commerce
and the other one is the Foreign Investors’ Council. The Romanian model
has been exported to other central and east European countries and
foreign investors wish to extend it in western European countries.”
The result of the 2011 laws favouring business to the detriment of
Romania’s workforce has been “catastrophic” for society says Vasile
“Take two employees both earning the national minimum wage - if they
start a family, and say they have a child, they cannot pay their bills
by working, or even afford everyday basic goods,” he adds. “We’re slowly
becoming the working poor.”
Additional reporting: Harald Schumann, Investigate Europe and Michael Bird In addition to Crina Boros, journalists
Wojciech Ciesla, Ingeborg Eliassen, Nikolas Leontopoulos, Maria
Maggiore, Leila Minano, Paulo Pena, Harald Schumann, Elisa Simantke also
contributed to this investigation for Investigate Europe. Investigate Europe is supported by Germany’s
Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Rudolf-Augstein-Stiftung and Stiftung
Hübner&Kennedy, the Norwegian foundation Fritt Ord and the Open
Society Initiative for Europe.
Fostii nomenclaturisti sau urmasii lor au strans averi profitand de ceea ce interziceau pe vremuri: afacerile. Condamnat ca "regim ilegal" de Comisia "Tismaneanu", comunismul a consacrat egalitatea in saracie, insa nu si pentru nomenclaturisti. Din cenusa regimului s-au regrupat cateva mari familii comuniste pentru care prabusirea PCR a devenit o oportunitate de a face avere. Alti cativa fosti demnitari sau portavoci ale regimului o duc, dupa cum o marturisesc chiar ei, mai bine decat inainte de 1989. Ei au profitat tocmai de ceea ce interziceau pe vremuri: initiativa privata. Puterea lor a constat, ca si inainte, in relatii si in informatii. Unii si-au sporit influenta prin asocieri de afaceri cu oameni ai momentului, politicieni sau ministri. O poveste fara sfarsit. ___________________________ ____ DINCA. Imperiul ginerilor Raposatul Ion Dinca, fosta mana de fier a regimului Ceausescu, a lucrat, in ultima parte a vietii, la o firma de IT. Era "consilier", iar compania facea parte din imperiul de afaceri creat de ginerii lui, Nicolae Badea si Gabriel Popoviciu. La inceputul anilor '90, in timp ce Dinca facea puscarie, fiind condamnat in lotul CPEX, ginerii lui puneau bazele lantului lor de companii care va ajunge sa valoreze sute de milioane de dolari. Potrivit unor apropiati, Popoviciu de-abia scapase de colegii lui de la service-ul auto unde lucra. In valtoarea Revolutiei, ei il cautau pentru a-l pedepsi pentru pacatele socrului. Pana a ajunge la service, Popoviciu, un personaj misterios, lucrase la un "shop" pe litoral, impreuna cu un anume Radu Dimofte. Pe la mijlocul anilor '80, Dimofte a fugit in Statele Unite, unde a lucrat ca portar de hotel, apoi sef de tura. S-a intors in tara dupa Revolutie. Tandemul de la "shop" a intrat apoi impreuna in afaceri si, intamplator sau nu, au adus in Romania branduri "imperialiste" precum Pizza Hut sau KFC. Astazi, ei doi, impreuna cu Nicolae Badea, controleaza investitii majore in imobiliare, IT si comert alimentar, multe dintre ele inregistrate pe firme off-shore din Cipru sau din Insulele Virgine, parte a unui intreg paienjenis. In multe cazuri, titularii afacerilor, asa cum apar la Registrul Comertului, sunt parintii lor: Zerlin Dimofte, care are 82 de ani, si Ligia Popoviciu, in varsta de 77 de ani. Imperiul ginerilor lui Dinca s-a remarcat si prin diverse afaceri profitabile cu statul, iar cei doi sunt actionari in Clubul Vinului, alaturi de nume sonore, precum Calin Popescu-Tariceanu. ____________________________ ____ POSTELNICU. Nepotul "de aur", asociatul lui Videanu. Tiberiu Bica Postelnicu are o avere de aproximativ 50 de milioane de dolari si este asociat in nu mai putin de 35 de companii din Romania . E nepotul ultimului ministru de interne, fost sef al Securitatii, Tudor Postelnicu. Detine opt la suta din Romanian International Bank, controlata de familia Roberts, proprietarul Merchant Bank of California . A fost asociat si cu magnatul Ioan Niculae, la Asirom, dar si-a vandut cota de zece la suta. Prieten cu Niculae, Postelnicu a detinut, prin Total Distribution Group SRL, activitatea de distributie a tigarilor produse de Societatea Nationala a Tutunului Romanesc. Mai e si distribuitor de bauturi alcoolice si, de asemenea, actionar in IATSA, firma desprinsa din Dacia Pitesti . Nepotul "de aur" este si partener al fostului primar al Capitalei, Adriean Videanu. Cei doi au cate un sfert din Equity Invest SA, care se ocupa de intermedieri financiare. In schema mai apare si multimilionarul Raul Doicescu (24 la suta), a carui firma, Bog'art, dezvolta controversatul proiect " Cathedral Plaza ". In Victoriei, Tudor Postelnicu traieste departe de ochii lumii. Devenit celebru prin propria sa sentinta - "Am fost un dobitoc"- rostita cand era judecat in lotul CPEX, Postelnicu locuieste intr-un apartament din "buricul targului", intr-un bloc din Piata Victoriei, unde se gasesc foarte multe sedii de firma, iar o locuinta se vinde cu peste 100.000 de euro.
_______________________________ MIZIL. Mondenii postcomunisti "Comunistul national" Paul Niculescu-Mizil, asa cum ii placea sa i se spuna, a fost si el inchis dupa Revolutie. Isi incepuse ascensiunea in anii '50, cand era seful Sectiei de Propaganda si Agitatie. A fost apoi ministru, vicepremier, membru CPEx. Anul in care el a iesit din inchisoare, 1992, coincide cu cel in care familia lui s-a lansat in afaceri, infiintand grupul Getteco, apoi alte companii. O parte din ele s-au desfiintat ulterior. Mondenii Oana Niculescu-Mizil (nepoata) si Serghei Mizil (fiul) detin o parte din ele, in domenii diferite, de la restaurante la prelucrarea lemnului. In firme apare si sotul Oanei Mizil, libanezul Tohme Jamil. Cei doi au fost cununati de un membru al puternicei familii libaneze Hariri. ____________________________ ____
CORNEL BURTICA. De la Propaganda la multinational Cornel Burtica, fostul nomenclaturist marginalizat de Ceausescu in 1982, face parte dintre cei care au dezvoltat afaceri de succes. Dupa cum a relatat EVZ, Burtica s-a asociat cu companii din Italia, carora le-a intermediat vanzarile. Fostul ministru al comertului exterior este cel care a iluminat zona Piata Unirii din Capitala, dar si metroul bucurestean. Cu o cifra de afaceri care se apropie de milionul de euro pe an, Burtica a recunoscut ca traieste mai bine in capitalism. El vinde acum grupuri electrogene produse in Italia. E un critic constant al fostilor ofiteri de securitate care fac afaceri pe picior mare.
CONSTANTIN BOSTINA Secretarul lui Ceausescu, sef la Bursa . Constantin Bostina este presedintele Consiliului de Administratie de la Bursa Romana de Marfuri. S-a convertit in om de afaceri dupa ce-si trecuse in palmares functii precum cea de secretar personal al lui Nicolae Ceausescu sau adjunct la Ministerul Economiei si la Ministerul Industriei Usoare. La jumatatea anilor '90, afacerile lui Bostina, doctor in stiinte economice, au fost scurtcircuitate de o ancheta privind cazul de contrabanda cu combustibili "Jimbolia", cand a recunoscut ca firma sa, Sibco, a transportat produse petroliere in Iugoslavia in timpul embargoului. A colaborat cu anchetatorii, carora le-a povestit cum a decurs operatiunea. Firma lui, in care mai era asociat si fostul ofiter de Securitate Ilie Stanciu, primise un credit de sapte milioane de dolari de la Bancorex. Stanciu a si fost in arest preventiv. Bostina are o avere de peste 30 de milioane de dolari, facuta din industrie si consultanta. ____________________________ ____
CAROL DINA - Din CC la banii Sidex Fost prim-secretar al PCR Galati , fost membru al CC al PCR, fost membru supleant al CPEx. Aceasta este biografia scurta de dinainte de 1989 a lui Carol Dina. Au urmat cateva luni de arest la Galati dupa Revolutie, dupa care... afaceri si politica. El este senator al PRM din 2000. De profesie ajustor mecanic, Dina are 80 la suta din firma Grup DIC din Galati , la care mai sunt asociati membri ai familiei sale. Compania a fost implicata, potrivit unui raport al Coalitiei pentru un Parlament Curat, in tranzactii paguboase pentru stat la Sidex, inainte de privatizarea combinatului. ___________________________ ____
ION PATAN Fostul sef al lui Stolojan, pensionar asociat in firme Inainte de 1989, Ion Patan a fost vicepremier, ministru al comertului intern, ministru al comertului exterior, ministrul industriei usoare. In aprilie 1989 era numit ministru al finantelor. "Nu mai era membru al Comitetului Politic Executiv al Comitetului Central, ceea ce probabil l-a salvat de la puscarie", spune un fost apropiat al sau. Consilierul lui Patan se numea Theodor Stolojan. "Dupa Revolutie l-am facut prim-adjunct al meu", spune Patan, care fusese pastrat in functie.. In sase luni, Stolojan devenea ministru plin. "Sunt pensionar si nu ma mai ocup de afaceri", spune Patan. Cu toate acestea, la varsta de 80 de ani, el apare ca asociat in mai multe companii, potrivit datelor de la Registrul Comertului. Are aproape doi la suta din Romimob SRL, o firma de constructii controlata de Romanoexport si de Petru Crisan, fost ministru al comertului dupa 1989. In zorii capitalismului romanesc, Crisan a fost studiu de caz pentru conflictul de interese: era asociat si administrator in cateva zeci de firme, dar, in acelasi timp, si ministru in guvernul Vacaroiu, acordand licente de import si export pe domeniile in care functionau inclusiv companiile lui. Patan a fost si administrator al firmei de asigurari Metropol, care a dat faliment. In structura companiei se intalnea un investitor din Camerun, Noupadja Joseph (cu peste 51 la suta), dar si Automobil Club Roman si Gelsorul lui Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, cu procente reduse. Patan mai e administrator si la Petking, o firma thailandeza care fabrica in Romania granule materiale plastice. ____________________________ _ STEFAN ANDREI Consilierul lui Sorin Ovidiu Vintu Stefan Andrei a fost ministru de externe si ministru al comertului exterior in ultimii ani ai regimului Ceausescu. Andrei nu a aparut in nicio firma in 1989, dar a fost, in schimb, consilierul omului de afaceri Sorin Ovidiu Vintu. Se intampla la sfarsitul anilor '90, cand Vintu a ochit diverse oportunitati in Balcani. Ca atare, l-a angajat pe Andrei pentru a-i prezenta analize de geopolitica si de economie. Stefan Andrei nu a recunoscut ca ar fi avut vreo relatie de afaceri. In schimb, nepotul sau, Andrei Dan, a administrat Trawe, o firma a intreprinderii de comert exterior Terra, infiintata in Elvetia. Acum, Dan e implicat cu participatii sau ca administrator in mai multe firme de publicitate. Nepotul fostului ministru are si 1 la suta din Agentia de publicitate "Anunt de la A la Z", firma in care trustul britanic Daily Mail detine jumatate din participatii, prin divizia sa din Ungaria, Lapcom. ____________________________ ____
STUDIU DE CAZ Cum se intalnesc in afaceri ginerii lui Dinca, un apropiat al ginerelui lui Ion Ceausescu si omul lui Ion Tiriac. Sediu social: fosta casa a lui Pacepa, spionul fugit in SUA. Urmasii nomenclaturii au pus ban pe ban in cel mai mare secret. Ei au dezvoltat parteneriate de afaceri intre ei, dar si cu personaje mai mult sau mai putin cunoscute. Legaturile fine s-au cimentat in spatele usilor inchise, iar ceea ce i-a unit nu a mai fost victoria socialismului, ci profitul, scopul final in viziunea capitalista. ____________________________
BUCURESTI , FOSTA CASA A LUI PACEPA. Intr-un cartier rezidential de top, vizavi de Ministerul de Externe, s-au pus bazele unei firme care se vrea de viitor. Mai multi tineri manageri se asociaza intr-o companie de consultanta, al carui nume nu face decat sa dea un indiciu subtil asupra localizarii: Corner AA 28 SRL, infiintata in 2003. Putini stiu ca in vila alba cu un etaj de pe colt e locul unde, la apartamentul numarul 1, a locuit cel mai celebru spion al Estului: Ion Mihai Pacepa. Astazi, casa fostului adjunct al Securitatii serveste drept sediu social pentru o companie in care se intalnesc, ca asociati, un partener de afaceri al supravietuitorilor clanului Ceausescu, un fost om de incredere al lui Ion Tiriac si o firma off-shore din Cipru asociata cu imperiul de afaceri al ginerilor lui Ion Dinca. Aceasta se numeste Tresela Investments Ltd., din Nicosia .
In alta firma, casuta postala din Insula Afroditei se intersecteaza cu una din Caraibe (Insulele Turks si Caicos), International Business &Trading Corporation (IBTC), formand firma de imobiliare International Business Trading SRL, intr-un "paradis" de pe soseaua Kiseleff.. Asociatii Tresela sunt firme din imperiul ginerilor. Asa cum se stie, IBTC apare in mai toate companiile detinute de ginerii lui Dinca: de la "boom"-ul Baneasa Investments, un proiect de 1 miliard de euro (constructii in nordul Capitalei), pana la electronicele de la "Alltrom", o mai veche firma din reteaua Badea-Dinca. Mai mult, Tresela, off-shore-ul din casa lui Pacepa, are un procent la Grand Plaza , detinatorul Hotelului Howard Johnson, cunoscut drept afacerea ginerilor lui Dinca. Zilele trecute, lantul de casute postale si-a adaugat in salba de proprietati Hotelul Neptun de pe Litoral. Au fost singurii ofertanti la licitatia facuta de stat. Pe langa evitarea taxelor de pe Dambovita, off-shore-urile mai au un avantaj: pot ascunde identitatea proprietarilor.
Asociati cu fostul CEO al romanului din "Forbes" Corner AA 28 SRL mai dezvaluie un personaj. Valentin Radu, 34 de ani, e administratorul unic al firmei, si asociat (cu 6 la suta). El este, insa, mult mai cunoscut in lumea businessului drept director al grupului de firme Tiriac, postura pe care a ocupat-o, venind de la multinationala Roland Berger, timp de doi ani si jumatate. Potrivit unor surse din companie, Valentin Radu nu mai ocupa postul de CEO al Tiriac Holdings, insa, conform documentelor registrului comertului, el apare in continuare ca administrator al Tiriac Leasing si Autorom - firma controlata, de anul trecut, de Daimler-Chrysler. Fostul lui sef, Ion Tiriac, primul miliardar roman intrat in topul "Forbes" in urma cu numai doua zile, nu a ascuns niciodata ca a fost protejatul fostului demnitar comunist Ion-Gheorghe Maurer, un personaj care l-a initiat in tainele vanatorii pe fostul tenismen. Ulterior, Tiriac, impreuna cu Adrian Nastase, va duce acest sport sangeros pe prima pagina a ziarelor romanesti. ____________________________ __
TIRIAC, BADEA si afacerea EADS Tiriac reprezenta Daimler-Chrysler in Romania in momentul in care se perfecta afacerea "Frontiera". Concernul avea 37 la suta din EADS, care vana marele contract pentru securizarea granitelor. O componenta din programul IT (de cateva zeci de milioane de euro) ii revenea "ginerelui" Nicolae Badea, prin Computerland. Tiriac a fost acuzat de publicatia franceza "Le Point" ca a luat un comision de 20 de milioane de euro, dar a castigat procesul. El a sustinut ca nu a fost implicat in afacerea EADS. Astazi, fostul consilier de IT din Ministerul de Interne (institutie care a impartit banii publici in afacerea "Frontiera"), Petru Branzas, e asociatul off-shore-ului Uphall Trading (care apare, ca paravan, in afacerile lui Tiriac) in Editura Sincron din Cluj-Napoca .. Dupa anul 2000, paza frontierelor devenise o conditie importanta pentru aderarea Romaniei la Uniunea Europeana. Atunci au inceput sa curga banii din contracte publice, chiar si inainte de afacerea EADS. In anul 2003, intr-o polemica cu Mugur Ciuvica de la Actiunea Populara, Ministerul de Interne condus de Ioan Rus, apropiatul lui Tiriac, a admis ca furnizorul autospecialelor de supraveghere a granitelor (Volkswagen Transporter) a fost firma britanica BAE Systems, care nu era producator al vehiculelor, ci doar instalase echipamentele.
"FREGATELE" Asociatul ginerelui lui Ion Ceausescu, contracte cu Armata Intre timp, BAE a facut progrese in afacerile de pe Dambovita, castigand o afacere mult mai mare: livrarea a doua fregate vechi Marinei romane, la un pret astronomic. Tranzactia face obiectul investigatiilor in Marea Britanie si Romania, oficialii romani fiind suspectati de luare de mita. Marele tun a fost insotit de un contract de "offset" (compensare). Dupa cum a dezvaluit recent Jurnalul National, BAE a adus in Romania contracte de fabricare a unei "pilule" pentru marirea performantelor motoarelor si reducerea consumului de combustibil. Offsetul inseamna ca vanzatorul de arme se obliga sa aduca in tara care cumpara arme comenzi pentru diverse produse. Pilula e fabricata de australienii de la Firepower. Reprezentantul in Romania al Firepower se numea George Lucian Teleman.Teleman e asociat in Euro Trading 2000 cu sotia lui Marius Eduard-Tarlea - fostul ginere al lui Ion Ceausescu (fratele dictatorului) si partener de afaceri al ex-directorului SRI, Virgil Magureanu.
Eurotrading 2000 e parte a unei suveici implicate in Eurocolumna si in rafinaria Petrolsub de la Suplacu de Barcau - unde a detinut actiuni si actualul ministru al internelor, Vasile Blaga. GeorgeTeleman e asociat, in Corner AA28, cu off-shore-ul din imperiul Dinca si cu omul de incredere al lui Ion Tiriac. ________________________________
SEF LA MApN Omul cu fregatele, administrator la firmele din grupul Popoviciu-Dimofte Contractul de compensare aferent afacerii BAE Systems, in care Teleman, asociatul off-shore-urilor din grupul "Dinca", a avut rolul sau, a fost girat, din partea autoritatilor romane, de mai multi oficiali. Intre ei, Gheorghe Matache, fost sef al Departamentului pentru Armamente din MapN. El a semnat mai multe documente legate de programul de achizitie a fregatelor. Matache a parasit ministerul in anul 2005, iar acum detine functia de administrator al firmei de imobiliare Metav SA, unde a lucrat si inainte de a fi numit secretar de stat. Compania este controlata, in acest moment, de Meteor SA, care detine majoritatea actiunilor. Prin doua off-shore-uri cipriote, Wellkept Properties Ltd si Weybridge Holdings Ltd, compania e legata tot de grupul ginerilor lui Dinca. Cele doua firme se regasesc in alte companii ale "imperiului", iar unul dintre actionari in Meteor e Zerlin Dimofte, tatal lui Radu Dimofte-partenerul de nedespartit al lui Popoviciu.
GEORGE TELEMAN "N-am legaturi cu aceste grupuri" Intr-un mail adresat EVZ, George Teleman declara ca nu are niciun fel de legatura de afaceri cu Nicolae Badea si cu Gabriel Popoviciu, si nici cu grupul de afaceri al lui Ion Tiriac si ca firma e formata din tineri manageri de succes care dezvolta un proiect imobiliar. In cazul BAE Systems, el a spus ca nu mai are relatii de afaceri cu Firepower din decembrie 2004, desi apare ca asociat la Registrul Comertului. Valentin Radu nu a putut fi contactat. ________________________________
CONEXIUNI Partenerul cumnatului lui Geoana.
George Teleman, fost atasat comercial al Romaniei la Singapore, e partener al fondului de investitii Equest Partners Ltd, specializat pe investitii imobiliare in Europa de Est. In aceeasi afacere il intalnim pe Ionut Costea, cumnatul lui Mircea Geoana, presedintele Eximbank si fost adjunct la Ministerul Finantelor.Costea ocupa pozitia de director non-executiv in boardul Equest Balkan Partners. Aripa bulgara e reprezentata de fostul ministru de externe Solomon Passy si de magnatul Georgi Krumov. La vecinii din sud, compania si-a facut si firma de armament, Strategic Defence Systems. In Romania, fondul reprezentat de Teleman a cumparat sediul Delegatiei Comisiei Europene (iar UE plateste acum chirie), de la consortiul israelian Avivim-Gonen, controlat din umbra de fostul guvernator militar al Cisiordaniei, Shlomo Elia. Generalul israelian era unul dintre sefii romanului arestat anul trecut pentru spionaj in Nigeria, iar inainte, lucrase pentru partenerii urmaritului international Shimon Naor - suspectati de trafic cu arme in Africa . Teleman a mai lucrat si pentru controversatul Frank Timis, cel implicat in proiectul "Rosia Montana ".
Götz Kubitschek, a self-proclaimed “rightist intellectual,” lives in a medieval manor house in Schnellroda, a rural village in eastern Germany. From this isolated, antique outpost, Kubitschek, who is 47, wields considerable influence over far-right thinkers, activists and politicians across Germany, who make regular pilgrimages to Schnellroda for an audience with him. The manor serves as the headquarters for the magazine and publishing house that Kubitschek runs with his wife, the writer Ellen Kositza, and also for a rightist think tank, the plainly named Institute for State Policy, and a small organic farm where he raises rabbits and goats. Kubitschek calls himself a conservative, battling to preserve Germany’s “ethno-cultural identity,” which he says is threatened by immigration and the alienating effects of modernity. He identifies as part of the German “New Right,” which seeks to dissociate itself from the “old right,” which in Germany means Nazis. German political scientists, by contrast, classify the brand of thinking Kubitschek ascribes to as either an ideological “hinge” between conservatism and right-wing extremism, or as simply extremist — not vastly different, in other words, from the old right. Kubitschek, however, presents his views with a disarming, Teutonic idealism that recalls a Germany that long preceded the rise of Hitler. The German magazine Der Spiegel once referred to him as a “dark knight.”
It was in April that I first made the journey to Kubitschek’s stronghold. Schnellroda is in a rural part of what was once East Germany, and getting there involved taking a train though a murky river valley past villages dotted with medieval castles, Gothic churches and drab apartment complexes built during the Communist era. As the train chugged farther into the valley, the towns looked increasingly forlorn.
Schnellroda itself is a neat village of about 200 people, and I quickly found Kubitschek’s home on the main street, not far from the Lutheran Church. It was relatively modest for a medieval manor, a yellow-painted three-story house that was built around the year 1000 and, according to local folklore, served as a lodge for traveling knights and dignitaries of the monarchy. In the front yard, an unusual flag — red and black stripes with a gold oak-leaf pattern in the center — fluttered on a lumber pole. This was the banner of the Urburschenschaft, a patriotic fraternity founded in the early 19th century with the goal of uniting German-speaking kingdoms and territories into a single state. The flag seemed to mark a rebel outpost, and as I walked onto the property, I had the sense that I was entering occupied terrain. The flag, I would come to understand, exemplified Kubitschek’s worldview: His national pride was rooted in German identity, but not in the modern German republic.
Kubitschek was hosting an event called Café Schnellroda, an open house for people interested in learning about his ideas and publications. I walked through an open door and up a set of wood-plank steps into a timber-beamed loft. A few dozen guests sat at tables, sipping coffee and eating homemade cake. The attendees looked mostly bookish; a few of the younger ones wore the beards and browline glasses favored by the transnational intelligentsia. Kubitschek was immediately recognizable, a towering black-clad figure with a well-trimmed goatee and the upright posture of a military officer. (He once served in an Army reconnaissance unit.) Greeting me with a formal handshake and nod, he invited me to join him at a table in the corner, where he poured himself a small glass of beer and began to describe for me the philosophical underpinnings of his ideology.
The human being, he told me as he took a restrained sip, is a “very difficult type.” It is not in our nature to adhere to some strict political ideology like communism or Nazism, he said; rather, human beings ought to be raised according to their inclinations. “There’s something the human being can achieve, something he can be. It’s in this direction that he ought to be raised. And we ought never to pull him away from that.” Is this a dark knight or a Montessori schoolteacher, I asked myself, but Kubitschek had already moved on to the topic of Germanness. “The idea that there is such a thing as a pure German is wholly absurd,” he said — populations migrate and absorb other influences. Naturally, he said, an immigrant could also become a German, just as long as that person “is willing to give everything for this country and is ready to identify with it.”
I asked Kubitschek to define “Germanness” for me. He seemed eager to discuss the subject. Few other people, he said, are so thoroughly preoccupied with the question of who they are: Germany is both Catholic and Lutheran, he said, both Prussian and Bavarian; Germany is the sensitive, cultured nation that produced poets like Goethe and Schiller and the historically militaristic one that produced the Waffen-SS. “Germanness is a fissure,” he said. “Germanness is a question without an answer.”
This, I thought, was hardly the kind of positivist vision of German greatness upon which you might build a right-wing nationalist movement. I was, for the moment, having a bit of difficulty conjuring the version of Kubitschek who had, with an almost apocalyptic fervor, warned of the looming demise of the German Volk (literally the “folk,” but often used to indicate a national identity in ethnic terms), the man who had argued at an anti-immigration rally that Germans are being “replaced and exchanged” by migration, the man who had suggested that the “pathological” manner with which Germany processes the crimes of the Nazi past leads to a corrupting strain of national self-hatred. Kubitschek promulgates these ideas not only through books and in seminars but also through his connections to some of the most radical politicians in Alternative for Germany, or the AfD, a far-right party that won nearly 13 percent of the national vote in September, making it the most successful nationalist party to sit in the German Parliament since the Second World War. Alternative for Germany has become ever more radical since it was founded in 2013 — increasingly portraying itself as the defender of the Volk and of German identity — a transformation that Kubitschek, behind the scenes, has been instrumental in bringing about.
As Kubitschek nursed his beer at the table, however, he was sounding pretty measured. Before I got around to asking him about his connection to Alternative for Germany, a young girl in a white dress, the daughter of a visitor, approached our table. She had been outside playing with some of Kubitschek’s younger children (he has seven). “Mr. Kubitschek!” she said. “One of the rabbits got out and is running around the garden.”
“What?” replied Kubitschek with feigned, playful drama. “Then catch it and put it back in the cage!”
“O.K.!” the girl said, hurrying back out.
A few minutes later, a young woman quietly informed Kubitschek of another problem. A newborn baby goat was “very agitated.” Kubitschek, who decries modern man’s disconnectedness from the sources of his food, promptly excused himself and rushed out, returning a few minutes later to explain that his newborn goats sometimes have trouble digesting their mother’s milk. He rubbed the distressed newborn’s belly, he said, and it passed a stool. All was well at the manor again.
Kubitschek does not officially belong to the AfD — he and his wife applied and were rejected as too radical in 2015, when the party’s leadership was more moderate — and he doesn’t see party politics as his domain. (His wife has since joined the party.) He prefers to promote his ideas in what he calls the meta-political realm, where he can sway a culture that, in his view, is dominated by leftist thinking. Kubitschek does not hesitate to provoke in the service of his New Right cause, but he also has a talent for couching his illiberal ideology in innocuous-seeming, even liberal-sounding precepts that keep him within the bounds of acceptable discourse even as he expands them. The idea, for instance, that no one should be forced to abide by a strict ideology sounds wholly unobjectionable. But for Kubitschek and his fellow New Right thinkers, the roster of strict ideologies includes liberalism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism and feminism, all of which are “social experiments” (as Kubitschek puts it) imposed by the political elite on the unwilling Volk.
Kubitschek’s views are reaching a growing audience. Despite the unique cultural taboos arising from the historical memory of Nazism, Germany has joined a long list of European countries — Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia among them — where far-right, sometimes explicitly racist political parties command significant minorities in national elections. This ethno-nationalist renaissance presents an odd paradox. European nationalists who at one time might have gone to war with one another now promote a kind of New Right rainbow coalition, in which sovereign states steadfastly maintain their ethnic and cultural identities in service of some larger “Western” ideal. This “ethno-pluralism,” as New Right activists call it, is not based on Western liberal notions of equality or the primacy of individual rights but in opposition to other cultures, usually nonwhite, that they say are threatening to overtake Europe and, indeed, the entire Western world by means of immigration. The threat to the West is also often cast in vague cultural terms as a kind of internal decay. When President Trump visited Poland, he argued in a speech that the United States and Europe were engaged in a common cultural battle. “The fundamental question of our time,” he said, “is whether the West has the will to survive.”
That question has deep roots in Germany. In 1918, the German philosopher Oswald Spengler published the first volume of “The Decline of the West,” arguing that cultures decline as regularly and predictably as any other organic entity — and that Western civilization was near the end of its cycle. Germany had just lost a war, and Spengler’s book struck a chord with disillusioned Germans looking to explain their sense of downfall. Spengler belonged to a loosely defined group of German thinkers called the Conservative Revolutionaries, who argued that Western decline was the inevitable result of materialism and soulless democracy. They opposed the fractious parliamentary democracy of the time, the liberal values of the French Revolution and ultimately modernity itself. They called for national revival by way of an authoritarian leader who could bring about an almost-mystical regeneration of the Volk — in part by pitting them against the Volk of other nations. “A people is only really such in relation to other peoples,” Spengler wrote, “and the substance of this actuality comes out in natural and ineradicable oppositions, in attack and defense, hostility and war.”
The German New Right portrays itself as the contemporary reincarnation of the Conservative Revolution. Kubitschek regularly echoed Spengler in our conversations and on more than one occasion told me that Germany was a “tired” nation in its twilight years. The New Right’s efforts to reclaim this dated political and intellectual movement serve a purpose. Despite their unmistakable ideological overlap with the National Socialists, many Conservative Revolutionaries were ambivalent toward them and rejected Hitler as a proletarian brute. That apparent distance provides New Right thinkers not just with a nationalist, antiparliamentary tradition rooted in German history but also with a useful argument: National Socialism is a deviation from their chosen ideology, not its inevitable conclusion.
The ideas of the Conservative Revolutionaries, however, cannot be separated from the rise of Hitler. In 1923, one of the movement’s most prominent thinkers, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, published “The Third Reich” — another critique of Western liberalism. As the title suggests, Moeller van den Bruck had some influence on the Nazis (Goebbels said his book was “very important for the history of National Socialist political ideas”), though they later repudiated the author himself. The Conservative Revolutionaries’ more consequential influence, however, was on the wider population. Their despair over modernity contributed to the “debility of democracy” and fueled a “politically exploitable discontent,” the historian Fritz Stern wrote in “The Politics of Cultural Despair.” In other words, their ideas helped pave the way for the arrival of a Führer, even though the one who arrived was not necessarily to their liking.
After World War II, Armin Mohler, a Swiss-born writer who had tried unsuccessfully to join the Waffen-SS, took on the project of disentangling the Conservative Revolutionary ideology from Nazism. Mohler, a self-described fascist who had an early and profound influence on Kubitschek, sought to create a more palatable tradition for the postwar era, and he is considered the father of the German New Right. Until recently, though, New Right thinking mostly remained on the fringes of German society, lacking grass-roots expression or a viable manifestation in party politics. But the German political climate changed in 2015, when Angela Merkel allowed nearly a million refugees and migrants to enter the country over the Bavarian border. While many Germans celebrated their arrival, others were angered, feeling that their worries about “Islamization,” criminality and the erosion of German identity were being ignored by the political establishment. For New Right activists, that anger is good. It is the ineradicable opposition that will bring about the political transformation they seek.
But the German New Right has other influences as well. Nils Wegner, a young writer who translates English-language books into German for Kubitschek’s publishing house, follows the American alt-right scene with great interest — listening, for example, to podcasts by Richard Spencer, the white-supremacist leader who once declared before a crowd of acolytes: “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Wegner told me that the American idea of a “racially defined ethno-state” would “come across as pretty weird over here,” because Europeans are not comfortable putting identity matters in racial terms. I asked him if this discomfort was substantive or merely semantic, and his answer was surprisingly forthright. “I would say that the main difference is the semantic difference,” he said. “Also, the modus operandi is not really the same.” Unlike alt-right activists in the United States, he went on to explain, activists on the European New Right tend to avoid appearing alongside “orthodox” right groups — neo-Nazis — because “the look” would impede their effort to appear as a “new kind of postmodern” patriotic movement.
Wegner said another difference was a matter of intensity. The Americans, he said, see their country as collapsing, and therefore they advocate revolutionary action — the creation of a white ethno-state in the Pacific Northwest, for example. European New Right activists don’t see their circumstances as that dire, he continued. They would be content with a “roll back” on immigration.
“It’s not yet a revolutionary situation,” he said. “The old structures are to be kept intact.”
Kubitschek was born in Ravensburg, a wealthy southern town in what was then West Germany. It was a traditional society, he recalls, one where women stayed home and raised children and people voted for the center-right Christian Democratic Union, currently the party of Angela Merkel. He and his friends learned Latin and Greek in high school, and they preferred fencing or horseback riding to soccer, which was considered a “prole” activity. This halcyon way of life was gone, he told me — a victim of society’s leftward progression.
He now speaks of the former West Germany in derisive terms. He sees “Wessis” — the people who live there — as having been indoctrinated into a form of hyper-moralistic mass thinking. Its cities, he believes, are “lost” to immigrants. His wife, Ellen Kositza, who writes polemics against what she calls “hyper-feminism,” also hails from the West — from a working-class city near Frankfurt that, she said, has become almost completely “foreignized.” The former East Germany, where they’ve made their new home, has experienced comparatively less immigration; it’s the place where, as Kubitschek put it, “Germany is still Germany.”
Kubitschek told me his political awakening came in high school, when a group of classmates put together a presentation about the Nazi period in their state. Kubitschek loathed the presentation, he said, because it unjustly placed guilt for the Nazi crimes on his grandparents’ entire generation. Kubitschek, who was an editor at the school newspaper, wrote an article criticizing the presentation, and it set off a community debate. The younger teachers, products of 1960s counterculture, took the side of the students who put on the presentation. The older teachers, including the rector, who helped operate an antiaircraft gun in the war, sided with him. One sympathetic teacher suggested that Kubitschek read the work of the historian Ernst Nolte, known for a controversial essay he wrote around that time titled “The Past That Won’t Go Away.” Nolte portrayed Nazism as a reaction to the “existential threat” posed by Bolshevism and suggested Bolshevik “class murder” was comparable to the Holocaust, calling it the “logical and factual predecessor to the Nazi ‘racial murder.’ ” Nolte’s revisionism sparked a divisive debate in Germany known as the “historians’ dispute,” and though Nolte was denounced as a Hitler apologist, several conservative German historians and journalists supported him. For Kubitschek, Nolte’s work has been a lifelong influence.
After high school, Kubitschek joined the German Army, becoming part of a special reconnaissance unit, and later joined the reserves. His company was “very right,” he said. It drew from an “unbroken historical tradition” that reached back at least as far as the Brandenburgers, a Nazi covert-intelligence unit, and symbols like the “swastika and so on” hung on the company walls. Several of the men I met in Kubitschek’s circle also served in the military; in postwar pacifist Germany, one of them told me, it is attractive to a lot of rightists who saw German demilitarization as an emasculating development. In 2001, Kubitschek himself was discharged from the reserves for “right-wing-extremist endeavors,” but the decision was later revoked after supporters petitioned the Army.
Kubitschek now keeps close contact with a faction of Alternative for Germany politicians who refer to themselves as der Flügel, or “the Wing.” It is led by some of the most extreme politicians in the party, including a former history teacher named Björn Höcke, a head of the party in the eastern state of Thuringia. Kubitschek and Höcke have known each other for nearly two decades, and Kubitschek speaks very highly of the party leader, calling him an “idealist” and a “romantic.” But in Germany, few politicians have done more to blur the already-fuzzy line between the New Right and the old right. In March 2015, it was Höcke who initiated an internal party revolt against the party’s founder, an economist named Bernd Lucke, releasing a resolution that accused the party’s leadership of unduly embracing the “establishment” and failing to resist “the further erosion of Germany’s sovereignty and identity.”
The resolution, which set into motion Lucke’s downfall as party leader, read like something Kubitschek could have written. In fact, Kubitschek told me, he drafted it in his library in Schnellroda. What Lucke had failed to grasp, Kubitschek said, was the degree to which Alternative for Germany represented an emotional “outbreak” that went way beyond the economist Lucke’s “technocratic dissatisfaction” with the euro.
Flügel politicians are now ascendant within the party — and they are increasingly mixing their nationalism with the antiliberalism agenda of the New Right. Before the election, I attended an Alternative for Germany rally in Artern, a depressed-looking town not very far from Schnellroda. There, I was struck by how Flügel politicians devoted much of their speeches to a number of economic issues traditionally though of as leftist — low wages, poverty in old age, insufficient social benefits, rhetoric designed to shift the party away from its roots in economic liberalism. One of the politicians, a man named Jürgen Pohl, who was subsequently elected into Parliament, denounced the claim that Germany is doing “better than ever” economically. Should Angela Merkel and “our new African citizens” come to the former East Germany, he said, they’d see the “poor house of Germany.” Another speaker, André Poggenburg, the head of the party in Saxony-Anhalt, declared Alternative for Germany to be “the new party of social justice.” The message was simple enough: more benefits for the Volk, and fewer foreigners to take those benefits away. In the former East, where unemployment remains higher and salaries remain lower than in the former West, that message seems to resonate, helping the party peel away hundreds of thousands of voters from die Linke, the descendant of the East German Communist Party.
The shift is not entirely surprising. New Right thinkers often entertain the idea of establishing a querfront, or a “cross front” that would unite opponents of liberalism on both extremes of the political spectrum. During my talks with Kubitschek, I often found myself detecting what at first seemed to me a perplexing leftist bent, an aversion to American-style materialism. You had only to go the shopping center on a Saturday morning, he once told me, and observe people in their “consumption temple” to see how there is “nothing at all there, spiritually.” For Kubitschek and other New Right thinkers, American liberalism — with its emphasis on individual rights and the individual pursuit of happiness — is perhaps the most corrosive force eating away at the identity of the Volk, replacing a sense of “we” with individualism and profit-seeking self-interest.
One evening, as we sat in the gloaming dimness of his library, Kubitschek delivered a long lament about what he perceived to be the ills of modernity: banal consumption, the decline of Christian belief (Kubitschek is a Catholic), mechanization that is making workers superfluous. These forces were undermining the Volk, he told me, and there was very little that could be done to stop it.
I asked him then what was left for him to do. Despair?
I was half joking, but he nodded in all seriousness.
“You’re desperate?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
What, I asked, does political victory look like for a movement of despair?
The best that could be done, he said, was “to prevent the worst.”
On the Monday after my first visit to Schnellroda, I went to see Kubitschek speak at a demonstration in Dresden. The event had been organized by “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West” — known by the German acronym Pegida — which had been holding rallies in Dresden on Monday evenings since 2014. By the following year, as the global refugee crisis arrived in Germany with full force, the demonstrations often drew more than 10,000 people, but attendance has since dwindled, and on this night only a few thousand people were expected.
The rally took place in a central square near an unostentatious memorial marking the spot where thousands of corpses were burned after the 1945 Allied bombing that destroyed the city. Before the event began, I found a group of demonstrators — mostly men and women of retirement age — huddled around an accordion player. They were singing folk songs like “Holy Fatherland,” a tune once favored by the Hitler Youth. “In dangerous times, your sons cluster around you. Surrounded by danger, Fatherland, we all stand hand in hand.” One silver-haired man who placed a bellowing emphasis on the word “Fatherland” every time it came up handed me a lyric sheet so I could follow along. I asked him what kind of songs they were.
“Forbidden songs!” he said, almost hollering.
“Really?” I asked.
“Almost,” he said more gently. “People don’t listen to German folk songs.” Raising his voice again, he added, “Nationalism is out!”
In that moment, I was reminded that before the fall of the Iron Curtain, while West Germans were still struggling to comprehend and expose Nazi crimes, East Germans were taught a different version of World War II history, one that depicted them as heroes in the global fight against fascism. Some scholars suggest that the East German deflection of blame reverberates today in the form of a greater willingness to accept far-right nationalism. It’s perhaps no coincidence, then, that Pegida demonstrations are more prominent in the former East Germany, and that Alternative for Germany won 22 percent of the Eastern vote in the recent election.
After enough demonstrators gathered, they went on a short march around the town hall, with its soaring clock tower, and back to the square. Anti-fascist counterdemonstrators, most of them young, many of them university students, held a banner that said “Make Borders History” and yelled, “Nazis out!” Pegida demonstrators, many of them old enough to be the counterdemonstrators’ grandparents, retorted: “You’re the Nazis!”
Soon after the Pegida demonstrators returned to the square, Kubitschek hopped onto a makeshift stage and clutched a microphone. The center of his speech was an extended metaphor featuring a cat and its avian prey, a dove that can’t get away because it has a broken wing.
“Now, it is dragged down the stairs,” he said, staring into the crowd. “It does not flutter anymore. It does not defend itself. Its head bangs against every step, and there’s a long way to go until we reach the cellar.”
The dove with the broken wing was, of course, the Volk, while the cat was the “political class.”
“Actually, we are way too big for this cat that is dragging us behind it,” Kubitschek continued, “and yet for some reason, we do not get on our feet. But we must get back on our feet ... and climb up again step by step.”
The crowd cheered and chanted: “Resistance! Resistance!”
Kubitschek paused, as if to collect his thoughts. There was a way for the Volk to escape the cat’s paws — it must demand the re-institution of “law and order” through the sealing of the German border, and it must demand that the political parties putting their own interests above the country’s be reined in by restricting their public financing. He mocked Angela Merkel. She presides over a party called the Christian Democratic Union, he said, but would have gladly opened Vienna’s city door to Ottoman Muslim invaders in 1683. “Why does our establishment despise its own people?” he asked.
The source of the contempt, according to Kubitschek, was Germany’s “memory politics,” the effort by Germans to confront their Nazi past, which involves tempering any nationalist urges. New Right thinkers see that restraint not as a virtue but as a symptom of a deeply ingrained self-hate — a hatred that must be overcome for Germany to be great again.
In January, Björn Höcke, the AfD leader, voiced a similar lament in a speech at a beer hall in Dresden, and much more caustically. Germans are “the only people in the world who have planted a monument of disgrace in the heart of their capital,” he said, referring to the Holocaust memorial near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. German history was being made “rotten and ridiculous,” he said. “It cannot and must not go on like this! There is no moral duty to dissolution!” The speech provoked a national uproar, and even some politicians within AfD criticized it.
Kubitschek saw it as a tactical error. Höcke’s comments, he said, were “correct in substance but wrong in tone.”
Kubitschek has had greater success advancing the “self-dissolution” theme in the meta-political realm. Recently, he published a book called “Finis Germania,” written by Rolf Peter Sieferle, an environmental historian. Sieferle warned that shame over Nazi crimes is driving a neurotic German belief that the “Earth will be cleansed from the shameful mark of the eternal Nazis only when the Germans have completely disappeared.”
In June, “Finis Germania” was selected for a prominent book-of-the-month list, an entry into the mainstream of public opinion that itself stoked another major controversy. How could such a book, deemed anti-Semitic and extremist by many within the media and literary establishments, be so readily accepted into the public discourse? Kubitschek called the reaction a “panic.” Expanding the boundaries of discourse was precisely what Germany needed, precisely what the Volk required. This was the way to heal its broken wing.
My last visit to Kubitschek’s home was on a Saturday evening, some hours after he had hosted a book reading. We sat in a room next to the offices of his publishing house, joined by several of his friends, all men. Kubitschek lit several candles, and a warm breeze from the open window whipped the flames. The other men popped open bottles of beer; Kubitschek stuck to juice. In the company of his friends, he spoke more openly than he had in our previous talks. The topic of the night was mostly the refugee influx since 2015.
Kubitschek casually mentioned that he would not mind at all if a strongman came to replace Merkel, if that was the only way to correct her decision to allow the migrants to enter Germany. In a time of great peril, he noted soberly, a leader must act beyond the law. He cited Carl Schmitt, the conservative political theorist who criticized parliamentary democracy and aligned with the Nazis after they took power: “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.” Merkel herself had acted outside the law by opening the border, Kubitschek said, and that proved she was sovereign. And yet, he continued, “I’d have absolutely nothing against it if someone came along and with the same sovereignty did the opposite. Someone who would say: ‘The experiment is over. The Parliament won’t be consulted. I will prop up with my power the administration, the organs of the state, the police’ — who would in any case be supportive — ‘the border patrol, the military, and we will end this experiment.’ That means: borders shut. Test to see who can be assimilated; they can stay. Those who can’t be assimilated, they’ve got to go.”
It was clear the Kubitschek considers “refugee” a misnomer. These were not, for the most part, refugees fleeing persecution or war, but opportunists — mostly “hungry young men,” as he put it — acting “very rationally” to improve their lot. These migrants arrived in an “insecure” country, he said, where the people “don’t know who they are or what belongs to them.” The migrants, he said, therefore begin to think, Doesn’t everything here belong to everyone? “And then the waves are set into motion, and they say: ‘All right, here we have a country, a fallow country, and it’s a country that must be conquered, and it can be conquered. And it won’t be conquered with ladders for storming fortresses or with machetes, but with sheer presence.’ ” Everyone at the table seemed to agree that the consequences of this conquering were dire. Crime, they argued, was on the rise; women could no longer feel safe walking alone outside at night. “We all know the dystopian stories,” Kubitschek said. Matters might get “supercharged in a hyper-identitarian way,” he added. “If it once again becomes really brutal or cruel, we don’t know. It can also transition over into a country that is no longer Germany.”
Kubitschek put a few new candles in the candelabrum, pressing them into the molten red wax of the old ones. This seemed like the right moment to ask him about a concept often discussed in New Right circles: thymos — an ancient Greek word use to signify a sense of prideful, righteous indignation. Marc Jongen, a philosopher and Alternative for Germany functionary who was once an assistant to one of Germany’s best-known contemporary philosophers, Peter Sloterdijk, argues that Germany lacks the thymos necessary to defend itself from cultural erosion. Kubitschek addresses Jongen’s idea in his own writing, referring to lacking German thymos — which Kubitschek has defined more simply as “rage” — as tantamount to the “emasculation of our Volk.” Kubitschek writes that it is valid to question whether a revolt, an eruption of mass rage, can be controlled. Yet, he writes, the consequences of a revolt are less troubling than the threat of what would happen if the Volk’s thymotic energy became insufficient to fuel the “successful defense of what belongs to it.”
I asked Kubitschek about the sharp rise of right-wing violence in Germany since the refugee influx. “It’s a reaction that someone can have who really has the feeling that his country is being taken,” Kubitschek said, “that everything he knows and what he grew up in is changing, and who sees that something totally alien is spreading and he doesn’t want it.”
“Is violence justified?” I asked.
“I don’t see it as justified,” he said. The migrant is “ultimately only the figure that we can see, so to speak, but behind him is much bigger development.” He said that the young male migrants who come to Germany as asylum-seekers must be frustrated — they are being treated like kindergarten kids, given enough to eat and a place to sleep, but they have no real chance to become part of the society. “They want to work,” he said. “They want to meet a few women. They simply want to take their lives into their own hands. And it’s not at all possible here,” he said. “This country doesn’t need these people.”
Kubitschek mentioned an article he read about a small village in Saxony-Anhalt where a large number of asylum seekers had been settled. “That is also a form of violence,” he said.
“Clearly!” said one of the men at the table.
“The village is being changed in its substance,” said Kubitschek. “Or perhaps even being destroyed.” The question, he added, is: “Why must we be O.K. with that?”
“Why then isn’t violence justified?” I asked. If these refugees were conquerors, and their presence was destroying a way of life, couldn’t a person justifiably claim self-defense?
“The refugee is the false opponent,” Kubitschek said.
After a pause, he added an amendment. “Actually, if it’s going to come to violence, we ought to storm the Parliament. We have no replacement to offer, but this woman can’t govern any longer. We must go on from here in a different way.”
Then Kubitschek announced that there had been too much talking. “Everything is clear, isn’t it?” he said, inspiring a round of laughs from the table.
He and a friend picked up guitars, and they began to sing old German folk songs, some of them with beautiful, baroque melodies. The first was a martial homage to Georg von Frundsberg, a German mercenary who fought for the Holy Roman Empire and was famed for his brilliant infantry maneuvers. Von Frundsberg hailed from a town not far from where Kubitschek grew up, and in 1525 he helped Emperor Charles V secure the imperial throne with a decisive victory at Pavia, in what is today Italy. Everyone at the table sang along.
“Georg von Frundsberg, lead us, tra la la la la la,” the men sang, their voices deep. I sank back into my chair and listened.
“The one who won the battle,” they sang. “The one who won the battle.”
scientella, palo alto
Merkel's naive and dangerous open door policy, the renaming of economic migrants as "refugees" has brought us this backlash.
And I wonder whether Trump would have got elected without Obama's dreamer amnesty.
You have to realize that in a grossly overpopulated world people, although not nationalistic nor racist, simply dont want to be crowded out of their own homes, communities, and jobs.
Wake up to this fact and the power of the right vanishes.
Mark Thomason is a trusted commenter Clawson, MI
Technology driven capitalism increases the productivity of each worker. Unless we assume zero sum demand, that does not decrease need for labor, it increases the need for an ever large market to consume. That means it demands laborers who are paid enough to consume.
For too long, Western laborers were the consumer market for capitalists who did not pay their own labor. That problem has gradually spread, as capitalists take so much of the proceeds of production that they kill off their own demand. Their is no demand-sink left, well paid by someone else, into which production can be sold.
The solution is to create demand by paying people more of what is earned for what they produce.
Another way of saying that is that profit margins are too high. The steadily growing demand for ever-higher profit percentage has gone past sustainability for the overall economy. What used to be an acceptable profit margin is now cause for management replacement by business school types who imagine their case can be made to generate 20% profit.
If they all do that, then in a tragedy of the commons, they wipe out their own market demand and they all go broke together.
Labor unions were a cure for that, saving capitalism from itself. Now what? No, real socialism via politics is not likely to be efficient, but how do we get people paid if they can't bargain, just individuals against massive power?
We need unions, big powerful unions.
Germans who have legitimate concerns about immigration have no where to turn. Merkel, who was supposed to be a conservative, opened up the floodgates in 2015 to uncontrolled and totally disorganized mass Muslim migration, with many people stampeding through Europe without legitimate asylum claims. And far too many terror attacks, rapes, assaults, murders, and other crimes were committed by a subset of these asylum seekers.
There would not have been a Mr Kubitschek if there had not been the ill fated decision by Merkel in 2015. You can say that Merkel created Mr Kubitschek, and the AfD.
'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.'
Newton's third law
(which was totally lost on the PhD physicist Merkel - some physicist she turned out to be...)
Kubitschek calls himself a conservative, battling to preserve Germany’s “ethno-cultural identity,”
It seems that every ethnic group in the world has the right to preserve their national and cultural identity, in their ancestral lands, and since 13 September 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples supports just that. But there is an exception, this apparently does not apply to the indigenous European people, in Europe, who are labelled with all kinds of names if they dare to challenge the mass migration to their continent.
No wonder Merkel lost ground in the recent German elections, at 33%, because she did not represent the interests of her very own electorate. And no wonder the AfD gained ground, at 13%, who catered to the German electorate, and not migrants.
Livonian Los Angeles
"What united them was an opposition to the hegemony of homogenization."
And not to defend this guy, Kubitchek, but the desire to avoid cultural homogenization is a very real human desire and not one to be scoffed at. I spent a year after high school traveling very off beaten path islands in the South Pacific, and without exception the elders of villages I met worried out loud about their own cultural identity being swamped by modernity, how their villages and societies were becoming unrecoginizable. Were they hateful bigots? No, just very human.
Kubitchek and other reactionaries including Brexiteers may have terrible solutions, but their concerns are very real.
mikecody Niagara Falls NY
There is an essential difference between the immigrants of the past and the current crop of them. In the past, people immigrated to a different country because they felt the new country's ways were better than those of the place from which they came, so they adopted what they saw as better ways upon their arrival. Too many of today's immigrants, both here in the US and in Europe, immigrate with the avowed intention of not only keeping the ways of the countries from which they came, but of forcing these ways on their host country.
They do not come to be assimilated, but to conquer.
The majority of the comments here demonstrate that 100 years of relentless anti-German propaganda has been successful in creating an entire army of paranoid German-haters with one-track minds. I hope this will teach Wegner and other Anglophiles in the German New Right that it is unwise to expect any kind of support or sympathy from English-speaking peoples.
Otherwise, I was surprised by the relatively fair handling of the subject, thank you for your excellent work, James Angelos.
One is reminded of de Tocqueville's dictum that Americans "care but little for all the schools [of thought] into which Europe is divided, the very names of which are scarcely known to them." It is, therefore, welcome that the Times has undertaken at least some serious (non-cartoonish) reporting on "far right" thought in Germany.
Predictably enough, however, the interview had to be with a German "far-right" thinker because that fact allows the Nazi-connection to be insinuated in the very breath with which it is disclaimed. But Kubitschek is not the only or the first present day European to raise the banner of "ethno-cultural" identity. Today's "identitarian" movement began in France (Generation Identitaire) and took its cue from Alain Benoist's "Vue de Droit..." (1978) and subsequent writings.
Truth is, fascism and ethno-nationalism never died; it was simply ignored by a dominant American liberalism which imposed its political-economy and orthodoxies on post-war Europe. I was a 15 year old exchange student when I first discovered that French fascists still existed, as Italian, as Spanish, as Germans. What united them was an opposition to the hegemony of homgenization.
This opposition was not just a matter of secret salutes and amulets. There is a vast corpus of "ethno-nationalist" thought from the 19th cenutry to the 21st, that states the case for an alternative. They have been waiting for the present system to prove itself bankrupt.
red sox 9 Manhattan, New York
Ridiculous! If it's simply "technology" that's replacing our workers, please explain why there is still so much manual labor in China, Indonesia, Mexico and so on, the places to which our jobs have been re-routed. Yes, automation does remove jobs. But far more are due to the idiocy of "free trade". The idiots behind the concept haven't the faintest knowledge of the origins of the concept -- Adam Smith, David Ricardo and others' premises about the benefits of free trade are virtually irrelevant in today's economies.