Covid Demonstrations: The Republic Before the Storm?

Covid Demonstrations: The Republic Before the Storm?


As a result of the easing of the lockdown, there were nationwide Coronademonstrations. There are four motive groups: business people and restaurant owners who fear a lockdown for their financial existence. Groups who see their civil rights endangered including the new Corona party Resistance 2020 ( Widerstand 2020). Right-wing radicals and conspiracy theorists who want to overthrow the “Merkel dictatorship”, the “financial elites”, “the NWO” in order to build up a dictatorship themselves. Esoteric and anti-vaccine groups. Some groups and apologists overlap and also mix on demonstrations. The real storm can come, however, if 10 million short-time workers are to become unemployed and social aid recipients and if small and medium-sized enterprises are to go bankrupt a million times.

Although this is likely to be even more serious in the United States, since there is no welfare state, the question is whether the German welfare state can still maintain the level it has so far with so many aid recipients and remain financially viable in the event of falling tax revenues. Many business associations fear that tax increases would deepen the crisis. Some economists given the simultaneous supply and demand shocks consider an investment program without tax increases by means of new debt and economic stimulus programs to be the better option. But that also could cause inflation.

However, depending on the course of the Covid and economic crisis, which could also expand into a financial crisis, perhaps even a renewed euro crisis, the AfD, FDP, the new Corona party Resistance 2020 (Widerstand 2020) and Boris Palmer hope to get new voters and party members. The AfD has meanwhile changed its wait-and-see approach. Gauland now criticizes Merkel for reacting too late and then too exaggerated, appeals more to the workers and business people, while other representatives of the AfD spread conspiracy theories and are now also present in some Covid demonstrations. In the future, the financially declassed and existentially affected people could, out of sheer necessity, tend to desperate acts and short-time solutions that hope for simple solutions and possibly a leader, savior and redeemer – similar to the 1930s of the Weimar Republic.

Many will then not be able to access rational arguments, since they are de facto losers and propagate radical solutions, and also might accept a higher number of deaths in order to hope through broad easing that everything will be good again economically. Many will probably prefer the sparrow in their hands than the pigeon on the roof and the shirt is closer than the suit. And the desperate people will certainly search for those responsible and guilty and look for scapegoats for their misery in a feeling of revenge, which in turn can give rise to conspiracy theories. The storm on the previous prosperity democracy is apparently still to come. It remains to be seen if she can overcome it.

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