23 August 2013

If you want to get read, get censored ...

... that's the suprising by-product coming out of Christian Füller's officially ''censored'' -- i.e. by the newspaper in which it should appear -- but now everywhere available article on paedophilia, as an integral part of the German Green's ideological roots . The article was scheduled to appear in last Saturday's left-wing liberal daily TAZ newspaper, but was pulled at the last minute by the TAZ's chief-editor, stating that it was ''full of false factual claims". All the other main papers got hold of this story and rightly shouted 'censorship!' Guaranteeing that Füller's article will now be looked at by far more people than the TAZ's usual 60 000 paying readers.

It's clear that Füller didn't plan that things should develop like this, but we can take this as a positive sign for the future. Chief-editor's won't be able to block disturbing stories that contradict their game plan -- there's much to suggest that Ines Pohl didn't want to risk the story at this moment in time, because it conflicted with her backing of the German Greens for September's general election. But, beyond this journalistic development, how convincing are Füller's arguments that the German Green Party's ideological roots grow out of a paedophile swamp? And how necessary would it be for this Green Party to set up a systematic programme of victim-support, the measure that Füller calls for?

Much of what Füller says is indisputable. There were, in the 1970s and 80s Working Groups for Gays and Pederasts in the Party in which ''any number of people of any age or sex can love each other." These groups weren't, from the Green perspective, fringe maniacs, but instead enjoyed a position in the party hierarchy with a direct link to the politicians that sat in the Federal Parliament. But even with these most basic facts we can quickly lose ourselves in a forest of controversy. While the 1994 OED unequivocally defines a pederast as "a man who has anal intercourse with a boy", the word the German Greens used of themselves in German, Päderasten, connotes with the much wider, international, 'boy-love' movement, described with some empathy in the letters pages of the LRB by Jemma Mazower on 22.11.2012  , a position which was then sharply criticised by a victim of sexual abuse, who wished to withhold his name & address, in the same letters page on 06.12.2012. Like all German Green sexual politics of the 1970s & 80s, the word Päderasten in itself causes a huge divide amongst the people who lived through this era. 

In his mission, however, to expose The Greens for what he is convinced they were, Füller seems to be willing to manipulate the contemporary, ridiculously crude caricature of German Greens & Leftists in the 1970s & 80s. We leap from a paraphrased summary of what Greens who lived through the 1968 revolution say about themselves -- "Our big themes back then were self-determined sexuality and criticising patriarchal society" -- let's have more of that in 2013, I should say -- to Füller insinuating that parents & nursery-school teachers who participated in the alternative Kinderladen movement -- self-governing pre-school education -- collaborated in creating conditions for institutional sexual abuse in these institutions. The rhetorical steps Füller uses to make these insinuations are shaky at the best. This is my English translation of Füller's argument at this stage in the article, with my comments embedded in Füller's text:

           "The Kinderladen movement can be said to have been part of the brand-essence of the Student Left, and the Greens who emerged out of that grouping. [Yes; and there was a Left outside the students: Michael Buselmeier, in his 1981 novel, Der Untergang von Heidelberg, has written about the experience of being an academic in his mid-30s, in a conventional, heterosexual partnership, & his daughter going to one of these Kinderladen.] Sexual liberation -- including the liberation of child-sexuality -- was the most important tool in releasing society from oppression -- and it was this 'sexual liberation' that played right into the hands of paedophiles & their accomplices. [Many people active at that time in Germany would list many other tools as equally or 'more important' than sexual liberation: squatting; or Marxist reading groups for example.] The students got their theories about 'the authoritarian character' from Horkheimer and Adorno and Wilhelm Reich, in which the students were determined to find a causal link between repressed sexuality and oppressive personality types [well there is one, isn't there?], the type of personalities with which you can run concentration-camps."

(See section in Füller's original text starting, "Die Kinderladenbewegung gehört ..." )

So the students backing this alternative pre-school education movement were so wierded out by their hatred of their parent's Nazi Generation & their theoretical readings, that they were quite prepared to pack their kids off to institutions where they were aware child sex-abuse might be going on, as long as that would further their higher aim of bringing up their kids in such a sexually free way that they could never turn Nazi?? This is codswallop, and I think Füller knows it is. 

But a more detailed response to Füller's article will have to wait to another day.

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