21 July 2013

Page-Turners & Anti-Politics

by Simon Urban
Random House, 551 pp., €11.99 (German Price), March 2013, 978 3 442 74442 8

Much has happened in the three months it's taken me to get sucked in & through Simon Urban's breakthrough novel. Katy Derbyshire's English translation of the book was published last month by Harvill Secker, priced £15. Around the same time, over the first weekend in June, Hessen's police force, working under orders from Hessen's CDU Minister of the Interior, brushed off a well-organised, 10,000 strong Blockupy demo in Frankfurt, against the European Central Bank. The kettling tactics used to crush a protest overwhelmingly non-violent in its motivation were upsettingly similar to tactics used by the Metropolitan Police to suppress student and anti-cuts demos in London over the last two years. The Frankfurt law-enforcement officers didn't even have to use their water cannons. Managed-democracy's most expensive hardware has its greatest effect simply by standing there, martially: its bad PR for a state to allow sufficient uncontrolled dissent to get itself into a position where it actually has to make use of it. Two weeks after no one outside of the left was saying anything about violations in Frankfurt – where does the democratic masses' disinterest in freedom of assembly & of collective action spring from? – the German government's Human Rights Spokesman, the Free Democrat's Markus Löning started feigning panic about Turkey:

“It makes me really worried when I see the water-cannons and other big machinery being deployed.” i