Diligent celebrations, snotty protests

Given the guideline that Germany’s freedom is nowadays also defended in the Hindu Kush, the Bundeswehr is preparing for glorious times

In order to be prepared in terms of image and to anchor the necessity of a modern army in the public consciousness, it resorts to various means: on the one hand, there are campaigns that are copied from television formats (cf. (e.g. Bundeswehr is looking for the superstar) on the other hand real classics like the official recruit swearing-in ceremony.

Tradition never this, the Bundeswehr, too, with its penchant for cultivating tradition (cf. Maintaining military tradition in Mittenwald. And so the attempts to turn the Bundeswehr into a pop phenomenon still seem slightly awkward, while traditional uniform changes such as recruit swearing-in ceremonies are handled with confident routine. The process is always the same: There are speeches, then there’s a rallying cry, then it’s done. The decoration can be selected from the fund of state events, which should radiate dignity, determination and solemn seriousness. torches, fires, and backdrops that serve the state’s own polite self-interpretation (e.g., a "national" event).B. the Bendlerblock), are always appropriate. Politicians present at such events sometimes wear uniforms.

Swearing-in ceremonies have become so common again that one could forget how rare they once were, and that not so long ago they were considered the outdated relic of a dusty militarism.

Equally unnoticeable is the basic contradiction of these events, which, however, is very illuminating upon closer examination. The "offentlichen" Swearing-in ceremonies are not open to the public, they take place only for invited guests, at most for a simulated public of school classes and hand-picked ordinary citizens. In this respect, they are a perfect image of the actual task of the Bundeswehr: defending the interests of a narrow elite while at the same time maintaining a democratic appearance. This transformation of an institution into an image of itself has been forced by the protests that accompany the praises with great regularity. No, it is of course no longer the militant attacks of over twenty years ago, most famously the 1980 demonstration in Bremen.

Even Jurgen Trittin no longer appears at protests against public swearing-in ceremonies: 1998 was the last time this happened.

Today, it is neither militant crowds nor celebrities who get on the nerves of the marketing experts of the Bundeswehr, but snotty small groups.

They don’t care much about the state-bearing vow of hypocrisy, nor about their own protest traditions. They find the German theater stupid and do something about it. An informal alliance called "GelobniX" (in reference to the X-campaigns of the Castor opponents in the Wendland) serves as a nationwide action label, but it would also work without it. Groups such as the post-pessimists and the "Tank troops", who celebrated the pledge in the Bendlerblock on 20 September.7. and the Bundeswehr exhibition "Our army 2003" on 12.7. in Ludwigshafen do not need a central permission to become active.

Because the target of the attack is a theatrical act, a stage for self-expression, theatrical means are particularly suitable as a weapon. To give the opponent a taste of his own staging medicine, the mockery, the repeated and repeated hollowing out of security precautions that are supposed to guarantee the state theater untouchability, is the goal. Because the opponent is caught in the contradiction of wanting to create at least a semblance of publicity on the one hand, but on the other hand has to control this very publicity to excess in order not to drown in a hail of rotten eggs and tomatoes, the protesters succeed again and again in cabinet stuccoes of provocation. The cardboard armored brigade, for example, made the Bundeswehr field managers look like a startled bunch of chickens for a short time, as did the post-pessimists, who not only overcame the barriers in an unguarded corner, but were also attacked by a builder’s trust in the "red zone" even the pillar saint of FRG militarism, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, could be called a war criminal. We can ame that this will annoy the organizers, but it will be difficult to control the protests.

public vows in a wire enclosure or on meeting places converted into high-security zones, surrounded by several rings of fortifications – that would probably miss the point all too clearly. Perhaps this is why the activities of the Verfangsschutz to recruit student personnel in the left-wing environment are increasing so significantly; after all, it would be a conceivable strategy to disrupt the GelobniX protests in advance. But since these recruiting attempts fail with regularity, caution is called for here as well – possibly nothing else would come out of it than a broader awareness of the machinations of the secret services in the democratic state, analogous to the self-masking of the Bundeswehr at its public swearing-in ceremonies.

But because it seems to be of high priority for the German state to defend first the freedom of swearing and vowing in Germany, before the freedom of Germany can be defended in the Hindu Kush, the last word about the vows and the protests against them is certainly not spoken yet.