A document with question marks

In the course of the inquiry against Tobias P. who is accused of arson against upper class vehicles, the prosecution stated in their final speech that it would be nessecary to impose a tough sentence to achieve general prevention. In the charge it is claimed that some citizens avoid certain parts of the city because of the arson attacks. This trend would have to be stopped and copycats detered from it through general prevention.

Who displaces who?
The words chosen by the prosecution are outrageous. This is a distortion of facts. The arguments of the radical left against the expulsion of financially weak people from certain districts is being modified and manipulated and in the end profiteers of gentrification appear as victims. The prosecution adopts the arguments of anti-gentrification activists and uses them for their own clientele. They claim that the „poor“ owners of luxury vehicles are forced to stay away from certain areas.
These people are no victims but symptoms of a process of expulsion whose cause is to be found in the decisions taken by the municipal government in favour of capital and against many of the people living in this city.

Far from a science-based foundation
So far the prosecution didn’t deliver empirical data to prove their allegation. This doesn’t astonish us at all as they are ambassadors of the state and therefore biased.
However, there is some data on the subject that proves the negative implication of the rising rents: Up to date statistics of the employment agency show that unemployed people who receive benefits from the state are displaced from the inner city into the outlying districts. In 2011 776 more recipients of benefits have moved to Marzahn-Hellersdorf than have acutally left the district. The newcomers mainly moved there from Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow where they couldn’t find a flat anymore for the rent subsidy of 378 € that is payed by the Jobcenter. Looking at this situation, it means to ridicule the people concerned with expulsion if the greatest concerns lie with the owners of the charred bits of luxury.

A sensation of insecurity
The charge claims that arson leads to „insecurity“ in the „population“. But who does this really apply to? They are people who could bring money into the empty municipal chash boxes, investors that would like to transform the city according to the needs of capitalism. These people only make up a tiny percentage of the inhabitants of Berlin and are by no means representative for everyone living in the city. A sensation of insecurity among financially sound groups of people impairs the business and this increases the pressure on politicians to create an adequate atmosphere for optimal exploitation in the city. In this debate hardly anyone asks about the feelings and fears of the persons concerned with the expulsion.

Who speaks of security also has to talk about social security. Expulsion from the inner cities poses a serious problem for more and more people. Furthermore, education is connected to the income of families. A survey found out that the life span of people who live in districts with unsound social conditions decreases significantly. Tranditionally parliamentary policy doesn’t deal with these problems though, it is a mere profession of legitimation. The simulation of territorial security serves as exchange for the missing social security.

The criminologist and urban researcher Jan Wehrheim describes this mechanism as follows:
„When social security can’t be guaranteed anymore, the physical one is being demanded more vigorously. Politicians can present „law and order“ as an option and prove thier capacity to act as a replacement for their failure in the social sector or to cover up that social security is not even the political aim anymore.“

Politically motivated judiciary
It is not a surprise that the sentence in the case of Tobias was politically motivated and exceptionally hard. After all, this was the first claimed success of „operation sky glow“. Adding up to this, there was an enormous pressure through the media which made an impartiality of the court impossible. And so the scales of Justice were uneven once more.
All critical remarks and social indications were ignored and the socio-political consequences misconceived. The courtcase didn’t touch questions at all about who these people are that torch night by night the decor of the streets of Berlin that are degenerated into noble boredom and what reasons they have, what proceedings of urban policy and injustice move them. The social reasons of the popular sport of „torching cars“ remain in darkness – and obviously the court doesn’t care at all.

The courtcase shows us clearly: the ones should be frightened off who keep themselves well informed about what is going on in the city, and who draw conclusions from these informations. Who start discussions, critizise and unmask, and – as a last consequence – maybe somtimes go our on a nighttime stroll.
It is these well informed people who will realise which politically motivated sentences the prosecution demands and how the courts decide, following a certain political path. It is obvious that this is all about simulating a strong state and legitimating it, and not trying to frighten off potential copycats.