Demo for redistribution : how to catch a millionaire?

On Saturday the alliance "who has, which gives" mobilizes therefore country widely to Demos. At least a citizen of Berlin millionaire finds the request understandable.

The right and left hand of millionaire Carmen Geib Photo: Eibner/imago

Admittedly, the questionnaire for rich people of the protest alliance "Who has, who gives" should not be really inviting. Millionaires should mark there whether they are income or wealth millionaires, whether their wealth comes from inheritance, exploitation or speculation, and of course where their money is: in a tax haven, a charity foundation, "your apartments" or opaque corporate networks.

The Alliance Against Social Inequality demands that the rich pay for the crisis and calls on millionaires to participate in the protests under the title "Who has, who gives", which will take place this Saturday in several German cities.

However so far no:e millionaire:in with the group announced itself. The alliance took a lot of trouble to make contact: Particularly nice were personally addressed letters, handwritten in beautiful script, that it sent to 24 rich people in Berlin asking for solidarity in the crisis. Because of the corona pandemic, poorer people are threatened with financial hardship, although they have carried society through the crisis: such as employees in care and health professions, in retail, in agriculture or in factories.

The demo

He who has, gives The protest alliance goes on Saturday in several cities on the road. In Berlin, the demo will start at 6 p.m. and move from Adenauerplatz to Wittenbergplatz along Ku’damm, passing neuralgic points of wealth in Berlin: luxury stores on Ku’damm, Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Berlin Stock Exchange Association and branches of the investor Signa GmbH and Pears Global. At the same time "who has, who gives" demos take place in Hamburg, Hanover and Kaiserslautern.

14 alliances support the call, among them Mietenwahnsinn, Gesundheit statt Profite, Ende Gelande, Aktion Arbeitsunrecht, Anarche, Hedonistische Internationale. (gjo)

The letter says: "It is not an option to ask us to pay while we have lost our waiter:inside job and can no longer afford the rent. You, on the other hand, are swimming in money. We will only get through the crisis if your money stores become public swimming pools."

The rich would have the chance to put themselves on the right side and participate in the nationwide day of action on 19 September 2020. September 2020 to take to the streets. In Berlin the demo starts at 6 p.m. at Adenauerplatz. The rich are invited to join the demonstration "in their own millionaire’s block" – because: "He who has, gives"."

Nevertheless, a rich block in Berlin will not come about in any case, it seems. Martin Richter, spokesman for the Berlin alliance, tells the taz: "Despite the ironic undertone in the questionnaire, we are quite serious about the call for the rich to face up to their special responsibility."Wealth is a problem as a cause of social inequality. The lack of feedback from millionaires reinforces the alliance’s view that the rich have little interest in social justice, says Richter: "Social change and effective redistribution from top to bottom must be fought for from below."

One problem was to find the right addressees for the letters, says Richter. They would have liked to have sent out more invitations, "but it is virtually impossible to get hold of millionaires."

This makes the activists’ criticism all the more important: unlike the bank crash in 2009, the financing of this crisis must be more solidary than the state bailout of mismanaging banks. From Richter’s point of view, the situation is clearly different this time: "This health crisis has shown that there is a lot of social solidarity."Just by observing the hygiene measures, the majority of the population would have lived practical solidarity.

"In the discourse, there was a clear fixation on the pillars of society: on truck drivers, cleaners, care workers, cashiers:inside. This is a different starting point than the bank crash." But, of course, employers’ associations and the usual suspects wanted people to "get at the minimum wage". Likewise, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to pay off the debts taken on within 20 years through austerity measures: "We know that without counter-protests, the state would pull out the same as it did in 2009," Richter said.

Tax inheritances again

The protest alliance also has ideas on how things could be different: "We want to reintroduce the wealth tax, which has been suspended since 1996 and which causes the state to lose billions every year. In addition, inheritances must be effectively taxed again."The majority of the rich have become rich through inheritance: "But these assets were produced by society."

The wealth tax has not been levied since 1997 following a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court because of inconsistencies in real estate ownership. The CDU, which was in power at the time, rejected a reform. The wealth tax law is still formally in force, but it has not been applied since then. This is another reason why there are no reliable figures on how much wealth there really is in Germany, only projections. But even these are already frightening: according to the latest study by the German Institute for Economic Research, the richest one percent of the population alone owns around 35 percent of the wealth. The top 10 percent own 67.3 percent of the wealth, the bottom 50 percent only one: on average 3.682 euros.

According to many scientists, a reintroduction of the wealth tax could at least slow down this concentration of wealth. Finally the SPD spoke out. According to their calculations, the revenue would be 10 billion euros a year.

Richter of "who has, who gives" speaks out likewise for a more effective taxation of enterprises. As an example, he cites the real estate company Pears Global, which owns thousands of apartments in Berlin, resides on the Ku’damm, but pays no taxes in Berlin. Acutely in the Coronakrise also a unique property levy is conceivable, as it was demanded already by SPD and left. "Ultimately, we want to democratize the economy and are also sympathetic to expropriation," Richter says.

Wealth is the cause of inequality and poverty. The increasing social imbalance poses the risk of further economic crises and also violent conflicts, he said. "That’s why it’s also the job of the rich to reduce inequalities. Ultimately, it is also their social responsibility in a democracy," says Richter. Even if no rich people have come forward yet, he would be happy if some would join the demonstration.

"Tax us"

At least: Under the impression of the pandemic, many millionaires have recently spoken out in an open letter about the unjust circumstances. "Millionaires for Humanity" is the name of the American alliance that demands higher taxation of the rich: "So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us," reads his letter, which has made headlines around the world. Seven German millionaires have also signed it: Mariana Bozesan, Christian Hansen, Gerd Hofielen, Dieter Lehmkuhl, Cedric Schmidtke, Antonis Schwarz and Ralph Suikat.

One of them lives in Berlin: Gerd Hofielen did not inherit, but earned his money himself. He is the managing director of Humanistic Management Practices, an ethics-based consulting firm in Zehlendorf, Germany. Hofielen says he doesn’t want to bequeath his money, but rather spend it on good causes with warm hands – such as his foundation.

So maybe there will be a person for the millionaire after all:inside block.

Hofielen argues for fairer taxation of the rich: "I don’t like paying taxes either, but the state favors the wealthy."In Germany in particular, the rich have many more opportunities to manipulate taxes – for example, with foundations, says Hofielen: "I have a foundation myself and know the possibilities of using it to reduce tax payments."

At the same time, the rich with foundations are usually still the more society-friendly ones. "Among the wealthy, there are also hardcore people who hide their assets in tax havens. We need effective laws to prevent this," says Hofielen. He considers coercive measures such as the politically controversial purchase of tax CDs to be legitimate.

However, Hofielen says there are also many rich people with a sense of justice. "There should be more ways to convince rich people that they have an ethical opportunity to contribute more than the state asks them to do."For Hofielen, this also includes a dialogue with millionaires: "You can’t always just assume that rich people are crazy or unwilling to take."

However, Gerd Hofielen does not yet know whether he will join the demo on Saturday. He wants to look at the alliance’s website first, he says. So maybe a person can be found for the millionaire:inside block after all.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: