So, the Germans are putting me on trial for my thoughtcrimes, and, apparently, I’ve already been found guilty and sentenced. Bear with me and I’ll try to explain.
The Berlin District Court has issued a so-called “penalty order” or “order of punishment,” in which I am advised that I am now officially a criminal in Germany, for tweeting two Tweets. According to my attorney, a trial will now be scheduled, at which my attorney will argue the case before the judge that just issued the “order of punishment.” At this trial, the judge will listen attentively to the arguments my attorney has already made in writing, consider them carefully, and find me guilty, again. Then the judge will reaffirm the “order of punishment.”
Go ahead, read that paragraph again.
After my Kafkaesque trial has concluded, my attorney will file a series of appeals, which will fail, at which point I will have to decide whether to pay a fine of 3,600 Euros or go to German prison for 60 days.
This process will take months, if not years, and will cost me God knows how much money in attorney’s fees, court costs, and then the €3,600 fine. Yes, I’m going to pay the fine. I am not going to German prison for 60 days. Life is too short, and I am getting older, and it wouldn’t really accomplish anything except making a narcissistic spectacle of myself.
However, what will accomplish something (I don’t know how much, but something) is if I see the whole process through to the end, and shine as much light on it as I possibly can, because my case is just one of many such cases, and the real story here is not about me, it is about the crackdown on political dissent that is being carried out, not just here in Germany, but also in other countries all throughout the West.
There are not many outlets reporting this story, not outlets with any significant reach. If you are reading this column, you’re probably aware of various alternative media outlets that are, but most of these outlets are quarantined off where “normal” people never have to see them, and are delegitimized as “unreliable sources” and purveyors of “misinformation,” and so on.
There are a few bigger sources covering the story, which are also increasingly being branded “illegitimate,” Matt Taibbi’s Racket News, Michael Shellenberger’s Public, Glenn Greenwald’s Locals operations, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more, forgive me.
The point is, unless you’re a charter member of the “science-denying, conspiracy-theorizing, hate-speech-speaking, anti-vaxxing, misinforming left-or-right extremist” club — i.e., people who read weird “malinformationist” publications like The Grayzone, OffGuardian, ZeroHedge, Dissident Voice, and Unlimited Hangout, and who are planning to vote for Bobby Kennedy, or, God help them, Donald Trump — you probably have no idea what I mean when I refer to “the crackdown on dissent” … or you do, and you think it’s just hunky-dory.
I won’t mince words. The folks who think it’s hunky-dory are totalitarians. They’re fascists. They applaud the crackdown on dissent. They applaud the criminalization of dissent. They applaud the censorship of political speech, of any speech they do not agree with. They want their political opponents in prison. They want everyone who disagrees with them punished. They want people who offend them cancelled. They want anyone who refuses to conform to their official ideology erased.
I have been calling these people “totalitarians” and “fascists” for a number of years now. I do not enjoy doing that. I’m not doing it gratuitously. Some of these people were my friends. I’m doing that, calling these people “fascists,” and comparing the nascent totalitarianism that is erupting all throughout the West to other, earlier totalitarian systems, like Stalinism (sorry, Marxist friends), and, yes, to fucking Nazi Germany, because, despite the fact that there are numerous differences, a lot of it is textbook totalitarianism. Naked textbook totalitarianism. There isn’t another, nicer word for it … or for those who are enthusiastically embracing it.
I’m not going to present the evidence for that assertion again. I have done that ad nauseam, much of it in my latest book, which is banned by Amazon in several countries, and which bears a warning on other Amazon sites to “visit the WHO, the CDC,” or your local national health authority, “for the latest information on Covid-19 and vaccines” before you consider buying it, and the cover art of which is about to make me an official “hate criminal,” with a criminal record.
That’s right, as I explained at greater length in a previous column, the pretext for this so-called “hate crime” prosecution is two Tweets I tweeted almost exactly one year ago of the cover art of that very same book, which just happens to document the rollout of the “New Normal” (i.e., the new totalitarianism) in 2020 and 2021.
Here are the two Tweets that constitute my “hate crimes.”
The one on the left reads, “The masks are ideological-conformity symbols. That is all they are. That is all they have ever been. Stop acting like they have ever been anything else, or get used to wearing them.” The one on the right is a quote by Karl Lauterbach, the Minister of Health of Germany. It reads “The masks always send out a signal.” The image is the cover art of my book.
Say what you want about me and my writing. I can be “provocative,” and some of my political satire is bombastically over-the-top, but, as Matt Taibbi put it in a recent Racket News piece …
No amount of drugs exist that if consumed would allow a rational person to conclude that the writing of CJ Hopkins furthers ‘the aims of a former National Socialist Organization.’ Agree with him or not, and I increasingly do, he used his imagery to compare the sweeping declarations of emergency power that were common around the world during the pandemic (and were particularly authoritarian in Germany) to Nazi tactics.”
And that is what I am being accused of, and “punished” for doing, by the German authorities, i.e., “furthering the aims of a National Socialist Organization” … basically, promoting Nazism, for tweeting those two Tweets above.
There is no complex legal issue here. Yes, swastikas are banned in Germany if you’re a Nazi or promoting Nazism or Fascism, but they are permitted for the purposes of “civic education, countering anti-constitutional activities, art, science, research and education, coverage of historic and current events,” and similar purposes, according to German law.
Do you seriously believe that the German hate-crime police and the prosecutor and the judge do not understand that? Of course they understand that. They’re not complete imbeciles. They know the charges are just a pretext. And they know we know the charges are just a pretext. They do not care. They do not have to. They don’t even have to pretend to be following the rule of law. Not anymore. Because they know the majority of the masses are with them.
The point of prosecutions like this (and much more serious and significant prosecutions, like that of Julian Assange, for example) is to send a message. The naked disregard for the rule of law, the blatant absurdity of the charges, the open contempt for democratic principles, is all part of the message. It’s not a message about the law. It’s a message about power. Who has it, and who doesn’t. And what happens to those who refuse to bow down to it.
The message is not intended for me, or for more important figures like Julian Assange, or the many other less well-known dissidents that are being made examples of currently. We’re just the medium that conveys the message. We’re the delivery service. The message is for you.
I’m pretty sure you’re getting the message. The question is … how are you going to respond?
I do not mean by “storming” your capitol. Please do not go out and get yourself shot. I mean, are you going to help shine a light on where we are headed? Because it’s pretty fucking dark. Folks are offering to send me money to help with my legal costs, and I’m extremely grateful, because I’m going to need it (and here’s how to do that), but what I think we need to do is a little harder, and costs more, and is much more important.
We need to talk to the totalitarians … yes, the ones who wanted to put us in camps. If we can’t get through to them, we’re probably screwed. And there is a window of opportunity to do that now. It’s not 2020 or 2021. The mass hysteria has worn off for a lot of people. I know, not all of them, but for some of them, a lot of them. Some of them are finally reachable.
Take a chance, talk to them, the ones you know, or used to know. Try to get through to them. Not the bug-eyed, fanatical, foaming-at-the-mouth types who can’t wait for the return of the “emergency measures.” The other ones … you know the ones I mean. The ones who want out. You can see it in their eyes. Take a chance. Talk to these people. Totalitarianism, fascism, it is not an identity. It’s a mindset. No one is born a fascist. People can be deprogrammed. Some of them can. And, at this point, we need all the help we can get.
So, if you’re one of the kind and generous folks who have been asking what you can do to help and offering to send me money, sure, go ahead and send me the money — thank you, I’ve been overwhelmed by your messages, and I’m sorry that I can’t personally respond to all of them — but also consider what I’m suggesting, if you can possibly bring yourself to do it. If you can’t, I completely understand. Trust me, I am still just as angry as you are. I am hurt. I feel betrayed and abandoned. I have a feeling that some of you feel that way too. So I know what I’m asking when I ask you to talk to the New Normal totalitarians, the ones who might be reachable.
If you can’t yet, don’t. But if you’re able to, try.
Don’t try to convince them that you were right and they were wrong. Just shine a light on the road we’re on. Try to get them to recognize where we’re headed. Regardless of who was right and who was wrong about whatever, we are all going down this road together.
Personally, I’d rather not ride it all the way to the end and face what is down there this time.
Anyone interested in giving to CJ’s legal defense fund can do so here.
CJ Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volumes I and II of his Consent Factory Essays are published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.
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