Monday, July 10, 2017

Winners and Losers of the Hamburg Riots

I confess, I am an outsider and tend to have a different view of things compared to some Germans, but I will make these observations on winners and losers of the G-20 summit in Hamburg.

1.  Mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD).  As much as he has tried to defend the "plan" and the efforts of the get the impression that he's really not prime material for the job required.  Maybe he's great at politics and could handle a much smaller town, but I get the feeling that he was just out of his league for this G-20 summit deal.  His staff around him?  Same way....they just weren't prepared for what came over this brief four-day period.  I won't say that he'll get fired but I suspect public confidence has been shaken with his performance.

2.  The cops.  What comes out of the general press is that 20,000 cops were at work during this four-day period....of which a lot of them were brought in from around Germany.  I think they did the best that they could....with rules set into motion and tactics....which simply weren't capable of defeating the problem-children (the riot-kids).  The water-truck gimmick?  It's nice PR but I don't think it really solves much.  I saw an interview last night where a local Hamburg guy commented that the water-truck was just one really feared the water-tactic.

3.  The intellectuals.  They were primed up and ready to talk on the hyper subject of the G-20, and they lost about 50-percent of their opportunity to sell their theme....because the public wanted to hear about the riot business.  Six months from one will remember much of the Hamburg G-20 conference except for the riots and damage.

4.  Chat Forums.  The public TV chat forums have enough material to run episodes for at least three weeks....however, it's the summer season and almost no one does public TV chat forums in the vacation period.

5.  The anti-capitalists.  Whatever message they had....was dimmed out via the violence, burnt cars toxic smoke, and destruction within Hamburg.  One might suspect that public sentiment in Hamburg has shifted, and that it would be almost impossible for the anti-capitalists to be invited to some forum or to be taken serious.  There's two factions within the group, and they tolerate each other.....but the two factions simply can't co-exist.  Public pressure on the cops, the mayor, the prosecution folks and the the future....will limit any message that they wanted to carry out.

6.  Insurance companies.  Big-losers in the episode.  Millions will be paid out and they will react by upping their insurance rates within the Hamburg region.  Ripple effect across Germany will be felt by this unplanned man-made disaster.  Public will be made to cough up more money for insurance in the future.  It'll stretch from car insurance to property insurance.

7.  Chancellor Merkel.  She helped in the process of picking Hamburg for the summit, and bears some responsibility.  She did make all the correct public references, and blamed the 'problem-children' for the violence.  This will end up as a topic in the election forum, but it's hard to see her competition (the SPD) getting real tough on the anti-capitalists or blaming their mayor in Hamburg.

8.  The Linke Party and Green Party.  Over the past decade, you could easily say that the defenders of the anti-capitalists were these two political parties.  Maybe across the majority of Germany....this will be unnoticed.  In Hamburg, both parties have lost traction and will be blamed as helping the riot crowd.   From the 2015 election, both parties took 20-percent of the regional vote.  My humble opinion is that as the 2020 election comes around....they will be lucky to take 14-percent of the vote (combined).  Time will heal this but it'll probably take a decade for folks in the city to forget this episode.

9.    Argentina.  Yeah, oddly enough, Argentina gets brought up.....they are the host for the 2018 G-20 Summit.  The security planning crowd there probably had a 'come-to-Jesus' moment by the end of this conference and will look for lessons learned.  In some sort of way, they might be on the planning in an entirely different fashion, and bringing in more stringent tactics for the riot crowd.  One might note as well....Argentine cops aren't the friendly-type that you typically face off with in Germany.

10.  The city of Hamburg.  If you were to draw up a list of the ten most 'liveable' cities in the world....Hamburg (at least before the riots) would likely have made the list.  When you look at infrastructure, education, jobs, recreation, business, and social offers an awful lot.  Now?  A lot of Hamburg's residents will take to the streets, and try to clean up the mess made.  There is frustration and anger within doubt.  In two months, if you go looking for'll be all gone.  The Rote Flora crowd and the anti-capitalists?  They probably won't be on anyone's hospitality list or get any special favors in the future from residents of the city.  All of this will be remembered but the city will live on.

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