The crisis of mass integration: on the development of political repression in Federal Germany


The aim of this essay is to investigate the bases and the specific forms of the development of the political repression which can be clearly observed at the present time in West Germany. The principal fact to be explained is that this development is being implemented by a social democratic‐liberal government coalition, which leaves the institutions of the bourgeois‐democratic system untouched and receives backing from the Trade Unions. Current attempts to explain this phemomenon, such as the theory of a ‘new fascism’, have proved to be inadequate. The essay begins by providing a brief overview of the theoretical starting point adopted and proceeds to sketch the economic, social and political conditions for successful mass integration in developed capitalist societies. The increase in repressive tendencies in the state apparatus is traced back to the specific forms in which the institutions for mass integration have failed to fulfil their roles, the main basis of which is to be found in the development of the current economic and social crisis. The most important tendencies in the economic development of the FRG and the particular structures of its political and administrative system are presented in order to validate this thesis. The decisive moment of political destablization can be seen in the growth of autonomous political movements outside the sphere of established institutions. These movements constitute an increasing threat to the existing institutional system of mass integration. The development of repression which has occurred in response to this is directed at a preventive safeguarding of the existing apparatuses for mass integration and at preserving the state’s apparatus for the exercise of force as a crisis‐reserve. This repression, which has not yet taken the form of the open use of force against the mass of the population—in particular established workers’ organizations—is primarily directed against dissident individuals and groups within the state and ideological apparatuses, and against initial steps towards autonomous political organizations and forms of economic—political representation which are not based on the acceptance or granting of concessions.