History repeats itself over and over again

Corona demos: Is history repeating itself?

Anyone who resorts to patterns from the past to interpret current conditions quickly finds himself on thin ice. There is always the danger that such analogies lead to a distortion of history. The latest example: Ossis overturned a system in 1989, which is why they are demonstrating so diligently today against the federal government's corona policy.

Regardless of the motives: Anyone who makes references to the ancestors, regardless of whether he wants to warn or praise, must be very clear about his motives. Those who resist analogies and insist on the uniqueness of historical events often accuse their opponents of relativizing previous crimes, for example when it comes to the controversial Nazi or Stalin comparisons. There are always people among them who shy away from comparison for fear that the similarity to their politics might not be purely coincidental after all. The others refer to Hegel and Marx, understand history as a dialectic in which social contradictions constantly confront each other. In doing so, details are often simply leveled out.

Everyone makes use of the history fund, as if it were a graveyard table in the summer sale. You pick out the best pieces and get the material for the next historical lie. As is well known, myths are woven, legends are spun - text and textile form a fatal connection here. Old certainties, so far undisputed, are unraveled like an old scarf, regardless of whether it was once knitted on the left or the right.

30 years after the regained German unity, the right wing is working on a new myth. He makes the connection between the peaceful revolution of 1989 and the anti-corona protests that year. The Leipzig cultural scientist Christina Schwarz opposes him vehemently: "The East Germans are assigned the role of the oppressive subversives who managed to turn a system off its hinges in 1989 and who should do it again today. That is a fatal one, in the end anti-democratic perspective. " The member of the research project "Sociology of Extracurricular History Communication" also names the beneficiaries of such legends: "These references support and fuel a narrative that has been cultivated in recent years by Pegida, AfD and other right-wing groups." And Christina Schwarz adds: "Such equations are common argumentation patterns of new right-wing actors up to neo-Nazis. Unfortunately, they are currently enjoying increasing popularity."

The result of the research work is consoling: In the East, the feeling of paternalism is by no means omnipresent in the current situation. The dispute over the sovereignty of interpretation will probably go on forever. According to the old pattern.