Robert Habeck now also works in free trade. And sets himself apart from climate activists. For the Greens, it is a time of unreasonable demands. And the next turning point is already in the offing.

Obergrüne Robert Habeck burns coal, lets nuclear power plants run longer, delivers weapons to a war zone. And now the Green Economics Minister is also doing free trade – and on top of that condemns the climate activists of the last-generation street glue as overly radical.

One can understand why the green primordial soup is bubbling, especially since further impositions on the Greens are already in the offing. The Bundestag passed the free trade agreement with Canada today, the Greens were there, which was only possible with a rhetorical trick.

The agreement, Ceta, actually a neoliberal thing, was previously greenwashed by Habeck as the “motor for resilience and sustainability”. In the Bundestag, the parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge declared that trade policy is now “finally becoming climate-friendly”.

It’s just stupid that the same Dröge, as an opposition member, had declared the same agreement to be bad, as “detrimental to consumers and democracy”. She was not alone in her harsh judgment. Her predecessor Toni Hofreiter called Ceta a “massive intervention in democracy”.

And at large anti-free trade demonstrations in Germany in 2015 and 2016 with hundreds of thousands of participants – more than at the anti-retrofit demonstrations in the early 1980s – Annalena Baerbock was there.

In short: For the opposition, the ball was on the penalty spot, and CDU man Jens Spahn converted easily: Robert Habeck and his Greens “got lost in their own moral garden”.

Spahn was mean enough to recall Habeck’s gas kipping in front of the Qatari sheikh, the subsequent commitment to the football One Love bandage and the LNG agreement concluded with the Stone Age Islamic country despite all human rights declarations. “Value-based foreign policy cannot be less consistent.”

To understand how deeply this green turning point in free trade is poisoning the green world, just look at a list of signatures against Ceta.

As late as August, everyone who was of any standing among the Greens protested: the anti-capitalists from Attac, the environmentalists from BUND, the complaints association Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the food guards from Foodwatch, the performance artists from Greenpeace, the animal rights activists from the Nature Conservation Union and the democracy watchdogs from Transparency international.

There are a total of 39 activist organizations, the long list ends with the “Wuppertal Action Alliance against TTIP and other free trade traps”. On top of that:

Also present were two other large organizations far to the left of the political spectrum: the service trade union ver.di and the parity welfare association.

The anti-chlorine chicken party has a few million members. And when Der Spiegel slyly headlines that the Greens have buried the chlorinated chicken, that may correspond to the wishes of the Green ruling party, but it doesn’t reflect the mood of the Green base.

Julia Klöckner accused the Greens of having “driven all of these activists into the trees”. That’s wrong: They had all climbed the trees all by themselves, the Greens only used the mood in the eco-protest camp for themselves. Populism can also be green.

And the next adversity is already threatening, due to the new world order of hostile Russians and Chinese “system rivals” (Baerbock): free trade with the USA too.

What the free trade party par excellence, the Liberals, raves about in the highest tones: A third of world trade, 60 percent of the world gross national product, parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr was looking forward to a new capitalist-democratic age.

The highest parliamentary liberal had to be asked afterwards whether he had not listened to the Greens. In fact: their faction leader Dröge had pushed a new edition of TTIP, the trade agreement with the USA, into the realm of fantasy, describing it as “not real”.

As does Greens leader Omid Nouripour, who quickly pushed responsibility for this across the Atlantic – as far as possible from Attac, Foodwatch and Co. So did Dröge, who painted “Monsterdeal” on the wall in the Bundestag.

Bad luck for the Greens that the FDP free traders are part of their coalition. Even more bad luck for the Greens that the owner of the guideline competence for a free trade agreement with the USA is also in favor.

Olaf Scholz worries about the German prosperity model, which is based on free trade. Germany lives from exports like no other country in the world.

For years, the Greens have had plenty of reasons to be against free trade. Large corporations can sue states that they see as enacting strict climate protection or social laws that endanger free trade on an equal footing with trading partners.

There is nothing that fuels globalization and capitalism more than free trade across borders. A few years ago, Greens in particular demonstrated how the “German fear” of poultry, which in the USA is dipped in a chlorine solution for disinfection, could be used to bring hundreds of thousands onto the streets.

But now the world situation is changing: the Russians are now the evil empire (Ronald Reagan used to be), the Chinese, on whom Germany is much more dependent than on Russia, are more aggressive than ever – and then the Americans: 400 billion dollars puts President Joe Biden in future technology, combined with the announcement: Buy American. The US has never been more protectionist.

And never before was the danger so great for Germany, which was only medium-sized, to be crushed between the big ones. That changes the lineup fundamentally – the solution, at least the one that the Chancellor wants, that the Union wants, that the liberals want: lots of free trade agreements with democratic countries.

The next ones, please, with Brazil, where a left-wing party is now governing, with Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, with South America, which has merged into the economic organization Mercosur.

It will be difficult with the USA, Biden is doing what Trump did before him – tough American interest politics. In view of this, what does Germany do – do we open a counter-club, as Jürgen Trittin suggests? Or let’s stick to the old Machiavellian rule: the hand you can’t cut off, you have to shake.

The turning point that is taking place everywhere and is stirring up everything, especially the Greens, has a very big question ready:

Should one moralize German politics – from the football armband to the free trade agreement, from war equipment to energy? Or pay better attention to the economic and social interests of the Germans? It could result in a conflict of goals:

Be with the good guys – or with the rich?

High energy costs, inflation: Many Germans are currently suffering from money worries. A topic that has not been discussed much so far are so-called index leases.

They allow the landlord to increase the basic rent each year as much as the consumer price index has risen. Currently, an increase of 10.4 percent would be possible.

We want to devote ourselves to the topic of index rental contracts and draw on the experiences of our readers. Do you have an index lease? If so, are you concerned about potential increases? Or did it already exist? How did you react?

Write us your story to, preferably with your full name, place of residence and a telephone number for queries. We will publish some of the submissions.