Equality Before the Law? How Germany Discriminates Against “Undesired” Foreigners and Violates Fundamental Principles of Its Own Law

The German state punishes “undesired foreigners” as if they were part of Germany’s society, yet it denies them the fundamental rights of German citizens.


Image by Velvet via Wikimedia Commons  CC BY-SA 3.0


The concept of statehood implies a classification of persons as citizens on the one hand and “foreigners” on the other hand. In the context of law in Germany, for example, “foreigners” are further sub-classified into persons that do not need a residence permit (like citizens of EU member states), persons with a residence permit, asylum seekers, and those without a residence permit. Within the residence law, norms are explicitly formulated for anyone who is part of the last two groups. Violations of aforesaid norms, like the violation of mandatory residence or simply staying in Germany without a residence permit, can result in a prison sentence of up to one year. “Foreigners” that the German state plans to deport also face incarceration.

„Equality Before the Law? How Germany Discriminates Against “Undesired” Foreigners and Violates Fundamental Principles of Its Own Law“ weiterlesen

Where are you from? On political identity and community

Photo by Marc Ruaix on Unsplash


Where are you from? From the time I was born, this question has continued to define and influence my life until today. Back then, it seemed rather irrelevant. This fact that I was not just born into this world and into a family but also into a very specific location. But through that, I was officially part of a nation. My very first achievement. It was something to be proud of, almost as important as my own name. Naturally, I wanted that nation to be great, just like I wanted my family to be happy. „Where are you from? On political identity and community“ weiterlesen

What rules apply? EU Citizenship and Scotland

To Liza

If there is a citizenship, you would all owe a duty of allegiance to the new Union. What else is citizenship about? There will be a duty to uphold its laws. What will happen if the allegiance to the Union comes into conflict with the allegiance to our own country?

Margaret Thatcher, speech in the House of Lords, 7th of June 1993


In 2014, it was reasonable for a Scot wishing to further enjoy the benefits of her country’s EU membership to vote “Remain” at the Scottish Independence Referendum. In 2017, her variety of options is virtually narrowed down to choosing between the least of the evils. Resisting the Scottish secession and the addition of “r” (“rest of”) to the remaining parts of the state once called “the United Kingdom” will only lead to Scots leaving Europe aboard with their English, Welsh and Irish compatriots. Supporting the campaign for the second independence referendum and, if successful, the case for Scottish independence may eventually lead to securing the future of Scotland in Europe. However, this path is far from being clear.

„What rules apply? EU Citizenship and Scotland“ weiterlesen

Smells Like German Spirit. Again.

Volksgemeinschaft – diesen Gestank kann die AfD nicht verbergen. Er strömt ihr aus allen Poren. Sie kann sich drehen und winden, sie bekommt ihn nicht los. Warum? Weil der Gestank ihr Markenkern, ihre Identität und ihr Fetisch ist.

Republikanische Automaten. George Grosz. 1920.

Die AfD zu skandalisieren ist heute keine Kunst mehr, sondern gehört als Teil der Kulturindustrie zum alltäglichen Geschäft. Die AfD produziert so viel Hetze, dass es zwar Mühe macht, eine gute Story über ihre Menschenfeindlichkeit zu schreiben – sie im Detail zu finden, ist dagegen nicht schwer, weil die AfD die plurale, freiheitliche und rechtsstaatliche Demokratie jeden Tag beleidigt. Und da bad news kulturindustriell gewendet zu good news werden, ist die AfD ein Themengebiet indem Journalistinnen sich die Finger wund schreiben. Das Problem: die AfD ist mittlerweile so aktiv geworden, man kommt einfach nicht mehr hinterher. Internet, Fernsehen, auf Straßen und in Parlamenten. Überall werden abenteuerlichste menschenfeindliche Phrasen und Praktiken propagiert. Überall menschenverachtender weltanschaulicher Mief, der, schaut man in die Geschichte der Weltgesellschaft, schon immer irgendwie bestialisch gestunken hat, weil er bestialisch ist. Durch die serienmäßige Produktion dieses Gestanks, wird der Geruch zum Alltag und oft genug geht die stinkende Aura der AfD-Propaganda im Alltäglichen unter. Und das ist das größere Problem. Die Normalität.

„Smells Like German Spirit. Again.“ weiterlesen

Panarchy: The State 2.0

The dominant “Westphalian” model of the state, based on sovereignty over territory with borders and monopoly of violence over the people who happen to live in the territory, is obsolete. It fits seventeenth-century technology and pre-global societies when geographical distances could not be traversed easily and information took months to travel the globe. Instead, states may be founded on social contracts rather than sovereignty, service to citizens instead of monopoly over the use of violence in a territory. Panarchy, a political theory of non-territorial states founded on social contracts, introduced in 1860 by Belgian botanist and economist Paul Émile de Puydt, offers an alternative. It proposes that citizens may literally sign a social contract, a constitution, with a state, and may change their states without moving, just as customers can change their insurance policies. Explicit and voluntary social contracts have several advantages over standard social contract theories: They are neither mythical nor hypothetical, but explicit and actual, voluntary and reversible.

The Westphalian State epitomized in the famous book cover of Thomas Hobbes‘ “Leviathan”

Panarchy allows political agents to make reversible political mistakes and then exit and join another state. In Panarchy, the incentive for political innovation and improvement comes from competition between states over citizens-customers. Politics would then develop its own version of creative destruction, when failed states disappear and are replaced by better managed ones, generating a general progressive trend. „Panarchy: The State 2.0“ weiterlesen

Of Humans, Aliens, and Passports: Recognition as a Refugee for Reasons of Citizenship

Good Passports and Bad Passports

Imagine the aliens have landed. They have parked their spacecraft, or beamed down, and now here they are. And contrary to all the apprehensions the people of Earth have – thanks to every alien movie ever made – they are here to make friends, exchange ideas, maybe help us end poverty, war and disaster… But NOT SO FAST! Can we see your passports first? Don’t have passports, do you? And no visas either, then? Well, terribly sorry, this way please for immigration detention. And deportation as soon as we’ve built a rocket that can get you back to where you came from at the speed of light. Ta-tah!

„Of Humans, Aliens, and Passports: Recognition as a Refugee for Reasons of Citizenship“ weiterlesen

Beyond the Birthright Lottery

The Case for Open Borders and Inclusive Citizenship

How did you get your citizenship? Let me guess. You were born with the one you have now. There is a good chance my guess is right. Citizenship is, first and foremost, a matter of birth.

However, birth can be framed in different ways. A German may say that she is German because she was born to German parents. And an American may say that he is American because he was born on American soil.

One immediately notices the difference. Becoming German is mainly a matter of ancestry. Hence the name jus sanguinis for birthright citizenship qua blood. Becoming American is mainly a matter of territory. Hence the name jus soli for birthright citizenship qua birth on the territory. „Beyond the Birthright Lottery“ weiterlesen

“The best passports in the world” – The structural violence of EU visa policies

Just as none of us is beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.
— Edward W. Said: Culture and Imperialism, 1993

Media outlets around the world have time and again enlightened their readers and viewers about “the best passports in the world“ in the past several years, among them CNN, The Financial Times, Business Insider, and The Telegraph. In April 2016, Arton Capital’s Passport Index has launched an interactive colour-coded map aiming to collect and rank passports according to criteria such as power and ‘hospitality’, each leading to remarkably different results. „“The best passports in the world” – The structural violence of EU visa policies“ weiterlesen