What has been rumored is now confirmed: The long-obvious links between left-wing activist groups and government have been verified in the form of financial subsidies—quite substantial subsidies. As reported by Welt am Sonntag, the Last Generation (Letzte Generation) activist group receives access to grants amounting to up to €156,420 through a suspense account. According to their own website, the activists have “collected more than €118,000.” For what these funds are used, however, isn’t further specified.
According to the report, Last Generation activists access government funds via a group account called Elinor, which is funded by the Ministry of Economics led by Robert Habeck of the Greens, to be precise. The group account holds €156,420, money which is intended to support an “innovation program” for “digital and data-driven innovations mainly by young companies.” When asked by Welt am Sonntag about the program selection process, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economics explained that it was not up to the “funding agency or project sponsor” to “screen potential customers of a funded development or impose restrictions.”
Restrictions do exist, of course, only their interpretation is likely to be subjective. Elinor CEO Lukas Kunert explained that “groups that oppose democracy, incite violence, or discriminate against others” would be excluded from participation in the group. For Kunert, the Last Generation—whose members are known for gluing themselves onto roads, or more recently, even cementing themselves into them—does not fall into this category, so Kunert is keeping “an open mind.” Change must be “lived on many levels,” including “civil disobedience” to achieve change.
But the Last Generation didn’t just help itself from Elinor’s pot. It also takes advantage of a legal association called Red Help to pad its wallet. In the event of legal difficulties, Last Generation’s guidelines recommend that activists turn to Red Help, which offers to pay 50% of legal fees. “It doesn’t always work out,” but activists are encouraged to try anyway, because “the Red Help has in any case dough.” However, Red Help is being monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), since it seems to be associated with anti-constitutional activity. A recent report by the Verfassungsschutz states that the Red Help seeks “to discredit constitutional democracy.” The close ties of the Last Generation to Red Help does therefore reflect on the agenda of the climate activists themselves, even if Last Generation isn’t yet in the crosshairs of the Verfassungsschutz.
Although Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has been in the news in recent weeks and months primarily for his attempts to find alternate sources of gas, the financial support of Last Generation speaks in a roundabout way to the Green Party’s agenda. While Habeck himself is silent on the matter, his Green Party colleagues from the second row have been showing solidarity with the activists of the Last Generation for quite some time. In Berlin, District Mayor Clara Herrmann visited a road blockade in her district and announced her sympathy for the movement. Berlin’s Senator for Environment, Mobility, Consumer, and Climate Protection even said at a press conference in February that she shared the programmatic ideas of Last Generation and supported the “urgency that speaks from this form of protest.”
Due to the overwhelming media support for climate activists, criticism against the government’s support for Last Generation was restrained at best. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann of the CSU called on the federal government to reconsider funding platforms “that support financing of criminal actions of the ‘Last Generation.’” The head of the Berlin CDU, Kai Wegner, on the other hand, called for transparency by demanding disclosure of the financial circumstances of this and similar activist groups. For Wegner, the donations would have to be frozen immediately so that “no further crimes” could be committed by them.
No exact consequences of this revelation have been announced so far.
David Boos is an organist, documentary filmmaker, and writer for The European Conservative and other publications.