Street protest with tractors

Last generation relies on innovative strategy to make its voice heard by the federal government

Last generation protesters in Freiburg with a cardboard tractor
(c) Last generation, see more pictures here

10.01.2024, 14: 10 clock - In various cities today, supporters of the last generation are protesting against the federal government's inadequate and socially unjust climate policy. Protests have already taken place in Munich, Passau, Freiburg and Leipzig today, and other cities across the country will follow today. 

Included: tractors, as printed pictures or painted on posters, in the form of scale models or as children's toys. The posters carried say, among other things: “We can do that! We have a tractor!” and “Listen to us, we have tractors!”

Lina Johnsen (25), spokesperson for the Last Generation, took part in the protest in Leipzig today from 9 a.m. She explains the new strategy:
“We ask ourselves why our government is so much more open to farmers' protests than to those of the climate justice movement? In case the government simply prefers tractors to high-visibility vests, we also got tractors. We are really excited to see whether we will soon receive offers of talks from politicians.” 

She goes on to say: “The farmers’ protests show that you can make your voice heard by the federal government extremely quickly and effectively through road blockades and demonstrations with massive traffic disruptions. Nevertheless, the farmers were treated with respect by politicians instead of being insulted as terrorists, criminals and chaotic people. The farmers' association's website was not confiscated, no one was taken into preventive detention and the association's president, Joachim Rukwied, probably does not have to fear a house search. “It is therefore possible for the federal government to deal constructively with protests from the population.”

The Last Generation, together with scientists from Scientist Rebellion and parents, is calling for a protest against the fossil industry Mass occupation on the Ku’damm in Berlin for Saturday February 03th on. The demand: the socially just exit from fossil fuels by 2030.

Joel Schmitt (24), who is currently taking part in the protest in Freiburg, explains: “The climate catastrophe is already leading to droughts, floods, displacement and deaths. With every additional ton of CO2 we emit, the risk that the climate system will collapse further increases. That's why we must immediately reduce all emissions that are not absolutely necessary and have managed to phase out oil, gas and coal by 2030 at the latest. For this we need a socially just political change!”

Regarding the farmers' protests, the Last Generation explains:

Peaceful protest is an integral part of our democracy. We condemn threats and acts of violence, such as ambushing and threatening politicians, tying party symbols to gallows, as well as racist speeches and slogans. The farmers' associations have a responsibility to clearly define their protests against right-wing extremists and not to join forces with them.

Farmers – like numerous other professional groups – perform an extremely important task for society, for which they receive too little recognition. The agricultural policy of the last decades offers a lot of scope for justified criticism. We understand the farmers' frustration that, in the budget crisis, savings should now begin in the agricultural sector and we can understand their protest with tractors on the street.

Our suggestion to the traffic light government: If you need money, then cancel the company car privilege! The discount on new cars for higher earners is absurd! If we tax them the way neighboring countries do, we would collect up to 5,5 billion more per year. [1] Then we don't have to make savings in the agricultural sector, but can redesign the subsidies there in such a way that they promote the necessary ecological transformation in agriculture without increasing cost pressure on small businesses.

The subsidies in the agricultural sector must be redesigned in a fair and ecological way so that farms stop dying. We will protest together with farmers at the We're fed up! demo on January 20th for the socially just, ecological restructuring of agriculture.

Explanation of company car privilege: Company cars only have to be taxed at 1% of the purchase price. However, since the loss in value of the - mostly new - company cars is significantly higher, significantly more than 1% of the purchase price would have to be estimated.