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I see very little difference between declaring someone 'extremist' and keeping them from obtaining work, or just slurring them 'commies' and doing the same. But that's the difference in personal legal culture, I guess.

Interesting - if a person is denied a job or a promotion in Bavaria after declaring themselves being a member of the Left Party, should we assume that everything was perfectly kosher just because they weren't told it was because of the party affiliation?

by Sargon on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 02:50:25 PM EST
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I see very little difference between declaring someone 'extremist' and keeping them from obtaining work, or just slurring them 'commies' and doing the same.

Well I certainly don't want committed Nazis as history teachers: that would be a legitimate case for of "extremist". While the troubles started in Germany over the issue of where you draw the line, in Hungary, the people called "commies" can be to the right of Sigmar Gabriel. Furthermore, if it's a law, you can at least bring lawsuits, but what I described for my acquaintance [and there have been several cases like his in the news BTW] is an employer acting on information it received who knows where, something resembling the treatment of dissidents by Brezhnew-era Warshaw Pact countries rather than the Radikalenerlass.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 03:46:01 PM EST
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Perhaps it's worth to point out that there have been multiple types of job bans in the communist era. I think from around the end of the Stalinist era, there was the practice to explicitly ban distrusted people from certain jobs where they could cause trouble, or even force intellectuals into physical jobs to get some 'working-class re-education'. What I spoke about came later and was more insidious: there was no explicit job ban, the secret service would just order the dissident's employer to fire him, and tell others to reject him. So existential angst could indirectly do what an official ban would have done.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 04:04:07 PM EST
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Furthermore, if it's a law, you can at least bring lawsuits

This is operational difference between us - frankly, I don't care if I could bring a legal suit and lose because might makes right. If it's right, it should be so from the beginning.

On Nazis, I'd tend to agree, but who's defining what a Nazi sympathizer is? I still have colleagues refusing to accept that there are sympathizers fighting on Kiev side in Ukraine, despite all the articles about battalion Azov and Right Sector in the Western press. If we cannot agree about such basic things, how could one trust that a particular designation of an "extremist" is legitimate? Short of emigration on ideological basis, I can't really see a solution.

by Sargon on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 12:49:08 PM EST
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Germany has been wrestling with the definition of "extremism" since after WWII, and Lustration laws are in vogue in Eastern Europe. One may not like them on liberal political principles, but that's the world we increasingly live in.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 01:13:19 PM EST
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From where I sit, people are pretty cynical about lustration laws - they were mostly used for infighting among different unsavory personages. Fortunately, citizens seem to have lost taste for "he was a commie!!!" shouts. Mainstream media still cares, but that's what they are paid to believe.
by Sargon on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 03:29:12 PM EST
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frankly, I don't care if I could bring a legal suit and lose because might makes right.

The assumption on your part is of a legal system subservient to political power. In the EU, this is undoubtedly the case to some degree in every country; nevertheless, the right of appeal to a European court establishes the legal notion of the rule of law.

Therefore, I will always prefer to be subject to a contestable discrimination rather than an arbitrary one.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 02:40:26 PM EST
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On purely probabilistic grounds you might be (conditionally) right - even with an unfair coin, losing after one toss doesn't mean defeat if you have another attempt. On the other hand, unconditional probability of winning decreases with number of tosses (layers of courts).
by Sargon on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 03:25:49 PM EST
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Let's be clear. If Hungary had a law on excluding certain people from certain jobs because of their politics, and it had been applied to Dodo's acquaintance, he could have gone to the Hungarian courts, lost, appealed to the European court, and won. Hungary's law would have been condemned. (Bear in mind that at 35, he can't have had a political history under the previous regime).

Excellent odds, if you're tenacious enough.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 06:53:02 AM EST
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Yes, it's good to have a court well disposed to you. But we do know that being on the right side of (some) authority is always good.
by Sargon on Mon Mar 23rd, 2015 at 12:09:11 PM EST
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On another thought: just finished reading this on the way they were doing things in the UK. Probably a more relevant example, given the whole discussion below.

Very revealing quotes from the article:

In April 1949, the central council of the John Lewis Partnership voted `to exclude communists from membership and to ask present and future staff to sign a declaration that they are neither members of the Communist Party nor in sympathy with its doctrines'. A second resolution recommending similar action in the case of fascists was defeated.

In time - and one is left to ponder whether or not Orwell's approval would have been withheld - `communist' came to be viewed as coterminous with membership of, inter alia, CND, Friends of the Earth, the National Council for Civil Liberties, the Fire Brigades Union, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, even the Seventh Day Adventists.​15 As the colour red spread like a disease on the retina of the security services, so a peculiar blindness to right-wing organisations developed. According to Cathy Massiter, who worked at MI5 from 1970 to 1983, `there was only one person covering all of right-wing subversion,' while there were `many dozens' dealing with communism. Across Whitehall, secret committees tasked with developing national security procedures chose to simplify their reporting by following `the common practice of using the phrase "communist" throughout to include fascists.' Yes, well, that should deal with it.

So, yes, we could be concerned about Nazi sympathizers as teachers. Apparently, they never were.
by Sargon on Fri Mar 27th, 2015 at 01:42:17 PM EST
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