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Peter Bierl

In my research on opponents of Steiner, Bierl has come up more than once. Peter Staudenmeier, in his attack piece Anthroposophy and Ecofascism, acknowledges in a footnote that "in this section [Waldorf education] I have relied chiefly on the work of former Waldorf teachers like Rudolph as well as the excellent critical study by Bierl." In the text he claims that "independent scholar" Peter Bierl's "extremely thorough research" has demonstrated many of his points, and cites him no less than thirteen times. But who is Peter Bierl? His work is not available in English, and is not exactly easy to find in German either (his books are out of print, and since they never had mainstream distribution, are very difficult to find used, and are in almost no libraries). A closer examination shows why. In examining his work, German Anthroposophist Lorenzo Ravagli has written the following summary, which I have translated for an English-speaking audience:

Peter Bierl und ÖkolinX: " Everywhere esoteric idiocy"
The Süddeutsche Zeitung1 offers left-wing extremists and fanatical atheists space for propaganda

1991 the Greens split into the "Realists" (Realos) and "Fundamentalists" (Fundis) – Jutta Ditfurth, Peter Bierl und Hamburg based activists of the Communist Alliance (Kommunistischen Bundes) founded the "Ecological Left" (Ökologische Linke) – an umbrella group, in which the network of the left-wing extremist scene is well anchored. They stand explicitly hostile to parliamentary democracy; indeed, Democracy and Fascism are identified with each other as equal. This yields some strange fruit: The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th is not considered by the representatives of the central council of the Eco-Leftists as an act of Islamic terrorism; rather it is a "territorial struggle between capitalist factions" (Verteilungskämpfe von Kapitalfraktionen). The Federal State's Constitutional Protection Office in Hessen is monitoring this group as leftist extremists.2

Peter Bierl edits the newspaper ÖkolinX3 together with Jutta Ditfurth. It serves as a base for his battle against "nationalistic idiocy" (nationale Wahnvorstellungen). Not only does he deny the very existence of a "German People" (Volk) - which he always places in quotation marks, he denies that in principle "peoples" (Völkern) exist. Bierl laments the "racist policies of the National United Front (nationalen Einheitsfront) of the CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD und Greens4" and curses the CDU in particular as the "Successors of the Nazis".5 Jail is "obviously too mild a punishment" for those who are guilty of believing in the existence of nationality (nationale Überzeugungstäter)". Further, Bierl, together with Jutta Ditfurth and others waged a campaign of defamation against Silvio Gesell6 (1862-1930), a theorist known for his innovative ideas on money and interest, calling the creator of the theory of free (unhoardable) money "a fanatic", "anti semitic" and "pro-capitalist."7

Bierl's primary field of agitation is of course his battle against the Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy. In his book, published in 1999, he denounced the Waldorf Schools as "the fifth Colony of Neo-Fascism", designated Anthroposophy as "an obscure racist teaching" and a "racist ideology" and located in it a "brown spirit."8. The crime of Anthroposophy is that it rejects the thought that it is possible to change society, an accusation that comes smack up against the next, that Anthroposophy is the tip of the spear of a pervasive, subversive conspiracy against Democracy and The Enlightenment. The success of the Waldorf Schools is for Bierl "a part of a general right-wing development and idiocy" namely, "esoteric idiocy."9

Besides his journalistic activities, for example for the left-extremist daily paper "Tageszeitung Junge Welt" he publishes his execrable writings through the Alibri-Verlag (a publishing house) in Aschaffenburg, which is closely related to the "Internationalen Bund der Konfessionslosen und Atheisten" (International Alliance of the Non-Religious and Atheists). There he finds himself in the company of authors such as Colin Goldner10, the brothers Grandt and the founder of the IzAK - R. Wiechoczek, who are here united with other European atheists under the American umbrella organization "Atheist Alliance International" to fight against "rampant religious idiocy" and the "dumbing down of humanity through religion".

But that is not all. Even a renowned newspaper such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung accepts the service of Bierl "the mini-Bolshevik" and also his companion in opinion, Colin Goldner, and uses them for, among other things, their anti-anthroposophy campaign. True to his device "one does not speak to Anthroposophists, only about them," Bierl uses the forum of the Süddeutschen Zeitung as an effective multiplier for his slanders. Why, one must ask, does the Süddeutsche Zeitung make a protege of a left-wing radical political sectarian and militant atheist? Is it because of financial gain or simply ideological prejudice?

Lorenzo Ravagli

Translation and footnotes by Daniel Hindes

1. Süddeutsche Zeitung - The South German News - a large, conservative, and generally well-respected regional newspaper in Germany.

2. The German government has a department specifically tasked to monitor groups who advocate the overthrow of the German constitution by violence. While its time is primarily occupied with Neo-Nazis and right wing extremists, the extreme left is also their responsibility. Being "on the list" is a sign of how seriously the German police take their political activities.

3. The title ÖkolinX is a hip play on the words "Ecology" and "Left" - Öko as an abbreviation for "Ökologie" and "LinX" as a phonetic play on "Links" meaning "Left".

4. The CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD und Greens are the five major political parties in Germany - Bierl is calling them all one United Front Party, kind of like calling the Democrats and Republicans together the "Demo-Publicans". He argues that there is no difference at all between them.

5. The CDU is the major right of center party, with around 40% of the vote. Roughly equivalent to the Republican party in the US.

6. Silvio Gesell (1862-1930), author of The Natural Economic Order, was a left-of center social reformer.

7. The same accusations they seem to level against anyone they don't like - Steiner, Anthroposophists, prominent economists.

8. "Brown Spirit" - an implied fascist bent - an allusion to Hitler's Brown Shirts - the organized thugs who harassed the Jews and other undesirables in the Third Reich.

9. Borrowing a turn of phrase from Ernst Bloch.

10. Author of a book titled "Dali Lama, The Case of a God-King" (only available in German) in which he carefully explains the central tenets of Buddhism with emphasis on tantric sex, which he explains in all detail as well as its importance in the life of a Lama. A whole section is devoted to the "stupid joke of karma and reincarnation". Not being an expert on Buddhism or Tantra, I will forego judgment.

So I have my doubts as to whether calling Bierl's work "extremely thorough research" is a proper characterization. The eco-leftists seem to stick together, creating a self-referencing clique of "critical scholarship" - critical in tone rather than quality. And the rule "one does not speak to Anthroposophists, only about them" helps ensure that their conclusions won't ever have to encounter anything as difficult as actual facts.

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