A large demonstration against the planned compulsory vaccination and for the restoration of fundamental rights in Austria took place in Vienna on November 20, 2021, attracting great international attention. The two participants Markus Haintz and Gerold Beneder then met for a conversation to analyze the current situation and to dare to look into the future.
Rolled Beneder, has been working as a lawyer in Vienna for more than 20 years, has been dealing with matters relating to Corona since May 2020. He is a founding member of Fundamental rights lawyers, Founding member of the Extra-parliamentary Corona Committee ACU Austria as well as founding and board member of the new party MFG Austria.
Markus Haintz is a lawyer with his own law firm in Ulm, peace activist and international journalist. Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, he has been constantly involved in many different ways in the resistance against an increasingly invasive state. According to his motto Martin Luther King: “Injustice in one place threatens justice in everyone else.”
A clear signal: people do not want to have vaccinations
Both lawyers rate the demonstration in Vienna as a great success. The novelty and special element was that – unlike in previous events, all initiatives and organizations had worked together. From political parties to pensioners’ associations and representatives of the health professions to individual well-known personalities met on November 20th all under one flag to a large demonstration that encompasses the entire Ringstrasse to protest against lockdown and compulsory vaccination. Beneder estimates that this demonstration is one of the largest in the Second Republic – an event that gave him strength for the movement. Haintz, who has a lot of demonstration experience, was also impressed. He calculates a number of participants converted to the population of Austria of 1% – a real success that politicians will not be able to ignore. The international participation and attention also has a supportive effect. The lawyers are certain that the signal has arrived: A general compulsory vaccination is rejected.
“A state that enforces mandatory vaccination by force is a totalitarian dictatorship.”
Beneder points out that every responsible citizen should become skeptical of the Federal Government’s approach to using all conceivable lure and pressure to get people to vaccinate with Covid. Every lawyer in particular should stand on the back of their necks “if the state uses such means to do something good for someone.” He has numerous reasons in mind why a general vaccination requirement is unconstitutional. On top of that, no corresponding risk situation is given (Beneder refers here to Prof. Ioannidis).
For Haintz, a general vaccination requirement is not justified, even in a situation that is much more dangerous than the current situation. One must be able to determine the body itself: “The state cannot tell me how to protect myself.“Regardless of the fact that a dangerous situation does not exist, such an approach fails for him because of other fundamental rights. He chose his words very deliberately: “A state that introduces compulsory vaccination against its population and which, if necessary, wants to enforce it by force, is not a democracy for me. For me it is a totalitarian dictatorship. “
The USA shows that it can be done completely differently. From Florida, which Haintz recently toured, he knows how to live there “almost like we used to be”. It is important to make a direct comparison in terms of health policy and health (keyword: vaccination, control group) over the long term to have. This is possible due to the different approaches of the individual US states in dealing with Corona.
The law, if it actually comes, will be fought with all possible means
Both lawyers are currently not convinced that the law on general compulsory vaccination will actually be passed in Austria. Haintz admits that the announcement of the compulsory vaccination for everyone is a propaganda move, which aimed to incite people and drive them into a corner with the aim of provoking escalations at the large demonstration that took place in Vienna the following day in order to be able to present images of violent riots in the media.
„In Austria they are now trying to see how far they can go,“ so Haintz.
According to Beneder, the law will be fought in the legislative process. There will be opportunities for comments, discussions in parliament, and possibly also in the Federal Council. Should it actually be decided, “the lawyers will surely come up with something.” It is already certain that it will be challenged at the Constitutional Court. Penalties are fought against by means of an objection. Beneder: “We all know how long the dishes take. A year and a half have passed. By then you may have become a little smarter and have realized that it makes no sense to make the population happy with a mandatory vaccination. “
The average citizen thinks of the word “duty”: “I have to do it.” But this is not the case. In fact, he explains, “it will be possible to slow it down legally for the time being. The system can slow it down, ”agrees Haintz.
“Time is playing for us”
Beneder assumes that those around 30% of the Austrian population who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid “thought something out, informed themselves and made a well-founded picture”. He estimates that it will be difficult if not impossible to convince these people through administrative penal proceedings to allow themselves to be injected. The notion that two million people contest penalties and perhaps as many apply for legal aid makes the lawyer smile: “The judiciary is a bit busy there and you have gained time.”
His conviction: “Time is of the essence for us.” Not a day goes by without new knowledge; new people are constantly joining the critics. The rule of law still functions in some areas in Austria. The police protect demonstrations after the ban on demonstrations was overturned by a court. The Constitutional Court repeals unlawful acts. Judges will not only adopt the government’s narrative, but will deal with all the documents and use their opportunity to get to the bottom of something – as it is in the nature of a process to listen to both sides. Haintz also sees Austria as a good lever to “turn things around.” Hainz rules out that the state will switch to forcibly vaccinating people in three months’ time.
The 6 ways of resistance
According to Beneder, the individual citizen may often feel powerless and believe that he cannot achieve anything himself. However, this is not true. Everyone has talents and opportunities to get involved. It is a Teamwork in which everyone is encouraged to do what they can. It is important to actually take action. The two lawyers see six different possibilities, six ways of resistance, in order to “bring the system back to its senses”:
1. Legal opposition
The legal instruments in the form of Appeals, lawsuits, petitions to the Constitutional Court, dismissal and dismissal challenges etc. to complete. Beneder points out that there are already around 22 decisions by the Austrian Constitutional Court, by means of which parts of the law and ordinance have been repealed and hundreds of other applications have already been introduced.
2. Party political resistance
Even if it is only 6%, the lawyer says, the MPs can Submit applications. Ask questions. Represent the position of the people they stood for. And the next time things are elected, things may be different.
To take the resistance onto the street and to make it known there through peaceful protest, failure to endorse government policies is a strong possibility for any individual. In this way everyone can show that there is a wrong development in current politics.
Get to know people you would never have known under any other circumstances.
Refrain from previous practices. For example, from the previously preferred daily newspaper. Leaving employee representatives and other organizations. Promote initiatives that are more in line with personal ideas. Invest membership fees where they might be better invested. Beneder mentions as an example Freelance workers Austria FAN, the new sub-organization of MFG. It currently accompanies around 9,000 health care workers on their strike plans.
Enlighten. Use new media. Collect and disseminate information.
The two lawyers agree that it is the there is no way out of the situation. Rather, it is a mixture of all available options that will lead to the goal. There are also country-specific differences. While there was little demonstration in the former Eastern Bloc countries and there was more emphasis on boycotts, according to Haintz, protests on the street were written in capital letters in France and Italy, for example. What counts is the steady drop that ultimately wears away the stone. It depends on the commitment of each individual. It is important to be active yourself. To get into action. “There won’t be one lawsuit that will end the whole thing,” prophesies Haintz. Everyone is encouraged to take the defense of their freedom into their own hands. The time to rely on others is over.
Beneder is absolutely convinced that in the end everything can be steered in a good direction for the Austrian, German and also for the global population: “If you get so many good people who are honestly behind the cause together, we will be victorious and successful in the end.”