Anyone who received their heating bill for the past year in NRW in the last few weeks knew that they would have to prepare for and pay quite high additional payments.As a result of the energy crisis and the way the federal government has dealt with it, they just didn't want to lower prices. However, some prices have gone through the roof to such an extent that the Federal Cartel Office is now investigating six suppliers of district heating. More precisely, and this makes the matter particularly piquant, against six suppliers and municipal utilities in NRW. The Federal Cartel Office wants to keep the exact municipal utilities to itself. In anycase, the afore mentioned utilities are suspected of having completely inflated the prices for the district heating supplied in a way that was not causative. In other words, prices were increased for no good reason and purely for profit, and consumers, and above all the general public, were ripped off.

This concerns the period between January 2021 and September 2023, so even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent developments in energy policy. The proceedings that have been initiated are particularly interesting because the heating suppliers have a monopoly position in their respective cities, which means that if you buy heating you cannot avoid paying these excessive prices. We can all surely remember the whining propaganda of the German energy monopolists in recent years that they could not lower prices under any circumstances, as they would otherwises lide into the red if purchase prices rose. Well, Andreas Mundt, head of the Federal Cartel Office, gives an example of how one could not only avoid such a minus, but even make a lot of profit, as you can see from these six suppliers. Mundt states that "it raises questions if a company has adjusted the district heating price to the development of the gas price, although other cheaper alternatives were actually used for heat generation." They buy energy or energy supply bases that are much cheaper and use the current market situation with exploding gas prices to drive up profits. At the expense of the working class and the people, of course. The fact that the municipal utilities are part of the so-called state services of general interest, i.e. basic state infrastructure which, according to the bourgeois ideal, is there to satisfy the needs of the citizens, once again unmasks the role of the German bourgeoisie and its state-owned companies in the energy crisis and its management. Wherever possible, the capitalists parasitize on our class, even when inflation is impoverishing large sections of the people and there is less and less money left over.

The famous Folkwang Museum in Essen ended its collaboration with Haitian guest curator Anaïs Duplan this week. Duplan was previously responsible for putting together works for an exhibition that explored what a new society could look like. Specifically, it was to be about the exhibition "We are the future. Visions of New Communities" and the role of black people. Duplan, who is himself a professor of literature, is considered an expert in this field. His work has now been terminated by the Folkwang Museum because he is accused of having made a series of "anti-Israel" posts on his personal Instagram account, in which he is said to have supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, among other things.A spokesperson for the museum said that this step was taken because the German parliament classifies the BDS movement as "anti-Semitic", as it questions Israel's right to exist. This is not the first incident where artists who show sympathy for the Palestinian liberation struggle and the BDS movement have been excluded from artistic events in the region. Back in 2018, the hip-hop crew "Young Fathers" was invited and disinvited from the Ruhrtriennale several times because of their close ties to the BDS movement. This time, too, the uniform silencing on the subject of Palestine is evident with even greater intensity in all areas of imperialist society in the FRG, which is now also evident in the art and culture sector in addition to the bourgeois political landscape and media industry. The "state reason " of the FRG to stand behind the so-called "right to exist" and security of Israel is rigorously enforced against all resistance and with all consequences. The "state reason" then clashes with the justified standpoints of progressive artists who, especially if they come from oppressed nations or are black, as in the case of Duplan or Young Fathers, take an unyielding and consistent stand against genocide and colonialism and accordingly do not grant the Israeli state the right to exist.

The automotive supplier "ZF Automotive" is threatening to close its plant in Gelsenkirchen. This would mean another 360 people losing their jobs in Germany's poorest city. As  with other factory closures, this would not only affect the workers at "ZF Automotive", but also their families, kiosks and  food stalls in the surrounding area and other small store service providers who earn their living by supplying or providing mobility for these workers. The reason for the closure is said to be the lack of customer orders for a new electronic  truck steering system. Back in 2018, already 240 people lost their jobs  at the automotive supplier, which manufactures wiring harnesses and steering systems for the majo rautomotive monopolies. At that time, instead of saving the jobs of the employees, a total of 10 million was pumped into the company to make it more "future-proof". This "investment injection" has apparently not achieved much. The fact that "ZF Automotive" is not a "normal" medium-sized company worth millions of euros can be seen from the fact that the Group has 168 productionsites in 32 countries with a total of 165,000 employees. At the beginning of December, the company management wants to meet with the workers and negotiate how to proceed. It can be assumed that the outcome will be similar to 2018. The closure of the factory and the dismissal of the employees would be just one of many factory closures in the region.

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