Is Germany’s political landscape becoming a breeding ground for extremism?

Martin Schulz President of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) addresses the Federal Congress of the party. After three days of intense debate the party decided to discuss with Angela Merkel’s Conservatives the formation of another ‘Grad Coalition’ government. (Snapshot from a video, SPD Federal Congress).

Last Week, the German center left Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided to cooperate once more with the country’s conservatives, the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister Christian Social Union. They are to negotiate the formation of a grand coalition government, understandably under Chancellor Angela Merkel. This development may now seem the only mathematically possible solution left to secure a stable government for the next four years in this dull country.

However, politics is neither a mathematical discipline, nor does it obey the laws of addition and subtraction. At this point, though, one has to follow the main political developments during the past twenty years, in order to be able to understand what is happening in Germany today.

Grand coalitions for Deutschland

It’s the third time since 2005 the socialists are helping the conservatives impose their neoliberal policies in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The SPD not only helped the center-right in that, but actually espoused its ideology; neoliberalism. Not to forget, at the beginning of the Millennium, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder, leaders of the then governing British Labour Party and the German SPD adopted the ‘third way’ in politics. It was the abandonment of the classic left-right political ideology which reflected the interests of distinct social classes. They adopted a modern ‘laissez faire laissez passer’ dogma.

Unfortunately, this led to economic liberalism (neo-liberalism) but not to political libertarianism. Judging it ex post, it led to the gigantism of the banks, which in its turn led to consecutive financial crises, which were paid for by the hard working and heavily taxed hundreds of millions in the entire old continent and the US. Remember the dot.com crisis in the US and European stock markets (2000), the Asian / global financial crisis (1997) and the great financial crisis of 2008-2010.

It’s the economy, stupid

Coming back to politics, the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has recently forsaken ‘Blairism’ and the neo-liberalism of the banks and in this way the party has been revitalized. It won 40% of the vote in last June’s legislative election and now is earnestly attacking the financial leviathans of the London City. However, these latest developments in the UK have to a great extent be attributed to the unique political and economic circumstances of Britain, with the Brexit and all.

In Germany, however, the SPD has remained under the spell of neo-liberalism and cannot anymore understand the problems of that part of society, which used to be its political audience. Today, most people are sick and tired with the immigrant flows, feel insecure and an increasing part of voters experience economic difficulties. Unfortunately, the SPD doesn’t listen to the social malaise. They are happy to co-govern with the conservatives.

Shrinking the SPD

As a result, in the legislative election of last September, SPD lost half of the voters who in 2005 had elected Schröder in the Chancellery. Many political analysts caution that after four more years in a ‘grand coalition’ government under Merkel and the socialists may become a small fringe party. True, the people who strongly disagree with immigration will vote for the extreme right, semi fascist Alterative for Germany (AfD). Those who want standard conservative governance will vote for the Christian parties, while the left-wingers may choose the Die Linke and those who are sensitive with the environmental issues will vote for the Greens.

Who is left there to vote again for the socialists? Such an eventuality will not only destroy the political system of Germany, it will have important repercussions all over Europe. The nationalist, anti-immigration or even racist political parties will gain new momentum.

Happy as they are

For this reason and more so because a number of SPD members feel in their hearts the need for a groundbreaking renewal, the last party conference had difficulties in approving the ‘grand coalition’ option. According to the news group Handelsblatt, Kevin Kühnert, the leader of the party’s youth organization Juno, “met a more enthusiastic response at the convention in a spirited speech rejecting a new coalition. ‘The renewal of the SPD will take place outside a grand coalition, or it won’t happen’ he said to much more vigorous applause than Mr. Schulz received”. .

Yet, the party’s dinosaurs, President Martin Schulz and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a long time leader of, had it their own way. They were not alone though. Seemingly, the largest part of the SPD parliamentary group, presumably made up of the party’s cronies, are in favor of a new ‘grand coalition’. Andrea Nahles, the group’s chief whip championed this option. She proclaimed: “There is no law of nature that being in opposition equals a strong SPD and taking part in a coalition equals a weak SPD.” Obviously, the leading quarters of the party are quite happy tailing the governments of Angela Merkel. It keeps them in the corridors of power even as a second fiddle.

Fanatics ‘ante portam’

However, there is a law in politics which says if a party is losing votes, and continues doing what is has been doing, the losses will accelerate or at least they will continue. Of course, the same is true for Angela Merkel’s CDU. No wonder then, if the aggressively racist, vulgar populist and opportunist AfD continues increasing its penetration in the German society. They just need to touch up their public image and throw away some party members with problems with the penal law, and they can become mainstream.

The vast majority of voters know exactly what the populists represent. Still, they support them because the established political elites don’t confront or even discuss the problems which haunt the average man and woman in the streets. The populists are doing that on a wholesale basis. They accumulate political capital on the fears, the obsessions and the patriotism of the many.

Alas, Germany’s political elites do not seem to worry for the future. France proved to be the political academy of Europe, and produced the Emmanuel Macron phenomenon. He effectively covered the vacuum left by the evaporation of both the French socialist and the center-right parties. So, he managed to block the way of the French extreme right, racist almost fascist National Front. Is Germany able to repeat the French political renewal? Many doubt it.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

Trump’s trade wars: Aiming at long term gains for America

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

European Youth Vlog

What Merkel and Macron are to tell Trump in Davos?

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

Youth and Participation: are the people rising up in Spain? 


Bank resolutions and recapitalisations by the ESM may end up politically swayed

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

MWC 2016 LIVE: Telenor CEO calls on operators to embrace Mobile Connect initiative

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

GSMA announces new keynote speakers for 2018 Mobile World Congress

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Are ECB’s €500 billion enough to revive Eurozone? Will the banks pass it to the real economy?

Gloomy new statistics signify no end to Eurozone’s economic misery

Germany hides its own banks’ problems

Matthias in Canada

Bankers don’t go to jail because they are more equal than us all

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

Road to Brexit: the UK seeks early agreement on Data Privacy with the EU

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

German banks suffer of nausea amidst rough seas

Real EU unemployment rate at 10.2%+4.1%+4.7%: Eurostat Update

Whose interests are protected by the new Mortgage Directive?

Human rights in Brussels and in Beijing: a more balanced approach needed

Travel the world, find yourself

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

Eurozone: Sovereign debt decreases for the first time since 2007

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

JADE Spring Meeting Live Coverage: Entrepreneurial skills in the digital markets

EU prepares for the worst case scenario as Turkey seems to be withdrawing from the migration deal

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

How Greece was destroyed

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “There is a communication issue (about China) which markets don’t like” Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF stresses from Davos

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

Auditors say EU spending delivers limited value for money but the timing of their report poses questions

A new arrangement between Eurozone’s haves and have-nots

TTIP fight round 6: last chance for the negotiators to finally open up as they touch the Brussels ring

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

Half the world’s population is still offline. Here’s why that matters

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

MWC 2016 LIVE: Intel focuses on 5G “beyond the Powerpoint”

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Commission goes less than mid-way on expensive euro

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

The new EU “fiscal compact” an intimidation for all people

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

Juncker Investment Plan for Europe welcomed by European Youth Forum

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s