FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Story of the German Elections

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

The real story of the German election, which has not been accurately reported in the American corporate media, is that the left won.

The combined tallies of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder, its coalition partner the Green Party, and a new leftist party, the Left Party, composed of the former Communist Party of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and breakaway leftists from the SDP, add up to almost 52 percent of the vote, and represent a majority of the Bundestag, the German parliament.

But Schroeder and the SDP, which like Tony Blair and the British Labour Party, has moved decisively away from its socialist roots and traditions, are vowing not to cut a deal with the Left Party, which of course, would be able to demand significant concessions (and important cabinet posts) from the SDP on things like continued funding of social programs, protection of unions and union jobs, and the like in return for its participation in the government.

Absent such an agreement with the Left Party, Schroeder would have to cut a deal with the economically conservative Free Democratic Party, which would pull the coalition much farther to the right than even the main SDP membership wants. There is also the risk that the Greens would refuse to join such a coalition, leaving the SDP still without a governing majority.

In the end, absent selling his party’s soul to the FDP (which would likely lead to further SDP defections to the Left Party), Schroeder’s only real choices are to accept a coalition that includes the Left Party, or to agree to a secondary role in a so-called “grand coalition” with the Conservative Union of his opponent, Angela Merkel, who has been described as a German Margaret Thatcher, hell-bent on dragging Germany and Germans away from the welfare state and into an American-style society where the rich get to keep their money and losers are left by the wayside to fend for themselves.

The reality shown in the election results is that a majority of Germans don’t want to see such a disaster foisted upon them, but you wouldn’t know that from following the American press, which was rooting for a big Merkel win, characterized typically in pre-election reports as a victory for “reform.”

Schroeder himself, and his SDP, have clearly taken a deserved drubbing, but not because they have been pursuing a socialist political model. It is defections to the left, in the form of the Left Party, that forced the chancellor to call early elections, and that have left him without a governing majority to stay in power.

Germans, despite 11 percent unemployment, are not clamoring for Thatcherism. Indeed, Merkel’s CDU, with 35.2 percent of the vote, suffered one of its worst electoral showings, garnering only .9 percent more votes and 3 more seats than Schroeder’s own discredited and fractured SDP.

The newly formed Left Party, in its first national election foray, garnered 8.7 percent of the vote, out-polling the Green Party-not a bad showing when one considers how many Left Party sympathizers must have held their noses and voted for Schroeder and the SDP, fearing that polls predicting a Merkel win might have been correct.

The U.S. media seem unwilling to admit that a country as economically well off, and as socially and politically conservative, as Germany, might have a majority that favors socialist or progressive solutions to economic and social problems, and might reject a candidate as sympathetic to American political views and American foreign policy as Merkel and the CDU, but that is the real message of the German election.

Whatever the outcome of intraparty negotiations to form a new government, it is clear that a majority of Germans still want a government that protects workers, protects the elderly, and that controls corporate power, and that maintains a foreign policy independent of the U.S.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
May 06, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Dave Wagner
When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh
John Stauber
Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters
Joshua Frank
Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard
Bill Martin
Fear of Trump: Annals of Parliamentary Cretinism
Carol Miller
Pretending the Democratic Party Platform Matters
Paul Street
Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone
Tamara Pearson
Mexico Already Has a Giant Wall, and a Mining Company Helped to Build It
Dave Lindorff
Bringing the Sanders ‘Revolution’ to Philly’s Streets
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism
Carmelo Ruiz
The New Wave of Repression in Puerto Rico
Jack Denton
Prison Labor Strike in Alabama: “We Will No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression”
Jeffrey St. Clair
David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books, the CounterPunch Connection
David Rosen
Poverty in America: the Deepening Crisis
Pepe Escobar
NATO on Trade, in Europe and Asia, is Doomed
Pete Dolack
Another Goodbye to Democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is Passed
Carla Blank
Prince: Pain and Dance
Josh Hoxie
American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware
Gabriel Rockhill
Media Blackout on Nuit Debout
Barry Lando
Welcome to the Machine World: the Perfect Technological Storm
Hilary Goodfriend
The Wall Street Journal is Playing Dirty in El Salvador, Again
Frank Stricker
Ready for the Coming Assault on Social Security? Five Things Paul Ryan and Friends Don’t Want You to Think About
Robert Gordon
Beyond the Wall: an In-Depth Look at U.S. Immigration Policy
Roger Annis
City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands Burning to the Ground
Simon Jones
RISE: New Politics for a Tired Scotland
Rob Hager
After Indiana: Sanders Wins another Purple State, But Remains Lost in a Haze of Bad Strategy and Rigged Delegate Math
Howard Lisnoff
Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-war Hero With a Huge Blindspot
Adam Bartley
Australia-China Relations and the Politics of Canberra’s Submarine Deal
Nyla Ali Khan
The Complexity of the Kashmir Issue: “Conflict Can and Should be Handled Constructively
Ramzy Baroud
The Spirit of Nelson Mandela in Palestine: Is His Real Legacy Being Upheld?
Mel Gurtov
North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead?
Alli McCracken - Raed Jarrar
#IsraelSaudi: A Match Made in Hell
George Wuerthner
Working Wilderness and Other Code Words
Robert Koehler
Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz
Ron Jacobs
Psychedelic Rangers Extraordinaire
Missy Comley Beattie
It’s a Shit Show!
Kevin Martin
President Obama Should Meet A-Bomb Survivors
David Macaray
Our Best Weapon Is Being Systematically Eliminated
Colin Todhunter
Future Options: From Militarism and Monsanto to Gandhi and Bhaskar Save
Binoy Kampmark
The Trump Train Chugs Along
Thomas Knapp
The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips
Cesar Chelala
A Lesson of Auschwitz
John Laforge
Dan Berrigan, 1921 – 2016: “We Haven’t Lost, Because We Haven’t Given Up.”
Norman Trabulsy Jr
John Denver and My 40th High School Reunion
Charles R. Larson
Being Gay in China, Circa 1987
David Yearsley
Skepticism, Irony, and Doubt: Williams on Bach
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail