Dennis R Redmond dredmond at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Mon Sep 28 01:39:43 PDT 1998

On Mon, 28 Sep 1998, Johannes Schneider wrote:

> One has to keep
> in mind that the green party is no longer that one of the eighties. A lot of
> radicals left them ( e.g Dittfurth, Ebermann, Trampert ). Even when it comes
> to their public anouncements the Greens of today are very soft-spoken and
> try to avoid everything that could provoke the liberal mainstream.
> Furthermore the capitalists consider Schroeder (as against the SPD as a
> whole) openly has their man inside the government. Commonly Schroeder is
> known as the bosses comrade (Genosse der Bosse).

Kohl ist weg -- yahooo! In fact, the election results are quite interesting: the CDU/CSU was thoroughly pummeled, receiving its lowest share of the vote since 1949; disillusioned Rightwing voters seem to have peeled off to the neoliberal FDP and, more ominously, to the 5.9% of the electorate which voted for splinter parties of the Right. Schroeder is not, as you might think, a cheap opportunist like Clinton, but rather an expensive one, like LBJ -- the leftwing young socialists or Jusos called him "Automann" due to his acumen in showering Volkswagen, one of Niedersachsen's biggest employers, with tax breaks and perks.

But there's much to cheer about in this election. The Greens racked up a solid 6.7% in national elections, and the PDS got around 5.1% or so, which means a solid contingent of diehard radicals will be able to shut der Gerd down cold if he even tries to pursue Kohl-like policies (and the SPD would, if they could get away with it, which they can't). Two of the more subtle but nevertheless extremely important effects the election will have: (1) the new coalition will revise the citizenship laws, probably the most archaic in Europe, so that the 8 million or so immigrants in Germany have a real chance of becoming citizens; these people are mostly workingclass and hyperexploited, and will vote solidly for the Left, and (2) more money will be funneled into EU projects of all kinds, and especially into Eastern Europe. Long boom, here we come.

One other point: you shouldn't get the idea that Germany is going down the Clintonite road to ruin. In fact, the real story in Deutschland is the emergence, after a century of war, barbarism and petrifaction, of one of Europe's liveliest political cultures. In 1996 there were huge street protests against Kohl's austerity package (it was a mere $20 billion in cuts, and was later reduced somewhat, but people were PISSED OFF), in 1997 there were massive student strikes and more protests, and now, here in 1998, the first transfer of power by an election (as opposed to the coalition reshuffling of 1969) in the Bundesrepublik went off without a hitch. What's happening in Europe today is that the trainwreck of neoliberalism has created such social mayhem that people are beginning to wake up and actively fight back, on countless cultural and political levels. It's those new grassroots social movements, plus the Greens and PDS, which are constructing the 21st century left as we speak.

-- Dennis

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