billy elgin billy_e11 at
Tue Mar 16 11:25:26 PST 1999

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:18:07 +0100 From: "Johannes Schneider" <Johannes.Schneider at> Subject: Re: Post Oskar Scenario

- ----- Original Message ----- From: Chris Burford <cburford at> To: <lbo-talk at> Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 1999 12:25 AM Subject: Post Oskar Scenario

>At 08:32 15/03/99 +0100, Johannes wrote:
>> Chris Burford wrote
>>>That the new finance minister comes from Hesse also seems to be a
signal of
>>>Schroeders determination to pay attention to electability in view of
>>>recent SPD losses there. And for that, it is necessary to be
>>>about what parts of capital can be taken on at any one time.
>>There is another thing to be kept in mind with Eichel. Actually he is
one of
>>Lafontaines boys. What he has been calling for in the past was pretty
>>in line with the SPD party programme ( and thus Lafontaine ). When he
>>was mayor of Kassel he got the nickname the 'Lafontaine of Kassel'.
>I am puzzled by this, while I really appreciate the opportunity of
>out these events in an international forum.
>Eichel, like a good party man, may have spoken up for the SPD party
>programme, but surely there are some differences between him and
>Lafontaine. He certainly doesn't talk and act like Lafontaine from what
>can make out of German television.
You are right he sounds much smoother than Lafontaine, but when you listen to what he has been saying instead of how he said, its sounds very close to Lafontaine. E.g. I dont think Eichel with antagonize the European Central Bank like Lafontaine did. But Lafontaine was counter-productive. Now that he has gone interest rates are going to be reduced in Euroland. Certainly Eichel is much weaker than Lafontaine was inside the cabinet. Furthermore he is coming in as the loser of the Hesse state parliament elections. On the other hand Lafontaine is gone but the forces inside the SPD (and society as whole) that supported him did not disappear over night. Lets see who is going to be appointed as deputy minsiters under Eichel, since Lafontaines co-workers Noe and Flassbeck left too.
>On a point in another post, I clearly agree that people should not tail
>behind the SPD of Lafontaine. I do not know enough about the PDS on the
>present situation to know how they place themselves, but in what sense
>they "Stalinist"? The expression can be a catch all of many negative
meanings. OK, I have to admit this was intended as a sort of polemic and provocation. But nevertheless, the PDS is coming from a political tradition within the German workers movement that identified closely with Stalin and his successors. Furthermore the main constituency of the PDS are people who remember the political system of the GDR quite positively. Perhaps they are Stalinists in the same way the editors of the late 'Marxism Today' were. Johannes

Thanks for your posts, Johannes, they're very interesting. One question I do have though, is how do you define *Stalinist*? Where are you coming from politically? Are you an independent marxist, bureaucratic collectivist, workers stater, flowing free and easy with the breeze,etc? Personally, my politics are close to the Fourth International but I'm relatively new to socialism and while I dont think that the fall of the GDR or the Soviet Union was a positvie development I still have questions about how the working classes in those countries could have organized to overthrow the bureacracies, given the political dictatorships that were in place there.

The PDS sounds like the Russian CP- lots of bureaucratic leftovers and not a lot of potential for independent politics. Boris Kagarlitsky had a negative article on the Russian CP and its role in Russia's current situation- I think that it was either in International Viewpoint or Green Left Weekly.

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