The rise of the (Alt-)Right in Germany’s Elections: A commentary

by Ralph Keller

Editor’s note: Below is the updated and corrected version of October 20, 2017. An endnote, [1], details the changes.

The German general parliamentary elections revealed ‘surprises’ to the CDU / CSU (Christian Democratic Union / Christian Social Union) coalition, led by Angela Merkel, and the SPD (Social-Democratic Party of Germany) led by Martin Schulz, which received a slap in the face from voters. These three parties obtained their lowest results since the end of World War II. The CDU / CSU coalition received 33% of the popular vote; the SPD received 20%. Yet for people outside these parties, the principal reason these results are shocking and very concerning is that they reveal the rise of the German (Alt-)Right AfD (Alternative for Germany), which one might call proto-fascist. They received 13% of the popular vote.

The other important result of the election is that it resulted in a ‘hung parliament’. No political stream––(Alt-)Right, traditional conservative, centre, or left––is able to form a government by itself. Another interesting result is that the Bundestag (parliament) will, for the first time since World War II, consist of seven parties.

Because no party has achieved a majority, or a result close to majority, coalitions consisting of a number of parties will have to be formed. The CDU / CSU, under Angela Merkel, will probably continue to lead the new government, with the participation of the FDP (Free Democratic Party) and the Greens, in what German political jargon is calling the ‘Jamaica coalition’. It is called that because (given some fantasy) the party colours resemble the Jamaican flag. The CDU / CSU’s colour is black; the FDP’s is yellow; and, of course, the Greens’ is green.

Views, opinions and analyses about ‘Jamaica’ are plentiful, but no-one has looked at the election results from a Marxist perspective and a philosophy for freedom. That is what this commentary attempts.

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The Impossible Referendum that Happened in Catalonia

October 11, 2017 by  

by Enrique Saiz

The last few years have been witness to a true earthquake in Spanish politics. The bleeding wound left on the economy of Spain by the Great Recession was perhaps the spark that lit the fuse on a series of far-reaching changes, ones that have attracted the interest of commentators around the world. From the decay of the classical bipartisan system of the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, Spanish Socialist Workers Party; social-democrats turned third-way social-liberals) and the PP (Partido Popular, People’s Party; conservatives), to the bank bailout. From the indignados to the birth of Podemos, the grassroots protests and direct actions to stop evictions of the PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, Mortgage Victim’s Platform). One could say the deep shock that the country experienced when its property bubble collapsed ignited latent social and economic conflicts that had been dormant for some time, or made them take on new forms. Read More

Audio: Combatting White Nationalism: Lessons from Marx

by Andrew Kliman

I have just written a full-length essay, “Combatting White Nationalism: Lessons from Marx,” on how to deal with the threat of Trumpism and similar manifestations of white nationalism. If you’d like to read the complete text, please click here.

On September 24, I gave a presentation, based on an abbreviated version of the essay, to an international meeting of Marxist-Humanist Initiative. Members, supporters, and invited guests from the US, England, Scotland, and Sweden attended by Skype. If you’d like to listen to the audio recording of my presentation, please click here.

The following is the abstract of the essay: Read More

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