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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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

Commemorating Raya Dunayevskaya, 1910-1987:
Founder of Marxist-Humanism

by Travis Blute

Last month (9 June) marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Raya Dunayevskaya––possibly the greatest, but certainly one of the great, revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. That is a big claim for a century that included Lenin, Trotsky and many other Marxists who were political giants with huge influence on the course of events in the last century. Dunayevskaya’s reputation does not match those of these leading figures, but I would suggest it deserves to do so––not for the sake of posterity, but as a basis in thought on which to work to overcome capitalism today. She produced four books, hundreds of articles and thousands of pages of archives. I am only going to touch on a small part of her work, concentrating on the early development of her philosophy which became Marxist-Humanism.

Dunayevskaya was born Rae Spiegel in 1910, in what is today’s Ukraine, then part of Russia. She emigrated with her family to the U.S. as a young girl. Read More

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