Home | About | Donate

Germany: The Rise of the Right


#1

Germany: The Rise of the Right

Gwynne Dyer

Angela Merkel’s slogan in her campaign for a fourth term as Chancellor was terminally bland and smug – “For a Germany in which we live well and love living” – but it did the job, sort of. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is back as the largest party, so Merkel gets to form the next coalition government. But the neo-fascists are now in the Bundestag (parliament) too, for the first time since the collapse of Nazi Germany.


#2

Huey Long was a demagogue and Trump is channeling him? Seriously? The same Huey Long who advocated for free healthcare for all and setup a charity public hospital system? Who accused Wall Street of hording all the wealth of the country and proposed a tax plan of ZERO taxes for those who earn under $1million, and 100% taxes for those who earn over $10million? The same Huey Long who setup a free university system? And advocated for a basic living universal income? And who actually pushed Roosevelt TO THE LEFT? If anything, Bernie Sanders is channeling Huey Long… and the accusation that he was a demagogue… doesn’t that accusation come straight from Wall Street sources? Hmmmmmmmmm.


#3

From what I know about Huey Long, demagogue (“a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”) is a pretty accurate label. Donald Trump, to quote another commenter here, won the election by campaigning from the left of Clinton.

Myself, I’d think very carefully before disagreeing with Gwynne Dyer, he’s proven to be correct way more often than not.


#4

Well, I have been contemplating a move to Europe but this gives me pause. Does anyone have any thoughts on Scandinavian countries like Denmark or Sweden? I know that the Danish center right party is in power now and the next election is 2019 and the DF is a sort of Trump-like party that made some gains in the last election. But would they ever gain more than a foothold and turn on even immigrants of western countries? For that matter, would all of the European far right (outside of the UK) ever gain more than just a foothold?


#5

Did the author forget that xenophobia, islamamophobia and pernicious nationalism was largely responsible for the successful brexit vote?


#6

“Houston, we have a problem”. Way that an intended pun?


#7

I agree, a very shallow liberal essay I’d say


#8

HARK!

Do I hear the sound of snare drums?

Of hobnailed jackboots trodding cadence on the cobblestones?

Is it of Horst Wessel the marching multitude now sings?

Be afraid.

Be very very very afraid.

For this time there is no Red Army to save us
from ourselves.


#9

This article is dangerous and foolish. Many people are driven to vote for the far right because only the far right recognizes the threat to Europe posed by Islam. By self-censoring and tiptoeing around this central fact the author has chosen not to understand his topic.


#10

I don’t see economic distress being at the bottom of this. Trump supporters are not that economically distressed in general. Rather the basis seems to white supremacy. The idea that the white race is superior, at least if the whites are Christian. It involves a combination of racism and religion. The migrants from various countries that are flooding into Europe are causing a backlash, even in countries like Sweden. The US already has large numbers of non-whites and they projected to become the majority in the a few decades. The German Nazis were white supremacists who considered Jews to be a race and an inferior race to the Aryans as the Nazis referred to themselves. Supposedly Hitler’s views were very influenced by the white supremacists in the US South. Improvement in economic conditions will not end this racism. It is too ingrained. Communities need to recognize manifestations of white supremacy and deal with it. It is unlikely to end any time soon and must be fought against continuously by people working for racial equality.


#11

You are being too literal. The author is only suggesting that Trump is channeling demagogic methods common to most populists. Yes the populist Huey Long is suffering by the comparison because he was an advocate for the little guy while Trump is not. However that is comparing policies not techniques. Note the comparison to the horrid Father Coughlin as well. The mention of populists was merely to illustrate that they share techniques if not policies. Notice how Trump pays lip service to his base’s attitudes and manipulates their loyalty thereby. Meanwhile Trump’s talks it up with his base but in reality he caters to the 1%. The disdain he feels towards ordinary people is just part of the role Trump is playing.


#12

It is a historical fact that economic stress encourages civil unrest. When the economic stress is relatively light (a mild recession as compared to a full bore depression) the cracks in society begin to show. Fringe groups and misfits always look for somebody else to blame for their troubles but when economic stresses mount more people begin to listen to their hateful rants. Racists find a new audience to an old script. Xenophobes point at any large groups of newcomers of whatever origin while other hate groups target gays or religions or race but much of the new support these groups get is mostly because others are resentful at worsening economic conditions.

Dwyer is right that the trend to the right in Europe is worrisome. When money is tight, the result is less tolerance for others.


#15

It is premature and incomplete to call this AfD as a Nazi party , it is risen to power on the backs of the populists movements all over the world. Widely supported by east German population and Russian speaking emmegrees it is a party of economic distress regions which is fueled by often employed technique of a racial or ethnic divide . Technique used by Trump, Hitler and other populists.

Unfortunately it is yet another evidence of Putin’s artful KGB style destabilizing operation in western democracies. The case of “raped Lisa” in Germany was heavily promoted by Russian state media , which is very much resembling US Facebook ad campaign to steer racial tensions.


#16

I think the author gives too much credit to the right and without acknowledging the destructiveness of neo-liberalism. Merkel’s lose of votes probably has as much to do with her neo-liberalism as it does with the growth of the right. The author does acknowledge that her campaign offered the people virtually nothing but doesn’t name the underlying culprit as being neo-liberalism.


#17

WHAT?..WoW.


#18

Which part WOWed you ? Continuous Putin sponsorship of right wing groups in Europe or US?

I , in particular, was wowed on how far 100k investment can go.

But here is a good summary on German semi successful interference


#19

So pretty much what the Great Terrorist State - America has been doing for decades, only minus the coups against leaders, the military destabilization and the influx of weapons to poor people. GTFO with that crap.


#20

The info you provided just proves how Brainwashed & susceptible to False Information you are! Cheers.


#21

Germany was center - right before the election … now center - right and far - right. Humans seem to regress when stressed.


#22

The German election shows that since the arrival of over 1.2 million refugees (mostly from Syria) in 2015 and 2016, Germany is indeed changing - but I would not say in a radical way. The CDU/CSU centrist coalition with the SPD went from a very high total of 502 seats or 79% of the 630 Parliamentary seats - BEFORE the elections Sunday - to a new lower total of 399 seats or 56% of the 709 Parliamentary seats. Since the SPD has decided not join the CDU/CSU in a new coalition government, Merkel’s party must find a way to join the left of center Green party and right of center FPD party to form a coalition government. Although the new AfD rather conservative nationalist party has won 12.6% of the total party vote - making it the 3rd largest party in Germany followed closely FDP party with 10.7% of the total party vote - Merkel will not be forming a coalition government with this new far right party.

Forming a governing coalition won’t be easy, but Merkel will respect the clear voter message of gettting control and cutting back drastically on her open-door immigration policy. The extraordinary extent and speed at which the flood of refugees has entered Germany under Merkel’s leadership is creating massive societal strains and problems of assimilation, as well as fears of expanding criminality and eventual watering down of the German culture. Very understandable and natural concerns, in my view.

But I don’t think Germany is headed into a radical ultra right transition under their mulit-party system. There are many more structural “checks and balances” in European “multi-party coalition” and “proportional representation” systems than the two-party endemically money bought and corrupted political system we are trapped in where “social polarization” is on a scale and depth many, many times that of most EU countries.

Before the German election, the Parliament consisted of 630 seats. After Sunday’s election, it now consists of 709 seats. The German Parliament in principle has 598 seats. Each voter makes TWO votes in the ballot booth: the “first vote” is for a directly elected district candidate. A candidate who wins a "plurality of the votes automatically gets a seat in the Parliament. This is similar to our "winner-takes-all "election system. The “second vote” is for a "party. After tallying the party votes, party officials select candidates from lists. The number of candidates selected is based on the percentage of total second votes won by each party.

This process forms the basis of Germany’s excellent Parliamentary “proportional representation” system. That is why Parliament seats increased from 630 seats to 709 seats after Sunday’s elections. If all voters vote the same party with both their first vote and second vote, this would of course lead to no change in the basic 598 Parliamentary seats. It’s a consummately inclusive, democratic process. The Netherlands also has its own version of a muliti-party proportional representation system. After elections sixmonths ago, the country is finally near agreement in forming a new coalition government with four parties. This compares to Merkel’s challenge now to form a coalition government comprising three parties.

German voters often “split” their first vote and second vote, i.e., their two votes are not for the same party. So, sometimes a party via the directly chosen district candidates in the first vote wins more Parliament seats than they would be entitled to based on the actual total second vote percentage split among the parties. If this occurs, the Parliament is expanded with extra seats so that the actual total second vote percentage split among parties is retained.

This proportional representation system comprises following parties: Merkel’s CDU/CSU centrist party (33% of vote), SPD socialist party (20.5% of vote), AfD far right party (12.6% of vote), FDP right of center party (10.7% of vote), Die Linke centrist party (9.2% of vote), the Green left of center party (8.9% of vote), all other 5.1% vote. So, the FDP right-of-center party and AfD far right of center new party have 23.3% of the total votes; the two centrist parties CDU/CSU and Die Linke have 42.2% of total votes, and the two left of center parties SPD socialist party and Green party have 29.4% of total votes.

While this shows a bigger movement to the right, it’s not the radical or dramatic frightening change that’s now being hyped. Under Germany’s “proportional representation” system, there are still an adequate number of cool-headed centrist parties and left of center parties to counterbalance any radical or destabilizing moves by the new AfD conservative nationalist party.