It’s true that the Euros got a leg up when it comes to the presence of a third, fourth, fifth, and even sixth party in their chambers of lawmaking, where the criminalization of *behavio
ur unbecoming of an entity without a passkey to the chamber’s backdoor is designated. This presence is where the differences, diverging as they do, find their way back to a natural order of confluence, in spite of all the intrigue of electoral gamesmanship.
* that’d be the Brexit
In Berlin, as in almost all the German federal states, the state parliament forever swings between the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Though many an American who lives in Germany will tell you that the Christian Democrats are “to the left of Republicans”, it’s a meaningless distinction. The CDU have a function just as the GOP: to maintain the attitude of more patriotic than thou-ness and sing the lamentation of diminishing family values at any and all Das Volk on Parade opportunities, and always craft a few percentage points advantage to the wealthy than would the Social Democrats when it comes to tax policy.
“Wer hat uns verraten? Sozial Demokraten.”
For their part, the Social Democrats (SPD) do what the American Democrats do best: maintain the façade of weak-willed wimps who fail to stick up for their claimed constituencies with every apparent compromise by playing them on teevee. The question in the refrain in this paragraph’s title is “Who betrayed us?” The answer is as clear. As clear as the SPD’s last Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Agenda 2010 was when he announced it. Think Clinton’s welfare reform.
When considering the Social Democrats betrayal of socialist values, however, one should never forget that it was the SPD’s free use of the Freikorps which got Rosa Luxemburg shot in the head and dumped in the drink. And that’s a liberal interpretation, if y’know what I’m sayin’.
So they build coalitions here in order to reach the majorities necessary to form administrative governments, and the aforementioned intrigue forms around colour combos that lead to oh-so fascinating discussions of what’s in fashion and who’s talking trash about whom within the coalitions. Agenda 2010 happened during the SPD’s coalition with the Greens, with Joschka Fischer serving as Schröder’s Foreign Minister. I would argue that these parliamentary co-ops basically serve to discredit the smaller parties by association, keeping the two Volksparteien (really, that’s what they’re called) in positions of senior partners in crime. It didn’t help the Greens that that Agenda 2010 was on their watch as partner, but more than a few other things tainted their green a vomit hue.
Joschka Fischer was branded a mover of the German Greens, as though he’d brought the ’68 protest generation into the chamber wearing sneakers. At any rate, most Americans aware of him remember his having told Rumsfeld that he was “not convinced” regarding WMDs in Iraq. But before that he was also responsible for helping establish the Serbs in the German consciousness as genocidal when he appealed to his fellow junior partners with the ominous warning (translation mine): “We’ve always said ‘Never again war.’ But we’ve also always said, ‘Never again Auschwitz.'”
While mistrust within Chancellor Schröder’s party led to the SPD’s eventual defeat in 2005, it solidified the Greens’ status as also-ran. The SPD went on to form the next coalition with Angela Merkel’s CDU – this time as junior partner. This lasted for one term, and Merkel has gone on to dictate the terms for two more ruling coalitions, the current one, yet another coalition with the SPD.
That’s right, Merkel, come this Sunday’s Berlin state election, will have been Chancellor for precisely eleven years, proving Angie really is following in her mentor Helmut Kohl’s footsteps, who managed sixteen. But this political background is meant as a primer to my main point, which is Sunday’s election in Berlin, because Angie’s next go-round isn’t until next September.
The current gov’t of the city-state Berlin is… surprise, surprise… an SPD-CDU coalition. This means that the partners are currently quibbling over who’s responsible for everything that’s being spun good, bad, and ugly over the last five years. For example, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, that is now already six years late opening and counting. Ultimately, this schleppy Arbeit cost Mayor Klaus Wowereit his job, though, I doubt he had to resign. He resigned anyway, leaving Michael Müller (SPD) as interim, and candidate to remain. The latter’s main opponent is his coalition partner Frank Henkel (CDU). As Interior Senator, Henkel has most recently made headlines for his war on the autonomous left, in particular, squatters in Rigaer Straße 94.
Long story short: the Regional Court of Berlin found — as of yesterday, twice — that Interior Senator Henkel’s ordered police assisted eviction of the ground floor of Rigaer Straße 94 to have had no legal grounds. That is, the eviction had no legal grounds. The massive use of the riot police is apparently of no legal consequence. And although you’ll find little sympathy for the occupants of the house in online comments sections of the major local media, Henkel has not made himself popular and his party appears to be set to pay for it. Big whoop.
Longer story: Berlin’s resurgent history of squatting began with the breach of the Wall in 1990 and the history of violent removal from- and misappropriation of property appropriated by squat began with a Red-Green coalition. So it doesn’t take a Republican-like police militarising fuckface like Frank Henkel of the CDU to clear out the riffraff. Democrat-like SPDers and Greens will do the job if history deems it their destiny.
This most recent crackdown under Henkel — who successfully had the legal possession of cannabis reduced from 15 to 6 grams — had led one way or another to a resurgence in a nightly effigy of parked luxury car. I say one way or another because, even in the case of agent provoking, it is part & parcel of the program. I cannot prove this point, but there is at least one bustee with a neo-nazi background, who, at least on the surface, appeared quite willing to risk arrest in order to implicate left radicals from Rigaer Straße in the crime. Otherwise the press has been quite willing to unquestionably attribute cars set ablaze to “left radicals” and careful to use the Rigaer address in the corresponding sentence.
But like I said, Berliners have even less tolerance for troublemakers in city hall. At least the demographic as it stands. That’s slowly changing, though. Everybody and his fucking brother wants to come here. Only time will tell if that will include a growing number of people who are sympathetic to the cause of outfitting cops in military gear to better equip them in the fight against extremists “from both left and right”.
A small aside as regards how facets of the German government behave to thwart extremism from both left and right, I alert the reader to the fact that the National Socialist Underground, who were busted in 2006 in the German state of Thuringia, had murdered quite a few residents of immigrant background throughout the country before they were finally busted when they had offed a cop, and the constitutional office responsible for investigating such “threats to democracy” got caught having destroyed a bunch of the NSU files that would have revealed not only the extent of undercover police knowledge of the crimes as they were ongoing (as many as 50 informants, a dozen averaging six-figure incomes from the security services), but included the involvement of employees within the Federal Constitutional Protection Office itself. One agent known in his hometown as “Little Adolf” and who had witnessed one of the murders eventually got transferred to another agency.
This brings me appropriately to the biggest political development, and significant this weekend: the nascent party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). And though I am loathe to compare local phenomena to Trump, it’s hard not to see it, in particular as regards their stated intentions on immigration policy. As a matter of fact, the Left Party’s own Gregor Gysi this week actually blamed the CDU’s “straying from their conservative roots” for the AfD’s recent success, basically saying that the CDU’s base felt they had nowhere else to turn to. Hm.
I usually feel that just about everything ever uttered misses some bigger point and I’d include Gysi’s comments in that stew except that he’s actually right, even if it involves the saddest of realizations. Anyway, the Left party (die Linke) is all alone in forever pointing a finger at the NATO states’ war policy (murderous geopolitics & profiteering) as being the primary cause of the EU refugee crisis.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Berlin. If you believe the polls, and people do (enough that post election results are always plausible), the AfD stand to become an also-ran (they will easily meet the 5% threshold to get seats), looking to become a second tier coalition wannabe, though the Greens appear to have a slight advantage. That is, the next Berlin coalition will be SPD-Green. It was red-red when I got here, meaning SPD-Linke, the second red being pinko. Those days appear gone, although I saw a huge placard on my way home yesterday that warned the voters that a vote for CDU was “the only way to stop red-red-green” — implying the possibility that they’d need all three parties to form a majority. We’ll see. Berlin is one of the few states to have had The Left in an administrative coalition, but most often they are treated like the red-headed step commie.
As glad as I’ll be to see this guy gone, that only always means, there’s worse still to come. Progress dictates.
this is great, davidly. er…who’s Nary, i’m embarrassed to ask. ;-) i need to read and respond in stages due to life obligations here, but first: holy shit! the freikorps wiki is astounding, and new to me. the ‘night of the long knives’ was a bit familiar, but i hadn’t known it was a hitlerian purge out of ffear of his former allies. and i’d kept meaning to look up rosa luxemburg since a few of the reds i read on twitter link to a woman named ‘rosa luxembourgeosie’.
fascinating use of parallels to USian events and policies, too. now i will say that i hope there won’t be a test when we finish reading, will there, mein herr?
on edit: there’s also a parallel between the SBD and the neo-nazi banderist movement in ukraine, i’d say, yulia tymoshenko as their poster child ‘martyr’, let out of a brief stint in jail some time ago. but onward to chores!
mind your manners and you can remain, aXe.
Ha ha ha ha.
except, maybe, by nary the word “nary”*, he didn’t misspell any other words. not even the english ones. though he did misprint a date: schroeder wasn’t chancellor in 2010. think he meant 2001. oopsies! it’s Agenda 2010, G.S.’s clinton-clone program. and how quickly the greens saw the light on pacifism. (*google-ify it people!)
how about the parallels for German-Japanese rearmament? at US insistence, though many of the natives have itchy trigger fingers and are eager to hack off the US ball-and-chain & go Rambo all on their einsam.
so you guys don’t have merkel or whoever opening pickle jars on talk shows? no side-splitting (from groaning) mussed-hair late night antics? as krusty the clown said, “it’s only funny when the sap’s got dignity!” no one in or aspirant to the Capitol or White House has the dignity of buzzard vomit. it’s funnier to mess the hair up on a tapeworm. but apparently you’ve got a similar pas de dunce ballet thing going on w/a two party duopoly, w/a bernie sanders (or david duke) type stealing a bit more of the limelight, but w/ little more effectiveness (so far.)
and good on Die Linke for speaking for the forbidden words: the refugees are all from NATO war zones.
jason’s right. It was supposed to be a pun. It’s a habit of mine, even when it’s nonsensical. Actually, I had another paragraph or thread in mind to tie it together, but lost it along the way.
“It’s only funny when the sap’s got dignity!” is comedy gold and could be the guideline to good satire.
ha; thanks, and pardon me for being such a lame brain. i’ll read another swath now. jason’s comment was pithy and hilarious as usual.
“if we aren’t allowed to steal other people’s work, who’s gonna be funny? YOU???” from another simpsons’, apt for me. i tho’t the pun was also apt: fake alternatives. what’s not fake is the two-party mud-wrasslin’ slugfest for office. and that’s what kind of mystifies peoples. of course trump & hillary are different!!!! look at their mutual hostility!!! just b/c that hostility by all evidence started w/this election does not make that hostility false. b/c these people don’t have friends. cf. obama & “mentor” jeremiah wright. however, there are still acceptable & unacceptable things they can say as they vie to stab each other in the throat. e.g., trump can say, rightly, despite the very recent economic hoo hah, median incomes have fallen under obama. HRC can’t say that. but trump can’t say that this particular…factoid, facticule represents a uniform 50 year trend. one might then rightly think voting for his stupid ass is pointless. anywhodiddleydiddle, you get the point.
we keep readin’ that nationalism is on the rise in europe, as are more right wing candidates (hello, marine le pen), and no, no one wants to admit that it’t the US and nato regime change projects driving the ‘immigrant problem’.
i’d just begun this horrific long piece at roar yesterday (i assume it’s true or close to it) until i needed to back out: ‘Criminalizing solidarity: Syriza’s war on the movements’. the opening graph sets the tone, and oh, my: how abysmal.
“In the early morning of July 27, refugee families and supporters who were sleeping at Thessaloniki’s three occupied refugee shelters — Nikis, Orfanotrofeio and Hurriya — were woken up by police in riot gear. In a well-orchestrated police operation, hundreds of people were detained. Most occupants with refugee status were released, while some were transported to military-run refugee reception centers. The rest of the occupants, 74 people of more than a dozen different nationalities, were taken into police custody.”
but it seems clear that neither Our Leaders nor theirs approve of creating intentional communities, perhaps most especially w/ ‘the others’.
but what triggered my reaching for it again, of course, was not quite getting the Rigaer Straße story, so i went a-hunting and found this piece.
“But critics said that the police raid was a massive over-reaction.
“For four years [interior policy senator] Olaf Henkel has done nothing [about Rigaer Straße], and now for once he has had to show off the power of the state,” said Green party politician Canan Bayram.”
i loved the hell outta your Joschka Fischer and sneakers!!!! riff. odd how many libruls object to war until they can love an r2P post massive propaganda drive, isn’t it?
well, good luck, and sorry if worse than henkel will rule berlin, or kinda/sorta rule. maybe he/she’ll be inaugurated in sneakers??
“our party promises to use our nation’s nuclear reactors, bombers, troops, drones, centcoms, fbi & superspy services, etc., for good, not for evil.” a la tolkien, nobody willingly throws the Ring of Power into the flames? not sure if that’s true, but worth considering.
And they’d “mow the lawn” until they got full astroturf.
here ya go, davidly, although not pickle-jar worthy, still…:
‘Unable to ‘see beyond her own lifespan:’ AfD’s Petry slams Merkel for not having children’, via RT
“”Ich habe vier Kinder, Angela Merkel hat keine”: AfD-Chefin Frauke Petry.” at stern daily. (turns out merkel had married into a couple kinder.)
lol. but how many (non-LBGTQ, no doubt) BOYS does she have???
The scary thing is that people like Petry are the only ones with actual convictions that are making any headway in politics. One’d like to think that in their effort to stamp out the Reds (i.e. the SED (East German socialist party), which largely due to their rejection of Gorby’s reforms, fractured into the PDS in their first free election (though they lost), and fused with the workers’ party to form Die Linke) that the Volksparteien and their coalition partners’d be careful who they lie down with. But as we know, they will always and forever lie down with fascists to beat down anything resembling a people’s rebellion, which is, of course, why Die Linke remain on the constitutional watch list and hover below the 10 percent threshold nationally and are only represented in seven of the sixteen states.
Accompanied the massive anti-CETA/TTIP demo today (CETA is Canada-Europe TTIP basically). This was preceded this week by OP-EDs by a couple of SPD functionaries yammering on about these deals’ as necessity, newspeaking the details as if they were manna from heaven. So, there are plenty of the organizers of the demo who actually think this’ll pressure the SPD to put the kibosh on it when they’ve already made their intentions clear.
By the way, the SPD’s Mayoral candidate is on record as “having misgivings” about CETA. You know, when you or I say we have misgivings about something is carries the tone of “that is f’ing creeeepy”. But in polit-speak, the tone lends it the air of “Well, I dunno. We’ll see!”
ta for the additions, and yes to pols vacillating on ‘trade treaties’ (i.e. covering their asses’). i’d seen at RT and found at stern the protests in berlin. we’d been watching all the deals here, most recently in the link i gave juliania. and the thing is, the US corps almost always have offices in canuckistan, allowing isds to rule. what a sick power grab. when folks used to ask me: why would a nation put up with those rulings, those agreements?’ the answer is: they don’t hafta care: taxpayers foot the bill, as w/ the military budget and so on. what corporate Empire serfs we’ve become.
oh, and the ‘libruls’ frame the numerous trade treaties as: tariff lowering job builders. srsly.
“The scary thing is that people like Petry are the only ones with actual convictions that are making any headway in politics.” i was driving myself crazy trying to remember at least part of this; it may not be totally on point, but still..:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
~ W. B. Yeats in 1919
Well, that was wierd – I’m sorry, I’ve lost my comment in the Gravatar maze, don’t know if I can proceed here, but thanks very much for this – I will return to read more comprehensively later.
left this for ya, ww; hope this works. ach, what a blogging luddite i yam…
Thank you, wendye! Very noble of Jane to do that – those documents weigh a ton and she put it into four small pages – I hope she had help! It reminds me of back in the oh-so-innocent days of Bush administration tactics when one of the online webwriters called for assistance in analyzing a document dump about US attorney appointments.
I seem to be back to a normal ‘feed’ here. I am simply stunned by the US atrocity bombing in Syria of 100 Syrian troops, 65 plus killed. How can that be an accident? Denmark, Australia, Great Britain – shame on you for even pretending to have been a part of it.
will you be around long enough that i should put up an open thread on that fukkery? i had a few notes toward ‘syria’ fracturing the ‘peace movement’. but i’d decided to head for south sudan instead. just too much to write up these days…all days?
oh no! somebody beclouded yeats’ Golden Dawn!!! j/k.
the centrifugal forces of globalization & the centripetal forces of nationalism: apologies for harping on American electoral politics. (of that of which one cannot speak, etc.) the economic integration of huge swaths of humanity on terms wholly favorable to the elites of the nations concerned, and esp. the US elite as dictator of those terms, capo da tutti capi, can only produce a nationalist backlash. Thus the resurgence of nationalism globally. Thing is, the neo-lib integrators all know this and are even happy with it. They can do an IMF/Troika thing a la Greece or try to completely isolate it & keep a nation nigh-starved (or so we hear) and on the edge of war perpetually, a la N. Korea. or destroy it, a la Libya. Nationalism by itself, imo, can’t prevent any of these things and the nationalists, the faux-populists, will always ultimately sell out & align themselves w/the global pay & war masters. the idea of the nation-state is far less real than the idea of money, neither of which are real and both of which are nothing compared to bullets & bombs. (i know, there’s, e.g., Castro & Chavez, Cuba & VZ. and the Irish & the like, a good while ago).
outside enemy russia & china, the two most likely, maybe only likely, exceptions to the above scenario are the “ex”-fascist nations w/titanic economies, Germany & Japan. one thing that has mystified me is why both of these countries (we can stick to Germany) go along w/whatever dumbass half-cocked scheme the US comes up with. a la Ukraine. Germany has the economic clout to resist the (*apparently*) stupider antics of the US; why doesn’t it? is there more $$$$ to be made from gas/etc. from Russia than ginning up & agreeing to the sanctions regime over (largely) nothing re Ukraine? or is the class alignment so strong that the elites of Germany will undermine their own basis of power, the german nation-state?
anyway, not sure this makes sense, but i’ll stop ramblin’.
‘The international significance of the Berlin election’ the trotskyites
i’d be interested to know if they’ve got it close to right. there are a number of other essays on berlin electoral politics in the center bar.
on edit: ‘AM MONTAG DEN 26. SEPTEMBER MAHNWACHE GEGEN MILITARISMUS
IN BERLIN & WASHINGTON, DC’
thanks to davidly, i read that wsws article. need to reread ;)
i said “*apparently* stupid” above b/c now Ukraine is open to western exploitation (e.g., massive deforestation) and provides yet another gigantic pool of unbelievably desperate, cheap labor.
and a constant stage for provocations against russia.