Reunited? How the West was One.

[Edit: Since first making this entry I have added the first map of the districts and shifted the communal map downpage. I made changes to the second and third paragraphs following the communal map for clarity.]

You might recall from last year’s hoo-hah that the whirled‘s had a full generation to digest the reunification of the German state. Let’s take a look at the fascinating colour schemes as seen this morning compared to how it looked for the fifty years the sides were split. On the left you see the results of yesterday’s election- on the right, the city as parcelled out by the confederacy of belligerents at the Potsdam Conference:
berliner-wahl-16 Occupied_Berlin.png

As H. Ross Perot might say, “Innerestin’ idn’t it?” For most, the obvious has long been that the old east-west west-east divide maintains an apparently solid mix of loyalty toward the respective parties of traditional influence. Well, I mean traditional insofar as peoples who were formed out of the decision to choose one kind of government over another that lasted a period of two generations, in weak contrast to the generation of time that followed during which the putative opportunity to rid oneself of the supposed shackles of socialist indoctrination played out in all its glory glory hallelujah. Of course the second part of that last sentence was written from the perspective of a westerner, not because I am a westerner, born & bred, but because the West are the ones who ultimately conquered the city with $oft power   (‘First we take Manhattan’, anyone?).

The more striking reflection is how the western sectors districts vote, with the former British controlled areas going mostly SPD and the French and US territories trending Christian Democrat. As an aside, it’s interesting that the blue chosen by the keep your stinking refugees AfD matches nicely with the shade someone selected over’t the Wiccapaedia for the American sector.

I suppose in order to accurately analyse these tendencies, one should look at the literal outliers in finer detail:
Berlin 16.png
First there’s the oft mentioned fact that no-apologies ultra-right wingers do well in the former states of the GDR, but like so many places where this is the case, it’s a lot more obvious the more rural and/or ‘burbier you go, where they encounter multiculturalism mainly through the distant deigning of demagoguery. This is evident when you visit the concrete reaches of Buch, Marzahn, and Hellersdorf.

That black upholstered armchair perched upon the last eastern peninsula is another story altogether: Mahlsdorf. The biggest difference occurred when the district it’s in, Mahrzahn-Hellersdorf, lost PDS candidate Gregor Gysi, who in 2001 had garnered half the vote. The CDU had already been running a pretty strong second to Gysi’s PDS, at 27 percent. However, in 2006 without Gysi, and with the PDS already dubbed Die Linke on the ballot (as part of the official fusion with the WASG that would take place the following year), they only managed 23 percent. That big a drop within one election cycle must be attributable to the absence of the face of the party during a contentious name change.

Still, part of the CDU’s ongoing ownership of Mahlsdorf in spite of poor showings in the rest of the district probably mirrors that of anywhere you see black: people believe they own their shit because they’re entitled to it and want it to stay that way (as opposed to the baby blue constituencies’ knowing they don’t own shit but wanna keep whatever it is they think they got out of the hands of Arabs, Persians, and Africans specifically as a good place to start).

This’d be a little too like the lazy demographic analysis of social scientistic punditry if I didn’t mention the more detailed reality regarding the latter group’s encompassing, as well, those opposed to big money war profiteering. It’s just that you almost only ever hear them bitching about the result and not the cause. This they have in common with adherents to almost all parties’ factions of loyalty.

But it is in fact Die Linke — running along the former East all dressed in pink — who have consistently taken aim at capital’s war machine and associated investment class. With the exception of Sahra Wagenknecht’s mentioning that “of course there’s a upper limit to how many refugees a state can handle” and that an honest government might want to include that as part of the discussion — which might have deflated a key part of the AfD’s argument, which was part of her point — they have only urged immediate acceptance of asylum seekers from all corners.

As long as I’m tying former districts of the GDR to The Left, I should mention again that in about two-thirds of the time it took East German border guards to snipe 200 would-be escapees, the Yanks murdered a million Vietnamese. I’m sure both estimates are kind. The GDR took in about 10,000 Vietnamese emigres by the mid-seventies, 60,000 by the time the Wall came down.

Speakin’ o’ the Wall
The Potsdam Conference established the partitioning into US, British, French, and Soviet zones seen in the map above right. Coincidentally, it’s at the lyrical heart of the death strip at Potsdamer Platz (the place named for the road to Potsdam) where the codified corners converge. After the fall, these adjacent spots became the property of Daimler-Benz, Sony, Otto Beisheim, and ABB/Roland Ernst Städtebau.

Daimler-Benz had snagged the largest parcel for so cheap that the stink it caused led to the European Commission’s ordering an additional payment of 34 million Deutschmarks to the Land of Berlin mere months after the initial sale had been completed.

Otto Beisheim was a former Nazi stormtrooper. Did you know that before the war they were the Freikorps (having been renamed after the first war)? Beisheim erected a center in his name, which housed the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott International. Imagine building a tower hotel complex with your own name on it.

Sony built the biggest monstrosity on their place and were rewarded another 4,500 m² by the Berlin Senate as remuneration for having to relocate some of their completed structure, even though it was due to their having disregarded conditions of the contract.

All I can find about Roland Ernst Städtebau is this article from 2011 regarding his arrest on suspicion of graft and fraud.

For Berlin, the massive construction on Potsdamer Platz was their first use of public-private partnerships to get shit done. The Berlin Senate made a show pony out of its design competition, while the players they brought thru the back door would subsequently use threats to get their way around perceived limitations. It was win-win for somebody — in the same way that CETA and TTIP and TISA and whatever subsequent names they may carry will be a win-win for corporations jacked-up on autonomy.

In other words: the politicians will always pretend they don’t know they’re being played as a sure way to hide the fact that they are playing along. That Corporate is seeking to make its authority official should be instructive. It was, already, to the at least 30,000 who took to the streets Saturday in Berlin. But that won’t likely change the outlook of the new senior partner in any coming coalition, the SPD, whose functionaries have, in op eds and on polit-talk shows, newspoken the necessity of precisely these kinds of agreements to any civilized society.

Now the Greens say they are against CETA as well. But if you know the German Greens, well, like I’ve said, coalition building makes for erratic bedfellowing – the subconsci-equences of which might help explain the last odd trend in the electoral map above: The Greens in the middle. They seem to have the strongest constituency in the area where most of the green has made way for concrete.

Speakin’ o’ the Wahl
So how ’bout the numbers?  Well, I am proud to say that at least in one ward in my district the satirical party Die PARTEI beat out the AfD for second to last place. Unfortunately in the ward west of me AfD got just about 11 percent. With any luck, they’ll go the way of the Pirates, who made a big splash last time round but have all but disappeared.

The Berlin breakdown looks like this:

As predicted, the SPD benefited in spite of their bleeding a seat more than the CDU. Unexpectedly, the Left edged out the Greens – but their seat numbers will be the same. Even in light of this, however, I would urge Die Linke not to build a coalition with the SPD and Grüne. There goes the way of losing everything they won here. If they demur, the Greens will go willing with the fake Reds and form a coalition with the CDU just so they can have an office in the administration. And like I said, there goes the way of losing everything they won. But they’ve been doing that cyclically for thirty years now.

Because the only coalition coming from this will have to be more than two parties, the Berliner Zeitung is declaring the authority of the Volksparteien for toast. I think they’re smearing butter.

In closing, here’s the best shot I could get of Die PARTEI walking the opposite direction through the demo Saturday:CETA.jpgThose who walk in the other direction are STUUPID   –and-   KETA instead of CETA

34 responses to “Reunited? How the West was One.

  1. this is great, davidly, thank you. i’ll be back later to read, but the color graph helped a hella lot. ‘eek’ on the AfD, but such a tend afoot in the EU now, eh?
    for now, moar choars are callin’ my name.

  2. Thanks for your reporting and analysis on the local and state elections in Germany.

    Just looking at the map, it seems that 50 years of stability of the three western sectors established the SPD and CDU as neighborhood parties. And the collapse of the DDR allowed more class and demographic processes to shape constituencies that partition out spaces for AfD, CDU, and die Linke. Is the AfD strength in the east at the borders where refugees have been crossing? Or is there something else going on there?

    One of the factors that likely affects nationalist parties is the fact that the DBR went through a denazification process and the DDR did not. How that shakes out politically (in philosophy) and geographically is probably not as straightforward as US analysts think, but there seem to be a mixture of nostalgias in the former DDR.

    • My thoughts exactly. There is certainly a mixture of ideologies prominent in the former GDR, I can’t speak to the BRD’s denazification save for the fact that the GDR and those who opted to live there did not want anything to do with them and the West had no dearth of ex-Nazis, some even joining the ranks of politics, particularly the CDU. I suppose this could speak even more highly to the effectiveness of the process you mention. What I do know is that the Left remain on the constitutional watch list in, I think, six states. In my opinion this is indication of Fascist-like hatred for all things rabidly anti-capitalist.

      Re. the flow of refugees as it relates to the AfD: I’m pretty sure the bulk have been crossing further south, but the eastern districts are not without their share of homes/centers. Still those are even more highly concentrated in Die Linke wards than the ones further north and east where the AfD won. Huge amounts have settled in Lichtenberg and Marzahn in the east and Die Linke have held on their pretty easily, which lays ruin to the theory from the pundits of the Volksparteien that many of them were coming from the Left. Post election analysis indicates 1) from the CDU (heh, heh), and 2) non-voters.

      A look elsewhere, however indicates AfD having success throughout. This, I think, is down to the fact that you cannot tell people you are with war with crafty terrorists and not have them paranoid when a hundred thousand refugees come into the country over a period nothing, crossing borders that hadn’t seen that kind of flow since, well, you know. Otherwise, a marginal difference west-east-wise would nevertheless speak to the mix of nostalgia you mention. So there is that.

      • In which six states does the Left remain on the constitutional watch list? Isn’t this justified as the repurposed FRG campaign against RAF, etc? “Fascist-like hatred” is the radicalized bias of “liberal pragmatists” and mis-“representative democrats” (American republicans). Surely Germany has negated the negations of the sixties’ radicals in manner similar to that of the US bourgeois state – by kindler and gentler exclusion.

        It seems obvious that die Linke appeals in the east by virtue of neoliberal shock doctoring. Isn’t it the case that the AfD-dominated districts reject that too but more reject the left in memory of their subjective domination in the GDR?

        • I think it might be only four states: predictably the two southern states, Bavaria, Baden-Wurtemberg, and Lower Saxony and Hesse, and on the federal level. One of the stated bits of reasoning goes that they aren’t unified in their rejection of extreme-left violence.

          It’s true that the typical AfDer and pretty much any ultra-righty (NPD and the like) has hatred of Die Linke based upon the SED DNA. But the party has been denouncing that shit since they were the PDS. One experiences plenty of antagonism on pure ideological grounds, even from those who never set foot in the east. But you sure cannot discount bitterness from those who lived it.

          Still, it would appear that the socialist ideology continues to prevail and the link you provide certainly states the fuel to the fire.

          • “you sure cannot discount bitterness from those who lived it.” Sure you can discount, meaning deduct some bitterness, if some themselves preferred that, as bad as it was, to what they then discovered in their new world order. In fact, there is reason not to enshrine that bitterness as crapitalists would have done.

            Warning! Google Translation:

            In eastern Germany the country offices of a general observation of the left view from because for them no signs of anticonstitutional present behavior of the whole party. Only the Communist Platform is also observed in three countries of East Germany.

            Might the paranoia of these four watching states be better classified as demagoguery?

            • I agree. I just mean that there will always exist those for whom the trauma of what they experienced at the hands of the party, the Stasi, and other individual sadists would lead to lifelong mistrust of any apparatus with even the smallest association with that past. Of course, there are those either thereby blinded to the evils they do choose to support and those in larger number, I believe, who use &/or co-opt this past to enshrine the bitterness, as you say. It is, after all, the crutch upon which Die Linke remain the party as suspect, and otherwise the party most likely to be rejected out of hand.

              And great point re. paranoia vs. demagoguery. Yes, it is absolutely demagoguery and used by the power mongers and their petite bourgeois social climbers to hitch their wagons to whomever they think will get them a leg up. I do believe it makes tiny minds paranoid. Like, people who go about their business, don’t talk politics, but hold left wing politics for inherently dangerous and therefore don’t speak out when their own government engages in tactics that would make the SED and Stasi envious. It is these people, I think, who we ultimately need to reach. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I mean, one needs to be able to distinguish between those amenable to reason even if it takes a bit of convincing, and those who are just gone.

              In fact, the basic attitude of your average anti-anti-fa personality is a symptom of generations of propaganda brought to us by the producers of such classics as Operation Gladio.

              I do take heart, however, in Berlin’s outright rejection of Frank Henkel’s (mentioned in my By Nary entry) having used his class’ own version of populist fear of the anti-capitalist movement to carte blanche toss people onto the street. I have for some time feared the demographic change associated with the gentrification of this city, and that the people saw his bullshit for what it was: outright abuse of power, is a tiny victory.

      • More Shock Than Therapy: Why There Has Been No “Miracle” in Eastern Germany

        Sympathies between Eastern Germany and Greece are understandable; in both it would be useful for crapitalists to cultivate authoritarians for local disruption.

  3. thank you davidly. could you please add something on the *percent of change* in this election for each party in the graph?

    • quick drive-by comment, lol:

      “Support for the Left party, which ran on a democratic socialist and anti-racist platform, grew by 4 points and won them 15.7 percent of the vote, propelling them to a third-place finish. Meanwhile, the anti-immigrant AfD won 14.2 percent of the vote and will enter its 10th regional assembly among the country’s 16 states.

      Merkel’s CDU received 17.6 percent, down from 23.3 percent in the last election in Berlin in 2011. The Social Democrats (SPD) also lost support, falling to 21.6 percent from 28.3 percent, but remained the biggest party. The Greens won 15.2 percent of the Berlin vote, down two percentage points from 2011.

      “With the Berlin result, the AfD has consolidated its position and shown it can appeal to voters across the board — it is now represented in a big city, eastern German states and in more affluent western states like Baden-Wuerttemberg,” said Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University.” telesur english

    • Sure. I’ve added the graphics to the main entry.

  4. And forgive me for a totally doofus query, but given the admirable multiplicity of, it would seem, viable political parties, how legitimate do you consider the whole mechanism of voting to have been? (Including ability to be seen and heard voicing alternative ideas.)

    Just as a comparison to what we are being subjected to over here, I’m interested in this.

    Good points on the historical comparison. Lots of different colors underneath, but so it goes.

    • Not doofus in the least. Legitimacy is complex. I won’t go into the legitimacy of the actual counting of the votes, because, I think we all know cheating goes on, probably more than we think, but we do have a paper trail here. That’s something.

      As to legitimacy of process, access to alternatives, etc. There are a few public stations here funded by compulsory fee (we all pay about 18 euros per household a month). Both television and radio. It has not been without controversy. Many of the guys and gals sitting on the boards and making indirect editorial decisions come from the ranks of the SPD and CDU or their loving adherents. Not as a matter of policy, but it works out that way when your public servants come primarily from one of those parties, who, to date, have always been the senior partner in every single national coalition. Therefore, in this spectrum you see the kind of bickering focused exclusively on the two-party to & fro. Analogous would be, I think, the way the presidential debates are controlled in the US.

      I say all of this as a way to talk about the presentation of policy and politics in the public spectrum. There are plenty of roundtable discussions in front of live studio audiences where the issues of the day are debated. What our fees seem to be paying for — other than exorbitant salaries for the hosts of the programmes — is to see the same talking heads spewing the same talking points in the same faux sophisticated manner one might witness if mixing NPR and Meet the Press and the View.

      Now, all the parties do get represented. I often see reps from the Pirate Party, though less frequently, but this last cycle had plenty from the AfD. There is normally either an FDPer (Libertarian) or Linke. But here’s the thing: Relative to what you’re used to, they probably let each other speak and finish speaking more often, but as soon as someone says something particularly non-status quo, there’s always some CDU or SPD guy, sometimes crotchety and retired, to talk over them and dismiss what they have to say as unserious.

      I don’t know. Frankly, it’s gotten too annoying for me to watch unless somebody like Sahra Wagenknecht is on. Frankly, I don’t know why the Left doesn’t run her. She simply destroys the competition verbally, is smart and can think on her feet. But as I mentioned in the last entry and to TarHeel above, the scrutiny placed on Die Linke is otherworldly, which is why I am surprised they did as well as they did. They may end up forming the coalition here with the Greens and SPD, but there are not many of the states SPDs or Greens (let along any other party) who don’t rule out working with them period. On a federal level you can forget about it.

      I reiterate now everything from my last entry as far as ability for a party to be viable. In short: working with one of the two Volksparteien is political suicide only to the junior partner, for whom it takes much longer to recover from dips in popularity than it does either CDU or SPD, who bounce back more quickly with the help of the aforementioned media presentation.

  5. great photo, i swear. walking in the opposite direction; gotta love it. here’s Die PARTEI’s wikipedia entry.

    your ‘speaking of the wall’ history is fascinating, to say the least; nazi bidness, oh, my. and is this almost universal? “In other words: the politicians will always pretend they don’t know they’re being played as a sure way to hide the fact that they are playing along.

    • They’re great. They come from the satire mag Titanic, which is kind of like Spy magazine. The former editor has a seat in the EU parliament and he’s had a couple of addresses that’ve have been spot on, satirical but devastating. He reminds me of Harry Shearer, who is not taken in by the parties, by the way. He just refuses to explicitly endorse. Hill twitts troll him a lot.

  6. Well, as predicted the federal SPD at their convention today gave a two-thirds majority for CETA. I just watched their party chair, Sigmar Gabriel, do an interview on ARD (one of the publics mentioned upthread) that is quite simply too annoying to address. In short: he opens by saying only the SPD debated the question calmly and systematically, and how the CDU were for it before what they knew was in it, and the Greens and Left were against it before they knew what was in it. Hm. Then he says later that the lack of transparency of the negotiations was a critical problem. Dude’s a friggin’ douche.

    • lol. plenny o’ friggin’ douches around.

      now she says it, as you’d mentioned about another candidate earlier not having done so, or at least: ‘we should talk about it’.

      ‘AfD vows to become 3rd largest force in Germany as Merkel admits refugee crisis was ‘out of control’ RT.

  7. [Edit: Since first making this entry I have added the first map of the districts and shifted the communal map downpage. I made changes to the second and third paragraphs following the communal map for clarity.]

    • thanks, davidly. i’ll look tomorrow; i’m knackered, though others may still be awake. ;-) dayum, i love your avatar, perhaps beyond all others i’ve seen.

      • Tanx, wd.
        BTW: the aforementioned Sahra Wagenknecht has reiterated post-election that she thinks Die Linke should in no way seek a coalition with the SPD-Grüne, as it would only hitch them to horrendous policy.

        • how much juice will she carry as vice-chair f the party, do you reckon? other opinions, news: (you likely know grossman)

          The Social Democrats and Greens might attempt to partner with left parties in order to stay in power, says Victor Grossman’, an interview at TRNN

          “However, the other two possible partners, that’s the Greens and the Social Democrats say, unless the Left gives up this principle which it has, we will never accept any coalition with them. The question is should the Left give things up? Should it make compromises? Should it not? And this is a question which is being fought over and debated within the Left on the city level and on the national level, what to give up to get into a stronger position. How much should you stick to your principles even if it means not so much power and where will you lose the voters?”

          he rec’s fighting on their issues, but in the streets, esp. against the TTIP. but says:

          “But the Social Democrats the next day on Monday, a few days ago, voted in secret as to whether to back this, first this Canadian one. [CETA] That’s the first one to come up and voted in favor of it which was really betraying the wishes of an awful lot of its members.”

          ‘The Greens and Left Party are gearing up to continue the hated policies of the SPD-CDU grand coalition in the Berlin Senate, and to keep the reigning mayor, Michael Müller (SPD), in office. After the exploratory talks of recent days, all participants expressed their broad agreement and stressed the good atmosphere of the negotiations.’ from Christoph Vandreier at 9/24

          but oy: TRNN also has on the bogus face of the Empire ‘Ashley Smith says Assad and the international players in Syria share a common goal: undermine popular revolt’; oh well….

          • First, she is the hands down most obvious candidate they should run, but they ain’t gonna, which makes me think that ego maniacal control freaks, or the fraction for making the Left more like the SPD are openly hostile to her as leader. On the national level, however, there is zero chance that the SPD would ever extend such an offer. Die Linke are less than party non grata. So that point is moot. SPD would first seek another “big coalition” with the CDU swapping out as junior partner. They have zero scruples.
            They could still reject the Berlin coalition, however. If that’s by not giving anything up in order to derail talks by default, so be it. But there is nothing they should be giving up anyway! Stay in the opposition and force the Berlin SPD to forge another CDU coalition. That’d be hilarious. They won’t be popular and Die Linke can only gain for it. Working with these shits is political suicide — one of those instances when politics and principles converge. It’s a no brainer.

            • i hope die linke follows your advice, then; seems sage to me. watching what’s unfolded in greece causes me to think: ‘stick to your principles, if you still have any’. not a few greek essayists groan at the betrayals of tsipris. still, no pleasin’ the IMF or frau merkel. set. 23

              • Well, per this morning’s news, the exploratory talks twixt SPD, The Left, and the Greens have gone well enough that they are moving to the negotiation table to lay the conditions for a Red-Red-Green coalition with the aim to have won ready by year’s begin. According to an article I can’t find anymore, but which I cannot imagine contains all the pertinent details, the Greens demand is holding fast to the closure of coal mining with an eye to its full discontinuation, as well as the expansion of the bike network. The only potential sticking point with The Left mentioned was whether or not to accrue more debt to pay for more pre-school care, which they want to do — the SPD not so much.

                • i assume that’s within the berlin city-state? now while not knowing if johannes stern is decoding correctly or not, he says in part this morning:

                  “The Left Party has reacted to the recent Berlin state election with a sharp shift to the right. While it is preparing to participate in an administration with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens in the capital, its representatives are beating the drum for a “red-red-green” government at federal level.

                  Most recently, it is the party’s federal parliamentary leader, Sahra Wagenknecht, who has made clear that the Left Party does not differ from the parties that imposed the Hartz IV welfare and labour “reforms” and have supported Germany’s increasing militarism. She is contributing to the anti-refugee hysteria, demanding more police officers, and supports the government’s aggressive foreign policy.” (no-fly zone over syria, etc.) big change, no?

                  and is deutsche bank about to fail? will merkel allow that?

                  • Wow. That’s horseshit, nearly pure grade. I can’t speak for the other members, but Wagenknecht has forever made clear that she is against Hartz IV and Agenda 2010, and has continually opposed any kind of militarism, has never called for more police, and certainly not “contributed” to the anti-refugee hysteria.

                    Those within The Left who differ from her stance on any particular issue, even her co-leader (cuz a Frau can’t be in charge of the Left alone, don’tcha know), make it difficult for her in a number of ways, but the notion that The Left is even lukewarm to the reforms of the former SPD-Green coalition — three administrations ago (this is the issue that led Oscar Lafontaine to found Die Linke in the first place) — could only be true by the implication that the party would want to even discuss forming a federal coalition, which from Wagenknecht’s perspective in the alluded to (but not linked) interview, doesn’t seem likely. More on that later.

                    That article is shitty demagoguery built on the misrepresentation of reality.

                    From that other interview, in response to whether or not she could imagine being a part of a coalition that would support German military presence abroad, the quote: “According to the constitution, the Bundeswehr has one objective: That is defence. Germany is not being defended in Syria or Afghanistan. Therefore, we should talk about such missions in coalition negotiations,” is the the author’s way of saying she has “supported Germany’s increased militarism” and “aggressive foreign policy”. And here I have to be generous – because I’m forced to use the author’s own transcription and translation.

                    The quote: ““We have always criticised the cutting of police jobs,” is what the author likens to advocating “more aggressively the construction of a police state”. After that she immediately pivots to the greater importance of social security. Classic politics. Not my cup of tea, but Die Linke never say “more police” and are quite careful not to.

                    When asked about her party being compared to the CDU or even AfD, she reiterates: “That people feel insecure and have fear of the future has primarily to do with the fact that we have a labor market increasingly dominated under precarious working conditions such as time limitations and temporary work contracts or involuntary part-time work. People in such a well-to-do country have the right to live safely – but for many that is miles away.”

                    Now I’m gonna do something the author did not do, and that is include what doesn’t suit my agenda. Directly after the above, she says, “This includes of course that you shouldn’t have to be afraid of burglars or to be out at night.” Now I’d levy my own criticism of this right now, but I’m busy cleaning up someone else’s shit at the moment.

                    Still, I’ll tackle another touchy subject. This quote about refugees is selective and mistranslated. She never says “Every mayor is saying that capacity [for refugees] has reached its limit.”

                    She says, “Every mayor talks about refugee capacity,” as a direct answer to the question about her being accused of using fear in an anti-refugee context. She goes on, “The Left Party is committed to helping people in need. Europe must ensure that there are no further trade agreements that ruin countries, curtailing their economic development. And the millions of refugees already in the camps have to be helped eventually. We can not solve the problems by bringing more and more people into Germany, or even poaching the better skilled, needed in those countries.”

                    She was roundly criticized in her own party for broaching the subject of capacity. Where I think she has done so rightly is in connection to the current government taking for granted its citizen’s capacity to remain as welcoming as they have, exceeding their willingness to actually lend a hand to better their situation once they arrive. There has been no dearth of stories about refugees trying to get the fuck out of Germany to go somewhere else. I don’t blame them. Freshly built homes are being fucking torched while others swelter in tents and hangers or freeze in the winter.

                    I would best describe the micro-shitstorm Wagenknecht caused vis a vis “refugee capacity” as her anti-vax moment. Make of that what you will. If you want to call it pandering, call it pandering. But it is pandering with the truth instead of the lies of the islamophobe AfD or the CDU who who provide the US with its primary launching pad from Europe (not to mention rendition facility).

                    Now I’m not anyone’s loyalist. If I had the money to spare, I might consider renouncing my citizenship for a German passport. Somehow that seems counterproductive (or pointless) right now. If I could vote here, I would no doubt go Linke. But a coalition? Here’s the rest of the interview, translated by yours truly (unedited in spite of whatever inconvenience):

                    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: So you’re now pushing for Red-Red-Green? One read that in the Bundestag you had recently clapped in secret under the table when the conversation turned to this…

                    Wagenknecht: I never clap secretly. If I want to clap, then I clap, and if not, then not. Nor am I pushing some new colored coalition, but for a different policy in Germany. Unfortunately I am missing a signal from the SPD that they don’t just want to fill the chancellor position, but also want to correct their policy of recent years. Think of CETA or Nahles’ current temporary employment law.

                    FAZ: Are there discussions with leading Social Democrats?

                    Wagenknecht: Of course there are discussions.

                    FAZ: The Greens you need but also – Jürgen Trittin has indeed already called on you, does that mean…

                    Wagenknecht: The Greens are a problem, because leading Greens are obviously geared more towards Black [CDU] and Green. I am convinced that the better The Left do in the next election, the stronger the position of the left Greens will be supporting an alliance with us.

                    FAZ: There are those who say that only you and your husband [Oskar Lafontaine] want to prevent Red-Red-Green for ideological reasons.

                    Wagenknecht: That’s nonsense. Such projects have never failed because of individuals, even if the SPD has a penchant for hiding behind such pretexts. The relevant question is: Is the SPD ready to establish a proper legal retirement age again? Is it prepared to regulate on behalf of temporary workers and contracts for employment so that wage dumping ceases?

                    Is it prepared with a tax policy to relieve low-paid earners and to burden the elite and corporations more? Are they going to stick with the Bundeswehr’s military deployments? About these specific questions you have to talk. And not about whether or not someone likes someone else’s nose. [that might be a metaphor, but I can’t find it]

                    FAZ: That means, Red-Green-Red isn’t up to you?

                    Wagenknecht: Social justice hasn’t failed because of us yet. In 2013, when we had the relevant majority, we proffered talks with the Social Democrats. Instead, they immediately fell into the arms of Ms. Merkel.

                    [duly linked here]

                    • it did all seem so contra to what you’d said wagenknecht’s principled policies were. thank you so much for the translation. are the trotskyites sometimes too eager to diss leftists w/ bullshit, then? i’m sure glad i asked.

                      i especially like “…but also want to correct their policy of recent years. Think of CETA or Nahles’ current temporary employment law.” hang in there, dear.

  8. these may be of interest to you.

    p.s. you mustta been up hella late lat night. iirc, geneva is seven hours ahead of us here in mountain time, is berlin the same?

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