Tuesday, September 26, 2017

National Anarchism

Yesterday‘s general elections saw support for the two big German parties dwindle and the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing populist party.

In the meantime, intelligent commentators have written intelligent articles about the outcome of the election and the consequences, but I will not dig into those. One guy wrote that the winner is national cynicism, while I would rather call it national anarchism.

Voter turnout was 75.9 percent, up from 71.5 percent in 2013, but a long way from the 90 percent turnout figures of the 1980s. Twelve years of Merkel rule have created both disenchantments with politics and rage against the establishment in Berlin that is apparently pouring billions of euros into refugees while millions of German citizens live at the poverty threshold or below. Nobody in the AfD has so far said: Germany first, but it shows through all their statements.

Savoring their election victory. The right-wing Glorious Four, from the left (?):
Jörg Meuthen, Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel, and Frauke Petry.
Twenty-four hours later they were only three (©Der Spiegel).
While the populist wing of the AfD led by Frauke Petry is copying the current political trend in many democracies all over the world, its nationalist fraction, the majority guided by Alexander Gauland, is the dangerous part considering the past of my country. There are hopes that the two wings will fight each other. In fact, in all German state parliaments the AfD, unconditionally opposed to the established system and parties, has so far not done any useful work but has rather spent its energy on debates on points of order and on internal quarrels.

And they were up to no good when yesterday AfD spokeswoman Frauke Petry declared that she will not join the AfD parliamentary group but rather sit as an independent deputy in the newly elected Bundestag. Today she even announced her withdrawal from the AfD.

While Merkel‘s Christian Democrats remain the strongest party and will certainly form a coalition government, Germany’s Social Democrats experienced their lowest percentage of votes since 1949. Consequently, they will go back to their roots and seek renewal in opposition to the future government. In fact, four more years as a junior partner in a grand coalition with Merkel would have meant the end of Germany‘s grand old party that in 1933 alone stood up in the Reichstag (parliament) against the combination of Nazis and bourgeois parties by not voting for the Ermächtigungsgesetz (the infamous enabling act).

In the 2017 elections, Germany moved to the right. It is time that the Social Democrats fight back.

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