July 5, 2005

How left can “mainstream” Germans sound? Way left.

Posted in Germany, The Left at 9:50 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]

 

An entry by Ch.Arm at Brushfires of Freedom (German) brought the latest issue of IG Metall’s periodical to my attention. IG Metall is the German union whose earlier edition of metall featured the now infamous Americans-as-Bloodsuckers cover.

The newest issue instructs us on the evils of the much-hated neoliberalismus (neoliberalism), the term used generally here for a political economics that favors the free market, privatization and less emphasis on the social state. Living here I can tell you that those on the Left love to throw around the word neoliberalismus — it’s the official bogeyman, much in the same way that anglo-american lefties expect the term “neo-conservative” to instill fear and loathing in all of us.

In the timeline of the growth of evil that is printed alongside their lecture, the Metall Meanies show once again how the origins of this evil that disrupts what otherwise would be the splendid life of the german proletariat comes from outside Germany, just as their Americans-as-Bloodsuckers issue explicitly argued and just as their great teachers in the art of propaganda — Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, et al. — argued before them.

This time around it is that great “social-darwinist”, Margaret Thatcher, who is to blame, presumably because she was the first European “neoliberal” in power. The very beginning of the timeline is actually 1947. It reads: “Economist Friedrich Hayek founds the ‘Mont Pelerin Society’, the cradle of neoliberalism. His student: Margaret Thatcher.” (queue scary music here.)

Next we jump to 1979, when the now grown-up social darwinist becomes prime minister of England:

Die Sozialdarwinistin Thatcher hat keinen Skrupel, immer mehr Wettbewerb zu fordern und in Großbritannien durchzusetzen. Sie kämpft gegen Gewerkschaften und betreibt massiven Sozialabbau. Außerdem privatisiert die Eiserne Lady alles was zu privatisieren ist. Thatchers Lieblingskommentar dazu: ‘Es gibt keine Alternativen.’ Die Bilanz ihrer Politik: In England ist heute jede vierte Person und jedes dritte Kind arm.Der Neoliberalismus wird mit Thatcher sowie auch US-Präsident Ronald Reagan salonfähig und breitet sich weltweit aus. Der Glaube an die neoliberale Politik, die den Märkten alle Macht geben will, wird auch als Allheimmittel für Entwicklungsländer gepriesen. Erstes Opfer: Chile. Der Versuch endet im Chaos. The social-darwinist Thatcher does not hesitate to continuously press for increased competition [i.e., free market] throughout Britain. She fights against unions and carries out a massive dismantling of social services. Additionally, the Iron Lady privatizes whatever there is to privatize. Thatcher’s favorite saying: ‘There is no alternative.’ The result of her policies: in today’s England, every fourth person and every third child is poor.Through Thatcher as well as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, neoliberalism becomes fashionable and is spread throughout the world. The belief in the neoliberal politics, which give all power to the market, is even touted as a cure-all for the developing countries. First victim: Chile. The attempt ends in chaos.

As they move on to complain about Germany’s miserable condition, they highlight the economic malaise there by showing how poorly German average income has fared versus other countries. They list several countries from best to worst. Guess who places second in the race for the highest increase in wages over the ten year period beginning in 1995: those darned darwinists in England, who had a whopping 25.2% increase, versus a 0.9% decrease in German wages. (Yet every fourth Englishman is poor, right?)

Though they have nothing but bile to spit at the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, see how the former eastern bloc fares in their timeline entry for 1989:

Die 80er Jahre stehen im Zeichen des politischen Wandels. Mit Glasnost kommt die Widervereinigung Deutschlands und der Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion. Zu spät entdecken die Politiker, dass nicht alles aus der ehemaligen DDR schlecht war. Doch für Kinderkrippen und die meisten ostdeutschen Produkte ist es bereits zu spät. The 80s herald political change. With Glasnost comes the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But politicians realize too late that not everything about the former DDR [East German Communist Dictatorship] was bad. For the daycare centers and most products from the east it is too late.

I would, of course, have a lot to say about that, but to me it’s more appropriate to let a German do the talking on this subject. So here is Ch.Arm’s response to Metall’s complaint that politicians failed to see that not everything about the DDR was bad:

Genau! Sozialismus, Totalitarismus, unfreie Wahlen, Stasi, Berliner Mauer, fehlende Reisefreiheit, enormes Wohlstandsgefälle zum Westen, etc. etc.
Und genau in ein solches System gehören diese verbohrten Gewerkschaftsdeppen hin. Hoffen wir nur, dass nicht all zu viele Leser diesen Schwachsinn ernst nehmen und sich selbst ein eigenes, richtiges Meinungsbild ausarbeiten.
Exactly! Socialism, totalitarianism, no free elections, Stasi, Berlin Wall, the absence of the freedom to travel, enormous differences in the standard of living vis-a-vis the west, etc., etc.
And in exactly such a system do these pig-headed union idiots belong. We can only hope that not too many of the readers of this nonsense take it seriously and that they instead form their own opinions.

The article itself ends with a call to lift the tax exemptions on the profits of “the locusts” — yes, they used the favorite lefty catchword “Heuschrecken” — and this ominous remark: “We won’t accept just criticisms of capitalism that are not backed-up with actions.”

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How left can “mainstream” Germans sound? Way left.

Posted in Germany, The Left at 9:50 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]

 

An entry by Ch.Arm at Brushfires of Freedom (German) brought the latest issue of IG Metall’s periodical to my attention. IG Metall is the German union whose earlier edition of metall featured the now infamous Americans-as-Bloodsuckers cover.

The newest issue instructs us on the evils of the much-hated neoliberalismus (neoliberalism), the term used generally here for a political economics that favors the free market, privatization and less emphasis on the social state. Living here I can tell you that those on the Left love to throw around the word neoliberalismus — it’s the official bogeyman, much in the same way that anglo-american lefties expect the term “neo-conservative” to instill fear and loathing in all of us.

In the timeline of the growth of evil that is printed alongside their lecture, the Metall Meanies show once again how the origins of this evil that disrupts what otherwise would be the splendid life of the german proletariat comes from outside Germany, just as their Americans-as-Bloodsuckers issue explicitly argued and just as their great teachers in the art of propaganda — Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, et al. — argued before them.

This time around it is that great “social-darwinist”, Margaret Thatcher, who is to blame, presumably because she was the first European “neoliberal” in power. The very beginning of the timeline is actually 1947. It reads: “Economist Friedrich Hayek founds the ‘Mont Pelerin Society’, the cradle of neoliberalism. His student: Margaret Thatcher.” (queue scary music here.)

Next we jump to 1979, when the now grown-up social darwinist becomes prime minister of England:

Die Sozialdarwinistin Thatcher hat keinen Skrupel, immer mehr Wettbewerb zu fordern und in Großbritannien durchzusetzen. Sie kämpft gegen Gewerkschaften und betreibt massiven Sozialabbau. Außerdem privatisiert die Eiserne Lady alles was zu privatisieren ist. Thatchers Lieblingskommentar dazu: ‘Es gibt keine Alternativen.’ Die Bilanz ihrer Politik: In England ist heute jede vierte Person und jedes dritte Kind arm.

Der Neoliberalismus wird mit Thatcher sowie auch US-Präsident Ronald Reagan salonfähig und breitet sich weltweit aus. Der Glaube an die neoliberale Politik, die den Märkten alle Macht geben will, wird auch als Allheimmittel für Entwicklungsländer gepriesen. Erstes Opfer: Chile. Der Versuch endet im Chaos.

The social-darwinist Thatcher does not hesitate to continuously press for increased competition [i.e., free market] throughout Britain. She fights against unions and carries out a massive dismantling of social services. Additionally, the Iron Lady privatizes whatever there is to privatize. Thatcher’s favorite saying: ‘There is no alternative.’ The result of her policies: in today’s England, every fourth person and every third child is poor.

Through Thatcher as well as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, neoliberalism becomes fashionable and is spread throughout the world. The belief in the neoliberal politics, which give all power to the market, is even touted as a cure-all for the developing countries. First victim: Chile. The attempt ends in chaos.

As they move on to complain about Germany’s miserable condition, they highlight the economic malaise there by showing how poorly German average income has fared versus other countries. They list several countries from best to worst. Guess who places second in the race for the highest increase in wages over the ten year period beginning in 1995: those darned darwinists in England, who had a whopping 25.2% increase, versus a 0.9% decrease in German wages. (Yet every fourth Englishman is poor, right?)

Though they have nothing but bile to spit at the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, see how the former eastern bloc fares in their timeline entry for 1989:

Die 80er Jahre stehen im Zeichen des politischen Wandels. Mit Glasnost kommt die Widervereinigung Deutschlands und der Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion. Zu spät entdecken die Politiker, dass nicht alles aus der ehemaligen DDR schlecht war. Doch für Kinderkrippen und die meisten ostdeutschen Produkte ist es bereits zu spät. The 80s herald political change. With Glasnost comes the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But politicians realize too late that not everything about the former DDR [East German Communist Dictatorship] was bad. For the daycare centers and most products from the east it is too late.

I would, of course, have a lot to say about that, but to me it’s more appropriate to let a German do the talking on this subject. So here is Ch.Arm’s response to Metall’s complaint that politicians failed to see that not everything about the DDR was bad:

Genau! Sozialismus, Totalitarismus, unfreie Wahlen, Stasi, Berliner Mauer, fehlende Reisefreiheit, enormes Wohlstandsgefälle zum Westen, etc. etc.
Und genau in ein solches System gehören diese verbohrten Gewerkschaftsdeppen hin. Hoffen wir nur, dass nicht all zu viele Leser diesen Schwachsinn ernst nehmen und sich selbst ein eigenes, richtiges Meinungsbild ausarbeiten.
Exactly! Socialism, totalitarianism, no free elections, Stasi, Berlin Wall, the absence of the freedom to travel, enormous differences in the standard of living vis-a-vis the west, etc., etc.
And in exactly such a system do these pig-headed union idiots belong. We can only hope that not too many of the readers of this nonsense take it seriously and that they instead form their own opinions.

The article itself ends with a call to lift the tax exemptions on the profits of “the locusts” — yes, they used the favorite lefty catchword “Heuschrecken” — and this ominous remark: “We won’t accept just criticisms of capitalism that are not backed-up with actions.”

G8 spectacle, today’s Sturmabteilung, etc.

Posted in G8, The Left at 12:18 am by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]

 

The sad thing is that the spectacle of recent G8 summits, World Bank meetings, etc., seems to be somewhat acceptable. I feel nothing but pity for the police officers who are on the front lines of Edinburgh facing off against real thugs who, in my mind (which is tainted towards German history), are modeled after the SA of the late Weimar years. Reporters like to say that today’s thugs wish to “disrupt” the summits. That’s a nice and benign way of putting it. And it reminds me of how the SA tried to “disrupt” public events — such as concerts and theater plays that they found objectionable — by doing things like closing off building entrances, throwing stink bombs and simply assaulting the people who attended the events.

The uniformed thugs of today (I speak of those such as Ya Basta) are themselves a bit like the Sturmabteilung members of yesterday: relatively young people who not accept the political and cultural societies in which they live and are willing to employ force to bring about change. And, just like in the case of Weimar, they are acting against democratically elected governments.

In the specific case of this week, the G8 countries are the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, Russia and France. Excepting Russia, we can safely say that these countries’ governments are “legitimate” in the sense that we who believe in pluralistic democracies think of that term. So our legitimately elected leaders attend (admittedly, largely useless) gatherings and are met by uniformed thugs representing no kind of legitimate entity whatsoever. These thugs employ force and violence to try to “disrupt” this meeting of legitimately elected leaders.

At what point did we decide that this was not really such a big deal? And note that I excepted Russia — perhaps Putin is not so legitimate. Yet ask yourself: if the leaders could be offered up for sacrifice to today’s SA in Edinburgh, would the least legitimate of the lot (Putin) be the first one torn to pieces? Of course not.

Now, imagine if these thugs really were (explicitly) a new “SA”, meaning a far-right league of uniformed German youths sporting swastikas. I think then it would be a big deal and they wouldn’t be treated with kid gloves by the media and other “elites.”

Speaking of kid gloves, here is a free CNN video of protesters arriving (the link is to the Windows Media version). The correspondent decides that humor is the best approach to reporting this. I mean, they’re just a bunch of funny kids after all!

That video appears to have been rather early in the day. Later, the Scotsman reported a city “under siege”.

Bottles and plants were used as missiles as the violence spilled over into Princes Street Gardens.

(…)

Officers were punched and kicked as they lined the road to prevent the hoards of protesters pushing on towards the Capital’s financial quarter.

(…)

The anarchists responded by trying to pull benches onto the road before the police advance forced them to flee.

As I said, I pity the police. In this age of kid gloves for thugs, today’s SA certainly has the political upper hand against the police.

July 1, 2005

Prominent German Lefty Sounds Righty

Posted in Germany, The Left at 1:24 am by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
After Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) failed in one regional election after another, one of its “prominents”, Oscar LaFontaine, decided to pull left.  He abandoned his party and has now created — for this year’s national election — a coalition with the SED PDS, the successor party to the East German Communist Dictatorship.  Now LaFontaine is on the campaign trail preparing for elections this autumn.  A statement of his a few weeks ago at a rally in Chemnitz is a great example of how statists — be they left or right — inevitably start sounding like each other, especially in “emergencies”, which one might consider today’s German economy.

Specifically, LaFontaine said:

The State is obliged to protect its citizens.  It is obliged to prevent family fathers and women from losing their jobs due to foreign workers taking low-paying jobs.  [… weil Fremdarbeiter zu niedrigen Löhnen ihnen die Arbeitsplätze wegnehmen.]

Using the word Fremdarbeiter pejoratively usually marks you as a right-winger.  But this comes from a prominent politician who has teamed-up with the far left.  All sorts of foreigner interest groups are shocked and dismayed by the comment.  But nobody should be surprised.  The Euro Left is following basically the same logic when it works hard to be sure that the European Union does not pass any laws that significantly “liberalize” the service-sector, fearing it would mean that Czechs and Poles and other scary Easterners would be able to move into Germany (or France, etc.) and take smaller pay packets and fewer benefits while providing similar services that a German (or Frenchman, etc.) could provide.  This is kind of what one might call Xenophobia is only slightly different from the right-wing version.  I look at it this way:

People probably consider “right-wing” xenophobia to be based primarily on racial hatred; righties who use the economic argument (i.e., “they are stealing jobs”) are probably just rationalizing their hatred and using an excuse that they believe will motivate other people to their side.

This “left-wing” “xenophobia” is based on anger over people screwing up the lovely, utopian social state.  For the social state utopia to function, there can’t be big gaps in personal income expectations between different sectors of the population.  First of all, this means that the people who traditionally have had the higher expectations are more likely to become unemployed as they are replaced by people with lower expectations.  Their unemployment is a further burden on the social state, which in turn is supported in large part by “contributions” based on percentages of income, payroll, etc.

Simply put: the extent to which LaFontaine is annoyed by Fremdarbeiter is the extent to which he believes they are upsetting the utopian balance of the well-functioning social state.  His annoyance is actually probably less aimed at them personally as it is aimed at those who are willing to employ them at lower wages to increase profit.

Or, perhaps he is just a racist after all!  Or he is cynically using the xenophobia angle to gain “disaffected” voters who would usually turn to the right-wing.

(In reviewing my paragraph up there about the Fremdarbeiter‘s willingness to work for lower wages and how this upsets the social state’s balance, I am not so convinced that I am right.  Because that argument suggests that, thanks to the presence of Fremdarbeiter willing to work for cheaper wages, the cost of labor in Germany is decreasing.  But is this really so?  I don’t know.)