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Posts Tagged ‘Germany

Nigel Farage Boosts German Far-right AfD.

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Die Berliner AfD-Landesvorsitzende Beatrix von Storch und der Euroskeptiker Nigel Farage aus Großbritannien sprechen am 8. September 2017 in Berlin auf einer Pressekonferenz zu den Medienvertretern (picture alliance / dpa / Kay Nietfeld)

Farage with Beatrix von Storch.

Image result for farage and galloway

Farage with another Friend, George Galloway.

Sky has just reported,

Nigel Farage given standing ovation at German far-right AfD election rally

Ahead of the German election on 24 September, Mr Farage said: “(I’m trying) to get a proper debate going in the biggest, richest and most important, powerful country in Europe about not just the shape of Brexit but perhaps even the shape of the European project to come.”

He urged Germans to “say to Brussels: look, the reason the Brits left is because you’re behaving so badly, you’re taking away so much of people’s freedom, liberty and democracy”.

Mr Farage said: “We managed to break it in the United Kingdom. At the moment Germany is at a point where it is very, very tough to break through.”

However he added: “I predict, in Germany, it will probably start in Bavaria.”

He said he was at the rally at the “personal invitation” of his fellow European Parliament member, the AfD’s Beatrix von Storch, the granddaughter of Hitler’s finance minister Lutz von Krosigk.

Polls currently put the Eurosceptic AfD on up to 11% of the vote, which would make it the largest opposition party if Mrs Merkel wins as expected and renews her coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Ms Von Storch – whose party is calling for a referendum on Germany’s EU membership – praised Mr Farage for “showing that doing the impossible is possible”.

The leaders of the anti-Islam have provoked controversy in the past by saying German border guards should open fire on illegal immigrants “if necessary”.

They have also dubbed Berlin’s Holocaust memorial a “monument of shame”.

The visit, to give support to fellow extreme-right Sovereigentists, has been widely reported in Germany.

Nigel Farage in BerlinMister Brexit besucht die AfD.

Deutschlandfunk (radio).

Nigel Farage sieht „eine große Verantwortung“ für die AfD  die Welt.

Farage says, the AfD has a great responsibility.

Europa-Skeptiker treffen sich in Berlin  Taz.

AfD-Frau Beatrix von Storch hat Nigel Farage nach Berlin eingeladen – um ein paar Gemeinsamkeiten zur Schau zu stellen. Taz.

That is, a few double act shows with the AfD leader have taken place.

The visit has not only been noticed in Germany.

Le Monde has just reported that Farage was strangely ‘indulgent’ towards Merkel, which raised a few eyebrows amongst his far-right friends.

Devant l’AfD, « Mr Brexit » dit trop de bien de Merkel

Invité à participer à un rassemblement de l’extrême droite allemande, Nigel Farage a tenu des propos indulgents vis-à-vis de la chancelière.

Invited to a meeting of the Gemran far right, Nigel Farage showed signs of understanding  toward the Chancellor.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Europe’s Far Right Capitalises on Brexit and Trump Victories.

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Image result for Proteste gegen Europa der Nationen und der Freiheit)

Against Far-Right Meeting: Koblenz Stays Multihued!

The pro-Brexit UK left claimed that a vote to leave would strengthen the ‘anti-austerity’, left-wing and labour movement, forces across in Europe.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now Donald Trump, who gives credit to the victory of Leave to his own triumph, heralds America First! – a slogan straight out of the back catalogue of his own, and the European extreme right’s favourite tunes.

The European far-right is also trying to capitalise on Brexit, and the success of Trump’s reactionary populism.

The Irish Times reports,

Koblenz will be the meeting place of European far-right leaders this Saturday. Hosting the event is Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) co-leader Frauke Petry and her new husband, party MEP Marcus Pretzell. Guests include French presidential hopeful and Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen, Dutchman Geert Wilders, whose Party for Freedom (PVV) is leading polls ahead of March elections, and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League.

Hours after Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, European far-right leaders see a mutual benefit in presenting themselves in public as a united front opposed to the EU’s current form, to its open borders, to its currency and to its approach to the refugee crisis.

The Tribune de Genève carries the same story:

Au lendemain de l’investiture de Donald Trump, la présidente du Front national en France, Marine Le Pen, retrouve samedi en Allemagne des dirigeants de partis de droite extrême et populistes européens, pour tenter d’afficher un front uni avant plusieurs scrutins cruciaux.

The day after Donald Trump’s investiture, the President of the Front National in France, Marine le Pen, is meeting this Saturday with the leaders of the European extreme right and populist parties, to attempt to assemble a united front before several crucial election contests.

The far from left friendly or even liberal Bild report that this meeting has caused outrage in Germany,

Wilders, Le Pen und AfD tagen in Koblenz Empörung über Gipfel der EU-Hasser

Gegen den geplanten Kongress formiert sich Protest

Wilders, Le Pe and Afd (Alternative for Germany) meetin in Koblenz. Outrage at the Summit of European Union Haters. Protests are being organised against this Congress.

Deutsche Welle provides the background,

Frauke Petry is careful about her reputation. She does not want to be seen as a right-wing extremist and nor does she want her party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), to be labeled as such. She has called the Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke, who held a controversial speech in which he criticized the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, a “burden for the party.” For a while, Petry’s reservations have kept her from contacting Marine LePen from the France’s National Front, which is considered to be at least a notch more radical than the AfD.

Last summer, Frauke Petry secretly met Marine Le Pen. Now she is seeking public appearances with LePen, Wilders and Matteo Salvini from the Italian Lega Nord. Nonetheless, the AfD itself is not hosting the party gathering. Petry’s new husband, the head of North Rhine Westphalia’s AfD, arranged the meeting. He is a member of European Parliament for the AfD and as a lone MEP joined the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) parliamentary group, whose driving force is the National Front. Pretzell’s only party colleague in Strasbourg, Beatrix von Storch, is a member of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFD), which is mostly run by Britain’s UKIP and the Italian Five Star Movement.

There are people in the AfD who think Petry’s appearance at the gathering is wrong. “That is a pure ENF matter that has nothing to do with the AfD,” says Jörg Meuthen, who ironically makes up the party’s leadership duo with Petry. Even the Berlin AfD chairman Georg Pazderski says that the AfD should distance itself from the National Front, as its economic policies are too “socialist” for him. The FN does indeed advocate isolationism and anti-globalization, unlike the economically liberal AfD.

The protests today:

a broad counter-alliance with the slogan “Koblenz remains diverse” has formed and will demonstrate on Saturday. The head of the SPD and deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel wants to join the march as do representatives of the Green Party, the left-wing party Die Linke and even the Social Democrat foreign minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn. “We cannot leave the destiny of the continent in the hands of the nationalists,” Asselborn told the German Press Agency.

Yesterday around 100 people demonstrated against the far-right in Koblenz: Erste Demo gegen Rechtspopulisten in Koblenz

 Notice of the much larger  march today:

ENF (Europa der Nationen und der Freiheit) kommt nach Koblenz – Statement zu den Hintergründen und der Brisanz – Proteste am 20.01/21.012017 in Koblenz

Der ENF (Europa der Nationen und der Freiheit), die Fraktion ultranationalistischer und rechtsradikaler Parteien im Europäischen Parlament, besteht aus 39 Abgeordneten des „Front National“ (FN, größte rechtspopulistische Partei Frankreichs um Marine Le Pen), „Der Freiheitlichen Partei Österreich“ (FPÖ – Rechtsextreme … ENF (Europa der Nationen und der Freiheit) kommt nach Koblenz – Statement zu den Hintergründen und der Brisanz – Proteste am 20.01/21.012017 in Koblenz weiterlesen

Written by Andrew Coates

January 21, 2017 at 11:23 am

Merkel’s Party Beaten by Hard Right AfD, as Left Also Suffers Losses in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Poll.

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Spontane Demonstration gegen AfD Wahlparty läuft vom Ostbahnhof los.

Spontaneous anti-fascist demonstration after Mecklenburg-Vorpommern result.

Solidarité Ouvrière publishes photos showing  that the march was attacked by the far right.

 

Infografik Landtagswahl Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Englisch

Deutsche Welle reports,

Politicians blame Merkel’s refugee policy for defeat in regional elections

Chancellor Angela Merkel received heavy criticism from her opponents as well as from within her own ranks. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), came third place in state elections in her home state.

The CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), blamed the chancellor and her open-door policy on refugees for the shocking result in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Bavarian finance minister Markus Söder said that receiving fewer than 20 percent of the overall vote in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania should serve as a “wake-up call” with regards to her refugee policy.

Söder told the Monday morning edition of the regional daily newspaper “Nürnberger Nachrichten” that Merkel needed to adopt a hard line on migrants.

“It is no longer possible to ignore people’s views on this issue. Berlin needs to change tack,” Söder said.Merkel’s CDU lost a great number of votes to the newly established “Alternative for Germany” party (AfD), which managed to come second-place in the regional elections in the northeastern state.

They add,

In addition to Merkel’s CDU’s bad results of only 19 percent of the vote, her federal government coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), also suffered a major setback. While the centre-left SPD managed to garner a better-than-forecast 30.6 percent in Sunday’s election, it too lost several percents of its voter base to the AfD.

The AfD had targeted Merkel’s CDU and her coalition partner, the SPD, since her decision a year ago not to close Germany’s border to refugees arriving from war zones such as Syria and Iraq via Hungary and Austria.

We add, Die Linke also lost 52 % and Die Grünen 3,9%.

Infografics: Afd development

Initial analysis of the vote, Wer wählte 
die AfD? (Die Linke sympathising, Neues Deutschland) indicates the following.

From an inquiry into  60,000 new voters for the anti-immigrant party, the AFD gained support from the following parties  19 000 from the already far-right,  NPD  23 000 from the CDU, 18 000 from Die Linke, and 16 000 from the SPD.

Amongst men voters the AfD support levelled with the SPD, particularity amongst those between 25 to 59 years old.

22% of  AfD voters are self-employed, , 19 % administrative/clerical employes, including 17% in the public sector.

Amongst those of a medium educational level the AFD also scored level with the SDP.

Update: le Monde.

Le parti d’extrême droite allemand AfD s’est reconverti dans le populisme

The AfD, founded in 2013, from being the “teachers’ party”, campaigning against the Euro and for conservative issues, has become increasingly ‘populist’ opposed to the ‘old parties’ and mobilising around the themes of identity (against immigration) and security.

A survey, comparing national support for the AfD from 2015 to 2016 shows its social base, notably support amongst the young.

C’est d’abord le cas des chômeurs (15 % se disent proches du parti, 4 % en 2015), des ouvriers (11 %, + 6 points), des moins de 30 ans (10 %, + 5 points) et des habitants de l’ex-Allemagne de l’Est (11 %, + 5 points). A l’Ouest, en revanche, ils ne sont que 3 % (un point de plus qu’en 2015).

First of all they have backing from the unemployed (15% in 2015, 4% in 2014), workers (11%, up 6%O, the under 30s (10%, up 5 points) and those living in the former GDR (11%, 5 points ore). In the West they remain at 3% (1% up from 2015).

Der Spiegel also notes that in this regional election the AfD had the largest percentage vote amongst workers, (33%) and the unemployed (29%)  and self-employed (27%). (“Sowohl bei Arbeitslosen (29 Prozent) als auch bei Arbeitern (34 Prozent) und sogar Selbstständigen (28 Prozent) sind die Rechtspopulisten stärkste Partei geworden.”)
Taz  observes that the AfD already sees a “revolution” in the making, (“AfD-Rechtsaußen Höcke sieht schon die „Revolution“ heraufziehen.)

in Der Spiegel   says, that the SPD has no alternative, and that “In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern profitierte nur die AfD. Alle anderen Parteien haben verloren.” – only the AfD has gained. All the other parties have lost.”

A very comprehensive Wikipedia entry is here: The Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD)

Written by Andrew Coates

September 5, 2016 at 11:05 am

Armenian Genocide Recognised by Germany: Turkey’s Indecent Response Knows no Bounds’

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A banner reading ‘Nuremberg says: The Bundestag is not a tribunal’ is held aloft during a protest in Berlin against the German parliament’s resolution condemning the Armenian genocide.

Turkish Banner Makes Reference to  Nuremberg to Dismiss Genocide Charge.

Deutsche Welle covers this historic vote,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the leader of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, failed to attend the vote on account of other appointments. Critics have said, however, that they deliberately attempted to dodge a difficult vote. Chancellor Merkel did, however, announce after the passing of the resolution that the Bundestag decision to designate the Ottoman killings of Christian Armenians as genocide did not detract from Germany’s “amicable and strategic” relationship with Turkey.

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian praised the decision as “Germany’s valuable contribution not only to the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, but also to the universal fight for the prevention of genocides, crimes against humanity.”

Reactions

Steinmeier told DW that the vote was an “independent decision by the German Bundestag”

“Turkey reacted as expected,” he added. “I hope that in the coming days we will be able to ensure there is not an overreaction.”

Recently elected Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed “the racist Armenian lobby” for the passing of the resolution and announced that he has called Turkey’s Berlin ambassador Hüsein Avni Karslioglu to report in Ankara in response to the vote in the Bundestag. Yildirim claimed that Turkey had nothing in its past that it needed to be ashamed of.

“Ours is a country that prides itself with its past,” Yildirim said and added on Twitter that the resolution was “truly testing Germany’s friendship with Turkey.”

The co-leader of Germany’s Green party, Cem Özdemir, who has a Turkish background, told reporters that Germany was even involved in the massacres 101 years ago, highlighting that the German Empire at the time provided the Ottoman Empire with the weapons needed to carry out such war crimes. Özdemir added that the German Empire had also sent military consultants, who supported and fought with the Ottomans.

Green Party co-chair Cem Özdemir held an impassionate speech in the Bundestag calling for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians

“They knew exactly what was going on,” Özdemir said. “In this respect we’re guilty of complicity, and have to admit this.”

Armenian representatives  welcome the decision.

The report outlines the Turkish reaction,

Meanwhile Burhan Kuzu, a top member of the ruling AK Party, called ethnic Turkish members of the German parliament like Özdemir who voted for the bill “traitors” and added that they “should not set foot” back in Turkey.

The BBC adds this information:

In the latest response:Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed a “racist Armenian lobby” for the resolution

The Guardian continues,

Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Berlin after German MPs approved a motion describing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide – a decision that the Turkish president said would “seriously affect” relations between the two countries.

The five-page paper, co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, calls for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”. It passed with support from all the parties in parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had voted in favour of the resolution during a test vote at a party meeting on Tuesday, but was absent from the actual vote on Thursday, as were the deputy chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, and the minister for foreign affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Gregor Gysi of the Left party described Merkel’s absence as “not very brave”.

Complementing its reports on the decision,  Le Monde reminds us that Christians today face ethnic and religious cleansing and the threat of genocide from Islamists:

Le drame des chrétiens d’Orient

Written by Andrew Coates

June 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Alternative für Deutschland in Electoral Breakthrough.

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They’re Jubilant: Few other People are. (1)

AFD (Alternative für Deutschland) RIDES HIGH reports Reuters.

With a high turnout in all the votes, the AfD, already represented in five of Germany’s 16 regional assemblies, succeeded in entering three more.

Its support was strongest in Saxony-Anhalt, where it grabbed 24.2 percent of the vote behind a diminished CDU showing, surpassing even the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s coalition partner in Berlin, ZDF television projections indicated.

With campaign slogans such as “Secure the borders” and “Stop the asylum chaos”, it was the first time the AfD had come as high as second in any state.

“We have fundamental problems in Germany that led to this election result,” said AfD chief Frauke Petry.

The AfD’s rise, which has coincided with strong gains by other European anti-immigrant parties including the National Front in France, punctures the centrist consensus around which the mainstream parties have formed alliances in Germany, and may embolden more European leaders to challenge Merkel on the migrant issue.

The CDU’s leader in Saxony-Anhalt pointed the finger squarely at Merkel for his party’s losses.

“The issue that has brought the AfD into parliaments across Germany can’t be ignored on a federal level any more. We need solutions,” Reiner Haseloff told ARD television.

Charlotte Knobloch, former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, bemoaned a “massive shift to the right”.

“If voters follow the call of right-wing populists and extremists to such an extent, it is a failure of the democratic parties,” she said.

SPD SUFFERS

In Baden-Wuerttemberg in the southwest, the Greens for the first time became the strongest party in a state, with 31.1 percent of the vote, ZDF television projections indicated.

The state was a CDU stronghold for more than 50 years before turning to a Green-led coalition with the SPD in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and CDU support fell by another 12 percentage points on Sunday.

Also damaging for the CDU was the result in Rhineland-Palatinate, the home of former chancellor Helmut Kohl.

There, the CDU’s Julia Kloeckner, who had positioned herself as a future candidate to succeed Merkel, failed to unseat SPD state premier Malu Dreyer.

It was the only bright spot for the SPD, the biggest loser overall. In Saxony-Anhalt, its support almost halved and in Baden-Wuerttemberg it sank by more than 10 percentage points.

Asked if the SPD’s weak showing in those two states would trigger questions about SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel’s future, deputy party chairman Ralf Stegner said: “No, not at all.”

It is still unclear which coalitions will take power in each state, but the splintered vote opens the prospect of deep changes to the political landscape.

Die Welt, presenting a detailed break-down of the vote, notes that the AfD support came above all from former CDU and SDP voters: (Woher die Stimmen für die AfD kamen)

The Süddeutsche Zeitung points out that, the AfD has one central theme: “Es gab ein Thema, das in diesem Wahlkampf, an diesem Wahlsonntag alle anderen überlagert hat: die Flüchtlinge. DieAfD ist gegen “Multikulti”, prangert das “Asylchaos” an, ist stattdessen für “Mut zu Deutschland”, für “kontrollierte Zuwanderung”. That is, refugees. The AFd is against multiculturalism (in their derogatory slang, with echoes of ‘cult’), singles out Asylum-seeker chaos, their “Pride in Germany” and demands for a “control of immigration.”

The paper lists its other appeals as a “protest party”, as a “social-media party” and a party of “donnernden Reden”, thundering speeches, which we would more freely translate as loud-mouthed demagogy, shouting “”Merkel muss weg”, Merkel must go!

Taz reports on the AFD’s jubilation-time, and its satisfaction that it is no longer an East Germany party facing with the “lying-media”:

Jubelzahlen aus der Lügenpresse

Auf der Wahlparty der Rechtspopulisten ist die Stimmung gut. Die AfD sei nicht mehr nur eine Ostpartei, freut sich deren Spitzenpersonal.

 Taz also reports on the results in  BadenWürttemberg

Daniel Cohn-Bendit über Kretschmann

„Es bleibt nur Schwarz-Grün“

Also bleibt nur Schwarz-Grün, die neue Große Koalition.

That is, Cohn-Bendit foresees a Green-‘black’ (CDU) coalition running the state.

The Guardian states,

The German government will stick by its existing refugees policy, a spokesman has said, after the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland made strong gainsin regional elections on Sunday.

Asked if the results in three German states, where support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives dwindled, would lead to a change in policy, Steffen Seibert said: “The German government will continue to pursue its refugee policy with all its might both at home and abroad.”

AfD entered state parliaments in all three regions that voted, winning 24% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt and over 10% in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

The results suggested that German politicians increasingly appear to have two options: rally behind their chancellor, or rail against her.

Although AfD enjoyed considerable momentum, the majority of votes still went to parties who support Merkel’s pro-refugee stance. In all three states, incumbent premiers held on to their seat. In Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Green and Social Democratic (SPD) candidates managed to increase their vote after resolutely backing the chancellor’s open-border position.

(1) Except perhaps this man: Wie Putin die rechten Parteien in Deutschland hofiert.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Robert Kurz: a Theorist Now Making his Mark in the English-Speaking World?

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Reading Marx in the 21st century-Robert Kurz

‘Wertkritik’

In the latest Historical Materialism there are two articles on Robert Kurz (24 December 1943 – 18 July 2012) was a German Marxist philosopher, social criticism publicist, journalist and editor of the journal Exit!. He was one of Germany’s most prominent theorists of value criticism.  His works have yet to be translated into, and published in, English.

They are worth signaling.

The late Robert Kurz was one of the principal theorists of ‘the critique of value’ in Germany. This paper uses the recent release of a collection of his essays in French translation and his posthumously published Geld ohne Wert [Money without Value] (2012) as a starting point for a discussion of the critical project that Kurz undertook over a period of 25 years. Kurz was exemplary in returning to the most radical insights of Marx, even when these went against some of the other ideas of the master. He was an ardent proponent of a crisis theory of capitalism: that the categories of the capitalist mode of production have reached their ‘historical limit’ as society no longer produces enough value. On this basis Kurz argued that none of the proposals for dealing with this crisis within the framework of capitalism are feasible. Kurz demonstrated that the basic categories of the capitalist mode of production, such as money, are not universal but that they developed at the same time, towards the end of the Middle Ages, with the invention of firearms and the states’ need for money that this fuelled. In Geld ohne Wert, Kurz asserts that money in pre-capitalist societies was not a bearer of value but a representation of social ties. He wonders whether, with the current crisis, we are seeing a return to a form of money without value, but now within the framework of a social sacrifice to the fetishistic form of mediation. The paper concludes by suggesting that Kurz has not yet reached a wider public outside Germany because for many his ideas still prove too radical to face.

And

Satanic Mills: On Robert Kurz  Author: Esther Leslie

A critical overview of the contribution of German Marxist Robert Kurz (1943–2012), focussing in particular on The Black Book of Capitalism: A Farewell to the Market Economy (first ed. 1999) and War for World Order: The End of Sovereignty and the Transformations of Imperialism in the Age of Globalisation (2003). This review explores the genesis and the main tenets of Kurz’s theory – especially his concept of value, the automatic subject, crisis and anti-Semitism – and tracks how they are mobilised in his writings over time. It also touches on the legacy of these ideas in political groups such as the Anti-Germans.

Both articles are of great interest and importance.

Kurz seems, to put it mildly, a tosser.

He seemed to think that anybody that didn’t hold to his idea that the critique of the ‘value form’ revealed  an incipient crisis was wrong.

But then I am an Althusserian who has always loathed ‘Wertkritik’.

Mind you Esther, an ex-SWP loyalist, seems to think he was also wrong because he was opposed to Islamism.

So he couldn’t have been all bad.

There is one minor point.

Can I be, no doubt not the first, to mention that apart from what Esther thinks is his unique contribution to the topic, there is another Black Book of Capitalism: the title of a French book, Le Livre Noir du Capitalisme (The Black Book of Capitalism) a French (collectively edited) book published in 1998 which has an entry in the English language Wikipedia. It was a major media event with an impact in the Hispanic speaking world.

Kurz’s Schwarzbuch Kapitalismus: ein Abgesang auf die Marktwirtschaft (The Black Book of Capitalism: A farewell to the market economy) published in 1999 passed almost unnoticed outside of the German speaking sphere.

One can read one of his articles here:  Reading Marx in the 21st century-Robert Kurz

Written by Andrew Coates

December 31, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Pegida: a German Right-Wing Anti-Foreigner Populism Emerges

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Deutschland PEGIDA Demonstration in Dresden

10,000 – 15,000 people  marched on Monday the 15th of December  through the eastern German city of Dresden in an anti-Islamisation demonstration.

The march was the largest yet for the far-right populist PEGIDA movement.

This demonstration and its background were given great prominence in le Monde yesterday (En Allemagne, le discours raciste se banalise). Le Monde emphasised how the numbers attending weekly marches have grown and grown.

The media had not brought up the eternal ‘German neo-Nazism’ hook but the result of the emergence of a growing anti-immigrant/migrant movement in the Germany, a country that has hitherto been immune to the appeal of UKIP/Front National politics. In other words xenophobia knows no European political borders.

The first signs of these developments was in the rise of  Alternative für Deutschland.

“Alternative for Germany received 4.7% of the vote in the September 2013 federal election, narrowly failing the 5% threshold for representation.The party won 7 of Germany’s 96 seats for the European Parliament in the 2014 European election, and joined the European Conservatives and Reformists group in June 2014. The party exceeded forecasts in gaining its first representation in state parliament elections in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia during 2014.”

The party is anti-Euro and against any transfer of sovereignty to the European Union. Its anti-immigration policies, and its ‘socially conservative’ (that is, reactionary) social stand, marks it even more firmly on the hard right.

Commentators (including Le Monde) observe an “overlap” between the AfD and PEGIDA,

 Der Speigel is one of many media outlets to cover the story  including those in the UK (Guardian)

15,000 march in anti-Islamisation PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) demonstrations in Dresden.

A record number of demonstrators turned out on Monday to march in support of the far-right populist PEGIDA group. The name loosely translates to “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West.”

“The people are with us!,” the group’s founder Lutz Bachmann shouted at the crowd. Monday’s turnout was 50 percent greater than that of a week ago. The rallies started in October in response to clashes between Kurds and Sunni Muslims over the West’s intervention in Syria.

But the nationalist group has largely been protesting over the immigration system in Germany, which has become Europe’s number one destination for asylum seekers – whose lands of origin include Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as several African and Balkan nations.

The emergence of the movement has stunned politicians, one of whom – Ralf Jäger, the Social Democratic (SPD) interior minister for North Rhine Westphalia state – described PEGIDA’s members as “neo-Nazis in pinstripes.” While some neo-Nazis have been seen among the crowds, those gathered have mostly been disenchanted citizens.

More than 1,200 police kept a close watch on the non-violent crowds. Nearby, about 6,000 counter-protesters – made up of civic, political and church groups – marched under the banners “Dresden Nazi-free” and “Dresden for All.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the wave of PEGIDA marches and cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic “rabble rousing.”

An associated right-wing BOGIDA protest took place in the western city of Bonn on Monday. While approximately 300 of the group’s supporters turned up, they were met by 2,000 counter demonstrators who called for peace and tolerance.

Der Spiegel.

Taz carries more details about Pegida’s opponents whose counter-demo moblised 5.500.

Reaktionäre Verrohung Europas!

The report by Michael Bartsch says that in response one marcher said that the threat was not the Islamisation of the West, but that of a reactionary and barbaric continent ( „Es droht nicht eine Islamisierung des Abendlandes, sondern eine reaktionäre Verrohung Europas!“) He notes however that this alliance against Pegida is “fragile” – it is composed of many very diverse groups, from the ‘anti-dogmatic’ far left, migrant and asylum groups, human rights organisations, religious bodies, to the established parties. The first group, prominent over years of anti-fascist activism, cannot easily co-operate with the later, particularly the governing CDU one of whose representatives, Martin Gillo, turned up at the end of their march.

British Conservatives.

This (from Wikipedia) relating to  the way the Tories have reacted to the rise of AfD is interesting:

During David Cameron‘s prime ministerial visit to Germany in April 2013, the British Conservative Party is reported to have contacted both Alternative for Germany and the Free Voters to discuss the possibility of cooperation, which was supported by the European Conservatives and Reformists group of the European Parliament.

In June 2013, Bernd Lucke gave a well attended question and answer session organised by the Conservative allied Bruges Group think tank in Portcullis House, London.

ConservativeHome, a British political website, viewed the AfD’s policies as, “wholly unremarkable,” in response to the AfD’s more cautious reception among the German public. The website also voiced the opinion that the party shouldn’t be compared to the UK Independence Party which calls for a British exit from the EU. According to the conservative grassroots site the AfD’s policies are much closer to those of the British Conservatives, who also reject the euro and wish to implement reform of the EU.

The Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was speculated to have been advocating for the British Conservatives and AfD to link following the 2014 EU elections via the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists with possible membership in the EU parliament grouping European Conservatives and Reformists, which was formed after the Conservatives withdrew from the European Democrats sub group of the European People’s Party, to which Angela Merkel’s CDU belong.

Some British Conservatives such as Timothy Kirkhope were more reluctant to be seen as too openly courting the AfD, should it damage relations with Angela Merkel’s CDU, which they speculated could hinder attempts by the Conservative Party to renegotiate treaties before a proposed referendum on British EU membership in 2017. Hans-Olaf Henkel stated that the AfD had heard rumours that Angela Merkel had told David Cameron to keep his distance from the party during the run-up to the 2014 European Election.

Response from the political journalist Andrew Gimson writing at ConservativeHome was broadly positive about the possibility of the Conservatives working with AfD. Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome has also been welcoming towards cooperation with AfD, playing down the risks that cooperation would affect the relationship between David Cameron and Angela Merkel.

Before the European Election Bernd Lucke had been in talks with the Czech and Polish parties of ECR, but acknowledged the concerns the British Conservatives had about the admission of the AfD into the group.