Communists on the move in Germany

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 pm, March 16th, 2008 - 5 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Here’s a lead line from a Washington Post article that will strike fear and horror into the heart of any self-respecting rightwinger:

“Nineteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the old East German Communist Party is making a comeback.”

“Known these days simply as the Left, the ex-communists have broadened their appeal by playing to Germans’ anxieties about globalization, wealth distribution and welfare cuts. After scraping along for years, the Left now draws the support of one in seven Germans, some polls show — making it the third most popular party in the country and a potential kingmaker in next year’s federal election.

The Left’s rebound has stunned Germany’s mainstream political parties, which had written off the ex-communists as a relic of the Cold War and long treated them as untouchable extremists. Instead, the Left has upended Germany’s once stable political system, increasing the odds that it could come to power in a coalition government.”

I’m not going to predict a similar resurrgence here but it does remind us of the nature of MMP politics and the fact that it’s not just one party’s vote that will matter. You would be foolish to write off any of the established smaller parties. We see from the weekend papers that ACT is working hard to find itself some space again. And Winston should never, ever be discounted on the campaign trail. What does it add up to? “A silver and a bronze can trump a gold” as the saying goes…

5 comments on “Communists on the move in Germany”

  1. Santi 1

    The headline could also read: “Nineteen days after the latest polls were published, the old socialist Labour Party is making a comeback.’

    Very true than in a MMP environment the largest share of popular votes does not guarantee winning the Treasury benches. I’d inclined to agree with you on ACT, although is difficult see them reaching 5% (ACT should win Epsom).

    In the case of NZF, there is no way it will cross the threshold, and Peters himself appears doomed in Tauranga.

  2. Draco TB 2

    Very true than in a MMP environment the largest share of popular votes does not guarantee winning the Treasury benches.

    Why should having the ‘largest share of the popular votes’ guarantee you the treasury benches?
    Having 50% should guarantee you the treasury benches and this is ensured under a MMP electoral system. It just means that that 50% comes from more than one party and control is some sort of compromise. This is a damn site better than FPP which had governments with less popular support than the opposition.

  3. I would have thought it should strike fear and horror into anyone, left or right wing – as long as you don’t believe in totalitarianism, think the Stasi is forgiveable, or that it was ok to have a state which needed landmines, snipers, guard dogs and walls with barbed will to keep its people in.

  4. deemac 4

    Die Linke is not just the old communist party – it includes lots of others including substantial sections of the Social Democrats who split when their party went into coalition with the Christian Democrats. The situation (as usual) is a lot more complex than the simple minded seem to think. And nearly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, politics in Germany has moved on – so please give the stereotypes a rest (I’m surprised no-one mentioned the war…)

  5. Oh i guess the far right fascists are “not just the old Nazis” they are a lot of others too. Makes it better doesn’t it?

    Stereotypes. Yes, of course silly me, all those executions, the Stasi files, the lack of apology for running fifty years of Stalinist tyranny, yep wash hands of it and forget. Oskar Lafontaine’s article lauding Erich Honecker – yeah that’s forgiveable.

    Foolish to be so simple minded as to think it is unforgiveable to want people in government who turned a blind eye to those being shot trying to leave the system they defended.

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