The Left is also predominantly more popular in the Eastern Part of Germany, due to the heritage of the former German Democratic Republic, a socialist country under the rule of the Socialist Unity Party, which was an alliance between the eastern German Social-democrats and the Communists.
In this third installment of his in depth three part series, FRN guest analyst Thomas Trautzsch explains the foundations of Germany’s present political crisis. Continued from part I, and part II, we look now at the coalition talks that ended in disaster, and what the present situation looks like today moving forward. This is a must read in terms of understanding major factors, parties, and power groups that shape Germany’s present political landscape. – J.Flores, EIC
The Coalition Talk Disaster
Right after the election result of the 2017 Bundestag Election became official, the SPD leadership took the position of not having the intention of entering a new government coalition with the Christian-democrats. The argument was that the voters clearly sent the signal that they don’t want another Great Coalition Government. The social-democrats appeared to be firm on this and their statements were quite strong. For a moment the SPD appeared to grow a backbone again and for a moment they even appeared to gain back some of the popularity, which they lost due to their stinking opportunism. Martin Schulz, as well all other party officials were quite explicit in excluding another great coalition government with the Christian democrats. Basically, the Election results offered 4 feasible options:
1.) Great Coalition between SPD and CDU (black, red)
2.) Jamaica Coalition Government (black, yellow, green)
3.) Coalition between SPD, The Left and the Greens (red, red, green)
4.) Minority Government of the Christian Democrats with no Coalition
Since the social-democrats where not willing to enter coalition talks with the Christian-democrats and were also refusing cooperation with the Left, the only remaining viable option was the Jamaica coalition between black, yellow and green, meaning Christian-democrats, Liberals and Greens. The coalition talks started enthusiastically and the mainstream media portrayed everyday new headlines of progress and success, obviously being very desperate. Pictures of the negotiating officials standing on a balcony for a break and waving at the photographer woke memories of the Royal Family in Britain waving at their humble servants. As it soon turned out, all the media’s negotiation success and progress stories were not real and rather an expression of despair, to finally form a government, since we were already well in February with no results whatsoever. Whoever is familiar with German politics could somehow anticipate that due to the very different policies and directions, which each of the coalition parties stood for, it was actually quite impossible to reach a stable government-worthy consensus under these conditions.
Especially the Liberals, who had made very bad experiences in a government coalition with the Christian democrats before, had every reason to be very careful in the negotiations and in not disappointing their just newly returned voters again. So it was not really a surprise, when it was finally Christian Lindner who blew the lid open and announced that the Liberals terminate the coalition talks due to the inability to achieve an acceptable consensus. The Liberal Voters will probably be very grateful to Christian Lindner, at latest in the next elections in 2021.
After the 1st round of Jamaica-Coalition talks miserably failed and the remaining options would have been a red-red-green coalition, the Social-Democrats kept refusing the remaining option of cooperating with the Left. The other Option would have been a minority government of the Christian-Democrats with no Coalition. Many Germans, including myself, actually would have preferred this option, because it would have meant that vital decisions about Germany’s future would have been transferred to the floor of parliament again and would have been up for lively discussion between parties including a more potent opposition, rather than being subject of a fixed and unchallenged coalition contract agreement. In this moment, the Social-Democrats made a complete U-Turn, overthrew their previous position of wanting to be an opposition party entirely and were bringing back to the table the option of a great coalition government. The Social-democrats have been known already in history for grave and really damaging instances of political opportunism, but this move was topping everything. Talks like “The voters were clearly telling us that they don’t want another great coalition government, and we respect our voters.” were completely out of the window.
The Christian-Democrats of course welcomed the decision, because they already perfectly know how to play this game. In order to maintain the image of a democratic decision, the SPD organized a vote of the party base of the social-democrats, about whether or not they should enter the coalition talks with the Christian-democrats. The faction of the social-democrat’s youth organization (Jusos) under the leadership of Kevin Kühnert staged a brave protest against the Great Coalition. The Jusos tried to mobilize an internal and remarkably also an external mass to vote against the great coalition talks. External mass insofar as they tried in an actually quite smart move to animate young, politically yet unbound people to become members of the SPD party in order to vote against the Great Coalition. They really left no stone unturned to prevent this political fallacy and that will win these people some sympathy in the future, even though they may not make it much longer within the social-democratic party ranks.
The vote required a two-third majority for progressing with the coalition talks and surprisingly the votes turned out precisely at the needed 66.7% on the dot in favour of the great coalition talks. Well, would such a voting outcome on a similar matter appear somewhere in Russia, the screaming of our politicians about election fraud would be omnipresent, but in this case, … nah. There were some lonely voices expressing the likeliness of fraud in this, especially because the voting process was handled by the party herself. Right before the election it also become obvious that the SPD-Base was massively medially threatened with losing their influence and by enhancing the extremists, if they would not agree to the coalition. The degree of manipulation was horrendous.
Shortly after the SPD Party Base vote, the coalition talks commenced with a squeaking Andrea Nahles in the negotiation lead. Andrea Nahles was the person who coined the phrase “Now they get smacked right in the kisser …” right after the election, when the SPD considered itself in the opposition, meaning they will now be a tough opposition to whatever the Christian-democrats may come up with. Now she can smack her own kisser, because she’s part of the government. During the coalition talks, Martin Schulz publicly declared his abstinence from a ministerial post in a Merkel Cabinet. About 2 weeks later, he announced his intentions to become Foreign Minister in Merkel’s cabinet. Now, this is really symptomatic for the entire stinking opportunism that so much damages the social-democratic reputation on all levels. It is barely comprehensible, how SPD voters can cope with this amount of lies, distractions and these morally absolutely questionable opportunisms.
However, the Government has been formed and a coalition contract has been negotiated. The Coalition Contract between the CDU, SPD and CSU can be read in full here: https://www.cdu.de/system/tdf/media/dokumente/koalitionsvertrag_2018.pdf?file=1 (unfortunately only in German).
The Content of the Coalition Contract does not suggest, that the most vital items of the country’s problems are going to be addressed sufficiently in the near term, as the focus on the usual non-issues is too evident. If the SPD is not able to deliver and to bring about serious political changes and improvements, while at the same time being able to clearly distinguish itself from the Christian-democrat’s policies, then they will be politically finished in the next Election. Given the little competence, that is shown in the new cabinet and ministerial posts, it his highly likely that no progress will be made whatsoever on any field. If this remains the case, the Social-Democrats will be the absolute sore losers in the next election, with some result around the 15%. The Christian-democrats will probably be able to keep their level of support, as they know very well how to play this game and what to do, in order to make the social-democrats appear as the losers that they are.
Yet, they will have difficulties in raising a Merkel-successor, as by the time Merkel’s departure comes, people will be so fed-up with Merkel, including her party, that it will be difficult to position a viable successor, no matter how competent, he or she may be. Possible successors, which are put in the spotlight appropriately already are Jens Spahn and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Yet, all this quarrel and the unlikeliness of achieving socially sensible solutions, will further the rise of the AfD party. Unsolved issues on the migrant problems and an upcoming financial crisis will further strengthen the political clout of the AfD, especially in Eastern-Germany. The AfD will take measures to increase their readiness for government coalition. How this is done will be largely determined by the geopolitical developments. As it looks, the war in Syria will continue for quite some time to come and the migrant pressure will keep propelling the AfD to new political heights. There is a high chance that the Christian-democrats will be so much under pressure, that they will be willing to enter a coalition with the AfD. This will be possible, because the SPD will lose so many votes that it will not be enough to form a coalition with the Left and the Greens, even though by then they may reconsider their negative stance toward the Left.
The Left, which is currently actively seeking to build a Left Collective Movement, will have to overcome some of its own barriers in order to move closer to the Social-Democrats. That means in particular that they will have to actively address and to root out the Left radicalism in the own party ranks and focus on policies, which support the concerns of a majority of the society, namely to lower income brackets as well as the Mittelstand, rather than engaging in little effective identity politics.
German Party Politics are also subject to geo-political considerations. Looking at the geographic voter distributions for the various parties, there are some clear distinctions particularly between former eastern and western Germany. Traditionally, the Christian-Democrats have the most homogenous voter distribution across the country. The CDU is dominated by Transatlantic Influences particularly from the US, through various institutions and networks, which deliberately promote and lobby for Christian-democratic dominance. Merkel’s call for unrestricted temporary migrant influx fits right into the transatlantic and NATO doctrine of diluting anything that resembles something like a German National Identity, which could potentially grow to an opposing force, if it was discovered that the Germans had the right to exercise their own national sovereignty and finally throw all the remaining US-Military bases out of the country, which only would be fair, since the Russians have none here anymore either.
The Social-democrats have been largely losing in Eastern and Southern Germany, due to their opportunisms concerning the migrant crisis and their electoral disappointments. The western parts still high in votes are traditional bastions. The next election will largely diminish the SPD, as she will be punished for all her opportunisms and 180° turnarounds, which destroyed a lot of trust. The SPD is also subject to US-Lobbying, but has closer relationship to Russia due to the inheritance of people like Ernst Niekisch, Willy Brand and Egon Bahr, who promoted peace and cooperation with Russia.
The AfD has made the largest gains in Eastern Germany, due to the prolonged de-industrialization effects that destroyed a lot of economic potential there. It is making use of people’s accumulated angers there, particularly concerning the migrant issue, the still pertaining western dominance over their institutions, the unwanted NATO-dominance over their territory, as well as the unsupported anti-Russian sentiment that is radiated by our government and its institutions. Russia has an interest in a sovereign Germany, which would be strong enough to oppose the hegemonic will of the United States. That potential is differently situated in Eastern and Western Germany. If Western Germany is unable to put its relationship with the United States on a different footing, other than NATO-serfdom, then Eastern and Western Germany will further drift apart.
While this is heart-breaking for any German valuing the hard fought-for German Unity, given the different cultural backgrounds especially in their relations to Russia and the Slavic World in general, the latent sentiment of suppression and western over-rule, which is existing in the deeper layers of eastern-German conscience, will have a higher weight than the desire for German Unity. This subject will be treated highly contradictive and controversial in the upcoming decade as long as the last 2 to 3 generations who experienced former East-German life, are still around and as long as the social conditions further deteriorate there. The sentiments of some Russian people are that they should have never agreed to the German Unity without the condition of complete NATO removal and many Russians who think that way, would like to see Germany divided again. It can’t be entirely excluded that this may be Russia’s goal after all and it could be expected that the AfD is lobbied by Russian channels to enhance German division. After all, this is what the US has done for decades in German Institutions.
The Left is also predominantly more popular in the Eastern Part of Germany, due to the heritage of the former German Democratic Republic, a socialist country under the rule of the Socialist Unity Party, which was an alliance between the eastern German Social-democrats and the Communists. Pretty much the same popular sentiments reside in the left-voting people as with the AfD people, with the subtle difference that they do not relate in any way to liberal economics, but at the same time favour the EU under a different rule as a valid political construct and that by being willing to give up the concept of national sovereignty. The Left, due to its various radical and ostensibly progressive wings is prone to meaningless identity politics. These wings are rumoured to be supported by Soros factions. Connections to the DIEM25 and other movements are present in German left party and their pro-EU and anti-national-sovereignty stance actually prevents them from coming close to being a people’s party again, as this does not reverberate with a majority of people anymore. Due to ideological heritages the Left also has problems to address a majority of the population, especially in the German Mittelstand, with sufficient policies. The Left will only be more successful if they manage to integrate the needs of the German Mittelstand into their policies. Their internal quarrels are probably indirect results of some foreign lobbying and political interventionism for the purpose of keeping real valid left social ideas down and ineffective.
The Greens as well as the liberals have a larger western German voter base. They are transatlantic-oriented, due to their historic developments. They are lobbied by transatlanticists as they are always potential government coalition partners, who require the same treatment as the dominating Christian-democrats.
Whatever is going to happen in the future, the primary goal of any German citizen should be the avoidance of a global geopolitical conflict between a declining and a rising superpower. If such a conflict were to occur, Germany would be in ashes due to its intermediate geographic location. Therefore, instead of enhancing further polarization in world affairs, Germany should play a deescalating and mediating role between the superpowers, entertaining relationships with both of them and promoting concrete projects, which enhance fair economic partnership and trade between Eurasian and transatlantic routes at the same time and with the same attention. Germany should become a neutral country and should quit its NATO membership, since NATO has transformed to an aggressive organization, which currently is nothing more than a utility for the United States to enhance it s world hegemony. Germany should be no part of that and develop a new sense of its sovereignty and a neutral identity. Unfortunately, our politicians have no balls and no moral fitness to push this through. I’ll be up to the people, but they need a serious awakening.