The German political Elite and the European media groups cannot acknowledge the fundamental political change that is taking place in Germany, because the consequences are so shocking for them. In the country, there are signs of the collapse of liberal democracy, a phenomenon observed by the web magazine Brave New Europe throughout the EU since its inception. When governments realize that power is slipping away from them because of Democratic Forces, a “militarised liberal democracy” follows, as we experience it in Spain and France.
In such a democracy, the old Regime can only maintain its power with the help of raw force. It will be interesting to observe how the federal government responds to the mass protests against coal mining in the Rhineland between 19 and 24 June (originally published on 15 June 2019; translator’s note). On these days, exactly the Generation that has turned its back on the German political Elite will come together to block the open-pit mine.
This article contains some quotes from the young Portuguese author João Batalha, who is supported by Brave New Europe and whose outstanding articles about Portugal are mostly ignored-such as this.
German politics is undergoing a fundamental change. This started long before the surprising victory of the greens in the EU elections in May. What we are witnessing is the demise of the post-war political system in the country, which has served its citizens so badly in the last 30 years. 30 years are an entire Generation - and it is the young Generation that has given the process of change its current impetus.
One must be aware that Germany’s political Establishment consists of a single neoliberal nationalist party with seven factions.
One of these groups may be somewhat social and another, at least superficially, concerned about the environment; another may be in favour of the taxation of the rich. But if you look at the policy that is actually being pursued in Germany — that is, what really is happening — there are hardly any differences. Baden-Württemberg, for example, is ruled by a coalition of greens and CDU — former coalition partners of the Greens were the Social Democrats.
The baden-Württemberg government does not make political headlines, it does not even pursue a surprising environmental policy. Thuringia has a center-left coalition of the Left, the SPD and the Greens. Dito. The same applies to the city of Berlin, where there is a similar alliance, with the difference that the government in Berlin is put under political pressure by its citizens: they not only demand a stop to rent, but also initiate a popular petition about the expropriation of residential buildings of large real estate companies.
What many Germans do in the face of this lack of alternatives is simply not to choose. Others vote against the ruling parties, by choosing a different party. These are the so-called protest voters.
This phenomenon was evident in the EU elections: “the party” was often elected, a party whose top candidates are both satirists parading the political System. They won 2.4 percent of the vote nationwide and thus 2 seats in the EU Parliament. It is remarkable that 9 percent of their supporters were first voters. Overall, 13.6 percent of the votes and, thus, 9 of the 96 seats for Germany in the next EU Parliament went to such a non-established parties. So what is happening here and why?
The political Establishment of Germany has lost its credibility among a significant number of citizens or, as João Batalha describes the plight: “politics has become a game for Insiders, where influence and access are more important than reason, public interest or any Form of common good”. Once this credibility has been lost, it is practically impossible to regain it, and in Germany the established political parties have not even tried to do so for decades, except perhaps at local level. There was always enough cake for them, they ate it, next year there was enough again, and for years. This political class does nothing but rest on its consolidated positions.
If you speak privately with German politicians of the established parties, you realize that their biggest Problem is not climate change, social inequality or the decay of infrastructure.
The real enemy of the German political class is the German voters, who constantly demand changes and simply do not leave politicians alone.
How Batalha describes are not prepared “most of our politicians on this Situation, you grew up in a stable, elitist and technocratic political order and are now in a territory that is more similar to the Wild West and full of anger, emotions, and turmoil.”
We are not experiencing a crisis of moderate parties here, but an increasing loss of confidence in a highly corrupt political class.
The decline is most clearly visible in the SPD. This party, whose share of voters was earlier by 40 percent, received only 20 percent of the vote in the federal elections in 2017, and even 15 percent in the EU elections. In current election surveys, the Social Democrats come to about 12 percent. The SPD is the party of tax cuts for the Rich, austerity for the Rest of the stubborn followers of coal, and large cars.
Like the other parties, the SPD has become a functional party, which reverses from the fruits of the past and ignores not only the German citizens, but also its own party members. It is a party of systematic corruption and entrepreneurial greed, a party in which private interests are decisive for political decision-making. The reason for entering another coalition with Merkel in 2018 was to capitalize on the well-paid ministerial offices.
The usual motive for a grand coalition is to close the ranks in times of national emergency, but at the moment Germany already has the third GroKo within four legislative periods.
While the German media proclaimed the formation of the coalition as a patriotic act, it was in reality a political death pact that turned out to be as similar.
The SPD’s nomenclature is enriched once again by the political System. She doesn’t care what comes after.
At the Moment, one can observe how Angela Merkel’s right-wing conservative Christian Union is taking the same course. In spite of Merkel’s position as party leader, the CDU has traditionally fallen even more strongly than the SPD, to its worst historic result in the 2017 Bundestag election: 33 percent. In the European elections, this result fell below 29 percent, and in the current election polls, the Union comes to 24 percent. The party has assumed that by” mom “ Merkel the power would remain in their hands.
But Merkel’s Hybris and her systematic cover-up of serious wrong political decisions by an even worse solution have exacerbated existing problems in Germany and Europe. What would the far-right European parties and dictators be without them? Not to mention the Stagnation in the euro zone that has lasted for ten years.
The current political Situation in Germany is nowhere better reflected than in the 55-minute slogans by the German vlogger Rezo, published in the run-up to the European elections, entitled “The destruction of the CDU” and the reactions to it. The Video was retrieved 15 million times. This is a well-structured, detailed analysis of the destructive policy not only from the Union of Merkel, but also from the SPD and the far-right AFD, in particular its disdain for young voters.
This was particularly clear when Germany recently swung through the new copyright laws on the Internet and thus represented the interests of European media companies such as Bertelsmann and Springer at the expense of freedom of expression on the Internet. Many young Germans went out of Protest to the streets, but were simply ignored. This and the climate crisis seem to have given this Generation a political voice. The Amazing thing about the posted Video is that the political parties were unable to respond to the factual arguments. Even the German Mainstream media seemed helpless.
The German parties have believed that they hold the monopoly on information for Germany. The state television and radio stations as well as the Mainstream media, which have their own interests in the parties, are far from critical. What politicians have overlooked: the average age of state television viewers is now more than sixty years. In newspapers and magazines, it is not much different, not to mention the fact that they have lost most of their readership.
The younger Generation receives their information via the Internet, including social networks. The established parties have never taken this seriously. Why? There has never been a real Alternative to the political Establishment for the young voters anyway.
Merkel’s successor to the party leadership of the CDU, the doomed Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, only suggested that there should be new laws for the Internet, in order to prevent such embarrassing Vlogs …
The other parties of the Establishment, the corrupt FDP and The “Fake” Left in a cul-de-SAC. They receive between five and ten percent of the voters ‘ votes, depending on the direction in which the protest election takes place.
And then there are the Greens. It is important to remember that the Greens were happy to have received 8.9% of the votes in the parliamentary elections on 27 September 2017. They took sixth place and were thus far behind the AfD. According to surveys, the Greens are currently 27 percent. So what has the party done in the last 20 months? Nothing. She has chosen a few new, young faces to the top of the party, which could in fact lead to changes, but she too will have to deal with the functionaries of her party apparatus.
Nevertheless, the Greens are far from a radical party, and they have no Problem forming a coalition with the Christian Union or the Liberals, both of whom reject a meaningful climate change policy. Nevertheless, the following applies: Nomen est omen, and Green is green. Interestingly, the only party that was seriously concerned with climate change in the European elections with the well-founded programme of a Green New Deal was Yanis Varoufakis‘ party ‘democracy in Europe’. It received 0.3 percent of the votes.
This is where it could be difficult for the Greens. Many of its voters expect radical measures in view of the climate crisis. In a country where around one Million jobs depend on the domestic combustion-engine-based car industry.
This contributes about 5 percent to German gross domestic product. Automobile companies make a large contribution to the political parties. Trade unions are not only fully behind the auto industry, they also protect the coal mining and the combustion of coal for electricity generation, genetically-modified food and nuclear power. For most Germans, no speed limit on German highways is just as emotional as the right to carry a weapon for the US Americans.
The positions that represent the Greens and what they actually implement are miles away from each other. What remains is a value-signalling policy instead of a truly coherent transformation policy for Germany and the EU. This will have to change if the Greens do not want to fall back to the level of 20 months ago. The young voters want a radical policy, and they want it now.
While the young people turn to the Greens, older German voters give their votes to the far-right AfD. Especially in the eastern Länder, the patience of the voters seems to be exhausted. The AfD is rapidly gaining ground there. In the EU elections, it recorded the best results of all parties in the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony. Saxony had previously been considered as an impregnable Bastion of Merkel’s CDU and Brandenburg, the SPD stronghold. In all of Germany, the AfD is equal to the Social Democrats in surveys.
The Germans are increasingly turning away from their political Establishment in search of change that never seems to come. João Batalha states with a keen eye: “I fear that our democracies will become procedural democracies, in which the state will certainly accuse citizens of the fundamental rights of complaining, gathering, protesting and even electing the government-it simply does not grant them the right to change anything.”