German politics is in crisis, with all the mainstream parties seeing a falling-off in support.
90 percent of people say they disagree with the government. The CDU, our Tories, is at 29 percent in opinion polls - the first time it's had less than 30 percent since 1945. The neoliberal FDP has fallen from 15 to 4 percent. Any party with less than 5 percent cannot enter the national parliament!
The SPD - comparable to the Blairites - is on 23 percent; they haven't climbed out of the hole since the last election as they hoped to. The Left Party got 12 percent last time; it is still on 10-12 percent. The Green Party has risen dramatically to 25 percent!
For weeks thousands of people have been marching and protesting in Stuttgart. Stuttgart is the capital of the famous tourist district Baden-Württemberg, a conservative district. It is where the FDP did best. Now the Greens are on 30 percent. What happened?
The regional government made the nonsensical decision to move the railways from above to below ground. This makes no sense, but costs 20 billion euros! This at a time when the cities have no money for the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, at a time when many libraries, swimming pools, parks, theatres and so are getting closed. Everyone knows there is corruption involved here!
This is in Germany's second most conservative region, after Bavaria! It goes far beyond the usual left; even bourgeois households have joined in. Children climb trees, hundreds of years old, to stop them being cut down. The police beat many people up, even children and old people - with such brutality that four demonstrators were blinded! The pictures on TV of bloody eyes hanging out shocked the country. The demonstrations only got bigger, and there have been solidarity protests in many other cities - something that rarely happens in Germany.
The chancellor Merkel says if, if her party loses the Land election in March, she will give up. And this is a real possibility!
At the same time, there is very bad news:
- Racism is growing rapidly again.
- The polls suggest 20 percent might vote for a far right party, though such a party does not yet exist.
Some from the hard right of the CDU, who have left it, are disscusing such a party with the semi-fascist Sarrazin who was until recently a member of the Social Democrats. He was a senator in Berlin, before joining the top ranks of Germany's national bank. They fired him when a few weeks ago he published a book claiming that Germany's existence was under threat because of too many immigrants.
Sarrazin is dealing with the old race-theories of the Nazis, saying that each race has it own specific genes. He gabbles about a "Jewish gene" and a specific gene for stupidity among Muslims (supposedly because of widespread incest). The difficulties Turkish and Arab children have at school he explains by their religion. Unfortunately his bullshit book has been a best-seller for weeks.
Conclusion: these already tough times will get tougher. No, brutal and barbaric. If we want to survive, we must be tougher than stone. On the other hand, we must not lose our sensitivity; we must be even more sensitive.
That sounds contradictory. But hasn't that always been the task of revolutionaries?