Germany

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but not before tens of millions died in the four-year-long unprecedented industrial carnage. Amid all the media coverage, almost entirely missing is the actual story of how such bloodshed and misery was ended: by a mass popular rebellion in Germany that brought down the monarchy and established a republic.

After the recent successful defence of the Hambacher Forest against the threat of destruction by coal giant RWE, more than 5000 people joined a mass civil disobedience action on October 27 and 28 in the coalfields of the German state of North-Rhein Westphalia (NRW).

The action was called by Ende Gelaende, an anti-capitalist environmental group committed to non-violent direct action tactics. It aims to win an immediate end to coal production at Europe’s biggest open-cast mine, the Hambach lignite (brown coal) mine.

The rise of the far right around the world, with fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil close to joining the growing ranks of authoritarian far right leaders, many on the left are wondering how to respond.

The parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century are clear.

In July, Canadian Marxist academic and activist John Riddell gave a speech, abridged below, at a York University seminar entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right”.

***

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to restore confidence in the government after crashing to a humiliating defeat in the October 14 Bavarian state elections, Morning Star Online reported.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) — sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats — polled 37%, its worst vote for more than six decades. It lost its majority in Germany’s southern state in a major defeat for the governing parties.

An unexpected High Court ruling in the German state of North Rhein Westphalia (NRW) has blocked energy giant RWE from further destruction of the Hambacher Forest for the next couple of years. The decision has been hailed as a major victory by the newly-revitalised German environmental and climate justice movement.

The struggle to defend a 200-hectare forest has sparked Germany’s biggest environmental protests for at least a decade.

The Hambacher Forest (aka “Hambi”) is the last remaining corner of a much larger area of woodland that has been eaten up by a huge open-cut lignite mine, owned by European energy giant RWE.

Lignite is the dirtiest form of coal in terms of pollution. The lignite-fired power stations around the mine form the biggest sources of airborne pollution in the European Union.

In the Fade
Director Fatih Akin
Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto & Johannes Krisch
Released in 2017
www.inthefadefilm.com

Between 2000 and 2011, Nazi terrorists murdered and bombed immigrants in Germany without the authorities even noticing. The police were convinced it was just rival ethnic gangs quarrelling.

This film is based on that period, though not drawn from a particular event. 

The most extreme Spanish reaction to the April 5 ruling of the Higher Regional court of German state Schleswig-Holstein that freed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was from radio shock jock Federico Jiménez Losantos.

“In the Balearic Islands there are 200,000 of them [Germans] as hostages,” he railed. “In Bavaria, well in Bavaria pubs could start being blown up. So, I’m proposing action? Of course, they’ve slapped us around, they’ve given us a kick in the you-know-what.”

After 60 days of discussions, negotiations for a new governing coalition have failed in Germany, leaving the country without a government.

Last September’s general election – in which the far-right obtained an unprecedented and alarming result – left no party with an absolute majority, forcing incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel to look for partners to form a new government.

Australia’s behaviour at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (COP23) has been described as that of a bully. Australia has collected a swag of “Fossil of the Day” awards — given daily by climate activists to the country or group doing its best to stop effective action on climate change.

Australia, along with the US, has been disgracing itself in one of the most contentious areas of the climate talks, known as Loss and Damage. Other developed countries, particularly the European Union and Canada, have not been very helpful either.

Pages

Subscribe to Germany