Germany

The picture that emerges from the German elections, held on September 24, is cause for concern on multiple fronts — especially in the surge to the neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel winning a fourth term and the clear defeat of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the shadow of a resurgent neo-Nazism casts a serious threat not only for Germany itself, but all of Europe.

One of two unnamed individuals who have been arrested in Germany for possession of weapons and a “kill list” of prominent left-wingers was a police officer, the Morning Star reported on August 29.

The pair had been discussing “refugee and migration policy”, which they claimed would lead to the “collapse of public order,” via online chat groups, the article said.

World leaders broke with the United States on climate change and reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate agreement at the Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, which brings together representatives from some of the world’s largest economies. 

However, a new report has exposed the strong support for large fossil fuel corporations from G20 governments as a whole.  

In regard to the charges about US President Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia to throw the election his way, it is worth mentioning that going through the list of all the nations that Washington has meddled in is far too long for one article. The US is, without any doubt, the world’s meddler in chief.

Even the list of countries where the US conspired to overthrow elected governments when electoral meddling failed is lengthy.

But one angle to the Russian controversy that is underreported is this: scratch the Russian connection and US-German relations pop up.

With the focus on dramatic images of German riot police using tear gas and high-powered water to disperse G20 protesters in Hamburg on July 6, the message from those demonstrating in the streets was clear for those willing to listen: a better world is possible.

At the recent G7 summit, held May 26-27 in Taormina, Italy, US President Donald Trump said the US was going to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, a move that may have a devastating effect for the whole planet.

In response to Trump’s declarations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel labelled Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May as unreliable partners, saying “we must fight for our own future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans”.

Dedicated to the legendary Polish-born socialist revolutionary and anti-war activist executed for her role in the 1919 German Revolution, the 22nd International “Rosa Luxemburg Conference” took place in Berlin on January 14.

The annual conference has become an annual gathering of revolutionaries, activists, academics, freedom fighters and politicians of the left.

Over 2,800 guests, were present at the event organised by the socialist daily newspaper Junge Welt (“Young World”), and more than 30 supporting organisations.

In July 1915, three brothers presented themselves at Glencorse Barracks on the outskirts of Edinburgh to enlist in the Royal Scots. The First World War was almost a year old, but despite the mounting casualty lists and a growing realisation that it would not be over anytime soon, my grandfather and his two brothers joined up.

Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on September 20 to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-Atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labour conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.

It came just days after tens of thousands rallied against such deals on September 17 in other European cities, mainly in Germany.

The situation is deteriorating in “the Jungle” — the informal settlement in the northern French port of Calais of refugees trying to reach Britain.

French police demolished the southern half earlier this year, yet the population is steadily rising and has surpassed 10,000. Neglected by governments and NGOs, the volunteers who provide food, clothing and other aid are receiving fewer donations to assist the growing population. Hunger has become prevalent, along with diseases caused by lack of sanitation.

In 2000, renewable energy made up just 6.3% of Germany's electricity. By last year, it had risen to 31%. Cloudy Germany became a leading innovator in solar energy. It did so not by subsidising large power utility companies, but by mobilising hundreds of thousands into energy cooperatives. The two legs of this democratic energy transition are Germany's commitment to phase out nuclear power and its feed-in tariffs, which allowed small renewable energy producers to sell their electricity.
The European Union has struck two important blows against diesel-fuelled transport in decisions announced on succeeding days in July. At the same time, the slow unravelling of the international VW diesel emissions crisis continues to dog the automotive giant. Also exposed are the extraordinary lengths to which corporations will go to avoid environmentally sustainable production.
Although many readers are watching voting results in the United States with baited breath, it is worth taking a look at Germany's partial state elections on March 13. They are far from pleasant, but important all the same — and not just for Germany. Only three of Germany's 16 states voted, with national elections not due until 2017. But if the present trends continue, watch out.
In a January ruling marking a turning point in German transport policy, an administrative court in Wiesbaden ordered the regional government of Hesse to clean up diesel exhaust fumes by September or face a fine. Following the deepening VW diesel emissions testing scandal, the ruling puts pressure on the entire German vehicle industry production of diesel cars — which has been central to their business model.
“Against sexism, against racism” Cologne, January 5. Photo: Jungewelt.de. Dozens of women were sexually harassed on New Year's Eve in Germany, but rather than connecting the events to a system that perpetuates sexist violence, the political and media establishments have focused on the nationalities of the alleged perpetrators. German leftists are challenging this twisted interpretation, demonstrating against both sexism and racism in Cologne on January 5.
We have all heard the story of when, during a visit to the United States, a journalist asked Mahatma Gandhi what he thought of Western civilisation, and Gandhi is said to have replied that he thought it “would be a very good idea.” Former Greek finance minister and outspoken opponent of the savage austerity programs forced on Greece, Yanis Varoufakis recalled Gandhi’s words in the talk he gave at the University of Sydney on November 26. Varoufakis’ message was clear: Like Western civilisation, European democracy would indeed be a very good idea.

Pages

Subscribe to Germany