Posts tagged ‘npd’

September 3, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin’s night of long knives

THE WOLVES ARE CIRCLING Thilo Sarrazin. The knives are out. Yesterday, in an unprecedented step, the august board of directors of Deutsche Bank dismissed the renegade economist and Islam critic from its ranks. Was he caught with his hand in the till? No, he wasn’t even caught sneaking cookies. Instead, Sarrazin has written a book that Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling “nonsense” and that the Turkish and most of the German press is calling “racist” and “incendiary.” Sarrazin has been relieved of all his functions effective immediately for violating Deutsche Bank’s internal code of ethics. On Monday, German president Christian Wulff is expected to formalize…

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August 30, 2010

Are Muslim immigrants making Europe “poorer and stupider”?

BACK IN THE RESTLESS 1990s, when the German far right was undergoing yet another short-lived rebirth into the political mainstream, the racist Republican Party under the leadership of ex-Nazi and SS man Franz Schönhuber used to put up what I still regard as the most remarkable political poster ever. Printed in the nationalist colors black, white, and red, it simply displayed the words: “We say what you think.” Today, another German politician has been making headlines in recent weeks for also saying aloud what millions of Europeans fervently believe but rarely dare to put into words. His explosive new book Germany is Abolishing Itself appeared on store shelves this morning, and the future of European politics may depend on how…

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June 29, 2010

German city “pulls the rug” from under neo-Nazi party

RIGHT-WING PARTIES ARE difficult enough to combat after they have seized power, after which they normally change the political rules and crush all opposition. But they are elusive in democratic societies as well, where they often become masters at flouting the spirit of democracy under the guise of freedom of peace and assembly. But a town in former East Germany has found a clever way to, as it were, pull the rug from under the feet of its own local neo-Nazi party while leaving its constitutionally guaranteed rights intact: It simply changed its address.

Riesa, population 34,000, is a picturesque Saxon industrial town located on the banks of the River Elbe. For the past ten years, Mannheimer Strasse has been the home of the local offices of the far right National Democratic Party (NPD) and its newspaper, the Deutsche Stimme (“German Voice”). Its politics are “conservative” in the eastern German sense of the word, with the Christian Democrats and the post-communist…

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September 28, 2009

Liberals, Pirates, and other winners: Germany has voted

 

Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle

Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle

THE VOTES ARE COUNTED, the champagne bottles stand empty, the tears of triumph and despair have been dried, and Europe’s most populous country is awakening to a new political dawn.

After four years of a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) under Angela Merkel are about to return to their traditional coalition with the liberal (i.e. business-oriented)  Free Democratic Party (FDP) under its leader Guido Westerwelle, who will likely become foreign minister. The FDP achieved an astonishing triumph vis-à-vis 2005, climbing from 9.8% to a previously unimaginable 14.6%. Angela Merkel’s CDU slipped from 34.2% to 33.8% but remains the largest party. The future Conservative-Liberal government is expected to pursue privatization and deregulation, tax cuts, higher university fees, enhanced family benefits, tougher law and order policies,  increased domestic surveillance, and a more muscular foreign policy. This will come at the expense of social welfare programs, personal freedom, and environmental protection.

The SPD saw its worst result since the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949, plummeting from an anemic  34.2% in 2005 to an appalling 23% this year. …

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