Germany’s new Green divide - POLITICO.euSaturday, December 8, 2018
Greens as Germanys largest left-wing force an enormous leap for the once marginal party. Buoyed by these recent successes, Greens from across Europe are gathering in Berlin this weekend to rev up their campaign for next May's European Parliament election.
In the minds of many German voters, the Greens have established themselves as the polar opposite of the AfD and those who adopt a similar rhetoric. I didnt have to think about it very long, it was crystal clear, says Doris Langer, 45, of her decision to vote Green in the Bavarian election. The communications specialist from Munich used to think of herself as largely apolitical and has voted for various center-left and center-right parties in the past.
But when Bavarias ruling Christian Social Union, the CDUs sister party, shifted rightward particularly on migration, a subject she cares about deeply Langer saw the Greens as her only option. They are the only ones who have a liberal refugee policy, she says. Merkels sentence from 2015, that ‘We can do it, the Greens are the only ones who take it seriously.
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The Green surge could not have happened without the collapse of the SPD. In the birthplace of social democracy, the SPD held out longer than likeminded parties in other places in Europe. But its decline reaches back decades. In a way, social democracy became a victim of its own success.
The SPD is Germanys oldest existing party. Since taking on its current name in 1890, it has dipped below 20 percent in nationwide elections only once, in 1933; the party was banned by the new Nazi government shortly after.
After the war, the SPD became Germanys leading left-wing force, locked in a battle with the center-right Christian Democratic Union. After abandoning its Marxist tenets in 1959, drawing up plans to reform rather than abolish capitalism, the party gradually expanded beyond its working-class roots.
Reinvented, the party attracted centrist and middle-class voters, leading to a series of SPD victories in the 1970s. Back in opposition in the 1980s and 90s, the party led regional governments in several states. The SPD governed once more between 1998 and 2005, together with the Greens. (As junior coalition partners, the Greens were weaker and less influential than now; this seven-year period was their first and so far only time in power.)
But even in the SPDs 1970s heyday, its core base was already eroding. The structure of Germanys economy was changing, and with it the countrys workers.
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Bavaria election: German conservatives lose their fizz - BBC NewsSaturday, December 8, 2018
Bavaria key facts
Nearly 13 million inhabitants and the biggest by area of Germany's 16 federal states
Capital Munich is Germany's third-largest city, after Berlin and Hamburg
Second-highest GDP out of 16 German states
Historically conservative region, with strong Catholic and local traditions
Industrial powerhouse: car and IT sectors especially strong, rich in family-run firms
While support is nowhere near the levels seen in eastern Germany, AfD has made gains here and is likely to enter the state parliament for the first time.
The CSU's leaders have echoed its terminology - Markus Söder speaking of "Asyltourismus" (asylum tourism) - and AfD's anti-migration policies. CSU leader Horst Seehofer nearly scuppered Mrs Merkel's coalition government twice - by insisting on a cap on the number of people seeking asylum in Germany and then pushing plans to turn people away at the borders, in defiance of the German chancellor. It hasn't worked.
Germany's far right on the march in the east
Germany country profile
Migration politics continues to be a source of public protest and concern but, even as far-right sympathisers take to the streets of places like Chemnitz, they are mobilising others too.More than 20,000 people, horrified by the political tone in the run-up to this election, took to Munich's streets for an anti-hate demonstration last week. And many are turning to the Green party.It's on course to do far better than AfD and take second place. The Greens' leaders are coy for now about such a prospect, but a coalition with the weakened ruling CSU is likely.
On Christian Meidinger's chicken farm, green fields roll to the horizon - a reminder that this is a rural state. He's voting Green. "Bavaria has changed," he says. "Many - whether it's those who were born here or those who moved here - don't feel that connected to its traditions. The CSU missed the boat, didn't change with the people. And now it tries desperately to reclaim Heimat and Bavaria, but society has moved on - you can't turn back time." Angela Merkel will be keeping a close eye on Bavaria. What happens here won't affect her immediately - beyond perhaps a face change at the coalition table, should the CSU oust its leader, Horst Seehofer. But this election illustrates the complexity of the challenge faced by so many of Europe's large established parties. It's not simply the rise of the far right. It's that voters are walking away in favour of smaller, newer movements. Bavaria's political landscape, once a near certainty, is fragmenting fast. With a force the old centre can no longer resist.
Elvis Presley traffic lights appear in German town of Friedberg - DW (English)Saturday, December 8, 2018
I did wonder about it, but as always I crossed on green." Following a trend Transforming traffic lights has become something of a trend in Germany. The most famous are the Ampelmännchen in Berlin. Created in 1961 in what was then East Berlin, they now appear all over the united capital. The city of Augsburg now has the Kasperl puppet character in a pointed hat, Mainz has its own Mainzelmännchen, Bonn has Beethoven traffic lights and in Trier a small, chubby Karl Marx lets pedestrians know when to cross. The eastern town of Erfurt has had up to 14 different kinds of lights since the 1980s.
40 years after his death, Elvis reaches fans from beyond the grave From small town boy to household name Born in the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley began his career in Memphis, Tennessee. He is pictured here in 1954 while recording at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis, which also helped launch B.B. King's career. Quickly rising to fame, his first hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," propelled him into stardom in 1956.
40 years after his death, Elvis reaches fans from beyond the grave A GI in Germany Presley put his career on hold while serving in the US military in Germany from 1958 to 1960. Stationed in the small town of Friedberg, Presley stayed in a hotel in nearby Bad Nauheim instead of living in the barracks. There, he lived with an entourage: his grandmother, father and two body guards. Today, hotel guests can sleep in the Elvis Room, which was preserved to commemorate the King's stay.
40 years after his death, Elvis reaches fans from beyond the grave Made in Germany Although he was prohibited from performing during service, the King still found time to make music. Germany was the birthplace of two chart-toppers: "One Night" and "A Fool Such as I." He also gave global fame to the popular German folk song, "Muss I denn zum Städtele hinaus," or in English, "Wooden Heart." img itemprop="image" src="https://www.dw.com/image/16162468_303.jpg" title="Elvis Presley Museum opening (picture-...https://www.dw.com/en/elvis-presley-traffic-lights-appear-in-german-town-of-friedberg/a-46610723
Death of German fuels fears of far-right violence in Köthen - DW (English)Saturday, December 8, 2018
Saturday's death was "Merkel's integration" at work, or wore T-shirts that read "multiculturalism kills." Köthen lies about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Berlin Far-right rise The incident had already raised fears of comparisons with Chemnitz two weeks ago when another deadly fight triggered far-right demos and violence. But there were also calmer heads in Köthen on Monday. "It was in the major media outlets, and then it got round really quickly," said Dennis Krüger, a young man who was also paying his respects at the playground. "And it got bigger and bigger because of the Chemnitz thing, and I think if it hadn't been for what happened in Chemnitz it wouldn't have got so big in Köthen." Köthen's mayor, Bernd Hauschild, told DW his town would not become a "second Chemnitz." "There has always been solidarity between all parties here," he said. Read more: Chemnitz attack on Jewish restaurant: 'It is five past midnight'
How the Chemnitz protests unfolded Death sparks demonstrations The demonstrations were sparked by a deadly brawl that broke out in the German city of Chemnitz in the early hours of Sunday (August 26). What started out as a war of words resulted in a 35-year-old man being stabbed to death. Hours later, spontaneous, anti-migrant protests took over the streets of Chemnitz.
How the Chemnitz protests unfolded German-Cuban killed A German-Cuban man was stabbed in an altercation involving 10 people, several of whom were of "various nationalities," police sources said. The victim, named only as Daniel H., was apparently well-known among various political groups in the area. Two men in their 30s were also stabbed and seriously injured, and a 22-year-old Iraqi and 23-year-old Syrian are in custody over the killing.
How the Chemnitz protests unfolded Police reinforcements called By Sunday afternoon, some 800 people had gathered to protest the man's death, including far-right groups. Authorities said the crowd was largely uncooperative and threw bottles at police officers. Police reinforcements had to be called in from nearby cities. The mobilizations were spontaneous and are thought to have surfaced following calls to demonstrate on social media.
How the Chemnitz protests unfolded Misinformation German authorities said that that far-right groups spread misinformation on the internet. Among the false claims was that the victim of the knife attack died protecting a woman.