On the Trail of Germanys Right-Wing TerroristsAre Cops Complicit? - Daily BeastThursday, December 22, 2016
For 26 years [since reunification], the state government has acted like, ‘Saxons are immune to right-wing extremism,’“ Lippmann says, citing Saxony’s first minister president, Kurt Biedenkopf, who spoke these words in an interview in 2000 and never took them back.
Like Honecker, Biedenkopf probably knew better. Most likely he was blinded by his Heimatsliebe (love of the homeland). Saxony has long been accused of thinking itself distinct from the rest of Germany: The Holocaust was the fault of the Germans (not Saxons). And the DDR, Communist East Germany? Those were the Prussians.
But Saxony? In fact it is anything but immune to right-wing extremism.
The state’s capital, Dresden, birthed the virulently anti-immigrant Pegida protest movement and has served as a magnet for soul-searchers of the far right ever since the ultranationalist National Democratic Party got elected to the state parliament in 2004.
In 2011, a Neo-Nazi terror cell guilty of nine anti-immigrant murders was discovered in Zwickau, a city close to Dresden. The three-person crew, who called themselves the National Socialist Underground, had been hiding, robbing and shooting people there for over a decade.
Nor was Saxony immune to xenophonic violence last year when hundreds of thousands refugees came to Germany. There were 64 attacks against refugee accommodations in the region (the highest number for any German state) and 201 right wing extremist offenses (the second highest, behind much more populous North Rhine-Westphalia).
Freital in particular stood out as one of the places that greeted asylum-seekers with raised middle fingers, shattered glass windows, and explosives, rather than with candy and flowers (as in some other German cities). Bottles, eggs and fireworks flew through the air in June last year when hundreds of people showed up repeatedly to protest in front of an old hotel intended to serve as a temporary asylum home. Then at a counter-protest in July, one reporter captured a pensioner sitting in a fold-out chair outside his local bar, giving a Hitler salute. The man later apologized, claiming he was “totally wasted.”
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It was after a demonstration that summer that an elderly care worker, two bus drivers, a railway trainee, a warehouse worker and one guy who was unemployed but once belonged to the hooligan group “Fist of the East,” got together in Freital’s gloomy Kellerbar and decided to start their own circle of alleged terrorists.
Their attacks would soon escalate in brutality. When the group blew out the windows of a kitchen at an asylum home in November last year, deaths or severe injuries were only avoided because four young Syrians were able to get out of the kitchen and into the hallway in time.
A few days before the attack an anonymous witness provided the police with screenshots from the group’s chats on the Korean messenger app KakaoTalk. The group had chatted about the Cobra-12-explosives they were buying from Chechnya (for which they used the code name “Fruit”), and mused about possible attacks (or, “Remmidemmi” as bus driver Phillipp W. playfully cal...http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/13/on-the-trail-of-germany-s-right-wing-terrorists-are-cops-complicit.html
Germany’s new Green divide - POLITICO.euSaturday, December 8, 2018
In one of Germanys most prosperous states, the Greens won 18 percent of the vote and became the second-largest party. It then achieved a similar feat in the neighboring state of Hesse, where it won 20 percent of the vote.
It remains to be seen whether the party will be able to cement its support and become the champion of Germanys cosmopolitan-liberal camp for years to come.
In early November, the Greens overtook the rapidly deflating SPD in nationwide opinion polls. One survey put the partys support at 24 percent, just three points below that of Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democratic Union. In a snap election, such a result would establish the 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.
* * *
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.
img class="wp-image-981725 size-ev-full-width"...https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-green-party-haidhausen-munich-elections-social-democrats-spd-is-the-new-red/
Elvis Presley traffic lights appear in German town of Friedberg - DW (English)Saturday, December 8, 2018
Why is he there? Presley had a strong connection with Friedberg, a town of around 28,000 inhabitants, located 26 kilometers (16 miles) north of Frankfurt in the state of Hesse. Read more: Without Africans in North America, we would never have had Elvis Presley He was stationed there from October 1958 until March 1960 while serving as a soldier in the US Army. He lived in nearby Bad Nauheim. Elvis Presley in his US Army uniform while stationed in Friedberg It was there he met his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he married after a seven-year relationship. Both towns are keen to make sure no one forgets "the King," who died in 1977, or their connections to him. While Friedberg first switched on the new traffic lights on Wednesday, Bad Nauheim holds the 'European Elvis Festival' and is planning a bronze statue of him. Flowers and pictures of Elvis left at his memorial in Bad Nauheim Bad Nauheim has long been a site of pilgrimage for Elvis' fans, and people lay candles, flowers and gifts for him. A little more action According to Götz, it took three months for the police to give the go-ahead and then a local graphic designer to send his ideas to the manufacturer. However, the work appears to have paid off, with the Wetterauer Zeitung reporting positive reviews. "Good idea," "witty," "something a little different," were some of the reactions. One person added, "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...https://www.dw.com/en/elvis-presley-traffic-lights-appear-in-german-town-of-friedberg/a-46610723
Germany's Greens flourish while mainstream rivals flounderWednesday, October 17, 2018
Bavaria's state election on Sunday. It is polling strongly ahead in the election scheduled in neighboring Hesse two weeks later.
The Greens have clear policies on central issues, including an emphasis on fighting climate change and a largely liberal approach to migration.
The party also has a pragmatic approach and become a partner to parties from the center-right to the hard left in nine of Germany's 16 state governments.
Nationally, some recent polls have shown them level with the Social Democrats, traditionally Germany's main center-left party.
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo the new party leaders Robert Habeck, right, and Annalena Baerbock make their way on stage at the party convention of the Green party in Hannover, northern Germany. While other German mainstream parties flounder in polls and struggle to find an answer to a far-right challenge, the Greens have gone from strength to strength over the last year. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2018 file photo bucket wheels dig for coal near the Hambach Forest near Dueren, Germany. While other German mainstream parties flounder in polls and struggle to find an answer to a far-right challenge, the Greens have gone from strength to strength over the last year. They stand for climate protection and a largely liberal approach to migration. (AP Photo/Martin...https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6268489/Germanys-Greens-flourish-mainstream-rivals-flounder.html
Flower-Power für BayernWednesday, October 17, 2018
Ouml;ko-Partei - und das längst nicht nur in Bayern. Ein Blick in die bundesweiten Umfragen: Auf Bundesebene bis zu 18 Prozent, nach nur 8,9 Prozent bei der Bundestagswahl im Herbst; in Hessen, wo Ende Oktober gewählt wird, 18 Prozent; in Nordrhein-Westfalen, wo sie letzten Sommer mit 6,4 Prozent aus der Regierung flogen, 17 Prozent. Längst werden die Grünen als mögliche neue Volkspartei gehandelt. Und immer wieder wird der Erfolg vor allem einem zugeschrieben - Shootingstar Robert Habeck, 49, Parteichef und Publikumsmagnet.
Der Schleswig-Holsteiner tourt seit Tagen durch Bayern und veröffentlicht im Netz nicht nur Bilder von sich beim Bügeln und beim Fitnesstraining, sondern vor allem von vielen Menschen, die zu seinen Veranstaltungen kommen, reden und zuhören wollen. Was in Bayern passiere sei eine „Frischluftzufuhr für die Demokratie, schreibt er, und meint damit, dass die Alleinherrschaft der CSU wackelt.
Für Habeck und Co-Parteichefin Annalena Baerbock ist diese Wahl wichtig, denn es ist die erste, seit die beiden im Januar auf Cem Özdemir und Simone Peter folgten. Seitdem arbeiten sie daran, den Grünen ein harmonisches, optimistisches, fröhliches Image zu verpassen. Scheinbar mit Erfolg, jedenfalls sehen die Umfragen danach aus. Dass mit Dieselkrise, Klimawandel und Braunkohle-Streit Ökothemen Hochkonjunktur haben, dürfte ihnen dabei zugute kommen.
„Die neue SPD, „die neue Volkspartei - solche Labels werden den Grünen nun schon eine Weile verpasst. Das Spitzenpersonal genießt das offensichtlich, der schlimme Kater nach dem Platzen der Jamaika-Verhandlungen im Bund mit Union und FDP ist überstanden. Aber wenn es in Bayern wirklich glänzend läuft, könnte das auch Probleme bringen - Koalitionsverhandlungen der beiden Lieblingsfeinde CSU und Grüne hätten es in sich. Ausgeschlossen sind sie trotzdem nicht, wenn es für CSU und Freie Wähler - eventuell n...https://www.sz-online.de/nachrichten/flower-power-fuer-bayern-4029228.html