German Economist & Politician: “Stop Copying America’s Decline! Leave NATO!”

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

Sahra Wagenknecht, Vice President of the German parliament’s Leftist Party, said in Parliament on Wednesday November 23rd, that Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, could very possibly become replaced by a politician similar to U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump or even farther to the right (something dreaded by many in Germany and especially abroad), unless Germany quickly stops copying America and ultimately leaves NATO, which she says is far more of a danger to Germans than it’s any real protection of the German people.

Dr. Wagenknecht is also a major economist, whose study of the economic conditions that lead consumers either to save or to go into debt has been published in both Germany and America.

Here are excerpts from her speech in the Reichstag (Germany’s parliament), retaining 40% of the text, as translated by me from German Economic News:

In Germany, social inequality and uncertainty are growing and with them the number of voters for the AfD [an anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic party, headed by the fast-rising parliamentarian Frauke Petry]. …

As a preferred partner, the Chancellor has chosen a Turkish dictator [Erdogan], who has sent journalists and opposition leaders to prison and found the death penalty great. …

It reminds one of Albert Einstein’s adage:

The purest form of madness is to leave everything as it is and just hope that something changes.

In the end, something usually does change, but maybe not the type of change that was hoped. …

What makes people despair of democracy has paved Donald Trump’s way to the White House. … 

Mrs. Merkel — it would be nice if you could listen to me, and pursue policies that would be different from the market-oriented management of a globalized predatory capitalism, which is the thing that destroys the middle class and makes our society increasingly deeply socially split. … 

US citizens did not select the billionaire Donald Trump. …

They have instead deselected, and for this reason, in a country where middle wages are below the level of the eighties, they had, of course, every reason for their response. …

Decisions which make the rich even richer, make the corporations more insolent, and make the lives of the working middle and the poorer classes even more precarious and are, I think, incredible, and irresponsible. …

Look at how this country has changed in the past 20 years! Despite the booming export economy and despite economic growth, one in six pensioners in Germany now lives in poverty and has to feel deceived about his or her life. …

More and more children are starting their lives with the basic experience that they are excluded from the beautiful colorful world and that life will offer them much less than others. Millions of workers are degraded to second-class workers in temporary work. … The non-unionized workforce — that is now every second person — now earn 18 percent less than in 2000. Politicians say that Germany is doing well, and that the public should be happy about your successful policy. This is sheer mockery of what you have actually been doing. …

The American Dream has long since also been dreamed out. Who believes in it other than the upper class, that the children will be better-off than their parents? Most experience the opposite. … 

The current contribution rate in statutory pension insurance is 18.7 per cent, half paid by companies and [half by] employees. In addition, employees are to sink 4 percent of their income into one of those meaningless Riester contracts [privatization funds], which everyone knows now make only banks and insurance companies rich. … 

And you feel that it’s okay that people who have worked hard throughout their lives have been rewarded with poverty pensions of 1,000 euros and less. This is 800 euros less than in Austria. This is unbelievable. Finally stop this irresponsible pension policy, which produces millionfold poverty!

With health insurance it is exactly the same. … This is a scandal. If you look at this policy, you almost have to suspect that you have signed a secret advertising contract with the AfD. … 

Thus, in the case of the sickness funds, as in the case of the breakdown of the pension, nothing went beyond the reduction of wage costs and the increase in company profits. On account of this, the investments also increase with the profits. Do you know how high the reinvestment rate of German industrial companies is today in Germany? 5 percent. That is, 95 percent of the profits that they have so successfully increased through your policy are distributed to the owners, parked in financial assets or just used for foreign investment. … 

The state has withdrawn from all important areas where it has previously given stability and security to the lives of the people. … 

Also the years of personnel reduction among the police have made whole residential neighborhoods no-go areas at night. In the dilapidated schools in these districts, the highly qualified teachers of the future are not being trained by overburdened teachers, but by young people [apprentice teachers], many of whom will never get a chance in life because the chronically underfunded education system of this rich country is not even able to teach them basic reading, writing and computational skills. … 

It is your tax policy well-being program for corporations and super-rich people, which is responsible for the fact that many states and municipalities are no longer able to fulfill their basic tasks. You celebrate your black zero [instead of deficits in the red]. But do you really know what reality is like in many poor cities and communities in this country? …

Overcrowded municipalities can offer their citizens less and less: no proper day-care centers, no library, no subsidy to the cultural organizations or to sports clubs. In Gelsenkirchen, where 40 percent of all children are growing up in Hartz IV families [on unemployment compensation], several swimming pools are closed. In the overburdened Duisburg every eighth place has to be deleted in the coming years, that is, there will be even fewer nurses, even fewer staff in hospitals.

Their fierce privatization plans are always going on. Now even the highways, which the public have paid for by their taxes, are turning into so-called public-private partnerships with financial investors. … 

A 31-year-old university graduate who works today at Air Berlin as a flight attendant and is already worried about this job now, wrote to me: …

“Where is the quality of life to which every human being is entitled?” she asks in her email. “Instead of enjoying life, you are always anxious not to lose your job because in today’s Germany there are no guarantees and no collateral.” … 

A medium-sized entrepreneur tells me: “As a child of Italian immigrants, I was born here and grew up here, so I experienced Germany at a time when everything was still possible with honest work. It’s different today.” …

Of course, one can restore the welfare state and create a decent labor law that protects the workers and strengthens the bargaining power of trade unions. Of course, one can have a simple political backbone and oppose the freezing yield ratios of global corporations instead of handing them workers who are defenseless. … 

Did it really take a Donald Trump to understand that democracy, freedom and human dignity are no longer well-established in the Western world?

The former US president Jimmy Carter has called the US years ago an “oligarchy with unlimited political corruption”. … 

Unrestrained global capitalism is incompatible with democracy and human dignity, even in Europe. The wars in which European states have participated have not yet brought democracy and freedom to any country. On the contrary, they have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and expelled millions from their homeland.

It was really a step forward when, with a view to the Russian bombardment in Aleppo, the federal government suddenly began to speak of the crimes of war, of destroyed hospitals and schools. But what about all the destroyed hospitals and schools where Germany and its allies have been involved in wars? Do you really think it makes a difference to the victim of a bombshell, whether this bomb was dropped by a Russian plane or in the name of the Western community? We do not believe it.

Therefore, we ask you not to spend more money on weapons. Do not prepare for more war, but leave the military infrastructure of the US-dominated NATO … 

Germany is not being defended in Afghanistan, not in Syria and not in Mali. All these wars have only strengthened Islamic terrorism and ultimately brought it to Germany. An end of this war participation would really be the best thing you could do for the safety of people, even here in Germany. …

Where does political Islam have its most important basis? These are the Islamic dictatorships on the Gulf, which finance and upgrade terrorist murder bands worldwide. According to the Federal Government’s own findings, it is also Turkey, which plays a key role in the organization and arming of terrorists. We find it astonishing that the Christian-social anti-Islamic militants from Bavaria do not seem to mind at all that in the first half of 2016, Turkey outstripped 25th place in the ranking countries of German armaments exports, and that Saudi Arabia and Qatar too have more German arms than ever before. What kind of mad politics is this? …

Democracy will have a future for Germans, when people have the feeling that their dignity and their basic needs for life are respected by politicians and that they are more important than the desires of some corporate lobbyists. Take this seriously, if you do not want to be responsible for a German Donald Trump. … 

Earlier, in Berlin’s progressive, employee-owned, daily newspaper, the Tageszeitung, or Daily News, Wagenknecht was interviewed, headlining “Trump Will Change World Politics”, where she commented upon the statement from Germany’s Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, who had expressed shock that Trump won the White House. Wangenknecht said:

Oh, they are always so shocked, Brexit was the same, and then they continue to do as before. I can’t find the result so surprising. In the USA, mean wages are now lower than 40 years ago, all gains have flowed into the pockets of the upper tens of thousands [the top 0.01%]. If this does not change, we will very often be “shocked” in the coming years. Central to German foreign policy now must be to have an independent policy, to break away from subservience to the United States. Europe mustn’t take part in any pirouette that Mr Trump may be turning, but must focus on its own interests. 

Wagenknecht said that “If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic counter-candidate, we would not be talking about a President Trump now” (which is overwhelmingly supported by the polling, such as here and here). And: “If we do not want nationalist forces to become strong, we must finally make a different policy and restore the welfare state, which protects people from the social crash. If we do not succeed, the view into the USA is also a look in the future of Europe.”

On 21 January 2012, Germany’s Spiegel reported that the German government was secretly spending 400,000 euros annually to spy against 27 of the 76 Left Party Bundestag members, and that Wagenknecht was one of the government’s 27 targets. This might be considered comparable to the U.S. Democratic Party’s secret effort to sabotage Bernie Sanders’s campaign to win that Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination.

Whereas the aristocracy condemn rightist politicians who complain about the aristocracy’s dictatorship, the aristocracy take real action to block the political careers of leftist politicians such as Sanders and Wagenknecht who complain about the aristocracy’s dictatorship; and this aristocratic support for the right is the reason why whereas rightist ‘populists’ such as Adsolf Hitler can win and keep control, leftist populists such as Mohammad Mossaddegh, Bernie Sanders, and Sahra Wagenknecht, either don’t win leadership or else get overthrown by fascist coups if they do win (such as happened not only with Mossadegh but with Salvatore Allende, Melvin Zelaya, and many others — the aristocracy hate leftist populists). Similarly, polls in Germany show that the AfD’s Frauke Petry could become Germany’s next Chancellor, whereas Sahra Wagenknecht cannot. Furthermore, the Tageszeitung reported on 3 October 2016 that so many voters had switched from the Left Party to the AfD, so that Wagenknecht was now starting to adopt some of AfD’s positions that the Left Party hadn’t previously held, such as further restrictions on immigration. The article also noted: “The AfD is now the largest working-class party, according to a survey by infratest-dimap in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The AfD’s share of the working-class among the voters was as high as 33 per cent, that’s above every other party; among the unemployed [of all classes], it was a whopping 29 percent.”

There are no indications that the German government is spying at all against the AfD. Apparently, aristocrats don’t take seriously anti-aristocracy assertions that come from the political right — it’s just assumed by them to be fake, done only so as to appeal to the masses of naive poor voters who don’t understand anything about the aristocracy’s being their real enemies — not “gays,” “Blacks,” “Jews,” “Muslims” etc. (the groups against which rightist ‘populists’ campaign).

CONCLUDING NOTE: In the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, the neoconservative anti-populist aristocrat Hillary Clinton ended up campaigning against the indeterminate ‘populist’ aristocrat Donald Trump, and whereas Trump often campaigned against ‘illegal immigrants’ and against ‘Moslems’, Hillary campaigned against allegedly and sometimes actually bigoted Whites (especially Trump). But Trump also campaigned against “the corrupt system,” and Hillary campaigned for it (as constituting the best way for a ‘democracy’ to function). So, precisely what ideological lessons can be learned from this election’s outcome cannot yet be definitively known — it’s not nearly as clear as America’s pundits generally pretend — other than that around half of the U.S. electorate support the aristocracy if it’s being represented by a ‘Democrat’ (such as Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton). Democratic Party voters in the U.S. Presidential contest chose the unabashedly pro-aristocracy Hillary Clinton over the at-least-nominally anti-aristocracy Donald Trump; and any drawing-of-conclusions about that now would be premature, at best.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • ICFubar

    It is a certainty that the political left in American has been pulverized to such an extent in the past it has never recovered and today has little impact on political discourse even though many Americans agree with such policies when listed in honest polls. What can be done as the wholly owned duopoly tag teams the American public in a controlled election environment is an unanswered question as the corporate state grows ever more powerful, subversive and violent? To be honest sometimes I think it is my good luck as an older retired person that I will be dead before I have to witness the true and total enslavement of the people, including my own family. I do what I can but as an increasingly diminishing voice against the tide. I know, “rage on against the dying of the light” and that at some future time the pendulum will swing the other way as resistance does grow in direct proportion with the injustices served up by the banking and corporate monoliths.

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  • guest

    Far left false opposition BS, not only in Germany but rest of the Western world has this tiny extreme leftist playing an “important” role for the powers that be, people are sucked in becomiing useful idiots only to balance out the so called and very whooo so freigthening and dreadful “far right” which has a much more down to the earth and realistic politics, it’s only the elite who infiltrait with their Agent Provocateurs in order to make the so called Far Right appear more outrageous than they actually are, and instigagting some poor violent loner to commit stupidities that labels the whole alt. right group, and the elite are quick to use their media committing which hunt on these people.