Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another measure of the German SPD's corporate fawning

I'll always respect the SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who served in office 1998-2005, for his determined stand against the Cheney-Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq. It was a major violation of the international laws against preventive wars. Schröder and his Green Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer were on the right side of that issue, and the Cheney Administration and its supporters could not have been more wrong.

The Frankfurt School philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas, who is often referred to as Germany's most respected public intellectual, wrote in 2004 ("Wege aus der Weltunordnung" Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 1/2004), referring to the development of the laws against preventive war:

Man muss sich diesen enormen Schub der Rechtsevolution vergegenwärtigen, um den radikalen Bruch zu erkennen, den die Bush-Regierung herbeigeführt hat – sowohl mit einer Sicherheitsdoktrin, die die geltenden rechtlichen Voraussetzungen für den Einsatz militärischer Gewalt vorsätzlich ignoriert, wie auch mit dem Ultimatum an den Sicherheitsrat, die aggressive Irakpolitik der Vereinigten Staaten entweder abzusegnen oder selbst in Bedeutungslosigkeit zu versinken.

[One must bring to mind the evolutionary thrust of the law to recognize the radical break that the Bush government precipitated - and even with a security doctrine that intentionally ignores the binding legal requirements for application of military force, as well as the ultimatum to the Security Council to either approve the aggressive Iraq policy of the United States or to sink itself into irrelevance.]
Just after the SPD/Green alliance won a second term in the 2002 Bundestag election, present-day Chancellor Angela "Frau Fritz" Merkel went to Washington to make nice with the Cheney Administration. It was quite a contrast. But her friends in that Administration were already spying on her mobile phone by 2002, according to a new report in Spiegel Online, NSA-Überwachung: Merkels Handy steht seit 2002 auf US-Abhörliste 26.10.2013. The article linked doesn't say what date in 2002 the spying on her phone started. Maybe that's part of why the Cheney-Bush crowd knew she would be a willing patsy for their war propaganda? This is part of how Angie the Great got a reputation for being loyally "pro-American." But her American pals obviously didn't and don't trust her much more than they trust the leaders of your run-of-the-mill rouge state. Go figure.

But it was also the red-green government of Schröder and Fischer that pushed through the neoliberal Agenda 2010 "reforms" that significantly reduced job security and income among German workers, which Frau Fritz has of course been happy to continue. The most notorious among the measures is known as Hartz IV, which promoted mini-jobs. In no small part as a result of "Aus der einstigen Auf- wurde eine Abstiegsgesellschaft" ("The upwardly-mobile society became a downwardly-mobile society"), wrote Albrecht von Lucke in Angela Merkel, sicher ist sicher Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 9/2013. Agenda 2010 wasn't the only thing that caused that effect. Von Lucke's point is that it was one of a series of events, including the depression that struck to Northern Atlantic world in 2007-8 and still continues, that contributed to a feeling of general insecurity among the German electorate, on which the SPD has failed to capitalize for their political benefit. They've spent so long being Frau Fritz' loyal followers, both in and outside of governmental coalitions with her, that they don't seem to be able to visualize much else.

The Die Zeit report on yet another sad symptom of this SPD trend in

The Süddeutsche Zeitung and Kraft bremst bei der Energiewende Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.10.2013 Hannelore Kraft bremst bei der Energiewende Die Zeit 26.10.2013. Germany is undertaking a program to transition to renewable energy, known as the "Energiewende," literally energy change or turning point. "Wende" is often used is German politics to designate some signficant political or policy inflection. Not surprisingly, it is a project with challenges, as Alexander Neubacher explains in Reality Check: Germany's Defective Green Energy Game Plan Spiegel International 10/25/2013. But Merkel's commitment to the Energiewende, including her decision to phase out nuclear power in Germany, allowed her to co-opt the environmental issue at the expense especially of the Green Party.

Now comes Hannelore Kraft, Minister-President (Governor) of the state (province) of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), criticizing the Energiewende for going too fast and possibly endangering jobs and raising energy costs for businesses. As Bauchmüller and Dörries put it, Kraft "wants to decisively represent the interests of the steel and energy industry in the coalition negotiations in Berlin" ("Hannelore Kraft will in den Koalitionsverhandlungen in Berlin entschieden die Interessen der Stahl- und Energieindustrie vertreten").

In other words, in the deal-making involved in building a new government with Frau Fritz' CDU, Kraft will be pushing to delay the push toward renewable energy, i.e., negotiating with Merkel's conservative party from the right, on behalf of the steel and energy industries. And up until a couple of weeks ago, Kraft had been the most prominent advocate for considering the alternative of going into opposition with the Greens and the Left Party instead of going meekly into another Grand Coalition as junior partners to Merkel's CDU. In other words, Kraft was seen as being to the left of the current national leaders of her party.

According to their report, both the energy company RWE and steel giant Thyssen-Krupp had recently threatened to eliminate jobs in NRW over the energy policies. When don't business lobbies make such threats?

Kraft's government in NRW is a red-green coalition. This latest Wende of hers will presumably complicate relations with the NRW Greens.

Kraft is heading the negotiations on energy for the SPD in the national coalition negotiations.

This is the neoliberal SPD.

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