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German Left shouldn’t court anti-immigrant voters (?) [Leandros Fischer/Jacobin]

March 6, 2017

Simply put, Wagenknecht’s approach to the refugee question [addressing the discontent of anti-immigrant voters] cannot be Die Linke’s preferred method of widening its appeal among the disenfranchised segments of the population alienated by mainstream politics.

This is not because Wagenknecht is racist, nor because she is “too radical” or “populist.” It is rather because her anti-establishment discourse against the banks and the European austerity consensus is significantly neutered by her attempts to find common grounds with potential AfD-voters.


Since there are some serious questions about the future of European integration, and Europe could be the worlds most significant economic zone, and since the US is embarking on a weird and scary journey, I think I’m going to do some light coverage of French and German politics in the coming months. For now, just throwing some links out there as a starting point for this US-centric blog. This is not a familiar subject so please forgive me for whatever ignorance will follow.

The German elections will be this fall, and depending very much on how the French election goes, the two together may be an opportunity for the Euro institutions to attempt some sort of deeper response to the many discontentments that have come to light. Not optimistic but it is possible.

Since the 2008 economic crisis, serious flaws in the EU/EMU projects have come to light. The preferred path of all the institutions is clearly more integration, but whether that will happen and the terms on which it will happen (i.e., balance of power between German center, Finance center, and others) depends on national politics. The alternative path is a return to national soverignty.

I actually think a return to national sovereignty is perfectly fine and would be a more realistic basis for a positive future, but for one thing — at present the most successful advocates of national sovereignty are xenophobic nationalists, while left-of-center politics is too weak, so a redrawing of lines that would accompany a disassembly of the euro institutions at this time would give nationalists a chance to deeply reshape national institutions as in Poland, Hungary , etc.

Similarly, while left-of-center politics is weak, a redrawing of lines that would accompany a more serious construction of a supernational system would even further entrench the deregulationists — who will continue to help themselves, worsen inequality, and eventually spawn future generations of xenophobic nationalists just as Bush/Blair’s Iraq war created more terrorists.

In the long run, it’s not a pretty picture – but you have to start somewhere. The good news is that in the absence of geopolitical dumbf**kery, xenophobic nationalism isn’t inherently all that popular. At the same time, the neoliberals have run out of answers vis-a-vis the mantra of “markets”, and are beginning to have some internal conflicts, resulting in brief episodes of lucidity where they are able, as a group, to confront issues such as inequality and redistribution. So that’s hopeful.


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