mdsh00
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Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:06 pm

I read this article on the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3669974.stm

What is the platform of this far-right party? I'm sure it's nothing like the far-Right in the US but what are some of their policies? Also, what are some of the reasons that eastern Germans are paid less?
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
zak
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:36 pm

its quite simple, west germany has given east germany about 70.000 euro per citizen in aid since the reunification, and all that the west got in return was a bunch of people who think capitalism means "working less then in communism while getting the government to pay for everything".
now that they realize that you actually have to work, they decide being unemployed and collecting welfare and whining about the good old days or demanding the reich back is the thing to do. god forbid they actually get off their asses and work.

disclaimer: i am well aware of the fact that there are exceptions to the rule and some east germans do actually work
10=2
 
gkirk
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:53 pm

Zak, I thought your "country" was the EU. Im surprised you know so much about German politics  Wink/being sarcastic
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
Flying-Tiger
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:13 pm

The "far-rights" exist in basically every country wolrd-wide. Most of its members admire the Nazis or at least some ideas they brought up. Mostly it is the attitude "my country is for my people" and "foreigners steal our jobs" - the arguments which have been repeated in history since centrurys in this this or that way. In Germany we have two parties which belong to the far-right wing: the DVU (Deutsche Volks Union) and the NPD (Nationale Partei Deutschland). Both have been in some state parlaments before, however the only think they did was to show their incompetence, nothing else. The same attribute fits to very far-left parties, which are basically the communists or - a bit weaker - the socialists.

Far-right parties are usually voted for when people are thinking that they have been forgotten or think that they are at an disadvantage, which - at least in the opinion of many people living in the eastern part of Germany - is currently the case.

After the reunification many people in the eastern part of Germany lost their jobs - and at the same time benifited from welfare programms to a very large extend. Essentially they had no real need to look for a new job. Now that the German budget is dark-red much needed reforms are on their way, especially the so-called Hartz IV which unites the social welfare and the unemployment welfare into one program but drastically cuts the spended amount, these people see their basis for living being cut - the welfare chequs are still coming in, but not as long before, and by far with less money on it. They are now forced to look for a new job (as a side not: when the Hartz IV reforms were announced suddenly the job market jumped and many more people started looking for jobs), and they are now an easy target for those who say "we bring you jobs by throwing out all foreigners working on your job", "we will restore all the spending programms we had before"...

Well, this "paid less" is a direct result of the reunification. In 1990 the average salaries in East Germany were about 60% that of the West Germans - no way the already rotten industry in the eastern part would be able to cope with a 40% jump in wages. The same applied to the state-owned retirement fund, no way it would be able to pay 100% of the retirement pay to all those "new" members of the fund living in the East. Thus it was seen as the best solution to slowly increase the pay in Eastern Germany to the West German standarts - nowadays it is around 90-100%.

Regards
Flying-Tiger
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ly7e7
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:15 pm

Didn't Schroeder make some steps to outlaw the NPD?
2 things are endless: ignorance and space
 
Flying-Tiger
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:23 pm

They thought about it - but decided against it. It is easier to supervise them as a party. If they would outlaw them basically the NPD would just continue in the underground - and then it would be extremly difficult to follow their activities.

Regards
Flying-Tiger
Flown: A319/320/321,A332/3,A380,AT4,AT7,B732/3/4/5/7/8,B742/4,B762/763,B772,CR2,CR7,ER4,E70,E75,F50/70,M11,L15,S20
 
pelican
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:31 pm

Fortunatly Zak proves that stupid people are living everywhere in Germany.

I'm sure it's nothing like the far-Right in the US but what are some of their policies?

I wouldn't be too sure. Actually the NPD is a extremly xenophobic party and they're probably dangerous. They have nothing but xenophobia as their policy.
The DVU is a bunch of stupid bumkins who are financed by a millionaire from Munich who earns his money with Nazi-glorification (literature, but I wouldn't call it so).
Both parties gain profit from the frustration in East-Germany because of the high unemployment rates -between 15% and 40%. They say the unemployment is caused by foreigners who work in Germany and by the Globalization which is responsible that the bad "big capitalist companies" fire German employies and invest in the bad overseas.
Due to cut backs of the welfare system the frustration is even bigger than usual.
Both parties have made an agreement not to compete against each other anymore. Therefore their chances to win seats in an election is now greater than before.

Also, what are some of the reasons that eastern Germans are paid less?

That's quite simple if the supply is much bigger than the demand the prices will drop. -> To many unemployed for too little jobs.

pelican

[Edited 2004-09-19 13:47:42]
 
pelican
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:39 pm

Didn't Schroeder make some steps to outlaw the NPD?

Yes they did. But the German surpreme court decided to close the proceedings because of mistrial. Too many witnesses worked for the German intelligence service...

pelican
 
racko
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:59 pm

The ironic point is that there are basically no foreigners in East Germany, yet they are ones voting for the far right...

I'm tired of the permanent whining by the East Germans, capitalism means more freedom but also more responsibility for yourself.

1,5 trillion € since 1990, that's 3/4 of Germany's GDP!

 
BREmer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:23 pm

I can't wait to see the first polls from the Saxony election. I think the NPD is way worse than the DVU. The DVU is basically another idiot right-wing party with no brains, the NPD actually hosts some of Germany's most dangerous skinhead groups, and some of them are even known for planning attacks on foreign and especially jewish institutions. If they get into the state parliament, they will enjoy the benefits of political immunity.

I understand life isn't easy for some people in East Germany, but if some unemployed idiots decide to protest against our government by giving their vote to a bunch of neonazis, they deserve to be unemployed and poor for the rest of their life! Especially in a country like Germany people should know better. And, after 15 years, sitting around doing nothing and crying like a kid deprived of candy because our very generous welfare is cut is just plain ridiculous.

 Angry
 
zak
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:39 pm

Zak, I thought your "country" was the EU. Im surprised you know so much about German politics

since i happen to have relocated from madrid to cologne a while ago i happen to be quite up to date on german politics. apart from that, i do not understand why knowledge of a specific countries politics(especially the one you were born in) seems to be an argument against being an eu citizen?

Fortunatly Zak proves that stupid people are living everywhere in Germany.

i agree, even though i have not pointed it out specifically, i think we all agree on that 14 years after the fall of the wall, east germans have spread and are living everywhere in germany  Smile


"I'm tired of the permanent whining by the East Germans, capitalism means more freedom but also more responsibility for yourself."

the responsibility part is what many people in the east seem to have a problem with.
10=2
 
Klaus
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:47 pm

I might add that there is also a lot of unjustified whining coming from the west, generously overlooking that in fact most eastern germans ("Ossies") do work hard for their money and most unemployed people want to work. Kohl´s 16 years of empty promises and stagnation did a lot of damage to the chances of the east.

It´s not all just petulance and stupidity.

Although voting for NPD or DVU (and to a lesser degree the PDS) clearly is stupid!  Nuts
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:05 am

It seems that many East Germans have a problem with the flerxibility demanded in the modern world (Don´t flame me, guys, but I did my apprenticeship in the East at SXF in the old Interflug maintenance facility, now Lufthansa, and I used to live for several years in East Berlin, Lichtenberg in a Plattenbausiedlung,, after the wall came down, so I think I know what I´m talking about).
About one year before we finished our apprenticeships, Lufthansa made public that they wanted to move all 737 D-checks to Shannon, Ireland. The base in SXF would from then on only do c-checks and the number of staff would be drastically reduced (they laid off about 300 people). Of course we didn´t stand a chance of getting employed in Germany, not freshly out of an apprenticeship, with so many much more experienced mechanics on the dole. There were some discussions among us. Five of us (me one of them), all in their late twenties, decided to try our luck and to mover to Ireland, just to get a job (Shannon Aerospace Ltd. was looking for mechanics), but most of the guys rather wanted to go on the dole than moving out of their village and small towns (Königswusterhausen, Zossen... all small places south of Berlin) and away from their friends and family. Did they realise that, without any real working experience, they would never get a job?
There are vacant positions in Bavaria, Northrhine-Westfalia, Baden-Würtemberg, but most unemployed people in the East expect to have thir dream job to appear right in front of their homes.
Another thing is that apparently those Hartz IV reforms are facilitating the discovery of social-welfare cheats. Before dole money and social welfare were handed out by different communal, state and federal adminstrations with little communication between each other, making it very easy to play one against the other. A friend of mine is a judge at a social affairs court in my state Northrhine-Westfalia and he told me that he got fed up of Hartz IV trials. Acc. to him most cases relate to people being caught milking the system, like 20 years unemployed, having a holiday home in Spain and going on vacation 6 times a year. The new rules force unemployyed to declare their property, stating that, if you have property (savings accounts, land, shares) you should use them as well to cover your situation.

Now concerning the NPD, there was a move to get it banned as an organistion acting against the constitution, but there was such a chaos between the different police, intelligence authorities (both state and federal), that the defense could claim that they were acting as agent provocateurs, with one spy reporting about another one.
In public, the NPD states that they support the constitution, incl. democracy, but in private they clearly state that they want to abolish democracy ("too much talk, no acting" sounds familar, doesn´t it?) and to introduce a Führer state. It is not clear though who is supposed to be the Führer. THere are also frictions betweeen the DVU and the Republikaner, both run by right wing (neo fascist) millionaires, each of whom wants to be Hitler´s successor.The "owner" of the Republikaner is a former member of the Waffen-SS.
Fortunately for Germany there is a lot of infighting going on between the different groups. The only Neo-Nazi leader, who had the charisma to unify the groups was a guy called Michael Kühnen, but he was openly gay (like the SA leader Röhm in the 1920s-30s) and died of aids in the early 90s (many older Nazis rejected him as well because he was gay).
Usually, if elected into a communal or state parliament, the right wing parties make fools out of themselves, because their representatives come usuaslly unprepared to parliamentary sessions and their stereotypical answer is to blame everything on foreigners. Also, usually all democratic parties, from Greens and Socialists to the conservative Christian-Democrats, often agree to shun this group.
The problem is the violence of the supporters of such ultraright parties (after an attack ther party leadership openly distances itself from the criminals, else their party would be banned, but they support violent groups in secret, though hard to prove). I talked to some of them, who told me that they admired Hitler´s Germany, "because then Germany was feared and we could do what we liked", clearly speaking of the late 1930s. What a bunch of idiots!
One thing though is that Germany 2004 is different from Germany 1933. Any take over of a Neo-Nazi party in Germany would probably cause a violent reaction (not to speak of foreign intervention). The military are not as united and supportive as back then, with most soldiers and officers suppporting the social democrats, the same applies to the police. And most civilians would not accept a totalitarian Nazi party to rule the country. Expect a civil war like rebellion.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ly7e7
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:25 am

The "owner" of the Republikaner is a former member of the Waffen-SS.


The question is why is he out of jail.

with most soldiers and officers suppporting the social democrats

Is the Bundeswehr staff allowed to openly express their political views?
2 things are endless: ignorance and space
 
zak
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:43 am

Is the Bundeswehr staff allowed to openly express their political views?

i think you are not allowed to wear uniform at demonstrations but when in civil clothing and not on duty u can do and say wtf u want
10=2
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:45 am

There have been Bundeswehr officers in full uniform on demonstrations against the NATO basing missiles in Germany in the 1980s. I think they had to face some disciplinary action. One thing is what a soldiers states in his function as a member of the Bundeswehr, another, what he says in private. The doctrine of the Bundeswehr is/was (until the recent move of professionalising) that a soldier is a citizen wearing a uniform, with all of the constitutional rights included (except where is is limited by law, e.g. for security or operational reasons) and he is sworn in on the constitution. I think Zak will be able to give us more information due to his experience in the Bundeswehr.

Jan

Concerning the Republikaner leader having been in the Waffen-SS, apparently he was just a private and not proven involved in war crimes. There have been hundred thousands like him in all branches of the German military inWW2. This on the other hand, didn´t stop him from glorifying the Waffen_ss by writing a book " I WAS THERE".

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ly7e7
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:48 am

Jan,
I was under impression that the Waffen SS was a small, exclusive branch of the SS. Am I wrong?
2 things are endless: ignorance and space
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:12 am

LY7E7,

Actually not. I did some research into the subject due to family reasons (my mother´s real father was a Waffen-SS officer and, while she was only two years old at the time he got killed in Russia she didn´t really know him, there were many looose ends in what I got told about him, I´m currently trying to sort out). Originaly the Waffen-SS got started because Himmler wanted to have his own armed forces, similar to Göring with his paratroopers and Luftwaffe regiments attached to his Luftwaffe. Back in the 1930s they were very exclusive, maximum recruitment age 21, no criminal history, "aryan check" for 150 years, top physical fitness (not even a filling permitted). But their problem was to find qualified officers and NCOs. The officers prefered to stay with the Wehrmacht (the Waffen-SS was being looked down by Wehrmacht members and was last in getting equipment, also the Wehrmacht didn´t want to have rival organisation come up).
Due to bad tactics during the Russian campaign, the Waffen-SS got the reputation of being daredevils and reckless, but they were also often deliberately put in suicidical posiotions by ther Wehrmacht command and had accordingly very high losses. This forced the Waffen-SS to loosen their recruitment standards about 1942, accepting older people or transfering people from the Allgemeine SS or even the Totenkopfverbände (the concentration camp guards) into the Waffen-SS. Esp. many members of the Totenkopfverbände had a criminal history. My grandfather was both in his late 30s-early 40s and also he had a criminal history (apparently he got nicked for embezzlement or tax fraud back in the 20s, when he worked as a bookkeeper and he used the SS to get respectability in Nazi Germany). Even though there was a decision at the beginning of the war that only the regular military could get draftees and the Waffen-SS only volunteers, later during the war, draftees were often sent to Waffen-SS units. Also, the Hitler Youths, used as a final defense in 1945, became automatically members of the Waffen-SS, which gave them quite a bit of trouble when caught by allies.
Also, don´t forget that after Juli 20th, 1944, Hitler didn´t trust the Wehrmmacht anymore and actually prefered the Waffen-SS, giving them more than their share of draftees and equipment.
This means my grandfather must have been at one time a member of the Allgemeine SS, but I don´t know what he was doing there. He apparently also was involved or at least witnessed war crimes (he was for a while based in Warsaw, but he died long before the uprising), and acc. to my mother, some letters exist or existed (I´ve never seen them), stating that it was something he couldn´t live with (apparently his later posting to Charkov and his resulting death was a suicidical move based on this). I´m still working on getting the loose ends of his biography cleared up, but after war many things, including the pictures of him in uniform (at least looking at them I could have found out which unit he belonged to, helping me to find the right archives), were destroyed by his family after the war.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
NoUFO
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:15 am

The SS was a small, exclusive group in the beginning but later turned into a far bigger sized branch, although not to the extend the SA did.

German right-wingers made it 14 times into parliaments after state elections (they never gained seats in the Bundestag after a federal election) but always for only 4 years. In the following election they gained between 0.1% and 1% of the votes.

It will be embarassing to see them taking seats in the parliaments, but they don't pose any risk on our democracy.
I support the right to arm bears
 
zak
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:17 am

here you go jan  Smile


§15WStG
(quick breakdown in english)

- on duty a soldier is not allowed to act in favour of any political direction. the right to voice his own opinion amongst soldiers is not touched by this

- within military areas during freetime, the right of free speech finds its limits at the comraderie(sp?). the soldier has to act in a way that the service and unity of the unit are not seriously affected. the solider must not advertise political groups, hold speeches, hand out flyers or act as a representative of a political group. respect amongst soldiers must not be endangered.

- the soldier must not wear any type of uniform during political events

- when in command a solider must not influence the political opinion of his troops in any way
10=2
 
zak
Posts: 1926
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:23 am

first preliminary results:


saxony:


CDU 43,2% (conservatives)
SPD 9,6% (social democrats)
Grüne 5,0% (greens)
FDP 5,8% (liberals)
PDS 22,6% (commies)
NPD 9% (gop)


brandenburg:


CDU 19,6% (conservatives)
SPD 32,6% (social democrats)
Grüne 3,4% (greens)
FDP 3,2% (liberals)
PDS 28,3% (commies)
DVU 6,1% (gop)
10=2
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:26 am

This means off base, out of uniform, a soldier has the same rights as any other citizen.

BTW, I think the Bundeswehr is the only army, where a soldier has the DUTY to arrest any superior, who oders him to commit a crime ( this doesn´t mean speeding or parking a vehicle illegaly, but e.g. shooting POWs).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:28 am

LY7E7,

Two good books to read about the internal structure of the SS (albeit in German):
Kogon: Der SS Staat

(forgot the name of the author) Der Orden Unter Dem Hakenkreuz

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
BREmer
Posts: 498
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:49 am

Schroeder's SPD only got .6% more votes than the NPD! That's insane!
So far the SPD would get 12 seats in the Saxon parliament, NPD 11.
At least the Greens have a chance of making it into the parliament in Saxony.

Anyways, a sad day for this country.  Crying
 
ly7e7
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:13 am

Thanks for the info Jan. My German is aparently not fluent enough to read that book (Aber Ich mache einen kleinen Fortschritt  Smile ), but I'll look for a translation or a similar one.

In IDF a soldier has a duty to oppose an illegal order, but he is not obliged to arrest his superior.

How many seats are there in Sachsen and Brandenburg landtags?
2 things are endless: ignorance and space
 
mdsh00
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:24 am

Wow I missed a lot while I was asleep. Thanks for the information. My question to all the Germans. A lot of you were touching on how east Germans expect a lot and are sometimes lazy. How is the new generation that didn't grow up under communism in that regard?
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
racko
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:39 am

The educated ones are moving to the West, the dumb ones stay and become Neo-Nazis or Communists.

Not true for all regions, there are a few areas (especially in Saxony) where there is a need for highly-educated young people, but in many areas the above said is true. (Ok, not all of them become extremists, but there simply isn't any need for people without proper education).
 
Klaus
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Racko

Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:55 am

Racko: The educated ones are moving to the West, the dumb ones stay and become Neo-Nazis or Communists.

Fortunately "we" in the west are so much better in every respect!  Insane

Come on! You´re overdoing it!
 
777heavy
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 6:54 am

1. These results a really sad, bad day for Brandenburg and Saxony!

2. "...East Germans expect a lot and are sometimes lazy..."

Wrong, completely wrong! Such statement shows you haven't a clue about what's going on in East Germany. The economic situation is very difficult. The average unemployment rate is >20%. As always some exceptions. But not 20% of the unemployed people are lazy. Its plain and simple there are just no jobs in East Germany! The most people without a job are willing to work, but there is no chance for them to get one. Even for very high qualified people its really difficult to find a job in East Germany. The only chance to find a job is to move to West Germany. But not all 20% of the people can leave East Germany!

Please guys, first catch up some information before posting crap!

Mdsh00 that's not a offence against you but against some "all knowing" guys from Germany!

Daniel

Well done Germany!
 
aloges
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:08 am

Whew... yeah, us "Wessis" are the hard-working guys who spoon-feed the ungrateful "Ossies".  Yeah sure

Seriously, it's not as simple as that. Quite a few businesses have been "abgewickelt" (and this means shut down) without any need in the early nineties, when a lot of oh-so-great "Wessi" pinstripe businessmen made the quick buck over in the former GDR. It's obvious that many "Ossies" are demanding a lot and don't work for it, be it because they don't want to or don't get a job. But more than a few times, some white-collar Wessi businessman is responsible for their joblessness, and today he's the one complaining about "ungrateful Ossies" while sipping champagne paid for with his swiss-safe millions.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
ly7e7
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 8:10 am

. How is the new generation that didn't grow up under communism in that regard?

They are 13.
2 things are endless: ignorance and space
 
pelican
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 8:18 am

My question to all the Germans. A lot of you were touching on how east Germans expect a lot and are sometimes lazy.

One word: prejudices
Of course there are lazy people in the east of Germany, though surely not more than the Gaussian distribution would predict.
It's a difficult situation, most of the young and educated East-Germans are leaving, but it's not so easy for older people who have family or a house... to leave their homeland.
Fortunately there are regions in the East like Dresden, Jena and Potsdam which keep up with the West, but the rest looks dull.

How is the new generation that didn't grow up under communism in that regard?
As I've stated, if they have the education to get a job in the West, they will leave (with some exceptions). This causes more problems, because who wants to invest in a country without youth? Who will start a business but the young and educated?

pelican
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:53 am

Actually the Bundeswehr raised an alert a few months ago. They are doing educational and intelligence tests on all recruits and discovered lately that there is a trend in the East that the test results are going down. This is mostly blamed on educated and intelligent people moving somewhere else, where they can get a job, while the uneducated stay.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:02 am

RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:45 pm

Hmmm...interesting topic!

Some questions/observations:
- I'm surprised that some of the German posters here still refer to 'West Germany' and 'East Germany', as if they were still separate nations, 14 years on. Tells me the country is still very divided!

- These elections...are they what we call "mid-term" elections, as they fall between the election of chancellor? I think Schroeder is up again in 2006, right? I think that BRD's federal elections are two years apart from ours.

- Zak: In your poll results for Saxony (which includes Dresden, right?) and Brandenburg, you put "(gop)" next to the DVU and NPD parties. Are you suggesting that these radical, neo-nazi parties are similar to the GOP (Republicans) in our country? If so, I think that's a VERY UNFAIR characterization and stereotype, and would encourage you to do compare a lot more closely the differences in views/positions between them.

- Does anyone see a "re-division" of Germany at some point in the future, based on the ongoing socio-economic problems in the 'east' vs the 'west'? While I don't think/hope we'd see electric fences and concrete walls again, it seems like Germany never really reunified in 1990. If not, how long do all of you think before all of Germany is on the same footing, i.e. functioning at full strength without one part being so economically depresssed while the other part of the country is similar to pre-reunification.

- If the federal elections were held today, for Chancellor, what are Schroeder's prospects for reelection at this point? Is it difficult to defeat an incumbent chancellor, like it is an incumbent president in the USA? If Schroeder loses in '06 (?), which party would most likely win?

- I was really amazed (and I took this route for the reason of seeing the difference) when I took a train on July 10th of this year from Munich to Dresden. The ride up to Hof was about as I expected, but once we crossed the 'border', things started changing pretty quickly. I noticed a lot of the windmills being used for energy production. As the train slowed down dramatically, I saw the abondoned buildings and train stations and factories of the former GDR, and work being done to replace/upgrade in other places. I think it was in Zwickau or Chemnitz that the stations were ghost towns, and the area around the station hardly had a person in sight. It was like going back 40 years in time, literally, I'll never forget it. Some houses that I could see seemed pretty nice, other areas seemed like third-world shantytowns. What is being done to revitalize these areas, if anything?

Thanks!

I always enjoy my visits to Germany, especially my 10 days in July. I hope to get back in the next five years, and do another 10 days perhaps, seeing areas I didn't get to this time around. I hope things continue to improve for those down on their luck, but I also agree that those folks have to take some initiative for themselves in order to 'make it happen' as we say here. Nothing I hate more is people choosing to stay unemployed while they collect a government check.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
zak
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:24 pm

- Zak: In your poll results for Saxony (which includes Dresden, right?) and Brandenburg, you put "(gop)" next to the DVU and NPD parties. Are you suggesting that these radical, neo-nazi parties are similar to the GOP (Republicans) in our country? If so, I think that's a VERY UNFAIR characterization and stereotype, and would encourage you to do compare a lot more closely the differences in views/positions between them.


indeed i do suggest that these parties are similar to the gop. if you compare "how far to the right" the respective parties are, such a comparison is not far fetched, especially considering that the "conservatives" would still be near or even left of the dems in the u.s..
not only their "patriotic" agenda is one of the similar points but also the demagogy employed by the gop and dvu/npd to gain votes is frighteningly similar, especially if you look at the superficial statements made at the republican convention.

gop/npd/dvu all boil down to: demagogy, rah rah patriotism, bigotry, protectionism etc
10=2
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 9:09 pm

If the federal elections were held today, for Chancellor, what are Schroeder's prospects for reelection at this point? Is it difficult to defeat an incumbent chancellor, like it is an incumbent president in the USA? If Schroeder loses in '06 (?), which party would most likely win?

It's not a presidential system, so the elections are about seats in the federal parliament. Whichever party wins majority or is able to form a coalition of parties with majority of seats gets a try to form a government with its head the prime minister - chancellor - in case of Germany.
Chancellor gets elected by absolute majority of the federal parliament.

I'm sure our German friends will tell you better than I.


 
Klaus
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L410Turbolet

Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:23 pm

That was quite correct.

The elections we´re talking about here are state parliament elections; And those are not "synchronized" with the federal elections. Some of them even have a different period length than the federal elections and so will shift in relation to each other.

Sometimes there will be "super election years" with many state and municipal and maybe even the federal election, others will have only a few elections.

If a parliament (on any level) should dissolve itself, this will also change the date for all future elections. The period of 4-6 years is only the maximum, it is not fixed to specific dates.
 
pelican
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:52 pm

- I'm surprised that some of the German posters here still refer to 'West Germany' and 'East Germany', as if they were still separate nations, 14 years on. Tells me the country is still very divided!

If you find a better synonym than East Germany for the new parts of the Federal Republic of Germany I will gladly replace East Germany with the new synonym. The new parts are the East of Germany, hence I call them East Germany.

- These elections...are they what we call "mid-term" elections, as they fall between the election of chancellor? I think Schroeder is up again in 2006, right? I think that BRD's federal elections are two years apart from ours.
- If the federal elections were held today, for Chancellor, what are Schroeder's prospects for reelection at this point? Is it difficult to defeat an incumbent chancellor, like it is an incumbent president in the USA? If Schroeder loses in '06 (?), which party would most likely win?


See L410Turbolet's answer. Of course it will not become easier for Schröder to win the parliament election in 2006 after his party has lost nearly every election since 2004. But we have a proverb 'a lot of water will run down the Rhine' until it's time to elect the next Bundestag.
Only the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the liberals (FDP) could replace the current coalition of social democrats and greens. This would be the coalition of the former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. There are some other highly unlikely combinations of the 4 mentioned parties like a 'Great coalition' between conservatives and social democrats.

- Does anyone see a "re-division" of Germany at some point in the future, based on the ongoing socio-economic problems in the 'east' vs the 'west'? While I don't think/hope we'd see electric fences and concrete walls again, it seems like Germany never really reunified in 1990. If not, how long do all of you think before all of Germany is on the same footing, i.e. functioning at full strength without one part being so economically depresssed while the other part of the country is similar to pre-reunification.

Only some people with an extremely backward attitude want a "re-division".
I dunno how long will it take to restore the economical strength of East Germany. Maybe it's impossible to achieve this for the whole of "East Germany". I've already stated there are regions in the East which can keep up with the west.
Times have changed (West-)Germany will never be as it was in the eighties.

What is being done to revitalize these areas, if anything?

This will be impossible. Those regions have lost up to one third of their former population due to migration. Hence there aren't enough people for all those abandoned houses, factories and the infrastructure is too big.

pelican


 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:14 am

Never say never.
Of course it will take decades but it is possible. Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (Social Democrat, in the US maybe still known as the father of the NATO "Doppelbeschluss" that lead to the deployment of Pershing II missiles under the Reagan administration and the first serious negotiations between NATO and Warsaw Pact) recently published some well thought-out ideas. Yes, those ideas where mostly thoroughly "capitalistic" (hear hear - that from a Social Democrat) but recieved positive reviews.

Before I moved to Berlin I studied in Hamburg and lived in a student hostel not far from the place, where this foto was taken:



Snobby but nice. Then Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg - quite a difference:



Indeed a cultural shock. The first newspaper I bought, reported that a balcony came down, killing an old lady. An official said they had to renovate staircases first and simply would lack capacities, and to a lesser extend money, due to the sheer amount of work to be done.
I spotted bomb damage ...



... bullet holes ...



... more than 40 years after WWII. But more and more I saw beautifully renovated buildings next to abandoned fassades.



Time goes past, and what you see here is an absolutely average appartment building in this district. Most people living here are 20 to 30 somethings, still far away from menopause.



Not to menion new buildings that fit surprisingly nice to the historic environment:



Sure, this is Berlin, a city that attracts many people, but I think the process of redevelopment only accelerates in cities like Dresden, Leipzig or Berlin. Rural areas need way more time, but that time will come, in one way or another.

@Zak: It's not nice to compare Republicans to those idiots from NPD or DVU. You may diagree with the GOP, and so do I, but they are not stick-in-the-mud racist that glorify our dark ages, regardless of their, the DVU's and NPD's, latest attempts to act like civilized politicans.


[Edited 2004-09-20 17:29:02]
I support the right to arm bears
 
BREmer
Posts: 498
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:47 am

- Zak: In your poll results for Saxony (which includes Dresden, right?) and Brandenburg, you put "(gop)" next to the DVU and NPD parties. Are you suggesting that these radical, neo-nazi parties are similar to the GOP (Republicans) in our country? If so, I think that's a VERY UNFAIR characterization and stereotype, and would encourage you to do compare a lot more closely the differences in views/positions between them.

I agree, the GOP doesn't come anywhere close to the neo-nazi parties in Germany. DVU and NPD are extremist groups with slogans like 'Work only for German workers', 'Shut down our borders' and 'Election day is pay day'

- If the federal elections were held today, for Chancellor, what are Schroeder's prospects for reelection at this point?

Slim

Is it difficult to defeat an incumbent chancellor, like it is an incumbent president in the USA? If Schroeder loses in '06 (?), which party would most likely win?

In general I'd say that German media is a lot more critical with our leaders than American media. But then again there are millions who read 'Bild' every day, whose educational value comes close to a package of toilet paper.
If Germany had federal elections today, the CDU (conservative democrats) would most likely win.

I saw the abondoned buildings and train stations and factories of the former GDR, and work being done to replace/upgrade in other places. I think it was in Zwickau or Chemnitz that the stations were ghost towns, and the area around the station hardly had a person in sight. It was like going back 40 years in time, literally, I'll never forget it. Some houses that I could see seemed pretty nice, other areas seemed like third-world shantytowns. What is being done to revitalize these areas, if anything?

I think the problem is just that the East German economy was let run down for 40 years without keeping pace with the rest of the world and making steps to innovate the economy. When the GDR ended, many companies were so old and run down that it was completely useless to make any effort to bring them back into business. The companies that were refurbished got new machinery and technology, but of course less work had to be done by hand. So compared to the former 'worker's-and-farmer's-state'with no unemployment, where the work of 5 people was performed by 10, the work of 5 is now done by 2 or 3, which leaves a lot of people unemployed.
West Germany is able to come up with a great percentage of the production for both parts of the country, so many companies see no need in investing in these areas in the East or relocating their business there. With no jobs being created, the younger generation emigrates to the West, leaving the old people and the stupid ones. The abandoned buildings in the East indicate this development. There are simply not enough people around to live in there. And as it has been pointed out before, things are continuing to develop this way so I as well doubt that parts of East Germany will have a future.


And some more stastics from yesterday's election in Saxony.
- The area 'Sächsische Schweiz', stretching from Dresden along the Elbe river to the Czech border counts the highest percentage of NPD voters. The NPD received 15.1% of the votes, while Schröders SPD only got a minimal 5.1%!
- The NPD received the highest percentage in the town of Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna - 23.1%
- And the most scary fact: When it comes to first-time voters, the NPD was the second most popular party in the Saxon elections.

Lukas
 
North County
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:59 am



You wild and crazy Germans- always kidding around:

Calling former communists lazy,

and Neo Nazis the GOP!


Now by Zak logic then the unification of Germany was influenced by a great GOP leader in the US. A neo Nazi type leader brought about the reunification of EAST and WEST Germany.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:14 am

I think the biggest problem, we are still digesting, are Helmut Kohl´s election promises of 1990, about "blooming landscapes" in the East.He, needing votes in an upcoming federal election where his polls didn´t look too good, promised the people in the East immideate access to the west German social security system, same wages as in the west (even though the productivity in eastern factories was much lower), and the stupid westerners that everything could be financed without tax increases. In fact, he finanxced everything mostly out of the savings of the federal social security and pension insurance funds for employed workers.
The other thing was that millions of east Germans suddenly became entiteled to pensions out of this system without having ever contributed to them. The result was that the payments of the insuramnce exceeded the income, and they had to raise their premiums, making labour cost in German prohibitively expensive (it is not the money paid directly to the worker that makes labour expensive, but the compulsory health, social security and pension insurance payments, which a half covered by the boss. The main reason is that the coffers have been used by various governments, left and right, to cover expenses outside the scope of the insurance).

Additionally, many east Germans, for the first two to three years, refused to buy local products, buying prestigious western products instead, even if the quality of the eastern brands was better in some cases, thus ruining the weak industrial base of east Germany even more. Then some west German companies bought eastern factories (a case of a kali salt mine for fertilizer comes to my mind) just to close them to prevent competition from forming. There was a lot of corruption and fraud involved in the handling of the east German industry, including old party members embezzling millions and moving them out of the country, made easy by chaotic bookkeeping.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
mdsh00
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:16 am

When the GDR ended, many companies were so old and run down that it was completely useless to make any effort to bring them back into business. The companies that were refurbished got new machinery and technology, but of course less work had to be done by hand.

I was a little young (8 years old) when the wall came down. So why didn't the businesses of the West just blitz the East and set up numerous plants and wharehouses since in a capitalist sense, a brand new market opened up when the two Germanies united? Sure the economy may have been in ruin, but wasn't the infrastructure still there?
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:27 am

Because in regards to consumer products, the west German industry had so many overcapacities, it could have provided everything for the east without building any new plants.
East Germany had a few showcase industries, optics (Zeiss Jena) comes first to my mind, but the old government didn´t invest inmmany factories, so that technically they were still on a 1930s standard. Couple this with the demand of equal wages (partially fuel to the new landlords and shop owners wanting the same revenue as in the west, increasing living expenses), this made for a much lower productivity in the east and the destruction of jobs in the east.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5443
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:58 am

I think it's a job for political scientists and sociologists do "dissect" the election results and see whether it's mostly just a protest vote or whether it's and indication of something more serious.
I wouldn't be too worried about high preferences of both extreme left among 50+ year-olds. They are lost generation, who wasted their best years in Honecker's zoo behind barbed wire, and I understand their frustration and lack of adaptability to new times. They just lived under communism too long. The scene from Good Bye Lenin, where he goes to exange DDR-marks for DEM past deadline and his family's lifetime savings (for a Trabi  Wink/being sarcastic) are worthless pieces of paper is a great metaphore of the feelings of frustration.

However, if the super-simple solutions for complex problems proposed by both "reds" and "browns" appeal to the young generation, then I guess that's a reason for concern.

I'm not trying to be "know-it-all" about German politics/society, I just see (to no surprise) a lot of similarities in what we're living through right now over here.
 
Klaus
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:24 am

Early analyses seem to confirm that most votes for DVU and NPD were indeed protest votes and do not indicate a closer ideological association.

It won´t make those brown empty shirts any more bearable in the respective parliaments (as far as they´d actuall do anything), but at least it leaves some hope it will be over again in a few years (like their earlier attempts).
 
GDB
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:34 am

'Good Bye Lenin' is a terrific film, highly recommended, even though a black comedy, it highlights the massive change in culture the East Germans went through very fast.

Can anyone in the West claim to have gone through such huge changes so quickly?
 
North County
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:42 am

Quick Change - Southern US states post 1865.
 
zak
Posts: 1926
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:49 am

I agree, the GOP doesn't come anywhere close to the neo-nazi parties in Germany. DVU and NPD are extremist groups with slogans like 'Work only for German workers', 'Shut down our borders' and 'Election day is pay day'


<@Zak: It's not nice to compare Republicans to those idiots from NPD or DVU. You may diagree with the GOP, and so do I, but they are not stick-in-the-mud racist that glorify our dark ages, regardless of their, the DVU's and NPD's, latest attempts to act like civilized politicans.>

in europe,especially in germany due to the past, they are considered extremist groups. in the u.s., they would not stick out in the casual patriotism.
the political agenda of the neo liberal gop is not so far off either. looking at the wing of the gop is in control now and their past, it is not far fetched to consider them as a strikingly similarly operating group. the population gets nothing but spoon fed propaganda through a highly uncritical, rah rah patriotic press, while intentionally not telling the people what the government does. the people in the government do have a long lasting history of disrespect for everything but their own agenda and have proven to see democratic decisionmaking as obstruction to their interest. they have done their own version of the reichsermächtigungsgesetz already. they have already opened a camp(remeber it started without gas chambers in germany aswell). they have openly lied to their population and intentionally tried to hide the truth from them to have more support for their atrocities. they are highly fanatic in their religious agenda, something that can be compared with the pathological race agenda the 3rd reich pursued.





Now by Zak logic then the unification of Germany was influenced by a great GOP leader in the US. A neo Nazi type leader brought about the reunification of EAST and WEST Germany.
"brought about"? he just took the opportunity offered to him by gorbatchev when he offered the breakdown of the warsaw pact, the main strategical enemy of the u.s., to the u.s. on a silver plate. i would guess the estimated impact on the "enemy" was understandably far more influential in the decisionmaking process then any benevolence.
10=2
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
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RE: Questions About Upcoming German Elections.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 3:46 am

Zak, compare the political agenda of the Republicans to that of the NPD or DVU and you will easily spot major differences. If there is a German party similar to the Republicans, it's the CSU with some opinions of the Liberal Democrats thrown in.
DVU and, more so, the NPD favorize "arable land economics" and members are hostile towards foreigners. If the NPD would form a government (something that hopefully will never happen), you wouldn't see a black Secretary of State, now would you?

he just took the opportunity offered to him by gorbatchev when he offered the breakdown of the warsaw pact, the main strategical enemy of the u.s., to the u.s. on a silver plate.

You have an argument, but how come, Mrs. Tatcher as well as François Mitterand vehemently opposed the German reunification? I know ... mostly economics ... but this has no effects on the merits of Bush's (Sen.) administration concerning the German reunification. They do have their merits.
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