IF MICHAEL MOORE WAS GERMAN, HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN ELECTED CHANCELLOR this SEPTEMBER 2009 By
Kevin Anthony Stoda, Hessen, Germany
On the eve of the German national elections on Sunday September 27, 2009, Michael Moore opened his new movie: “CAPITALISM´: A LOVE STORY”.
THE NEW YORK TIMES says of the film, “In many ways, . . . this is Moore 's magnum opus: the grandest statement of his career-long belief that big business is screwing the hard-working little guy while government connives in the atrocity. . . . so in Capitalism he attempts to make a citizen's arrest of AIG executives, and puts tape around the New York Stock Exchange building, declaring it a crime scene.”
I think some Europeans might like to see the AIG executives arrested as Michael Moore suggested in the film. AIG’s collapse last year broke banks all over Europe . As a result, this very year, despite predictions for two decade that the real progressive left in Europe’s days were (over) or numbered, the leftist parties in Europe including THE LEFT party in Germany and the PIRATE party across Europe are becoming more and more acceptable to voters—even as the traditional ruling parties are forced to join forces to beat back rise of the Left.
In short, the words of Michael Moore are acceptable to a rising number of European citizens.
On Democracy Now, Michael Moore said on Thursday, “We need to quit having the argument about the economic system that was invented in the sixteenth century versus the one that was invented in the nineteenth century. We need to—come on, we’re smart people. We’re in the twenty-first century. We have a whole new set of issues and problems that we face. Can’t we come up with an economic order that has these two basic underpinnings: that it is run democratically and that it is run with a sense of ethics and morality? So, whatever we construct, for me, personally, it has to have those two things in its foundation.”
Unity seems to be easy for those on the far left in Germany these days. .
THE LEFT party, led by a partnership of former East and West German leadership is expected to receive nearly 12 or 13% of the vote in the national elections in Germany on Sunday. Eastern Germany ’s Gregor Gysi “said it (the elections September 2009) was more important to fight for the rights of the people than against opponents within the party. Lafontaine stressed that the relatively small Left party, by standing up for working people, pensioners and students had forced the other parties to take positions well to the left of what they once advocated, while the Social Democrats and Greens unblushingly opposed the same anti-social measures they had themselves introduced when they formed the government – like cutting aid to the jobless, raising retirement age from 65 to 67, radically cutting taxes on the big corporations and the super wealthy, and sending soldiers off to war despite the German constitution. Their current election promises were caused by their great fear of any growth of the Left.”
There are actually supposedly two or three clearly leftist parties in Germany , who have been in government in recent years.
There are THE LEFT, THE GREENS, and the center-left SPD (Socialist Part of Germany).
The SPD has been leading the German government in coalition with other parties for over a decade in Germany . The SPD is currently still heading the government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance (a center right party). However, in the run-up to this year’s elections the SPD has been running as low as 20% in recent state elections.
SPD AND FAR LEFT
Historically speaking, this current split among the leftist parties harks back to the 19th century in Germany when the Socialists and Communists could not get along. Moreover, until 1875 there were actually two SPD parties in Germany . 1875 was the first time when the USPD (United Social Party of Germany) joined the SPD in a permanent agreement.
Franz Walter notes concerning modern German history, “But the sharp disagreements between the parliamentary groups and extreme wings of the party continued. In 1917 it reached the point where another split was inevitable. The USPD (German Independent Social Democratic Party) was founded, and in the years of revolution from 1918 to 1920 the social democratic workers of both party blocs gunned each other down in murderous brawls. It was largely because of this that the USPD in Germany gave birth to the largest communist party outside of Russia .”
Similarly, in Germany over the past two years, the SPD and THE LEFT have joined on occasion in coalitions—(and sometimes with the Greens, too)—at the state level ad city level of governance.
However, at the national level, there is no unifying forces currently in Germany for uniting the left because the former SPD-Green Coalition under Chancellor Schroeder had bowed too often to more conservative and neo-liberal tendencies in the late 1990s and early part of this decade.
Walter adds, “The army of the long-term unemployed (in Germany ) no longer feel connected to today’s upwardly mobile SPD.”
From the 1980s and 1990s onwards, the problem was that the SPD was continually alienating the progressives, who had been the backbone of the party for decades. The modern SPD is now seen as a party “which feels no cultural affinity with the new upwardly mobile SPD, has turned in part to the Left Party. This was dramatically demonstrated in the Saarland state elections on 30th August.” On that day only a little over 20% of the voters in Saarland had chosen the SPD, whereby they used to run the state only a decade or so ago totally by themselves.
The Western German leader of THE LEFT, Oscar Lafontaine, has actually dominated the SPD political landscape for four decades. He left the SPD party about 5 years ago to unite with former communists of Eastern German and younger progressives from across Germany . Walter writes the following praise of Lafontaine:
“Lafontaine is undoubtedly one of the most hated politicians in Germany : but what is equally clear is that he has achieved more, and pushed more political issues up the agenda, than most of his opponents. But what is he really after? Is it all a campaign to destroy the social democrats, by whom he feels betrayed and abandoned? Or is he seeking to unify the left, creating a new socialist unity party for our times, so to speak – but this time on a voluntary basis?”
Moreover, says Walter, “There is no doubt that Lafontaine is one of the few true strategic thinkers in German politics. He starts thinking from where he wants to end up, and not from the situation where he is now. 2013 is surely going to be a crucial year for him. By then the political landscape of the Federal Republic will have to be gradually reordered. From his perspective a national CDU/FDP coalition might not be at all a bad thing for an ongoing change of government in the German states, paving the way for a coalition of left-wing parties in Berlin, in the Saarland, in Thuringia, in Brandenburg, later on in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – and who knows, in North Rhine-Westphalia in May 2010?”
Some predict that Lafontaine will destroy the SPD of today.
However, THE LEFT is apparently becoming successful simply by being more factual and to-the-point than the other major and more centrist or traditional parties in Germany .
The BBC notes, “While Germany 's larger parties have kept their election promises frustratingly vague - with slogans like `Confidence´ (the Christian Democrat CDU) and "Our Country Can Do More" (the Social Democrat SPD), by contrast the Left has been far more specific. `German Troops out of Afghanistan ,´ says one poster on the square; ´Tax Wealth` says another. `No to Nuclear Power,` another. And there are leaflets entitled: "More money for Education, Less for the Banks."
The BBC summarized the point by quoting several political commentators: For example, "I think it's a very successful campaign to use these concrete slogans," says political commentator Michael Weidemann. "Many people who are not close to the Leftists might vote for them. Because they are the only party which acts this way."
PERHAPS, MICHAEL MOORE COULD TAKE OVER for the Left and United the disparate forces today?
As the title of this article suggests, Michael Moore of the USA is also a strategic thinker and critique of capitalism of 2009 and is seriously calling for change—not just in his homeland: the USA .
For this reason, Germans who are tired of capitalism as usual, might invite Michael Moore to lead a coalition of the major three left parties in Germany .
For an example of Moor´s rhetoric, the day his new film on Capitalism opened in New York , Moore stated unequivocally that CAPITALISM of 2009 (as it is now) needs to be suspect and forced to reform. Moore say it is simply a big Pansy or pyramid scheme for the elite (and the very lucky) or well-connected.
Speaking on inequality and lack of access to good loan conditions and livelihood for the vast majority, Moore stated “There’s the larger crime, though, of course, of how the pie is divided in this country. And the fact that one guy can come to the table and take nine slices of that pie and leave one slice for everyone else at the table to fight over, that is criminal. That is offensive on so many levels. If we say we believe in democracy, it’s offensive on that level. If you have any kind of moral or ethical code that you live by, whether it’s because of your religion or your own spirituality or just because you know right from wrong, anyone, anyone over seven years old, maybe even a few five- and six-year-olds, know that if one guy takes nine slices of the pie and leaves one slice for everybody else, that’s just inherently wrong. And we allow that to happen.”
Two to three times as many Germans do not own their own homes—as compared to those who live in the UK or USA
Moore’s is the kind of logic that has brought the new LEFT in Germany into the position of forcing changes in federal and state governments over the past few years.
Moore has called for Americans to create a ruckus: “Well, I’m very clear in the film that, you know, I’m not an economist. But the alternative, the economic order that we need to create for the twenty-first century—and that’s what we really need to do. We need to quit having the argument about the economic system that was invented in the sixteenth century versus the one that was invented in the nineteenth century. We need to—come on, we’re smart people. We’re in the twenty-first century. We have a whole new set of issues and problems that we face. Can’t we come up with an economic order that has these two basic underpinnings: that it is run democratically and that it is run with a sense of ethics and morality? So, whatever we construct, for me, personally, it has to have those two things in its foundation.”
Moore could call German progressives to act, too—and as a newcomer, he would not be seen as a traitor to the SPD and the Progressive front as Lafontaine is.
In America , Moore wisely pointed out on DEMOCRACY NOW last week that the FBI has already noted that most of the financial fraud an foreclosures in America are the result of criminal incompetence and criminal activity of bankers.
Therefore, where are the government investigators at the crime scenes across America ?
In Germany , the new LEFT asks the same question.
Moore ’s exact quote is more noteworthy than that. Moore asks legitimate questions about AIG and Goldman Sachs and how they and other financiers have forced America , Germany and numerous other lands around the globe to throw out billions of taxpayer billions on banking firms over the past year.
Moore stated in the DN interview: “But now the FBI has said that this mortgage fraud, that 80 percent of it—80 percent of it—was caused by the banks and the lending—other lending institutions, mortgage companies, etc., not the people. Eighty percent of it. And the number one reason, it turns out, that people lose their homes is because of medical bills. It’s the number one cause of foreclosure and the number one cause of bankruptcies in this country. And we’re at a point right now where one in eight homes are either in delinquency or foreclosure, homes with mortgages, and there’s a foreclosure filing in this country once every seven-and-a-half seconds. Every seven-and-a-half seconds there’s a foreclosure filing in this country. I mean, this is a crisis.”
That is robbery and the LEFT in Europe are demanding that those who profit by capitalism and financial crime pay for the debt they have caused nationally and internationally! Will Americas do the same?
MEDIA SPIN AND FAILURE
Moore added during the DN interview, “You know, I can’t stand the nightly news with that Dow Jones average they always show to report how well the wealthy are doing on Wall Street and how it’s climbing every day, etc., etc., and there’s never any indicators about what’s happening to people in their daily lives, the bulk of the people in this country, the 14,000 yesterday who lost their health insurance and the 14,000 who will lose their health insurance today and tomorrow and the day after that. Where’s that index? Wouldn’t that be great to see that on the nightly news each night, where before cutting to commercial break we list the number of people who lost their homes today, lost their jobs today, lost their health insurance today, people who died today because they didn’t have health insurance? You know, these statistics are readily available, so this isn’t just rhetoric. I mean, these are actually proven facts. And they could report that every night.”
I can’t stand that either. Can you?
Luckily, many Germans are turning again towards unions and real union parties to get support. They also have better media sources, i.e. many progressive organizations have produced their own news stories for years.
The growth in this media savvy young voting population in recent years has brought the new LEFT success and will continue to do so.
Progressive parties; alliences, and personages in Germany would certainly agree with Moore´s other comments on the failure of big media and publicly run media.
The media focuses on Wall Street or the German DAX stock exchange daily but not on people and those who cannot afford homes and are losing their jobs. “Instead, they (the national media)—you know, they’re there to report on what benefits those in power, and they go to places of power to cover that, but what they consider power. But the actual power, the way this country’s set up, is you and me, everyone listening and watching, everybody else who’s not listening and watching. The power is supposed to be with us, but we rarely, rarely, rarely hear our stories being covered by the media, other than in your column, on your show here, and a few other places.”
Another pair of leftist parties on the ticket in Germany elections this autumn 2009 in Hessen include: The Movement for Citizen Solidarity (Bueso).
This party (Bueso) focuses on international solutions to the crises through people-to-people developments across borders. In addition, there is also the strictly Marxist-Leninist party (MLPD) that is putting its signs up all over Wiesbaden .
There is also the liberal-progressive party, THE PIRATES, which might take more votes than expected on September 27.
If none of them succeeds, perhaps, they could ask Michel Moore to join their campaigns in the future. He sure understands media and speaks their language: Progressive and leftist language.
Labels: michael moore capitalism German elections Bundestagwahl september 2009 have nots elites banks financiers robbery of taxes