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Roqayah and Kumars are joined for an in-depth discussion of German politics and the upcoming federal elections in Germany by Julia Damphouse and Loren Balhorn direct from Berlin. Julia is a Canadian student in Berlin and a member of the German Left Party, die Linke. Loren is an American member of die Linke and writes about German politics for Jacobin. After we get our usual political origin stories from our guests, they give us an introduction to each of the 6 major political parties likely to enter the Bundestag or German parliament after the election on September 24th.
Julia and Loren begin with their own party, explaining the roots of the socialist Left Party both in East German socialism and in more recent discontent with the center-left’s neoliberal turn. They explain that the bulk of the disenchantment is a result of the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) increasing abandonment from their working-class base, and we clear up any misconceptions about who is responsible for the death of Rosa Luxemburg. Almost imperceptibly to the right of today’s Social Democrats are Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), whose shrewd movement away from conservative positions has consolidated their power in the face of a feckless SPD.
Julia and Loren both weigh in on the Islamophobic, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which seems poised to become the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag in Germany’s postwar history, and discuss whether the US media is right to frame the AfD as a manifestation of “Trump-style” nationalism. Finally, Loren and Julia touch on the CDU’s possible coalition partners, the centrist Greens and the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP), and make our predictions about which potential alliance will govern Germany for the next four years.
You can read Loren’s writing on Jacobin and follow Julia on Twitter at @remarksist. Don’t miss Julia’s first appearance on the show as a guest cohost for our excellent interview with Kathleen Brown on the anti-G8 mobilization in Hamburg.
A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.