• Germany: Greens Rise as the Left Party Struggles . . . with Itself

    Using ropes, some young people descended halfway from railroad bridges to force the train to stop.  Others hastily grabbed stones out from under the tracks and in this way prevent their use.  Far more, young and old from all over Germany, simply sat down on the tracks until police carried them away.  Banners and witty, […]

  • Merkel, Muslims, and Multi-Kulti

    It’s those foreigners again!  In June and July, during the World Cup, Germans cheered their soccer team’s every skilled pass, every goal — and seemed proud that so many of its players had immigrant backgrounds, from Tunisia, Nigeria, Brazil, Spain, Yugoslavia, Ghana, Poland, and Turkey.  Hurrah! But now it’s October.  The leaves have changed color […]

  • Old Trees and a Railroad Station in Stuttgart

    Dietrich Wagner, 66, blinded by police, Stuttgart, 30.09.10 A retired engineer of 66 loses an eye, forced from its socket by water cannon at short range.  High school kids in an approved protest demonstration get beaten and excruciatingly blinded by pepper gas.  Over 400 people are injured in a major police attack, which failed completely […]

  • The Death Penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the European Parliament

    What does the USA have in common with China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea?  You would hardly guess, but the European Parliament stated loud and all too clear on October 2nd: those are the countries which put lots of people to death.  In a long, detailed resolution, approved almost unanimously by 574 members […]

  • Wanted: A Coordinated, Militant Fight-back, in Germany and across Europe

    Once again the time has come in Germany for bells to ring, fireworks to explode, politicians to declaim, and media to drench us with joyful, endless reminders of events of twenty years ago and the evils they overcame.  Last November it was the Fall of the Wall.  Now it’s German Unity which is so loudly […]

  • Germany: SPD and Greens Regaining Lost Ground While the Left Gets Stuck in Debates

    Angela Merkel always seems to smile when she faces a camera.  Only once in a while does an unnoticed camera show her looking tired, if not worn and slightly haggard. Things are not all going her way.  More and more people are moving in Germany, mostly in the wrong direction, at least for Merkel.  In […]

  • A Would-Be Paul Revere in Germany: “The Muslims Are Coming!”

    The “mosque menace” is not confined to Lower Manhattan or the USA.  In many European countries similar alarms are sounded, usually in tones recalling Paul Revere: “The Muslims are coming!”  Although according to Sarkozy in France, Berlusconi in Italy, and the militarized neo-fascist Jobbik party in Hungary the danger is more from the Roma people […]

  • The Painful Birth of a New German President

    It all began with a jolt, and hasn’t stopped jolting yet!  Presidents in Germany are not too important; they do have a veto right, make occasional speeches,  pin on medals and take the oaths of new cabinet ministers, making them a notch or two more useful than Elizabeth II.  When President Koehler set a precedent […]

  • From a Stalemate on the Rhine to a Quagmire in Berlin

    Things are really happening in Germany!  Like many others, I predicted that the federal government, an unhappy coalition of right-wing Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel and her even more big-biz-friendly junior partners, the FDP (Free Democrats), would wait for a key election in the giant state of North-Rhine Westphalia on May 9th and then […]

  • A Singer Sings, a President Resigns, an Attack Sends Signals

    Over the weekend much of Germany went temporarily berserk when one of its own, little black-haired high school senior Lena, performing in Oslo, won the Grand Prix in the huge annual Eurovision song contest.  It was Germany’s first win since 1982, when another young lady won out with her plaintive call for “A Little Peace.” […]

  • The Left Goes In, the Right Goes Out — or Does It?

    Second (Party List) Vote, Preliminary Results, in PercentDifference between 2010 and 2005 Second (Party List) Votes, in Percentage Points The state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the valleys of the Rhine and Ruhr is far and away the most populous German state, with 18 million people.  Once extremely prosperous, much of it is now in the […]

  • The Nazis Defeated in Berlin

    To believe the boulevard rags, it would be a day of revolutionary riot, bloody battles with the police, and violent standoffs between extremists of the left and right. Of course, being May Day, there were the usual union rallies in most major cities, including Berlin, where union leaders spoke rather more militantly than on the […]

  • The Greeks and Angela Merkel

    Pity poor Angela!  The rock is Greece and its economic woes.  The hard place is North Rhine-Westphalia, where an extremely crucial election is due on May 9th — very soon but not soon enough!  And Chancellor Merkel is caught directly in the middle! Europe and the world have been waiting for Germany to commit itself […]

  • Frank Lumpkin, a True American Hero

    Frank Lumpkin.  Photo by People’s World. A few days ago Frank Lumpkin died, a true American hero.  I am still grateful that I was lucky enough to know not only him but his whole big fighting family! I was fresh out of Harvard, a red diaper New York radical in 1949, set on working in […]

  • A Bit of Bustle in the Bundestag

    There was unusual excitement in the otherwise so dignified Bundestag on Friday, February 25th.  Of course, everyone knew the Afghanistan extension bill would pass.  The ruling parties, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their right-wing Free Democrat (FDP) partners, had a majority.  Add on the Social Democrats.  True, they were now in the opposition, but on […]

  • Dresden Beats the Nazis

    The Berlin anti-fascists waiting near the Spree River at 4:30 AM for the buses to Dresden were sleepy, cold, and nervous.  Not without reason.  Some had faced the Nazis a year earlier.  Every year these latter-day storm troopers try to misuse the emotions of Dresdeners mourning the loss of 25,000 to 35 000 people in […]

  • Oskar Lafontaine and the Troubled German Left

    While German politicians stared at the calendar, wondering nervously what the May 9th elections will bring in the biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, with its 18 million people, media attention suddenly switched to a personal drama within the party called Die Linke (The Left).  A few years ago this party or its predecessors were getting laughed […]

  • Rosa Luxemburg Weekend in Berlin

    It was the Rosa Luxemburg weekend again in Berlin, like every January, this time with an unusual highlight.  Despite the transportation delays caused by big snowstorms, two conferences and the traditional memorial march kept leftists from all over Germany and guests from other countries very busy. The emotional peak occurred during the main conference on […]

  • An Answer to Security Problems

    It would be so simple to solve the security crisis for travelers to the USA.  Why not take a lesson from East Germany where, before the more modest West German vacationers came and objected, beaches along the Baltic and most big lakes were always crowded with nudist bathers and campers?  Everybody flying to the USA […]

  • A Scandal about Afghanistan Shakes Berlin

    Like the peaks of the Hindu Kusch dominating much of Afghanistan, the war in that unhappy country increasingly overshadows the political scenery in Germany.  Parallels with the situation in the USA are unmistakable. On December 3rd the Bundestag voted on prolonging the use of German troops in Afghanistan for another year.  But before the delegates […]