Tag Archives | Berlin Bulletin

  • Obama in Berlin

    I attended the big rally with Obama in Berlin Thursday evening, not as a press representative but as one of the crowd.  And what a giant crowd it was!  The news reports counted “over 200,000,” but, to someone sandwiched in so tight I could hardly lift my hand to scratch my itching nose, much less […]

  • Key Contrasting Congresses in Germany

    Three all-German congresses were held this past weekend, all important but very different. The bad news first: The beautiful old city of Bamberg hosted the national congress of the National Party (NPD) — the main neo-Nazi party.  All attempts to bar it from the city’s Congress Hall foundered on a Bavarian court decision, since the […]

  • May Day in Germany: Rightists, Leftists, Greens, and Neo-Nazis

    May Day remains a national holiday in Germany.  So does Jesus’s Ascension Day (whose German name, I’m afraid, is Himmelfahrt) and this year, for the first time in many years, both occurred on the same day.  Less pious males frequently celebrate the religious holiday with markedly sexist outings of loud tipplers, often on horse-drawn wagons […]

  • Hamburg and the Horns of a Dilemma

    There was plenty of suspense Sunday evening in Hamburg, Germany’s second biggest city.  Would the mayor, Ole von Beust, win a majority again and keep ruling the city-state without requiring support from any other parties?  Or could the Social Democrats, possibly with the help of the Greens, overtake him and regain control of a city […]

  • Fear of the Left Cripples German Defense Chiefs

    What a difference a party on the left can mean! US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, at the annual International Security Conference in Munich, stepped up pressure on Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan and commit them to active fighting there, not only in the currently more peaceful north but in the battle-ridden south […]

  • Cliff-hangers in Hessian Elections

    The German elections on Sunday, like so many Hollywood films, were full of suspense until the last minute.  Was there also a happy ending?  To use the handy German word combination for Ja and Nein — Jein. The elections were for the legislatures in two of Germany’s sixteen provinces, Hesse and Lower Saxony.  In the […]

  • German Rail Strike Hits Hard

    Berlin — It’s the biggest labor struggle in years in Germany, and it’s not over yet!  The locomotive engineers and other train personnel just closed down much of the railroad system for 62 hours for freight and 48 hours for passenger transportation and may do it again next week, possibly without the limited strike length […]

  • Neo-Nazis in Germany, or Déjà Vu?

    An argument at a summer fair in the small town of Muegeln, between Leipzig and Dresden, ended with a mob of fifty drunken young men wielding knives and other weapons and shouting “Foreigners Get Out!” chasing eight men from India — longtime residents in Muegeln — across the town square.  The Indians, some badly wounded, […]

  • The G-8 Summit and the Provocateurs, or Coming through the Rye

    Vacationers visiting Baltic Sea beaches in the area have always loved the little small-gauge railroad affectionately called Mollie.  But during the G-8 summit of presidents and premiers, Mollie was strictly reserved for those directly connected with the conference in the swank hotel at the beach.  To all others it was definitely a No Go Zone. […]

  • The G8 Summit, Heiligendamm, and the Curse of Kempinski

    The protest demonstrations have already begun, well in advance of the G-8 summit — and they are already sending strong messages.  The big summit meeting on June 5th and 6th in the seaside resort of Heiligendamm on the Baltic coast aims at winning a row of Brownie points for Angela Merkel and improving the images […]

  • Losses for Government Parties, Big Win for Left

    In the only provincial election of the year in Germany, voters in the city-state of Bremen in northwestern Germany punished the ruling coalition parties, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, for their policies and, for the first time, sent deputies from the newly forming party, The Left, into a legislature in West Germany. The […]

  • A Big Step towards Left Unity in Germany

    While a conference and giant celebrations in the German capital marked the fiftieth anniversary of the European Union, with heads of state from Poland to Portugal attending, another meeting was being held in the west of Germany, in the Ruhr valley city of Dortmund.  Though almost totally eclipsed by the ballyhoo in Berlin, it will […]

  • Will The Lives of Others Get an Oscar for Best Foreign Film?

    A film from Germany has a one-in-five chance of winning an Oscar next week: it’s called The Lives of Others.  The film was cleverly written, well directed, and well acted.  Why do I hope it does not get the valuable little statuette? It is the story about a dogmatic officer of the East German “Stasi,” […]

  • Leftwing German Actor Reaches 100 Years

    Annual Fundraising Appeal Friends of MRZine and Monthly Review! The continuing existence of MRZine and Monthly Review depends on the support of our readers.  Unlike many other publications, we make all new Monthly Review articles, as well as MRZine articles, available online, free of charge.  We do so without drawing any advertising money at all […]

  • Blunders in Berlin

    Berlin’s new government started off on the wrong leg.  Will it ever get both feet on the ground?  And if it does, what direction will the feet be facing?  Before describing its first blunders, a brief look backwards could be helpful. Both of the two parties running the city-state of Berlin took losses in last […]

  • Bush in Stralsund: “Not Welcome, Mr. President!”

    How welcomes can vary in content within one week in Germany! In the past four weeks, Germany was seized by a soccer fever which sometimes seemed almost alarming.  The outdoor temperature was steadily hot and dry, but it was the hot fever of flag-waving patriotism — or was it nationalism — which affected so many. […]

  • German Leftists on a Political Roller Coaster

    Those hoping for left-wing unity in Germany have been on an emotional roller-coaster ride in recent months, with many dramatic ups and downs. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) which has already renamed itself The Left (to which the letters PDS are usually added), has about 70,000 members, who are divided on many issues but […]

  • German Left Unity Endangered

    Hopes were high.  There was near euphoria among left-wing Germans a half year ago: two main wings of the progressive movement, one quite strong in the eastern states, the other small but growing stronger in the much larger, more populous western states, joined together for an election campaign last year, had unprecedented success (over 8 […]

  • Demolishing the Palace of the Republic, A GDR Symbol

    The last word has been spoken, the demolition crews began moving their equipment up even before the delegates to the Bundestag voted on 19 January 2006 by a 431 to 120 majority to tear down the Palace of the Republic in central Berlin.  The ruling parties, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, as well as the […]

  • Unity — In Memory of Rosa Luxemburg

    There was a subtle difference in both groups this year — many said they noticed it. As in every year, tens of thousands of Germans visited the Memorial Site of the Socialists in an eastern section of Berlin and placed red carnations at the tall memorial stone honoring Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, or the […]