Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Germany's New War: the Blitzkrieg against Capitalism

As Germans across the country danced in the streets to hail Joseph Ratzinger's elevation to the papal throne, businessmen amongst them felt the cold blast of governmental disapprobation.

Last Thursday Herr Müntefering, the leader of Germany's ruling SPD party, rounded on capitalists and pronounced them to be the enemies of democracy and full employment.

Yesterday Frau Vogt, the Deputy Chairman of the ruling SPD party, suggested the logical next step: a boycott: "Consumers have the power to avoid the products of companies who make people redundant on a big scale," she said.

Boycotts have been loved by agitators across the ages. It is less usual to see them made a plank of governmental policy. Especially when the boycott's victims are law-abiding, tax-paying members of society. But this student-union level of politics is not unusual in Germany. Politicians act as though their words have no connection with reality, that they may say whatever they like without making any impact. The only thing that counts is the overall posture. The German government's onslaught on capitalism springs from such instincts.

But of course governments - even European ones - are not quite as impotent as they sometimes like to cast themselves, whenever they wish to elude responsibility for their mistakes. And for a German government to ostracise unfavoured groups sets a bad example, as well as sounding an evil echo.

Now another senior member of Germany's ruling party, Herr Müller, who is deputy leader of Nordrhein-Westpahlen's SPD, joins the fray. He says that there's an "undeclared economic war" going on ("Unerklärten Wirtschaftskrieg"). "Undeclared"? Doesn't sound that way from here. The government's vitriolic anti-capitalist salvoes could hardly be louder.

This talk of boycotts and war and undermining democracy and all the rest of it emanates, not from the overheated minds of students and teenage poseurs, but from the mainstream politicians and leaders of Germany's ruling party. It is entirely fitting, in the circumstances, for the blog to call the Curse of Von Esens down upon their heads.

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