German state elections reveal pronounced shift to the left by electorate

Publised on WSWS, by Ulrich Rippert, 30 January 2008.

Elections held in the two German states of Hesse and Lower Saxony last Sunday revealed a pronounced shift to the left by the electorate…

… The election results in Hesse and Lower Saxony express a shift to the left by the population as a whole, a process that has been under way for some time.

Before Christmas, the German media had been dominated by reports on the rapid increase in social inequality in Germany. In December, the magazine Der Spiegel reported that the incomes of the poorest layers had dropped by 13 percent since 1992, while top earners had increased their incomes over the same period by nearly a third. It is a frightening development, the magazine concluded.

Sections of the German ruling elite are fearful that the increasing economic and social crisis could lead to sharpened social conflicts. Their anxieties have only been reinforced by the slump in share prices and the intensified financial crisis of the past few weeks …


… Herein lies the significance of the participation by the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party, PSG) in the Hesse election.

The PSG resisted any subordination to the SPD and the Left Party on the basis of the slogan Koch has to go. The PSG warned of the role played by a so-called left government of the SPD and the Greens supported by the Left Party. As was the case in France under the government of Lionel Jospin (Socialist Party) or the coalition led by Romano Prodi in Italy, such a left government in Hesse would only function to encourage the taking of power by right-wing parties.

The PSG did not restrict its election campaign merely to immediate issues, it looked to the future and the social struggles that will inevitably emerge from the social polarisation. It was the only party to put forward an international socialist programme and pursue the goal of organising the working class as independent social force.

The state list of the PSG obtained more than a thousand votes in Hesse. This is a small, but important number. In view of the immense polarisation that characterised the election and led many voters to seek the best possibility of voting out Koch, the votes for the PSG represent an important achievement. They represented a conscious decision to oppose the SPD and Left Party, which both conducted a more extensive and expensive campaign based on their almost unlimited access to the media.

The PSG voters made their choice for a socialist programme, which opposes the logic of the capitalist system and puts the interests of the working population above the profit interests of big business and the banks.(full text).

Links
:

Germany holds state elections in shadow of world financial crisis, Vote for the PSG, 26 January 2008;

Fishing for coalition partners, German Greens intervene in Hesse elections, 25 January 2008;

US home foreclosures rise by 75 percent in 2007.

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