Category Archives: democratic mandates/general elections

Left-Wing Extremism on the March in Germany: Is this the beginning of a witch hunt.


The article below is taken from the semi official German web site. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3335522,00.html?maca=en-bulletin-433-html Could this be the beginning of a witch hunt against the German left and especially the Die Linke, [Left Party] which in a short period of time has become a force to be reckoned with in both German national and regional politics.

Mick Hall

Left-Wing Extremism on the March in Germany

Authorities fear an increase in left-wing extremists could lead to more violence

As politicians across Germany work hard to combat right-wing extremism, membership in left-wing extremist groups is on the rise. Many members are also involved in Germany’s Left Party, according to a news report.
As Germany institutes a growing number of programs aimed at curbing far-right extremism, including a 625,000-euro ($964,470) project in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, violence among far-left extremists is on the rise, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the mass-market Bild daily reported Wednesday, May 14.

Extremist divisions of several left-wing movements have seen sharp increases in the last year, according to excerpts from the BfV’s still unpublished 2007 report cited in the Bild. Interior Minster Wolfgang Schaeuble is scheduled to present the report on Thursday.

Opponents of social order

Demonstrators at the May Day riots in Hamburg
According to the report, the number of people involved in these groups now totals 6,300, an increase of 300 over statistics from 2006. A total of 5,800 of these fall under the umbrella of a relatively unaffiliated anarchic arm known as “Autonomists.” This group is thought to be particularly prone to violence and responsible for much of the unrest seen in Hamburg and Nuremberg as part of annual demonstrations held on May 1, according to the BfV.

Left-wing extremist organizations are deemed to be “avowed opponents of the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany, which they defame as an order of capitalism marked by racism and fascism,” according to the BvF. Though the groups are not illegal, the BfV, which oversees threats to the internal security of Germany, monitors them as some are prone to violence.

Left-wing extremists also came into focus in 2006 when police raided offices throughout Germany ahead of the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm. The raids, later declared illegal by the Federal Court of Justice, were conducted out of fear that extremist groups might have been planning bombings as part of their anti-globalization protests.

Ties to the Left Party

5,800 of those extremists are affiliated with the “Autonomists” movement
One of the largest of the left-wing groups noted in the 2007 report is the “Communist Platform” (“Kommunistische Plattform”), a group within the Left Party. The organization, whose motto is “overcoming capitalism,” subscribes to a revolutionary-Marxist ideology with 840 members.

Together with the 60-member Marxist Forum, it comprises a fraternity of orthodox-Communism sympathizers including some members of the former East Germany’s Communist Party.

Also noted on this report are the “Socialist Left Party” (“Sozialistische Linke”) with 550 members and the 420-member strong pro-Cuban “Consortium — Cuba yes!” (“Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cuba Sí”).

The Left Party, which has about 10,000 members, was formed in 2007 by left-wing members of the Social Democratic Party and the Party of Democratic Socialism, which was the successor to the former East German communists.

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Filed under democratic mandates/general elections, Die Linke-(Left Party), E U, Germany

Ken Livingstone as Mayor; Proves another way is possible.


Ken Livingstone the incumbent Mayor of London is up for reelection on May 1, having already served two terms in office, during much of which he has endured a barrage of hate from London’s only evening newspaper the Standard. Despite this, what is surprising about Livingstone is that he has managed to maintain the good will of a large slice of the city’s population, especially the working classes, whatever their ethnicity.

Although Livingstone’s reelection is far from a certainty, the Socialist Workers Party in their divine wisdom is standing one of their members, Linsey German against him in the forthcoming Mayoral election. Thus perhaps the non Labour left should consider what its attitude should be towards Ken, I believe we should thank our lucky stars that the man exists; and understand clearly were he to be defeated it would be a real setbacks for the UK left. Not so much for what he has achieved whilst in office, although this has been considerable, but due to what he represents in the public consciousness. That the Mayor of London, one of the worlds great cities is an unrepentant socialist has been a major boast to our cause. That so few leftists seem to recognize this fact, whilst our opponents are only to well aware of it, hence the Standard/Mail attacks on Livingstone, speaks volumes about the solidarity of the UK left.

Under Livingstone London has become an ethnic melting pot at its best, think back to before he was Mayor and the ethnic tensions that existed. Look at the public face of the city today with that of the past, it is almost a different place. Take the Olympic Games which are to be held in London in 2012, Ken and his team have skillfully used the public and private injection of money for the games infrastructure, so that it will have lasting benefits for the Capitals people. Parts of East London which has always been the forgotten zone of the city, inhabited by the dispossessed of the world and the working classes, is being rejuvenated from the public purse. It is not perfect but it is a dam sight better than what it was and does any leftist believe the Conservatives or Liberal-Democrat’s would have made a better pair of shoes?

Trafalgar Square has truly become a peoples Square since Livingstone came into office and has been used for meetings, protests, concerts and celebrations of all kinds. Whereas in the past the place had the stale smell of British imperialism about it. The congestion charge and the increase in the number of cycle friendly lanes and paths etc have also benefited the city and its people.

Of course Ken is Ken and has always been a semi detached leftists who ploughed his own furrow, no matter how much many of us hoped, he was never going to become a beacon around which a new Party to the left of Labour might emerge. This became clear from his first campaign to become Mayor, but to be fair he never said he would be. Livingstone is a political bureaucrat, he gets things done and to do this he likes a small trusted team around him not the political maze and competing interests that is a modern political party.

On the main political issues of the day Ken Livingstone has been rock solid, his record is as good if not better than most prominent UK leftists, whether it be on the Iraq war and occupation, (he has called for British troops to be withdrawn immediately) Ireland and the British presence, Palestine-Israeli conflict, privatization, racism, women’s rights, trade unions, education, Gay rights etc. On all of these important issues Ken Livingstone has been solidly in the camp of the ‘wretched of the earth.’ It should not be forgotten that at times over the last ten years or so Ken has been the only prominent left political voice to express support for the people who are engaged in these struggles.

The mouth pieces of Capital like the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail do not hate Ken without reason, but because of his support for the aforementioned struggles and that his very existence as Mayor of London proves that another way is possible. After two terms in office all that these sewer rats can come up with is a salacious email between one of the Mayors advisors and his bell. If anything this shows just how honest the Livingstone administration has been, for if the private detectives who are at the beck and call of these sewer rats had anything worse then they would have published it. I doubt there is a politician within the UK whose period in office has been more trawled in the hunt for dirt than the current Mayor of London.

If any progressive is still having doubts about whether to support Ken, I would just ask them to take a look at the viable alternatives. Brian Paddick for the Lib-Dems is an honorable man, but his whole working life has been spent as a police officer, his heart may be compassionate but his instincts are far from liberal. Do Londoner’s really deserve to be governed by a policeman, I think not as police officers make disastrous if not dangerous politicians.

The Tory candidate Boris Johnson is about as bourgeois as you can be, schooled at Eton College, where he was a Kings Scholar and then on to read Classics at Balliol Oxford. In his spare time whilst at university he was a member of the Bullingdon Club, an exclusive and very expensive student dining society known for its raucous feasts and spiteful jokes at the expense of the ‘plebs’. On leaving Oxford, as is the way with his class he was slotted comfortably into a birth at the Times, after finding himself in a little local difficulty he effortlessly moved across to the Telegraph. (as one does;) Where he wrote leaders and by using the old boys network gradually built himself a lucrative career within the media, before moving into politics as countless toffs have done before him.

Under the bonhomie and smile is a heartless but savvy right wing politician, who believes him and his ilk have a god given right to rule; and David Cameron may will give them an opportunity to do so.* He is a formidable opponent and it is for this reason that any leftist who has doubts about Ken Livingstone should put them behind them for the greater good and support his reelection. For a victory for Johnson would return the Capital to the City, big business and central government, which would be disastrous for the overwhelming majority of its population and especially the working classes.

* I expect Cameron to make him a Cabinet Minister if he becomes Mayor.

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Filed under democratic mandates/general elections, Ken-Livingstone, London, socalism, UK

Whoever wins the Pakistani general election will have participated in a democratic sham



There has been much talk in the media about whether Pakistan’s ‘President’ Pervez Musharraf will be able to rig the outcome of yesterdays general election. [18.02.08] That he wishes to do so is obvious to all, as Musharraf’s very presence in the Presidential Palace is an indictment of the fact he rigged his own election to that office. Although this time around due to the unpopularity of Musharraf and the Pakistan Muslim League [Q], that represents his views, it will be far more difficult for the ‘president’ to steal this election and by all accounts the opposition have done extremely well.

Nevertheless there is a factor about this election that is rarely mentioned in the western media and that is who ever wins, rigged or not, they will not have a democratic mandate as we in the West understand it.

For in Pakistan any citizen who does not have a university degree is ineligible to stand for Parliamentary office, now in a country in which there is little free State education, this restriction bars the majority of the population from standing as a candidate for Parliamentary office. Educationally the best most of the country’s workers and peasants can hope for is to receive a basic primary school education, secondary school and university are not even on the majorities horizon. Such educational establishments are the preserve of the economically rich and the middle classes.

Thus come election time it is these classes who compete for elected office, workers and peasants have legally been removed from the fray, leaving the field clear for the upper middle class to share out the constituencies amongst themselves. True they rely on the votes of the workers of countryside, town and city, but if they are able to do so the ruling elite either coral, intimidate or bribe them to attain their votes. It is impossible not to conclude that this democratic deficit which is at the heart of Pakistani’s electoral system, is the main reason for the country’s endemic political corruption, which has eaten away at the nations soul since it first gained independence.

Yet this is very rarely mentioned in the western media; when interviewed, the likes of the late Mrs Benazir Bhutto or General Musharraf will waffle on about the workers and peasants not being interested in politics. Which is an obscene lie, to understand that one only needs to see the massive crowds that turn out for political meeting in Pakistan, or witness the support the masses give to an honest candidate.

Of course this trick of placing restrictions on who can stand for public office is nothing new, as the middle classes did much the same in the UK, where right up to the 1950s there were restrictions on peoples democratic rights. [for example around the ownership of property, only men could vote, and then women over 30, etc etc]

Having taken there lead from the US Neo-conservatives and their Multinational financiers, the British political establishment, whether Labour or Conservative, have taken with some relish to exporting ‘democracy’ on the end of British army bayonets. Perhaps it is time we all looked a little closer at the flaws in the democracies our political class have become the cheer leaders for. They give two reasons for supporting the likes of Musharraf, Sharif, and the late Mrs Bhutto with millions of pounds of tax payers money, one is the bulwark against terrorism nonsense and the other is that they are democrats.

Is it any wonder the Pakistani masses, having been excluded from the core of the democratic process, refuse to take up their alloted role as ballot box fodder, let alone follow our politicos lead and applaud such a democratic sham.

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Filed under democratic mandates/general elections, media, Pakistan

To whom does Çankaya belong? [Turkish Presidents official residence]



Turkish Football fans seen yesterday wearing Abdullah Gül’s masks portray what they thought about General Buyukanit saber rattling.

Turkish Parliamentarians have finally elected a new President of the Republic in former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, who had been nominated by the Governing AK Party, who were recently returned to office in the 2007 General Election gaining 47 per cent of the vote. Yet despite their democratic mandate only yesterday on the eve of the presidential vote, the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, fired yet another shot across the AK Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan bows by issuing a public statement which claimed “centers of evil” were trying to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic.

It seems the Turkish military really do need to get up to speed as to how this democracy game works in practice. If there are fair and free elections then like it or not the result stands. The military’s only political task is to see that the democratic will of the people prevails, not fight to over turn it.

But then we should hardly be surprised at this abomination of a threat against the will of the Turkish people. As these days refusing to recognize governments who have an electoral mandate has become all the rage with certain Neo-conservative western politicians, the more so when the winning party can be labeled as political islam. The USA and the EU refused to recognize the mandate of Palestinian Hamas, despite the electoral process through which Hamas claimed their governmental mandate being given a clean bill of health by the international electoral observers. Richard Perle a leading US Neo-conservatuve suggested some weeks ago just prior to the 2007 Turkish general election, that intervention by the Turkish military against the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party government should not be cause for concern by Washington or the European Union. Using as a pretext the Algerian military who with US support refused to accept the mandate of the Islamist FIS party by canceling the second round of voting due to the likelihood of a FTS victory.

If the Turkish military make a disastrous decision to intervene against the will of the people as expressed by the Turkish electorate in the 2007 general election, all true democrats must rally to the Turkish people and the AK Parties support. Turkey is not a third world banana republic, where a minority get to decide who governs, but a modern 21st century Democracy. The Turkish military in the past played an important role in bringing this democracy into being. It is now time for them to withdraw from active politics, not start aping thuggish Dictators of the past, Ataturk deserves better than that.

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Filed under democratic mandates/general elections, turkey/democracy