I guess my email was one that got lost.
It was in response to someone asking whether there was a rightward trend in
Let me try a short impression of what I think is happening in Germany. I do
not think is it a simple drift to the right. I do think there are cross
currents which sometimes make it hard to even define it in terms of right and
1. The Greens are in the government. The foreign minister is Green. We who
were in the Greens from the beginning have mixed feelings about this. There
are many who simply say they are establishment, i.e. bad. On the other hand
in those days we were trying to win elections, believing we could change
policies (society???) that way. Have the Greens been successful at reaching
any of the environmental and social goals we had in those days? Even that is
hard to answer since the situation has changed, but on a local level there
have certainly been successes. In any case, the Greens have split, not only
on how much to compromise on environmental issues, but also on the question
of participation in the wars, starting with the Gulf War. Those supporting
the wars saw the aggressors as being something like fascists; those against
the war usually chose that path because of Anti-americanism (though there are
also true pacifists - a minority).
2. The anti-immigrant sentiment which is very powerful in all of Europe, not
only Austria, is shared by some of those who participated in th the 60's
movement. This is partly simple racism which has always been a problem in
Europe and no one was ever much interested in dealing with it. But some
former leftists have derived their anti-immigrant stance from a need to
maintain their national identity which they feel is actually most threatened
by US American culture. Thus there is linkage between racism, nationalism
and an anti-americanism that derives from opposition to american policies of
intervention starting with the war in Viet Nam.
3. There is no young generation of questioning rebels as we were in the 60's.
They are mostly not terribly interested, but they are not drifting to the
right either. When I have asked them why they don't protest, they say, you
60's people have changed things so that there is nothing for us to protest
The other complication in Germany is reunification which is not going that
smoothly. Both sides blame the other for the problems that exist, mainly
unemployment and the excesses(sic!) against immigrants.
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