Socialist Worker

International round-up—Protests in Germany beat back right and US elections

Issue No. 2691

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Thomas Kemmerich (Pic: Sandro Halan/Wikipedia)


Mass pressure from below has blocked the further entry of the far right AfD party into German mainstream politics.

Widespread protests followed a recent election for first minister in the east German state of Thuringia.

A liberal, Thomas Kemmerich, was elected with the votes of the conservative CDU and the AfD.

It was the first time in Germany’s post-war history that a state first minister had been elected into office with the votes of the extreme right.

Kemmerich was pictured shaking hands with the fascist AfD regional leader Bjorn Hocke after being sworn in. In Germany this was seen as rekindling the handshake between Adolf Hitler and conservative Paul von Hindenburg as Hitler became chancellor in 1933.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Thuringia’s cities—Erfurt, Weimar, Jena and Gera.

Facing a storm, Kemmerich resigned after one day.

The exclusion of the far right, breached by the traditional right, was re-imposed from below. But the danger has not passed.

German socialist group Marx21 said, “As a result of enormous pressure, Kemmerich announced his resignation.

“But that’s no reason to sound the all-clear. The right wing wants a pact with the AfD and is anything but beaten.”


US candidates show colours

The Democratic Party establishment in the United States is scrabbling to regain control of who will be its candidate for president.

Voting was taking place in the New Hampshire primary as Socialist Worker went to press.

The party’s leaders hoped former vice president Joe Biden, a thoroughly corporate and neoliberal figure, would come out on top. But Biden came fourth in the first primary in Iowa.

In contrast Bernie Sanders, who describes himself a democratic socialist, won the most votes.

Second place in Iowa went to Pete Buttigieg—his policies are pro-business and he was an officer in naval intelligence in Afghanistan.

The Democrat establishment has another option— billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

The support for Sanders is a sign of the widespread disenchantment with corporate and elite politics. This mood needs to be turned into action—not lined up behind the Democrats.


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