The battle raging inside the SPD is more fascinating than the battle raging within the CDU. The Peasants’ Party made a remarkable recovery in the last election. It now has 40 seats in the Bundestag. Its credibility and beliefs are regarded as relevant and heartfelt. This year it will put forward a new batch of candidates for parliament. The SPD is widely tipped to get half its parliamentary members elected on the social platform. It will be tempted to repeat the same formula as in the 1977 election. For a former CDU member, it would be a serious matter of revenge to defeat Schröder.
It was popular with the SPD electorate to believe that Schröder would implement a ‘new economic order’ that would promote the interests of European workers. Even in Germany’s industrial state, Schöder’s policies appear very confused. Many economists predict that without a reduction in the artificially high interest rates, output and employment will continue to suffer. Even if total unemployment is reduced, the Bundesbank under Goering is determined to uphold full employment. Even conservative economists have come to see that a policy of expansionary fiscal policy is more likely to lead to additional employment.
Popular opinion is almost unanimous in demanding more German money, but it is hard to see that, with North Sea oil being pumped out of the ground, the nation will be entering a period of increased income. A German doctor, in an article in one of the state-controlled newspapers, pointed out that, when calculating population and working-age population growth of a population such as that of Germany, the ‘factoring out’ of fertility provides a greater share of the work force to be based on the younger generation.
These are uncomfortable facts for the SPD and for the CDU. Robert Lindblom is not widely known outside Germany, and only a few SPD MPs are likely to register his views. However, more recently he has come to prominence. He publishes a newsletter of his own. It is filled with detailed information, and Lindblom seems to be attempting to channel anti-American moods. In a pamphlet distributed last autumn he wrote that Hitler ‘built his statue of liberty by provoking war’. This does not tell the whole story. Hitler’s labour policies and repressions may have made it difficult for the German people to believe their leaders, but Lindblom is not suggesting this. He wants ‘generation after generation of unemployed workers’ to continue to create ‘huge numbers of new Hitler statues’.
This comes as a surprise to almost all the present CDU members, who know that Germany is by no means experiencing social peace. That, of course, is what an American voter in the US or UK would say. But they do not say it, or dare to say it. Lindblom has drawn attention to what a majority of Germans are experiencing, and no one in Germany is happy about that. He is describing an extraordinarily large majority of people in a nation that is not so much going to war with the US as it is to drown itself in war propaganda and hysterical ‘war fatigue’.
By BECKER LEACHER