Category Archives: Politics

‘Red Rosa’ Luxemburg and the making of a revolutionary icon

Deutsche Welle, January 14, 2019

Revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered 100 years ago in Berlin. In the ensuing century, Luxemburg has become a cult figure for the left — and for feminists, artists and pacifists.

On Sunday morning, some 10,000 people braved the rain and cold to march through eastern Berlin and place red carnations at the graves of Rosa Luxemburg and her comrade, Karl Liebknecht.

The march was commemorating 100 years since the brutal killing of the two revolutionary socialists on January 15, 1919.

In the ensuing century, this diminutive Polish-born Jewish intellectual with a limp has become a cult icon for the revolutionary left. Yet she has also had a broader appeal, admired by feminists, socialists and pacifists.

She has become part of Germany’s cultural memory, immortalized in art, poetry, an award-winning biopic, a musical and a graphic novel. And in her own words too: as well as being a brilliant Marxist theorist, Luxemburg was a prolific writer of letters, and her emotive, lyrical writing has seen her emerge as a literary figure in her own right.
Read more:


Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Politics

Back on track, Germany now tasked with refocusing itself and patching up Europe

Open Canada, March 21, 2018

With US politics shaking up European alliances, Angela Merkel — now officially in her fourth term — has another chance to recalibrate Germany’s foreign policies. As Siobhán Dowling reports, her government has already hit the ground running. 

It took almost six months but on March 14, Angela Merkel was finally sworn in as German chancellor for the fourth time.

“I think everyone has the feeling it’s time to finally start working,” she said last week. “A new departure for Europe, a new dynamic for Germany, new cohesion for our country … So there is a lot of work ahead.”

After months of tortuous negotiations, including failed talks with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats, Merkel’s Christian Democrats managed to form a new “grand coalition” with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Now in her 13th year in power, the 63-year-old chancellor was weakened by the relatively poor showing in September’s election, blamed in part on the refugee crisis, and the drawn-out coalition talks, as well as concessions made to the SPD, including handing them both the foreign and finance ministries.

Yet foreign policy is largely determined from the chancellery and Merkel, a sober crisis manager, is now tasked with steering Germany as it navigates an increasingly complicated world.

German foreign policy was effectively on hold for months, at a crucial time for Europe and much to the frustration of officials in Paris and Brussels.

Read More:

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

No new dawn for Europe under German coalition

EUObserver, Jan 13, 2018

It is by no means a done deal. Germany’s third ‘Grand Coalition’ under the helm of Angela Merkel still faces a number of hurdles before it can take office.

But on Friday (13 January), after marathon talks lasting 25 hours, Germany at least had the makings of a coalition agreement.

Read more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Merkel’s win heralds uncertain time

EUobserver, September 25, 2017

Angela Merkel’s election on Sunday (24 September) for a fourth term might open her most difficult period yet as chancellor, while limiting her room for manoeuver in talks on EU reform.

She will have to muster all her powers of diplomacy to keep a fractious multi-party coalition in line, whilst facing sniping from a eurosceptic right-wing populist faction in parliament, as well as jockeying within her party by those vying to replace her.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Martin Schulz, down but not out against Merkel

EUobserver, May 16, 2017

“I’m no magician,” admitted a visibly deflated Martin Schulz on Sunday night (14 May) after it became clear that his centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) had suffered what he called a “crushing defeat” in their traditional heartland and his own home state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

By Monday, he and SPD were back in fighting form, saying the federal campaign was only just beginning.

To read more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

In a multiparty landscape, Schulz searches for paths to power

EUobserver, April 15, 2017

The initial hype surrounding Martin Schulz has faded somewhat since his surprise appointment as the new leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) back in January.

Yet, in Germany’s increasingly multiparty political landscape, the former European Parliament president is still in with a shot of unseating the current chancellor, Angela Merkel, in September’s elections.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Merkel’s Enemies Line Up

The populist AfD was first to attack Chancellor Merkel after a truck smashed into a crowded Berlin Christmas Market on Monday night. The act of terrorism will increase pressure on her as she heads into an election year.

It was the attack that Germany had been bracing itself for.

And it could have far-reaching political implications, particularly for Chancellor Angela Merkel, already fighting off a challenge from right-wing populists.

On Monday night, shortly after 8 p.m., a truck smashed into a crowded Christmas market in the heart of West Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.

While the authorities were initially extremely careful not to jump to conclusions about the circumstances leading to the awful carnage, by Tuesday the Berlin police said that they were dealing with a “presumed terror attack,” stating that their investigators were working on the assumption that the truck was intentionally driven into the crowd.

If that is confirmed, it would be the first time that a terror attack has been carried out in the German capital, and on a symbolic and also relatively soft target: the traditional Christmas market, where locals and tourists gather to drink mulled wine amid glittering fairy lights.

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany was quick to single out who they blamed. Immediately after news of the incident emerged on Monday night, Marcus Pretzell, a member of the European Parliament for the party and partner of AfD leader Frauke Petry, tweeted: “When will the German rule of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy end? These are Merkel’s dead!”

The deputy leader of the Social Democrats, Ralf Stegner, called the comment “unbelievable and disgusting!”

“Instead of respect for the victims, again disgusting political exploitation of this tragedy by the AfD and other right-wing agitators,” he tweeted.

Yet, for all the outrage heaped on the AfD, there is little doubt that the party is likely to profit from an attack in the heart of the German capital.

To read more:


Leave a comment

Filed under Politics