Mar 152015
 

In a recent research paper, I conclude that judging by their EP 2014 manifesto, the ‘Alternative for Germany’ is currently not a right-wing populist party. But I also argue that some members of the party elite “represent less savoury brands of right-wing politics that could ultimately prove more attractive to voters than Lucke’s polite exercises in economic theory. Just how long the party resists that temptation remains to be seen.” It would seem that we may have reached that point.

lucke gauland photo

Going different ways? Bernd Lucke & Alexander Gauland

Photo by blu-news.org

The struggle for the AfD’s heart and soul is of course an ongoing process, but developments have sped up a bit in recent weeks. A month ago, the AfD did well, but not too well, in a regional election in the city state of Hamburg, Lucke’s hometown. Their local campaign had highlighted the pro-capitalist, market-liberal elements in the party’s ideology, avoiding references to Islam and Pegida. At the press conferences, the local party chair was sidelined by Lucke, who applauded this course, as well as by grumbling representatives of the electorally more successful Eastern state parties, who had not been invited to support their Western brethren’s campaign.

Yesterday, a conference of the AfD state party in Thuringia voted for the ‘Erfurt Declaration’, a strong-worded manifesto that expresses concern about the normalisation/moderation of the party. Without naming names, the manifesto criticises ‘technocracy’ (that’s a reference to Lucke), ‘cowardice’ and even – gasp – the ‘selling out of our national interest’ – anathema to every right-winger worth his/her salt, and another not too subtle reference to Lucke’s performance in the European Parliament. The signatories reject the official, sceptical party line on Pegida (a ‘civic movement’, according to the manifesto), demand a ‘fundamental political change in Germany’ and claim to give voice to widespread disappointment within the party, ‘particularly in the East’.

The manifesto even aims to bring together all those who represent a ‘true alternative’ to the established party system (as opposed to the Ersatz liberalism that Lucke is delivering). The authors of the manifesto have also set up a facebook page and website called ‘der Flügel’ (the wing, or tendency) for the manifesto. More importantly, Alexander Gauland, party leader in Brandenburg, party founding father and one of the more prominent representatives of the nationalist wing within the party, has signed up.

So a true (and Eastern) alternative within the Alternative is stirring. Is this the Putsch already? Stay tuned.

Photo by blu-news.org

May 242013
 

The “Blue Books” have been around for more than 30 years. For each Bundestag election, there is a massive edited volume that deals with each and every aspect of this particular event.And for more than three decades, editors have urged authors and publishers to get on with their respective jobs. Inevitably, the massive tomes have always come out just in time for the next election.

In line with this great tradition, VS/Springer has published the most recent addition to the collection in early May. Our chapter looks (once more) into the differences between voters in the former Federal Republic and their eastern compatriots in the 2009 election. While these differences persist, we find that people in the West are also deviating from traditional patterns of voting behaviour. (In German)

Bundestagswahl 05 stimmzett
Foter.com / Public domain
Sep 282012
 

Today is Oscar Gabriel‘s retirement/leaving do. Unfortunately, I could not make it to the party, but I wrote a chapter for the super-secret Festschrift that should by now be in his hands. The chapter (in German) deals with an old favourite of his (and mine): cultural-attitudinal differences between East and West Germany (or rather between East and West Germans). To honour the occasion, I put the preprint online (there is a PDF, too).