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tv   Quadriga - The International Talk Show  LINKTV  September 2, 2019 11:00am-11:31am PDT

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germans are bracing for a political earthquake this coming weekend as two states in the eastern part of the country hold regional elections that could see right wing populist surpassed mainstream parties to become the strongest p political forcrce in one or both states a dramatic surge in support for the alternative for germany party known by its german initials aft. would send shockwaves the could up and politics not only in regional capitals but also in berlin nearly thirty years after the fall of the wall it looks as though east and west could be growing further apart. rather
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than together. why that is our topic this week here on quadriga and here are our guests. badly hurt no works for spiegel online she says german society is just beginning to deal with the disappointment and tromba eastern germans experienced after the fall of the wall. many people felt their experiences had been ignored the aft feeds off these feelings of neglect. and it's a pleasure to welcome my colleague michelle and the kids now she's chief political editor here at gw she says most of all these elections are about what options will be on the table when uncle the maccoll's final coalition government. leaves office. and we're very pleased to have alan closer back on the show he is an author and commentator for the daily newspaper. he says a generation after the end of nazism west germany experienced an anti authoritarian you three full. a generation after the end of communism east germany's
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experiencing an authoritarian rippled led by old man. so let me ask all of you and i'll start with you alan if i may ask to please explain for us the importance of these elections because we're talking about two states brandenburg and saxony that in fact have just over six million residents all together that's well less than 10% of the german population so. why all the attention. well firstly because germany is a federal state so the state just like i said the united states are. so the states may be or even a small state and the big state they have a voice in the opera house of the german parliament the bundestag so. it's important. simply for constitutional reasons the second is that if. the aft becomes the biggest party in one or both states they may force the other parties into a kind of horrible hodge podge coalition with the spd the cd with the greens the-
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after anyone who isn't aft. not mixing together in order not to form a coalition with. with the a. fifty with the far right and this is this would be terrible for democracy would be would would be awful if it if this would lead to that of stampede of democratic parties. to anything but a fd it doesn't work it only feeds. their pride and would lead i think there. a people wonder why should i vote sure not vote in other reason actions to bother to vote for them in order to sort of teach the other parties lesson. sure can you just pick up on that your opening statement said to that. in effect the shock waves of a surgeon support for the a. f. t. would be felt in the capital berlin as well as in the states themselves why is that is this kind of a litmus test for the two mainstream parties the conservatives and the social democrats. well in a way it's a fast forwards of the declined das we've already seen
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in the pasta around elections at that that may well be on the horizon particularly. for i'm gonna maccoll's junior coalition partner the social democrats spd who have been having waves of nervous breakdowns of politically. over the past couple of years and who are very much struggling to accede somehow stay within this coalition if they get another slap in the face of the ballot box. and that could well set off a chain of events that would see i'm gonna maccoll's self declared final time in office come to an early hold so that's it what's at stake nationally let's just spell that out the spd has been governing in fact. ever since reunification as the leading party in brandenburg you're telling us if they lose that status this coming. sunday we could well see what them pull out of the federal coalition early elections i do think one single events will be enough i think it's just as interesting to see whether they actually. how far. below the double
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digits they go in the neighboring state of saxony. because if they are in the worst case scenario failed the 5% threshold and that would be complete catastrophe is such a loss of political status. and will ready seeing what essentially is a political standoff between and the s. p. d. now interim leadership that currently in a leadership struggle. and seeing was two dozen. candidates going for that top role. so that could see a stand off between kind of the established leadership on the grassroots of the party and we're really seeing a posse struggling. to keep itself together. let alone the coalition government. now let's go back to these two states that themselves validly her into and we just heard this is a litmus test in a sense for the federal government. is it also a litmus test for reunification thirty years after the fact. i wouldn't say that i think reunification. there has been so much
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migration with in germany i think almost five million people. they moved from western germany's eastern germany and vice versa obviously too so i do think. that are the country is united. but there are still many. issues in which you can actually see the eastern germany is still not as far along as western germany in regards to economical status financial security. all of these things and obviously also politically the fd as much stronger in these cuts in the states than it is in western western states but i have to say i don't agree with you on that it would be. a catastrophe for democracy if the left party and that city you went into a coalition and got book i think it's actually quite interesting. well the catastrophes the democracy of not interesting that that got us to freeze none the less. it what you need to
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know about chrissy is. a balance between right and left and if you have the seed you really. are forming a coalition with what used to be the communist government apart in east germany. just to prevent our- to avoid going into a collision with a fifty then i think democracy really is being stood stood on its head and it. interesting though it might be to see its within its head that's not something something i'd like it would also be hypocritical because quite frankly the a. f. t. is not worse than the left party and both. pseudo toted totalitarian the anti democratic anti western anti nato anti european parties i don't agree with that may i just come back to the question of reunification and the success of reunification valerie her in a has said that in many ways east and west absolutely have. integrated and converged but michelle if we
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look at surveys recent surveys we see significant divergence is in political attitudes for example one survey shows a great deal less support for democracy itself in the east than in the west. i think it's forty. 2% of east german said they are enthusiastic about democracy compared with 75% of west germans too what do you attribute that kind of divergence and in fact less than a half a support in east germany for the system itself. well essentially because in the eastern part democracy didn't deliver the goods. it delivered new roads it delivered to the infrastructure about it's a killed tens of thousands of dogs and i think it's safe to say that of four east germans so is this complete turnaround of the political system. in eighty nine at the price was a very high one to pay and there's a lot of debate in
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germany about these broken biographies people who never really found the feet professionally again. off the this essential breach of what they thought was kind of a poss towards. within safe dogs i mean that's. one thing that you still need to deliver. and. right now the government is discussing and that will probably go ahead a package worth forty billion euros. to pay for a restructuring of industry related to cold most of that will be in the eastern states and just to put it into perspective at the finance minister reckons that to crisis the size of the financial crisis would cost germany fifty billion euro so that is a lot of money. that is now sent east but the experience of people in the east is that money didn't really solve the structural problems i want to come back to the economics in just a moment but i i'll end up looking at your opening statement talking about an authoritarian. revolt
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sing a little bit if you would about political attitudes in the east what did you mean by that and does that mean you see this far right party the fd. as an authoritarian party. yes i'd like to go back to what you said because to say that democracy didn't deliver. is simply wrong of course we delivered we live democracy itself we do live in freedom of speech we do live in freedom of movement we delivered freedom of expression we delivered. a party democracy apart which which works it as proved by the fact that the a. fifty and the old. left are allowed to take part in parliamentary elections. the whole point if i make my- if i say i'm for democracy as long as i'm as as i am okay as long as the- as as as as the economymy is okay then i'm not a democrat. and that's the trouble with that with the germans generally in nineteen thirty three. when's when in nineteen thirty two thirty
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three when it kind of went downhill the americans voted franklin d. roosevelt. and the germans were voted hitler and now i'm off to. from thirty three to eighty nine. east germany was and i'm down to fascist and communist rule they didn't know anything about democracy the never learned about democracy they weren't taught about democracy and now they're revolting against democracy and it's the old men who never bothered who never questioned themselves who knew who were. who were in fact agree with this system would rate that peace with the system now they found another outlet for their horrible anti democratic attitudes it's just a terrible terrible thing we will match to how lenient on them after reunification berlin you're actually that's exactly the point this is the thing that you sermons resent if you are a travel to saxony. am to them democracy didn't deliver on their expectations of what they want the real thing
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promised and the last thing they want right now from politicians is to be elected on how democratic they are and whether their opinion is valid or not and this is exactly what leads to such broad support and- therefore the far right afp whether you agree with that or not it's the phantom phenomenon and is that. and i think that they do it they they want their experiences to be validated they want these broken biographies as you called them to be to be seen by by the mainstream of germany and mainstream media. to just be part of germany and be seen as. like part of it and not not as this. weird sort of cast off flyover country but. i just want to ask one thing about a point that is often. asserted
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in connection with political attitudes and support for the aft namely the idea that it reflects the communist era era socialization of older germans and even a kind of nostalgia for an easier time do you think that's true yeah definitely and i also think that germans weren't good democrats in the fifties. they weren't good democrats in the sixties they had the economic wondered it's bischoff's wanda and that's how that went on until like the seventies and so that's how they became democrats is because the us force that upon them. and then. they had a good good experience with the mark democracy it so its stock sort of you know to put it in a nutshell. but and that didn't and that didn't happen in eastern germany obviously they got all this money they got all this restructuring of into the infrastructure of. of streets and so forth but they didn't have the experience of bay. they were the creators of this well they want whether what well yeah but but i think that that's part of the problem we.
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the reason i want to let me just make cuts here because we do have a little report that will allow us to dig a bit deeper on the economic. aspects of unification and perhaps many remember. during the election campaign that directly followed to the fall of the berlin wall then chancellor helmut kohl promised east germans that they would see their region blossom. now unemployment has fallen dramatically since the nineties wages and salaries are rising and many of the region's cities are booming yet ongoing dissatisfaction very much is driving support for right wing populist. november ninth nineteen eighty nine. thehe berlin wall comes down and the iron curtain parts. fairlyly eleven months later germany is reunified. but the flourishing landscapes leaders promised haven't materialized instead eastern german industry has been languishing. or the million eastern germans are out of work. western germany still
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dominates the economy. not a single decks listed corporation is based in the east. in twenty fifteen the refugee crisis brings feelings of discontent in the east to critical mass. increasingly migrants are seen as competitors for both jobs and social benefits. two billion euros of investment are helping the east to catch up with the west but at around 7% unemployment is still above the average in the west. eastern germans second class citizens. let me put that question to michele our eastern german second class citizens the question that masses when individuals go into a polling booth is whether they feel that they are second class citizens and saxony is the economically most successful eastern state and that's with the a. f. t. is likely to come out in a
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potentially as the strongest party that's where the cd you it now they're about there's a margin of 56% the cd was ahead they're getting a bit more relaxed about it. but where there's a real race between ungrammatical cdu party regionally on the far right afp so and many feel second class citizen it's a generational question very much as well but if you look at a map of how much disposable income there is and you can still quite clearly see where the wall stood between east and west germany and m. that's is where is this entire part of the country lacks behind. that them also cont put down a payment for the kids in central berlin as many west germans do and this will have an impact on how people feel in the east and it's a very emotive election campaign that's for sure allen i'm sure that many of our viewers andnd certainly all of us here will remember that famous bill
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clinton quote from one of his own election campaigns when he said it's the economy stupid meaning it always comes down to the pocket book. now here's another paradox in surveys east germans express levels of personalal economic satisfaction pretty much comparable with those in the west so what's going on here is this second class feeling about something other than economics yeah it's the economy stupid is as stupid phrase and clinton should have known that up people vote. but let's not go into that. yes it's. the demography stupid look during before the war went up in nine sixty one. educated people the doctors the university professors engineers they all left the country with their potential offspring then it between sixty one and then the wall coming down a can anyone who was courageous enough without strong enough about democracy to leave. john stood since nineteen eighty
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nine people have seen chances in the west and gone there you have a brain drain the drain of people who feel for democracy. with with with with the civic spirit courage what's left quite frankly they may be first class citizens as far as their rights a concern but no yes they are a negative selection of the german population let's face it that's stupider than others and that that's why more of them a voting for stupid posses. i don't i don't think that's true and also. there in the past two years that actually been migration back to eastern germany and it's actually growing well yeah because well because they need people don't they will not so stupid we have an awesome and then not allowing. immigration in weakening this huge influx of people with the get up and go spirit from syria from africa. this thing then that we don't want them because that they don't they want to stew in their own juice. and they feel happy like that they're like little england is the like the trump supporters the people who are a negative. selection that
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that's going to have to be a demographic. solution to this because thank goodness. yes some young people are going back to the said maybe they have. babbitt to view of things let me just let me just ask you this certainly there has been massive depopulation in some areas of the east and a number of surveys show a correlation between support for the far right. and areas where the population has occurred and that is not confined to germany alone we're seeing a similar phenomenon. in the us and other places where there is increasing support for the right wing. but here's another paradox for me. in precisely the same areas there's a great deal of resentment against migration when in fact those areas theoretically need immigration. more than any other places in the country valerie how would you explain that yeah i'm i'm stunned i don't understand it either. i and i also understand the inherent racism that that is that is privy to most of these
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places. so i feel like. i really don't understand that also because- the eastern german certain you'd think that a lot of them understand how the west helps. eastern germany after the fall of the wall so maybe they could they'd be more open to migration but that is clearly not the case i think it's in studies have shown that if you don't have migration you're more critical to at and eastern germany didn't have migration and that the from the socialistic brother countries. those were those were only a few and they were very much kept separate from the public so they weren't even allowed to really interact so there was never any basis of sort of understanding of multi culturalism i think that's a big part michelle tell us a little bit about the role of the a. f. t. in connection with they were anti migration sentiment. in fact it's become
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an absolute signature. issue for the a. f. t. what's driving that. well because it's a key resonated with voters on the opinion polls cft sauce about being an anti euro party it then took a turn to the right and now i'll give you to the very far right in pots. and then it was almost a vanishing from the political scene whenn twenty f fifteen came around tht what became known as the migration crisis in germany you can really follow not. along quite easily and they foss discovered and see if the leadership w will admit so an individual conversations that that is the issue that made the big being anti migration their anti islam. they've tone down the rhetoric to a certain degree because they discovered. the opportunity of saying we are the real people picking up on slogans of those protests in nineteen eighty nine. and they are giving people a voice who feel that they couldn't be openly against foreigners and
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they couldn't open the be racist. and that certainly is something whether the public debate in germany hasn't taken a turn for the worse. so bafta allen. instrumental eyes saying. anti foreigner sentiment. for the sake of the issue itself or for the sake of political power and perhaps also driving opposition to the so called elite in berlin. where you'd have to ask then wouldn't you i mean i know some aft people like francis alex and a gallon to is. almost a friend of mine is not inherent racist but he uses it right on the other hand. what's his name a b. on how good. it into into india he is a racist through and through so and garland is working them together in the same pot yeah i mean. look again always be able to found founder of the social democratic party said anti semitism is a socialism of the stupid guys. and racism of all
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kinds is the social isn't the stupid guys. right it's pointing down to other people who even below me in social status and declaring war on them. and this is stupid right and- and so on a party which appeals. to stupid sentiment and gets 20% obviously thinks this is what the fd things the 20% of the people and in the east the strip and if they get the election results then they'll be proved right. it's up to the east germans to prove them wrong. not up to our city here in the studio. pontificating but what does that make alexander going and then he- that makes him a horrible opportunistic. a person who is using that party for his own ends get his own back on on the lemak lose never he's never by the way these german does the art there are others. that rod this. true i'm also there's a lot of innovation in the east i really don't want to let that stand that the eastern germans are
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are more stupid than the western germans i don't think that's true have a high proportion stupid people. well there's- the demography is different a lot of a lot of people who saw chances left they left that's what you said. the end and so did there is there is the state ranging obviously in the nineties we're really hard and- there were lots of *-*- that weren't addressed in the in the gdr and- so they're all these issues and their queue a leading. to what we're now seeing let me just ask you this because we're almost out of time and i'd like to at least briefly here from all of you. sure far right in fact make significant gains in the elections on sunday. what do governments at both the regional and federal level need to be doing to stop this trend and i'm going to have to ask for the briefest of possible answers. well they are a democratic party they need to be de mystified by being seen. what they are and that you might see them in a regional government somewhere in the near future but they are no where near being in power in central government. i would
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just advise parties not to change the rules to avoid them that's also part of democracy. thank you alan can i just say i agree. sir that never happened that leaves a lot of time for valerie. thirty right exactly well i think i do think that it's important that they don't that they don't get in power even and faxing your front book and i think that the democratic party should have a little more faith in society in themselves and. i very much hope that were going to see it done the decline over the next couple of months and years. thank you very much to all of you for being with us today and thanks to you out there for tuning in hope to see you soon bye bye fos
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who are blind or visually impaired we are including audio description to introduce the program's key visual elements today the laura flanders program features two choreographers. alan shepard founder kinetic light and elizabeth streb founder slam strobe lab for action mechanics footage illustrates the disability arts work of alice shepherd. artist activist academic shepherd whirls gracefully in her wheelchair she performs with other dancers the speed down ramps in their wheelchairs partner an intimate poses and soar through the air. in archival footage laura flanders father appears o s


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