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Left responses to populism in Germany July 23, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It would be very interesting to get a sense of how robust the analysis in this piece in the Guardian on the situation in Germany in the wake of the rise of the AfD and how some on the left appear to be attempting to push back by adopting aspects of AfD policy in regard to immigration and immigration control.

Perhaps as interesting is the seeming push by others within the AfD to adopt more welfarist – for want of a better term, policies… or what is termed national social approaches. The last paragraph is depressing in the extreme.

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1. Jim Monaghan - July 23, 2018

The CPI journal had an article on the same lines, approving more migrant controls.

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2. Joe - July 23, 2018

Immigration is an issue the left has to address.
I’ve a friend, a Marxist, who has been banging on about it for years. Poster on another thread here last week talked about ‘liberal’ owners and capitalists welcoming immigration because it drives down wages. Workers get undercut, unions are bypassed and so on.
So how to address all that without falling into racist responses, there’s the challenge.

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3. polly - July 23, 2018

Yep. Any classic worker-protection response to immigration has, built into it, some assumption about the rights of the cohort of people already in a country vis a vis people arriving from somewhere else.

One thread won’t do this justice. I’m just mapping out the size of the territory here.

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WorldbyStorm - July 23, 2018

In a way the problem reminds me of the old days (!) on politics.ie. I’d be talking to anti-immigration people there who would accuse me of being anti-control and I’d say actually I’m not against controls – relaxed controls because I see immigration as a net positive to a society but control nonetheless, at least not short of the socialist millennium, but that it would be useful to have clear research and data on what the negative impacts are, where they occur most badly, what alternatives there are and so on. And in a way these discussions are all a part of reaching towards something empirical in that regard. For example do others think in this state inflows of other EU citizens have been hugely problematic? My sense is that they haven’t – that their impact on resources hasn’t been so great as to distort markets (with the possible exception of housing though that seems to go its own merry way one way or another). And I’d justify that stance by suggesting that given there was leeway during the crisis for the state to actually not impose cuts in the manner they were and to raise taxes to cover the shortfall there was actually a fair bit of slack built into the system already. But digging deeper into wages, access to resources is that just a perception of mine without a real justification or not?

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4. Lamentreat - July 23, 2018

That guy Olterman writes OK things occasionally, but I wouldn’t trust the Guardian’s take on any of that stuff.

Couple of points that jump out: Applying the “national social” label to any formation on the German left, when they would not use it of themselves (and it is clear from the article that it is an AfD phrase not their own) is pure smear.

Plus there is something so deeply ignorant and ahistorical about any article that writes so glibly about the German welfare state as traditionally a left programme… apart from anything else, Bismarck set the thing up for national-conservative reasons, the NS regime embraced aspects of it, etc.

And this “Manual workers who used to vote for the far right or far left in protest are increasingly solidifying their identification with the AfD” is very dubious. Don’t know the numbers in detail but I don’t think the idea that Die Linke voters are somehow particularly prone to shifting over to the AfD is borne out by election or polling data. That’s also largely just Guardian centrist ooh-ooh-authoritarianism smear.

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WorldbyStorm - July 23, 2018

Cheers, Lamentreat. Good to hear some pushback.

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5. Logan - July 23, 2018

It strikes me that part of the problem (with regard to the attitude towards immigration) is that people aren’t given the feeling of there being both pluses and minuses to immigration. Working class people I mean, obviously better off people can see the advantages of cheap labour – cheaper plumbers and nannies for them..

It seems poorer white people are constantly being lectured that, for demographic reasons, they will both have to put up with smaller pensions, received later, and also concurrently more competition for less skilled jobs from large scale immigration.

In Germany, as in Ireland, the pension age is increasing – it is to be increased gradually and reach 67 years in Germany by 2029. And there is talk of it going up more. Absolutely inevitable to prevent national bankruptcy, say all the economic experts employed by the conservative parties.

But there is no suggestion that increased immigration could help with this particular problem in a concrete way.

I wonder would people’s minds be changed if the German Chancellor announced that the increasing pension ages was not be inevitable but instead dependent on a demographic target – such as, say, if the average age of the population stayed flat for the next 20 years there would be no decrease in pension ages.

Am older white guy would then be able to say “Okay well a 20 year old Syrian moved in across the street, I am not entirely comfortable about that but I’ll be able to have my pension a year earlier because he’s here.”

Somehow I cannot imagine that this offer will be made to the German (or Irish) people any time soon, though.

Would it be too cynical to suspect that powers that be have a different destination in mind for all the national wealth generated by the young immigrant labour pool and the pension savings!

Is it any wonder that older white working-class voters smell a rat in all this?

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WorldbyStorm - July 23, 2018

And one can imagine how expedient and self-serving that is for some political circles.

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6. Barnes - July 23, 2018

Listened to a debate today where they left was the one who was saying immigration was good but the downside of wage suppression wasn’t accidental but an aim while the conservative was championing it as pretty much only good and full of potential entrepreneurs.

Topsy turvy land.

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WorldbyStorm - July 23, 2018

But again, one needs very robust evidence that that phenomenon is actually happening in either direction. For example, wage growth is increasing faster than inflation. So is wage suppression an actual phenomenon or one that people think is or must be happening? And of course different states will encounter different economic circumstances. It is entirely plausible that immigrants in one state would plug gaps where indigenous citizens wouldn’t take jobs (something like this is seen in UK seasonal agriculture and the fall in EU migrants has had a significant effect). Of course it is also plausible that an area might become saturated with workers of one type or another. But again what is the evidence for same in say this state or on this island?

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Barnes - July 23, 2018

No clue. They were Americans. Are there studies into this? ESRI?

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WorldbyStorm - July 23, 2018

ESRI has done some research around it. https://www.esri.ie/news/new-research-monitors-the-integration-of-immigrants-into-irish-society/

“In 2015, employment rates were similar but slightly higher for Irish nationals (63 per cent) than non-Irish nationals (60 per cent). However employment rates varied across national groups and the employment rate was very low for African nationals (circa 40 per cent).
In 2015, the unemployment rate was higher for non-Irish nationals (13 per cent) compared to Irish nationals (just under 10 per cent).”

This is intriguing:

https://www.esri.ie/publications/eu-enlargement-and-irelands-labour-market-2/

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7. Barnes - July 23, 2018

No clue. They were Americans. Are there studies into this? ESRI?

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