Is Germany Falling Apart? Let Us Hope So.

The German parliamentary elections next month may go awfully wrong if, as polls are beginning to suggest, East Germans vote overwhelmingly for the Left Party, the successor to the former communist SED that ruled East Germany from 1945 to 1989, shooting everyone who tried to flee from its dictatorship.

Until recently it looked as if the outcome of the general elections next September 18 would be an easy victory for the conservative Christian-Democrats. However, while the Christian-Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the free-market Liberals (FDP) are still expected to carry the West, it now looks as if the East is going to tip the balance in favour of socialism.


This situation would have a strong element of déjà-vu. During the last general elections in 2002 Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his ruling Socialist-Green coalition won a second term in office by the closest margin ever: a mere 6,027 votes out of 48.5 million. Then, too, it was Eastern Germany that determined the outcome of the vote. If there had been no German reunification the conservatives, led at the time by the Bavarian politician Edmund Stoiber, would have won the 2002 elections. The coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP won 48.4% of the vote in West Germany, but only 34.7% of the vote in the East. The Socialist-Green coalition on the other hand won 47.7 percent of the vote in the West, but won 44.5 percent of the vote in the East, where the post-Communists got an additional 16.8%.


Gerhard Schroeder has become the most unpopular Chancellor in ages, but it looks as if in the past weeks the post-Communist Left Party has been able to attract every discontented group in the country, including the neo-Nazis. The post-Communists do not shun racist rhetoric. Last month, one of its leaders, Oscar Lafontaine, told voters in the East German town of Chemnitz (in the state of Saxony): “The state should protect fathers and mothers against unemployment caused by foreign workers who steal their jobs by working for low wages.” Since Nazism is rooted in Socialism it is perhaps no surprise that the neo-Nazi party NPD, which attracted 10% of the voters in the 2004 regional elections in Saxony, saw most of its supporters defect to the Left Party. However, Holger Apfel, the NPD vice-president, blames the press. “The media do not write about us but only about these lefties,” he said on Tuesday.

Conservative Frustration

Unlike in 2002, the Christian-Democrats this time are led by a politician from the East. They have put forward Angela Merkel as their candidate chancellor. However, the frustration of losing another election because of the East, prompted her predecessor Edmund Stoiber last week to declare: “I will not accept that the East again determines who will be Germany’s chancellor. It is unacceptable that frustrated people decide the fate of Germany.” On Wednesday, Stoiber, who is the Prime Minister of the state of Bavaria, repeated to an audience in his home state that it is unacceptable that the elections again be decided in the East. Bavaria is the most conservative of all the German states. It is also one of Germany’s richest states and has to foot a large part of the bill for the reconstruction of the East German economy, which had been destroyed by half a century of communism. Now, however, the successors of these communists are about to impose yet another left-wing coalition on the Bavarians.

Stoiber was sharply rebuked for his remarks by Wolfgang Thierse, the Socialist speaker of the German Parliament, who said that the Bavarian leader treats the East Germans as “second class citizens.” The Liberal FDP indicated that, in case of a victory of the right, Stoiber would be unacceptable as a government minister because he can no longer be seen as representing the entire country.

The incident resembles another which occurred last week, when a politician indicated that 50 years of communist dictatorship had robbed the East Germans of their sense of personal responsibility and hence East Germany of its moral values. In this case the politician, Joerg Schoenbohm, is an East German. He, too, however, was accused of  “insulting” East Germans and was told that he has become unacceptable as a cabinet member in a future conservative coalition.

It looks like Germany is beginning to resemble Belgium, with West Germany in the position of Flanders and East Germany in the position of Wallonia. For decades the free-market oriented Dutch-speaking Flemings, living in the northern half of Belgium, have had a thriving economy because they embrace free-market principles. Meanwhile, however, they have forcibly subsidised the French-speaking Walloons, who live in the southern half of the country. The latter are poorer than the Flemings and vote for the Socialists because they want to keep the Flemish subsidies flowing their way. Because the Walloons predominantly vote for Socialists, Belgium is always governed by left-wing coalitions. This has led to growing frustration among the Flemings, who have always voted predominantly for the right, and to an ever louder call for Flemish secession from Belgium.

The Belgian Model

In my book A Throne in Brussels I have provided a detailed description of the Belgian model, which also serves as a model for the European Union in its attempt to build a pan-European welfare state. Each year considerable sums of money, the so-called “social transfers,” are diverted from the Flemish taxpayers to Wallonia in the form of subsidies and welfare benefits. The share of GDP which the Flemish pay to subsidize their former masters in Wallonia exceeds even the West German transfer of funds to their cousins in East Germany.

In 1999 Flanders financed 64.1% of Belgium’s social security benefits and received only 57.6% in return. Flanders pays Wallonia an annual sum amounting to approximately 6.5% of Flemish GDP. In Germany, the Western states hand over 4% of their GDP to the Eastern states.

The “social transfer” mechanism has led to the corruption of Wallonia. In fact, Walloon politicians tell their electorate: If you vote for us, we will guarantee that the state will never check whether you really need the social security handouts you receive. In April 2001, Caroline De Gruyter, a journalist from the Netherlands, visited the Borinage, a former mining region in the Walloon province of Hainaut, where unemployment levels are as high as 30%. She was amazed to encounter several families that had been on the dole for three generations and that did not have a single relative who officially had a job. The families concerned were very pleased with their situation: “Once the miners were exploited by the state, now we exploit the state," one of the unemployed told her. They all voted for the Socialist Party, because it guaranteed that nothing would change and the Flemish money would keep flowing to Wallonia. They described the attitude of Flemings “who do not want to pay taxes to support the Walloon unemployed” as “unsocial behaviour!”

The corruption of those at the receiving end of government subsidies, which one can witness in Belgium, is also apparent in Germany. This explains why Socialism is still thriving in East Germany and why the East German economy is in a slump, while other nations that have been through the same experience of communist dictatorship, from Slovakia to Estonia, have booming economies. These countries were forced to take their fate into their own hands as they did not have rich cousins in the West who could bail them out. It would be good, for both West and East Germany, if the country were to split up again. This would not only ensure that the West German voters get the conservative government they have been voting for time and time again, but, more importantly, it would also force the East Germans to do something about their own future instead of voting in corrupt Socialists and post-Communists who gain elections simply by promising subsidies that others have to finance.

If the two Germanies do not separate, East Germany will be the only region in Eastern Europe that is likely to remain an economic shambles. Worse, the East Germans will drag West Germany down with them, to the detriment of Europe as a whole.

Kick the Socialists out

We could argue the same in the UK. England would not have to suffer Socialist, Labour or even "New Labour" governments if we could find a neat way to outsource Scotland and Wales. Even better if we could persuade the work-shy Geordies to seek home rule. What a good life we could have then!

Maybe we would lose something in the process, but who cares? Stoke up the barbecue and bring out the beers. The United Kingdom? Income Tax? Never heard of them.

It does seem a bit illogical though to say that the German election was won and lost in the old East. You could just as well say that it was lost by a lot of people called Schmidt in Frankfurt voting the wrong way. Those Schmidts, what are they like?

It's not helpful to say the result would have been such and such if Germany hadn't re-united. How do we know? Politics and election are such fluid processes, any number of other factors could have been brought to bear.

And I'm struggling to understand why it's racist to say "foreigners are stealing our jobs". Don't know about Belgium, but the UK is a mixed-race society. Xenophobic perhaps, but not racist.

Anyway, early to bed tonight. Must start work at the crack of dawn tomorrow - I've got thousands of people called Campbell, McDonald, Jones and Evans to support. And the Geordies.

Bob Doney


Secession is also in Germany alive and kicking, and "nicht verboten".
Hans Hermann Hoppe and many others also hope Germany will fall apart, and not in 2, but in many pieces (there are 16 Länder and they have the interesting fenomenon of city-states, the Hanzestädter Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg and freestates, the freistaaten Thüringen, Sachsen and Bavaria.

As libertarians like, small countries have to compete with each other, their governments obliged to think Whiggish and the smaller governments are, the less powerful they are.

Indeed, Germany is a dreamed subject to fall apart.

(Note that Germany as a state became dangerous after the Länder had united...)

Follow the money

Come on, there are tremendous scale benefits on having a unified money and ruling system. Germany is already a federation, with its Laender. On the other hand, keeping up a single money asks for economical convergence, if not you need "transfers" like in the Belgian union.

It's reveiling that every claim for more autonomy or secession (like in Belgium) has been powered by disgruntled tax-payers who hate to see their money flow away to regions that make different political choices (e.g. collectivist), but do not bear the financial consequences of it themselves - and not by nationalists.

Let's not forget that the American Revolution, so noble and patriotic, was fueled by a taxing disagreement with England. To return to the point, if the Aussies want a communist government, let them pay fore it themselves.

Abandon of communism in Eastern-Europe.... WHOLE Eastern-Europe?

I do agree with the statement of Mr. Belien that after the fall of communism in 1989-1990 in Eastern-Europa, this fact had led to the form of democratic governments in those countries, embracing the wonderful principles of free market. This had indeed led to a revival of their economies and even a higher increase of GDP as we know in the corporatist West of Europe. From that point of view those countries can give us a precious contribution of a good working, free market-oriented European Union.

The fact that there are in whole Europe some exceptions, like Eastern-Germany and Wallonia (as Mr. Belien prooved both in his excellent written book and the article above) who still vote socialist to maintain an easy financing of their corporatist social-welfare system by the richer parts of the country.

But unfortinatly there seems to be a black (or do I have to say red?) spot on the European map: Bulgaria. Although this counrty has lost its contributions paid by the Soviet-Union as a satelite state after the last decade of the 20st century, there seems to happen a revival of communism/socialsm in this counrty. In the month of June this year, there were held general elections in that country, which has led to a victory of the Bulgarian Socialist Party with a rate of 31%. However, the Bulgarian Socialists are no more than the succesors of the Communist Party, but transformed in 1990 to the BSP, formaly abandoning Marxism and Leninism. Because of the fall of communism, and also because of the fact that Bulgaria was since 1990 a state living on its own, the socialist had never a big success, until 1994. In that year, the BSP had reigned over three years, throwing Bulgaria in a deep economic crises. And now those post-communists will have to lead Bulgaria, anno 2005. How could this fact be explained?

The fact that the ex-communists have won the elections in Bulgaria, becomes even more alarming, because the country wants to become an EU-member in 2008. Correctly there are some politicians like the French prime minister Dominique De Villepin who warn for a membership of Turkey in the EU; but isn't even the same rejectable to welcome a revival of communism in Europe, by accepting Bulgaria into the club? Let us hope the Bulgarian people will soon see what kind of a mistake they've made (again) by supporting this kind of red regimes...

Relevant articles on the internet: (article on the website of EU Business, explaining the victory of the BSP in June 2005) (Some general information about the Bulgarian Socialist Party)

Note: Don't you find it also a strange (maybe not even accidental..) fact to state that 'our' Belgian socialists before 1980 and the Bulgarian post-communists use the same abbreviation to name their party: BSP .....