So election season is in full swing in Germany. Chancellor Merkel is looking good for keeping her seat as she goes head to head with Peer Steinbrück. It really doesn’t seem like much of a contest at this point.
I live in Stuttgart-Ost or if you prefer English, Stuttgart-East. Most of the pictures in this diary are from Stuttgart-Ost. It is a rather peaceful, working class, multi-kulti part of town, a little rougher around the edges, where you live and let live.
One day a couple of months ago I started seeing political posters spring up around the neighborhood. Being American I
was again surprised that I hadn’t heard anything about an election. This happened to me when the last election took place here and, I think, the one before that. The elections here are mercifully short, two months instead of two years. I’m not a German citizen, although that could change, so I don’t vote – yet - My wife did tell me who she was voting for. I had guessed wrong. Ballots are dropped into the box, literally, just around the corner from us. Paper ballots on a Sunday from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening. Lots of polling places open for business and plenty of time for everyone to vote. There were maybe 10 people in line ahead of us last time around.
There are two votes for each voter. On the ballot you put a cross in the left hand side of the ballot for the Erststimme or first vote for the candidate the voter would want to represent him in the Bundestag, and one on the right hand side for the Zweitstimme or second vote for the party you want to be in power and there are quite a few parties to choose from. The minimum percentage a party must receive to get a seat in the Bundestag is 5. You can use your first vote for any candidate and your second vote for any party.
Let’s start with Merkel’s party, the CDU or Christian Democratic Union.
Pretty standard fare. Clean cut, upper middle, to upper class looking people. Notice the Dr. title. That is important here. If you are a doctor of some sort you should really put that on everything, except for maybe Christmas cards, and even then I think you might get away with it. The CDU is center-right. It is more or less a social capitalist party. That doesn’t make sense to Americans, but just think of using capitalism to make profit to invest into social infrastructure. It has a Christian influence as per its name and a part of their platform is Christian values. The CDU also wants to increase security/surveillance.
Germany is strong an so it should stay.
Merkel’s slogan was “Germany is strong and so it should stay” but now it has ended up being just a picture of her face with the words “Chancellor for Germany” next to it.
Chancellor for Germany
She has her detractors, though, and they are tying her with some unpopular programs here. The S21 movement in Stuttgart, which is for the building of a new Central Station
in Stuttgart which the CDU says is important for commerce , but her opponents say it is a money grab and will hurt the Stuttgart environment, particularly the Green U (Park in Stuttgart).
Another line of attack is suggesting that she is a part of the surveillance problem, now that the NSA revelations have come to light, with a poster showing a steel mannequine with a camera for a head dressed in a jacket with pearls and featuring the Merkel-Raute.
The Merkel Raute
which brings us to the Pirates.
Great Coalition of Surveillance
Stop mass surveillance. Reassess the security laws
The Pirates are undertaking a blitz campaign and their posters are ubiquitous in Stuttgart. Unlike the CDU with pictures of their candidates and no more than a quip for a slogan, quite a few Pirate posters feature an attractive young woman and have more to say.
I can relate to Pirates
For a transparant State and
the Free use of public data
Why am I actually hanging here? Your not really going to vote.
Why does the State want to know that I have nothing to hide? For the protection of the private sphere and the presumption of innocence
Addiction politics instead of a war on drugs. For a pragmatic political addiction which is clarified for the consumer and protects the non-consumer.
The Pirates make their point with some furry non-humans, too.
For a wombat in every household!
Unrealistic election promises? We can make them too!
I’ve got something against filth (corruption)! And you?
Transparent structures are the basis for a real political participation. We PIRATES commit ourselves to more transparence and more openness in politics.
No other alternative for civil liberties.
This fellow is Jürgen Martin, a pharmaceutical representative. He’s leading the Pirates in my district.
Privatise Religion now!
For the dismantling of the financial and structural priveleges of a religious society.
No one gets smart from the promise of an education.
Each individual has the right to access information and education freely.
We are commited to the equal recognition of all social models in which people take responsibilty for each other.
The poster quoted here is the top one.
The Pirates managed to get 2 percent of the party vote last time around and might get more this time, particularly with the NSA revelations. They’re seen as being a young and perhaps disorganized party of left leaning liberals focussing too much on Internet and programming issues, but that’s the future, so they’re here to stay.
Courage for the truth. The Euro is dividing Europe
The Alternative for Deutschland (AFD) party is a recent addition to German politics, being founded as a party this year. They want –obviously- to get rid of the Euro and go back to a national currency. There are enough people who go along with this, but the majority of Germans want to keep the Euro going. I can’t figure out much more of their platform, but I get the feeling they are more conservative than not.
Instead of Fascism
Split Real Economy from Toxic Assets
Glass-Steagall Separate Banking System NOW
BüSo “Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität or the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement is a LaRouche
outgrowth. I was talking with a guy from this party a couple of months ago who had a table set up in front of the grocery store. I was surprised that a party in Germany would have anything to do with American legislation until I picked up some of the literature and saw the LaRouche label on it. I like a lot of what they have to say, but then I feel like I am being indoctrinated into a cult, so I put the book down and said no when he hit me up for cash.
Strengthen Citizen’s rights
Only with us
The Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP) or the Free Democratic Party is the current coalition partner with the CDU. They are also a little further to the right than the CDU. They would be closer to our Republicans in the German system. They want a social market economy, but the individual takes precedence over the group. They want to cut taxes (but say they will protect pensions) and will keep a balanced budget that way.
Only with us:
More money for the rich
Advancement of the Elite
Private Sector Capitalism
Profit before people
You must be joking!
So that Germany remains strong.
Only with us.
You can get a better sense from the posters how the FDP is viewed here in my neighborhood. It is a fairly old party being founded in 1948 and got about 15 percent of the party vote last election. The mustache is not real… This poster has Rainer Brüderle on it. He is running at the top of the ticket.
The Partei der Vernunft (PDF) (Party of Reason)
Austrian school of economics
, flat tax, No such thing as global warming caused by humans. Need I say more?
We now come to the Greens.
My Mudda will be the boss.
The Greens are the only original party to form after WWII. They now seem to reflect the rebirth of the country into an environmental political consciousness. The formed a coalition with the SPD in parliament between 1995 and 2008 and Baden Württemberg elected a Green as its state Prime Minister in 2011
What the farmer can’t recognize I’m not going to eat.
Euro TON We listen to Europe
EAU Rouge Elektro Pop
Synthi & Roland Palace Orchestra with the Boys from Action does you good
DJ Claudia On the turntables Claudia Roth
7:00 €3 entry
Green Youth Stuttgart
I say Hello KITA (Daycare)
Im gonna be an energy giant
The Greens are ambitious. The want to convert Germany to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030!
They also want to introduce a minimum wage and raise taxes to support more social programs.
Instead of train station chaos stop Stuttgart21
Die Linke or the Left(ist) party has origins in East Germany from the SED party (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) and the Arbeit und soziale Gerechtigkeit - die Wahlalternativ (Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative) from West Germany. They joined forces in 2007 and became The Left party. They got almost 12 percent of the party vote in 2009, mostly because of the former East German vote. They will not make a coalition with another party because they are “100 percent social”. They see Hartz IV as a legal state of poverty and want to instate a minimum pension of 1050 Euros per month. They also want to get all troops stationed overseas home.
Instead of collecting bottles: 1050 Euro minimum Euros retirement pension
The time is finally ripe to (re)distribute from high to low.
Welcome to Germany
They also put on a free show.
Good Work – Good Pay
Good Pension – Even after the election!
Don’t wait any longer!
Get rid of two-class(tier)-medicine
Forbid weapon exports! Stop foreign deployments!
Whoever wants democracy must rid the financial mafia of its power.
Now that we have moved from Right to Center to Left, let’s go Commie for a while. I asked my wife last night if she would still love me if I became a communist. She said “Why not? They have some good ideas.” I really can’t see myself as a communist, since I was raised in an American military family during the Cold War, so I dropped the subject.
Freedom for Palastine and Kurdistan
The Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands (MLPD) or Marx/Lennin wants free day care for all children and a 30 hour work week without loss of pay or benefits. From what I have read they seem to say what Communists always say: that it just hasn’t been tried the right way yet. We’ll see. Even here in socialist Germany, the MLPD is seen as being extreme.
Workers’ offensive against shifting the burden of the (financial) crisis.
Radical Left Revolution – Real Socialism!
Sabotage the NPD Campaign
Tear down and torch NPD Posters
Muzzle the Nazis
Self Organiztion instead of Representative Politics!
Sabotage the Election Spectacle
Gather yourselves together, Organize yourselves! Sabotage the Election!
Now for the other major party apart from the CDU, the SPD.
Whoever gives all must receive more
Minimum Wage 8.50 €
The Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (SPD) or Social Democratic Party of Germany is Center Left. If the CDU were considered to be counterparts to our Republicans, then the SPD would be the Democrats. They are for a social market economy, but put policy ahead of profit. They believe in a progressive tax rate that favors the less well off. The SPD also wants to institute a mimimum wage of 8.50 Euros and minimum 850 Euros a month for social security pension. More child benefits and limiting rent increases are also on their platform.
Your first vote for more daycare
That WE decide
Poor Peer Steinbrück, He’s got an uphill battle to fight with Merkel, but this sign placement under a gigantic mural one of Munch’s versions of “Schrei der Natur
” at Stuttgart Staatsgalerie doesn’t really help his image.
Milk makes millions of calves lonely!
Real Politics for All!
PARTEI MENSCH UMWELT TIERSCHUTZ
The „Party Mensch Umwelt Tierschutz“ or Tierschutz party for short is the Party for People, Environment and Animals”, which pretty much covers everything. Their claim to fame is the national introduction of a vegan diet, a constitutional amendment that all allows animals the same rights as humans and the outlawing of hunting and animal testing.
Humane Work and Life
Climate Change is a reality
Do you want the 3-hundred year flood?
The Greens are also going after hemp supporters – how much longer?!
This is a part of the Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV) German Hemp Association’s movement. Evidently the Greens are for decriminalization, except for here in BW where the party is in power. The CDU position is that marijuana is a gateway drug and ruins lives.
Courage of Diversity
The "Bündnis für Innovation & Gerechtigkeit" (BIG) or in English the Alliance for Innovation and Justice is oriented towards immigrant politics. There are a lot of immigrants in Germany and this party is appealing to them with a dual citizenship plank. They want more immigrants in open political positions and do not believe in same sex unions.
I know this is not very in depth and because I tried to include as many parties as possible and I just was able to get these in. Some of the parties are whack and some are very narrow and focused on one or two issues. These parties I saw no posters for. There are about four or five parties that have posters that I just didn't have time to post. I skimmed a lot of material. My first thought was that this would make a great photo diary, but I didn't really have time to get a lot of the shots I wanted so this is more an attempt to get a feel for what is going on here right before the election.