(An Economic Crisis?)

Interview to Vicente Segura, hosted by Carsten Klug

The economist Carsten Klug hold an interview with Vicente Segura about the socio-economy of modern Germany, on the 03.10.2005, in Radio X 101,4 Frankfurt/Main - Germany

Vicente Segura its an artist of the 68`s generation. He had attended studies of sociology and psychology as visitor in the University of Rio de Janeiro where he got his degree in arts. After travelling around the world (almost all his life), he had seeing a lot on cultures, societies and global politics. He lives now in Germany, particularly in Frankfurt (he is a Frankfurtian by now) and he had seen the falling of the Berlin Wall. In the theme today "The German Way", we will analyze the correlation of political forces in the new social equation of Germany.


After the WWII, Germany was destroyed, reconstructed and occupied by US-UK. Then comes the Cold War and Germany become an imaginary battlefield for nuclear-war-games of the two superpowers in conflict. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the West meets the East and Germany re-married for convenience. In the 11 of September in USA the Germans said: “We all are Americans”. But as soon Bush decides to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, Germany shifts his gears and said: “We prefer the German Way of life”.

Then, short after that, the Germans notice that their economy was affected by the globalization. The ruling party (SPD), that turned to the Left with Schröder, suggested that the Anglo-American corporations were a “swarm of locust”. They were not wrong. But then after the elections in NRW the "fiesta" was over for the SPD (Red) and, also, for the Greens (who were looking Blue). But now (10.2005), it seems as if Germany is turning to the Female (CDU) and Gay (FDP), a Black /Yellow coalition. Is Germany going through all the colors of the rainbow, ending up in Braun or what? So, with this neo-liberal Anglo-American economic model, to where the winds suppose to blow? To the Left, to the Right, to the Center, or all the contrary.

Q.- Vicente, you a as Latin American yourself living in Germany, how do you see or with which eyes you see Germany?

A.- That is a very interesting question. I would like to say, first of all, that I am a stranger in a strange land. And I see everything with pure eyes and with a convex lens. I see Germany not as a German, or as a European or as a Jews or as an North-American or as a Muslim, but as a visitor from outer space. My position is very neutral and I don’t rely in any ideological dogma, or belong to any political party, or tending to support one particular group of interest or so. I see the thing free and without compromise.
What I wanted to added ironically is that Germany, the birth place of Karl Marx had succumbed to conservative liberal party’s after the WWII, from Adenauer to Helmut Kohl. What Karl Marx would say today, if he would see Germany embroiled in the neo liberal globalization and affected critically by this system with the actual crisis? What he would say about this high-tech sophisticated capitalism? Karl Marx didn’t guest how far capitalism will go, but, I think he guest that the capitalistic system will be self destroyed under his own laws. Maybe, Marx would question the fact that in his own land never had happen a social revolution. But then he would say: “It is not necessary; the system is so old and exhausted that it will revolutionize itself”. Germany is passing through difficult moments, but I would prefer to say that Germany is passing through very interesting moments or a very important period of changes. This will be crucial in the sense of which direction will take the country. Germany is in an existential dilemma between to get involve in the machinery of the globalization -to save the standards of life- or to survive just the socio-economic crisis. Nobody can prevent anything to happen. After 50 years of economic success, the “Wechseljahre“ period or let´s say, the German menopause (Die German Klimakterium-Krise), was predictable.

Q.- In your thesis “A Menopausal Crisis" what do you mean by "Menopausal Crisis"?

A.-Well, actually “Menopausal Crisis” it is a metaphor related to the state of the economical system crisis of our actual society in Germany here and now- but, that involves inevitable also the European Union and the whole Western World. I will talk later about this topic. Let's concentrate now in Germany:….The German question appears now very crucial for the German population who use to enjoy a good standard of life, but I think that the Germans have to be prepared for the worse to come. That means they have to be prepared to live happy with less, as any other countrie in Africa, Latin America or Asia do. The Germans use to have a relative good standard of life, economic stability and a classless society. Now, there are fears of decomposition of this classless social system that can be transformed into a system of class struggle. I am not sure what will happen in the next few years.…
The German state is broke and in bankruptcy and something has to be done about it. So the proposal of the SPD suggests that everyone has to make a contribution to recover Germany out of the crisis. So, to reconcile with reality, the people have to suffer low-payment and depression for awhile. But, for how long?.
The reform plan of the SPD -Agenda 2010- to balance the social security and the individual responsibility it has been questioned seriously by a great majority of Germans and by his own voters, and can be crucial in the parliamentary. The explanation of this reform was to improve the structure system and to recover from bankruptcy. Also there is in stake the compromise with the regional integration with the European Union. These drastic reforms never happen before in Germany and actually were hailed by many experts as the best and the only solution for the country, and of course at the cost of the human capital of Germans. It seems as if the Germans are not so happy about that, because they have to work now more hours for the same or less money and some of them without any Christmas and holyday bonuses. They must pay now to visit the doctor. The students must pay fees, also. The retired or pensioners will get less money. There are 5 millions workers in mini-jobs to boom the low wage sector and also One Euro jobs. All of this about the prospect to recover the national economy and also to accommodate to the hard times are coming through the free market economy of the globalization.

Q. Can you please explain a little bit more and extend the point?

A.- Yes, well. Let us remember a little bit of history: After the falling of the Berlin Wall or lets say, in the post Cold War, the United States found not difficulties to install the neo liberal doctrine, that later Reagan and Thatcher in the 80´s, perfectionate, and finally put it into a full effect in the 90´s with the technological globalization.
USA, as the only superpower left along after a long war on communism, they felt free now and without obstacles to design the new world order in their own image, in their own terms and with their own rules. The international financial institutions promoted and sponsored by the United States, prescribe the conditions and set up the model economy. The government’s involve in this big “fiesta”, were told to make reforms here and there, and cut social spending, and privatize the public sector, etc to accommodate to the “rush gold” of the globalization.
The governments in this time were acting as if they were executives administrators of the foreign trans nationals corporations. So, the North American model of economy found no opposition and found no resistence.
The world becomes a battle field for financial orgy’s and cannibalism, as in the law of the jungle, in which the biggest kills and eats the smallest. Only the strong and powerful could prevail and survive. But every expert on economy knew that the strongest were the Anglo-American Alliance. In this wild and disproportionate competition the USA was set to win and to keep the economic supremacy in the world. That means at the cost of the weaker. Of course, the whole Western World would become a looser very soon, because nobody knows what the rule of game it will be.
West Germany, who were busy and euphoric with the reunification with the East, found themselves assimilating the “free market economy” in the globalization without questioning the voracity of this globalization. Everybody were spending here and spending there, investing here and investing there, without preventing the consequences. They were enjoying the global party. Everybody took the globalization as natural destiny of prosperity. But, this fantasy didn’t last for too long. When the Germans waked up, they discover that the globalization was a virtual globalization and that the whole thing had happen only in the monitors of the computers, in their televisions and in their mobile telephones. All of a sudden the small companies of Germany were killed by foreign corporation; The transnationals corporation were so flexible that they could fly anywhere, any time. They were able even to create massive unemployment and reduce the salaries and look for cheap labours and avoid taxation, etc. The big German corporations also do the same. They were flexible to move. The government’s had no power. In the end of the party the Germans administration found themselves broke and without gas. The state was running out of taxes revenues. The Germans waked up from the German Dream only to have a hang over, after the big global party.

Q.- You meant that the cause of the German stagnation was the globalization? Or to which other factor you attribute this crisis?

A.- The globalization appear in the wrong time, just when Germany is economically busy with his own reunification and his integration in the economic European block. When the Germans wake up from the German Dream they found themselves in a divided society and in the middle of a totalitarian globalization of the corporations, something nobody could image five years ago. So this economic slow down, stagnation or bankruptcy of the German state after 50 years of brilliant economic success in material consumerism and waste, denote how dysfunctional the western capitalistic system it is.

Q.- Do you mean it is not a simple recession, but, a collapse of the system?

A.- Well, I didn’t want to go so far, but, I have the impression that the capitalist system of the Eighteen Hundreds took many forms as a transvestite. The globalization was just a new form of this old capitalist system. I would say a recycled capitalism with a new modernized form, but more cruel and brutal.
I think, the actual situation for Germany is not going to be easy to be solved and is not going to be easy for any German political party. Nobody has the magical formulae. The complexity of this issue it is an historical problem and it is far from local.
It’s a crisis in which criss-cross a bunch of factors: local factors, regional factors and global factors, and this all factors are unresolved problems because of the global structural disruption. In the local, we have the East-West Germany situation that is not totally consolidated.
In the regional aspect, Germany has responsibilities with the European Union; then, Germany has to consider which role wants to play in the Global affair. But beside those factors, there is the factor of the system itself, a system which is already too old for our time and needs to be socially reprogrammed.
It is a problem of the old system that doesn’t work any longer and doesn’t respond to the social and environmental needs of today. There is a big contradiction between Economic Growth and Global Warming.
There are no innovative economic and political ideas, at the moment, to counter the actual stagnation. This stagnation is what I called menopause; but a Western World menopause.
The factor of the globalization added to the factor of the European Union, plus the German factor of identity crisis, makes the prognosis for future of Germany not so good.

Q.- You are trying to tell me that there is not an alternative for the western economic system?

A.- Not in the short term. First, Germany have to stop the world and get off of the globalization to focus in his inner problem. You have to see the phenomena. Globalization demands flexibility and freedom of movement for the corporations, finances and trades. In this context of flexibility the industries produce a financial rush, while in this same rush of flexibility the free labour market are able to kick out any workers, reduce the loans and benefits, hire temporary employees, look for cheaper labour abroad, flight the capitals, etc. making very comfortable for the corporations.
This all human activity interaction of producing and consuming was designed to fit in the capitalistic system. And it seems now that is working against itself.
You see…if the employers are kicking out workers and increasing unemployment massively, while in the other side the government is reforming the social structure cutting subsides and social benefits, so the logic is clear: if the people have no money, then, who is going to support the consumer society, the vertebrae of capitalism. That means, if consumption came down, also production will slow down.
The “supply and the demand” becomes asymmetric. This phenomenon was to be expected.
But never mind, I think the Germans will survive the crisis. As Mr. Kohl said. “Leben gets weiter”.
The Germans are going to learn to live simple and down to the basics. I think this is a good time to get rid of the consumption behaviour. I think this would be a motivation to be more social and to share the collective wealth.
If a new government is going to reform the system only to favour the rich and the corporations, then we will see more and poorer German people. The rule of globalization can make out of Germany a Third World country.
Also it seems as if there is growing a kind of “consumerism consciousness movement”. People are thinking twice, before buying anything. People don’t want just to consume material things that are induced by the media and produced to the market.

Q.- Can you tell me more about the economy in the globalization?.

A.- As soon as the ideas of globalization appears in their ears in Germany, the economy and also the corporations start to dislocates, in other words, to change of location, neee?. Then the corporations had more flexibility, as I said before, looking for more profit in a short time, avoiding taxes, getting read of workers and searching for cheaper workers abroad. This flexibility of foreign and Germans transnational corporations produced the shortfall in the tax revenues.
Last year, the federal and regional states show only the figure of 446 billions Euros, which is not enough for the public treasure and expenses. It supposed to be that the state must take control and regulate the flow of capitals to avoid the voracious undertaking of the multinationals that comes and go, extracting the maximum profit in a short time. So, The big Germans companies, also, prefer to produce, invest, distributed and design in foreign countries because of the cheap labours in the market economy, and also to avoid taxations. This action live the Germans human capital in disgrace.
The dilemma comes on the idea that the corporations create jobs, and the opposite idea, on how to create jobs without rely in the corporations. Some economic experts are proposing more social programs, involving more small companies in which more people can participate, rather than compete with monsters conglomerates. This alternative to create more small companies and less big trans-national companies cannot be a bad economic dream or idea. But the whole scenario appears as a paradox, because the European Union factor maybe is aggravating the threats of globalization by opening the borders to cheap labour and cheap products. The old members of the EU (the 15) are complaining that the new members of the EU (the difference of 25) are taking away the jobs of the old members. So Germans are questioning farther enlargement and also the EU itself. Germany must consider if they want to practice a pure wild capitalism or a new social economy. Anything else will just be speculation or experimental.

Q.- How you define the German economy in short?

A.- The German economy is very anaemic. Lets say, investment and production have a downturn. The prognostic for the next years are not going to reach the figures they predicted of 1.6 percent of growth, but a big Zero and a tinny Seven. So the growth prognosis is going to be bad beside the 5 millions unemployed. In Berlin they maintain that the total public sector deficit will fall below 3 percent of the gross domestic product this year, but the economists put the figure closer to 3.3 percent breaching the Euro zone Stability Pact. The workers of IGMetal, for example, are demanding the rise of their salary’s to 6.5 percent higher. But the employers offer no more than 2.4 increase plus a one off payment of 800 Euros. They want to fob off workers with the payment increase under the rate of inflation of small wage increases in the face of huge profits of still makers. Steel industry is booming more than ever. And the automotive industry is responsible for one of every seven German jobs.
Under actual economic crisis who wants to buy more cars and anyway under actual environmental conditions who need cars?
The SPD were looking to approve new taxes on rich individual’s assets ; a taxes rise in inheritance , capital gains taxes, a ban on business deducting foreign investments from their tax bills in the way to keep alive the project Hartz IV. Hartz IV is the biggest reform ever in Germany and is the most drastic in terms of its consequences. The Germany human capital is not so happy about this abrupt change, and also not about the figures of the economic prognosis. Also, they are not in the mood to listen political promises of better times, except to suffer the impact of the low growth.
The conservative programme of Misses Merkel (CDU) wanted to do the contrary: tax reform and reduction of subsides, but with individual caveats. They will cut the taxes rate to the top corporations from 25% to 22%, while increasing the valued-added tax (Merwersteur?) from 16% to 18%, designed to reduce the cost of social insurance which actually is shared by companies and workers. The CDU wanted to increase the state revenues to 16 billion Euros a year, etc. to make out of Germany a strong federal system. But, at wich price? The small business will be out of the game in the brutal competition and also there will be decreasing on sales for the German retailers, because everything will be expensive and the domestic market will be weaker.

Q.- The sense of “Menopausal Society” are you referring, indirectly, that the conservatives party’s are made to keep the status quo as it is?

A.- Well, not realy. I don’t want to insult anyone else. But, now that you ask me it cross through my mind that indirectly may be you right. Actually the Status Quo is old and can not be kept as it is. The interest of the neoconservatives is to keep the same old order and leave things unchangeable. This attitude is to keep the privileges as they are, the economic powers as they are, the dominant elites as they are. The reforms only adjust to the needs of the privileged and naturally of the conservatives; they are not interested in revolutionize something. The idea to keep the same old order alive is not any longer fashionable or viable in our days, as is also the conservative thinking. There must be a totally new leadership that can fit in our new modern times. I think as the e world evolve, we don’t need conservatives, but revolutionary minded, or lets say new leaders with wide vision of the future, of the planet and of the people. We need authentic leaders that can really work in the demands of actual times.

Q.- What do you think would be Germany if ruled by a female in case Mrs Merkel from the CDU party would be elected?

A.- First of all I think this would be wonderful in the sense of changing the role in the males dominated political arena. I believe that a society ruled by women can turn all the status quo, up side down, if women don’t follow the male line of society. Women have the virtues and attributes that a man has not. In the domestic cosmos, women have the skill to organize the family in such economic and social manner that makes the things function. But if women in power will follow the same old line of rules, designed by men, then the changes it will don’t be significantly in societies. For example if Mrs. Merkel is elected, it would be a good signal for the female political platform in the sense that they are winning ground in the social, sexual, economic and juridictional rights. But I wonder if she will come up with the best ideas, as a problem solver. I hope she will don’t take the resemblance of Margaret Thatcher neo conservative-neo liberal tough rules as she mention in the program.
The ties with the neoconservative sphere of the United State may follow the line of the Bush administration in the “war on terror”, and maybe can exacerbate the crisis. The tough laws they are planning to pass, will put the army in alert. I think Germany is enjoying a great period of peace and the freedom and should be kept as it is. I don’t see the German society loosing their grip, loosing civil liberties and living in fears. Naturally the CDU it will embrace in neoconservative alliance with the three B´s: Blair, Bush and Berlusconi.
After all some minorities issues as the women and gay liberations, environment, human rights and peace movements were the work of the actual “Sixties Eighties Generation”, making out of our society a most tolerant, free and peaceful society.

Q.- What do you think about the CDU Manifesto about their program in case been elected

A.- The CDU have not the politic and economic alternative to the one proposed by the SPD except differences on strategic priority’s. Misses Merkel put her program as if she would like to do out of the German reality a German Dream. She would like to push Germany to the Free Market Economy and put Germany to the dubious global market rush of competition and privilege. She said that she wanted Germany be a winner and not a looser in the globalization and have a place in the world. That dream is very respectful. Everybody is free to dream. But, I think she comes too late with this dream.
The planet is “fix and fertig”. The international public opinion are talking about environmental problems, (Global warming), human rights, animal rights, amnesty, poverty, hunger, corruption, inequality, injustice. Or let’s put it in this way: with hard work and discipline, Germany had reached the third position as economical power in the world, but with a “Marshal Plan” and for a short term, cycle that is finish now and without no much chances to be the number One.
If today, the aspirations of Germany is to become an imperialistic country, I think it comes a little bit too late, because the times for empires are over. The USA is the last empire that is fighting to it´s survival. USA and as well Europe are in a process of decadence. The dream of Misses Merkel,(lets say, of the CDU) is a good electoral strategy that could work in the short term. The majority of Germans are suffering the consequence of the neo liberal model of the free market economy and they feel more the victims than the winners… I think, because of the correlation of economical factors the centre is not anymore the point of convergence. The social tendency is more far from the centre to the left as a logical equation of the class polarization caused by the globalization.

Q. Do you think that terror can reach Germany or can be materialized?

A.- I don’t think so, at least at the moment. Actually the German public opinion played a very good role against the invasion of Iraq and that made out of German society a save place for his people. There is no reason to have terror in Germany. I think Herr Schröder played a good role in not getting involved in a war that was not their war. You see, every political candidate from any party presents a programme or a concept to win or loose the voters. When’d Herr Schröder opted not to support the invasion of Iraq he knew that the peoples were not favouring that invasion, not only because was illegal, inmoral and illegitimate, but also because he want to win the hearts and minds of the voters and he do. The same happen in Spain with Zapatero against Aznar. In any of the cases was a good move not to embroil Germany into a war. I think the German population had enough of wars in their history and I believe that the German population just wanted to live in peace. In Germany we have a big and effective peace movement, human rights movement, environment movement, etc. Germany society is the most conscious society on all this issues than any industrial country in the world. They were the firs to sign the Kyoto Protocol. They don’t need to be Number One in military spending. They can be the champions of the politics of containment and peaceful deterrence.
To declare a “war on terrorism” is to declare a war on itself. This is a never ending cycle of conflict that can become a “clash of civilizations”. The invasion of Iraq has provoked a boomerang effect of violence in home of the countries involve. The western world countries come up with the rhetoric that a bunch of barbarians is attacking the civilized world of democracy and freedom. Since I am neutral in this all conflict I just wander who is more barbarous than the other. And who wants to protect their interest and control the natural resources of the other. I think there is a message.
The difficulty will appear if the German government jump into a conflict with Western patriotism to promote their soldiers or to win military prestige in the international arena or to test some new weapons. And of course, the top of the compromise will be to win a war and prevail at every cost, without political solution in the agenda. Such a an obsession only can exacerbate the conflict in which only innocent civilians are the victims. And this is the paradox on the war on terror. No regular army can win an asymmetric war because terror use the element of surprise as irregular army. The enemy is fighting with asymmetry and irregularity in their strategy and tactics against a dominant high-tech weaponry of mass destruction that the USA posses. It gives the impression that the Western World (under the identity of NATO) is united to fight Islam as an identity of terror in a war that cannot be declared from state to state.
Thousands of innocent civilians have die in the invasion of Iraq and still are dying today the proportion of civilian death between the western and the Middle East is disproportionate. Is like a race who cause more damages and killing against the others. Ones are in the ofensive and others in the defensive. Who is right and who is wrong. One thing is clear: the brutal invasion of Iraq it was illegal, immoral and illegitimate.

Q.- Which attention deserves the debate on capitalism some months ago when……?

A.- Actually, Her Schröder was very successful when he took side with German public opinion against the invasion of Iraq, even if he used strategically for his electorate. In this time he play the anti-war and anti American card, in which he win much sympathy and win the national elections for his second terms. His political position brings a kind of German unity in the concert and national pacifism. The Germans didn’t want to know anything about war or bloody conflict because of their own history in the past. So I wonder what Misses Merkel is going to do to win the hearts and minds, and bring unity to the German people. We will see it.
But, before the elections in Nord-Rheine-Westfalia, some months ago there was a national discussion about German realities and German dreams. They bring out from the closet some words that they didn’t use since decades. For example, the word “capitalism” was taboo for the Social-Democrats and all German party’s, especially in this age of the so called globalization, in which the word “capitalism” was replaced by the words of “Free Market Economy”. The discussion was orbiting around the concepts of, what is “social economy” and what is “neo liberal economy” or in other words “social Market Economy” or “Free Trade Economy”?. All of a sudden the German people found themselves living in a wild capitalist society, similar to the wild capitalism of the United States in the other side of the Atlantic. So, naturally, and unavoidable the targets in this rhetoric were the investors (and speculators) of the United States and the United Kingdom –two inscrutable friends since ages-. One official in the Union, who avoided to be identified, depicted this two nations as “blood suckers”. But, the fact is that the SPD took out of the bottle the ghost of “capitalism” with anti-capitalistic tone, provoking alarm in the economic elite and inspiring the left-wing party’s.
The prospect of other party’s wanted to turn more to the left, becomes intensify playing social cards. As an effect Lafontain and Gissy forms a new fresh socialist party. For the NRW, the most industrialized and most capitalized part of Germany was a wrong message. The SPD were evoking the German discontent with a little turn to the left, but after putting into effect his reform agenda 2010 starting with the Hartz IV in the beginning of this year, made people think on a big contradiction for an electorate propaganda. But my question is: there is a potential candidate that can correct the course of Germany into a better life condition?
Better times are becoming taboo. With the reform, the German people feel losing much of their social benefits in health, education, and work market. The small wages (payment) are increasing in the face of huge profits of foreign corporations in which also the top executives are earning a huge amount of money. Not so long ago the Chairman of the SPD say. “Or society is a swarm of locust that…..”The dangers to our democracy are the foreign financial investors that assault and destroy the traditional partnership and solidarity of the German companies” says an SPD official. They were not wrong, beside the propaganda for the elections reason.This centre-left social-democrat party, broke down their promises wend things were going from public to private sectors.

Q.- What do you think about the USA definition of Germany as “old Europe”?

A.-Some politicians of the white house are defining the world in their own criterion according to their mood and according to their need. When Germany and France didn’t support the war in Iraq and the reconstruction of Iraq they were insulted as part of Old Europe, but the ones who supported the war and send their troops were called the New Europe. This policy is nothing new; you can see it also in another dimension: like “If you are with us, then you are good and smart people and if you are not with us, then you are part of the Axis of Evil. Choosing the USA model and be pro American, pro market economy and neo-liberal, can be the ultimative kick to go to heaven. Actually there no is no “new” Europe. In the time of Cristopher Columbus he put it Europe as the “old world” and the American continent as the “new world” The Europeans were doing out of Europe the centre of the universe and the fountain of the beginning of civilization something was not except the Western civilization. As everybody knows Iraq (Mesopotamia) is actually the nest of all civilization.
Is difficult to tal about Germany without talking about Europe since Europe is depending greatly on the economic and political engagement of Germany and France. Right now, Europe is re inventing itself and is taking a new form and shape.
Life is very ironic. Actually who were pushing for chances and working for the civil rights of some minorities in Germany were the SPD and also the Greens. They were fighting fot the rights of the women liberation in a society dominated by mail concept of society and also against the discrimination of homosexual and other minorities. An now we see those minorities issues as “women” and “homosexuality” taking part in the full social issues. These were the “Sixty Eighter`s” generations from the Green’s and SPD.

Q,- Do you think that after the WWII the USA penetrates Germany with some cultural values and “American way of life” as they were in the privileged position of occupiers.

A.-Actually the Germans didn’t copy but they were persuaded or induced to adopt an American way of life after the occupation. The whole German population where blamed guilty and were politically submitted. After the war world II. All democratic parties of the Federal Republic were liberals and pro Americans. In this time the Germans politicians couldn’t not do much or have any choice than to accept the capitulation and the conditions of rendition. In turn the USA brings their symbols, finances, products, etc., to produce a kind of “German dream” or “German Way of Life”. Germany was invaded by American symbols, values, economic and political systems, and architects for the reconstruction They installed their liberal market democracy and made out of their icons a myths as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. John F. Kennedy, drinking Coca Cola. In a way, the conservative centre-right CDU/CSU, in one side, and centre-left SPD/GREENS in the other side, reflect, in the actuality, the two party’s system of American political culture -as the republicans and democrats- replanted in Germany. Actually the liberal conservative’s hade ruled since the time of Bismarck, Conrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl. I don’t know if this polarity will change soon. But, there is something new out there?

Q.- What it would be with the new born "Left Party"?

A.- The Left Party, emerge in a moment in which there is a national debate about a whole social and economical crisis. And also emerge to counterbalance the whole political constellation in Germany. There is much discontent in the West and worth in the East, where unemployment rates hover around 20 percent, more than double the joblessness in Germany, 12 percent, compared to 42 percent for the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) behind Angela Merkel and 27 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD) They will exploit the discontent. Discontent is the mother of all electoral revolt. The social theme will resurge in the agenda. Turning little bit more to the left could mean to pay attention to the social. Fully 30 percent of voters surveyed there said they plan to vote for the Left Party against 29 percent for the CDU. In other words, a party that bases its existence on collecting Germany's dissatisfied has a future. The Left Party comes to stay. Germany's parliament will likely soon be a five-party legislature (CDU, SPD/green and the Liberals -- or FDP -- being the fifth.)

Q.- Vicente, maybe you have some last words to say before we say good by?

A.- Yes, sure. In the global aspect we must accept the fact that there is a global stagnation and there is no where to go. The gears of this old capitalistic system from the XIV hundreds it’s running out of gas and is collapsing at the cost of the people. In the political sphere there is also political stagnation, because there is not political imagination to get out of this black hole especially in the western world. (I would say that in Latin America is happening right now a very interesting phenomenon in this sense) Many politicians and many secular political party’s around the world are only doing politics as a professional engagement to secure their jobs and to conform with the conservative stand of the global corporative oligarchy and submit themselves to the rules of the United States; but for their people, their voters, they are not doing much or nothing.