CIAO DATE: 10/07
Votes and Resources: Political Finance in Germany
Public financing of elections means no more Watergates.
— Senator Edward Kennedy
The financing of parties by the state … is a cancer that has hitherto been restricted to Central and South America.
— Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen (SPD), 15 April 1964
"Votes count," Stein Rokkan asserted many years ago, "but resources decide." Political finance is one of the many arenas in which Alexander and Shiratori's "conflict between real inequalities in economic resources and idealized equalities in political resources" is fought out. Yet the battleground is more complex than either of these authorities suggests. Votes are also a resource. They legitimate, and they can also punish, if those who cast them think that economic resources are being used unreasonably. Above all, the determination of electoral outcomes involves players others than voters and moneyed interests. In almost all modern democracies there are referees of varying effectiveness. In general, the referee is "the state," but much depends on the organs through which the state operates. Governments are not necessarily neutral agents; they and the parliaments that legislate on the regulation of political finance may merely reflect the interests of dominant or established parties. Political finance can, however, also be regulated, as for instance in Germany or the United States, by judicial review. In addition the media almost everywhere play an unpredictable role as spectator, watchdog or interested participant. In view of these complexities, it is not surprising that the jury is still out on the causal connection between money and votes and on the effectiveness of attempts to regulate the relationship between them. This paper attempts to trace the evolution of these twin processes in Germany, with reference, where relevant, to the experience of other countries.
The Clash of the German Hunting Community & the Anti-Hunting Movement: Its Political & Social Dimensions
On a frozen field 35 kilometers east of Dortmund, members of Germany's elite—government officials, business leaders, and royalty—assemble in the medieval city of Arnsberg for a 1,000 year ritual: the Arnsberg Treibjagd (driven hunt). Like live-sized Hummelfiguren, adorned in Bavarian-style Loden coats, expensive Zeiss binoculars, priceless weapons, and accompanied by the German hunter's best friend, the Dackel, they ready themselves for the ancient and hairraising wail of the hunting horns—the hunt is on! The playing out of this medieval scene is soon interrupted, however, by an unlikely group of fast-moving, jean-clad "hunting saboteurs" who, wielding signs that read "Hunting is Murder," proceed to barricade hunting areas and to risk life and limb before high-powered rifles. The scene plays itself out in the usual way: heated words are exchanged, the police arrive, and the hunt is cancelled. Over the past few years, this scenario has become more common in German forests. For the first time in its deeply rooted existence, German hunting is under siege by the anti-hunting movement, begging the question of whether this age-old hunting culture will survive in the new century.
The PDS after Gysi: A Report from the PDS Congress in Cottbus
The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) stands at a political crossroad. In October 2000, Gregor Gysi resigned as parliamentary leader of the PDS, and, though pledging to remain active in the party, he will no longer hold any important party post. Gysi's resignation was no surprise, since he had already announced his intentions at the PDS's controversial Parteitag in Münster in March 2000. Nevertheless, the reality of a "post-Gysi" PDS has only now begun to settle in. More than any other politician in Germany—and perhaps more than any German politician in recent memory—Gysi personified his party. The sense of anxiousness among PDS leaders and the majority of the party rank-and-file in the wake of Gysi's departure is palpable.
Beyond Demonology of Power: The Study of German Foreign Policy after the Cold War
Jeffrey Anderson, German Unification and the Union of Europe (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Thomas Banchoff, The German Problem Transformed: Institutions, Politics and Foreign Policy, 1945-1995 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1999)
More than fifty years ago, writing during the aftermath of the horror and destruction of the Third Reich and World War II, the great German historian Friedrich Meinecke described what he called the "demonology of power" (die Dämonie der Macht). He argued that a remorseless worship of national power had taken hold of the collective imagination of German elites during the latter part of the nineteenth century. This Nietzschean "will to power" in Meinecke's view was directly responsible for failure of Weimar democracy as well as for the twin catastrophes of the two world wars. The dread of nationalism and the acute disillusionment with dreams of national grandeur that Meinecke eloquently articulated became one of the defining features of the political culture of the Federal Republic and helped shaped virtually every aspect of German politics and intellectual life for more than a generation.