- A comment on the political crisis in Germany (H.C., July 9, 2018)
- The zigzag course of German imperialism: A few main points (Fredo Corvo, July 10, 2018)
- A first reply to Fredo’s proposition (H.C., August 9, 2018)
The zigzag course of German imperialism: A few main points (Fredo Corvo, July 10, 2018)
The political crisis that has gripped the German bourgeoisie – at least since the 2017 elections – raises questions about how Germany is responding to global tensions. In the current chaotic situation, there can be no definitive analysis. This article is necessarily limited to a few main points. I will try to provide a historical materialistic framework for analysis in circumstances where the German bourgeoisie is still divided as to how it should respond to the current and future economic crisis, to its internal political stalemate and to the different options that the relationship between states in the world seems to offer. This framework is derived from the analysis of the Dutch Communist Left in a similar situation, namely a retrospective by Anton Pannekoek during the First World War. Another main thrust of this article is an attempt to understand the implications of an underlying change in geopolitical relations since the arrival of what the Communist International called the “period of wars and revolutions”: the rise of Asia, and of China in particular. The broad outlines of an analysis that I am going to sketch here require concretization, further substantiation with factual material and, above all, verification in the light of the facts. In this respect, I agree with the analyses of the ICGL and, in particular, of Nuevo Curso, which have been translated on the Dutch Arbeidersstemmen blog, the German Arbeiterstimmen blog and A Free Retriever’s Digest.
“A comment on the political crisis in Germany”
Under the aforementioned title, a short commentary by Henry Cinnamon was published on the blog of A Free Retriever’s Digest, (…) which attempts to explain the political crisis in Germany in more detail. (1) The seriousness of this crisis is reflected in the following extracts in ascending order:
“The days of the present ‘grand coalition’ remake appear thereby as numbered even before it has really come off the ground.
“A profound shake-up of its party landscape, alliances and coalitions is looming in its wake.
“(…) Seehofer’s maneuvering against Merkel and the SPD in government. The former would be envisaging a deployment of the CSU at a national level, in preparation for a coalition with the AfD at the image of Austria’s government of ÖVP (Kurz) and FPÖ (Strache)”.
The latter analysis stems from The New York Times and was written by Alexander Görlach – a member of American think tanks. While Cinnamon calls him an “informed commentator”, he rightly doubts that Seehofer’s aim is indeed to form a coalition with the AfD, in what the German media have called an ‘Alleingang’ – a solo action. However, Cinnamon’s argument that Seehofer, in that case, would have been better off leaving his ministerial post is questionable. With Seehofer’s presumed position of a member of the Merkel government wanting to overthrow this government in order to present himself as a right-wing nationalist alternative to Merkel in subsequent elections, the major problem is that of choosing the right moment. This becomes clear when we compare Seehofer’s situation with Boris Johnson’s. Johnson left the government of Theresa May on the grounds that, if he wants to remain a credible person, he should not allow himself to be further contaminated with May’s course towards a “soft Brexit”. Seehofer, by contrast, can claim as his work the recent compromise that saved the Merkel government, for the time being, and he has even succeeded in pushing the CDU-CSU to the right. The problem with situations like this is that we cannot read thoughts, that often electoral considerations prevail, even if they conflict with other political interests, which we might assume to be more important. There is, however, no fundamental rationality underlying bourgeois politics. As a ruling and exploitative class that is in no way able to offer progress to humanity, it balances between recession and war like a trapeze artist over a rope that unfolds at every shaky step, focused on the short term, only to fall into an abyss none knows, the bourgeoisie itself the least, in the long term. This metaphor is in contrast to what Cinnamon sees as:
“the interests of the German bourgeoisie, its orientation towards the revival of the Franco-German axis, without which the EU itself would suffer its definitive shipwreck.”
On the other hand, he argues:
“a policy of ‘re-nationalization’, rabidly advocated by the CSU leadership and its allies – and cheered from the sidelines by the right-wing populist AfD – (…)”
For the sake of simplicity, I accept this dichotomy, even though a more refined analysis would most probably find far more than two positions on the desired orientation of German capital. The problem is whether, in the current confused situation, it is possible to determine what is in the interests of the German bourgeoisie. Cinnamon formulates it cautiously – “it may be doubted” – but his choice of illustration for his comment seems to be in favor of an “Alleingang” by Seehofer which is contrary to the German national interest.
How serious is ‘re-nationalization’?
When we go back to the results of the Brexit vote and the election of Trump, we also remember the analyses that stated that both events were against the interests of British and American capital, respectively, and even ‘weakening of the bourgeoisie’. It was later established that both the British and the American bourgeoisies have now turned both ‘accidents’ during the election circus not only into a weapon against their deadly enemy, the working class, but even into a reorientation of their imperialist strategies. In the case of the current German political crisis, caution should be exercised in statements about the viability of both the revival of the Franco-German axis and of a policy of ‘re-nationalization’. Caution is required with regard to what at the moment seem to be positions based mainly on Seehofer’s electoral considerations, which otherwise lack any rationality. In the case of an election victory, however, rationality comes after the event. The broad outlines of ‘re-nationalization’ are already partly visible in the objectives of those who bring about a right wing orientation of the electoral circus and of the policies of governments (whether right-wing, central or left-wing).
First of all, we see a propaganda, shared by the whole political spectrum, of nationalism as the ideology by excellence for capital to bind the working class, and its inevitable shadow, xenophobia, aimed in particular at migrant workers, and the portrayal of other national capitals not only as competitors, but even as parasites and warmongers. Following up the anti-Islam and anti-terrorist campaigns, fears for war refugees and economic refugees are being used to blame them for the deterioration in the labor market and social benefits resulting from capitalist policies since the 1980s, which are referred to as ‘neo-liberal’.
Secondly, ‘re-nationalization’ is in line with what the petty bourgeoisie and the weaker sections of capital consider to be in their interest and ‘therefore’ in the national interest. The influence that the petty bourgeoisie and
of small and medium-sized enterprises exercise within the working class – think also of those subcontracting workers who see themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’ and not as workers – is used by big business to control society and politics as a whole, but in this game conflicting capital interests can temporarily cause confusion. ‘Nuevo Curso’ gives a recent example of this when it refers to the EU’s financial crippling of the southern European countries, particularly Greece. (2) In the media, the draconian cutbacks dictated to these countries were justified in a racist way by reference to the supposed “laziness” of the Mediterranean workers and the supposed “industriousness” of, for example, the German and Dutch workers. The part of the German bourgeoisie that believes that a certain leveling of European finances is required in order to maintain the ‘internal market’, which is indispensable for certain large German companies, is now forced to point out the advantages that the EU brings to it – and ‘thus’ presents its interests as the ‘national interest’.
Thirdly, it is significant to see that the ideologies that work electorally in favor of ‘re-nationalization’ and that are mainly spread by a whole range of new populist parties and similar groups within established parties, from political and military ‘research’ institutions and ‘scientific’ blogs to outright hate sites, have so far been actively sponsored by lobbies from both the United States and Russia.
The motivation behind this seems clear to me: until now, both superpowers have been striving for an economically, politically and militarily weakened Europe.
It is indeed this choice that is concealed, however, by the German political crisis, and not the one for fewer or still fewer refugees: “yes” or “no” to the formation of a European bloc under Franco-German leadership. The German bourgeoisie hesitates between different orientations from the past and what different fractions see as a future possibility. The outcome of this choice is far from certain, even if one might think that the German bourgeoisie – after two defeats in the World War! – is once again being driven by economic necessity towards a more aggressive imperialist policy. In my opinion, however, such an analysis is more vulgar-materialistic than historical materialistic.
“The economic necessity of imperialism”
In an article with this title, Pannekoek pointed out in 1916 that both the idea of the economic necessity of imperialism and the rejection of this necessity were used by the proponents (Otto Bauer, Lensch, Cunow) and the opponents (Rosa Luxemburg) of social imperialism as well. Without presenting all these views and Pannekoek’s refutation of them here, I shall confine myself to some of his conclusions.(3)
In social democracy, necessity was sometimes seen as desirability. A reader who finds some of the texts on which I am building, for example through a search engine, could – quite wrongly – see them as speeches in favor of building a Franco-German imperialist bloc. That is because we sometimes forget to present all our analyses explicitly from the point of view of the working class and to patiently explain that the choice in favor of a Franco-German axis or in favor of ‘re-nationalization’ are both not in the interests of the workers and that our class has an independent, revolutionary and communist perspective.
Pannekoek points out that imperialism is in line with the ideas of big business:
“Why is this imperialism necessary now? Not because capitalism would be economically ruined, would not be able to continue without imperialism, neither because domineering feudal militarist cliques simply exist. It is simply because the big capitalists want this imperialism. They want it because it is in their interests; because they earn a huge amount from it. And they can, because they are the most powerful and control the whole of capitalism.” (Ant. Pannekoek, “The economic necessity of imperialism” – only in Dutch – in De Nieuwe Tijd, 1916, p. 282).
“We will not claim that (…) imperialism is (…) also the most advantageous policy for the masses of the bourgeoisie. This is difficult to establish. What is certain is that powerful economic forces, which stand out clearly, have pulled the majority of this class to the side of imperialism.”
“ In order to highlight the contradiction between imperialism and the old free trade policy, the first is rightly referred to as the export policy of the iron and steel magnates. But that is too narrow and too limited. Producers of consumer goods also have an interest in this policy.” (Idem, p. 283)
“The conflict of interests, which some [social-imperialist, F.C.] theorists construct between the means of production industry and the rest of industry, as if they were independent of each other, therefore looks very much learned on paper, but is based on a completely outdated conception of the structure of capitalism. It does not at all take into account the true modern development, which transforms all these different capitalists – in spite of their internal struggles – ever more into one class, universally connected and mutually dependent on each other. Only by taking this into account it becomes clear why the will of the concentrated big capital of banking and steel works is also the will of the mass of the bourgeoisie; why the power of this big capital, that wants and must want imperialism, is not matched by any other power of significance in the bourgeois world; thus why imperialism is necessary. ”
“But then it is also clear – what the social imperialists do not see – that imperialism is only necessary, i.e. inevitable, as long as the power of the proletariat is not big enough to overcome the power of capital. As soon as the will and the power of the proletariat rises above the power of the bourgeoisie, imperialism is over, is no longer necessary.” (Ibidem p. 284/285)
Despite the fact that this is a retrospective analysis of the rise of German imperialism, these quotes show that Pannekoek first of all recognizes various fractions of capital, which I have referred to as big capital and that of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as producers of means of production and those of means of consumption. These groups are articulating different interests and are fighting with each other for dominance. In this political struggle, the power of big business ultimately prevails. This is particularly the case because all these groups in the economy are closely linked. In the present German situation, however, I do not believe that such a completed crystallization of interests and dominance by whatever fraction has been achieved.
Changing geopolitical relations
In the present situation, there is no longer any follow-up of free trade policy by imperialism, which the socialists claimed before 1914 in order to form a front with the ‘peaceful’ part of German capital. We are now seeing relative free trade … within the economic bloc that makes up the European Union and ‘free’ trade within the confines of … the various international trade agreements, all of which were and are determined by imperialist relations and their changes. Since the implosion of the Soviet Union and the break-up of the Russian bloc, imperialist relations have been dominated by trends in different and partly contradictory directions. First, we saw the USA’s attempts to control the world as a whole by calling for a threat from Islam, by building changing alliances in vital regions, by reducing Russia’s sphere of influence. The economic toll paid by the USA for its role as a global policeman is accelerating the economic decline of the USA with regards to China in particular.
China is responding to the economic crisis with
the economic-military measures (the New Silk Road) to promote its imperialist goals. In the longer term, China is focusing on creating alternative international financial structures that should make it possible to survive the collapse of the dollar hegemony. The Axis China-Russia is at the heart of what could become a future imperialist bloc against the USA.
Just as the Russian bloc disintegrated under the pressure of the crisis and the burden of war, so the crisis and wars have blown up several old alliances and made even disintegrate states into chaos. The USA, which has responded to this and further promoted these trends through the policy of changing alliances, is now threatened by collapse under the same economic pressure. The American bourgeoisie is using the Trump phenomenon to make contradictory attempts to change its economic and military policy, and in doing so revise its imperialist objectives.
Europe has a subordinate role to play in the trend towards confrontation between the declining power of the USA and the emerging power of China. Europe has already had to give up its domination to the USA in two world wars. The USA is currently in a position to take advantage of the contradictions within the EU to bind the EU to itself despite the trade war. Germany is under heavy pressure from the USA, but its chances of defending its imperialist interests by building a military power together with France are diminishing. Ultimately, Germany will have to choose between the USA and the Axis China-Russia.
Germany blocked before the choice between trade and war
Without further analysis, hardly any responsible statements can be made about different parts of German capital and the ‘will’ they express (Pannekoek), i.e. what they consider to be in their interests. We will have an idea of this if we realize that German capital with relatively low armaments costs achieved a “high organic composition” (4) in the period of the Cold War and the reconstruction of Europe and thus a strong competitive position. The high productivity of its capital provides German capital, in the form of super-profits, (5) with an enormous flow of globally produced value. The American bourgeoisie has partly benefited from the same advantage, partly from the Dollar, the world’s money. Labor-saving innovations have only partly been implemented because US firms have simply been able to offset their effects with defense contracts paid for in Dollars. While the USA, China and Russia have central states that equalize, where necessary, the unequal economic situations between the states and regions, the EU lacks a strong central authority that can to some extent level the financial and economic disparities between the member states: it is a currency union but not a political union. Macron’s and Merkel’s plans to develop a European arms industry and a European army required such financial equalization.
With demagogic and petty bourgeois references to the super-inflation of the Weimar period in Germany and racist statements that Germany would not bleed for the ‘lazy’ Greeks, some parts of the German political apparatus hoped to gain [votes]. After the 2017 elections, this led to a stalemate in the coalition negotiations in which the small ‘liberal’ FDP successfully resisted financial equalization within Europe. It is becoming increasingly clear that Germany will have to choose from either of the two, continuing as a trading country – for as long as it can – to benefit from its high labor productivity, or to commit itself, as the economic powerhouse of Europe, to the military (and atomic) power of France. However, the opposing forces of ‘re-nationalization’ seem to be growing stronger and stronger. This will undoubtedly depend on an assessment of the real possibilities for Germany to form a European bloc alongside and against the United States and the Axis Russia–China.
The international proletariat
The proletariat in Europe has no interest in a financial leveling by the EU that will only accelerate pushing the workers into war. Nor does it have any interest in the persistence of economic differences between countries that divide their struggles into struggles per country, in order to be attacked and defeated frontally one by one. The proletariat has no choice because taking position in favor of whatever fraction of capital worsens its working-class position. The proletariat has only one means of power: its struggle as a working class for its own interests, its internationalization and the establishment of the power of its workers’ councils, that abolishes wage labor, the market and value.
Fredo Corvo, ‘Arbeidersstemmen’, 10 July 2018.
Source: De zigzag-koers van het Duitse imperialisme – Arbeidersstemmen, 2018-07-11: https://arbeidersstemmen.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/de-zigzag-koers-van-het-duitse-imperialisme/
Translation: F.C., July 11, 2018. Proofreading and corrections: H.C., July 17, 2018.
Illustrations: a) Picture from the children’s book “Der Struwwelpeter” by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann (1845). Source: Project Gutenberg. b) Cover of the English parody “Struwwelhitler” (1941) for the “Daily Sketch War Relief Fund”. Source: Wikipedia.
1 The article published on the AFRD blog: https://afreeretriever.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/a-comment-on-the-political-crisis-in-germany/
2 ‘Nuevo Curso’, June 30, 2018, Has “German Europe” exhausted itself? : https://afreeretriever.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/has-german-europe-exhausted-itself/
3 See also in a more generally formulation: “If we apply Marxism to the present time, to the history we experience and make, then the situation is completely different from that of an investigation of the past. What happened in earlier centuries: social influence on the people and the returned influence of people to society, is finished; the series of influences, in which the human spirit is an intermediary, is always completed and the end result and original cause are clearly juxtaposed.
But the same chain of causes and effects in our time is not finished; we are in the middle of it. Countless are the ways in which society is in the process of transforming the human spirit, without this having been manifested in a subsequent act, or the cases in which a new reality has barely begun to affect the spirits. Here it is therefore not yet possible to link a social cause with a practical social result.” (Pannekoek, Historisch materialisme, 1919)
5 See Wikipedia: Superprofit and, on the ‘Arbeidersstemmen’ website: Fasen in de ontwikkeling van het kapitalisme, een inleiding (in Dutch language only).
A first reply to Fredo’s proposition (H.C., August 9, 2018)
The main objective of my brief commentary of July 9th on the AFRD blog has been to signal a significant expression of political instability in Germany that has taken the shape of a governmental crisis during its first 100 days in office. It is concerned with the latter’s (possible) political implications and consequences at a national level, related to Germany’s general imperialist orientation and has, evidently, neither the pretense of putting forward a developed analysis of the resurfacing crisis on migration and refugees, (6) nor of its possible implications at the level of (shifts in and turnabouts of) imperialist alliances.
Whereas echo’s from the proletarian internationalist milieu on the aforementioned events in Germany are rather scarce, (7) Fredo Corvo has, to his credit, not hesitated to publish the aforementioned article on the ‘Arbeidersstemmen’ blog.
Its first contribution, it seems to me, lies in focusing on the dilemma’s the German bourgeoisie is confronted with at the level of its imperialist orientation, in the historical context of a chaotic situation at world level that has come to call into question even longstanding strategic alliances like, at present, the Franco-German axis. The latter constitutes the corner stone of the European Union as an economic, financial and trade zone, but has never constituted an imperialist bloc, nor a stable alliance in its own force, at that level.
Secondly, the article proposes an historical materialist framework for understanding the present situation at world level, reconnecting with the comprehension of imperialism that was developed by Anton Pannekoek, in retrospect on the period running up to the First World War – “a similar situation” according to Fredo. In line with the developments by Pannekoek he focuses on the “rise of Asia, and of China in particular” in the present period.
Thereby The article certainly attempts to raise discussions on the international situation beyond an assessment of a series of seemingly singular “incidents” or “accidents”, by relating the latter to the general characteristics of capitalism’s period of decadence. It therefor merits serious consideration.
Having said this, I find some shortcomings and mistakes in its assessment, specifically with regards to his assessment the German government crisis, which I attempt to address hereafter. For reasons of time and space, I intend to comment on the deeper questions of an appropriate framework of analysis (imperialist relations and alliances) in a forthcoming text.
Affirming that the real choice facing the German bourgeoisie is one between either a “yes” or “no” to the formation of a European bloc under Franco-German leadership”, and not “one for fewer or still fewer refugees”, comes across as reducing this new episode in the crisis of the “European project” to that of a mere smokescreen, hiding ‘the real issue at stake’.
In this way any significance of this recent manifestation of the incapacity of the European powers to bring forward any solution or even remedy to migration and refugee issues compatible with their much vaunted “values” of ‘democracy’, ‘the rule of law’ and ‘human rights’ – is overlooked, at a time as this opens the door to a step further into barbarism. This ever more blatant contradiction may however constitute a factor in a process of coming to consciousness on the dead ends of bourgeois rule among large swathes of the population, fueling the search for an alternative.
Notwithstanding that Fredo agrees with the appreciation that the German coalition-government has just escaped from an acute political crisis that has risked its premature downfall, his article is only marginally concerned with a specific analysis of this expression of unprecedented political instability at the heart of Europe. In this respect, it rather contents itself with the affirmation that Mr. Seehofer can rightly claim to have obtained a favorable outcome with his obstructionist maneuverings within the government, like “pushing the CDU-CSU to the right” and that he may even claim to have “saved” the government.
It seems rather questionable whether a “push to the right” of the CDU-CSU alliance (rendering acceptable another sharpening of the state’s restrictive and repressive policies on migration and refugees), would be a specific success of Mr. Seehofer’s. A more plausible assessment, it seems to me, is that Seehofer and his cronies, surfing on a more general repressive and anti-migrant campaign they have in large part fostered themselves since the mass influx of refugees in 2015, (8) have pushed their luck a bit too far by insisting on “simply” turning registered refugees away at the country’s borders without much ado.
Moreover, it seems likely that they have done so without an adequate estimate of the effects of their grandiloquent fear-mongering, making it very hard to discern the CSU (9) from its right-wing populist competitors AfD. This latter appreciation is confirmed by its repercussions, like:
… the increasingly open resistance against the Seehofer and Söder gang and their likes within both Christian democratic parties, which has already led to CSU party prominence expressing disapproval and dire warnings; (10) resignations at the CSU’s party’s base and the formation of a “Union der Mitte” (“Union of the center”) across both parties against their drifting to the right;
… the fact that the city of Munich has already been the scene of massive civil rights demonstrations against increasing state repression and the ‘rightist’ turn taken by the governing CSU twice in the course of the first half of this year;
… a discontent within the population about the almost exclusive attention for an issue that is considered as only a part of a whole variety of social-economic problems that urgently need to be addressed by the government, ranging from the housing question via retirement benefits to problems in health care in general and the care for the elderly in particular;
… consequently: national polling results for both ‘Christian democratic’ parties that not only suggest a first time loss of the absolute majority for their coalition government with the SPD, but a non-negligible damage to Merkel’s repute as chancellor as well, plus a free fall of the ratings for CSU’s main protagonists: party leader Seehofer and the Bavarian Prime Minister Sőder, the latter vying for his reelection in October. Political parties that profit according to the polls are the Greens and the AfD respectively. Albeit some of the SPD ministers’ individual ratings are on the rise, notably that of vice-chancellor Scholz, the SPD as a whole does not seem to draw an electoral profit from its participation in government. (11) As a “Jamaica” coalition has been ruled out in the course of the negotiations following the parliamentary elections of September 2017 there seems, for the time being, no option available to the bourgeoisie but to continue the painstakingly constructed Merkel-IV government, in spite of its bad marks and at the risk of future outbursts of conflicts in its midst;
… disastrous polling results for the CSU in view of the forthcoming regional elections in Bavaria on October 14 (40% adherence at most), that announce the loss of the absolute majority this party has held for decades in its home ground. All the stunt work effected over the past months by the CSU leadership has in effect backfired, leaving this “conservative people’s party” deeply divided without any remedy at hand.
Lending credit to the idea that Seehofer has “saved” the Merkel government sounds like crediting a raider for blackmail because he had let go the stage-coach after the hold-up.
By contrast, the sole fact that a German minister has openly challenged the authority and legitimacy of his superior in government, and subsequently tries to continue in more or less the same way, strikes me as unprecedented in the country’s recent political history, and requires an explanation in its own right.
Against the background of the current polarization in Germany around Seehofer & co., the question needs to be posed where real divergences on issues of orientation and policies on migration and refugees within this government actually lie, and how they relate to the EU-project and the German bourgeoisie’s professed multilateralism.
As to my understanding, the argument in the article results in considering Seehofer and the CSU leadership as protagonists of a realistic alternative imperialist orientation for the German bourgeoisie. I am as unconvinced of this thesis as I am incapable of, mutatis mutandis, seeing Jester Boris as a proponent of a credible alternative for the British bourgeoisie to Theresa May’s persistent attempts at damage control in face of its self-made ‘Brexit’ debacle.
Hopefully, Fredo will give due consideration to factors and repercussions pertaining to the national situation as aforementioned. Referring to platitudes, like the impossibility of reading the thoughts of protagonists, will not be of very much help.
Henry Cinnamon, August 9, 2018
6 For an analysis of the 2015/2016 European refugee crisis, specifically of the German state’s policies related to Merkel’s chancellorship, I’d like to refer to the article From Welcome to Farewell: Germany, the refugee crisis and the global surplus proletariat by Felix Baum in the Brooklyn Rail’s Field Notes of July/August 2016.
7 So far, only brief references to the government crisis in Germany have appeared. For instance, in the context of articles on Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle accompanying the new, “gloves off” stage in the Brexit negotiations, by ‘Nuevo Curso’ and the CWO respectively: Brexit: el estancamiento de una potencia decadente (Nuevo Curso, July 10, 2018); Brexit – Ruling Class Strategic Chaos Unleashes Parliamentary Pantomime (KT / CWO, July 11, 2018). The latter article can also be read on page 30 of AFRD Vol.2 #04.
8 From the campaign claiming that Germany has become a “state of injustice” (Seehofer) by Merkel admitting this influx to the recent scandal about illegal asylum permits granted through the Immigration Office BAMF and an intensely mediatized case of an Iraqi asylum seeker accused of rape.
9 Employing demagogic vocabulary like “asylum tourism”; “anti-expulsion industry”, complaining about Merkel having (in 2015) permitted a “flooding of the country”, etc.
10 Among those within the CSU expressing support for Merkel’s pro-European orientation against Seehofer has figured, for example, ex-finance minister Theo Waigel.
11 See for instance, the opinion poll conducted by Infratest-dimap for the public broadcaster ARD at the end of July. An updated overview of 7 regular national opinion polls can be found on the web site http://www.wahlrecht.de .