Thursday, March 01, 2007

Maybe it's time for a new party

Do you know that situation? You have started to think about something and suddenly loads of stuff happen that seem to be related to the issue you've been thinking about. That's what happens to me with the whole "new political party"-stuff I've been thinking about.

I started thinking about this after a very vicious report in a magazine. I thought that maybe politicians would stop saying such stupid things if there were a party out there supporting gamers. I also thought that maybe TV-stations would try to make their reports more balanced with such a group around. During a discussion about computer games and politics in my favourite forum at MangasZene, I mentioned this idea of mine. Suddenly a couple of people there - most of them well over 18 and 'normal' people ... as far as I can tell - told me they wanted to become members once the party was created. I've actually started taking the first little steps towards it (trying to find out how many people would support such a party).

Today, while I was talking a little break from work, I met a woman who is working in the same building, but not with the same company I work with currently. We talked a little bit about politics (yes, there's actually people in Germany talking about politics with other people they've only met once before) and she remarked how much politicians had changed since she had been young - and she's not that old. She pointed out that she could not trust politicians any longer, as she had done when she'd been young. She said they were corrupted - and from my point of view she's right.

This got me thinking about the political parties in Germany. I won't go into detail about the right wing, because basically they are just the political arm of the neo-Nazis in Germany. Apart from them we have the CDU/CSU, the SPD, the FDP, the Greens and the PDS/Linke.

The CDU/CSU is the conservative party. They stand for the 'classical' virtues like family and religion. Basically they usually are supported by older citizens who think the same way (and a few younger ones, too, there's always conservatives around). What they support - apart from everything concerning their virtues - is the corporations.

The SPD traditionally was the sworn enemy of the CDU, supporting the workers and thus being more set on modernizing. "Workers" in this case usually means the blue collar workers, this is what the German term "Arbeiter" stands for. White collar workers are usually called "Angestellte" in Germany. While the CDU supported the wants of the capitalists, the SPD supported the needs and wants of the workers in their companies. But this, it seems, was a long time ago, because these days the SPD usually supports the capitalists as well.

The FDP has become a very small party by now, but originally the called themselves "liberals" with pride and usually found their support among the middle class and the intellectuals. Today they usually side with whoever wants to have them (usually with the CDU, their traditional partner) and are no longer of any importance.

The Greens were the first to unbalance the political system in Germany. They are set on ecological issues and have, especially during the 80s and early 90s while most young people were interested in this, found quite a large group to support them. By now they've surpassed the FDP and established themselves as third power in the parliament.

Finally, after the end of the GDR, the PDS came into the fold, bringing with them their voters from the past. They've sided with the "Linke", a party that sees itself even on the left of the PDS in the spectrum and was founded a couple of years ago by a few remnants from the 'original' SPD.

My problem with all of the parties mentioned above is this: none of them actually fights for the issues of the average voter. They are set on either serving the companies (CDU/CSU, FDP and SPD), their very limited issues (Greens) or are insignificant, because they can't really decide on a course (PDS/Linke).

So who am I to vote for? Hardly the CDU/CSU, as I can't stand their views on family and especially the place of the woman in it, not the SPD any more, because they are no longer really supporting the workers and serving the bosses instead, not really the Greens, because nature isn't my main issue, and surely no the PDS/Linke - and I won't even vote a Nazi-party if it's the only one left on the ballots.

I think a lot of people think just like me - and that's because a lot of them don't even go to the ballots any longer. If the only choice you have is the one about two evils, there's no real point in voting, from my point of view.

A lot of people these days don't trust politicians any longer - not just my nameless acquaintance from my current workplace. A lot of scandals have made the politicians untrustworthy, that's the sad truth. During the last couple of decades the lobbyists have managed to 'buy' their way into politics. These days the decisions don't seem to be based on 'what the voter wants' any longer, but rather on 'what the lobbyists paid for'. This is why I stated that in the party I would like to create anybody taking money from a lobbyist group would face immediate exclusion. Politicians are supposed to work for the voters - and they don't have the money to pay for the right decisions.

I also have gotten the impression that especially the politicians in the Bundestag have long ago lost the little contact they - mostly from high-paid jobs anyway - had with the real life of the average person in Germany. They've got no idea why "Hartz IV" is a hard hit for most people who don't become unemployed for long, because they want to. They've got no idea why a lot of people would be happy with a minimum wage that would at least leave them with enough money to survive. No wonder - they never faced that problem, even before becoming politicians. They have studied and - mostly being men - have always had a well-paid or even high-paid job since then. And that's were the forum I mentioned would come in, telling us what people really think about.

Maybe it really is time for a new party - I'm just not sure whether I'm the right person to found it ... I don't really see myself as a political active citizen.

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