(By Ray D.)
In a speech given April 13 at an SPD forum on "Democracy, Participation, Future Sustainability and Justice," SPD party Chairman Franz Muentefering sharply criticized "the internationally growing power of capital and the total economization of short-winded trade for profit." He also lashed out at those calling for leaner government and less bureaucracy, accusing them of wanting to starve the state, which he sees as the great protector and guarantor of social democracy and democratic rights.
Here are the Muentefering money quotes:
"The internationally accelerated profit maximization strategies endanger our democracy long-term. (...)
Our critique is aimed at the internationally growing power of capital and the total economization of short-winded trade for profit. Because, through that, individual people and the future sustainability of entire firms and regions are lost from sight."
This is an absolutely fascinating statement from the chairman of the German SPD (Social Democrats), the party that currently runs Germany's coalition government. If Mr. Muentefering is so passionately concerned about the threat "short-winded trade for profit" poses to democracy worldwide, how can he explain SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's plans to lift the EU arms embargo on China?
Is that what Muentefering means when he talks about putting people (thousands of political prisoners imprisoned and put to death in China on a yearly basis) and democracy (oppressive Chinese dictatorship, Tiananmen Square massacre, threats against Taiwan) ahead of trade and profit?
How can he explain the billion dollar deals signed (so recently the ink still hasn't dried) to sell German trains to Russia while securing German access to Moscow's vast natural gas and oil supplies? Is that another example of putting the "future sustainability" of firms and regions (Yukos going bankrupt, Chechnya a disaster) and human rights (thousands raped, tortured, imprisoned, dead and missing) ahead of profit maximization?
Oh yeah...let's not forget Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. The SPD and the German left never get tired of attacking American politics and business dealings in the Middle East. But just over a month ago, SPD "peace" Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited the Arabian peninsula with 70 German business leaders for an entire week. Business deals worth hundreds of millions of Euros were signed for everything from tanks to trains to communications systems. Is that yet another example of the SPD's concern for democracy in the face of the growing menace of international capital? Did "social democracy" and human rights really matter to Gerd Schroeder and his entourage while the cash registers were loudly ringing down in the land of one-thousand-and-one nights?
Down with international capital and short-winded profit...up with Social-Democracy! Viva la Revolution!
Errr...Would you like another tank, high-speed train or chemical plant to go with that order, Mr. Dictator, Sir?
Or were they worried more about German jobs, German industry, German exports and the German tax base? It seems that "the internationally growing power of capital" is not such a bad thing after all...as long as German companies and the German government are the ones making the money.
This much we know: The German left certainly has a remarkable aptitude for forgetting about human rights, democracy and social justice when it is convenient to do so. This is especially so when they are in power and German money and jobs are involved.
So let's get real comrades: SPD Chairman Muentefering's condemnation of "short-winded trade for profit" and "the internationally growing power of capital" is nothing but the desperate, tired and false rhetoric of a failed Socialist party that cannot see the prodigious extent of its own hypocrisy.
Update: Not surprisingly, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his "Superminister" in charge of the Economy and Labor Wolfgang Clement support Muentefering's rhetoric.