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Thread: Angela Merkel declares death of German multiculturalism

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    Angela Merkel declares death of German multiculturalism

    Angela Merkel declares death of German multiculturalism


    Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared the death of multiculturalism in Germany, saying that it had "failed utterly" , in what has been interpreted as a startling shift from her previous views. The German leader said it had been an illusion to think that Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side.

    "We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, but that's not the reality," she said at a conference of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union party at the weekend, referring to the gastarbeiters, or guest workers, who arrived in Germany to fill a labour shortage during the economic boom of the 1960s.

    "Of course the tendency had been to say, 'let's adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other'. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly," she said, without elaborating on the nature and causes of this failure.

    Merkel's verdict marks a shift in her previously liberal line on immigration which had always put her at odds with the more conservative wing of the party.

    While she stressed in the same speech that immigrants were welcome in Germany and that Islam was a part of the nation's modern-day culture, her remarks positioned her closer to Klaus Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, who last week called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries.

    They also align her with Thilo Sarrazin, the former Bundesbank member whose book on how the failure of many of Germany's 16 million immigrants to integrate was contributing to Germany's decline led to his dismissal.

    Sharing the same podium as Merkel in Potsdam, Seehofer also said "multi-culturalism is dead" and that both the rightwing parties were committed to a "dominant German culture". If Germany did not revise its immigration policies, he said, it was in danger of becoming "the world's welfare office".

    Seehofer insisted his statement was "an attempt to stop rightwing lunatics" but Jurgen Trittin, for the Greens, called the comments "shabby" and in danger of "lending social acceptability to views similar to those of rightwing extremists". There is a labour shortage in Germany. The chamber of industry and commerce has said that Germany is short of 400,000 skilled workers and that the gap is costing €25bn a year, equivalent to 1% of growth annually.

    While industrialists have called on the government to remove obstacles stopping more skilled workers entering Germany, citing lengthy bureaucratic procedures as well as unrealistic thresholds, others say that long-term unemployed German workers should be given more of a chance first. Merkel insisted in her speech that immigrant workers should not be considered "until we have done all we can to help our own people to become qualified and give them a chance".

    The issue has caused tension within Merkel's year-old coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats.

    Labour minister Ursula von der Leyen, a member of Merkel's party, has said it was an illusion to believe people were queueing up to enter Germany.

    "For several years more people have been leaving our country than entering it," she said in an interview. "Wherever it is possible, we must lower the entry hurdles for those who bring the country forward."

    Merkel faces pressure to take a tougher line on immigration, particularly on so-called "integrationsverweigerer" or those immigrants who show a lack of willingness to adapt to the majority culture, by, for example, refusing to attend German language classes.

    While trying to embrace both sides of the debate, including repeatedly calling on Germans to accept that foreigners are a part of their country, Merkel cannot have ignored the popular response with which Sarrazin's book was received, nor the repeated polls in which Germans have indicated a growing intolerance towards immigrants which observers say is linked to fears about economic stability, even though the economy is showing strong signs of recovery.

    Last week a study by the Friedrich Ebert foundation found more than 30% of people questioned agreed that Germany was "overrun by foreigners", while a similar number said they believed that some immigrants had only come to German to take advantage of its social welfare, and "should be sent home when jobs are scarce".

    What they said
    "At the start of the 60s we invited the guest-workers to Germany. We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, that one day they'd go home. That isn't what happened. And of course the tendency was to say: let's be 'multikulti' and live next to each other and enjoy being together, [but] this concept has failed, failed utterly."

    Angela Merkel, German chancellor


    "Germany should … get tougher on those who refuse to integrate before opening itself up to further immigration."

    Horst Seehofer, Bavarian state premier


    "Integration is the achievement of one who has integrated … I don't have to recognise anyone who lives from the state, rejects that state, refuses to ensure his children receive an education and continues to produce little headscarfed girls." Thilo Sarrazin, former Bundesbank board member

    "A large number of the Arabs and Turks living in this city (Berlin) has no productive function other than selling fruit and vegetables".

    "Turks are conquering Germany in the same way as Kosovars conquered Kosovo – with a high birth rate."
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

    Gottfried Leibniz

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    Sounds good to me.

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    to use a chinese-ism, "integration with multicultural characteristics".
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    The Problem Merkel (and Seehofer) are fighting is not really the (lacking) integration of immigrants in Germany, but their poll numbers which have been pretty much in free fall in the recent month. Since the last federal election about a year ago the coalition has lost up to 10-15% of the votes ion the current polls. The Biggest share of this lost was caused by the junior-partner FDP (liberals in the european sense/liberterians) which now might not even manage to enter the parlament due not archiving the required 5%.

    Since Merkel & Seehofers speeches are more directed at the polls instead of the actual problems it is not really a surprise that many of the fears raised simply don't hold up with the facts. Like the article mentioned more people are leaving Germany then entering. This includes Turks. Each year ten thousands more Turks leave Germany then come here. (Though sadly often it are the best educated and trained who leave for Turkey, has people who recieved their education/training here are often very sought after back in Turkey and thus have a huge career chance).

    Also the crime rate among foreigners (especially young ones) is recently treated like it had become an epidemie (thanks to a few high media profile cases) despite constatly dropping for the last decade.

    Also despite being by far the biggest group of Immigrants, Turks are not worst integrated. This "honor" goes to the Russian-Germans who started to returned to Germany after 89/90. But since they are Christians and not Muslims this does not fit well with the "Muslims don't integrate" claim and thuse is usually ignored.

    On the other hand one can almost be grateful for Merkel taking a stance on anything. This is so rare for her that one should feel almost happy about it, even if it is a stupid one.

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    All that Merkel is doing is cementing that the CDU will lose the next couple state elections. Unless the CDU swings a massive turnaround they will even lose Baden-Württemberg, where they've ruled continuously for 57 years - and not to the SPD, but to the Greens of all people. With a loss of Baden-Württemberg, the government can forget ever passing any laws during this legislature, as they'll have pretty much no way of regaining control of the Upper House. Same thing Schröder crumbled over in 2005. It's not only the FDP that's now performing abysmally, the CDU has also dropped below 30% nation-wide in polls for the first time since WW2.

    The Russian-Germans are officially not immigrants, just like the Romanian-Germans - hence they are ignored, despite both groups together being almost as many as there are Turks in Germany, and despite both groups not integrating at all.

    Oh yeah, and Thilo Sarrazin, quoted in the article, is a persona non grata.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarek Morgen View Post
    The Problem Merkel (and Seehofer) are fighting is not really the (lacking) integration of immigrants in Germany, but their poll numbers which have been pretty much in free fall in the recent month. Since the last federal election about a year ago the coalition has lost up to 10-15% of the votes ion the current polls. The Biggest share of this lost was caused by the junior-partner FDP (liberals in the european sense/liberterians) which now might not even manage to enter the parlament due not archiving the required 5%.

    Since Merkel & Seehofers speeches are more directed at the polls instead of the actual problems it is not really a surprise that many of the fears raised simply don't hold up with the facts. Like the article mentioned more people are leaving Germany then entering. This includes Turks. Each year ten thousands more Turks leave Germany then come here. (Though sadly often it are the best educated and trained who leave for Turkey, has people who recieved their education/training here are often very sought after back in Turkey and thus have a huge career chance).

    Also the crime rate among foreigners (especially young ones) is recently treated like it had become an epidemie (thanks to a few high media profile cases) despite constatly dropping for the last decade.

    Also despite being by far the biggest group of Immigrants, Turks are not worst integrated. This "honor" goes to the Russian-Germans who started to returned to Germany after 89/90. But since they are Christians and not Muslims this does not fit well with the "Muslims don't integrate" claim and thuse is usually ignored.

    On the other hand one can almost be grateful for Merkel taking a stance on anything. This is so rare for her that one should feel almost happy about it, even if it is a stupid one.
    I must admit that a big red light began flashing very early in the article. There is something about a desperate politician resorting to crude populism that translates across cultures. An example of multiculturalism perhaps?


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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    The Russian-Germans are officially not immigrants, just like the Romanian-Germans - hence they are ignored, despite both groups together being almost as many as there are Turks in Germany, and despite both groups not integrating at all.
    Somehow I don't expect to see any politicians denouncing this as a failure of monoculturalism (because that never fails).


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    crude populism that translates across cultures. An example of multiculturalism perhaps?
    good one.
    There are relevent points in the subject about the need and responsibility for integration by emmigrants.
    However, from such a well known politican I find her statements disturbing, this has been creeping into euorpean politics recently, or atleast what I mean is in a number of euro countries parties with racial policies have been gaining more support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tantalus View Post
    this has been creeping into euorpean politics recently
    Well, with Seehofer it's almost understandable - after all, the CSU "capo dei tutti capi" Franz-Josef Strauß back in the 80s declared that there "shall never be a democratically legitimated party to the right of the CSU" (i.e. no such party may ever enter the Bavarian parliament). And even now, 23 years after his death, the CSU still clings to his doctrines. Hence the CSU - unlike the CDU - traditionally covering all bases from social democracy to right-wing extremist.

    For Merkel though... well, that's a creep we've had in the past couple years - decades actually. The CDU (having lost its left wing a couple years ago) is now losing voters in its centrist wing (originally to FDP, now to the Greens), and tries to compensate on the right-wing edge. The SPD is experiencing a similar loss on the left-hand side of the spectrum, with centrist voters turning to FDP and Greens - they can't compensate on the left edge though since that entire wing took a hike and joined the former East-German communist/social-democrat unity party a couple years ago. Basically, neither of the two "people's parties" are covering the centrist base anymore.

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    A short guide to the German Parties might help here for the non-German users (which I guess would be everyone except Kato and myself), especially in regard to the CDU/CSU:

    The CDU (Christrian Democratic Union) is the main "conserative" party and is usually considered centre-right. The CDU is found in every German state with one exception: Bavaria
    In Bavaria (and only here) we have instead the CSU (Christian Social Union), which is usually considered quite a bit more to the right of the CDU and quite a lot more..weird (to put it lightly). On the Federal level both parties cooperate and have an united faction in the parlament, but the CSU is often considered (quite rightly) as a troublemaker in this partnership. Until the elections in Bavaria 2008 the CSU ruled alone with an absolute majority for over 45 years (something without precedent in Germany) and was only now forced to form a coalition government with the FDP (Liberians and tradional Partner of the CDU/CSU on federal level or in other states). This was considered a disaster for the CSU and it has since then not managed to recover from it (for reasons mentioned by Kato).

    The whole result is that German will no longer have 2(.5) major parties with 3 minor parties but rather 5 medium parties. If nthe current trend continues we might even see a Green chancellor in a few years...though that is quite unlickly in my opinion even with the current surge the Green have in some polls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarek Morgen View Post
    we might even see a Green chancellor in a few years...though that is quite unlickly in my opinion even with the current surge the Green have in some polls.
    We'll probably have two Green state prime ministers by the end of next year (Baden-Württemberg and Berlin), probably both with SPD as minority partner.

    I wouldn't put the CSU to the right of the CDU btw, except on a couple items. They're... more encompassing, both to the right and to the left, mostly due to being ... well, Bavaria as a whole. Single-party-government for 60 years. Gotta stretch it a bit there either way. The CDU had that more encompassing stance back in the 50s under Adenauer, but lost it subsequently while integrating voters from other parties.

    Current poll at federal level (done 10/13) has:
    - CDU/CSU combined at 29% (CDU about 23%, CSU about 6%)
    - Greens at 25%
    - SPD at 23%
    - Left at 12%
    - FDP at 4% (kicked out of parliament)

    Or in other words, the government elected a year ago now polls only 33%, and would gain only 29% of seats. If the trend continues, we don't end up with 5 medium parties but with 4. Well, 4.5.

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    Tarek Morgen
    A short guide to the German Parties
    thanks. that was alot of help.

    So it seems that Merkel's statement is based on motivitations of vote searching due to a narrowing of the vote available to the party
    The CDU (having lost its left wing a couple years ago) is now losing voters in its centrist wing (originally to FDP, now to the Greens), and tries to compensate on the right-wing edge
    The implications of 5 even parties raises headaches in trying to run a stable and coherent government.

    However, whatever the motivations, the PR is unchanged, a message of anti-racial sentiment, although it is partly based on legitimate concerns over the lack of effort made by emmigrants to integrate. Parties with racial tendencies have had success in a number of euro countries seemingly linked with the economic downturn. There is a hatred building in many that foreigners have taken jobs while nationals are unemployed. It seems to be that the message has not got through clearly over the piost-war era about the equal nature of all races despite the teaching of our modern values and highly educated populations. However, I expect the germans are not at a comparable level with many other euro countries regarding these racial views, as the past seems to still weight heavily on the german psyche.

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    oops, i mean racial sentiment sorry, not anti-racial

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post

    Current poll at federal level (done 10/13) has:
    - CDU/CSU combined at 29% (CDU about 23%, CSU about 6%)
    - Greens at 25%
    - SPD at 23%
    - Left at 12%
    - FDP at 4% (kicked out of parliament)

    Or in other words, the government elected a year ago now polls only 33%, and would gain only 29% of seats. If the trend continues, we don't end up with 5 medium parties but with 4. Well, 4.5.
    Interestingly the Greens only poll higher then the SPD in the Forsa polls. Other polls always show the SPD still quite ahead of the greens (and all other parties mostly at the same level: CDU/CSU at around 30%, Linke at around 11 and the FDP% fighting the 5%.).

    You can compare the latest different polls here:

    Sonntagsfrage – Umfragen zur Bundestagswahl (Wahlumfrage, Wahlumfragen)

    The implications of 5 even parties raises headaches in trying to run a stable and coherent government.
    Well some parties would still be quite a lot stronger then others. Right now the SPD and CDU/CSU would get for example up to 5 or 6 times the seats the FDP would get (if they even manage to pass the 5% threshold)

    owever, whatever the motivations, the PR is unchanged, a message of anti-racial sentiment, although it is partly based on legitimate concerns over the lack of effort made by emmigrants to integrate. Parties with racial tendencies have had success in a number of euro countries seemingly linked with the economic downturn. There is a hatred building in many that foreigners have taken jobs while nationals are unemployed. It seems to be that the message has not got through clearly over the piost-war era about the equal nature of all races despite the teaching of our modern values and highly educated populations. However, I expect the germans are not at a comparable level with many other euro countries regarding these racial views, as the past seems to still weight heavily on the german psyche.
    The rise of new right-wing anti-immigration parties in many european parlaments in the last elections is certainly a factor for those Speeches and Comments by Merkel and Seehofer. If such a party would be succesful established in Germany it would be a harder blow to CDU/CSU then unifaction of the former SPD-left wing the the socalist from the former GDR (which are now know the "Die Linke"/The Left). Such a party would not even need to get into the Parlament to send the CDU/CSU in an even worse crisis then they have now.

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    Such a party would not even need to get into the Parlament to send the CDU/CSU in an even worse crisis then they have now.
    it doesnt need to be a new party if the same ideas start to take hold in the CDU/CSU.
    Regarding all countries, Even if there was not a strong likelyhood of a party with such views of actually getting into a decision making power, the introduction of such ideas into the political mainstream will have affects on the views of the pop. regarding people of other countries, races and cultures. Thus doesnt have to reflect in immigration policies but it will affect in a much broader sense regarding the pyche of the society. Vice versa, the views of the people will affect the stance and policies the political parties take and eventually result in the pentration of these parties with people with such a racial perspective, that is if we see a shift in this generations views regarding tolerance. This needs to be guarded against imo.

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