The Bloodsuckers….


Davids Medienkritik has a fine expos��?���© of anti-Americanism in Germany and its remarkable similarities with an earlier form of scapegoating in Germany.

It does seem to be a trend. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung noted in March, Franz Müntefering, chairman of the Social Democratic Party, attacked entrepreneurs as “locusts,” which German historian Michael Wolffson noted refers to “a plague that must be exterminated.” Wolffsohn compared the remarks to the language of the Nazis: “Today one refers to this ‘plague’ as ‘locusts,’ back then as ‘rats’ or “Jewish pigs.'”

Hat tip to Nathalie Vogel for the remarks of Müntefering.

Further hat tip: David Jenniches has corrected my earlier posting (see comments), as I had taken some of the remarks in the article as Müntefering’s words, not as the extrapolation from them by Wolffsohn. Thanks for the correction, David, and apologies for my mistake.

12 Responses to “The Bloodsuckers….”

  1. Need Some Votes? Blame a Foreigner

    Tom Palmer beat me to this story but I’ll post on it anyway. Foreign private equity firms, specifically those from the U.S., are under attack by politicians seeking votes in Germany. As a recent Business Week article reported: Few places…

  2. David Jenniches

    Franz Muentefering said in his April 16,2005 interview with the leading German tabloid Bildzeitung:

    ” I fight against business people and people working in the international financial markets who act as if there are no rules. Some financial investors don’t think about the people whose jobs they destroy.

    They remain anonymous, they don’t have a face, like locusts, they attack companies, devour them and move on. It is this form of capitalism we fight against.” (my own translation. I’m not the David behind Davids Medienkritik)

    As he latter admitted, Mr. Muentefering had some private equity companies in mind. In his remark the locusts remain anonymous because Mr. Muentefering doesn’t want to name them. It is common among German socialists to reserve humaneness to workers. Entrepreneurs, creditors and shareholders are only referred to as “the capital”.

    The mosquito cover Tom posted here is taken from the “metall” magazine. It’s published by the IG Metall, the largest German labor union. Mr. Muentefering is a member of this union since 1967.

  3. David Jenniches

    Franz Muentefering didn’t say anything like “a plague that must be exterminated.”

    Michael Wolffsohn said that one could draw that conclusion from Muentefering’s use of the word “locust”.

  4. Tom G. Palmer

    Thanks, David. Calling investors vermin (“locusts”) is nonetheless a remarkably disturbing term that is redolent of the dehumanization of “Jewish capital” by the National Socialists and other anti-Semites in middle Europe. Müntefering is playing with fire and he deserves to have his hands burned.

  5. unfortunately not only Müntefering might get his hands burned for the nonsense he said but all germans, investors ranking germany a less interesting place. Müntefering thinks he gets more popular with that unforgivable and irresponsable nonsense hopefully he is wrong, Germans not being so stupid.

  6. David Jenniches

    I found a very interesting quote that demonstrates that German union officials are very sensitive to verbal abuse.

    In a speech given at the annual IG Metall convention on Oktober 15, 2003 in Hannover, Michael Sommer, the chairman of the German Federation of Labor Unions (DGB), said:

    “And those who don’t support these policies [ of economic liberalisation, tax and social benefits cuts etc.] are insulted. As dissenters, as irresponsible. And one can hear words like PLAGUE or CANCER [printed in bold in the original manuscript]. As if those who refuse to [support these policies] had to be exterminated and destroyed …”

    Luckily, Mr. Sommer is a man of moderation. He goes on:
    ” even if it’s difficult to turn hot rage into cold anger: sometimes it has to be done. We [=the unions] are the ones who keep the peace in this country. We don’t need to set fire to this country. ” (my own translation)

    Thank God! They don’t need to do that. Let’s keep them happy so they never feel the urge to do otherwise.

  7. Charles N. Steele

    The so-called “destruction of jobs” by capitalists is a common confusion, particularly among socialists and anti-globalists. Capitalism historically and currently creates net jobs. Capitalism also eliminates unproductive activities and replaces them with productive ones. Anti-capitalists note the elimination, ignore the replacement and net creation of productive activity, and draw erroneous conclusions. The left’s criticisms are a kind of blindness, more often than not intentional, I think.

  8. Charles N. Steele

    regarding the bookseller in Amman, what’s wrong with selling books by Hitler, Moore, etc.?

    In NYC there used to be a bookstore run by the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party, or something like that) that featured — in addition to the complete works of every imaginable communist author — books by Milton Friedman, libertarian anarchist tracts, right-wing conspiracy stuff, etc. There was hardly a political position that wasn’t represented. What a great bookstore!

  9. Tom G. Palmer

    I’ve not seen the bookstore (just the photo that was posted above), so I don’t know the context. I do know that in societies that are relatively closed (as most of the Arab world is) to outside influences and to open and free debate, you will find crazy texts such as the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” taken seriously. It’s merely interesting that such frauds might trade alongside works by or about Michael Moore and Che and Hitler. I wouldn’t read too much into it other than that there is a significant appetite among foreign publishers for anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-liberal books, and Michael Moore’s may fit appropriately on a list of such books.