Aimé Césaire's dramatic break from the French Communist Party in 1956 raises questions not only about the reasons for his resignation, but more importantly, about how he overcame the negative consequences of the rupture to give a new impetus to his career as the principal political leader in Martinique. A close examination of his writings from 1945 to 1959, based especially on his lesser-known declarations, essays, interviews, and speeches, as well as on his more widely-disseminated poetry and history, reveals a more nuanced explanation for the rupture. Above all, these texts offer new insights into how he was able to recover his political momentum by building new alliances both at home and abroad.
Nouveaux élans, nouveaux défis
Thomas A. Hale and Kora Véron
Shas, Politics, and Religion
This article examines the reasons why countries change their educational policies, using Israel as a case study. Employing quantitative and qualitative methods, I show that political constraints can cause governments to modify their educational policies without professional pedagogical discourse. Using the example of the ultra-Orthodox ethnic political party Shas, I demonstrate how—thanks to the political power that the party had gained, as well as the weakening of nationalist values— it succeeded in establishing a network of party schools with state funding despite the fact that some of these schools teach neither the state’s values nor the core curriculum determined by the Ministry of Education.
David P. Conradt
This article develops the thesis that the past quarter-century of electoral volatility in Germany reached a critical tipping point at the 2005 election. The two major parties of the Bonn Republic are now at their lowest combined share of the popular vote since the Federal Republic's founding in 1949. Electoral necessity and not, as in 1966, elite choice forced them into a grand coalition with little programmatic consensus. Their respective demographic cores-church-going Catholics for the CDU and unionized industrial workers for the SPD-have eroded as has the proportion of the electorate identifying with them. Institutional factors such as the electoral system have neither helped nor hindered these changes. The current grand coalition also faces a larger and more focused opposition than in 1966. The article concludes with some comparisons between the current German party system and its Italian counterpart of the late 1980s.
Robert Rohrschneider and Dieter Fuchs
Most explanations for the red-green victory in the 2002 election
refer to two issues that emerged in the final months of the campaign:
the Iraq crisis and the flood in eastern Germany. The surprise
announcement by President Bush to dramatically increase pressure
on Iraq, including a possible invasion, put this issue squarely into the
center of the election campaign. This issue emerged at the onset of
the hot campaign phase, taking parties and candidates by surprise.
Chancellor Schröder quickly and emphatically ruled out the participation
of German troops under any circumstances. His policy may
have attracted a considerable number of voters who favored a more
conciliatory stance towards Iraq. For instance, eastern Germans,
many of whom still remember the anti-American stances of the
socialist government, may have felt comfortable with an uncompromising
antiwar stance and thus supported the SPD in the end,
despite this party’s failure to deliver on its economic promises. And
voters who sympathize with the peace movement in postwar western
Germany may have become mobilized in support of the Green
party. In turn, the largest flood in 500 years may have also provided
Chancellor Schröder with an opportunity to shore up his support
among eastern voters. By all accounts, he met the leadership expectations
of voters by quickly promising financial aid to reconstruct
those eastern regions devastated by the flood.
Brian C. Rathbun
Germany's behavior during the lead-up to the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003 seemed to confirm that the country is marked by a strategic culture of pacifism and multilateralism. However, a closer look at German actions and pattern of participation in military operations reveals that German pacifism is a myth. There was no cross party consensus on German foreign policy in the 1990s around a principled opposition to the use of force. Even in the early years after the Cold War, the Christian Democrats began very quickly, albeit deliberatively and often secretively, to break down legal and psychological barriers to the deployment of German forces abroad. Pacifism persisted on the left of the political spectrum but gave way following a genuine ideological transformation brought about by the experience of the Yugoslav wars. The nature of Germany's objection to the Iraq invasion, which unlike previous debates did not make ubiquitous references to German history, revealed how much it has changed since the end of the Cold War. Had the election in 2002 gone differently, Germany might even have supported the actions of the U.S. and there would be little talk today of a transatlantic crisis. It is now possible to treat Germany as a "normal" European power.
This article offers a corrective to the notion that German ordoliberal ideology is the key to understanding German policy behavior during the Eurocrisis and, by extension, to the contours of the electoral debate in fall 2013. First, it shows that ordoliberal thought underdetermines policy choices. That is, different actors clearly influenced by ordoliberal thinking and often stressing different aspects of the broader ordoliberal cannon are arguing for more or less diametrically opposed policy solutions. Second, the article provides evidence that this deep divide inside the ordoliberal policy community has contributed additional incentives to the tentative and inconclusive policy choices of the government throughout much of the Eurocrisis. Third, the article extends the analysis of this very cautious policymaking into the campaign phase and the subsequent coalition agreement. It explains why the two major German parties—including an SPD with a much thinner attachment than the CDU to ordoliberalism—sought to play down the Eurocrisis in their campaigns and in their subsequent coalition agreement. One implication is the low probability of German policy change despite ideological differences.
The Italian general elections held in February 2013 ended up in stalemate. The center-left coalition won the absolute majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate, making it impossible to form any homogeneous governing majority. In the end, the only available opstion to support the new cabinet was a “grand coalition” of parties from different political sides. This chapter analyzes this destabilizing outcome, taking into account a number of factors: the success of a new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which has become the largest party in the country; the significant loss of votes by the center-left and especially by the center-right, compared to the previous elections of 2008; the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system; the extraordinary level of vote shifts; the “new” electoral geography; the crisis of the bipolar setting; and the transformation of the party system.
Irwin M. Wall
The French elections of 2012 resulted in an unprecedented and overwhelming victory by France's Socialist Party, which gained control of the presidency and an absolute majority in the National Assembly to go with the party's existing domination of most of France's regions and municipalities. But the Socialist Party remains a minority party in the French electoral body politic, its victory the result of a skewered two-ballot electoral system. The Socialist government, moreover, remains hampered in its action by its obligations toward the European Union and its participation in the zone of countries using the Euro as it attempts to deal with France's economic crisis. As a consequence of both of these phenomena the government may also be sitting atop a profound political crisis characterized by the alienation of a good part of the electorate from the political system.
On 9 November 1989, the government of the German Democratic
Republic decided to open the Berlin Wall, effectively signaling the
collapse of the socialist system in East Germany. The subsequent
transformation of the country’s political structures, and in particular
that of its political parties, took place in two phases. In the first
phase, directly after the fall of the wall, the GDR’s political system
underwent a radical democratic and pluralistic overhaul without
West German involvement—although the existence of a second German
state, the Federal Republic of Germany, naturally influenced
the goals, strategies, and scope of action of the actors concerned.
In 2008 the first state-level CDU-Green coalition was formed in Hamburg. Drawing on the literature on party goals (vote-, office-, policy, internal cohesion- and democracy-seeking), this article examines the GAL's decisions to join and to end the coalition. It examines the trade-offs between party goals as they evolved in different phases of “schwarz-grün,” with particular reference to the Greens' education reform agenda. While policy- and vote-seeking complemented each other during the election campaign, vote-, office- and party unity-seeking conflicted with each other in the Greens' decision to enter a coalition with the CDU. Later, policy- and democracy-seeking conflicted with each other when a referendum organized by a citizens' initiative defeated the Greens' education reform, a defeat that contributed significantly to the premature end of the CDU-Green coalition. New elections led to defeats for vote-, office-, and policy-seeking when the SPD achieved an absolute majority.