'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Fourth Reich 

Too bad Fassbinder is no longer with us. Few, if any, so astutely recognized the perseverance of fascist values in postwar Germany, sublimated in the guise of the bourgeois values of work and frugality than he did, with its attendant consequences resulting from the suppression of the libido. In films like The Marriage of Maria Braun and Lola, he addressed the joyful, contradictory features of contemporary capitalism, one defined by the duality of austerity and excess. Through the character of Maria Braun, a smart, savvy women, who, reminscent of Scarlett O'Hara during Reconstruction, exploits the entreprenuerial spirit of the time to rise to great heights during the German economic miracle of the 1950s, he prefigured the rise of Merkel.

In Katzelmacher, Fassbinder exposed the enduring German sense of racial superiority in regard to the peoples of southern Europe, and the sexual jealousies connected to it, dramatized by means of the hostility of the young German working class characters to the Greek immigrant, Jurgos. Such attitudes have been on prominent display during the current Eurozone crisis, with Germans and the German media purveying crude stereotypes about the purportedly profligate Greeks so as to justify the colonization of the country by financial interests aligned with the German state. Merkel's proposal for a new Eurozone is based upon implicitly bigoted assumptions about countries like Italy and Greece, as revealed through the notion that Germans, through the administrative processes of the European Union, must seize power from them and act as their firm, disciplinarian parents.

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