Germans love their BMWs, Mercedes, their Miele washing maschines, and their iPhones. They just hate the free market system that made these products possible. That's the general finding of a 650-page report published this week by the Technical University (TU) Berlin, based on a comprehensive survey. One out of every 5 Gerans surveyed desire a "revolution".
What kind of system would they like to see? Nearly half believe that "Communism/Socialism" would be preferable to the evil capitalism - even though the attempts to implement communism have up to now been flawed. Nostalgia for the old Arbeiter-und-Bauern-Staat? Yes, things were better in the old GDR, even though the Stasi made some mistakes now and then.
Given the prevailing anti-Americanism in Germany and the sympathy with Putin's Russia, it is not surprising that many Germans see the United States - the embodiment of market capitalism - as the greatest threat to world peace (along with Israel, naturally). After all, the US engineered the "fascist coup" in Kiev and has been sending tanks and troops into the Ukraine, threatening Russia's "legitimate sphere of influence", and undermining Vladimir Putin's heroic efforts to maintain peace in the region.
Ein Drittel glaubt, der Kapitalismus führe zwangsläufig zu Armut, Hunger und Krieg. Jeder Fünfte sieht sogar die Gefahr eines "neuen Faschismus" heraufziehen.
(One third of the respondents believe that capitalism leads inexorably to poverty, hunger and war. One fifth even see the danger of a "new fascism" looming.)
For champions of personal liberty, this finding was especially disturbing: 42% of Germans believe : "Die soziale Gleichheit aller Menschen ist wichtiger als die Freiheit des Einzelnen." (the social equality of all people is more important than individual freedom.)
Does this mean that Germans will gladly give up their luxury goods as part of a grand Maoist Cultural Revolution? Not likely. Hating dirty capitalism while enjoying its fruits is part of the psychological makeup.
Actually it was another Vladimir - Vladimir Lenin, also idolized by the German Left - who best understood the German character. When asked when the great proletarian revolution would come to Germany, Lenin scoffed:
“Revolution in Deutschland? Das wird nie etwas, wenn diese Deutschen einen Bahnhof stürmen wollen, kaufen die sich noch eine Bahnsteigkarte!“
(Revolution in Germany? It will never happen. If these Germans want to take over a trainstation they would first purchase a ticket.)