The German Extremists
I had just to suffer a commentator in television who did not seem to understand why none of the other political parties in Germany were willing to enter into talks with the renewed leftist PDS party.
After all, it was noted, the party increased by 4,7% and got together 8,7% of the nationwide wide.
But Germany happens to be a country with history. And a rather complicated one, at that.
Within a generation it had to suffer first a nazi dictatorship and then in parts of the country a communist dictatorships. They both brought misery and death to Germany.
It's not an unhealthy sign that modern democratic Germany keeps a distinct distance to those forces trying to build their strength on misdirected nostalgia for the past dictatorships on German soil.
This is the reason why both the NSDP - the old Nazi party - and the KPD - the old Communist party - are illegal in Germany.
But it's very difficult to prevent these unreconstructed nostalgia types from turning up elsewhere.
On the extreme right, there are the so called national democrats in NDP. They figure now and then when they manage to capitalize on discontent of different sorts, but their basis remains weak.
In the election yesterday, they scored 1,6% of the second party votes. Not too impressive.
On the extreme left, the old SED Party of East Germany - the state party of the dictatorship and the wall - was transformed into the PDS that this year join forces with the ex-SPD leader Oskar Lafontaine and scored the result referred to above in Sunday's election.
Gerhard Schröder might well have a certain personal antagonism against Oskar Lafontaine. After all, it was the latter who was the leader of the SPD when they won the election in 1998 and Schröder become chancellor. He is the Luficer of German Social Democracy.
But that's really a separate story. The real story is that the PDS is the inheritor of the tradition that suppressed democracy, imprisoned and persecuted people for their beliefs and convictions, killed people on the border and impoverished its citizens.
We would all be chocked if the NPD was treated as a normal party among others in Germany.
We should note with satisfaction that the PDS is treated in essentially the same way as the NPD.
Democracy must be defended by democrats.