The Day of the Locusts

INA FASSBENDER / REUTERS

SCRAMBLED: Duisburgers pelted Müntefering with eggs at a recent campaign event

The Social Democratic Party ( spd) agreed to abandon its Marxist rhetoric and embrace market capitalism in 1959, but casual observers of the current political campaign in North Rhine–Westphalia could be forgiven for not knowing that. Party officials led by chairman Franz Müntefering have delivered a ferocious critique of private investors that has dominated the campaign.

In his most cited remarks, Müntefering compared private equity groups and short-term investors like hedge funds to "swarms of locusts" that fall on companies, devour all they can, and then move on. "Some financial investors don't waste any thoughts on the...

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