Germany

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

On 13-14 January, tens of thousands of people from across Europe gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Despite the poor weather, this year’s demonstration was one of the largest and most militant events that Berlin has seen in the recent period; a clear sign of the political polarisation and class consciousness that is developing as a result of the intensifying capitalist crisis.

Just over 25 years after its foundation, the European Union looks like it could be falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Everywhere you look, the major parties are coming under increased pressure due to the heightening of the class struggle as a result of 10 years of crisis. This has meant that, in one country after another, the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way.

The German Revolution of 1918 ended the First World War. During a little-known episode of the Revolution, German soldiers liberated Belgium from a brutal military occupation before the armistice of the 11 November was signed. This revolutionary movement was also crucial in pushing through a swift introduction of universal general suffrage in Belgium.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced her withdrawal from the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) leadership election race, as well as her candidacy for the next German parliamentary election. This marks a political earthquake and the end of an era in German politics, as Merkel has been Chancellor since 2005 and leader of the CDU since 2001.

It wasn’t long ago that Germany was considered one of the few countries with a stable political situation. On the surface at least, with high economic growth and a dominant position within Europe, everything seemed to be going well for the German ruling class. However, this stability is turning into its opposite.

On Sunday, 14 January 2018, tens-of-thousands of activists from different labour and left-wing organisations came to the Berlin Socialist Memorial Cemetery in the Eastern suburb of Friedrichsfelde to commemorate the murder of the outstanding German revolutionaries and Marxists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on 15 January 1919.

Temprano en la mañana del lunes 20 de noviembre, los líderes alemanes del partido derechista liberal Partido Demócrata Libre (FDP), declararon repentinamente su salida de las conversaciones preliminares para formar un gobierno de coalición y abandonaron la sala. Las negociaciones con los Demócratas Cristianos de la Canciller Angela Merkel y su partido hermano bávaro, la Unión Social Cristiana (CDU/CSU) y los Verdes se habían llevado a cabo durante casi cinco semanas.

Early on Monday morning, 20 November, the leaders of the German, right-wing, liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) suddenly declared their exit from preliminary coalition talks and walked out of the room. The negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel`s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Greens had been going on for nearly five weeks.

A political earthquake is the best way we can describe the federal elections that took place in Germany on Sunday, September 24. For the first time ever in post-war history an extreme right-wing party has been elected to the Bundestag (federal parliament). At the same time the parties that formed the “Grand Coalition” lead by Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2003 have suffered historic defeats.

On Monday, a truck ploughing through a crowded Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin highlighted once again the mess that has been created in the Middle East by imperialist meddling. Twelve victims are believed to have been killed while 49 have been injured. The perpetrator of this crime had hijacked the truck from a Polish driver whom he subsequently killed. After the attack, he fled the scene and is still unaccounted for.

Over five-hundred reports of abuse and harassment were made to the police in Cologne on New Year's Eve. What exactly happened remains unclear. Whether we will ever get a clear picture of events is highly unlikely, given the way the Cologne events have already been incorporated into right-wing racist propaganda.

Some 250,000 activists from all over Germany marched through the city of Berlin last Saturday in protest against the envisaged free trade agreements TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). This event had been called by a broad alliance of over 100 organisations and groups—including trade unions, ecologists and environmentalists, consumer and welfare organisations, farmers associations, the Greens and DIE LINKE (Left Party), as well as many other left-wing and pressure groups.

The City of Frankfurt was the scene of a 25.000 strong anti-austerity demonstration on Wednesday, March 18, the day of the inauguration and grand opening gala of European Central Bank's (ECB). The new skyscraper attracted crowds of protestors from all over Germany. As the protest took off the crowds moved into the stornghold of many German and international banks. The construction of the new ECB premises in

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96 years ago, on January 15, 1919, the famous German revolutionaries and Marxists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by reactionary "Freikorps" forces who had formed a counter-revolutionary conspiracy with right-wing social democratic (SPD) leaders to drown the revolution in blood. (See the book Germany from Revolution to Counter-Revolution by Rob Sewell, available here)

Nearly three months after the General Election in Germany on September 22 Chancellor Merkel was confirmed by the members of the Bundestag (German parliament) as head of the new federal government for another four year term just a few days before Christmas. The new cabinet is based upon a coalition of Merkel's Christian Democratic Alliance (CDU/CSU) and the social democratic SPD.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) celebrated a sweeping victory in the German federal elections held last Sunday. On the basis of an 7.8 percent swing the CDU/CSU scored over 18 million votes and a share of 41.5 percent – their best result in national elections for 20 years. Yet due to the German system of proportional representation this massive swing was not big enough to secure an overall majority of seats for the CDU/CSU in the new Bundestag, the federal parliament based in the old Reichstag building in Berlin. 

According to the Bundesbank, German GDP grew by 3.6% in 2010. This comes after the steep 4.7% drop in 2009, when the recession hit Germany hard. Unemployment has gone down from the 10.5% peak of 2005 to 7%. It now stands at just under three million. Volkswagen is taking on 3,000 workers, BMW and Daimler 400 each. Lufthansa has announced plans to take on an extra 4,000 staff this year. The same picture can be seen in chemicals, electronics and other industries. When the rest of Europe is facing lay-offs and sluggish growth, what is different about Germany?

The crisis of capitalism is creating an unstable social and political situation in Germany. Tensions are emerging within the coalition government, elected only last year. Most interestingly, this is having a radicalising effect inside DIE LINKE, which is being pulled both left and right, with some of the leaders attracted by coalition politics while the more radical ranks react against and seek an alternative to the left.

On February 13 German neo-Nazis tried to exploit the commemoration of the death of 25,000 civilians in Dresden during heavy Allied carpet bombing. However, the reaction of German workers, youth, trade unionists, left activists was swift and massive. Huge numbers turned out and with skilful use of modern communication techniques thwarted the attempt of the fascists to march through the town, in spite of the clear unwillingness of the police to do anything serious to stop them.

Sunday’s elections reveal an enormous shift within the German electorate. Of particular importance is the massive decline of the SPD vote, mirrored by a huge increase in support for DIE LINKE which stands to its left. The victory of the right-wing parties means the German capitalists are preparing for an offensive against the biggest and most powerful working class in Europe. Interesting times lie ahead.

On September 27 German electors will be voting in the general election. Recent local elections indicate significant growth in support for the Left Party (DIE LINKE). This is also reflected in the beginnings of shift to the left within the ranks of the unions. The crisis of capitalism is leaving its mark on German society.

More than 250,000 school and university students, young workers and teachers participated in a nationwide ''educational strike'' all over Germany last week. The biggest demonstrations of the “comprehensive action day“ on Wednesday could be seen in Berlin (nearly 30,000 participants), Stuttgart (15,000) and Hamburg (13,000). Smaller manifestations took place in over 100 cities and towns all over the country. But the rallies were not the end of the story.


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Altogether 55,000 people came out onto to the streets on March 28 in Berlin and Frankfurt/Main as part of Saturday's protests across Europe. The speeches and the comments of workers and shop stewards show that major class conflicts are being prepared in Germany in the coming period.

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Last weekend the IMT organised the 5th Northern European Winter School in Berlin. 150 comrades and sympathisers from many different countries came to a city with a great revolutionary history and tradition. We set ourselves the target of learning from the ideas and lives of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, and to study the successes and the mistakes of the German Revolution. On Sunday we participated with a sizeable block at the traditional Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht commemoration demonstration.

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This month marks the 90th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two outstanding revolutionary leaders of the German working class. To commemorate that tragic day we are republishing Rosa Luxemburg's last article "Order Prevails in Berlin", Karl Liebknecht's famous speech against voting the war credits in the German parliament in 1914 and his 1915 leaflet "The Main Enemy Is At Home!".

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The January 2009 commemoration of the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht at the cemetery where they are buried is expected to be very large. The IMT Winter School is combining a large variety of seminars with participation in the commemoration.

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After Italy, Greece, Spain and other countries in Europe, now Germany is being hit by a wave of student protest. The same policies everywhere, cuts in spending and privatisation of the education system, are provoking the same reaction. The youth is mobilising massively, indicating that an even bigger movement of the working class is being prepared.

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It had been planned as a central meeting of leading proto-fascists, right-wing populists and neo-nazis. A grand "European Anti-Islamic Congress" was scheduled to be held Saturday 20th September in the huge German city of Cologne. The organisers didn’t count on the fact that no one would transport them or go anywhere near them. Instead tens of thousands of anti-fascist demonstrators turned up to protest.

Over the weekend of May 2-4 a conference was held in Berlin on the theme of "1968 - We shall win the last battle", organised by the youth and students of the German Left Party (Die Linke). There were 1600 people taking part in the conference and the Marxists of Der Funke intervened in the debates, organised a stall with literature, provided international speakers from Spain and Pakistan and one of the Der Funke supporters, and member of the national council of the youth wing of the party, made one of the concluding speeches.


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The Berlin Transport Company (BVG) has been paralysed by a long and militant strike of the drivers and the maintenance and administration workers. After years of concessions and backsliding by the unions the workers have said they have had enough.

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Recent local elections in Germany have seen the Left Party (Die Linke) emerge as a force to the left of the SPD. At the same time we are seeing a growing level of trade union militancy. This reflects the growing malaise within German society as a layer of workers and youth look for an alternative.

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Earlier this month the German railways were brought to a halt by a paralysing strike. There is a real mood of militancy among German rail workers, but at the top in the trade unions deals are going ahead that envisage the privatisation of the railway network with a generalised worsening of working conditions, lowering of safety levels and so on.

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The heads of government of the G8 are meeting in Heiligendamm in Germany. But they are being heavily protected from the harsh social realities that have emerged in Germany. Thousands of protestors are also there. Significantly, there are several important strikes that have affected life in Germany. This may also explain “police tactics” that seemed designed to provoke violent conflict, rather than play it down.

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In mid-June the WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS will come together and form a new left-wing party, Die Linke. Hans-Gerd-Öfinger looks at the significance of this development and the perspectives for this new political formation.

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Hands off Venezuela in Germany played a decisively role in some successful public meetings with Che Guevara's daughter, Aleida Guevara, last week. 450 workers, youth and Latin American immigrants attended the Frankfurt meeting on Saturday, 25 March, and 250 were packed into the hall in Wiesbaden two days earlier.

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The Grand Coalition of the SPD and Christian Democrats has now been in office for some months. Its programme is “more of the same”, further privatisations and cuts in social spending. Although this may hold for a while, beneath the surface a new mood is developing. The signs are already there in some significant strikes such as that of the Gate Gourmet workers.

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By mid-November Germany will almost certainly be governed by a “Grand Coalition” involving Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. The programme of this government is a foregone conclusion, the same old recipe of privatisations and cuts. For now the bosses are happy with this, but this government is preparing the ground for a greater radicalisation on the left similar to what we saw back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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There is greater instability in Germany than ever before in post-war history. Both big parties, the Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) lost considerably. The virtual deadlock is caused by the fact that after a short and very polarised election campaign both camps failed to get anywhere near a majority of seats.

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Yesterday’s German elections have produced what amounts to a hung parliament. There is a strong element of class polarisation in German society, which is reflected in these elections results. Of particular interest is the emergence of the Left Party, which did very well in the historic bastions of the PDS but also picked up a reasonable vote in what was the former “affluent” West.

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