Things are changing fast in Germany. In September 1998, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) scored a big victory in the Bundestag elections, ousting the bourgeois coalition under Kohl which had held power for 16 years. The new "red-green" coalition government under chancellor Schröder was greeted with great hope by millions of workers, unemployed, old age pensioners and youth. Now the SPD as well as the Greens are stumbling from defeat to catastrophe to disaster.

Hans-Gerd Öfinger, from the editorial board of the German Marxist magazine Der Funke looks to the prospects for the upcoming elections in September. With Schröder's uninspiring Blairite policies, voter absention could well open the door to the Christian Democrats who were so sounded defeated four years ago.

Edmund Stoiber, a leading reactionary Christian Democratic leader was defeated in the German elections last Sunday, though by a narrow margin. There was a sigh of relief on the part of many SPD activists, trade unionists and youth up and down the country. The threat of a Stoiber victory mobilised the SPD and green vote, but against the background of a severe economic crisis, all sorts of conflicts will open up, and major disappointment and anger on the part of workers and youth will be on the order of the day.

On Sunday, January 12, 2003, 100,000 people came to the Berlin socialist memorial cemetery in the Eastern suburb of Friedrichsfelde to commemorate the murder of Rosa and Karl. On the day prior to the big demonstration, the German left wing daily, Junge Welt held their traditional Rosa Luxemburg conference which this time attracted well over 1100 people - considerably more than in previous years. This year, the speeches and debates centred around the question of imperialism and war. As we reported last week, one of the main speakers in the first session was Alan Woods from In Defence of Marxism who spoke on Europe, America and imperialism. We are also providing some photos of the event.

One week after the beginning of the war on Iraq we can say without any doubt that the movement against the war in Germany in the last few weeks has by far eclipsed any other movement in the "post war period" of the last 5-6 decades. More people than ever have demonstrated, and according to opinion polls more than 80 percent of the population are opposed to the war.

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