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.

The shipspotters in Belgium, a local anti war campaign in the city of Antwerp launched by Vonk-supporters during the war on Iraq, had informed us that during the month of April massive loads of military equipment including heavy tanks, trucks and ammunition were going to be shipped from US Army bases in Germany to Iraq. Local anti war campaigners and supporters of Der Funke in Wiesbaden, Germany, investigated the affair.

Now that the war in Iraq is over attention in Germany is being concentrated on Schroder's 'Agenda 2010'. This is an outright attack on the rights of German workers and it is already producing its effects both in the trade unions and in the SPD. The demand for a general strike has already been raised in the movement.

Unprecedented attacks on so-called "old fashioned" unions and "stubborn" and "hardline" union officials who allegedly are out to sabotage the "modernisation" and "flexibilisation" of the economy, have been stirred up by Germany's mass media in recent months. IG Metall, the world's biggest industrial union with a membership of 2.5 million, has been passing through a major crisis this summer.

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