The national situation in Germany

The current situation in Germany is in a sense, a concentrate of a whole series of issues of major importance in the present situation: Germany is at the heart of the refugee crisis, the rise in populism and the threat this poses to political stability, the imperialist confrontations with Russia, to name but a few. This report, adopted by the February 2016 joint conference of the ICC sections in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, does not claim to be complete but rather to open up a reflection on these difficult questions.

German policy and the refugee problem: playing with fire

The following article is a contribution on the question of refugees as it is posed today in Germany. Certain aspects are not easily transferable to other countries of Europe. For example the demographic problem treated in the article doesn’t exist in countries such as France, Spain or Italy, given that a high youth unemployment rate exists in these countries despite a low birth rate. However, because of the economic and political weight of Germany in the EU and in the world this article has an importance that goes beyond its national borders.

1914: how German socialism came to betray the workers

In 1914, the German Social-Democratic Party was the most powerful party of the Second International. With more than one million members, it was the largest single political party in Europe and the largest party in any European parliament. Socialists throughout the world, faced with the threat of war in the last days before that fateful 4th August, waited for the SPD to live up to its solemn commitments made at the International's congresses at Stuttgart and Basel, and oppose the war. Yet on 4th August, the SPD parliamentary fraction voted for the Imperial government's war credits, and the way to war was open.

How the German Party degenerated in the years leading up to 1914 to the point where it betrayed its most fundamental principles, and the struggle of the left in the party against this degeneration, is the subject of the article that follows.

German Elections: The Bourgeoisie Prepares For The Coming Storms

In the aftermath of the general elections of 22 September 2013 in Germany, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic, Angela Merkel and leader of the Christian Democrats, is presently negotiating the formation of a Grand Coalition with the Social Democrats. The new government will be the third in a row under the Chancellorship of Merkel.

Review: The communist left in Germany, 1918-21 (1)

Firstly, we welcome the recent appearance of this work by D. Authier and J. Barrot, which clearly attempts to make a clear analysis of the Left Communists from the viewpoint of revolutionary marxism, and which moreover will allow revolutionaries to study hitherto inaccessible texts of the Communist Left. The book is one of the very few to put forward the communist perspective -- the only possible perspective in the historical period inaugurated by the Russian Revolution -- of the proletarian revolution. The book has many strengths, but also some weaknesses, which we would like to discuss here.

University and high school students demonstrations in Germany: “We are demonstrating because they are stealing our future”

From 15 to 19 June in Germany there was a strike in the education sector. It was an attempt to use a strike to block high schools and universities in protest against the growing misery of capitalist education.

Strikes in Germany, September 1969: Here too, the class struggle returned to the stage

In the summer of 2008 we published two articles on 1968 in Germany, which took up the international and historical framework of the events[1]. In these articles we emphasised that the protests of 1968 which drew so much attention expressed an accumulation of anger which was not just a temporary phenomenon but brought a more profound subterranean movement to the surface.

Germany 1918-19 (i): Faced with the war, the revolutionary proletariat renews its internationalist principles

It is 90 years since the proletarian revolution reached its tragic culmination point with the struggles of 1918 and 1919 in Germany. After the heroic seizure of power by the Russian proletariat in October 1917, the central battlefield of the world revolution shifted to Germany. There, the decisive struggle was waged and lost. The world bourgeoisie has always wanted to sink these events into historical oblivion. To the extent that it cannot deny that struggles took place, it pretends that they only aimed at "peace" and "democracy" - at the blissful conditions presently reigning in capitalist Germany. The goal of the series of articles we are beginning here is to show that the revolutionary movement in Germany brought the bourgeoisie in the central country of European capitalism close to the brink of the loss of its class rule. Despite its defeat, the revolution in Germany, like that in Russia, is an encouragement to us today. It reminds us that it is not only necessary but possible to topple the rule of world capitalism.

Struggles in Germany

In 2007, Germany saw the highest number of strike days since 1993 (just after reunification). 70% of them came in the strike last spring against ‘externalisation', ie the relocation of 50,000 telecom jobs. This in a country which has for so long been presented as a dynamic economy and a model of social harmony.

German Capitalism Runs Out of Steam

The text below is an extract from a report on the situation in Germany written by Weltrevolution, the ICC’s section in that country. Although the article deals with the situation in a single country, it actually reflects the general crisis of capitalism in all countries. Once feted in the bourgeoisie’s propaganda as a virtuous example of capitalism’s good health, the German economy has now become a symbol of the gravity of the system’s downfall.

The winner of the German general elections: The ruling class

Regarding the German federal elections of September 18, 2005, it is being said that it has produced no clear winner. Although it is true that the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) will be the strongest fraction in the new Bundestag, they have nonetheless suffered a serious electoral setback, with only 35 % of the votes cast.

Editorial: Class struggle, not the vote, will decide humanity's future

All the forces of the bourgeoisie, the left, the right, the far right and the extreme left, not to mention the trades unions, all came together in the grand electoral orchestra, whether in France and Holland for the referendums on the European constitution, for the parliamentary elections in Britain, or the Länder elections in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany's most heavily-populated region).

Mass Unemployment, New Elections: The Ruling Class wants to hide the Bankrupcy of Capitalism

After the bitter defeat suffered by the SPD at the May 21 provincial elections in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) – the so-called “bastion of Social Democracy” – the German Chancellor Schröder and the SPD party leader Müntefering countered with the announcement that the next general elections would take place a year ahead of schedule, in autumn 2005. After recovering from the surprise of this announcement, the German political scene reacted very positively to it...

Lessons of the workers’ struggles at Opel

The six day strike at Opel in Bochum in October 2004, in response to the threat of mass redundancies and possible plant closures by General Motors, was the longest and most significant, spontaneous, unofficial strike in a major plant in Germany since the great wildcat strikes of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This article seeks to understand the context of this recent struggle and the lessons that can be drawn from it.

Fifty years since the workers’ uprising in East Germany

The 50-year retrospectives on 1953 have included a large amount of nostalgia for that glorious day in June when a new queen was crowned and news came through that a 'Commonwealth' team had conquered Everest. A time when the monarchy was respected, 'traditional values' were still in place and society seemed to make a little more sense than it does now�

1933 - Democracy opens the door to fascism

Sixty years ago, in January 1933, an event of historic importance struck capitalist civilisation: the arrival of Hitler to power and the installation of the Nazi regime in Germany. To listen to the bourgeoisie, fascism was brutally imposed on capitalist society, forced onto its reluctant body. Not for a moment does this lie stand up to the test of historic facts. In reality, Nazism in Germany, as fascism in Italy, is the organic product of capital. The victory of Nazism came about democratically. As to the repugnant racism, the nationalist hysteria or the barbarity which, again, according to the democratic bourgeoisie, characterises the fascist regimes, they are not at all specific to these regimes. They are, on the contrary, the product of capitalism, in particular in its phase of decadence, and the attributes of all factions of the bourgeoisie be they democratic, stalinist or fascist.

KARSTADT, OPEL, VOLKSWAGEN: the need for workers solidarity against the logic of bankrupt capitalism

What is the most effective means of struggle, when one’s “own” job or plant is no longer considered to be profitable? Does the strike weapon lose its effectiveness, where the capitalist in any case intends to close the plant, or when whole companies are on the verge of bankruptcy? Such questions are being posed today very concretely, not only at Opel, Karstadt or Volkswagen, but everywhere, as a result of the capitalist economic crisis, plants and companies are being “rescued” or shut down. And nowadays, that is taking place everywhere. Not only in Germany, but in America and also in China. Not only in industry, but also in the hospitals or the civil services.

Revolutionary Debate in Berlin on the Causes of Imperialist War

Anarchy as an essential characteristic of capitalism

In Weltrevolution 124 we reported on the first of a series of public meetings of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) in Berlin. The second meeting took place on May 15th. There, the causes of imperialist war were debated. A representative of Battaglia Comunista, the IBRP's section in Italy, made the presentation which dealt with the background to the Iraq War and the contemporary foreign policy of the USA. The comrade put forward the analysis of the IBRP, according to which the American "crusade against terrorism" mainly serves economic goals: the tightening of American control over the oil reserves of the world, in order to bolster the hegemony of the Dollar over the world economy, and thus to assure itself the cream of an additional "oil rent" profit. As a result of its waning capacity to compete, the USA has to rely on the parasitic appropriation of the surplus value produced world wide to keep its own economy afloat. In addition it was said that strategic considerations do also play a role, often in connection with the control of oil reserves, aimed at cutting off Russia and China from each other and from important oil fields, and at keeping the European Union weak and divided.

Daimler/Chrysler: The answer to the capitalist crisis, workers' solidarity

In mid-July Daimler-Chrysler in Germany posed an ultimatum to 41,000 workers in Sindelfingen (Stuttgart) to agree to wage cuts and changes in working conditions or have production of a new Mercedes transferred to South Africa. This lead to strikes and demonstrations by 60,000 (out of 160,00) Daimler workers across Germany, with great expressions of anger and solidarity from other workers. The IG Metall union and Daimler soon stitched up a deal which provoked further anger from workers shouting that the union had no right to sign such a deal in their name. This was a defeat for the workers, but they do know that the union was involved. This article is from Welt Revolution 125, the ICC's publication in Germany, and was distributed as a leaflet when company/union negotiations were still going on. The ICC in Germany has never had such an enthusiastic reception to a leaflet, which confirmed that the question of militant solidarity is really being posed in the working class.

Nazism and democracy share the guilt for the massacre of the Jews

It is sixty years since the revolt of the Warsaw ghetto; and by a strange irony of history, exactly one hundred years before, in 1843, Karl Marx had published his On the Jewish Question, a text which marked a significant step by Marx from radical democracy towards communism. We will come back to this text in another article; here it suffices to say that, while Marx supported the abolition of all feudal constraints on the participation of Jews in civil society, he also pointed out the inherent limitations of any merely ‘political’ emancipation which was founded on the atomised citizen, and showed that real freedom could only take place on the social level, with the creation of a unified community which had overcome commodity relations, the underlying source of man’s fragmentation into competing units.

War economy and crisis in East Germany

The territory of the present day GDR was fear­fully decimated as a result of World War II; its cities reduced to rubble. Food supply, industry and transport had almost completely collapsed by the end of 1945. The Russian ‘liberators’ from Hitler’s fascism began in the Soviet Occupation Zone with the removal of industrial capacity to Russia, and the occupation of all key positions in the East German economy through Soviet Share­holding Companies. The USSR did not relax this iron grip over the East German economy until

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