Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/384/4834

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 March 2005

Germany: Challenges, dangers and opportunities

OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT has reached over 5 million, a new all-time high in post-war German history.

Tanja Niemeier

Still, according to Welt am Sonntag, the real figure is closer to 8 million if you add those who have given up looking for a job and are no longer officially registered at the job centres and those who are looking after family members.

As a result of recent changes in unemployment regulations, Hartz IV, about 100,000 people will be forced to move into smaller and cheaper accommodation.

All this is part and parcel of the neo-liberal policies of the social democratic-led SchrÜder government and the bosses' offensive in the workplaces. These examples only give a small glimpse of the incredible changes taking place in a country which was once renowned for its quality welfare state.

While there has been working-class resistance over the past year, the need for a political and programmatic alternative becomes ever more obvious.

Opportunities

ACCORDING TO a recent opinion poll, 3% have indicated that they would certainly vote for the newly formed left-wing party Work and Social Justice (ASG) in the next elections. 19%, particularly workers and young people, have indicated they would consider voting for it.

This underlines the potential that exists for the building of a new party that is not aligned with the political establishment and offers an alternative to the policies of falling living standards.

However, with a membership standing at 3,800 nationally, ASG has not tapped into this potential.

With the regional state elections coming up in May in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany's most populous and traditionally "red" regional state, ASG has the possibility of turning the situation around and beginning to concretely establish itself; provided that they engage in a serious campaign on the streets to defend jobs, wages and conditions and put forward a clear alternative to the cuts policy of the government.

What programme?

SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE (SAV), the Socialist Party's sister organisation in Germany, has been involved in promoting and building the new party from its early days and has argued for a programme that breaks with capitalism.

However Klaus Ernst, IG Metall union official with a high profile within ASG, and others, consistently say that the new party's programme should remain within the framework of capitalism.

At the end of February, around 200 members held a convention in Gottingen. Because of the great need to discuss programmatic issues, the agenda was extended. SAV members intervened into the discussion to explain the need for a socialist programme.

There were only four speakers that came out explicitly against a socialist programme. One member of the party's executive (also a member of Linksruck, the German sister group of the British SWP), explained that a socialist programme would frighten off people.

Socialist programme - a barrier?

In Rostock, a city in one of the most deprived regional states in East Germany, SAV member Christine Lehnert was elected to the city council in June 2004. Since then, SAV and Christine have been involved in numerous campaigns to defend the interests of working-class people.

Most importantly, SAV struck a victory against the neo-liberal attacks of the government. In Rostock, the unemployed cannot be forced to move into cheaper accommodation and cannot be forced to accept the so-called "█1 an hour jobs". This proves: a socialist programme based on active campaigning and linked to day-to-day issues is not a barrier.

Furthermore, a government opinion poll published last August found that 51% of west Germans and 79% of east Germans thought socialism was a good idea that had been "badly implemented".

Top down approach

SAV MEMBERS in Rostock have also been involved in building a local ASG branch in the city. Three leading SAV members, amongst them councillor Christine Lehnert, have now been denied membership of ASG, a decision that was approved by the NEC.

Elements within the leadership of ASG are adopting bureaucratic measures which, can be a major obstacle for developing and building ASG into a mass force that is so urgently needed to fight government policies.

This contrasts with SAV's call for the party to be open to all and have a democratic and federal character.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 12 March 2005:

Pensions: 'We're fighting back'

NHS: 'Over performing' but under-funded

Oppose Clarke's terror bill

Review: Detention undercover

When is a cut not a cut?

The real cost of war and occupation

Crisis for republicans in Northern Ireland - political alternative needed

Germany: Challenges, dangers and opportunities

Lebanon: A new crisis in the Middle East?

Bush threatens women's rights

Brazil: A bloody week in the countryside


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 March 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Germany:

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

triangleBerlin hospital strike

triangleWomen's struggles reduced to perfume sales and career ladder

SAV:

triangleInternational news in brief

triangleSexual assaults in Cologne exploited by racist establishment and far right

triangleGermany: refugee crisis and the fight against the racist right

Socialist:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: 'Fake' Trump! What's really going on in the US?

triangleTheatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

International

International

17/1/18

Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China

17/1/18

Tunisia

Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

10/1/18

Iran

Movement challenges Iranian regime

10/1/18

Appeal

Appeal from Iranian independent unions

10/1/18

Sweden

Sweden: School strike against deportations

3/1/18

Catalonia

Catalan elections: PP humiliated

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2