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From: The Socialist issue 489, 31 May 2007: No to McJobs

Search site for keywords: Protest - G8 - SAV - Germany

Protest against the G8 leaders

Have nots V have lots

Opposition to war, poverty, climate change and a hatred of the system that puts profit before people will bring an estimated one hundred thousand people out in protest against the leaders of the G8 when they meet in Rostock on 6-8 June.

Angelika Teweleit Sozialistische Alternative (SAV), (sister party of the Socialist Party in Germany)

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will be proudly presenting the 2.7% growth in the German economy but behind that figure lurks a picture of a country divided - like the rest of the world - between the 'have-lots' and the 'have-nots'.

Merkel, like Blair in 2005, is also trying to give herself the image of a do-gooder for Africa while financial aid is still well below target.

To protect Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, Putin etc a massive wall has been erected, in keeping with the attitude to democratic rights displayed at previous G8 meetings.

Protesters at a meeting of finance ministers were attacked with pepper spray. While some have been intimidated, anger against the G8 is also increasing as a result.

Many young people in Germany cannot find a job and have to rely on the ever-decreasing unemployment benefit. Even those with an apprenticeship cannot find a good job and there is a sense that there is no future for young people.

This picture contrasts sharply to the 2.7% growth the German economy enjoyed over the last year, amounting to 60 billion. 38 billion of that has gone to a handful of very rich people at the top.

While Merkel will present an optimistic picture of Germany, you don't have to scratch very far below the surface to see the real picture. The G8 meeting itself may be affected by that very reality.

Telecom workers, who should currently be laying the cables for the summit, have been on strike for over two weeks now with plans to continue their struggle.

They are striking against plans to outsource 50,000 jobs to private companies, forcing workers to sign new contracts with a net result, through longer hours and lower pay, of a 40% reduction in income.

Support for the strikers is high, over 70%, based on an understanding that if outsourcing is not stopped, this method for reducing wages will be used elsewhere.

In a gross depiction of the divisions in German society, Obermann, the main telecom boss announced that, to show how willing he was to make 'sacrifices' for the company, he would forfeit two months' wages amounting to 200,000.

Most call centre workers would have to work ten years to earn that much!

As well as campaigning for the biggest possible turnout at the G8 protests, SAV members are supporting the strikes and visiting pickets raising the need to widen the action.

We need a break with the capitalist system which, by putting profit first, will always mean a world where the vast majority see their conditions worsen while the rich few prosper.

At the G8, socialists from SAV and other affiliates from the Committee for a Workers' International will be arguing for struggle, for solidarity, for internationalism and for a transformation of society along socialist lines.

If you are travelling to the G8 and are interested in attending meetings, rallies and workshops organised by SAV and CWI please contact the Socialist Party on 020 8988 8777.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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