National Sections of the L5I:

Germany

First German Social Forum

From 21.-24. July, the first Social Forum took place in Germany, in Erfurt. Around 3500 participated during four days of discussion in 300 workshops, seminars and plenaries.

Like the European and World Social Forums and the French assemblies for a constitutional alternative, the Forum in Erfurt was marked by a strong bid by left reformists and trade union bureaucrats to impose their policies on the social movements. Read more...

First German Social Forum, Erfurt July 21-24 2005

From 21.-24. July, the first Social Forum took place in Germany, in Erfurt. Around 3500 participated during four days of discussion in 300 workshops, seminars and plenaries. Read more...

Defeat in regional SPD stronghold forces Schröder to call early elections

On 22nd May, the SPD suffered a humiliating defeat in the (former) social-democratic heartland of Nordrhein-Westphalen. It lost 5.7 per cent and is now down to 37, 1 per cent. The CDU conservatives on the other hand won with 44.8 per cent - an increase of 5.7 per cent.

After a 39 years in office the SPD has been kicked out of the government in the largest federal state, where almost a quarter of the German population lives. This disaster was only the last in a series of electoral defeats Gerhard Schröder has suffered since he won the 2002 elections on an anti-war ticket. Since then his total espousal of the neoliberal agenda of cutting down the welfare state whilst the German bosses went on the offensive and the economy stagnated demoralised and disillusioned the SPD´voting base in the working class. Read more...

German left blocking the road to new workers' party

It took decades of long struggle between 1875 and 1914 for the German SPD to become a party openly defending the capitalist system. But it may only take half a year to dash hopes that the new Electoral Alternative for Work and Social Justice (’WASG’) could be a step towards a mass workers’ party in Germany. Read more...

London ESF: Berlin meeting sidelines youth

The ESF Preparatory Assembly for the London European Social Forum came together in Berlin on the 17-18 June, while the ’Programme Workgroup’, as now seems routine at these meetings, met on the two days prior to the Assembly itself. Read more...

German Imperialism: Waking up to the US Threat

In this survey of German imperialism, Martin Suchanek examines the contradictions and tensions shaping the policy of the world’s third-largest economy as the German bourgeoisie grapples with a familiar problem; how to achieve a dramatic increase in exploitation at home whilst expanding into a world economy already dominated by a more powerful rival. Read more...

Gerhard Schröder: Germany's Tony Blair?

In March 1998, Gerhard Schröder was nominated as the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor in the September general election. His long time rival, SPD party leader Oscar Lafontaine, nominated him. This is the SPD’s “dream ticket".

Martin Suchanek of Gruppe Arbeitermacht analyses the background to his rise and his prospects should the SPD form the new government after the elections. Read more...

Germany: the return of the class struggle

After many years of “good-bye to the working class”, in which, “new global questions facing humanity” seemed to make all orientation to the working class appear hopelessly out of date, a discussion has recently broken out in Germany over the “rebirth of the social question”. One prominent German trade union leader, Schmithenner, summed it up;

“The ‘social question’, which many people thought had been resolved, has announced its return with a vengeance…and this return of the traditional battlegrounds of social conflict within the capitalist market economy comes at a time when the idea that post-materialist culture and lifestyles were now all that mattered had carried the day in scientific and political discussions.”1 Read more...

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