In the first days of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) campaign for the Berlin state election, members and supporters have distributed thousands of leaflets at vocational schools, in residential neighbourhoods and at factories, and held countless discussions with workers and young people. The SGP is the only party in Germany to oppose the war policies of the ruling class and turn the recall election to the Berlin House of Representatives (state legislature) into a referendum against war and social devastation.
The SGP is fighting to build an international mass movement against NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine, which threatens to escalate into a nuclear war against Russia. In its election statement, the party is demanding the expropriation of the war and crisis profiteers, an end to all arms deliveries and economic sanctions, and 100 billion euros for nurseries, schools and hospitals.
The SGP is deploying a loudspeaker truck to discuss the election campaign with workers, hold rallies and hand out campaign material. We invite all readers to come to the first candidate forum in front of Spandau City Hall next Saturday at 2 p.m., ask the candidates questions and actively participate in the SGP’s election campaign.
Despite the bad weather, the SGP’s campaign has been met with a great response and much approval. In the working class neighbourhood of Siemensstadt in Spandau, residents reacted with raised fists to the announcement that the party stood in the tradition of the revolutionary socialism of Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Others applauded when SGP members called for the 100 billion euro “special fund” for the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) to be eliminated and instead invested in education and social services.
Asked about the fact that the parties of the Red-Green-Red Senate (Berlin state executive)—referring to the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Left Party—support the Ukraine war, a BMW worker outside the motorcycle plant at the Julius Tower in Berlin-Spandau said, “Actually, they all do. The war could have ended long ago if they didn’t keep escalating it.” It is clear that the capitalist parties and the wealthy classes they speak for won’t stop the war, he said, “They’re all getting rich from the war, after all.”
“I am surprised that there is not yet a mass movement against these policies,” said Vanco, who has been a retiree for many years. “Western countries are destroying the whole world in the name of democracy and freedom. They are raping other states—first Yugoslavia, now Ukraine. I come from Macedonia, where there are almost no doctors left because many have come to Germany. Now I have to collect bottles [to claim the deposit] because people can’t manage on their pensions. There are a million homeless people in Germany and 6.2 million people who can’t read and write properly.”
“We have such a staffing emergency in schools and nurseries,” reported Witali, who works as an educator in Berlin and supports the SGP campaign. “When the pandemic came, they didn’t think of anything better than opening the windows every 15 minutes. Air filters don’t cost very much, but the schools alone can’t pay for them. The government would have to spend money on that instead of weapons. Billions are needed in so many places. Also, measures like the ‘energy subsidy’ are laughable considering how much energy and food prices have gone up. It’s like throwing a dog a bone. Compared to the war machine, it’s nothing.
“For 30 years, there have been discussions about educators getting the pay of elementary school teachers. But this is always rejected, on the grounds that the money was not there. Yet it is so important, especially in kindergarten, to provide good developmental support and to make the profession as attractive as possible. How are children to be supported if there is a constant shortage of staff? One only supervises the children and can no longer do any pedagogical work.
“Today it is said that propaganda only exists in countries like the Soviet Union, but I don’t agree with that. America and the Western countries are fighting ‘for democracy’ and ‘against terrorism,’ but in reality, terrorism is promoted and democracy is destroyed. Terms are simply exchanged and reinterpreted. I find this frightening, and this is longstanding Western propaganda.”
Luc met the SGP a few weeks ago when its youth organization—the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE)—campaigned in Berlin to promote the IYSSE’s international online rally on the campus of Humboldt University. Luc is a freshman studying business administration. He actively supports the SGP’s campaign and is calling on friends and family to vote SGP:
“The SGP is the only party that represents an international perspective, which is very important. It is also the only party that truly represents the interests of the working class and is not pandering to a wealthy middle class.
“The development of war is drastic. Events like those in 1939 are looming. The signs are the same: tremendously increased military spending and breathtaking war rhetoric from all parties in politics. Fatal historical correlations can be noticed. The government does everything to keep the war going. From the media, there is only a very one-sided view—one then wonders what is behind it and what is intended. The right-wing terrorist networks in the army and the police are also not dealt with; there is only talk of ‘lone perpetrators.’
“It is clear that war, capitalism and right-wing extremism are inevitably linked and go hand in hand,” Luc continues. “Capitalism demands imperialist and warlike actions to keep going. It’s about elites who want to increase their wealth and secure their power through the exploitation of other countries.”
With the unprecedented rearmament of the Bundeswehr, which has been given a special fund of 100 billion euros during the pandemic, “a total disaster is coming for the working class,” Luc warns, “Billions are being spent on armaments and policies that benefit the elites. But the people who really need help—the workers, the general population—see nothing of all these billions.”
The fact that the German government is arming fascist groups in Ukraine that celebrate the collaborators of the Nazi Wehrmacht (army) is “a total absurdity—especially for a country like Germany, which should actually bear an immense historical responsibility,” he said. “This shows that politics is blind on the right. They are not only tolerated, but actively supported because it benefits the elites.” The SGP is the only party that opposes this, he said. “That’s why I support the election campaign.”
For more information on SGP’s election campaign, visit www.gleichheit.de/