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Bailout Jobs, Not Banks!

by Angela Klein Monday, Jun. 01, 2009 at 11:14 AM

The real state of German public finance is kept secret from the public although the public should pay the bill. Union leaders parrot the fairy-tale of the evil bankers who alone caused the whole debacle. Automakers produce for the storage yard


By Angela Klein

[This article published in: SoZ-Sozialistische Zeitung, May 2009 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, ]

Unlike Paris and Rome, the demonstrations against the crisis (on March 28) pushed against the will of union leaders in an alliance extending from the German Left party (Die Linke) to several groups of the interventionist left. The alliance from November 1, 2003 was continued, this time with a very reduced presence of the movement of the unemployed.

A deep division weakens the unions. This division is a great obstacle for common resistance to shifting burdens to the population. However many unionists will no longer resign to the inactivity and unimaginativeness of union leaders. Fire is brought to the status quo.

The SPD canvasses unions again to stop its erosion. The unions, above all IG Metal, adjust. There is no reason to stylize Steinbruck as the rescuer of the nation. He and his team with Jorg Asmussen at the top are politically responsible for the debacle. In large part, they brought the laws deregulating the financial markets through the Bundestag that the banks dictated to them. Now the thiefs appear as rescuers in distress – to steal from us a second time, even more thoroughly.

They act like overbearing, high-handed princes. The real state of German public finance is kept secret from the public although the public should pay the bill. We will probably first learn how high the bill will be after the Bundestag election (in the fall of 2009). Hartz V is already in the drawer. The German finance minister’s announcement of a “debt-brake” can only mean the social budgets will take the rap.

Union leaders parrot the fairy-tale of the evil bankers who alone caused the whole debacle. They emphasize Steinbruck should close the fiscal gaps so the economy will go upwards again.

For a long time, the economy has been going backwards. “Greed” is simply an overproduction of credits, not a personality flaw of individual managers. The bankers are not acting any differently than the automakers. The automakers produce for the storage yard and try to force down the surpluses in a supersaturated auto market through rebate battles. This was also true in other branches. Bankers are only concerned that a demand be created – on credit. The heavy debts of private households were intentional and even necessary to keep the production going. If the over-indebtedness had not occurred, there would have been no upswing in 2003.

The bailout concepts do not tackle the causes of the crisis. They only pursue the goal of re-starting the credit-carousel through a gigantic over-indebtedness of the state budget – and thus stimulate the next over-production until the next crash. This cannot be cushioned with bailout- and economic programs.

The industrial unions and many works councils particularly in the automobile industry are playing along. A terminally ill horse is pumped up with drugs so it can keep running a little longer. They seek close alliances with employers and wrack their brains how their firm will survive the merciless race over who will be left at the end – at the expense of the employees who are driven in a ruinous competition over wage restraint and miserable working conditions. They should not be congratulated. The environment loses. The climate goals of the G20 only seem to be lip service. People in the countries of the South lose. The IMF governed their economies to reduce our surplus production and support the export orientation of the German economy.


On May 16, 2009, the European day of action supported by the European union alliance and carried ou9t in Berlin, Prague and Madrid, this will be made very clear with posters, leaflets and speakers. To find a halfway positive way out of the crisis, it is very important to find a majority in the unions for a battle strategy against the crisis that turns to an ecological, social and solidarity economy. As a motto for a long-term action perspective, the alliance supporting the March 28 demonstrations emphasized a slogan from the demonstrations on Wall Street: “Bailout jobs, not banks!”

The struggle around jobs is now the center of attention: Unlimited extension of short-term worker money, not extension of ALG1! Extension of ALG1 means resignation.

The time needed to introduce the transition to industry production on a non-fossil energy basis can be bridged. Credit policy must concentrate on this transition, not on fraud bonuses!

Pressure is necessary for a public debate about this. The present leadership collapses since nothing new occurs to them. The participation and involvement of employees and citizens is vital.


“The Quiet Coup” by Simon Johnson:

“Capitalism Hits the Fan” by Richard Wolff:

“From Bubbles to Living Economies” by Jakob von Uexkull

“Disarm the Markets!” by Attac Austria

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