imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Germany: The Calm Before the Storm

by marx 21 network Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

"The Left must become a catalyst of resistance to the crisis in order to gain strength. Impoverishment does not make anyone enlightened. Despair and anger do not necessarily lead to progressivism. People may be just as likely to give up...."


Theses on crisis and protest from the marx21-Network

[This article published by the: marx21 network, August 2009 is translated from the German on the Internet by Anna Cueni.]

*1. The crisis is rapidly becoming graver. *

The German economy is predicted to collapse approximately 6 percent in 2009,

far surpassing the previous greatest collapse of 0.9 percent following the

war in 1975. The consequences will be devastating at all levels:

Unemployment is expected to rise to up to 4 million this fall; in 2010, 5

million unemployed are expected. Hartz IV ensures that millions of people

will be reduced to poverty within 18 months, when they will need to get by

with support of 351 Euros (plus rent for "adequate accommodation").

Public finances are collapsing: a slump of 200 billion Euros in tax revenue

is projected by 2013. Additionally, a potential pension reduction of 2

percent is looming due to falling pre-tax wages. In short, the country is

sliding at an accelerating rate into the gravest economic and social crisis

since the war. DGB leader Michael Sommer's warning of "social unrest" is

based in reality.

*2. After the Bundestag elections, Agenda 2020 looms.*

The general perception, however, is the opposite: with the scrap bonus for

vehicles, pension increases, and extension of the duration of short-term

unemployment benefits, the government seemingly supports "the common

people." Although many consider the government's granting of much greater

sums of money to the banks unfair, they nonetheless fail to see the

government as a major redistributor of wealth from below to above.

Ideologically, too, none of the established parties in this major election year are

positioning themselves neoliberally: the CDU is championing the "social

market economy" over "capitalism," and the SPD is moving left with calls for

taxing the rich, etc. This stands in stark contrast to insolvent countries

like Hungary and Estonia, where the governments wanted to pass the

conditions attached to IMF loans directly on to the populace in the form of

drastic social cuts, and were subsequently swept from office through

spontaneous popular movements. This is also a significant departure from

the situation in 2003, when Agenda 2010 was announced: the agenda was a

clear attack by the government on the majority of the populace.

But it is already clear: the next government will attempt to recoup the

money thrown after the banks and compensate for tax losses - the "debt

brake" points in this direction. The SPD is even coming out strongly in

favor of incorporating the debt brake into the constitution. This means any

foreseeable government will undertake belt-tightening measures. It is

apparent that the last half of 2009 and 2010 will see significant

controversies arise.

3. *Germany** is not **France** -- but the potential for mass protests


Although Germany has been hit significantly harder by the crisis, than, say,

France, the situation on the streets appears to be calmer. *Der

Spiegel*thus maintains that Germany is "not easily inflamed." That there are fewer protests here in Germany, however, is not because the mood is fundamentally different from

that in other countries. According to a survey by Emnid, 72 percent of

Germans fear the crisis, 79 percent show understanding for the protests and

32 percent say they would themselves participate in protests in light of the

crisis. That represents 15 to 20 million potential protestors.

At the same time, a new survey shows that 68 percent of Germans have not yet

felt the effects of the crisis. Those directly affected are contractors

laid off en masse, temporary workers, factory workers in the metals industry

(whose scheduled raise has been suspended) and, of course, workers from

now-bankrupt enterprises. Overall, the affronts are coming primarily from a

business rather than a political standpoint.

*4. The fight against job cuts will be a central political issue this year.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects

that the unemployment rate in Germany will rise to "nearly 12 percent" by

the end of 2010. Woolworth Germany has filed for bankruptcy. Its 11,000

workers in 323 locations are threatened by the same fate that befell their

British colleagues at the beginning of the year, when management dismissed

27,000 workers. Other businesses are also affected. Opel and Shaeffler are

in serious crisis. The time-honored brands Hertie and Märklin have already

filed for bankruptcy. Hertie has announced plans to shut19 of its

remaining 73 German locations and lay off 650 of its current 3,400 workers.

Software company SAP is planning to eliminate 3,000 of a total of 51,500

positions. Even in one of the most successful sectors of equipment

manufacturing -- printing press manufacturing -- the years of plenty are at

an end. At the end of November, market leader Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

announced the elimination of 2,500 jobs in its Wiesloch and

Heidelbergplants, its foundry in Amstetten and the smaller assembly

plants in Brandenburg, Kiel, and Leipzig.

Workers from nearly all of these companies have taken to the streets in the

past weeks and months. A successful fight against a plant closure would

serve as an encouraging symbol. For this reason, solidarity with the

workers’ struggles is the need of the hour.

*5. In order to save jobs, a break with market logic by means of

nationalization is necessary, as well as a radicalization of countermeasures

up to and including sit-ins. *

The return of the state is the central political development of the crisis,

and represents a challenge for The Left. On one hand, state intervention on

the part of the federal government is designed around socializing the losses

of the banks, and is thus rejected by many leftists. The criticism that

state-run enterprises operate just as exploitatively as private ones is also

justified -- if the same rates of return are stipulated as for privately-run

concerns. On the other hand, it is correct to require the nationalization

of insolvent firms. In the current crisis, only the state commands the

resources to prevent the collapse of modern manufacturing facilities and

thus avert mass unemployment. These facilities and the know-how of the

workers are in no way superfluous -- it would be possible to use them to

manufacture modern, socially useful goods. This necessitates a debate over

the goals of production and appropriate planning -- in short, a

democratically controlled economy. The fight over nationalization is a

bridge: necessary given today's confrontations, it also portrays the

contours of a possible society of tomorrow.

Nationalization is superior to market solutions, such as those being sought

in the case of Opel. Here, the management, supported by the general works

council, is looking for an investor, but offering its workers wage cuts. This

will initiate a downward spiral. The overcapacity in the automotive market

is approximately 40 percent. This means that even the greatest sacrifices

will not end the automotive companies' profit crisis. Without a fundamental

redesign of production in the transportation sector, there can be no

solution here -- and such a redesign demands public access to the industry.

Of course, large corporations won't simply sit back and watch their

dispossession, but will try anything to disunify the workers, and, in the

case of bankruptcy, to hawk off the prime assets of the enterprise. To

prevent this, workers in countries like France have rediscovered occupation

as a form of protest: as a means to keep the workers together, as a place of

communal discussion, and as a method to defend against dismantlement. In

Germany, such measures should also be central to union tactics.

*6. The Left must become a catalyst of resistance to the crisis in order to

gain strength.*

"Red plays dead" and similar statements have been made by commentators

concerning the apparently contradictory fact that, while The Left has always

warned against market radicalism, it is now unable to benefit from the

crisis. Leading members of the party like Dietmar Bartsch give the

following explanation: The Left will gain in strength when the crisis has

reached the people. But this relationship is not automatic. Impoverishment

does not make anyone an enlightened and left-leaning person. Despair and

anger do not necessarily lead to progressivism. People may be just as

likely to give up or, worse still, lend their ears to the Nazis’

pseudo-criticism of capitalism.

Passively waiting for the supposedly forthcoming political recovery will not

strengthen The Left. In order for a social radicalization to take a

leftward direction, an additional important element is required: successful

struggles against injustice and exploitation, conducted in solidarity. WASG

-- and later, The Left -- did not simply result from the outrage of many

over Schroeder's Agenda 2010. Instead, the party arose from the mass

resistance to the agenda.

Only resistance on the streets and in the workplace and the solidarity that

arises in such struggles can strengthen The Left. The party cannot and must

not create these struggles out of thin air. They already exist -- for

example, in the mass demonstration organized by the DGB on the 16th of May.

But The Left carries the responsibility of doing everything in its power to

help those who are engaged in the struggle -- by practicing practical

solidarity, by inserting itself into the political debate in the manner most

promising of a successful way forward, and by voicing inside and outside of

Parliament what millions of people are thinking: that the profiteers must

step up monetarily and that the populace shall not pay for the crisis. The

Bundestag elections of 2009 offer a good opportunity for this message to

gain recognition.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy