Sozialistische Alternative (SAV), the German section of the CWI, held its annual ‚Socialism Days event, last weekend, 28-30 September, in Berlin. The slogan for the event was, Capitalism? Resistance! Marxism for the 21st Century. 270 activists from 20 German cities, as well as from Italy, Costa Rica, Brasil, Britain, Belgium and Austria discussed a wide range of topics, from the history of the Russian Revolution to the fight against the far right, from global warming to trade union struggle, from Latin America to the world financial crisis.
On Friday night, the leading Marxist economist and anti-privatisation campaigner, Winfried Wolf, spoke about and against the planned privatisation of the German railways and a film about this topic was shown to the audience.
Over the weekend, during three sets of commissions, various debates and discussions took place. These included two debates on the question of left unity. During one meeting, SAV member and former top candidate of the Berlin WASG, Lucy Redler, debated with Inge Höger, MP for the LEFT party, and Ruben Lehnert from the so-called ’Socialist Left’ current in the LEFT party. Hannah Sell, from the Socialist Party (England and Wales), was on a platform together with Marco Veruggio, from the left-wing current Controcorrente, in the Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) party in Italy, and Michael Prütz from the Berlin WASG. They discussed left wing co-operation and the possibility of revolutionary groups working together in Europe.
Two highpoints of the weekend were the debate on trade unionism, in which three workers’ leaders from DaimlerChrysler and Bosch-Siemens discussed the future of the unions, and the necessity to form left-wing opposition inside the unions. The increased influence and roots of SAV in workplaces was also reflected by the attendence of Carsten Becker, a trade union leader in Europe’s biggest university clinic and a SAV member, who spoke at the main rally.
Theodor Bergmann, a 91-year-old communist veteran and anti-fascist fighter, addresses a Socialism Days rally
This rally saw standing ovations for Theodor Bergmann, a 91-year-old communist veteran and anti-fascist fighter. Theodor called on the audience not to rely on pro-capitalist parties or the state in the fight against the far right, and explained that only with a socialist perspective can this battle can be succesful.
The final plenary session was devoted to the revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America. Alessandra Lacerda, from Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI Brazil), spoke next to Karl Debbaut from the CWI, Johannes Ullrich, who helped start the CWI group in Bolivia, and Sascha Stanicic, national spokesperson of Sozialistische Alternative. 1,700 Euros were collected in a special appeal to help the work of the CWI in Latin America.
For many regular visitors this year’s Socialism Days was the best, so far, in political quality, even though attendence was down slightly as the event did not taking place over Easter, as is normally the case, which makes it easier for people to travel).
Although, at this stage, the class struggle in Germany is relatively low and there are no generalised movements of workers and youth, this can can change quickly. This was discussed and the Sozialistische Alternative members and supporters used the Socialism Days weekend to prepare for more stormy periods ahead. Our participation in coming strikes by train drivers will be the first step in that direction.