Germany: Majority support for socialism

Today 79% of east Germans and 51% of west Germans think that Socialism is a "good idea" that was "only badly implemented" in the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe. That is the judgement after 15 years of capitalist unification. Clearly in the midst of the current determined campaign by the German ruling class to cut living standards the opposition and alienation from capitalism is growing.

These facts has not come from socialists or anti-cuts campaigners but are contained in the "2004 Data Report" published at the end of August by the government’s Federal Statistics Office in conjunction with two research institutes.

Germany is in the midst of the protests of tens of thousands against the savage cuts in unemployment pay due to be implemented next year. At the same time more and more companies, and public sector employers, are demanding that their workers work longer hours for no extra pay.

The growing anger, especially in eastern Germany, is hinted at in this official survey. After all the false promises of prosperity at the time of capitalist unification there is deep bitterness at the current average 18.5% unemployment level in the east, the lack of a future and now the sharp cuts in unemployment benefit when there is no work available. Only 39% of easterners are happy with the way in which German "democracy" currently functions, in the west the figure is 63%.

Alongside the mass protests, this survey is another indication of the possibilities that now exist in Germany for building a new workers’ party and a party with socialist policies. Recent opinion polls have shown that if the WASG initiative goes ahead with launching a new left party it could immediately receive 11% in elections. A campaigning workers’ party had really challenged capitalism and presented a genuine socialist alternative, while making clear its opposition to Stalinism, could rally mass support and challenge the capitalism system that now can only offer a future of lower living standards.

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September 2004