300 people discuss relevancy of Marxism today
For the 10th time, SAV (CWI in Germany) organised a successful “Socialism Days” in Berlin, over the Easter weekend (2 to 4 April). In 25 different discussions, 300 participants debated the questions raised by the capitalist crisis and social resistance. The event begun on good Friday with a rally at which various international speakers from Spain, Poland and Irish CWI MEP, Joe Higgins, spoke. Member of IG Metall and opposition group “alternative”, Matthias Bender, Franc Zega, a Die Linke Bavarian spokesperson, and Lucy Redler, national SAV spokersperson, also addressed the meeting.
The core messages of this meeting were quite clear: We won’t pay for your crisis! Solidarity with the Greek working class in their struggle against cuts and for an internationalisation of the resistance to working people being made pay for the crisis!
Matthias Bender spoke about the policy of the trade union leadership and explained, using the example of the Daimler factory in Berlin, how they act as a brake the fightback. Because of this, there is a need to build organised opposition groups of trade unionists. He thanked SAV for their support in building the “Alternative” group in Berlin and in producing a factory paper of the same name.
Lucy Redler called for mobilisation for the education strike and social protests in June and explained the necessity of answering the crisis with a socialist programme. Commenting on the draft of the new Die Linke programme, she emphasised that many things this draft says must be defended against the right wing of the party, but that the draft in general does not represent a clear and consistent socialist programme and therefore must be criticised and changed by the Marxists. She especially emphasised – to great applause – that the draft programme which represents a step to the left, in comparison to the party’s previous programmatical points, is not an expression of a real development of the party and its policies. The debate around the programme must therefore be linked to a struggle to change the course of the party.
Also at Socialism days, the first issue of the Solidaritat (SAV paper) youth supplement “.megafon” was distributed, which received a very good echo from the weekend’s young participants.
The SAV has published a book on Iran – “Iran – freedom through socialism!”. On Saturday evening, the weekend’s main rally was a debate on Iran, with Bijan Kiarsi from Cologne, Pedram Shayar from Berlin and SAV spokesperson Sascha Stanicic. Several Iranians spoke in the discussion and the debate focussed on the perspective for the revolutionary mass movement in Iran and the tasks of socialists in this movement. A young Iranian activist who was forced to flee Iran recently called on the left to have an independent programme and to be seen as a party of the movement basing itself on the working class as the decisive force to change society. Behrouz, an Iranian from Aachen, emphasised the fact that SAV is the only organisation in Germany which takes up and debates this issue in a serious manner and thanked SAV for organising this meeting.
In another well-attended debate the question “was the GDR (former Stalinist East German state) socialist?” was discussed. The speakers were, Rene Henze and Bernd Gehrke, anti-Stalinist activists from the revolutionary movement against the SED regime, and Hans Modrow, the last Prime Minister of the GDR for the SED/PDS, today a member of Die Linke’s “council of elders”. Modrow’s attempts to defend the GDR as a socialist state were not very convincing. Bernd Gehrke correctly warned against a Stalinist “renaissance” in the debate around the GDR and called for stronger involvement of anti-Stalinists in the public debate.
Another debate took place on the capitalist crisis and Marxists’ analysis. A debate on how to fight fascism saw a debate featuring 93 year-old anti-fascist veteran, Theodor Bergmann. Another discussion dealt with events in Turkey, in which SAV and CWI members who had intervened in the TEKEL struggle reported. Another debate dealt with the development of Die Linke, with speakers, Franc Zega, Lucy Redler, Thomas Hartung (Thuringia Federal state MP) and Thies Gleiss (member of Die Linke’s national executive). Meetings on “love sex and capitalism”, “car industry in the abyss” and “Trotskyism = modern Marxism?” also took place, along with many more.
One participant from Aachen said “these were the best Socialism Days because the people speaking and the issues were so interesting”. An alternative sightseeing tour of the Berlin of Marx, Luxembourg and Liebknecht added to the weekend even further. A concert took place on Saturday evening featuring Holger Burner, Totally Stressed and Stainless Bones.
There were record sales of books on the weekend’s stalls, which reflects a growing interest in Marxist ideas. Also, a fighting fund appeal raised €1,300 – a marvellous result! The money will be used to support the Pakistani section of the CWI, to finance solidarity work with the TEKEL workers struggle in Turkeay and to mobilise for demonstrations organised by the “we won’t pay for your crisis” alliance on 12 June.
The “Socialism Days” were again a place to debate Marxist ideas, to plan actions and debate the strategy to ovethrow capitalism.