The only way out: Down with the imperialist war! Down with capitalism!
World capitalist crisis and the complete folly of the western policy of sanctions pushed Germany to the brink of economic collapse. The intervention in the imperialist war in Ukraine to defend US and NATOs spheres of interest against Russia and China, has become a nightmare for workers in Ukraine, in Russia and all over Europe with a wave of inflation that is condemning European and German workers to misery. At the same time, the big capitalist monopolies, banks, energy companies, weapons companies, etc., are obtaining great profits, more than ever. As Lenin said, war is terrible, “terribly profitable“.
It was on February 23 that Olaf Scholz explained his expansionist plans to integrate "all countries of the Western Balkans" into the European Union at the Munich Security Conference. Already in 2018, we heard the big success stories from European institutions that they managed to privatize Ukrainian state property, with a big share for German capitalist. What a farce when now all the politicians of the traffic light coalition, these lackeys of capitalism, talk about defending "democracy" and "European values" in Ukraine! They only care about the business of the German capitalist monopolies, and this is the reality behind the speeches and propaganda of the German government and the media.
Germany confronts decay, but capitalism makes big business
The imperialist war has completely captured Germany and deepened the social division. While the big German energy monopolies will make excess profits due to the crisis – the energy giant RWE has doubled its profits to 2.1 billion Euros in the first half of 2022 – the cost of energy this year will be an additional 200 billion euros in Germany alone, to be paid by working families and companies.
The reason for this is "not the slovenliness of the German economy", but Putin's war of aggression, says Robert Habeck. But has Putin forced the European Union to set electricity prices at the price provided by the most expensive supplier so that everyone else makes extra profits? The German bourgeoisie and their governments of the right and the left have made millions of profits with Russian, Chinese and US capitalists. German capitalists benefit from cheap energy from Russia to be competitive on the world market. Now that has changed, but not for humanitarian or democratic reasons, but to achieve the goals of US imperialism to try to avoid their decay against China. They have lined up in the economic war with Russia and China in a bloc with the US and NATO, and have completely failed with this policy. Now Germany is confronted with bankruptcy.
These are the facts: 31 percent of German industry is dependent on natural gas, and the price of liquefied gas, which is to be imported as an alternative to natural gas, exceeds that of natural gas by 40 percent. 16 percent of industrial companies say they will cut back or completely shut down production in the fall. The steel industry has cut production by five percent, the chemical industry by eight, and the fertilizer industry has cut a full 70 percent of its capacity. This situation has led to industrial prices in Germany soaring, year-on-year, by 46.9% in August, the largest increase since the statistical series began in 1949. An absolute crisis for industry that will relay on the working class!
Western sanctions had ended in a complete fiasco. Each sanction came back thousandfold, and hit the German economy hard. There is a simple reason behind this, which was pointed out by V. I. Lenin in 1915: Capitalism has developed to such an extent that the entire planet is covered with trade routes and production chains. It is impossible to isolate a capitalist nation from central supplies of raw materials.[i]
This failure deepens the crisis of the German bourgeoisie that looks with horror how the share of their business in the world market will shrink dramatically. In recent days, more voices have been raised arguing for peace negotiations with Zelenski to save the German economy from ruin. But the bourgeoisie is trapped. The rise of China and the struggle of the major international powers have become a threat to their profits. While the share of German goods on the world market where 12 percent in 1990, it was only 7.2 percent in 2020 - a consequence of the Great Recession of 2008 and the rise of the Asian giant. Now also the US will benefit from the crisis of the German industry.
At the same time, like in 2008, Germany applies nationalist and protectionist measures to try to avoid recession and a social explosion, weakening more the precarious European unity and sinking all the continent in a deepest crisis. The recent criticism of the Commissioner for Competition of the EU against Germany for its plan of multimillion-dollar aid to its industries and large companies, 200,000 million euros (8.4% of German GDP, double that of France or Italy), put it in evidence. While Germany can afford to act in this way, with a public debt of 68.2% of its GDP, other countries such as France (114.5%), Italy (152.7%) or the Spanish State (116.1%) cannot. Once again, the supposed European solidarity becomes borage water. It is the inevitable consequence of a European unity on capitalist bases.
The bourgeoisie cannot find a peaceful solution to these problems. The imperialist war, waged militarily or economically, is a symptom of the decline of capitalism, and can only be ended by the forces of social revolution!
Failure of reformism opens the door to the extreme right
The rise of China and the crisis of the West are reaching a critical point. Robert Habeck's words that Germany does not expect "a wave of insolvencies," only that some industries will "stop producing", show the future of German capitalism. Just in September, the number of business bankruptcies rose by a third compared to August.
And what is the bourgeoisie doing to fight the crisis? Olaf Scholz has announced another "defence shield" of 200 billion euros that includes mainly billions of euros for private corporations. The German government has “nationalized” Uniper, but like in the 2008 crisis, in reality this step is taken just to rescue capitalist profits.
On the other hand, while the “gas price brake” is a complete fraud, taking effect only from March 2023, and then only from a gas price of 12ct/kilowatt hour – more than twice as much as the gas price of September 2021 –, all the financial returns handed to the top income families exceed by far the amount of help for workers and poor. In fact, the “relief packages” completely follow the doctrines of neoliberalism, redistributing public money to the richest strata, paid out of the public money that comes from everyones taxes.
Every lever that the German bourgeoisie applies is failing, impoverishing the middle classes and sinking the working class. This is the ground for the rise of the fascists, who offer a more effective solution to the sectors of capital and wide sectors of the middle classes that are desperate. With slogans such as "German interests first instead of economic war," AfD leader Chrupalla called on his supporters to demonstrate in Saxony and Berlin as early as August with growing success.
The crisis has emboldened the fascists in the AfD, placing the leadership of the party at their feet. In the east, they are advancing in leaps and bounds: according to the latest Sunday poll, the AfD is in first place in the eastern states, with 27 percent; nationwide, it is only three percentage points behind the SPD's current poll numbers, at 15 percent.
Polarization has increased and the right is also waging this battle for the streets. On October 3, fascist Björn Höcke managed to join a mass protest of 10,000 people in Gera, which was heavily influenced by right-wing forces. All this, the strength of the extreme right, is the direct result of the national unity policies of the Government and of the reformist left.
DIE LINKE at the brink. We must defeat capitalist crisis with the banner of revolutionary Marxism!
At the same time, Alliances of left groups and social movements have formed in all medium and large cities across the country to organize mass protests and strikes. This is the path. We must counter the defeatism of the reformist leaders who now see the danger of a "fascist mass movement" everywhere but have done nothing to get workers and the poor onto the streets. Yes, it is possible to defeat the right! Even more, the workers movement - armed with the program of revolutionary Marxism - is the only force that can end the crisis of capitalism!
But the damage done by capitalist reformism policies is enormous. Years of betrayal by supposedly "left", "social democratic" and "green" parties have convinced more and more people not to trust the phrases of the reformists, and made an increasing proportion of the workers and poor to become political orphans.
We have to fulfil that space through direct action and self-organization, overflowing the union leaders and the reformist left, denouncing the complete failure of capitalism, and setting out a clear, socialist revolutionary program to overcome it. For expropriation without compensation of the capitalists, and nationalization of the energy companies, key industries and banks, to avert the total catastrophe that is upon us. This is the necessity.
But what are the leaders of DIE LINKE doing? While capitalism is in its deepest crisis since 1929, a Third World War is looming and the strategy of Western economic sanctions has utterly failed, they have decided to support the capitalist measures of the federal government! A broad bloc in the party has completely adopted the lies of NATO, raising the demand for sanctions against Russia and China, supporting an economic war that drives the majority population into poverty! Complete support to the imperialist war! What a bankruptcy!
To conceal their complete genuflection to the German bourgeoisie, they use in a demagogic way demands such as the "expropriations of Russian oligarchs". We communists are in favour of expropriation of the capitalist oligarchy in all countries, but in the first place of our own bourgeoisie! Is utterly laughable to make it a "left" or even "oppositional" demand in the imperialist war only to put on the agenda the expropriation of the opponents of one's own bourgeoisie! In 1917 Lenin wrote that this policy "in the same way (helps) their own imperialist government, since it draws attention to the deceitfulness of the enemy".[ii] This has not changed.
All leaders of DIE LINKE refuse to acknowledge the simplest truth. The utter failure of the sanctions policy proves that the German bourgeoisie is completely powerless in the face of the capitalist crisis. Only Marxism offers an alternative to this, which already Liebknecht put forward in 1918: to turn the weapons against the bourgeoisie, and to wage a war against the capitalist class system in order to end the imperialist war.
Sahra Wagenknecht stands for a different course than the current leadership of DIE LINKE, but she is only the other side of the same coin. She and with her other pacifists and reformists of the peace movement argue that one only has to lift the economic sanctions to end the crisis.
But the crisis of capitalism is universal. Gazprom reported billions in profits last month, and every tanker leaving the U.S. for Europe with liquefied natural gas brings its investors $200 million in profits. The capitalists, from whatever country, are exploiting us and waging their war to maximize their profits. This is the crisis of capitalist ownership! The answer is not some left economic nationalism, or to put on the side of one or another imperialist power, such as Russia or China, but to fight for international socialism, like Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in 1914.
They criticize tax increases on the rich and wage hikes, without raising the question of capitalist property, as reformist. True!! But isn't it reformism to pretend that nothing more is needed than an economic policy program that is friendlier to Russia and China? Or to want to fight capitalist war by begging capitalist institutions like the UN to negotiate? Some degenerate elements in the ranks of German Stalinism and the DKP go even further: they openly call for the victory of Russian imperialism in order to gain a "tactical advantage" for the working class! A complete political bankruptcy!
For an independent program of struggle of the working class! Expropriate the exploiters!
For over 100 years, reformists, such as those we find in DIE LINKE, have utterly failed to fight capitalism and capitalist wars. Now capitalism is facing a new historical crisis that could endanger the future of human civilization.
The task of communists is clear: the main enemy is at home! We must oppose all forces that want to lead us into imperialist war! The imperialist war is a war of the rich against the workers of all countries. But it is possible to defeat it!
The class struggles in Britain or now too in France, with militant strikes and stronger demonstrations every day, show the way forward: they have put the general strike back on the agenda. In Germany we have to do the same.
The reality is the same for all workers: 10 percent inflation and a 2.9 percent wage increase. All workers know, "What affects me affects everyone else!"
To advance the struggles, we must break the national unity of the union leaders with the bosses. We have to struggle against the concerted action, to which DGB chairwoman Yasmin Fahimi met with the president of the Federal Bank, the employer president and the ruling politicians in July, which pursued the goal of supporting the social robbery of the Federal Government and defending the social peace.
There is enormous potential to unite the struggles! The collective bargaining round in the metal and electrical industry - an industry with 3.8 million employees - is coming up in the fall. Their peace obligation ends on October 28. It would multiply the fighting power of the movement in the fall to unite with the striking metal workers and make their strike a joint offensive!
But we have to struggle from below, through direct action, with militant strikes, and mass solidarity of all the population. We have to build the path for a General Strike, unifying all sectors that will have to come out and fight. And we have to build a genuine and revolutionary communist party.
Capitalism has driven the world to the brink of destruction. It exploits us for its profits, destroys the environment, and has started a war that could destroy civilization. Only when the productive power of society is wrested from the capitalists - through the expropriation, nationalization and democratic control of key industries and banks - only through socialist revolution can the madness of capitalism be ended.
Capitalism is leading the world into barbarism. Reformism is dead. The future belongs to the ideas of revolutionary communism!
Join the revolutionary communists!
[i] W. I. Lenin: Die sozialistische Revolution und das Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Nationen, in: Lenin-Werke, Bd. 22, S. 144.
[ii] W. I. Lenin: Bürgerlicher und sozialistischer Pazifismus, in: Lenin-Werke, Bd. 23, S. 184.