German union wins over hours, but at what price?

Submitted by Matthew on 28 February, 2018 - 9:20 Author: Stefan Dietl

Last month, the German metalworking and electronics industries waged their most intensive struggle for years. More than 1.5 million workers downed tools in three 24-hour stoppages.

The 24-hour strikes allowed them to make a strong show of economic force. The strikes meant between 770 and 980 million Euros’ worth of lost production. Little wonder, then, that the Gesamtmetall employers’ association wanted to prevent open-ended strikes.

Conspiracy theory goes international

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2018 - 10:53 Author: Dale Street

Over the last year or so Jackie Walker has campaigned to present Labour politics as a drama centred on the alleged "lynching" of herself.

In May 2016 she was suspended from the Labour Party for allegedly antisemitic comments on Facebook. She was reinstated, and then suspended again in October 2016 for new comments (in public) found to be prejudicial by Jewish Labour members. Despite talk about the issue being "free speech on Israel", none of those comments were about Israel, still less were any of them statements of support for Palestinian rights.

'Anti-Zionism’, Antisemitism, and the German New Left

Submitted by cathy n on 22 December, 2017 - 1:23 Author: Dale Street
Red Army Faction

During the night of 8/9 November 1969 monuments in West Berlin commemorating victims of Nazi persecution, including one marking the destruction of a synagogue in the city’s Schoneberg district, were vandalised.

“Shalom”, “El Fatah” and “Napalm” were painted on the monuments, in the colours of the Palestinian national flag.

Germany: far right scoops social discontent

Submitted by martin on 3 October, 2017 - 10:49 Author: Stefan Schneider

The recent election night was a shock for many: [Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrat] CDU and the [Bavarian sister party of the CDU] CSU each had their worst result since 1949, the [Social Democrats of the SDP] got the worst result in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany; and [far-right] AfD, according to official estimates, came away with 12.6% of the vote and 94 representatives in the Bundestag.

Merkel: suppressing inconvenient truths

Submitted by cathy n on 21 September, 2017 - 3:02 Author: Ingo Schmidt (Sozialistische Zeitung)
Election poster

No-one is a better representative of a united Germany than Angela Merkel. First mocked as [Helmut] Kohl’s girl, Forbes magazine has for some years listed her as the most powerful woman in the world.

After Donald Trump’s victory in the US general election, the New York Times describes Merkel as the last defender of the liberal West.

Mass gathering of European neo-Nazis

Submitted by Matthew on 10 November, 2016 - 10:09 Author: Sebastian Osthoff

On 15 October, more than 5,000 neo-Nazis from all over Europe met in Unterwasser, a small mountain village in eastern Switzerland.

Even though the Swiss police is supposed to monitor the activities of far right groups, it was only when busloads of Nazi skinheads crossed the border that they became aware of the event. Completely unable to match the far right’s forces, they stood idly by and watched whilst hundreds of thousands of Euros were collected to finance neo-Nazi structures in Europe, but mainly in Germany.

Bankers’ greed brings us down

Submitted by Matthew on 2 November, 2016 - 11:53 Author: Editorial

“For questions about the survival of big European banks to be swirling almost ten years after the financial crisis started is utterly damning”, writes the big business magazine The Economist.

Questions are indeed swirling. On 26 October, the Bank of England asked British banks to say how much they are owed by Germany’s huge Deutsche Bank and Italy’s oldest bank, MPS, in case those banks prove unable to pay. Deutsche Bank’s share price has fallen by over 50% this year.

Labour needs new policy of solidarity with migrants

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2016 - 11:02 Author: Theodora Polenta and Hugh Edwards

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will defend freedom of movement in the negotiations around Brexit. He has declared: “I have visited the camps in Calais and Dunkirk, which are in an appalling state. Those people are in a very perilous situation. They are all humans, to whom we must reach out the hand of friendship and support”. He has called for Britain to admit more refugees.

Ports and workers’ power

Submitted by AWL on 14 September, 2016 - 12:27 Author: Martin Thomas

"The RWG [container] terminal [in Rotterdam, 2.35m teu capacity], with its fully automated cranes, is operated by a team of no more than 10 to 15 people on a day-to-day basis. Most of its 180 employees aren’t longshoremen, but IT specialists” (Journal of Commerce, 4 Feburary 2016).

The managing director says: “We are in fact, an IT company that handles containers”.

Compare: in 1900 the Port of London was the busiest port in the world. It had 50,000 workers shifting cargo mostly by hand, as they had done for thousands of years. It handled 7 million tons of cargo.