Germany

Mass gathering of European neo-Nazis

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.

Unless the Swiss left is able to really push against the racist tide, the far right will continue to feel all too comfortable.

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Bankers’ greed brings us down

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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.

In today’s global-markets capitalism, the financial piping is central. Banks are not quiet enterprises, doing backroom work in a steady and cautious fashion, but the leaders in general capitalist speculation, corner-cutting, and reckless greed. If banks go down, as they did in 2008, they bring everything else down.

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Labour needs new policy of solidarity with migrants

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.

A Pan European solidarity movement, internationalist and anti-imperialist, will be built only if each anti-racist movement in each country wins battles against the policy of forcible exclusion of refugees at their “national borders”.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Ports and workers’ power

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.

Port work went through a technological revolution in the 1960s and 70s, with “containerisation”. Now it is going through another technological revolution, with automation.

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Ernst Nolte and right-wing anti-Zionism

Author: 

Micheál MacEoin

Right-wing German historian Ernst Nolte died on 18 August at the age of 93.

Nolte was born to a Catholic family in Witten, in western Germany, in 1923. He studied with phenomenologist philosopher and Nazi sympathiser Martin Heidegger, who would be a major influence. Nolte first came to prominence with his 1963 study Der Faschismus in seiner Epoche (Fascism in Its Epoch, which was translated into English two years later as The Three Faces of Fascism).

Right-wing German historian Ernst Nolte died on 18 August at the age of 93.

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A Schäuble road to socialism?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

A long article in the Socialist Economic Bulletin (15 February) and on the Labour Left website Left Futures argues that the “centrepiece” of Labour Party economic policy should be a national investment bank. This would be a publicly-owned bank, able to borrow more cheaply than commercial banks because of its government backing, and lending for infrastructure and industrial projects.

A socialist policy needs, not just a national investment bank, but public ownership and democratic control of all the banks.

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Eurocentrism as a fig leaf, and the art of conjuring in politics

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

Facts:

On New Year’s Eve 2015, simultaneous coordinated sexual attacks took place against women in public space in about 10 cities, mostly in Germany, but also in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland… Several hundred women, to this day, filed a case for sexual attack, robbery, and rape. These attacks were perpetrated by young men of migrant descent (be they immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, or other) from North Africa and the Middle East.

Marieme Helie-Lucas, the Algerian sociologist and socialist-feminist, contributes to discussions on patriarchy, women's rights, and racism following the Cologne attacks.

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Responding to Cologne attacks

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

“We have to stand against sexual violence and sexual abuse against women, no matter who is the perpetrator”.

That message, from the demonstration on the steps of Cologne Cathedral on Saturday 9 January (Observer, 10 January), is the exactly the right response to the assaults made on women in the city (elsewhere) on New Year’s Eve, by all accounts, by male migrants from north Africa.

The answer to sexist attitudes is to challenge them and, fight them wherever you are. To fail to do that is to make yourself a neutral bystander in the struggle of women to be out of the domestic sphere, to have an education, to work, to be independent and safe.

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Not so welcome after all

Author: 

Anja Hertz

Reading the Anglophone liberal press over the last months, one could gain the impression that Germany is a beacon of hope for all the refugees to whom the rest of Europe is to an ever-increasing degree becoming a hostile fortress.

In 2015 there have been more than 700 attacks on refugee shelters and countless assaults on individuals

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Germany: helping the refugees

Author: 

Alice

According to the statistics, those who volunteer to help refugees are either between 20 and 30 years old or are older people.

Maybe those "in the middle", with a full-time job and young children, find it harder to make time.

I talked with an active trade union woman at work the other day, and she said that she doesn't volunteer but donates money to an organisation in Mannheim. Some volunteers are unemployed and need money if only for bus fares.

A socialist living in Mannheim, Germany, on reactions in Germany to the refugee crisis.

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