IYSSE to stand candidates in 2017 student parliament election at Berlin’s Humboldt University

By our correspondent
26 November 2016

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) chapter at Berlin's Humboldt University (HU) is once again standing a slate of candidates for election to the Student Parliament (StuPa). On November 23, IYSSE members submitted a list of candidates to the Student Election Committee. The election will take place on January 17-18.

The IYSSE has been represented in the StuPa at Humboldt University since 2015. In last year's election, it more than tripled its vote, winning four seats.

Sven Wurm, the spokesman for the IYSSE chapter and a member of the StuPa, said after submitting the list: “Our participation in the election is particularly important at this time. The election of Trump in the US is a dangerous turning point. In recent days, it has become increasingly clear that his presidency is based on national chauvinism, militarism and police violence, and raises the danger of war internationally.”

Wurm noted that the ruling class in Germany had reacted to the US election with a sharp shift to the right. “In her government statement this morning,” Wurm said, “Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a massive arming of the state at home and abroad. We have long warned and shown that the arguments and strategies for the new German war policy are being developed here at our university.”

He noted that the IYSSE’s efforts to alert students to the growing war danger and expose the university’s complicity in the revival of German militarism were evoking a growing response. “A week ago, he said, “some 100 students attended our meeting on the US elections, and two days ago, the StuPa adopted a resolution against Bundeswehr (armed forces) advertising at our university by a large majority. Many students are no longer willing to accept Humboldt University being misused to promote war propaganda.”

In the coming weeks, the IYSSE will conduct an ambitious campaign of meetings and discussions, Wurm announced. Below, we publish the IYSSE statement that has been filed with the list of candidates. It will be published in the official election pamphlet, in which all participating lists will be presented.

* * *

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) is taking part in the StuPa election in order to build a movement against militarism and war, the growth of social inequality and the rise of the right wing. We want to prevent Humboldt University being transformed into a centre of right-wing and militarist ideology, as was the case during the First and Second World Wars.

The election of Trump as US president marks a historic turning point. An extreme right-wing representative of the ruling class is moving into the White House, someone who surrounds himself with outright fascists and supporters of torture and dictatorship. Trump’s cabinet will be the most right-wing in American history and his “America first” policy inevitably leads to war.

While the political establishment in the US is closing ranks behind Trump, a similar development is taking place in Europe. The German ruling elite is using Trump’s victory as a pretext for advancing their plans for a more independent foreign and military policy. What is planned is a doubling of the military budget, more military missions abroad and the recruitment of thousands of new soldiers.

Universities play a central role in the ideological preparation of this policy. More than a dozen professors were involved in the drafting of the “Bundeswehr White Paper.” At HU, professors Jörg Baberowski and Herfried Münkler have close links to the military. While the latter demands that Berlin again act as a “hegemon” and “disciplinarian” in Europe, the former is an avowed supporter of Nazi apologist Ernst Nolte and plays down the crimes of National Socialism (Nazism). He rails against refugees and bangs the drum for “law and order.” For this, he garners applause from the same right-wing circles that support Trump in the US as well as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

While professors such as Thomas Sandkühler seek to suppress any criticism by students of the shift to the right, we are not willing to passively accept the preparation of war and dictatorship at our university. It was here that the National Socialist Student League was founded in 1926 and where professors such as Carl Schmitt and Konrad Meyer justified and planned the crimes of the Nazis.

Whether we like it or not, we are going back to a time that will be as turbulent and crisis-ridden as the first half of the 20th century. Everything now depends upon the construction of a new international anti-war movement. It must be based on the working class; it must be anti-capitalist; and it must have an international socialist perspective.

No more war!
Against militarism and right-wing ideologies at our university!
Scholarship, not war propaganda!

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