The Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, PSG) held an anti-war rally in Berlin on Saturday. The PSG set up an information table in Berlin’s central Alexanderplatz and two of its candidates in the current election—Susanne Salamah and Christoph Dreier—denounced US war threats against Syria and condemned the collaboration of the German government.
“It is necessary to prevent a US war against Syria,” said Dreier. The current agreement on chemical weapons only delays an attack, the candidates explained, pointing to the fact that the US had now begun to directly supply the so-called rebels with weapons. At the same, they said, the US, France and other countries were seeking to impose unattainable ultimatums on the Syrian government to establish another pretext for war.
“This will be the fourth war in the region within 10 years,” Dreier said. After Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria is now being targeted for re-colonization, he continued. “The country is to be looted and destroyed and the population plunged into poverty and misery. A military strike against Syria would only exacerbate the already disastrous plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees.”
The ruling elite in the US and Germany are preparing this war, the candidates said, to advance their geo-political interests, above all the capture of key sources of raw materials and markets. The logic of this war, they added, was a confrontation with Iran, and eventually with China and Russia. This created the potential for a Third World War.
Capitalism is in its deepest economic crisis since the 1930s. As in 1914 and 1939 insoluble social contradictions and the drive to maximize profit were provoking war and barbarism, the candidates said.
The German government has been involved in the intense preparations for war against Syria from the beginning. For the past two years the German Navy has been stationed off the coast of Syria to monitor the supply of arms to the US and Saudi-backed rebel forces and since the beginning of the year 400 German soldiers armed with Patriot missiles have been stationed on the border with Syria. In the event of an attack on NATO member Turkey, Germany would be obliged to provide military assistance.
The revival of German imperialism is accompanied by severe social attacks and the destruction of democratic rights, Salamah said. “Edward Snowden has revealed that the entire population of Germany is being monitored by intelligence services. In the past 20 years the structures of a police state have been established in Germany.”
Social cuts and militarism are incompatible with democracy, the SEP candidate added. The struggle against war is therefore inextricably linked to the struggle for social equality and the fight against capitalism.
Formerly left or liberal media have now become the most violent warmongers and all parliamentary parties support the drive to war. Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main challenger the social democrat Peer Steinbrück have made clear they would be prepared to accept direct use of the Bundeswehr armed forces, Dreier said.
The Greens have become the most vocal advocates of war and the Left Party has been highly active in the organization of the Syrian rebels. When the Left Party now criticizes military intervention it is only seeking to cover its tracks, the SEP candidate explained. The majority of the former peace movement is now in a military camp, he added. This showed that the pseudo-left organizations spoke for more affluent layers of the upper-middle class, which had prospered from imperialist domination of the former colonial countries and the unrelenting attack on the working class in Germany and Europe as a whole.
Like 80 years ago, when the Nazis came to power, the candidates concluded, the only social force that can prevent dictatorship and war is the international working class.
The following interviews were made in the course of the campaign to prepare the rally on Saturday.
“There is a lot of manipulation by the media and the main TV stations,” said Christian. “They deceive people with erroneous reports in order to prepare military aggression. First Iraq, then Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria is next. All of this is aimed at enabling the west and, above all America, to take on Russia and China. I am sure many more people will die.
“What’s disappointing is that the opposition is doing nothing to oppose this development. You cannot tell me that people do not know they are being deceived. Most of the politicians sitting in the German parliament have sold their souls to the lobbyists, big business and money markets— and these are the people who determine policy.
“It is all based on a huge lie. In my opinion we have to take to the streets to show we are not prepared to expect this lousy capitalist system. I do not see why many have to die to satisfy the interests of a tiny minority.”
Another worker who stopped to listen to the speakers, said, “Europe is deep in crisis. Four hundred years of European history are coming to an end. It has lost its leading place in industry. Now there are many other rivals, Asia, Latin America. Europe has crossed the Rubicon, now they are going to plunder … I have read the papers … Now the US, Europe, Arab countries, including India, want to wage war but it is just a tiny minority at the top who make war. Who can stop them?”