Peter Schwarz, secretary of the International Committee of the Fourth International and national committee member of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party of Germany) sent the following greetings to the Second National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), which was held in Sydney from April 18–21, 2014.
In the name of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit I would like to convey the warmest revolutionary greetings to your Second National Congress.
In 2008 we insisted that the global financial collapse marked a historical turning point. More than five years later this has been fully confirmed. Faced with insoluble economic contradictions and sharpening class tensions, the ruling class all over the world is turning to militarism and authoritarian forms of rule.
The US “pivot to Asia” analysed in your Draft Resolution threatens to drag the entire Pacific region into a military conflagration. Here in Europe the same tendency finds its most acute form in the revival of German militarism.
When I attended your summer school in January, I found it hard to comprehend how the Australian bourgeoisie could turn the slaughter of the First World War and the massacre of Gallipoli into an occasion for celebration. Three months later we can see the same development here in Germany. With the escalation of the crisis in the Ukraine the media has shifted full gear into war propaganda.
They are discovering the positive sides of the First World War.
Typical is an article by Thomas Schmid, a co-founder of Joschka Fischer’s anarchist “Revolutionary Struggle” group in 1968 and now the editor of the conservative daily Die Welt. He insists that the First World War was “an experience that unified the peoples of Europe,” because “it created with martial power a common horizon of experience.” “In the trenches,” Schmid cynically writes, “soldiers on both sides of the barbed wire made the same experiences.”
Since the economic unification of Europe on a capitalist basis has miserably failed, militarism and war are now required to serve as the new justification for the European Union!
And they are trying to rehabilitate the crimes of the Nazis.
The campaign by Humboldt University historian Jörg Baberowski to justify the Nazi regime and its attack on the Soviet Union as a legitimate response to the crimes of Stalinism plays a central role in this attempt. To defend this historical travesty, Baberowski has to identify the October revolution with Stalinism and denounce Leon Trotsky. It was for this reason that he invited Robert Service to Humboldt University. We are the only ones who have challenged and successfully repudiated this campaign.
Baberowski’s historical falsifications are closely connected to the revival of German militarism. It is becoming ever more obvious that the crisis in the Ukraine is the result of a conscious provocation. After five years of unrelenting austerity, the German bourgeoisie, faced with the impending disintegration of the European Union and mounting class tensions, is resorting to a confrontation with Russia to assert its dominance over Europe. It is pursuing a course of aggressive imperialist expansion along the same lines as in 1914 and 1941. In doing so, it collaborates with right-wing and fascistic forces, who are worshipping the traditions of Nazi collaborators.
The media is accompanying this campaign with a deafening propaganda barrage to intimidate any critical voices. They work with lies and distortions reminiscent of the techniques of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. The less they find a response, the more hysterically they write. Despite the continuous stream of disinformation, public opinion remains firmly opposed to militarism and war.
The only reason why the German government can proceed with its war preparations without hindrance is because it has the full support of all the political parties, including the Greens and the Left Party.
The Social Democrats, the junior partner in the present government, have taken on the role of cheerleaders. They are marking the 100th anniversary of their support for the First World War with an outpouring of sordid warmongering against Russia.
The Greens, the party of the ’68 student protesters turned into affluent members of the upper middle class, are in full support of German imperialism. They beat the war drum in the name of “human rights” and “humanitarianism,” and have actively supported the fascist coup in Kiev.
The Left Party has dropped its pacifist cloak at precisely the time when German militarism is preparing to return to the world stage. Last week, Left Party parliamentary deputies voted, for the first time, for an overseas deployment of the German army. The pseudo-left currents inside the Left Party, like the “state capitalist” Marx21 tendency, are supporting this line by glorifying the fascist-led coup in Ukraine as a “democratic popular uprising.”
We have decided to place the struggle against militarism and war at the centre of our campaign for the European election, which we are conducting jointly with the British SEP. The ICFI has fought against the destructive influence of petty bourgeois tendencies ever since its formation in 1953. But never before has the gulf between our movement and all the different varieties of pseudo-left petty-bourgeois tendencies been as deep, as open and as irreconcilable as now.
We are literally the only tendency in the world fighting for a socialist perspective and the unification of the international working class, while all our political opponents are fully integrated into the camp of imperialism. This confronts our sections with huge opportunities and responsibilities.
I am confident that your congress will be another milestone in the development of our world movement and wish you every success.
For the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit