Over 250 students and workers crowded into a lecture hall at the Humboldt University (HU) in Berlin Tuesday evening for a meeting featuring a lecture by David North, the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in the US.
The topic of North’s lecture was the causes and consequences of the election victory of Donald Trump. Students and workers crowded into the venue, some had to sit on window sills and the floor, others stood outside the venue’s doors to listen to the report and subsequent discussion.
A lively discussion took place after the lecture. North responded to numerous questions and contributions from the audience. He stressed in particular the opposition of the Fourth International to all forms of imperialist war. Any attempt to justify such wars using human rights propaganda was deceitful. The issue of identity politics was also discussed further.
Discussion continued in the corridors and surrounding cafes long after the official end of the meeting and many of those attending crowded around the book table featuring works by Leon Trotsky, North and many other Marxist authors.
The spokesman for the IYSSE at Humboldt University, Sven Wurm, who moderated the event, pointed out that right-wing tendencies were also gaining ground in Europe and Germany. The struggle of the IYSSE against militarism and right-wing ideology was therefore of great importance. In total, 42 students and young workers registered to support the IYSSE election campaign for the HU student parliament or keep in touch.
Marcus, who works as a nurse for the elderly, had come to the Humboldt University from Berlin’s outer borough of Marzahn to hear the lecture. “I thought he explained very well how this development can lead to dictatorship and war,” Marcus said. “It’s not just about crazy-man Trump. Already in 2008, more and more workers were dissatisfied.”
He said he had taken from the lecture that Trump’s election “has much to do with a lack of perspective”. He compared Hillary Clinton with German government leaders Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and concluded: “They are no alternative to the (far-right) AfD.”
Marcus also reported on his own work as a nurse, where colleagues were worked to the brink. “There are only two or three people left to look after a station—formerly there used to be six. The workload is so intense that our elderly patients dare not express their wishes.”
“I found it enthralling and much was new to me,” Natsumi, a music and Italian student reported. “Trump is the expression of an entire development, he has not fallen from the sky.” She said it was important to draw the connections for young people: “Many simply take up what their parents say, but people really have to start thinking for themselves.”