On August 1, the Socialist Equality Party of Germany (Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei—SGP) presented its campaign posters for next month’s Bundestag (federal parliament) elections. “We have focused on the central question facing workers in Germany and around the world: the growing danger of war,” said Ulrich Rippert, chairman of the SGP, who is standing on the party’s slate in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Rippert said that the Bundestag election was taking place in the midst of the deepest international crisis of capitalism since World War II, with the danger of a nuclear world war greater than ever before. “Trump embodies the return of nationalism and militarism,” he added. “The ruling class in Germany has reacted to his election by preparing for war.”
He stressed that all of the parties in the Bundestag supported this course. “The SGP is the only party that opposes the development towards war and advocates a socialist programme,” he said. For this reason, the fight against capitalism and war and for a socialist society was the focus of the party’s campaign posters.
“Never again war” was the battle cry of the workers’ movement after the horrors of the First World War and was taken up again after the Second World War, Rippert pointed out. The SGP was reviving this slogan because workers were again confronting the basic and unsolved problems of the 20th century. “As then, only an independent movement of the working class can prevent a catastrophe,” Rippert declared.
The second poster also takes up the question of war, emphasizing the sharp contradiction between the drive to war of the ruling class and the widespread popular opposition to militarism and war. “The SGP gives a voice and a perspective to the opposition of the working class and the youth,” said Rippert.
The third SGP poster takes a clear stand against the right-wing anti-immigrant campaign of all the parties in the Bundestag. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) in particular is focusing its campaign on whipping up the far-right dregs of society with its witch-hunting of refugees, which is aimed at intimidating popular opposition to war and social inequality. Resistance to the attacks on welfare programs and labour protections is to be brutally suppressed.
The SGP firmly rejects the SDP’s hollow, right-wing slogans and advocates a common struggle of all working people in Germany against war and capitalism. The attacks on the rights of refugees are a preparation for attacks on all workers.
The SGP takes up this theme in another poster that directly raises the danger of a return to fascism. “As was the case 80 years ago, German militarism today is linked to racism and authoritarian forms of rule,” Rippert said. After the G20 protests, he pointed out, there was a systematic campaign to build up the powers of the state against left-wing protesters. “All the establishment parties are working to abolish fundamental democratic rights,” he said, “because war and inequality are not compatible with democracy. That is why the great historical questions are once again on the agenda.”
The European Union is an important tool for the implementation of this policy. Germany’s ruling class is reacting to the Brexit referendum in Britain and the growth of imperialist tensions by extending the austerity imposed on Greece to the entire continent. It is fighting for hegemony over Europe. It advocates a European army under German leadership to pursue its imperialist interests all over the world.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the EU cannot overcome the national antagonisms on the continent, but instead intensifies them. “The only way to unite Europe peacefully is the struggle for the United Socialist States of Europe,” said Rippert. The SGP advocates this on a fifth poster.
The socialist programme of the SGP is clearly outlined on the sixth poster. It emphasizes that low wages, temporary work, social cuts and the danger of war can be combated only with a socialist perspective.
SGP supporters will be distributing these posters widely. To put up as many posters as possible, the party needs generous donations. Ten large posters can be printed and hung for €40. The SGP can mount a large-scale banner for €450. We urge WSWS readers to donate today to support the most ambitious possible election campaign. The posters can also be ordered via this contact form.