Germany: IYSSE again represented in the Student Parliament at Berlin’s Humboldt University

By our reporters
5 February 2020

The university group of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at Humboldt University in Berlin has again won representation in the Student Parliament (StuPa). According to the preliminary results, it received 3.7 percent (90 votes) in this year’s elections on January 29-30 and will be represented in the new parliament with two of its three candidates (Sven Wurm and Helmut Wolff).

The IYSSE is the youth and student organization of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

The IYSSE have only one seat less than the youth organisations of the Left Party (SDS, Die Linke HU Berlin) and the Free Democratic Party’s (FDP), which, like all the parties in the Bundestag (federal parliament), have considerably greater resources and were able to stand more candidates. The student group of the Greens (Grünboldt) received 204 votes (5 seats); the Christian Democratic RCDS, 216 votes (5 seats); and the Social Democratic Party’s Jusos, 300 votes (7 seats). The list of independent students (Lust) won 8 seats, with 305 votes (12.43 percent); and the Left List (LiLi), 7 seats, with 278 votes (11.33 percent).

IYSSE anti-war meeting at the beginning of the election campaign at Humboldt University

IYSSE spokesman Sven Wurm, who received the fifth most votes (58) out of a total of more than 150 candidates, said the IYSSE’s renewed entry into the StuPa was a success. “We have now been represented in the student parliament continuously since 2015 and have established ourselves on campus as the force that consistently fights against the danger of war and dictatorship and the transformation of our university into a hotbed for right-wing and militaristic ideologies. It is internationally known that the extreme right-wing professor Jörg Baberowski at Humboldt University downplays Hitler and National Socialism (Nazism) and is defended by the university management.

“The opposition against fascism and war is enormous,” he added. “We discussed with students that the question of political perspective is crucial. Only an international socialist movement of the working class against capitalism can stop the rise of extreme-right forces and a renewed relapse into barbarism. The fact that we have received much support for this perspective is all the more significant because right-wing forces on campus have systematically sabotaged our campaign, torn down our election posters and attacked our candidates. Baberowski and his defenders are clearly highly nervous and concerned about the growing opposition.”

During the election campaign, the IYSSE organised three successful events, which were attended by about 200 students and workers. The first took place on January 14 with WSWS Germany editor Johannes Stern, under the title “No war against Iran! For an international movement against capitalism and war!” At the second meeting, on January 21, Christoph Vandreier, deputy chair of the SGP and author of the book Why Are They Back? Historical falsification, political conspiracy and the return of fascism in Germany (available in the US and UK), spoke on the question of the ideological preparation of war and fascism 75 years after the end of the Second World War.

The closing event, “The new class struggles and the perspective of international socialism” was a special highlight. Alex Lantier, the chairman of the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES), the French section of the ICFI, and Joseph Kishore, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in the US, appeared via live video.

Kishore, who had recently been nominated by the SEP as its US presidential candidate, summed up the significance of the IYSSE election campaign at Humboldt University. The decisive question, he said, was the establishment of an independent political leadership. Workers and young people should not let themselves “be hijacked behind one faction or another of the ruling elite.” No progressive tendency could be found among the capitalist parties, he said.

The necessary conclusion, he insisted, was, “not tinkering with the system, not futile reforms within the framework of capitalist politics. We live in a revolutionary epoch, and the working class needs revolutionary politics. A political movement must be built that is deeply rooted in historical experience and that has drawn the critical lessons from this experience, which must guide the politics of the present. We do not need a politics of wishful thinking and pragmatic manoeuvres, but a politics based on a scientific perspective, on class analysis, on Marxism.”

In a statement on its official Facebook page, the IYSSE group at Humboldt University thanks all its voters and supporters. “We will use all opportunities in the student parliament, on campus and beyond to fight for a socialist perspective. There is no place for right-wing extremism, militarism and the falsification of history at our university,” it says.

Any young person who is not yet a member of the IYSSE and wants to become active should sign up here and join the fight for a socialist future.