The two leaders of Germany’s Green Party, Robert Habeck and Analena Baerbock, presented their draft programme for the 2021 federal elections last weekend under the title, “Germany. Everything is in there.” The 137-page document underscores that a federal government involving or even under the leadership of the Greens would not represent a “left” alternative to the grand coalition. Instead, it would continue and intensify its right-wing and militarist policies.
While the programme has nothing “in there” for workers and young people other than the usual dishonest phrases about “more social justice” and “prosperity that protects the climate,” the business and military-police elites would get what they demand: more money for rearmament and war, a stronger domestic repressive state apparatus and economic reforms to strengthen German capitalism against its global rivals.
Revealingly, there was not a single demand or concrete measure in the entire programme to combat the raging coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic does not even have its own section, and words like “lockdown,” “virus restrictions,” and “vaccine programme” are never mentioned.
This is not surprising. Wherever the Greens are in government at the state level, either with the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Free Democrats or Left Party, they have implemented the homicidal policy of “herd immunity,” which has already led to close to 75,000 deaths in Germany, and prioritised profits over human lives.
When the pandemic is raised in the Greens’ programme, it is from the standpoint of making an argument in favour of the need to restructure the national economy to compete internationally. “After the coronavirus pandemic, our country needs a new economic restart,” it states in the chapter, “We encourage corporate spirit, competition and ideas.” Only if “public and private investments are directed towards a common goal” can “Europe maintain its connection to modern technologies of the future and assert itself in competition with the United States and China.”
On foreign and domestic policies, the erstwhile pacifists now portray themselves as the most aggressive advocates for German and European imperialism. Although the grand coalition has launched a massive rearmament programme over recent years and initiated several military interventions in Africa and the Middle East, the Greens are demanding an even more confrontational approach by German imperialism.
“But for years Germany has at best moderated in Europe and the world, and often hesitated and disappeared. It is time once again to pursue an active foreign policy and to proceed as an agenda-setting power,” note the Greens in their chapter on foreign and security policy. This is followed by a full-throated appeal for the comprehensive rearmament of the German army, NATO, and Europe’s combat forces and a call for more military interventions.
In the section “A modern German army,” they state, “The army’s purpose and tasks must be oriented to the real and strategically significant challenges to security and securing peace. We want to equip the army with the personnel and equipment appropriate for its purpose and tasks. It is unacceptable for soldiers to be going into operations with inadequate protective gear.” Germany should “be able to rely on its alliance partners, and the alliance partners should also be able to depend on Germany,” states the programme.
The Greens’ dreams of rearmament are not restricted to the German military. The European Union must also “live up to its responsibility for its own security and defence.” To develop the joint security and defence policy, it is necessary to “expand cooperation between the EU’s armed forces” and “combine military capacities and close generally-recognised capability gaps.” Required are “[A]ppropriate equipment, the expansion of EU units and the strengthening and consolidation of joint EU command structures.”
With regard to NATO, they demand a “new strategic orientation.” Despite the “diverging security policy interests in the alliance, up to and including mutual military threats,” NATO remains “from the standpoint of the EU an irreplaceable actor that can guarantee Europe’s common security.” Through “stronger military cooperation and coordination within the EU and between European NATO members like Britain and Norway,” they aim to ensure “that strategic interests (…) are jointly developed and promoted with more unity and conviction.”
The course being pursued is clear. Under conditions of mounting tensions between the major powers and the incessant war drive by the US against nuclear-armed Russia and China, the Greens are appealing for a more independent economic, military and foreign policy to better pursue the interests of German and European imperialism against Russia, China, and the United States.
“The German and European economy” face “considerable pressure” and must “assert itself in global competition with authoritarian state capitalism and largely unregulated tech giants,” states the draft programme.
The Greens are most aggressive towards Russia. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is “geostrategically damaging—especially for the position of Ukraine” and must “therefore be stopped.” At the same time, the sanctions “imposed on Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea and military aggression against Ukraine” need to be maintained and “intensify them if necessary.”
Already in 2014, the Greens played an active role in the coup in Ukraine, including collaboration with right-wing extremist forces under the cover of promoting democracy and human rights to install a pro-Western regime in the former Soviet republic. They are now pursuing the same strategy towards Russia.
In their programme, they announce their intention to “support and intensify the exchange with … the courageous civil society groups standing up to the Kremlin’s increasingly strong repression, and fighting for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.”
The Greens specialise in dressing up brutal wars and regime change operations as struggles for democracy and human, while using cynical references to the historic crimes of German imperialism to justify new ones. Ever since Green Party Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer justified the country’s first post-World War II foreign military engagement in Kosovo in 1999 with the slogan “Auschwitz, never again!” the Greens have led the way in propagating German human rights imperialism.
They aggressively advocate “humanitarian interventions” in their election programme. “We declare ourselves in favour of international peace missions within the framework of the United Nations, which contribute to security, stability, and peace,” states a section entitled “Realising the international responsibility to protect.” The “use of military force as a last resort” can “be necessary in some situations to prevent genocide and create the conditions for a political solution to the conflict.”
In reality, the concept of the “international responsibility to protect” serves not to prevent crimes against humanity but to enforce naked imperialist interests. Almost exactly 10 years ago on March 19, 2011, NATO began the bombardment of Libya, a resource-rich and geostrategically located country under the pretext of the “responsibility to protect.” What followed was the brutal murder of the country’s long-time ruler, Muamar al-Gaddafi, and the almost total destruction of the country in a bloody civil war that continues to this day.
The Greens’ pro-war policy is accompanied by the demand for a major strengthening of the apparatus of domestic state repression. The chapter “We strengthen security and citizens’ rights” reads like a blueprint for a police state in Germany and across Europe.
“We want to strengthen the police for its tasks, like prevention, reconnaissance and criminal investigation, in the cities and rural areas, and in analogue as well as digitally.” At the European level, the Greens demand “stronger cross-border cooperation by the police and judiciary through the creation of European police teams” and “by upgrading Europol to a European police bureau.”
It is clear that this massive buildup of the state apparatus is not aimed at combatting “right-wing extremist terrorist networks,” as the Greens claim at various points in their programme. Alongside the army and the police, their calls to strengthen the domestic intelligence service mean they advocate the buildup of the very state institutions that have emerged as the centre of the far-right conspiracy in the state apparatus.
In reality, the Greens and the privileged sections of the middle class for which they speak fear the growing social opposition among workers and young people and a political settling of accounts with their politics, which are reactionary to the core. This is what lies behind their persistent calls for a stronger and heavily armed police.