Many workers are concerned about the impact of the Ukraine war and the threat of a third world war. These fears predominated in discussions with workers at the Siemens Energy plant in Duisburg carried out by a team from the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP).
The Siemens plant, which produces compressors, has around 1,500 employees. The factory has already been affected by austerity measures and job cuts. As part of the energy economy in Germany, the latest sanctions imposed against Russia will undoubtedly threaten more jobs at the plant.
Many workers expressed their opposition to the official war policy and agreed with the statement on a SGP poster: “No to a Third World War! Against the war in Ukraine, NATO aggression and German rearmament!” Here are some of the comments made by Siemens workers.
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Ali: “War is always bad, war has never been the solution. Why weren’t measures taken to prevent war beforehand? The situation was foreseeable. Now the fire is raging, but instead of putting it out, politicians are only pouring on oil.”
Ali is convinced that “the whole world has to act together to end the war together. It has to be said that there are those who are taking advantage of the war. The rest, who form the vast majority, must suffer.” He commented, “Your suggestion that workers must unite worldwide is absolutely right. I see it the same way.”
Christian added, “Fortunately, our generation here in Germany has not yet had to experience war. And I don’t want that either! But now massive rearmament is taking place. Suddenly there’s money for it: 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. But for education or against the coronavirus? There is no money.”
Abdul Kerim said,“War is inhuman; it is an expression of human failure. We have to talk together, come to an agreement. Russians and Ukrainians are one people. If they are fighting each other now, then you can see how far humanity has already sunk.
NATO and the USA probably planned this development in advance. Putin had warned time and again that he would not accept NATO troops in Ukraine. And finally he reacted as he had warned.”
At the same time, Kerim is deeply opposed to the Russian intervention. “Despite all this,” he continued, “Putin does not have to attack civilians. It is the population, especially the children, who are are suffering. Putin didn’t have to invade Ukraine.
“If we workers don’t unite, nothing will ever change. The politicians have no solution. Therefore, we cannot just say we are fine, or what is happening is far away. When the third world war arrives, everyone will be affected, including us.”
Ercan: “The US wants to place its bombs right on Russia’s doorstep. The US would not have ever accepted such a move on its borders.”
Michael: “I am against the war and I don’t want to go to war myself. I was a regular soldier before but just as a cook; but who knows what they will come up with. No one knows how things will develop now. It’s a highly dangerous situation. If Poland is dragged into the war, we’ll be involved as well.
“When the Soviet Union broke up, the West gave assurances: ‘We will not station any weapons on your border.’ But all that’s changed.
“Oil is also at stake. That’s why you can’t say we have nothing to do with it. It also has an impact on us, everything has already become more expensive. And I don’t want to freeze in winter. All of these issues are connected.
“They always tell us that they want our best. But in reality they are lining their pockets. These lies have to stop! Look at the prices of petrol and food. We are the ones who are paying the cost of the war. You can’t take people for fools now that there is internet.”
Mohamed Jalloh: “I am against war! Nobody benefits from war. You have to solve conflicts without killing. The West should stop stationing weapons around Russia and sit down with Putin instead.
“Before you expand states at the expense of others, you should make sure that the states are united. War is about money. I believe that in the main, the interests of arms companies are behind the war, along with concerns about oil and gas.”
Mohamed, who is from Sierra Leone, demanded, “You have to help poor countries manage themselves so they can get on their feet. That way you can help everybody.” He said, “In my country, Sierra Leone, there was war for 12 years. Many people died, especially women and children. It was also all about money.
“But those who take all the money die one day, and what can they do then with their fortunes?”