Over the past few days, IYSSE members and students at Humboldt University in Berlin have called for participation in the international online rally “For a mass movement of youth and students against the war in Ukraine!” which the IYSSE will stream live December 10.
“It pains me so much to see the situation of refugees from Ukraine,” says Karolina, who came to Berlin from Poland more than five years ago and began studying at Humboldt University to be a teacher of English and biology. “These are people like you and me. Many people in Poland have taken people from Ukraine into their homes. This movement is not coming from above, but from below. People find it natural. Here there is the same thing, I think.”
“It always hits me hard when I see the news. This could be my family too; I think to myself.” Karolina supports building a mass international movement of workers and youth against the war: “It should be about the people, no matter what government they have.”
Karolina is concerned about the international developments towards war: “You hear now that all countries are increasingly arming themselves. Poland is also rearming. I think it’s bad that education is being cut.” Karolina strongly rejects the nationalism of the Polish government: “I don’t like the Polish government. I think nationalism is totally wrong—everyone uses it for their own business. We should build a partnership.”
When Karolina hears that at Humboldt University the crimes of the Nazi dictatorship are relativized and even Hitler is trivialized, she is horrified and wants to know more about it: “I find that quite terrible, I am speechless. This professor should be sent back to school.” Professor Jörg Baberowski, who still holds the chair of Eastern European History, had claimed in Der Spiegel in 2014 that Hitler “was not cruel” and later justified this by lying that Hitler “didn’t want to know about Auschwitz.”
Many students are speaking out against German militarism to members of the IYSSE. Melissa is studying to become an elementary school teacher and strongly opposes the unprecedented rearmament of the Bundeswehr (armed forces) with a “special fund” of €100 billion. “This money could be invested in completely different things! You could build so many new schools instead.” Melissa also wants to participate in the IYSSE international rally.
Staff at Humboldt University also support the IYSSE online meeting. A worker of Algerian origin criticizes the war policy of US imperialism in the last decades and says: “NATO must stop with its threatening gestures and expansions to the East and stop its provocations. Capitalism is a global problem. There must be no war that takes place merely for the interests of the rulers. Workers must unite against it.”
“The further down you are in society, the more you are affected by war,” says Luc, who has been studying at Humboldt University for two months. “The further up you are, the more you benefit from the war. The war starts from that point of view. Poor people and young people are sent to war because of that.”
Commenting on Professor Baberowski’s falsification of history, Luc states, “It’s factually wrong, what can you say. There are objectives behind it, to relativize historical crimes. What is the purpose of this? An even stronger shift to the right. There are connections between warmongering and hero worship and fascist ideas. The example of the Azov regiment shows that there is also a threatening right-wing development in the Ukrainian military. You don’t hear about this when you go to the public media.”
Luc is outraged about Germany’s great power policy. He finds the statement that Germany should be a “leading power” a difficult phrase. “What is meant by it?” he asks. “An imperialist hegemonic power, I think. With €100 billion for the arms industry, it certainly gives the impression that they want to go there. There are historical reasons for that. It wouldn’t be the first time. It runs through German history: from the Kaiserreich [imperial empire] as a colonial power to the ‘Third Reich.’ That was a historical tendency in Germany.” Throughout history, “millions of people have been sacrificed to profit,” Luc says.
He is particularly supportive of the IYSSE’s international perspective against capitalism: “If corporations are organized internationally, workers must also take power internationally.” Luc plans to attend the rally and put up posters in Berlin with IYSSE members in the coming days.
The goal of the IYSSE is to launch a movement that unites young people in a common struggle against the war, oriented toward the working class and based on a socialist program. Register now for our online rally on December 10 and invite your friends to join us!
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