from Christine Buchholz
Dear comrades and friends,
I just want to inform you that the german parliament voted on the prolongation of the ISAF-mission in Afghanistan last friday.
All 51 MPs of the Left Party parliamentary group that where present on that day voted against the ISAF mission. 7 green MPs voted against, 15 voted in favour of ISAF, 28 abstained - by this many green MPs ignored a resolution passed by a party conference in September demanding a no-vote.
In the SPD parliamentary group 13 voted against, 13 abstained.
There is a total of 453 yes-votes, 79 no-votes, 48 abstentions.
From the beginning Germany is part of operation enduring freedom and ISAF. In March 2007 the governement sent Tornado airplanes to Afghanistan to deliver pictures of reconaissance flights to NATO. There is a constant 2/3 of german population against the war. In a current survey 52% demanded the immediate withdrawl of all troops from afghanistan.
During the last years the movement wasnt able to mobilise on a bigger scale against the annual prolongation of the mandate for afghanistan war. Now the mood started to change.
There was a national Demonstration of 10.000 people in Berlin on September 15th. The demo was the biggest mobilisation against afghanistan war since five years.The peacemovement collected 50.000 signitures against the war within few weeks.
The governement argues, that ISAF is a humanitarian intervention to build schools and help the women in Afgahanistan, and ISAF has to be protected by OEF.
The movement argues that this is not true: ISAF is to protect the corrupt puppet-regime of Hamid Karzai and that we have to reject all the missions in afghanistan.
It is obvious that there will be no peace in Afghanistan if the foreign occupation will last and that more civilians and more german solidiers will die. This ist he reason why people are against the war. The peacemovement and the left feel encouraged to keep on mobilising. There is also the plan to organise an international Afghanistan-conference in May next year.
The ruling class in Germany is very eager to maintain the troops in Afghanistan. It is crucial for the ruling class that germany is a reliable partner for the US and NATO, because Germany alone is not able to protect its economical and geostrategical interests. Afghanistan is ment to prove this "reliability".
We want to challenge this, we want to force the government to end this bloody war. We have to have patience to build the movement, win more people from the greens and the SPD and root the movement in the localities.
On November 14th there will be a vote in german parliament on the prolongation of Operation Enduring freedom. We hope to get more MP to vote against it.
for more Information:
Bundeswehr raus aus Afghanistan (Die Linke page against the war in Afghanistan)
All the best,
The figures speak for themselves, however. Unemployment is 15% in the East, twice that in the West, salaries are lower by 25-30%, and most of the "aid" money put into rapidly developing the East to bring it up to par with the richer West was in the form of boomerangs.
The promise of "instant capitalist well-being" never arrived. Instead, East Germany is left a rusting, polluted, impoverished and neglected second to the production and finance centres of the West.
The dissatisfaction with the dithering, pro-business "Neue Mitte" approach of Schroeder and the SPD, and cuts to social welfare and infrastructure, became a time-bomb, and a collection of unique circumstances have given us a special new situation in Germany.
The graph to the right, from Die Zeit, shows that German voting and political tendencies are shifting leftwards. Already we have seen the results of this in the last general election, where the new left party, Die Linke, roared into the political landscape, outscoring the Greens.
Since then, however, Die Linke, which has traditionally polled very well in the East due to the factors alluded to above and to the fact that its main base is still that of the newly re-reformed Party of Democratic Socialism/ Linkspartei (the descendant of the SED, the old ruling party of East Germany), has begun to score victories in the West as well.
At the same time, the decline of the Greens caught up with the membership on September 15 and 16.
At special party congress in the central German city of Göttingen, a majority of 800 delegates rejected the party leadership's position by voting against its motion to unconditionally approve the planned extension of the German Army's mandate in Afghanistan.
The congress, specially called to deal with the issue of Afghanistan, is something of a wake-up call to the Greens (who have picked up the nickname of "Olive Greens" for their support for German troops in Afghanistan) after the rise of an openly left-wing party has pushed them to the sidelines.
The opportunist politics of the Greens leadership (and especially the "pragmatism" of Joschka Fischer), in combination with their lack of coherent class analysis when faced with the opportunity to share power, have meant that they have been eclipsed, and may be staring down the barrel of a long, slow death. There is even some talk of a split in the Greens, although this may have been prevented for the moment with the Afghanistan decision.
Die Linke, by contrast, refused from the outset to enter into a ruling coalition, even a "red-red" coalition with the SPD. Things are far from clear from the left, however, as the PDS/ Linkspartei has been in coalition with the SPD at lower levels of government for some time, causing some friction within the new party.
What is clear, however, is that Germany has entered into an exciting and volatile new period of politics, with a new, left-wing, party at the eye of the storm.