Workers Hammer No. 236

Autumn 2016


Germany's "war on terror" threatens immigrants, leftists, workers

We print below a translation of a 19 August leaflet issued by the Spartakist-Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, German section of the International Communist League.

The fatal shooting of nine immigrants in Munich on 22 July was an abhorrent racist crime. The man who did it was a fascist student, who chose to carry out his attack on the fifth anniversary of the mass murder in Norway of social-democratic youth by the fascist Anders Breivik. In the same week, there were two terrible terrorist attacks near Würzburg (18 July) and in Ansbach (24 July), both supposedly carried out by ISIS sympathisers. In Ansbach, twelve people were injured by the bomb with which a Syrian refugee blew himself up. Near Würzburg, a 17-year-old, probably of Afghan origin, attacked tourists from Hong Kong on a train with an axe and knife, seriously injuring five people.

The bourgeois state had evidently been waiting for an opportunity to set in motion its machinery of repression. On the Friday evening after the attack in Munich, the whole city was paralysed under the flimsy explanation that the cops were looking for several attackers with rifles. They cordoned off the Stachus [central square], shut down the entire public transport system until Saturday morning and ordered the whole population of the third-largest city in Germany to stay at home. There was talk of a state of emergency, and 2300 police and security forces were deployed, including the GSG 9 (special unit of the federal police). Forty-four men from the Austrian anti-terror unit Cobra were flown in by helicopter. To put some impetus behind her demand to make it easier to deploy the Bundeswehr [German army] domestically, Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen put 100 soldiers of a military police regiment on alert.

The whole thing was a well-prepared civil war manoeuvre, basically aimed at practising ways of suppressing the working population when they again move against the capitalist system. The capitalists know that their system arouses the opposition of the exploited. In France, the Socialist Party-led government used the ongoing state of emergency, supposedly imposed against Islamic terrorists, against the mass mobilisations of workers seeking to stop the new anti-union law. For the last 15 years, the German government has also been using the “war against terror” as a pretext for the militaristic mobilisation of the state; this has been directed above all against Muslims but ultimately has the workers movement as a whole in its sights.

A special forces commando shot dead the perpetrator of the train attack near Würzburg as he was fleeing. When Renate Künast (Green Party member of parliament) rightly questioned this targeted killing, the head of the German cop association started a vicious online campaign against her — which some Green politicians joined — to nip in the bud any and all criticism of the role of the police. Bavarian minister of the interior Joachim Herrmann (CSU) [Christian Social Union, Bavarian affiliate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)] likewise immediately justified the final deadly shot.

Four days after the attack in Ansbach, Chancellor Merkel announced a nine-point plan “against terror”, which is intended to further tighten the national security laws in force since 2001. The most ominous aspect is that the Bundeswehr and police can now carry out joint exercises for “major terrorist situations”. This June, the CDU/CSU-SPD [Social Democratic Party] government implemented a new package of anti-terror laws. Further, it is setting up a new office to assist the secret service and the Federal Criminal Police to decrypt internet communications — one more attack on everyone’s privacy. Down with the “war against terror”! Down with all the national security laws!

The government is seeking to make it easier to deport people more quickly, now even to war zones like Syria. The federal minister of the interior, Thomas de Maizière, is planning to restrict medical confidentiality, which is especially intended to intimidate those doctors who courageously campaign against the deportation of refugees. CSU and CDU ministers are agitating to abolish dual citizenship, which the SPD leadership has so far rejected. It is in the most basic interests of the working class not to be divided along ethnic lines, but to forge unity of all workers regardless of background. The unions must work for the integration of refugees into the working class, with equal pay for equal work. This will also enormously improve the chances of fighting against the capitalists and their government. Hands off dual citizenship! Full citizenship rights for all who live here! For union action to stop deportations!

The intensified state terror at home goes hand in hand with German imperialism’s increased interventions abroad. The Bundeswehr is now deployed in Africa, the Near East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Afghanistan. We demand in every case: Bundeswehr out! German imperialism has an extremely bloody history; in its war of annihilation against the Soviet Union (1941-45), over 27 million Soviet citizens were killed. The Hitler regime shored up the German bourgeoisie’s rule and destroyed the independent organisations of the working class. The bourgeoisie is responsible for the Holocaust — the industrial murder of millions of Jews, Roma and Sinti [Gypsies] — and the persecution and murder of communists and countless others. The Wehrmacht occupied the Balkans and subjugated the peoples living there. Today, German imperialism still sees the Balkans and Eastern Europe as its backyard and defends its rapacious interests there against the other imperialists. Through the EU, it subjugates the other peoples of Europe, raking in massive profits with the aid of the euro. Down with the EU and German imperialism!

The imperialists are the biggest terrorists in the world, and their destruction of the Near East, which is escalating day by day, is responsible for people being driven to flee, some of them into the arms of Islamists. The development of ISIS is the direct result of the policies of the US and other imperialists, who destroyed countries like Libya, Iraq and Syria. We welcome every setback for the imperialists and therefore take a military side with the Islamic State when it fights against the imperialists and their ground troops, which are the mainly Kurdish SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) and the pesh merga. The only solution for the oppressed masses is a series of workers revolutions with the perspective of a socialist federation of the Near East. Imperialists out of the Near East!

Deploying the Bundeswehr at home is nothing new, but in contrast to France or the US [eg, the National Guard], for instance, it is not seen as normal. After Germany’s defeat in World War II and the end of the fascist regime, police and military functions were initially strictly separated. However, when the Bundeswehr was reorganised, reserve units were set up for “homeland protection”. Since 2013, 2700 soldiers have been on standby in the 16 federal states to assist the police when the situation requires. An article in taz newspaper, “Soldiers for the Rebellious People” (10 August 2012), explains what kind of situations are meant:

“According to a general clause of the European Union, they could be deployed to assist in the case of a political general strike against supply facilities, violent mass protests, social disturbances or civil disobedience actions such as strikes and/or street barricades affecting transport and energy or the health care system.”

In 2008, the Bundeswehr was deployed against leftist demonstrators at the G8 summit in Rostock. Fighter jets flew low over the heads of the leftists, who were simply protesting the gathering of imperialist heads of state. Next year, the imperialist G20 plans to meet in central Hamburg. The intimidation against possible protests started early with a brutal cop raid in July on two leftist housing projects in the Hafenstrasse. Two hundred and fifty cops, some armed with automatic weapons, forced their way into the houses; the residents, refugee solidarity activists, were threatened at gunpoint and 30 people were detained. The workers movement has an interest in defending leftists against all state terror because these are the same cops whose job is to protect the capitalists’ private property and who act as scabherders during strikes. We say: Cops out of the DGB union federation!

The reformist left, with the leadership of the Left Party in the front line, see things quite differently. Sahra Wagenknecht welcomed the cop action in Munich, and she calls on the state to carry out such actions more often. In a press statement of 25 July she explained: “Mrs. Merkel and the government now have a special responsibility to win people’s confidence in the continued ability of the state and its security forces to act.” Wagenknecht wants to strengthen this bourgeois state which, as Marx and Engels explained, is nothing other than the instrument of oppression by the ruling capitalist class.

This is the same state whose security service bolsters Nazi organisations and is deeply implicated in the series of murders of immigrants by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) between 2000 and 2006. The state safeguards and exonerates the Nazis and racists who carry out near-daily attacks on refugees and deadly arson attacks on refugee hostels. While the state protects the Nazis, keeping them in reserve as shock troops against the working class, the fascist attack in Munich was used as a pretext for enhancing the state’s forces. And the bourgeois media are going to a lot of trouble to play down the fact that it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist, but a fascist.

When there was a fascist attack at Oktoberfest in 1980, with 13 deaths and 211 injuries, the state presented it as the act of an “individual madman” and dismissed the connections to the Nazi “Hoffmann gun sport group”. As we wrote in Spartakist no 33, November 1980: “The main priority was to keep proceeding with the normal agenda for the election campaign: the German fascist past has been ‘dealt with,’ the ‘real’ terror comes from the left — against the state.”

It is urgently necessary to get rid of the deadly illusions in the neutrality of the state; such illusions only serve to maintain the barbaric imperialist system. What we need is to establish a multiethnic revolutionary workers party that has the programme to overthrow this system, in contrast to the pro-capitalist programme of the Left Party and the SPD. Such a revolutionary party will imbue workers and the oppressed with the lessons of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, which explain why socialist revolution is necessary in order to end all the evils of this society.