Germany and Ukraine: against militarism, armament and imperialist aggression!

The German capitalist class and its government are using Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine as an opportunity to advance their own militarist and imperialist agenda. The German Marxists of Der Funke expose the repulsive hypocrisy and warmongering of their ruling class, and make an appeal to combat the scourge of war with international solidarity. As the dominant power in the EU and a willing henchman in the service of the interests of US imperialism through NATO, the German ruling class has played a central role in the formation and escalation of this long-running conflict in Ukraine.

As Marxists, we condemn the Russian government and its army in their war against Ukraine. And at root, it is a reactionary, imperialist war. Therefore, we do not take part in the demagogic blame game of the imperialists in West and East, who point fingers at one another. Behind these recriminations there is only cheap propaganda, which is meant to whitewash the real interests of the imperialist parties in the conflict and to foment national hysteria. We have to understand why this war has broken out and what interests are behind it. We must do this from the point of view of the interests of the world working class. Our first duty here in Germany is to expose and combat the disgusting lies and hypocrisy of German imperialism. German imperialism, in the name of “democracy” and “human rights", has left behind it a long trail of blood, devastation and social impoverishment. The main enemy is at home!

A general account of the interests behind the Ukraine conflict and its development can be found here: The Ukrainian war: an internationalist class position – IMT Statement.

In this article, we shall look at the role of the German ruling class.

Maximisation of profits in the East

With the collapse of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, the West German ruling class set its sights on a rapid expansion of its economic and political influence over Central and Eastern Europe. This began with the annexation of the GDR, which was accompanied by a massive wave of privatisation and the dismantling of state-owned enterprises that had formerly made up the planned economy. West German capital looted anything that was profitable and razed everything that could compete with their companies to the ground. To this day, the consequences of this policy include deep social division and inequality between East and West Germany. The mass exodus of unemployed citizens of the former GDR to West Germany provided the ruling class with cheap, highly skilled labour. Along with this, they ensured a much more intensive exploitation of the working class in East German workplaces. The whole objective of the annexation of the former GDR amounted to the increase in the profits of German capital.

German capital is pursuing a similar policy towards the other former Eastern bloc countries. The slogan of the ruling class in Germany today is no longer “living space in the East” but “maximisation of profits in the East”. The collapse of the Stalinist planned economies, and their subsequent privatisation and looting by Stalinist bureaucrats and Western imperialists alike, have utterly degraded the standard of living of the masses in Eastern Europe. This has in some cases produced barbaric conditions.

Scholz nato Image NATO FlickrWith the collapse of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, the West German ruling class set its sights on a rapid expansion of its economic and political influence over Central and Eastern Europe / Image: NATO Flickr

The expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe provided the Western capitalists with an even larger mass of well-educated, skilled labour at low wages. It also established the opportunity to move companies abroad and use Eastern Europe as an extended workbench for the production of important components for German industry. To quote an article by the Institute for Social-Ecological Economic Research: “While in the mid-1990s the average gross hourly wage in the West German states was DM 44 and in East Germany DM 26.50, in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic it was between DM 3 and DM 4, and in Romania DM 1.40.” This had particularly dramatic consequences for working women, who were thrown out of regulated employment en masse during the first 10 years of capitalist restoration.

At the same time, a huge export market for technological, industrial and other goods opened up for German companies. The German ruling class has invested almost 20 billion euros in the EU countries of Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia alone and exploits over 400,000 workers there. Exports to these countries have doubled since 2011 to over 30 billion euros. Poland ranks fifth in German exports, while the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania are in the top 20.

The fact that the German capitalist class does not attach any importance to “democracy” and “freedom” for the populations of the former Stalinist states is shown by Putin's 1993 speech to German business representatives (Dresdner Bank, Alcatel, BASF, etc.), while he was still mayor of St. Petersburg. At that time, he said that he was in favour of a dictatorship in Russia along the lines of Pinochet's in Chile, in order to successfully master the difficult process of privatisation and the dismantling of the state’s planned economy. For this he received “friendly applause", as Neues Deutschland reported at the time.

The German capitalists and governments are willing to do business with anyone, as long as they can make a profit out of it. And even when they seem to insist on “democratic” requirements, as in the case of admitting states to the EU, the main purpose is to establish a little more reliability in trade and political relations. But the requirements of strict austerity that these states had to and still have to implement, show that these measures are never ultimately concerned with the welfare of the people in these countries. The austerity programmes imposed by the IMF and the ECB have brought lasting degradation.

This was clearly on display in the colonisation of the Balkans during the reactionary break-up of Yugoslavia under the auspices of NATO, the IMF and European capitalists. The West demanded “structural reforms” of industry, which brought the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Real wages were driven down into the ground to satisfy foreign lenders. Deregulation of foreign trade led to massive imports of goods, which not only caused the country's own production to plummet, but also increased the pressure of debt. Against this economic background, the Balkans once again became a colony, dominated by imperialist powers – above all Germany. Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia gained formal independence, but their economies are completely dictated by the IMF. To this day, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, NATO troops are present, supposedly to “secure peace” under a UN mandate. Just as NATO “peacekeepers” are stationed in Kosovo to oversee the implementation of a “reconstruction” programme that will turn Kosovo into another direct colony of the West.

Ukraine: clutching and squeezing

The Ukrainian people are also victims of the economic and geopolitical interests of the German ruling class. Since the 1990s, the EU, led by German capital, has been trying to turn Ukraine into a vassal state. Together with the massive wave of privatisation, which created a parasitic oligarchy, the austerity programmes of the IMF and ECB ensured disastrous consequences. That this process was decisively driven by the German ruling class is shown by the fact that Germany contributes almost 30 percent of the finances for the EU's TACIS programme, which has been running since 1994 and which helped dictate the process of the wave of privatisations.

In the IMT’s 2014 ‘Theses on Ukraine’, we wrote:

“At the end of 2013 the then president Yanukovich decided to suspend, at the last minute, the signing of an association agreement with the EU, and decided instead to sign a deal with Russia. Up until that point he had ruled in the interest of the oligarchs and followed an IMF inspired programme of further privatisation and austerity cuts, alienating popular support for his rule even in the South-East of Ukraine where most of his electoral base was.

“The only reason he broke with the West was because he thought he could get a better deal from Russia. After the collapse of Stalinism, German capitalism followed a policy of expanding eastwards and was prepared to spend large sums of money to ensure its domination in the region. But in 2013, in the middle of the most severe crisis of capitalism in Europe, it was no longer so keen to spend the amount of money that would have been required to absorb into the EU Ukraine (which was facing a deep economic recession). Yanukovich tried to play the West against Russia and vice-versa in order to get the best deal.”

When Yanukovich did not sign the association agreement, this triggered the Euromaidan movement. Yanukovich was toppled and replaced by EU-friendly puppets of the oligarchy, and the EU itself. Since then, the German government has poured around two billion euros of “development aid” into Ukraine. According to the German government’s website: “In addition, a loan guarantee framework of 500 million euros granted by the German government in 2014 is available.

In the IMT's most-recent statement we state:

“The Euromaidan overthrow of the Yanukovitch government in Ukraine marked a further advance of US and NATO interests – this time, in Russia’s historical borderland. That was a provocation too far, and Russia reacted in 2014 by carrying out the annexation of Crimea – which is mostly inhabited by a Russian-speaking population, and is home to the Black Sea fleet of the Russian navy, harboured in Sevastopol. They also provided military assistance to the rebels in the civil war between the Russian-speaking people of the Donbas and the right-wing nationalist regime in Kiev. The West protested, implemented sanctions, but there were no serious consequences for Russia.”

“A fatal role was played by the heightened provocations coming from the Zelensky government. After the 2014 overthrow of Yanukovitch, the Ukrainian government had been pushing the questions of NATO and EU membership. This was then enshrined in the Constitution in 2020.”

And as Der Funke wrote elsewhere:

“The current president, Zelensky, easily won the 2019 elections against the rabid chocolate oligarch Poroshenko as an untainted outsider and anti-nationalist. However, when in power, the famous ex-comedian came under pressure from the Right Sector and Western imperialism, becoming their instrument. Thus he implemented a counter-reform of the labour laws and facilitated the access of foreign investors to agricultural land; since loan repayments to the IMF are an important means of pressure from the West. In the process, the president, now stylised as a popular hero, is as corrupt as the rest of the political elite, as revealed by the Pandora Papers, which proved his involvement in an offshore corporate network.”

The Zelensky government put NATO membership back at the top of the agenda and pursued it with vigour. As a consequence of this (quoting the IMT statement):

“Russia rightly sees [Ukraine’s NATO membership] as a threat. One could say that this is not so, and that other countries that share a border with Russia are already part of NATO. But this misses the point entirely. The present situation is precisely the result of decades of western imperialism pushing to encircle Russia, which is now pushing back.”

For the EU, Ukraine is important in the sense that 30 critical raw materials, such as lithium and cobalt, are found there. The EU sees Ukraine above all as a possible colony for the extraction of raw materials. German industry aims to create a “battery alliance” with Ukraine, i.e. to build up a profitable production of car batteries in Europe, in competition with China and the USA. They also see the possibility of making Ukraine a hydrogen supplier as the industry adapts to climate requirements. In particular, however, Ukraine provides them with a huge reserve of extremely exploitable labour. Germany is Ukraine's second-most important trading partner in the EU after Poland. Even if the volume of goods traded by the EU and Germany with Ukraine as a whole is very insignificant, Ukraine is enormously dependent on the EU, which is the country’s most-important trading partner, with whom it shares 40 percent of its total trade. Ukraine mainly supplies textiles, metals and chemical products to Germany. German capital has over 1,000 companies in Ukraine and is the second-largest foreign investor there.

Russia: Grub first, then ethics

The relationship of the German ruling class to Russia is divided. After long attempts to deepen trade relations, they have been in decline since the Ukraine crisis in 2014. Today, 42 percent fewer German companies are active in Russia, yet still totalling over 3,600. In particular, large corporations such as Daimler Truck, Siemens, BMW, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Bayer, Henkel, Continental, etc. produce their goods in Russia and have invested billions in plants. Mercedes-Benz alone invested around 250 million euros in 2019 to build up production in Russia.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), goods worth around 59.8 billion euros were traded between the two states in 2021. Goods worth 33.1 billion euros were imported from Russia, and exports worth at least 26.6 billion euros were shipped there. Raw materials, vehicles and machinery are primarily traded between Russia and Germany. Germany mainly imports crude oil and natural gas - worth 19.4 billion euros in 2021. Russia primarily supplied metals (4.5 billion euros, an increase of 72.1 percent compared to 2020), petroleum and coking plant products (2.8 billion euros, 23.0 percent increase) and coal (2.2 billion euros, 153.0 percent increase) to Germany. By contrast, Germany exported mainly machinery (5.8 billion euros, 5.7 percent increase), motor vehicles and parts (4.4 billion euros, 31.8 percent increase) and chemical products (3.0 billion euros, 19.7 percent increase) to Russia in 2021. In 2021, Russia was thus the fourth most important import partner for Germany as well as the fifth-most important export country for German goods outside the EU.

nordstream Image Bair175 Wikimedia CommonsIn 2021, Russia was the fourth most important import partner for Germany as well as the fifth-most important export country for German goods outside the EU / Image: Bair175, Wikimedia Commons

The dependence of the German economy on Russian oil and gas is clearly illustrated by the Nord Stream 2 project. While the bourgeois media spent years crying crocodile tears over Russian aggression and interference in Ukraine, the ruling class played it safe and vigorously pushed for the construction of the new gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. For them, it was about ensuring that the Ukraine crisis did not jeopardise gas supplies and especially also about importing the gas more cheaply by circumventing transit costs levied by Ukraine, which are an important source of revenue for the country. At the same time, Germany itself could have become a key trading centre for gas, in competition with Ukraine. In addition, hydrogen would have been run through this pipeline in the future, which is why the companies Wintershall Holding GmbH and Uniper, for example, are still committed to financing Nord Stream 2.

In addition, Oliver Hermes, the chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, demanded that Nord Stream 2 should be built. In August 2021, he said: “Nord Stream 2 must not be called into question retrospectively, even by a new federal government”. After all, the Green Party, under then co-leader Annalena Baerbock, took an aggressive rhetorical stance against China and Russia in the 2021 Bundestag election campaign, which clearly displeased parts of the ruling class. After all, China is Germany’s most important trading partner after the EU. According to the German Federal Office of Statistics: “In 2021, according to preliminary results, goods worth 245.4 billion euros were traded between Germany and the People's Republic of China (exports and imports).

At the same time, the ruling class is aware that it is in its own imperialist interests to defend its sphere of influence in Europe against China, and is pursuing a two-track policy there. The same Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations demanded that the EU also “make attractive financing offers for infrastructure projects to the countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe… in order to give the states an alternative to the Chinese Silk Road initiative.”

Conflicts of interest at the top

The dependence of German capital on exports imposes on the ruling class the need to seek a more independent role in the imperialist power struggle, in order to assert and safeguard its own interests. Too big for Europe alone, German capital must seek a dominant position in the world, but it cannot do this on its own. For this, it depends on the EU as a central instrument, which it dominates and tries to unite behind itself. But the EU is in a deep crisis and the centrifugal forces within it continue to grow. Putin has tried to use this to his advantage and has had some success. In particular, he has been able to play the European members of NATO off against each other, and against the US to some extent.

But the ruling class in Germany, and the German government representing its interests, had their own motivation to be as diplomatic as possible in this conflict and to get a deal that would harm German capital as little as possible. Its dependence on exports is Germany's Achilles heel. All the imperialist powers that are in any way involved in the Ukraine conflict are together the most important trading partners and export markets of German capital: the EU, China, the USA, Russia.

Putin Scholz meeting Image kremlin.ruThe ruling class in Germany had their own motivation to be as diplomatic as possible in this conflict and to get a deal that would harm German capital as little as possible / Image:

The German ruling class has tried to balance between all these powers. For a long time, the government has held back with sanctions and has not yet decided to kick all Russian banks out of SWIFT - the fear that the Kremlin will turn off the gas tap and that the Russian government will confiscate German capital in Russia is too great. Some companies are now announcing that they will withdraw from Russia, but this is not a general trend and it remains to be seen to what extent this will happen. For many companies, this would mean the loss of important production sites and investments. Uniper, Eon, Stada, Metro, Henkel, etc. have announced that they will continue their business in Russia for the time being.

But until Putin’s victory in this war is ruled out, German capital will be prepared to go much further and to accept far greater financial and entrepreneurial losses in order to damage Russian imperialism. It is a question of securing Germany's own supremacy in Eastern Europe. From this fundamental position, the German ruling class will decide its every step in this war. This may change again later, but for now this necessity prevails for the German capitalists. This is precisely why they have now had to go down the road of sanctions, military and financial support for Ukraine, troop deployments to NATO's eastern border and an aggressive stance against Russia. And they will take further measures along such lines.

We should also be prepared for companies that are now taking losses to call for these losses to be socialised. This can currently be seen in Austria, where the first bank has fallen to bankruptcy in the wake of this war and it remains to be seen whether taxpayers' money will be used to compensate investors. Calls for rescue packages, as during the coronavirus pandemic, could soon be heard in Germany too. According to these pleas, it would be a necessary patriotic act for the working class to pay for German companies to remain “competitive”. Such measures must be firmly rejected. These companies should instead be expropriated and put under workers’ control to protect jobs, rather than preserving the bosses’ profits. After all, these companies are the driving force behind the imperialist expansion of German capital.

What is clear is that the sanctions are war measures, which in reality will be felt most by the Russian working class. This will give Putin another basis to rally relevant sections of the Russian population behind his interests and those of the Russian ruling class. He will demagogically present these acts of war as an attack on all Russians, in order to gain support for his aggressions. Sanctions are therefore an obstacle to the struggle of the Russian working class against the Putin regime and Russian capitalism. Calls to the German government for sanctions against Russia thus mean nothing other than placing oneself in the camp of one's own imperialist government. We must not support German capitalism and the German government, as this only sows illusions in these reactionary leaders, and obscures the fact that only the Russian working class itself can and must fight Putin and the oligarchs.

War: a huge opportunity for capital

The ruling class and the German government have tried to avoid war. But that does not mean they stand for “peace", “freedom” and “democracy”. They simply wanted to use diplomatic means to extract the deal most favourable to them. We should not forget that they are co-financing and politically supporting the civil war in Ukraine, which has been simmering for eight years already. The attacks against and oppression of Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine, especially in the Donbas, by fascist militias (most infamously the Azov Battalion) and the Ukrainian armed forces is a fact. This war has already caused over 14,000 deaths and led to tens of thousands being injured and made refugees. The German ruling class is courting the reactionary Ukrainian government, and has supported or at least tolerated the infiltration of state institutions and the military with fascists, who see themselves as the successors of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. And now they are cynically exploiting the suffering of the Ukrainian people for their own imperialist agenda.

Now that the war is a fact, German capital and the German government are seizing the unique opportunity to finally push ahead with the militarisation they have been politically preparing for years. The invasion of Russian troops provides the perfect pretext to build up the necessary means for Germany to become a stronger imperialist power in the world - a modernised, upgraded and battle-ready Bundeswehr. To this end, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said: “We will make the Bundeswehr one of the most modern armies in Europe… the Bundeswehr must become so strong that it may act as a deterrent, so that no one gets the idea of threatening or intimidating us or our allies.”

german tank Image NATO FlickrNow that the war is a fact, German capital and the German government are seizing the unique opportunity to finally push ahead with the militarisation they have been politically preparing for years / Image: NATO, Flickr

That is why Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced that he would grant the Bundeswehr a special fund of 100 billion euros and raise annual military spending to over 2 percent of GDP, thus meeting the NATO target. This was a direct invitation to the German arms industry. The head of the German Security and Defence Industry Association (BDSV), Hans Christoph Atzpodien, was immediately on hand to announce quick deliveries. The share prices of arms companies shot up. Rheinmetall immediately offered the government a complete package of armaments for 42 billion euros. Hensoldt, too, assures quick deliveries. Investors and entrepreneurs are grasping with both hands for the opportunity to make a deal quickly and to grab as large a share of the 100 billion as possible. They can rejoice, not only at the Bundeswehr being rearmed, but also German arms deliveries to Ukraine having been approved - as have arms deliveries by the EU.

This is a complete turnaround in the arms, military and foreign policy of the German ruling class. It can finally throw off any remnant of “historical consciousness”. Before, it was always necessary to refer to German history out of consideration for public opinion. For the “protection of democracy and freedom", the ruling class had to strive for rearmament and arms supplies. Now, in the name of “democracy” and “freedom", it can legitimise a massive rearmament campaign and weapons deliveries. This turn of events will strengthen the course and imperialist ambitions of the ruling class, and opens the possibility for it to be far more aggressive on the international stage in the future.

But war machines and weapons have to be operated. This requires soldiers, and since the suspension of compulsory military service, the Bundeswehr does not recruit enough of them. That is why it has to use various methods and enticements to recruit new recruits; be it free train rides in uniform, Instagram channels or YouTube series that are supposed to make serving in the armed forces for the “fatherland” palatable. In 2021, a “pilot project” called “Your Year for Germany” was also launched, and voluntary military service in homeland security was introduced. With the changes now beginning to take place in the role and tasks of the Bundeswehr in the interests of German imperialism, the ruling class and government will consider whether it is necessary to reinstate compulsory military service. The bourgeois media and the government are stirring up fear of war by portraying Russia's attack on Ukraine as an attack on “us", and stoking concerns that Putin would not shy away from an attack on NATO either. This is not at all in his interest. But the fear of war provides the necessary mood of ‘national unity’ to enforce a general militarisation, and strengthen patriotic feelings in society.

At the same time, the government is using the people's fear of war to achieve national unity after the coronavirus pandemic. This is particularly important to them, since the government's crisis management, which was completely geared towards maintaining the profits of the ruling class, has clearly increased the political polarisation within German society. The war provides the perfect pretext to present inflation, rising energy prices and additional state spending on militarisation, which the working class has to pay out of its pocket, as a patriotic act in the name of “democracy” and “freedom”. Lindner said in an interview with regional broadcasting network SWR: “We have to make sure that people want to work and do overtime", because eventually the “citizens” i.e. the working class will have to pay for the “efforts” of militarisation so that German companies can remain “competitive” internationally.

This is completely reactionary. It will divert even more resources and labour to the production of weapons of destruction instead of modernising schools, overcoming the health crisis, developing renewable energy and adapting society to changes in the climate. We Marxists must fight against this militarisation and rearmament, which only prepares further bloodshed and the offensive military intervention of the Bundeswehr for the imperialist interests of the EU and NATO ruling class.

Dying for the interests of German capital

No German soldiers are about to die in this inter-imperialist conflict yet. The ruling class does not want a war between NATO and Russia that would reduce Europe to rubble and drag the world economy into an abyss. But the ruling class is now gambling that Putin and the Russian oligarchy will burn their fingers on this proxy war, which Ukraine must now fight against Russia on behalf of NATO and the EU. Germany, the EU and NATO will provide all the necessary means to make this war as long and costly as possible for Russia. They are willing to bankroll the rescue of the Zelensky government, because they hope to extend their influence over Ukraine and weaken Russian imperialism. Norbert Röttgen (member of parliament for the right-wing CDU) let this slip in an interview on 27 February. But it is not our business to speculate on the outcome of this war, especially since it has only lasted a few days so far, and Russia is far from having deployed all its military means.

It is in light of this that we must consider the Ukrainian president's urgent application for EU membership, and the anointing words of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “Indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in.” This gesture is intended to boost the morale of the Ukrainian government and the people on the ground fighting in this war. These comments are in no way to be understood as suggesting that Ukraine could become a member immediately, or ever. Leyen is saying they can become a member “over time” - of indeterminate length - but until then, the Ukrainians are invited to die for the interests of German capital. But to keep morale up as long as possible, the EU has promised 1.2 billion euros in emergency aid and an additional 120 million euros in grants to Ukraine.

Zelensky Merkel Macron Putin Image kremlin.ruThe ruling class is now gambling that Putin and the Russian oligarchy will burn their fingers on this proxy war, which Ukraine must now fight against Russia on behalf of NATO and the EU / Image:

What we can say is that this war is completely reactionary, and we cannot support either side. The bourgeois media and Ukraine present the war in Ukraine as a war against “our values", against “democracy” and “freedom”. Annalena Baerbock (foreign affairs minister and prominent politician for the Green party) in particular is proving to be the decisive force. She is following in the footsteps of her party colleague Joschka Fischer, who in 1999 was instrumental in supporting German participation in the war in Kosovo, which was contrary to international law (which is worthless in any case), in order to assert German interests in the Balkans. In just a few months, the Greens showed themselves to be a quintessential bourgeois party. They have presented the same policies as their bourgeois counterparts in the CDU, the FDP and indeed the SPD, which has been infected and corrupted by capitalist interests. With her demagogy, Baerbock is dutifully spreading fear, and seeks to bring about a closing of ranks of the German working class with the ruling class, in order to secure German support for the war. In doing so, she too, along with the entire government, is dipping her hands in the blood of the Ukrainian people.

Behind their slogans, the government is not defending high-minded ideals, but tangible interests. When the bourgeois politicians say “our values", they mean the economic and geopolitical interests of the ruling class. It's all about profit. And while some capitalists may now have to cut back, others can look forward to huge profits. We must be clear: German capital is letting Ukrainians die for its interests. For the capitalists in Europe, and especially Germany, this is a proxy war of NATO and the EU against Russia. Here, NATO, EU and German imperialism are trying to enforce their own economic and geopolitical interests at the cost of the Ukrainian people.

In a comfortable position, they are looking from the sidelines at the war they have imposed on the Ukrainian population. The announcement of arms deliveries by Germany to the Ukrainian government will not end this war but prolong it, they will not bring freedom and democracy to the Ukrainians, and they will arm the main enemy of the Ukrainian working class: the Ukrainian state, the Zelensky government, the oligarchs, and the Ukrainian fascists. We should have no illusions. If the Ukrainian working class should rebel against its ruling class, these weapons will also be used against it. Moreover, they are making their way into the hands of Nazi militiamen, who if Ukraine is victorious will remain a heavily-armed and militarily experienced tumour in the heart of Europe. The main task of the Ukrainian working class is the struggle against its own ruling class, and we cannot be in favour of arming the class enemy.

The main enemy is at home!

The ruling class in Germany is partly responsible for the war. With its imperialist aspirations and militarist course, it is an enemy of the working class in Germany and internationally. As long as these cutthroats and plunderers are not overthrown, there can be no peace in the world. For Ukraine, neither the EU nor NATO will bring peace, whatever turn the war may take. An imperialist peace will only continue the war by other means, and in turn prepare a new war.

This role of the German ruling class in the imperialist struggle for markets and spheres of influence requires Marxists, and the entire working class in Germany, to wage a struggle against our own ruling class. If we want to end militarism, imperialism and war, then we must fight against German capitalism. The struggle against Putin and Russian capitalism is the task of the Russian working class. Our task is to fight for socialist revolution in Germany. Peace, progress and real democracy in the interest of the people cannot exist under capitalism, in the EU or in NATO. It can only exist in the United Socialist States of Europe and the world. For this it is necessary to be organised – in the International Marxist Tendency as well as in Der Funke – and to strengthen the forces of revolutionary Marxism.

It may now appear that the ruling class is strengthened and united, and that the cracks in the government, the EU and NATO are concealed. As soon as the working class starts to move, it will tear down this veil of stability. The decline of capitalism gives the exploited and oppressed enough reasons for revolt. This war is an expression of this development. It is also a turning point in history, the effects of which will be long-lasting and comprehensive. Capitalist barbarism has now also finally arrived in Europe. The shocks of recent years – economic crisis, climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, the failure of governments and now the war – are preparing major upheavals in the consciousness of the masses. They will learn that capitalism has no future. Broad sections of the youth have already understood this. We must give them perspectives, a programme and an organisation that can overcome this system once and for all!

No to all warmongers and their demagogy!

No armament and militarisation!

No arms deliveries and sanctions!

No foreign deployment of troops!

No rescue packages for German bosses in the course of war!

For the expropriation of the German arms industry and the profiteers of German imperialism!

For the unity of the working classes of all nations! For international solidarity!

No war between nations! No peace between classes!

For socialist revolution in Germany, Russia, Ukraine and worldwide!

Originally published on 3 March at |

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