“We are the Socialist Equality Party, Fourth International, and we stand to give the generalized opposition to the right-wing politics of all parliamentary parties a socialist voice and perspective.” With this statement, SGP Vice-President Christoph Vandreier began his party’s presentation in an election broadcast on German public television on September 13.
The program on the 33 parties which are not yet represented in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag), has been considerably condensed by the public broadcaster compared to the last elections and is broadcast late at night. Each party is presented for only two to three minutes.
Although the private production company reduced nearly two hours of footage to two minutes, SGP’s contribution (from the 33rd minute) stands out from all of the right-wing, confused, or single-themed parties on the show. “We are not trying to alleviate the symptoms of a sick system, but rather advocate the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of a socialist society,” explains Vandreier at the start of the segment.
The main SGP candidate made it clear that the Trotskyist movement has a long history, commenting: âOur world party was founded in 1938 as the Fourth International because it defended socialist principles against Stalinism and against social- democracy.
Speaking to a random passerby, Vandreier points out that unions have long since stopped talking in the interests of the workforce. âThe SGP supports all industrial action,â he explains, âand all workers’ initiatives that oppose lower wages and miserable conditions. In response to his counterpart’s objection, “I could go to the Verdi union for that too,” replied Vandreier: “But that’s exactly the problem. Verdi does not represent the interests of workers.
Then Vandreier addresses a woman who presents herself as an âindependent cultural designerâ. Asked by her about the character of the working class, he explains that the vast majority of the population is made up of workers who “have to sell their work in order to be able to live”.
The SGP is fighting for an unconditional basic income, explains Vandreier. In response to her interlocutor’s objection that she thinks it is good, but that it cannot be funded, Vandreier replies: âIn order to enforce each of these demands, capitalism must be overthrown. The SGP is fighting for a socialist society “centered on the needs of the people and not on the interests of profit”.
But the show’s format did not allow for the issues to be addressed in more detail. Vandreier’s detailed remarks on the coronavirus pandemic and the âProfits Before Lifeâ policy have been reduced to the following sentence: âIn the last year and a half, we have seen policy implemented in the interest of of the rich. “
SGP’s positions are more clearly expressed in another interview Vandreier gave to the private online magazine MG.tv (massengeschmack.tv) in August. Journalist Holger Kreymeier conducted an interview lasting almost an hour and a half titled: “We need a revolution”. In this interview, which is part of the “Veto” series, of which only a preview is freely accessible, the party positions that have been cut short by the public broadcaster are presented with greater clarity.
This is a strong argument for socialism, and Vandreier speaks clearly about the central issues of the election. In particular, it justifies the struggle of the SGP against war and fascism and for social equality. It also describes the party’s international strategy to end the pandemic.
He explains the SGP eradication strategy by declaring: “The pandemic could have been brought under control very early and the virus wiped out thanks to a global and courageous intervention … In the vast majority of countries, profits have taken priority over the lives of people. the people. âThe result is the disastrous fourth wave of the Delta variant. What is needed now is a tough global lockdown, and at the same time, those who suffer from lost wages must be fully compensated.
When asked how this should be funded given the âgreat economic damage caused by the pandemic,â Vandreier replied, âWhat economic damage are we talking about? While the majority of the population is really suffering today, the profit before life policy of the ECB and the federal government has allowed banks and businesses to enrich themselves with hundreds of billions of euros. He continued, âNo worker should be made redundant due to the pandemic. Instead, the rich must be forced to pay.
At the start of the interview, Kreymeier asks if the vice-president of the Socialist Equality Party is often confronted with the assertion: âSocialism, we already had that, it didn’t work. Vandreier retorts: âFirst of all, there are very few people who say that. Polls show that “socialism is more popular today than ever. A growing majority, especially young people, prefer it to capitalism because they see what it has to offer them: the death of the pandemic, a policy of profit before life, unemployment and increasing wages. low.
Vandreier maintains this steadfast tone in his responses to all questions. Stalinism in the GDR (East Germany) and in the Soviet Union, he explains, “had nothing to do with socialism”. Socialism is “always internationalist”, he continues, and “socialism is based on workers’ democracy and the independent mobilization of the working class”. Moreover, socialism is “a process in which workers empower themselves”, and therefore the concrete historical development of the future cannot be determined in advance. However, it is important to stress: âWe reject the whole profit system in which all wealth is concentrated at the top because the means of production are private property.
The moderator then focused particularly on the topic of German military missions, asking the following question: “The SGP demands the immediate cessation of all war and foreign missions, but we can see in Afghanistan what that will lead to.” Vandreier replied: âAll the suffering in Afghanistan is the product of 20 years of intervention. The collapse of the Afghan army shows that these 20 years have brought only suffering, oppression and colonization to the country. The bankruptcy of the brutal war of conquest has been shown to everyone, said Vandreier. He made a point of mentioning the Kunduz massacre, for which the German army was particularly responsible.
âNo problem in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali or any country in the world is solved by imperialist troops; no problem; in no case! “insists Vandreier. Quoting Karl Liebknecht, Vandreier added:” The main enemy is in our own country. “He affirmed:” We are in this tradition. We are for the dissolution of the German army.
For the purposes of this article, it is impossible to cover all the topics covered in the interview. Vandreier makes it very clear that all established parties, regardless of who wins the election, will continue the âprofit before lifeâ policy after September 26. No problem can be solved nationally, he notes. He sums up the quintessence of the SGP by saying: âWe are building a workers’ party, this is the basic principle of the Fourth International.
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The show “The Story on Channel 1: The Five Percent Dream.” On the way to the little parties âwas broadcast on Friday 09/17/21 at 11:30 p.m. on tagesschau24 and is also available in the ARD media library.