Berlin

Berlin’s referendum to expropriate corporate landlords is a watershed moment for rental politics and a rare win against international real estate capital, reports Thomas McGath.

We will not forget any individual killed by racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, queerphobic, misogynistic, inhuman ideologies, nor the intellectual apologists sitting in parliaments stirring the fire, says Ferat Ali Kocak.

In the aftermath of the recent racist attacks in Hanau, Green Left spoke with Sibylle Kaczorek, an anti-racist activist based in Berlin, about its impacts on recent election results in Hamburg and the campaign against the far right.

The fear of collaboration by the so-called mainstream democratic parties with the far-right in Germany has been realised in the first such incident in post-war times, writes Sibylle Kaczorek.

In recent elections in two East German states on September 1, the vote for the far right was the highest yet, writes Sibylle Kaczorek.

Sibylle Kaczorek, a member of Germany’s main left party Die Linke and an activist with (Stand Up Against Racism!) was interviewed in May by Dick Nichols, Green Left Weekly’s European correspondent.

Sibylle Kaczorek, a member of Socialist Alliance and the Left Party, addressed the International Women's day rally in Berlin on behalf of Stand Up Against Racism (Aufstehen gegen Rassismus).

After the recent successful defence of the Hambacher Forest against the threat of destruction by coal giant RWE, more than 5000 people joined a mass civil disobedience action on October 27 and 28 in the coalfields of the German state of North-Rhein Westphalia (NRW).

The action was called by Ende Gelaende, an anti-capitalist environmental group committed to non-violent direct action tactics. It aims to win an immediate end to coal production at Europe’s biggest open-cast mine, the Hambach lignite (brown coal) mine.

Germany’s September 22 federal elections delivered victory to the ruling conservative Christian Democratic Alliance, despite forces to their left winning a majority of seats. Die Linke (the Left Party) has emerged the third largest in the Bundestag (German parliament). The Chancellor Angela Merkel-led alliance scored their best result since German re-unification in 1990, with more than 18 million votes (41.5%).
The upcoming federal elections in Germany, scheduled for September 22, are unlikely to change the character of German politics regardless of the outcome. The two main parties remain committed continuing to represent the interests of German corporations over its people. Die Linke (The Left Party) provides a left parliamentary alternative, but it has not succeeded in convincing ordinary, working people that a break of the status quo is possible.
A group of 57 refugees, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have pushed the plight of the more than 100,000 asylum seekers in Germany into the national spotlight. In September, they rejected regulations that constrain their movement and began a long march to the German capital, Berlin. They came from as far as Wuerzburg, a Bavarian town in Germany’s south. Some of them completed the 600 kilometre journey on foot over 29 days. Arriving in early October, the refugees and scores more German supporters established a tent city in the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg.
Germany is usually presented in the mainstream media as having successfully weathered Europe’s vast economic crisis. German Chancellor Angel Merkel from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has gained enormous influence on the European political and financial scene. By contrast, in protests across Greece, Spain and other countries hit hardest by the crisis, references about Germany as the “Fourth Reich” are increasingly being voiced.
Literature Nobel laureate and Germany's most famous living author Gunter Grass labelled Israel a threat to "already fragile world peace" in his poem “Was gesagt werden muss” (“What must be said”). The work, published by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on April 4, accuses "the West" of hypocrisy in relation to the arming of Israel. In publishing the poem, Grass, who regards himself as "irrevocably connected to the country of Israel” has made a big contribution to breaking a long standing German taboo about publicly criticising Israel's warmongering.
About 215,000 public service workers struck on March 27 as a warning to their employers a day before talks between the public sector union and the bosses. Two weeks earlier, 130,000 took part in the first round of strikes. The award being negotiated by the United Services Union (known as ver.di) covers more than 2 million public service workers from national to local level. Ver.di is Germany's second biggest union, with a membership of about 2.1 million people.
Boats — an enemy evoked by major Australian political parties to win elections — have become a symbol of international resistance to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is particularly the case since Israeli commandos attacked an aid flotilla headed for Gaza in May, killing nine people. With this in mind, the Berlin Coalition for Gaza (BCG) launched a one-boat “flotilla” through an inner-city Berlin canal on October 15.
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