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Interview with MLPD Chairwoman Gabi Fechtner on fighting the right in Germany

Leader of Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) speaks on political situation
Interview by staff |
December 11, 2018
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MLPD Chairwoman Gabi Fechtner.
MLPD Chairwoman Gabi Fechtner.

Fight Back! interviewed Gabi Fechtner, Chairwoman of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), on the fight against the ultra-right in Germany and the current political situation.

Fight Back!: The capitalist media have reported much about the activity of the ultra-right and fascists in Germany. What has happened and how does the MLPD react?

Gabi Fechtner: In Germany we witness a rightward development of the grand coalition under chancellor Merkel, and of the bourgeois parties. This has led to a societal polarization in which, among the masses, there is a progressive change of mood as well as an effect of this trend to the right.

Whereas less than 600,000 people participated in people's struggles and mass protests in 2017, through 21 October 2018 there were already 1.15 million participants. We have to count in addition - more than 2 million workers who took part in militant strikes for collective agreements at the beginning of the year. This year more than 3 million people have taken part in protests and demonstrations which were mostly directed politically against this development to the right. The MLPD, its youth league Rebell, and the Internationalist Alliance of progressive and revolutionary forces is actively participating in these activities in all parts of Germany and is growing into a new societal role.

At the same time, the rightward development of the government prepared the ground for the so-called Alternative for Germany (AfD). Since 2015 the proto-fascist AfD has entered the German parliament and all regional parliaments and has established itself there. On 27 August in Chemnitz, several thousand fascists from all over Germany, supporters of the proto-fascist AfD, and hooligans bawled fascist slogans, hunted foreign-looking people and attacked anti-fascists.

Against this, anti-fascist mass protest has developed in the whole country. There the slogan put up by us, “Ban all fascist organizations.” is meanwhile very popular.

It is important not to underestimate the struggle over the mode of thinking on a mass scale against the social demagogy of the AfD. The AfD is paving the way for fascism, but is being presented in the media as a ‘protest party’ against those in power. Not every AfD voter is a right-wing person, but AfD’s reactionary propaganda against refugees definitely has an effect. We have distributed an extra brochure on this question, with a circulation of 50,000 copies.

The progressive change of mood has to assert itself against rightist tendencies among the masses. For this we consolidate and develop our system of patient and systematic work among the masses.

Fight Back!: Do the ultra-rightists have influence on the trade union movement? If yes, how does the MLPD struggle against this?

Fechtner: The AfD has influence on backward workers with a low class consciousness. It even tries to extend its positions in particular there, but succeeds at this only among a minority. A new phenomenon is the growing protest against the AfD in the trade unions. Thus, in the last few weeks there have been protests against the AfD by union-organized industrial workers, among other things at Opel in Eisenach, Daimler in Sindelfingen or Volkswagen in Kassel. In most cases our comrades play a decisive role in this.

Fight Back!: Which role does the question of migrants in Germany play, and what happens with the movement for the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees?

Fechtner: One has to stress that there is a broad movement of solidarity with the refugees among the masses. An official study from the beginning of the year established that since 2015, 55% of the population have shown practical solidarity with refugees. In the “Seebrücke” (Sea Bridge) movement alone – against the death of thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea – more than 150,000 people have participated in demonstrations and protests since June 2018.

For a brief period in 2015 the Merkel government allowed 890,000 refugees into the country; now it pursues an ultra-reactionary policy towards refugees. Thus, in July 2018 only 13,000 refugees managed to come here. Ugly propaganda is being spread against refugees. Allegedly, the crime rate in Germany has exploded since 2015. However, according to the official criminal statistics it is at its lowest level in 25 years!

In our work the proletarian policy towards refugees has become a trademark. We take the basic line that as communists we absolutely do not accept that there are first-class and second-class people.

Fight Back!: What do you think of the resignation of Angela Merkel, and what does this mean regarding the direction of German policy?

Fechtner: The parties of the grand coalition are in a deep crisis of confidence. According to the latest opinion poll, SPD and CDU/CSU would get only 41% of the votes; in 2005 they still got almost 70% of the votes in the federal elections. The masses increasingly are searching for a societal alternative.

Angela Merkel has up till now stepped down only as chairwoman of the CDU, not as chancellor. This serves the dampening of the contradictions after various CDU defeats in the elections. The dispute about the successor to Merkel is a test for the future course of the government. All three candidates (Merz/Kramp-Karrenbauer/Spahn) seeking to succeed her as chairperson of the CDU represent a reactionary direction and a deepening of the development to the right. However, there definitely are different views as to how this is to be sold to the masses. Merz especially, until recently a boss at BlackRock, is a demagogic hard-liner who stands for more open internal and external reaction.

The MLPD and the Internationalist Alliance have long been demanding the resignation of the government and new elections. We fight to stop the rampant rightward development through the struggle of the masses, while building up the Internationalist Alliance and strengthening the socialist alternative.

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