Report from Germany (fwd from WW)
Bryan A. Alexander
bnalexan at umich.edu
Sat Feb 3 12:07:10 MST 1996
Great post. The other terrible thing is: that many in the West consider
Germany's unification to be a success story!
Bryan Alexander Department of English
email: bnalexan at umich.edu University of Michigan
phone: (313) 764-0418 Ann Arbor, MI USA 48103
fax: (313) 763-3128 http://www.umich.edu/~bnalexan
On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, Luciano Dondero wrote:
> --fwd msg--
> >Via Workers World News Service
> >Reprinted from the Feb.8, 1996
> >issue of Workers World newspaper
> >REPORT FROM GERMANY:
> >BOSSES ON THE RAMPAGE AGAINST JOBS, SERVICES
> >By Walter Jansen
> >Cologne, Germany
> >The economic statistics available at the beginning of 1996
> >point to increasing difficulty for working-class families in
> >Seven million people are jobless. That's about 20 percent
> >of the work force.
> >Much of unemployment is concentrated in the former German
> >Democratic Republic.
> >More than 1 million children are on welfare. More than 2.2
> >million are poor. A half-million people live in public
> >shelters or similar housing.
> >These figures are provided by the European Union and
> >The former GDR has been hit the hardest. The fact that
> >many people are choosing not to have children reflects this.
> >In 1989, before it was taken over by capitalist West
> >Germany, there were 199,000 children born in the GDR. In
> >1995 there were only 80,000 children born there.
> >This represents the greatest variation in population
> >figures in Germany during the last 200 years, when the
> >government began keeping records.
> >RESTRUCTURING, GERMAN STYLE
> >Trade associations predict more than 30,000 bankruptcies,
> >mostly in medium-sized industry in eastern Germany. The
> >major industries promise more layoffs as part of
> >The automobile bosses plan to eliminate 100,000 of the
> >current 650,000 jobs by the year 2000. Ninety thousand of
> >1.5 million construction jobs are to disappear by the
> >decade's end.
> >There are still 100,000 miners. But the main German
> >economic institute announced that they too face dramatic
> >In 1995 profits exploded in the chemical industry as never
> >before. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of workers were let
> >go, and this trend is continuing.
> >Big capital here prefers to move factories to areas in
> >Europe where wages are 25-percent lower--like Portugal,
> >Ireland, Poland. The bosses also try to stir up hostility
> >between the workers of different nationalities.
> >One example is the Tengelmann company. It runs retail
> >trade, department stores and commercial houses. Worldwide
> >200,000 people work for Tengelmann; 92,000 are in Germany.
> >Of these 30,000 will be fired this year.
> >The owners--one of the richest families here--say that it
> >is more attractive to invest in low-wage cities like Prague,
> >Budapest and Warsaw.
> >Electro-Siemens goes Tengelman one better. "We invested
> >near Prague," this company declares, "but if they strike or
> >demand higher wages we will leave the Czech Republic and go-
> >-for example--to Kiev in the Ukraine."
> >`CONTRACT ON GERMANY'
> >The reactionary government in Bonn is also trying to
> >curtail social services, which have been much greater in
> >Germany for example than in the United States. Claiming the
> >money isn't there, they've repeatedly cut subsidies for
> >medical care, welfare and unemployment payments for the
> >jobless and poor.
> >Unions, churches and the left say the ruling class intends
> >to bring back "Manchester capitalism"--the brutal practices
> >of capitalism at its dawn in the English textile mills
> >before there were unions.
> >It's the German ruling class's "Contract on Germany."
> >Actually, it's a contract of world capitalism on the workers
> >all over the globe. It can only be stopped if all those
> >being oppressed and exploited join together and fight back
> >The most encouraging events as 1995 ended were the
> >militant strikes in neighboring France and Belgium. The big
> >question is whether this can be extended to Germany and the
> >other countries where workers face the same pressure.
> >One thing is sure: There is no way out in a capitalist
> > - END -
> >(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint
> >granted if source is cited. For more information contact
> >Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
> >ww at wwpublish.com. For subscription info send message to:
> >ww-info at wwpublish.com.)
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