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September 2, 2004: The Movement of Monday Demonstrations Strengthens its Character as a Politically Independent Mass Movement

On August 30, there were Monday demonstrations in 220 cities – another expansion compared to the previous week. While the bourgeois mass media manipulate the numbers of participants downwards to spread a mood of defeat, the reports we had on September 1st from 167 cities say that at least 170,000 people were participating – very often in extremely bad weather (thunder and rainstorms, hail). "Many more would have come today if the weather hadn't been that lousy," many demonstrators said. The core of the Monday demonstrations consolidated and strengthened its independent character.

Never before have there been such nationwide demonstrations of the

people's will in reunified Germany!

The resolve of the great majority of the participants became clear: prevent any type of split and  cooperate – though not with fascists – on an equal and non-party affiliated basis. In several cities – for instance, Duisburg and Essen – fascist forces were removed from the Monday demonstrations under the applause of the participants. More and more people take courage to speak at the open microphone, where they not only depict their anger against Hartz IV, but also self-consciously attack the anti-people SPD/Greens government and uncover its propaganda lies. Increasingly, industrial workers take action and trade-unionist shop-floor representatives, in conscious criticism of the attitude of the trade union leadership, call for joining the Monday demonstrations. Workers of Opel Bochum (General Motors) stressed the unity of the struggle against Hartz IV and the latest attacks of the GM management on the workforce.

Meanwhile, the Schröder/Fischer government has established a center with links to the media and the secret services as a general staff to erode and bust the Monday demonstrations. On a national level, the German secret service, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, spreads smear propaganda; it started an anticommunist offensive in the media against the MLPD, warning people of the MLPD which is said trying to monopolize the Monday demonstrations in order to "overcome its outsider status."

A nationwide leaflet of the MLPD of August 29, "Monday Demo, No. 3", says:

"Do the gentlemen in the government forget that the Monday demonstrations in the former GDR ushered in the end of the hated State Security, 'Stasi' (Secret Service of the GDR), because people were no longer willing to be spied out and denunciated? So why should people accept intimidation through the 'state security' of West German nature today?"

On Monday 30, the future path of these demonstrations was an essential feature and subject of debate on mass scale at the Monday demonstrations as was the role of the MLPD, as a revolutionary workers' party, herein, that is, the discussion between proletarian and opportunist strategy and tactics.

The trial of strength in society between the working class and the masses of the people on one side and the government and the monopolies on the other is reflected in the Monday demonstrations in a special type of a trial of strength. Opportunist leaders of Attac, PDS and DGB (German Trade Union Federation) attempt to seize the leadership of the Monday demonstrations by all means and to deprive them of their political independence. To this end, they directly resort to the means of splitting, as in Berlin, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Witten, Essen, Hanover, Rostock and Leipzig and even to openly cooperate with the police (as in Berlin, Halle and Rostock). The basic line of the opportunist forces is to stress the unity with the DGB leadership on an unprincipled basis. To this purpose, the slogan of the Monday movement, "Down with Hartz IV!" is to be skipped and the MLPD to be crowded out. They try to transform the Monday demonstrations into platforms of "dialogue" with the bourgeois politicians in order to "gain influence on the state affairs" in that way. This, however, is an illusion! In contrast, the proletarian way counts upon developing the struggle against the government. The MLPD resolutely supports the unity of the Monday demonstrations, though not on the basis of subordinating to the government! The debate on the future path of the Monday demonstrations has adopted a mass character. The polarization going along is an essential precondition for the masses to be able to make a conscious decision between the reformist and the revolutionary way. Here, the MLPD continues to be in the offensive and is deepening its solidarity and collaboration with the masses.

The National Coordinating Meeting in Leipzig on August 28, 2004

On Saturday, August 28, the first national meeting for the coordination of the Monday demonstrations was held in Leipzig. 186 people from 66 cities all over Germany had come. Many of them had got a clear mandate by democratic votes from their local Monday demonstrations. Now, the Monday demonstrations must gain even more breadth, unity and resolve if the Hartz laws are to fall. Above all, the movement must consolidate its political independence, concentrate its forces and coordinate its activities. The participants gained a democratic culture of debate in joint solidarity. When it came to the point of making decisions, it turned out that the Leipzig leadership of discussion (people from the PDS) were not willing to do so, against the will of the majority of those present. The majority did not understand this attitude at all and, with the approval of the assembly, a new leadership of discussion (Monika Gärtner-Engel) took over; she submitted a final resolution (see enclosure), which expresses the militant mood of the conference; it recommends to the carriers of the Monday demonstrations to make decisions on carrying out a march to Berlin on October 3 on the occasion of their local Monday demonstrations. This decision was made by a big majority (13 votes against), and a preparatory committee for this march was elected (13 votes against and 4 abstentions).

The success of the Leipzig meeting was decisively combined with the party assuming its leading role in the struggle over the mode of thinking. In criticizing conceptions of "grass-root democracy" ("We don't need a podium," "Decisions are unnecessary"), the majority of participants unified on the importance of organized democracy. Monika Gärtner-Engel (organizer and delegate of the Gelsenkirchen Monday demonstration), with her proletarian culture of debate, became an important person of reference also for many non-party participants.

The Leipzig conference of the Monday demonstrations is a very important success in defending, consolidating and advancing the independent movement of Monday demonstrations. With this success, the relative strength shifted in favor of the militant and independent forces of the movement of Monday demonstrations. This became obvious even in the media reports which found themselves compelled to put the Leipzig meeting into the fore. In Channel 1 of the state TV, the role of Monika Gärtner-Engel had to be acknowledged; she was introduced as an "experienced politician from the Ruhr area" who "took control".

As soon as it had become clear that more and more rank-and-file people announced their coming to the Leipzig meeting, splittist forces from PDS, DKP and Attac leaderships panicked and convened a meeting to Berlin on the same day. A particularly bad role was adopted by Trotskyites and the PDS, Attac leadership and members of a new Leftist reformist party named "Wahlalternative soziale Gerechtigkeit" (WASG, electoral alternative for social justice). Among them are, for instance, Sascha Kimpel, belonging to the "International Socialist Left" (ISL), member of the Fourth International. These forces attempt to erode just liberation struggles not only in Germany, but on a worldwide scale, repeatedly showing off by slandering the liberation struggle of the Filipino people and the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines).

Pertaining to the movement of the Monday demonstrations, the Attac leaders have adopted the function of a policing agent, which is increasingly met with criticism even among their own followers. What these splittist forces really want showed at the Berlin meeting, in which about 70 persons participated, in the main leaders of PDS, Attac and DGB. The moderator of this meeting supported talks with the government. They opposed a demonstration on October 3 (the so-called Day of German Unity) and orient towards a demonstration on October 2, but only if this would be given financial support. The DGB leadership, an ally of the SPD/Greens government, is to take over the leadership of the Monday demonstrations. The movement of Monday demonstrations is to be deprived of its unambiguous direction, "Down with Hartz IV," and the masses are to be prepared for so-called corrections and bad compromises. It is obvious that the MLPD, as a revolutionary workers' party, is one of the main obstacles to these goals. But as long as the DGB leadership does not terminate its alliance with the Schröder/Fischer government, no honest person can allow the right-wing union leadership to adopt an important or even leading role at such a demonstration without giving up the aims of the movement of Monday demonstrations. Instead of trying to make the union leadership taking control of the movement, the independent movement of Monday demonstrations demands unreserved support of the DGB.

After the splittist forces had not succeeded in thwarting the meeting in Leipzig, they now cooperate openly with the police in order to maintain the split of the Berlin Monday demonstration movement. In Berlin, where two Monday demonstrations exist already, Dieter Ilius, speaker of the alliance "On Mondays Against 2010" and a well-known MLPD member, was arrested by two policemen and taken away, at the instigation of the Trotskyite Attac leaders; he was released only after massive protests. The aim of these forces is to take the SPD/Greens federal government and the SPD/PDS city government in Berlin out of the line of fire. This is their order and their motive, and to that aim they use every means, even open collaboration with the oppressive forces. In other cities, too, as in Halle and Rostock, PDS or DGB leaders tried to proceed against the MLPD with the help of police forces; this was also thwarted by the protest of the masses. All this is accompanied by a foul smear campaign against the "old Stalinists and Maoists of the MLPD", placed on the same level as fascists by Attac leaders.

The most important cognition of the Monday demonstrations on August 30 is that the movement finds itself in the midst of a trial of strength over which direction will prevail:

the direction of bad compromise, that tries to persuade the masses that they cannot achieve anything without the patronage and the financial means of the DGB leaders, that sows illusions into a dialogue with the government and wants to content itself with slight corrections of the Hartz IV law? This direction meets with the benevolence of the government.

Or the direction that expresses itself powerfully in the call "Down with Hartz IV – we are the people!" This is the direction that starts from the elementary needs of the broad masses alone, counts upon the independent initiative and strength of the people, makes its local decisions in a democratic way, does not allow itself to be "infiltrated" by anybody and in that way preserves its political independence.

For many people, the role of the opportunist and splittist forces becomes obvious in this mass debate about the further path of the Monday demonstrations. Delegations and participants of the Leipzig conference reported about the conference at this week's  Monday demonstrations and put its results to vote. The march to Berlin on October 3 met with great approval. The relative strength has shifted in favor of the revolutionary forces, the MLPD is a central topic in the media.

Support for the MLPD is recognizably increasing in this debate. Stefan Engel, chairman of the MLPD, took part in the Monday demonstration in Gelsenkirchen. He spoke for the unity and independence of the Monday demonstrations: "Splitting the movement is one of the methods to break it. The MLPD resolutely supports the unity of the movement on the basis of the struggle against the government and the slogan 'Down with Hartz IV!' The splitters must be turned down. We are strong only if we are united!"

The current situation can indeed give rise to a revolutionary ferment in Germany. The key is to involve increasingly broadening sections of the working class and the transition to the working-class offensive. Presently, the class conflict in the automobile industry at Volkswagen and Opel stands in the fore; the management submitted declarations of war against the workforce. The Monday demonstrations must be combined with strikes and other measures of struggle.

We want to say thanks explicitly for the international solidarity messages which we already received. Solidarity actions have already been taking place in Austria and France. As a step for the practical cooperation of the struggles against the coordinated anti-people crisis programs of the European governments and monopolies and for the development of proletarian-internationalist consciousness, the MLPD suggests to carry out simultaneous solidarity actions on Mondays in the European countries and to take part in the march to Berlin with delegations on October 3. (The MLPD's department of internationalism is ready to support organizational questions of arrival and accommodation.)

A successful struggle in Germany for the revocation of Hartz IV and for the fall of the government would be an encouraging sign and a contribution to an upswing of the workers' and peoples' struggles in Europe and beyond.

You find further daily, if necessary, hourly information, pictures and correspondences about the Monday demonstrations on: There you also find translations of the latest interview of Rote Fahne with the MLPD chairman, Stefan Engel, of August 18, 2004: "A  Significant Change of Mood Among the Broad Masses".

Messages of solidarity to:

Enclosure Resolution of the Leipzig Conference of August 28, 2004

We have come to Leipzig with 186 people from 66 cities – delegates and individuals interested in the Monday demonstrations. We are happy about the quickly increasing movement of the Monday demonstrations.

"Down with Hartz IV – we are the people!"

Their solidarity and mood of new beginning has ultimately continued at our conference. We want to get rid of Hartz IV in full – we won't accept cosmetics!

We resolutely attack any party and any government pursuing this policy. We shall continue to put our local activities to the fore in order to win over thousands and tens of thousands of people for the Monday demonstrations and their goals.

Nationwide attacks like Hartz IV and Agenda 2010 are something we must answer in a coordinated way on a nationwide scale, too.

Therefore, we suggest to the Monday demonstrations to make the following decisions:

         Mobilize for a national march to Berlin on October 3. This is our "German unity"!

         Look for cooperation on this basis with all organizations and initiatives possible. We resolutely ask the DGB chair to support the Monday demonstrations without reservations.

         Support a democratic, nationwide network of the Monday demonstrations on an equal basis.

         Promote grass-root democratic structures as, for instance, open microphone and decision-making at the Monday demonstrations.

Strengthen in the headwind –

don't allow your cause to be taken off your hands ever again and to be dissuaded from your goals!

United we are strong!

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