(updated) Germany’s Low-Pay Sector And Trade Surplus: Roots Of The Disaster

For almost a year now Belgian trade union CSC has been campaigning against Germany’s infamous low-pay regime, which was established by the Social Democrats and the Green Party in 2003 with the „Agenda 2010“. The Belgian campaign, labeled „Helft Heinrich!“[1] („Help Heinrich!“ – Heinrich is apparently believed to be a typical German first name here), thus far went almost unnoticed. It may look like a paradox, too, but in fact it makes perfectly sense.

The Belgian union activists are cleary aware of Germany’s having become „Europe’s China“ since chancellor Schröder’s neoliberal reforms — a ruthless export-oriented economy, made possible by the EU’s biggest low-wage sector, lack of minimum wage, precarious labour conditions, deprivation of rights, social uprooting and so on — a development that is now not only pressuring other countries‘ labour markets but was also in fact one of the main causes for the catastrophic European debt crisis.

Although it is commonly glossed over in public discourse in Germany, every book-keeper knows that a surplus on one side of the balance sheet has a corresponding negative on the other side. Germany’s huge export surplusses created (or rather, were made possible by) proportionally huge trade deficits in other European countries[2]. This leads to distortion of competition in those countries (just like, for instance, with EU-subsidized food and crop exports into Africa), sparking bankruptcies, de-industrialization and consequently, increasing unemployment and public debt (less tax revenues; more social spending).

And now Germany demands of the very countries it sucked dry that they adopt this same Ponzi scheme, called „austerity dictate“ — arguably knowing it cannot work, as there is simply nothing left to suck dry, i.e. to feed one’s trade surplus on. Therefore, the brutal austerity policy being imposed on these countries is doomed to fail, but at the same time it will even accelerate the downward spiral into pauperization and destroy their economic basis thoroughly and effectively. What follows then we will soon be able to observe in the „Greek laboratory“, but also in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Eventually it will come back to bite Germany’s export economy, whose trade surplus will see a dramatic collapse… but that’s another story.

So, in the light of this, it is reasonable and in everybody’s interest to tackle the problem by getting to its social roots: Germany’s weakened wage earners, especially in the low-pay segment, need international support and solidarity in their labour conflicts. Furthermore, facing an ever more unleashed and unchecked internationalized capital, the internationalization of labour conflict is long overdue. Here is a chance for the big German trade unions to seize the opportunity. So far, they haven’t done much to that effect yet.

What’s the reason, that the German trade unions and working class didn’t act against the low-wage slavery until now and produced the European Crisis, which was producing an uprise of right-wing parties and racist attacks and will lead into cruel wars in Europe. [3]

You have to know, that the laws of labour in Germany had been established by the former Nazi Hans Carl Nipperdey and he educated thousands of jurists, because he was an Professor too and he became the president of the Federal Labour Court. In this position he illegalized and prohibited strikes. Strikes are controlled by the German state and its laws and therefore very restricted:

In  Germany  strikes  are  closely  connected  with  the  law  governing  the  conclusion  of collective agreements. Collective actions such as strikes are designed to facilitate this process   by   creating   a   balance   of   power   during   negotiations   about   collective agreements. Beyond this aim strikes are not permitted, so the motivation for a strike is of  decisive  importance  for  the  legitimacy  of  the  strike.    Only  those  strikes  which campaign  for  aims  that  can  legally  be  part  of  a  collective  agreement  are  lawful.
Consequently, politically-motivated strikes violate the law. [4]

And because of this, all strikes in Germany are very harmless and unpolitical and if the workers can buy some more bananas from their wages, the propaganda apparat calls it „good result“ and the strikes are quitted. The trade unions in Germany are nothing else than police administrations against the working class. The servile character of the German trade unions, specially its leaders made the German imperialism more and more aggressive and expansive. If wage workers are exploited and creating surplus value, the accumulation and reproduction of capital is pushing the political economy under constraint to find new markets.

Just have a look on the official side of the „Auswärtiges Amt“, the Federal Foreign Ministry on the article „Germany’s destiny: lead Europe to lead the world„.

Now doubt: The behavior of the German ruling class, ruling politicians and the German state apparat didn’t change its character since last century, which brought the age of World Wars on the global agenda. After 1945 first the German administration was swimming in the pool of US hegemony, but after the German reunification – step by step – the ruling class and its politicians dropped again in the dangerous sickness Megalomania-Germania. No wonder, that the British nationalism and Germanophobia rised!

Therefore it would be the best, if the European workers will come to Berlin, to protest in the „heart of the beast“ against the megalomanic ruling class in Germany and teach the workers and trade unionists in Germany, how to organize a social and political strike.

Nuit Debout de France: Bienvenue en Berlin !

[1] Infos about „Helft Heinrich!“ (German):

[2] Since the introduction of the single currency in 2002, German trade surplusses have accumulated to an estimated figure of 800 billion euros:
See also this article by Thomasz Konicz: „Europas Showdown“ (in German)

[3] The Brexit will push GB on the side of USA and the war machine will overroll Europe and Europe will be the next victim of so called proxy wars between the US administration and the Kremlins. This specially, if the powerful military industrial complex of the United States will vote for Trump. Even if he is losing the election, his hysterical and fanatic followers will not accept this and a civil war in USA will start for bringing Trump to power. Many USamerican citizens are foreboding this and preparing their flight to Canada, farmers with sheeps and cows… and of course, the Nato will break into pieces and every nation and national states will hark back to it’s own military. What happened after 1991 in Yugoslavia was harmless, what will befall Europe. Read too: „Opinion: Brexit poses challenge to peace in Europe“

[4] The Right to Strike: A Comparative Perspective. page 59

Über Alinka

I'm struggling for a good future for y-our (your/our) children. Ich bemühe mich um eine gute Zukunft für unsere Kinder. Wir haben nur EINE Erde auf der wir leben. We all are sisters and brothers, children and parents. Wir sind alle Schwestern und Brüder, Kinder und Eltern. We have only ONE earth !
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Eine Antwort zu (updated) Germany’s Low-Pay Sector And Trade Surplus: Roots Of The Disaster

  1. sunnyromy schreibt:

    Reblogged this on SunnyRomy.

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