June 23, 2006: We’re going to properly celebrate the 25th anniversary of the MLPD!

Interview with the Chairman of the MLPD, Stefan Engel

stefan-engel.jpg23 June 2006: The Rote Fahne interviewed Stefan Engel:

Is it possible to do serious political work in Germany during the FIFA World Cup, when public attention is focused on the playing fields and stadiums?

Stefan Engel: The FIFA World Cup in Germany dominates media reports and pushes everything else aside, of course. The politicians take their seats in the VIP stands of the stadiums, in order to get something of the affection which the exciting soccer matches and the German national team are currently enjoying. Opinion polls have even revealed a slight “joyousness” bonus for the government. It is no coincidence that in the midst of the World Cup, the biggest tax increase in the history of the Federal Republic has been rushed through the Federal Council and that a draft bill for the reform of the health care system will be completed even before the summer recess.

Those in rule are using the World Cup for pushing through their anti-people policy in its lee, in the hope that it will not get so much attention. This may be successful to a small extent, but has only a short-lived effect, just like a World Cup.

At the beginning of its term of office, the Merkel-Müntefering government enjoyed an amazingly good reputation. This has actually decreased as a whole, but Mrs. Merkel is still sitting relatively firmly in the saddle.

Stefan Engel: The grand coalition under Merkel/Müntefering started very cautiously in order to calm people down and to stabilize the political situation. In fact, with the “policy of small steps” and pro-Merkel media reports, they succeeded in overcoming the open political crisis that lasted from May 2005 to November 2005. The polls even showed a sharp rise in the popular approval rating of the government in November/December. Merkel was even attested the highest popularity when she came to power, compared with all heads of government up to now. However, it was an exaggeration when the media misinterpreted this as a general gain in confidence in the government.

The tide already began to turn again in the spring. The results of the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg showed that the process of the destabilization of social conditions could be stopped temporarily, but not be fundamentally reversed. The abstentions in the elections, which were partly at an all-time high, actually revealed a continuing process of the masses detaching themselves from the bourgeois parties, bourgeois parliamentary thinking and parliamentary institutions. The erosion of the social mass basis undermines the democratic façade of the dictatorship of the monopolies. Since the grand coalition is transforming its policy from that of “small steps” into one of “big cruelties”, its popularity has rapidly declined in the polls. According to Forsa polls, the CDU/CSU would presently receive 34 percent compared to 35.17 percent in the national elections, and the SPD would get a mere 29 percent compared to 34.25 percent in the national elections. This basic tendency may perhaps be covered up temporarily by the World Cup, but it cannot be reversed. This is an important background for the growing quarrels within the government.

Can the government benefit from the economic development?

Stefan Engel: Yes and no. On the one hand, we are presently experiencing a relative economic revival. At the end of 2004, industrial production could again reach the level it had before the outbreak of the worldwide economic crisis in 2001 and it has been slightly increasing in tendency since then. Since the 2nd quarter of 2005, the GDP has also continuously increased, however at very modest rates. This slight increase, however, is still mainly on the drip of the ongoing growth of the world economy. Thus exports increased by 14.2 percent from January to March 2006, compared to the first quarter of the previous year. These gains in export are in total contradiction to the propaganda of the employers, according to which the “much too high wages” of the workers are supposedly the fundamental problem of the economic development. The employers make no secret of the fact that the export growth is actually the effect of the increased exploitation in the enterprises, along with the resulting price advantage in international competition.

A permanent upswing is out of the question, even if the federal government is constantly maintaining this in its debates on the budget. This talk about an upswing is designed to keep the masses quiet, while the government takes more money out of their pockets. In the consumer goods sector, domestic demand, as well as the corresponding investments, are still on a low level. In the 4th quarter of 2005, real consumer expenditure declined by 0.6 percent, caused by the continually growing cuts of full-time jobs, as well as the low or stagnating wages. The World Cup could not counteract these effects despite all propaganda.

In May, the Merkel-Müntefering government celebrated the slight decline in the official unemployment figures to a new “low” of 4.53 million. What a macabre scenario! The number of permanent employees paying contributions to the social insurance system has further declined, and the number of employees who cannot live on their wages has risen to 6.7 million. The tendency towards a chronic impoverishment of a growing part of the working class is obvious. The unemployment figures are manipulated considerably through the one-euro jobs.

We have to be critical about the future economic development and not let ourselves be impressed by temporary economic fluctuations.

At the moment we are experiencing a new wave of mergers and takeovers. The number of worldwide mergers and takeovers of 5,801 with a sum of 859 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2006 is the highest figure since the first quarter of 2000. Among the ten largest (announced) mergers and takeovers, there are four German corporations with Bayer/Schering, E.on/Endesa, Linde/BOC, Siemens/Nokia (sections of the mobile phone technology). However, there are actually some indications of a very unstable economic situation. There is a general unsteady climate which presently leads to sharp stock price fluctuations in connection with the development of the oil price and the fear of an inflationary development in the USA. The DAX (German share index) increased two and a half times with 6,120 points, compared the low in October 2002, but fell recently within three weeks to less than 5,300 points. The investors, insecure as a result of the extreme breakdown during the worldwide economic crisis from 2001 to 2003, have become cautious. Of course, such short-term price fluctuations on the stock markets should not be overestimated. They are caused by the speculation of the investors and overdraw the actual economic trends. However, they aggravate the problems of the monopolies in their search for possibilities to expand their capital. US corporations have had high cash reserves for a long time (Exxon 31.9 billion dollars, Microsoft 34.8 billion dollars, Berkshire Hathaway 43 billion dollars, etc.). The 30 monopolies alone that are quoted on the DAX declare that they have 210 billion dollars of ready capital on reserve. This is surplus capital that presently cannot be invested in such a way that it yields maximum profit. The dimensions of this huge amount of capital show the economic pressure that is exerted on the capitalist economy and is seeking a solution. The last wave of mergers at the beginning of the millennium already resulted in a disastrous worldwide economic crisis. Today the new wave of mergers and takeovers also aggravates the structural crisis on the basis of the reorganization of the international production. The new rise in the number of mergers and takeovers will cause a new world economic crisis in the foreseeable future, which will profoundly destabilize the social structures.

A while ago you spoke of a beginning transition to the working class offensive in connection with the strike at Opel. How has this development continued? Could it be held up by the government of the grand coalition?

Stefan Engel: The seven-day strike at Opel (GM) in October 2004 set the signal for the working class offensive. Admittedly, no single struggle in the recent past had the significance that the Opel strike at Bochum had. At the same time, important new elements and tendencies of development are appearing that promote the transition to the working class offensive. In the first months of this year, for example, we experienced a militant wave of trade-union strikes and demonstrations. In the first four months of 2006 alone, nearly 1.8 million people participated in the trade-union struggles of Ver.di (trade union of service employees) and Metall (metal trade union). That is more than three times the number in 2005 and about the same number as in the entire year of 1993, when the trade union struggles reached their highest peak since reunification. The struggles in the health sector organized by the trade union Ver.di developed to become the longest strike in the public sector in German history. More than 200,000 employees in the health care services waged a hard struggle which lasted for months against the extension of working hours and for higher wages. Centers of these strikes were big university hospitals which developed various forms of struggle: strikes, vigils, solidarity tents, demonstrations, solidarity activities, clever media work etc. The fighting spirit was especially pronounced at those public institutions where privatizations are planned. With the introduction of flat rates, cost-benefit analyses and many others things, a large proportion of the employees in health services has today become part of the industrial proletariat. With these strikes they have become this in a political sense, too.

About 800,000 people participated in the warning strikes in the metal industry, which means an increase of about 60 percent compared to the year 2005. This is remarkable because, at that time, there was a great fighting spirit when the monopolies were forced to back off from their test of power with the working class for the reintroduction of the 40-hour working week.

At least eight independent strikes also took place since October 2005, among them strikes at DaimlerChrysler in Bremen, at HSP in Dortmund, Voith in Heidenheim, TKPS in Duesseldorf, Philips in Aachen, ACC in Oldenburg, Panasonic in Esslingen, CNH in Berlin.

The increase in corporate-wide struggles and struggles involving entire industrial sectors is significant for the future. The strike at the AEG plant in Nuremberg that lasted for 43 days against the intended closure attracted attention far beyond the German borders. It was preceded by independent actions and was combined with two European days of action in the Electrolux corporation. On 12 July 2005, 8,000 workers went on strike in Nuremberg, Italy, Spain and France. On 21 October 2005, 25,000 employees from seven European countries went on strike and demonstrated in combination with independent militant actions. I also want to remind you of the fact that under the pressure of the resolute cross-border strikes and demonstrations of the dock-workers on 18 January 2006, the EU parliament had to reject Portpackage II. This struggle of the European dock-workers was the most advanced internationally coordinated workers’ struggle up to now. It was a political strike against the EU as an instrument of the international monopolies. It was internationally coordinated at the European-wide level. It turned the trade unions into fighting organizations when these abandoned their policy of preserving particular locations of production in favor of the common struggle. It also contained an important signal for the protests against the Bolkestein directive. 150,000 workers and salaried employees from all over Europe struggled against the introduction of dumping wages and the intensification of competition among the workers, although the actions were split and to some extent really disorganized by the right-wing trade union leadership.

A distinctive feature is also the fact that the perseverance and severity of the strikes increased significantly last year. At the catering monopoly Gate Gourmet, for example, a strike took place that lasted for six months combined with blockades at the airport of Duesseldorf. At Panasonic in Esslingen, too, a vigil has been taking place for more than 100 days, combined with strikes and protest actions. It is striking that street blockades as a form of struggle have more and more become part of the culture of demonstrations and strikes. This is important for combining the economic struggle with the political struggle or turning it into the political struggle, which is the core of revolutionary tactics.

The working class offensive is developing and also involving non-proletarian strata in the struggle against the government. I remind you of the strike of the doctors, the environmental activities on the occasion of the anniversary of Chernobyl, radicalized university protests or protests within the state apparatus, especially among policemen. These give the struggle the necessary breadth that every force of societal change needs.

The transition to the working class offensive always has something to do with the opening of the core of the working class for socialism. To what extent is the labor movement opening for socialism?

Stefan Engel: Without the decisive majority of the working class opening itself for genuine socialism, the transition to the working class offensive on a broad front is out of the question. Openness to socialism is the ideological heart of the transition to the working class offensive. Particularly in this question there are some remarkable developments.

At this year’s elections for the works council, class militant colleagues, among them a number of members of our party, could multiply their mandates. That is the clearest reflection of the fact that modern anticommunism is losing its effect under an increasing mass of workers and that confidence in the MLPD has further strengthened. Apprehensively, Dietmar Hexel, DGB federal executive board member for the field “codetermination”, had warned publicly at the beginning of the year, that he had great concern, that “more radical groups would be elected at the works council elections and that they could have a say in the union”. Corresponding to this central counter-directive, these election gains frequently had to overcome massive anticommunist agitation by different reformist trade union bureaucrats, some of whom even warned in their leaflets against “communists”.

In August 2005, the bourgeois public opinion poll institutes were already startled. You could read the following in the news magazine Spiegel on 20 August 2005: “Polls show a strong echo for left theses in Germany.” 50 percent in the West and 73 percent of the East German population believe that Karl Marx’ criticism of capitalism “is still meaningful today”. At the end of November, the “German Bank Association” dedicated an entire meeting to the changes in public opinion on the fundamental lie of the “social market economy”. While in November 2000, only 28 percent of the persons interviewed were dissatisfied with the alleged “democracy in Germany”, it was already 51 percent in November 2005. Those are, of course, extremely alarming developments from the point of view of the ruling class and that after decades of darkest anticommunist opinion making.

The ruling class is in a conflict on how to deal with the rising influence of the MLPD and the militant class opposition. So on the one hand, concessions are made in the attempt to keep the influence of the MLPD in check. On the other hand, openly political or politically motivated dismissals and other reprisals against Marxists-Leninists and other militant colleagues have clearly increased since the end of 2004. Therefore, since December 2005 alone, there were at least 11 political dismissals, and some of those dismissed were explicitly reproached for a political proximity to the MLPD. Such attacks are an expression of a panic reaction. That must be countered in an offensive way, on the one hand to bring about their downfall and, on the other hand, to expose the farce of bourgeois democracy.

It was exactly right that we have been organizing a tactical offensive for genuine socialism since May 2005. The propaganda for genuine socialism must remain the red thread of party work in the future, too. By that, I do not only mean a certain content, Rote Fahne articles and so forth, but also the entire way in which we present ourselves.

A few weeks ago, the 5th CC plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the MLPD also took place and apparently came to a kind of interim evaluation of the party development and leadership work since the 7th Party Congress. To which result did the CC come?

Stefan Engel: We were able to make an extraordinarily positive evaluation. The 7th Party Congress had given the party the task of lastingly breaking through the relative political isolation imposed by the ruling class against the MLPD. We succeeded in that in different fields. The MLPD is increasingly succeeding in mastering and extending its new role in society in a sovereign way.

Party membership has increased by about 30 percent since the 7th Party Congress, whereas this growth was about twice as high in the new federal states as in the western ones. However, there are even many reserves which were still not really exhausted.

Financially we were also able to achieve excellent results. Our donation campaign for the financing of the offensive for genuine socialism, for which we had set a goal of 550,000 euros - the highest donation goal in the history of the MLPD - was even surpassed with 560,000 euros. And that, although for the first time, we consciously did not include the big donations in the running donation campaign, as was partly the case in former donation campaigns. A total of more than 3 million euros were donated for the MLPD since the beginning of last year. That has never happened since the MLPD was founded and, in addition to defraying our expenses, is, of course, an excellent reserve for the future activities of the party. And here, once again, on behalf of the CC , thank you for all the donations!

At the same time, the rapid growth of the party also brings many and diverse new tasks in factories and trade unions, in the neighborhood work, in municipal politics and with those, a greater need for concrete and all-round guidance and control and training, etc. It is simply a fact that the CC alone can no longer satisfactorily achieve this concrete immediate instruction and control due to the rapid growth of the party with its existing structure.

Therefore the Central Committee dealt with the question of how this problem can be solved.

What were most important conclusions that you drew?

Stefan Engel: The focus of attention was the decision to reorganize the party into seven Land branches and 50 counties until the 8th Party Congress. It is the biggest organizational restructuring in the history of the MLPD, which is accompanied by comprehensive changes in the cadre structure of the party. Many hundreds of new comrades have to be trained to perform the various new functions at a group, local, county, Land or central level. For this reason, this reorganization of the party is primarily an offensive for engaging, training and promoting new cadres to fulfill the future tasks of the party in class struggle. Every comrade should think about which place he/she wants to occupy in the future tasks, which self-transformation and which qualification he/she will need for that. With the reorganization into Land branches and counties, we intend to intensify guidance, control and training and interpenetrate them more closely with the concrete problems of the local branches in the factories and trade unions, in the work among women, in the work in residential areas and in youth work. This is the only way we can meet the rapidly growing demands, strengthen and further develop the necessary inner stability which the party has acquired during the past years.

After the 7th Party Congress an Extraordinary Party Congress took place. What were the issues there? The Office for the Protection of the Constitution maintains in its latest report that a big “wave of purges” had taken place there.

Stefan Engel: This first Extraordinary Party Congress was an inspiring and unprecedented event in the party history of the MLPD. It was living proof that the MLPD is serious about its claim to be a party of a new type. The stories of the “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” are a primitive and transparent smear campaign of the secret service, which has no interest at all in reporting objectively about the MLPD. The Extraordinary Party Congress was a continuation of the 7th Party Congress, where various problems in the control work could not be settled conclusively. The CC and CCC (Central Control Commission) had conducted a general investigation together in which they found grave violations against the guiding principles of the control commissions and against the correct treatment of contradictions in the control activity. The organization was involved in the general investigation and many mistakes could be completely cleared up.

It was an impressive discussion, which at no time assumed antagonistic features despite the great problems and which could be mastered by means of an excellent culture of debate. A re-election of the CCC took place at the Extraordinary Party Congress to ensure the conduct of the future work; but nobody was “purged from his function” as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution suspects. On the contrary, the Extraordinary Party Congress showed that we are able to solve the most complicated problems by means of criticism and self-criticism and it also set new standards for the proletarian culture of debate in the party and in the Marxist-Leninist movement. We want to evaluate this more thoroughly and even deal with this in the next number of the theoretical organ.

The most important result of this general investigation of the Extraordinary Party Congress is the fact that we have gained a new and deeper understanding of the system of self-control of the party.

Up to now, the Rote Fahne has not reported on the Extraordinary Party Congress!?

Stefan Engel: This is correct. We wanted to discuss the results of this party congress thoroughly in the entire organization first before having a debate on it on which really only those people can comment who were involved in the inner-party debate. The results of the Extraordinary Party Congress also show the excellent basis on which the party could successfully master the offensive of genuine socialism in connection with the national elections. I remind you in what short period of time the party could be unified in this task and with what a great success we were able to fulfill it. This would never have been possible if there had been inner disunity because of a so-called “wave of purges” as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is assuming. There is great unity among the members of our party, enthusiasm, pride in their party, growing self confidence, conviction in our ideological-political line and a great spirit of optimism for coping with the future tasks.

What political perspective do you see for the development of the class struggle in Germany and in Europe?

Stefan Engel: I have already gone into the important struggles of the dockers against the Bolkestein directive. However, there are further important developments which should not be underestimated. The class struggles in France were an important signal for the workers of all EU countries, because the laws which were brought down by the broad masses together with the working class in France are being planned everywhere, partly in even harsher form. Fight like in France - has become a really European slogan. In Italy we experienced an impressive dispute which resulted in the anticommunist Berlusconi being defeated and voted out of office. This could not be taken for granted because the media tsar Berlusconi controls not only the private media, but also public radio and TV. With his aggressive anticommunist smear campaign he was not successful in preventing people from voting for the opposition and presenting him with an election defeat. This is an important victory against anticommunism, indicating a growing change of direction towards socialism. It is of great importance for the working class in Europe to adopt these experiences made in France and Italy, but also in Germany. We have drawn the conclusion that it is urgently necessary to undertake steps to better coordinate, discuss and come to agreements on the class struggle in the European countries and to better combine the interaction between the class struggle and party building in the individual European countries with each other. In this sense, the MLPD wants to meet with other Marxist-Leninist parties in Europe in the coming time and to make appropriate suggestions.

Does the MLPD already have an idea how such a coordination and revolutionization of class struggle between the single countries of Europe could be organized?

Stefan Engel: Of course, the MLPD has proposals, but it is very important that the proposals of all participants be presented and that they come to a systematic form of cooperation which takes the situation of party building and class struggle in the single countries into consideration on the one hand and, on the other hand, also puts the most progressive elements of party building and class struggle in Europe to practical use for the working class in all countries in Europe. This requires a discussion process on an equal footing, which in my opinion must be followed by clear organizational forms as a framework for such a coordination. In any case, it simply won’t do that the international monopolies have created a common organ with the EU to exercise their class rule, while the working class is still facing these attacks divided and uncoordinated and takes isolated action against the effects of this EU policy. We must be careful that we are not overrun by these objective conditions.

Three years have past since the book “Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’” was published. Was it possible to develop the intended discussion on the new imperialist developments?

Stefan Engel: In March 2003, our book presented a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the reorganization of international production, which has prevailed since the 1990s. We proved that the now dominating mode of production of international finance capital has led to the fact that the fundamental contradiction of capitalism between the socialization of production and private appropriation has reached the point where a new phase in the development of imperialism has begun. The material prerequisites for a society without exploitation of man by man have been perfected through the internationalization of social production and distribution on a worldwide scale. Characteristic is a new contradiction gaping like an open wound that cannot be healed - the internationalized forces of production are rebelling against the national-state organization of the capitalist relations of production.

This analysis has proven to be completely true and we were able to exert systematic influence with this book on the growing public debate over the ability of the capitalist societal system to function.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in North-Rhine Westphalia has found out that “under the premise of the Marxist theoretical approach, three books have lately met with unusual response. Among those are Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’.” There we are - the Office for the Protection of the Constitution does know more than it always pretends!

In the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement, the book also meets with great response. It has already appeared in English, French and Spanish and is being discussed intensively and distributed by various revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist organizations. Preparations are now being made for the publication in Turkish, Greek, Russian and Persian.

When the book first appeared it was announced that a second book would follow, which would deal in particular with the conclusions for the strategy and tactics in class struggle and in the preparation of the international revolution. How is this work progressing?

Stefan Engel: In the meantime, an extensive and detailed outline, an analysis and work schedule, a draft of the introduction and the first chapters have been worked out. We especially have given thorough thought to the central thread which informs the structure of the book, and we already have a clear concept.

In the preparatory work we found out, or found confirmed, that all classical writers from Marx to Mao Zedong had the strategy and tactics of the international revolution as a guideline and that they applied this to the respective situation for preparing the revolution in the individual countries. This is, of course, a blow to all dogmatists who consider the international revolution to be an invention of the MLPD.

The object of our observations is the worldwide struggle against imperialism and the struggle for the united socialist states of the world. Of course, this also includes the tasks which the working class must solve in the individual countries. This cannot be deduced from the analysis of the class relations and the class struggle in the individual countries and nations alone, even if they remain the most important starting point. This analysis must relate especially to the development of the new elements in the international class struggle, which have emerged more and more since the reorganization of international production and which will continue to develop.
The trip to Latin America last autumn stimulated this work very much and brought extremely valuable insights. We have begun with a series of events entitled “Internationalism live” as a form of the evaluation of this trip and also as a contribution to the work on this new book. These evenings, which we have conducted up till now on Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, France, the Philippines and on the struggle against fascism, have met with great interest from the very beginning and were each attended by 200 to 400 people.

A new upswing in the struggle for socialism can only take place on the basis of a new spirit of proletarian internationalism in the international Marxist-Leninist and working class movement.

That means that the new book will develop out of the discussion and cooperation of the Marxist-Leninists in the entire world, as well as out of the lively public debate on this topic in Germany.

We have heard that the CC has appointed a historical commission in the meantime. What connection is there to the tasks of theoretical work?

Stefan Engel: Within the framework of the editorial staff REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG, we have recently appointed an historical commission that has two tasks. The first is to conduct specific studies on the history of the international Marxist-Leninist and working class movement for the theoretical work and, secondly, to continue writing the history of the MLPD. The History of the MLPD ends with the founding of the party in 1982. Since then 24 years have passed. As for the studies on the international Marxist-Leninist and working class movement, we have a special obligation to evaluate certain experiences of the old communist movement which are of importance for preparing the international revolution. This, for example, applies to the various organizational forms of the Communist International, the positive as well as the negative experiences made and the conclusions that we must draw today. However, this also applies to the question of dealing correctly with contradictions in socialism, an issue in which a number of questions still have not been clarified. With the temporary opening of the archives of the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, a number of documents became public which allow us to clarify certain open issues in the class struggle in socialism in the Soviet Union of the 1930s. We will do this very carefully without jumping to conclusions. The historical commission is therefore a new and important field of tasks of the Central Committee in determining and further developing the ideological-political line of the party.

What is the MLPD concentrating on currently and in the coming time?

Stefan Engel: At the moment, our factory and trade union work is at the center of attention of the entire party. The MLPD has always had its main line of struggle here and it is here where we also have our strongest trump cards and bastions. At the center is the purposeful building of factory groups which must be supported by the entire party and its youth league. This is presently the most important way to prepare for the working class struggles to come.

We also support the preparations for the international Automobile Workers Counsel, which is organized on an ueberparteilich (non-party affiliated) basis and will take place in May 2007. We expect that it will give great impetus to the international coordination of the class struggle of the automotive workers. We will do our best to insure that the international aspect, with the respective contributions, guests, etc, really is the focus of this Automobile Workers Counsel. On 16 September we are participating again in the 3rd March of the nationwide Monday demonstration movement against the government in Berlin.

After the summer vacation we will intensify our political work among women. It is important that the militant women’s movement stimulates the militant opposition and vice versa. In particular, it must also oppose petty-bourgeois feminism more resolutely, because it undermines the women’s movement, paralyses its initiatives and disorganizes its work. After “lobbyism” and “gender mainstreaming” have failed, it spreads a mood of defeat and decline of the women’s movement. This shoe doesn’t fit the militant women’s movement! For years it has justifiably criticized the institutionalization and integration of the women’s movement in the state structures! On the contrary, the continuing crisis of the bourgeois family order and the accompanying intensification of the double exploitation and oppression urgently require an upswing in the international militant women’s movement.

This year’s Women’s Political Counsel will surely be a top event of the militant women’s movement and is getting the strong support of our female and male comrades. It hopefully will have a special note, as in 2004, in its contribution to the coordination of the international women’s movement. We hope that it will further widen its spectrum.

At the beginning of next year, we want to place Marxist-Leninist youth work in the center of our work. We have an intact youth league in Germany and a special attraction among young people. At the same time, we must realize that the further development of our youth work to real mass tactics in party building remains an unsolved problem of party work. At the same time, we have an excellent line on youth policy with which the entire party will deal with intensively in this connection. We will evaluate the work and try out new ways. We especially have to comprehend that the struggle over the mode of thinking among the youth which is being waged can only be solved positively by means of a daily mass school of the proletarian mode of thinking. This is primarily the responsibility of the party at all levels. The International Whitsun Youth Meeting 2007 will certainly be a climax in this connection.

Last week an interview with you appeared in the newspaper “jungle world”, which expressly refers to the 25th anniversary of the founding of the party on 20 June 1982. Are party activities being planned for the 25th anniversary in the year 2007?

Stefan Engel: The 7th Party Congress already decided that the 25th anniversary of the founding of the party will be celebrated in a big way. Of course, this is an occasion to launch special activities and events! They will undoubtedly make the MLPD better known among the broad masses of people and bring many new people into closer contact with the party. Plans up till now are to conduct a smaller celebration on 20 June 2007, the actual day of the founding, and a central three-day event at the beginning of August. This shall have two parts: first of all, a broad discussion on the effects of the reorganization of international production upon the broad masses and the struggle against them. On the third day, a large central event shall take place in the Ruhr area, where the party presents itself in its many facets and where we will let this important period pass review. Furthermore, all activities in 2007 will be in special connection with the 25th anniversary of the MLPD and surely a number of local events and discussion rounds will be organized, too.

As you see, our program for the next 15 months is very compact. We have a lot to do! But the thirst for action and the energy of the members of MLPD and Rebell, the expectations of the masses actually oblige us to develop such fireworks of party work. I wish us all close and constructive cooperation and great success!

 

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