Step by step, the German SPD is abandoning all principles of peace policy

km. One thing first: It is not true that the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) abandoned its peace policy course only after 24 February 2022. Deviations from the peace policy course – which is actually a party principle – characterise the entire history of German social democracy: approval of the war credits in 1914, acceptance of German rearmament and NATO membership at the latest with the “Godesberg Programme” of 1959, active participation in the Kosovo war in 1999, which was contrary to international law, and the many speeches by prominent social democrats about “German responsibility” in recent years, to name just a few key words, have shown this.
  Since 24 February 2022, this party course has been radicalised by the party leadership. The hopes that the German SPD – 50 years after Willy Brandt – could once again set new peace policy accents and make a contribution to ending the war in Ukraine have not been fulfilled. On the contrary, 22 June 2022 will go down as another date in the series of denials of formerly important party principles. Since then, the federal government and the chancellor have been openly boasting about their arms deliveries to Ukraine in a five-page communication and list.1 On the same day, the chairman of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, gives a keynote speech at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation – that is the political foundation of the SPD – in which he takes up the talk of the “turning point”, breaks quite openly with previous SPD policy, speaks out in favour of a militarisation of politics and declares Germany to be the leading power in Europe (“Germany must pursue the claim of being a leading power”).2 Just as a side note: Klingbeil introduced his speech with a quote from the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci.
  With this course, the SPD is not alone in the German party landscape. Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, FDP, CDU and CSU – which together with the SPD occupy almost 85 % of the seats in the German Federal Parliament – are in some cases even cruder bellicists.
  The German population, on the other hand, sees it differently. On 15 June 2022, the European Council on Foreign Relations – with its transatlantic orientation – published the results of a survey of nine EU countries plus Great Britain. Their newspeak is already clear in the title: “Peace versus Justice: The coming European split over the war in Ukraine”.3 The study persuades a contradiction of “peace” and “justice”; for “just”, according to this study, are those who are in favour of any support for the Ukrainian government, including, of course, arms deliveries, until the final victory. In contrast, those who want to end the war in Ukraine as quickly as possible, even at the cost of Ukrainian territorial cessions to Russia or the Russian sphere of influence, are supposed to be “peaceful”. Be that as it may, according to the survey, only 22 % of respondents in all countries belong to the “Justice camp”, but 35 % to the “Peace camp”. 43 % of respondents are undecided or could not be assigned. The figures vary greatly in the countries surveyed. Respondents in Poland, the UK and Finland have the least “desire for peace” – the most “desire for peace” is in Italy (52 %), Germany (49 %) and Romania (42 %). The openly “belligerent” are in a clear minority in these three countries: Italy only 16 %, Germany only 19 % and Romania only 23 %. The Council is very concerned about this.
  49 % of Germans are in favour of ending the war as soon as possible and only 19 % are in favour of continuing the war – and this despite a propaganda campaign for the war that has been going on for months now. That is remarkable. But obviously most German parties are ignoring this, more and more also the German SPD.  •


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