“You will make steam for the dismantling of the welfare state” (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

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Increasingly important: solidarity and “indivisibility”. Demonstration against exclusion and racism (Leipzig, July 6th, 2019)

In 2019 it has a party with the AfD gain many votes that stands for inequality and division. How do you rate the further development?

Many in the AfD stand above all for the ideology of people’s inequality. This is the first party in German parliaments since the end of Nazi rule that at least allows this. Racism, however, must never be socially acceptable and talk show-capable. But successes like the AfD had in Brandenburg, Thuringia or Saxony will no longer be so easy for her in the future.

In the Bundestag, but above all on the street – for example with the “indivisible” movement – many forces have been pooled that advocate an open, diverse, tolerant and solidary Federal Republic.

Alliance 90 / The Greens also emerged strengthened from last year. Is the party that once supported “Agenda 2010” a reliable force in the fight for social justice today?

At that time there were extreme tensions between the parity and all parliamentary groups in the Bundestag regarding the introduction of Hartz IV and agenda politics. The decisions and the actions of the Greens now show that it is changing from an ecological party to a social-green one. Co-chair Robert Habeck’s demand that Hartz IV be overcome is the right approach.

This Saturday you take part in a panel discussion as part of the XXV. International Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin. One of the topics of the conference is the »struggle for the future«. What battles are we facing?

We will experience a distribution struggle that we have probably never seen in Germany since Hartz IV. Because in this decade, so-called baby boomers will leave the world of work with millions of people. All of this has to be financed and the social systems will come under severe pressure. We cannot avoid fundamental reforms and redistribution.

The capital side and their political representatives should be fully aware of this.

And that’s why the neoliberal side will do tremendous steam for the opposite. Namely further cuts in the welfare state. In the end, it will always depend on which side prevails.

Which social groups will it hit first?

Initially, these will be pensioners. You will want to increase the entry age again. It is as safe as amen in the church. But the pressure on chronically ill patients will also increase. Because with the high number of new pension recipients, the health systems will also be more challenged. The discussions about rationing in supply will all come back. Ultimately, it will also hit low wage earners particularly hard. But how these fights will end is far from over. Everyone who cares about this welfare state is now called on to work together much more intensely than before.

It has long been warned of poverty in old age and of the climate catastrophe. However, only one of the two topics has recently kept the general public busy. How do you explain that?

First of all, politics doesn’t plan very far. Ecology and climate would still not be an issue if we didn’t feel the changes. It is no different with old-age poverty. Here too, it is appeased and the problem is reduced. In the end, an ambitious climate policy will also have to be socially just. Because with the climate crisis, there will be bad distribution struggles: who will have to restrict himself? Who will have to pay the costs?

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