The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) will once again be represented by a strong faction in the student parliament of Berlin’s Humboldt University (HU). With an election result of 5.4 percent, all three IYSSE candidates succeeded in entering the student parliament (StuPa) on Tuesday. The IYSSE university group was thus able to double its share of the vote compared to last year and will be represented in the Humboldt University StuPa for the eighth time in a row.
“Our electoral success is of utmost significance,” IYSSE candidate Gregor Kahl, who will lead the group’s work, told the World Socialist Web Site. “Despite the unprecedented rearmament of the German armed forces and the concrete danger that the war in Ukraine will escalate into a nuclear war between the NATO powers and Russia, we were the only slate that made the fight against militarism and war the central theme of its election campaign.”
The IYSSE campaigned intensively throughout Berlin and on social media to show that Humboldt University was playing an important role in the return of German militarism. This campaign struck a chord among students and young people, who are increasingly looking for a way to fight against escalating war policies and unprecedented social attacks.
An open letter from IYSSE StuPa representative Sven Wurm to the university’s presidium castigating the university administration’s continued support for right-wing radical professor Jörg Baberowski found a particular resonance. Dozens of students told IYSSE supporters and members they strongly criticized Baberowski’s trivialization of Nazi crimes and vehemently condemned the right-wing attacks on critical students.
The campaign culminated in two important online events. While the first addressed the background of the Ukraine war and outlined a socialist perspective against the war for the international working class, the second meeting shed light on the reactionary role of HU professors Herfried Münkler and Jörg Baberowski.
Some years ago, Münkler had already declared that Germany had to become Europe’s “taskmaster” and should not take into account value-oriented “milquetoasts.” In his work, his colleague Baberowski systematically trivializes the crimes of the Nazi dictatorship, diminishes the role of Hitler, and to this day abuses his academic position to network with radical right-wing ideologues.
“The viewpoints of Münkler and Baberowski now form the basis of German government policy,” said Gregor Kahl. “The German military is gearing up for World War III and marching all over Eastern Europe. While relativizing the Holocaust is becoming socially acceptable in the media and bourgeois politics, 100 billion euros are to be squeezed out of working people in the midst of the pandemic and invested in armaments and war.”
The IYSSE slate was able to hold its own against the university organizations of Germany’s ruling parties, which have an extensive apparatus and considerable resources at their disposal. In absolute terms, the IYSSE faction is only one place behind the Left Party’s slate.
“Our strong result is also an expression of the growing support for a socialist and internationalist perspective among students and young people,” Kahl concluded in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site.
“We will use our renewed entry into the student parliament to intensify and expand the struggle against militarist ideology and the falsification of history at HU. The pro-war policy of the ruling class must be answered with a movement of the working class in Germany, Europe, and the whole world. We will orient students towards this anti-war movement, which is already emerging among workers and youth all over the world.
“There must also be a response to our open letter. The first Nazi book burnings took place here at this university and Heinrich Himmler’s General Plan East was developed here. We will not allow history to repeat itself. On behalf of the IYSSE faction, I sincerely thank all the students who voted for us. Join the struggle for socialism, actively support the work of the IYSSE and become a member.”