Berlin Rally Kicks Off the New Peace Movement
In spite of massive attacks and slanders in the media and by established political leaders (including in the Linke party), the “Uprising for Peace” rally at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Feb. 25 saw a turnout of some 50,000 – the biggest such rally since the high time of the “peace movement” in the early 1980s. The approach taken by Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer, the organizers of the rally, for a pro-peace campaign transcending party boundaries resonates with the views of a substantial part of the population. Antiwar rallies held in other German cities, which did not take this approach, were much smaller.
The prelude to the Berlin rally was the Wagenknecht-Schwarzer “manifesto for peace” published two weeks before, which has been signed by over 700,000 so far (cf. SAS 07/23). It was also preceded by the unexpected participation of some 20,000 at the protest rally in front of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 18.
As for the “hysterical yelling” coming from the NATO-aligned media and parties, Sahra Wagenknecht pointed out in Berlin that it was driven by fears that the movement against war will grow. This rally is only the kick-off to a return of a mass movement for peace, she announced, because the people do not support the policy of this government – in particular of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who “acts like an elephant in a China shop” and even declared war on Russia. Moreover, all references to Baerbock from the speakers, and to the “Green weapons fanatics” set off a wave of jeers and boos by the rally participants.
Very important is that Wagenknecht demolished the pervasive propaganda about the “freedom-loving”, heroic fighters in Ukraine by denouncing the neo-nazi extremist elements that NATO is using in the war, and who have had the support of former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany and current Deputy Foreign Minister, Andriy Melnyk.
On the eve of the Berlin rally, Sahra Wagenknecht had endorsed the peace initiatives by Brazil, China and the Vatican as orientation points for the German government, which should support such moves rather than delivering weapons to Ukraine and fantasizing about inflicting total defeat and economic ruin on Russia.
The danger that weapons deliveries to Ukraine will lead to an escalation to a nuclear confrontation between the West/NATO and Russia was addressed by all speakers in Berlin, notably by Brig-Gen. (ret) Erich Vad, a former military advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In many interviews over the recent months, he has stressed that there is no replacement for diplomacy. The current German government’s approach, the General warned in Berlin, would turn all of Europe into a battlefield, wih a human toll and destruction far beyond what is now happening in Ukraine. This is the first time in decades that a former senior military officer has spoken at such a protest rally.
Whereas the unprincipled leadership of the Left party continued to attack Wagenknecht for allegedly providing a platform to right-wingers, she was backed by leading Linke politician Amira Mohamed Ali, the parliamentary group leader of the party in the Bundestag, who spoke of a “peaceful demonstration with an overwhelming number of participants”. In addition, many of the rank-and-file of the party support the initiative. As for the Greens, the leadership has become the most gung-ho on war and “mainstream” of any party but, as both Schwarzer and Wagenknecht indicated at the rally, more and more of their supporters are turning away in disgust.