Grass Roots Support for German Military

BERLIN, GERMANY - The leadership of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) is promoting the adoption of the German government's military doctrine by the trade unions. The most recent expression of this development is the DGB's scheduled "Peace and Security Policy Workshop," to be held in Berlin next week.

Invited speakers will almost exclusively be supporters of the German government's military policy, including a representative of the "Military Technology and Jobs Working Group," functioning under the auspices of the presidium of the Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall). In the past, this caucus has repeatedly issued calls for the reorientation of the Bundeswehr into a global intervention army and supported the expansion of German arms exports. Employees of official military policy advisory bodies are also on the list of speakers.

Strong protest against the event has developed. Critics are openly calling this a "slap in the face of the peace and anti-war movement." Michael Sommer, Chair of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB), has invited the members of his organization to a "Peace and Security Policy Workshop" to be held next Wednesday in Berlin, with the intention of "discussing the trade unions' relationship to the military," as Sommer writes in the announcement of the event. The focus will not be on the Bundeswehr's past and current combat operations, which are euphemistically dubbed "international missions."

Even the choice of speakers, to lead the discussion, indicate an unambiguous commitment to the militarization of German foreign policy. Almost all of the speakers support the German government's military policy. Already last February, the DGB leadership had met with the German Minister of Defense, Thomas de Maizière (CDU). This was linked to the announcement of intentions to draw up "a joint declaration" on the Bundeswehr and the trade union's "shared values." It appears that now the ideological foundation must be laid.

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