Der Funke National Congress 2023: a milestone for revolutionary Marxism in Germany

In stormy times, correct orientation is necessary. This is exactly the function that the annual national congress of Der Funke, the German section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), serves for the local groups of the IMT all over Germany. More than 100 comrades took part in the highest body of the German section of the IMT in Berlin from 24 to 26 March. The focus was on two documents that were discussed and adopted: “German Perspectives”, our analysis of the forthcoming convulsions and class struggles in Germany; and “Building the Organisation”, i.e. the concrete tasks arising from the perspectives for our tendency.

The congress opened on Friday evening with a commemoration of the founder of Der Funke, Hans-Gerd Öfinger, who died two years ago. Emotional speeches recalled this passionate fighter for socialism, who laid the foundations for the German section of the IMT with a handful of comrades in the 1990s. His pioneering work was reflected at the national congress, not only in the size of the organisation as it is today, but also in the quality of the discussions and in the passion of the comrades.

The global crisis of capitalism

A world perspectives discussion formed the starting point for the debates of the weekend. Globally, capitalism is in an organic crisis. Intensified by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imperialist war in Ukraine, this is leading to a move away from globalisation towards increasing economic protectionism.

But for the ruling classes worldwide, there is no way out of the crisis, as the example of the Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse bankruptcies make clear. Businesses are dependent on cheap money and state financial support, which, however, lead to worsening inflation.

In the discussion, international guests from other sections of the IMT contributed with details of developments in countries such as Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and Austria.

German imperialism in decline

Due to the crisis, fierce attacks on the living standards of the working class are to be expected – even in Germany. The discussion on the German Perspectives document dealt with the disintegration of public services and infrastructure. These prerequisites of a semi-civilised existence will have to be further destroyed by the ruling class in the coming period, in order to reduce its mountains of debt.

The looming decline of German imperialism will also leave the capitalists without the means to make concessions to the working class. Germany is caught between a rock and a hard place in the current redivision of the world market – both China and the USA are important trading partners. The European Union is still a key tool for Germany to play an independent role in world politics. But centrifugal forces are beginning to destabilise the EU.

Building the organisation

Just as in Britain or France, the German working class will awaken, to defend its standard of living. For Der Funke, the tasks are clear, as became apparent in the appeal for donations on Saturday afternoon and in the discussion on building the organisation on Sunday morning. Our Marxist tendency must grow qualitatively and quantitatively in order to play a role in the coming struggles and carry a socialist programme into the movement. To this end, Der Funke is particularly oriented towards the most politically conscious layers in the working class and the youth, where an unprecedented radicalisation is taking place. These layers are already looking for a revolutionary alternative.

The enthusiasm of the comrades and their willingness to sacrifice for the tasks ahead, was also shown in the comrades' willingness to donate to our financial appeal. Together we collected over 20,000 euros in pledges for this Congress.

The 2023 National Congress closed on Sunday afternoon with the international report. Through its focus on Marxist theory and the revolutionary youth, the International Marxist Tendency is growing worldwide. Since the 2022 Congress, several new groups have emerged in different countries.

There are big tasks ahead. All over the world, the working class is beginning to move. But only the IMT has the ideas, perspectives and methods to lead them to victory – through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. If you are ready to fight for socialism, join us!

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