As the large "Messe" [trade fair] opened in Hanover and Angela Merkel awaited Barack Obama’s arrival in the city, huge anger was on show on the city’s streets in the form of a mass protest of 90,000 people against the bosses’ TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - a project Obama champions. Alongside trade unionists, the demonstration consisted of many people mobilised by their opposition to TTIP as well as supporters of the left party DIE LINKE and its youth wing.
The demonstration was much larger than expected, as was the case with the 250,000-strong protest, last October, in Berlin. People see the TTIP as the final blow to any kind of democratic control over and transparency of the activities of big banks and companies. Many on the protest last weekend seemed to be open to idea that the whole system is wrong, where profits and the interests of millionaires are more important than the lives of the millions and the environment.
During the protest trade union leaders correctly pointed out that the rights of workers and unions are under threat. But, at the same time, they attempted to limit the opposition to the TTIP by only calling for a "better agreement" through further negotiations. Just before the demonstration, a poll showed that only 17% of Germans think that TTIP is a good idea, down from just over 50% two years ago.
Socialist Alternative (SAV- the CWI in Germany) participated in the demonstration independently, as well as a part of the Left Party (DIE LINKE) and its youth organisation ’solid’. The SAV demanded, amongst other things, that the TTIP must be stopped and called for the trade unions to develop a plan of action, including and up to political strike action to achieve this end.
During the impressive protest, more than 150 copies of the SAV paper were sold, as well as other SAV literature, and more than 1,700 euros were collected for the SAV’s fighting fund.