On February 24, Russia under President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. This war has already caused thousands of victims and cost hundreds of thousands their homes.
There is no justification for this war. Putin bears full responsibility for the dead and the people fleeing their homes. Putin's justifications for the war are lies and propaganda.
We are very worried about the future of peace and security in Europe and the world. This fear unites us with the hundreds of thousands of people who, after the war began, took to the streets in Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and hundreds of other cities alone, expressing their outrage at Putin's war, their solidarity with the Ukrainian people, their fear of further escalation and their desire for peace and security. Together with them, we demonstrated against Putin's war and for peace.
These demonstrations were the largest peace demonstrations since the protests against the Iraq war in 2003. On the very same day that people took to the streets against the war in Berlin, the German government, with the support of the CDU/CSU, presented a package of measures that envisages the largest rearmament of Germany since the end of World War II. A massive armament of the Bundeswehr will not help the people in Ukraine. The new weapons to be acquired will not support the Ukrainians in their struggle and right to self-defense.
The "defense expenditures" of all 30 NATO countries already exceed the Russian ones by almost twenty times. Acquiring conventional weapons such as fighter jets and weaponized drones as a deterrent amongst nuclear military blocs is pointless.
NATO countries, including Germany, began to significantly increase their military spending before 2014, which was long before the Ukraine conflict occurred. Parts of the rearmament plans can already be found in the coalition agreement, well before the first warnings of an imminent Russian invasion. This war and the horrific images of the deaths and destruction in Ukraine cannot justify a radical change of course in German foreign policy and the highest increase in German arms spending since World War II - a project that even involves an amendment to the Basic Law.
To decide on such a 180-degree turnaround in German foreign policy, with correspondingly dramatic consequences for domestic policy as well - for the welfare state, for liberality and humanity - without any broad social debate, without any parliamentary debate, and even without any internal party debate at all, would be a scandal in terms of democratic policy.
In addition to the previous 49 billion in military spending in the 2022 budget, 100 billion is to be set aside this year as a special fund that will be available to the Bundeswehr over several years. This sum corresponds to the spending of several federal ministries, including such important departments as Health (16.03 billion), Education and Research (19.36 billion), Interior and Community (18.52 billion), Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (12.16 billion), Economic Affairs and Climate Action (9.81 billion), Environment (2.7 billion), Economic Cooperation and Development (10.8 billion) and Food and Agriculture (6.98 billion). In the future, 2% of GDP is to be spent on armaments on a permanent basis. This would increase spending to well over 70 billion euros a year. At the same time, the German government wants to stick to the "debt brake," which raises the question of our democratic priorities in the long term and brings with it the danger of massive cuts in the social, cultural and public sectors. In the name of democracy, we reject the idea of making this political course setting additionally binding on future governments by anchoring it in the Basic Law. Security and social justice, not armaments, are the mandate of the Basic Law.
Instead of decisions being made overnight and in the smallest of circles, we call for broad democratic discussion of a comprehensive security concept that includes security against military attacks as well as pandemic and ecological aspects and is based on the concept of the unity of security and common development.
We are confronted with war and endless suffering, with flight, with poverty and social insecurity, with a global pandemic that has shown how tightly calculated the budgets of our health care systems are, with a public infrastructure whose decades-long neglect is costing us dearly today, with a cultural scene that is running on fumes, and with a climate catastrophe that does not stop at national borders and requires immense investments in future technologies and social cushioning. The arms buildup planned for decades will not end the deaths in Ukraine, will not make our world more peaceful and will not make it safer. We cannot afford it in the name of the future.