Last week the International Automobile Exhibition (Ger.: “Internationale Automobilausstellung - IAA”) took place again in Munich. This event is a big fair where the monopolies of the German automotive industry come together and present themselves to the public as particularly "social" and "environmentally friendly". The event was attended not only by public faces of various companies, but also by high German politicians who praised the importance of the Automobile industry for German imperialism, and by numerous policemen to quell protests against the event. As in previous years, protests were not absent this year. Justifiably so, because despite its positive self-description, the IAA stands for exploitation, environmental destruction and war.

From 5-10 September, the exhibition was held in Munich. In the middle of a period in which the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent. Be it extreme weather events such as big forest fires and floods (which have currently occurred in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Libya, for example) or increasing natural disasters (such as the current earthquake in Morocco). Such extreme weather events are also occurring more frequently in Germany and are also increasingly assuming disaster-like proportions. But the hardest hit by these events are above all the people in the oppressed nations, as the current floods in Libya, with over 5,200 deaths (at the time of writing) clearly show.

The German car monopolies are responsible for this. By driving climate change massively with their production for their striving for profit, they accept the consequences that this means for the peoples. The company managers, with their monumental salaries will not be affected by these. Nevertheless, the automotive industry is now increasingly trying to be ecological and sustainable. The showpiece for this: E-mobility. With large exhibited and propagated E-cars, this part of the bourgeoisie presents itself as environmentally conscious and green. But as is so often the case, this self-drawn image does not match reality.

For most workers, it is simply not possible to afford an electric car. On average, the price of an electric car currently ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 euros, depending on the model and equipment. More money than most workers will ever have in their bank account. However, things can get even more expensive. For premium brands like Tesla or Porsche, you can quickly spend over 100,000 euros. Even though electric cars are insanely expensive, their positive impact on the environment remains very low. In fact, their production is insanely expensive and harmful to the climate, because the production of the batteries consumes much more co2 than that of a conventional combustion engine. In addition, this production is also closely linked to the plundering of the oppressed nations and the destruction of the environment there. Be it the exploitation of the miners in the lithium mines of Bolivia, the destruction of whole forests and rivers for the mining of Nickel in the Philippines or be it the cobalt mining in the Congo, which is often done by slaves.

In addition, there is another area in which the German automotive industry is active, which is neither ecological nor social: War. Volkswagen, for example, provides a large proportion of the vehicles of the German army and produces gearboxes for tanks and warships. The car manufacturer Mercedes Benz even openly advertises its vehicles with its bloody activities in this field: "Our greatest confirmation is the trust of many armies. For more than 100 years. In more than 80 countries". In numerous wars waged by the imperialists and their lackeys, the supposedly "civilian" companies of the German automotive industry are involved and profit from them. Not to be forgotten are the massive profits that the owning families of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen made during the so-called "Nazi period" by producing armaments for the wars of the fascists. Often by exploiting numerous prisoners in the concentration camps.

You can see that the German automotive industry is involved in numerous dirty deals. In fact, it is very successful economically. Right now, in the midst of the economic crisis, companies in the automotive industry continue to report record profits, despite inflation and price increases. According to a recent Ernst & Young study, sales and profits of the world's largest 16 car companies reached new highs. Sales rose 18 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2023, while profits were up as much as 31 percent to about 40 billion Dollars. Two German manufacturers were among the most successful: Mercedes in first place with a profit margin of 13 percent and BMW was in third place with 11.7 percent.

The reason that these corporations can continue to make such high profits despite the current economic crisis is based, in short, on the exploitation of the working class. On the one hand, the consequences of the economic crisis are simply passed on to consumers through price increases, and the workers who need a car in their daily lives have to pay more money for it. On the other hand, by increasing the exploitation of the workers employed by them. The expansion of temporary work and the division of the workforce into high earners and low earners play a role in this. Sometimes these companies also decide to relocate entire factories to other countries. The workers employed in this factories lose their jobs, the workers in the new factories (mostly in oppressed nations) then do the same work under worse conditions for lower wages and the companies make profits with the money they now saved.

For German imperialism, these companies are extremely relevant, because German companies in the automotive industry are among the leaders in the field on an international scale and form an important part of the FRG's economy. In 2022, the sales of the German automotive sector accounted for a full 17.4% of the total sales of the industry in Germany. Accordingly, the holding of the IAA exhibition was an important event for German imperialism, over which he held his protective hand.

The importance of this event for the German imperialism could be seen very clearly in the fact that the exhibition was officially opened on the first day by the gangster boss and state leader Olaf Scholz. In addition, the German state has spared no expense and means to carry out and secure the IAA. With public money promoted this private advertising fair of the enterprises could present itself completely simply in the public city area. A full 4,500 police officers from ten different German states were deployed to secure the IAA and prevent protests against it. In the determined fight against the liberty of opinion, by these not only the meeting place, but equal the entire city center militarily occupied. Already in advance of the protests, 27 alleged members of the last generation were preemptively taken into custody and imprisoned, although they had not committed any crimes. The last detainees were released only yesterday.

Despite this enormously high police contingent, there were nevertheless various resistance actions around the IAA. The highlight was a spontaneous rally in front of the Mercedes Tower, which had to be fought on the way there by breaking through police lines. The end of the protests was a demonstration with about 3,200 people, which in contrast to recent years this time was not attacked by the police.

All the repression that has now been carried out in Munich has this week hit the environmental movement, but meant all those who stand in the way of the interests of the German bourgeoisie. Just as activists of the so-called "Last Generation" (not particularly popular among some segments of the population) have now been locked up, the next time, of course, any of us who oppose the various deficiencies in this country, be it the police killings, the government policies of impoverishing the working class or the unauthorized wage struggles, could be locked up preemptively as well. The suspension of freedom of assembly and the occupation of the city center by the police were an effective practical exercise in counterinsurgency for the repressive apparatus of the ruling class. But in the process, despite all those measures, they have not succeeded in preventing the resistance.

 Source of the title image: