Fight the virus – in Germany and Britain

Great Britain offers no model for fighting Corona, but the German government is not much better, We need a response based on solidarity.


I’m Phil, the speaker of the LINKE working group Internationals, which tries to bring non-Germans into Berlin politics. And I’m a Weddinger. But I’m speaking today as a Briton.

Great Britain has become an example of how you do not fight Corona. At Christmas, I visited my family. When I came back, I had to go into quarantine – not because I had Covid, but because everyone who were on “den Insel” are (rightly) treated as if they are a potential danger.

The statistics don’t lie. In Great Britain, over 150,000 people have died from Corona. Last week there were over 70,000 new cases. If you want to deny Corona, you should speak to people from Great Britain. Everyone knows several people who have been infected. Many of us have lost friends and family members.

It is getting worse. This week we’ve heard that in the worst times, when Britons had to stay at home, when many lost their jobs, there were government parties in Downing Street every week, which violated Corona rules. This was a clear metaphor for what the British Conservative government think of us: we die, they party.

But is Germany so different? For nearly 2 years, when we have suffered, our government has spent more time looking after the German economy and local industry than after normal people. Parks had to close while everyone was forced to go to work in packed U-Bahns. The main priorities were those of German capitalism, and I don’t notice any serious change of direction from the new traffic light coalition.

This is the background that explains why so many people don’t want to be vaccinated, why they march alongside Nazis. They don’t trust our government – and I can fully understand this. If a government does not offer any hope, there will always be the danger that right wing forces try to profit from this.

This is why rallies like this are important. We must offer hope. We must show solidarity. Of course we want people to get vaccinated, but not because they will be punished if they don’t. We are for vaccination because our class should look after each other.

This means that you should go and get vaccinated, and you should bring friends and relatives with you. But if everyone wants to remains safe, we need a change in our politics. We need a politics which is focused on human rights, not on profits.

Corona cannot be stopped in Germany alone, but worldwide. This means that we must remember that in many countries, particularly in the Global South, many people do not have the choice of whether they get vaccinated. The Pharma industry is keeping the patents which are not made available to anyone else, as this won’t generate any profits. This is why we must increase the pressure. Vaccines must be made available to everyone, throughout the world, and they must be free.

Look after yourselves. Stay safe and healthy. But you should also fight for a society of solidarity.

Hoch die Internationale Solidarität,

This is a translation of a speech given at the rally against conspiracy theorists in Wedding on Monday, 17th January. The way things are looking, the conspiracy theorists will continue to demonstrate alongside Nazis every Monday. As long as this happens, counter-demonstrations will be organised. We will continue to report on this on and in our weekly Newsletter. If you are not already subscribed to the Newsletter, please send a mail to