Solidarity against Unemployment
The "Bonn Declaration"
[The "Solidarity Circle against Unemployment" is the name of a circle of prominent persons from different social areas. The "Bonn Declaration" of this circle published at the end of February 2000 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web.]
Mass unemployment has ruled in Germany for a decade. Since 1975, over a million unemployed men and women were registered as jobless every year. Since 1983 - despite the economic upswing - more than two million unemployed were announced in the yearly average. Another million cannot be reached by the labor office.
Mass unemployment is not the guilt of the affected. The reproach that many jobless did not seek work in reality belongs to the repertoire of those who want to ignore, belittle or even deny the unemployment crisis.
Mass unemployment is marginalized in the public dialogue. Its causes and consequences play a third-rate role... Possibilities for solving the unemployment crisis are hardly generally discussed. A smug, self-complacent government, a self-satisfied public and a selfish luxury class confirm one another. The world belongs to the diligent..
Mass unemployment produces poverty, social isolation and sickness. The feeling of being superfluous, the powerless dependence on outward conditions and authorities and the loss of life perspectives can lead to grave personality crises. The perforated protection of the welfare state has not prevented poverty from becoming everyday German life. Forced poverty damages the dignity of the person, robs the poor of freedom and condemns the person to a marginal existence.
Mass unemployment hinders the overdue realization of the claim of women to equal paid work and life chances. Mass unemployment takes away possibilities of a self-determined life plan from young women and many young men. The situation of groups disadvantaged anyway, foreigners, senior citizens and the disabled becomes more hopeless.
Mass unemployment favors misguided social developments. Mass unemployment is misused as an alibi for worsening working conditions since unprotected working conditions are better than none. Mass unemployment is exploited for a ruthless growth orientation and an uncontrolled technological expansion. This so-called free unfolding of market forces which always means first the freedom of the stronger, the money- and achievement-elites, exacerbating the division of society. Social justice threatens to be repressed as a social standard. Losers are excluded. Structurally weak regions fall by the wayside. The elbow creating a free path becomes the behavioral norm, not the hand that helps.
Mass unemployment must be combated. Despite different interpretations in many socio-political questions, we women and men from culture and politics, churches and unions form a "solidarity circle against unemployment". Public sensitiveness for the problem of mass unemployment should increase. We want to contribute to strengthening public pressure.