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Die Linke

‘Fighting nationalism and the troika is our goal’, says Party of the European Left chairperson

Pierre Laurent.

Read more on the Party of the European Left

Pierre Laurent interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk

August 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front (Front de Gauche) in France and many others.

While attending the Ninth Summer University of European Left, Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk got a chance to discuss the challenges and plans of the European Left with Pierre Laurent, its current chairperson. Laurent is also national secretary of the French Communist Party, which is part of France’s Left Front.

* * *

Denis Rogatyuk: I thought we would begin with the question on the mind of all the different left and progressive political parties in Europe — the question of the European Elections. Do you think the European Left fulfilled the best possible outcome in these elections?

Ukraine dominates discussion at Party of the European Left’s summer university

Read more on Ukraine HERE.

By Dick Nichols

August 4, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The main concern of ninth Summer University of the Party of the European Left (PEL), held outside Berlin from July 23 to July 27, was the armed conflict in Ukraine. Debate on the issue absorbed many sessions, including those not directly devoted to it, and the war in the country was a returning theme in often agitated informal discussion among the 1000 attendees from 31 countries.

For a 'social Europe benefiting all': Gabi Zimmer, head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group

Interview conducted by Maxime Benatouil

June 24, 2014 -- Transform!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Recently re-elected at the head of the GUE/NGL parliamentary group, Gabi Zimmer (from Germany's Die LINKE) delivers insights on the new GUE/NGL’s composition. It has significantly grown, numbering 52 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the new legislature -- up from 35 in the previous parliament.

How would you assess the results for the political forces that have jointly managed European institutions since the beginning of European integration, namely the conservatives, the social-democrats and the liberals?

Gabi Zimmer: The results of the European elections are very ambivalent. On the one hand, we have to acknowledge that there is a slim majority for the conservatives. MEPs from the European Popular Party will most likely form a sort of great coalition with the social democrats and the liberals. But on the other hand, this does not reflect the wishes of the people for another policy. The results showed that they want the European Union to change, and its policies to go in another direction. Moreover, it is not possible to talk about the outcomes of the European elections without mentioning the results of extreme right and nationalist political forces.

'Broad left parties': Murray Smith replies to Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong

Mass rally for Greece’s opposition Syriza party in Athens in May 2014.

By Murray Smith

June 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mick Armstrong of Socialist Alternative, Australia, has written an article which sets out to criticise what I have written over the last 15 or so years on broad left parties ("A critique of the writings of Murray Smith on broad left partes" (PDF), Marxist Left Review, Summer 2014). I would like to reply to some of the points that he makes.

Ukraine: Positions of the European left

See also "France: Parti de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Ukraine". For more on Ukraine, click HERE.

March 21, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A number of European left parties have released statements on the developments in Ukraine, Crimea and the region. Unless otherwise stated, they have been translated by Dick Nichols, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly correspondent in Europe. There are statements from Déi Lénk (The Left), Luxemburg; Sortu, the radical left Basque Country party; the Communist Party of France; the Communist Party of Spain; and Gregor Gysi, chair of Germany's Die Linke (The Left). More will be added as they come to hand.

Germany: Union militant on how wind-power development is held to ransom for profit

Wind turbine towers at Bremerhaven port. Photo by Lucy Alcorn.

March 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance member Zane Alcorn spoke with Ali Can, a metalworker who has worked in the wind-turbine industry in the north German portside town Bremerhaven. Ali is a rank and file organiser with the trade union IGMetal and is an active member of Verein für Gleiche Rechte (Equal Rights Association), a secular Turkish community centre. Translated by Anne K. Schulz.

Can you tell us a little about Bremerhaven – how many people live here, what are the main industries, how has the city changed in the last 20 years?

Die Linke and the fight against European austerity

March 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Speech by Florian Wilde, of Germany's radical left party Die Linke, at the March 1 "Fight the Troika" meeting in Bilbao. It was held the day before a meeting of the European Commission summit on the Spanish economy.

Party of the European Left’s fourth congress: building unity to build hope

By Dick Nichols

February 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When the 200-plus delegates finally voted on the two main documents presented to the fourth congress of the Party of the European Left (EL), held on December 13-15, 2013, in Madrid, there was a faint murmur of surprise at the degree of support received. After all, the EL is a mix of different but related political sensibilities, bringing together “anti-capitalist, communist, socialist, ecologist, feminist, eco-socialist, republican and other democratic forces”[i].

Its affiliates embody different national political cultures and are based on all sides of the widening north-south and east-west economic and social ravines that cross Europe, the European Union and the Eurozone. Moreover, it is only 10 years old, created in 2004 in a forced march driven by the process of European integration and the need to compete with other European “party families”.

Germany: Far-left Die Linke becomes third biggest party in parliament

Members of the left-wing Die Linke celebrating their victory over the Greens, and the demise of their rivals the FDP.

September 23, 2013 -- The Local -- Despite dropping a few percentage points since 2009, the socialist Left party (Die Linke) celebrated becoming the third biggest party in Germany's parliament after the September 22 general election.

For a party well-used to being excluded from post-election celebrations, the atmosphere at Die Linke's election party was first of tense excitement, and then of triumph.

As the first exit polls were announced, the edgy, warehouse-like brewery venue in Berlin's trendy Prenzlauer Berg district erupted in whooping that the socialist Die Linke would likely beat the Greens to become the third-biggest political party in the German parliament.

The first estimates of the election's result placed Die Linke at 8.5 per cent - down half a percent from their last poll score - but half a point ahead of the Greens.

A specially impassioned roar of approval came with the news that the business-friendly FDP had dropped to 4.5 per cent, meaning the liberal party, natural rivals to the socialist Linke, will not be able to enter the Bundestag at all.

This will be the first time the FDP are not represented in the Bundestag since 1949.

European left statements against the threat of US-led war on Syria (updated Sept. 3)

Below are a number of statements (or news reports of statements) by European left parties on the crisis in Syria. More will be posted (or expanded) as they come to hand.They include Die Linke (Germany), Syriza (Greece), the Party of the European Left and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France).

Die Linke: German government's support for war coalition is insanity

August 27, 2013 -- Die Linke -- "A military strike of the US threatens to escalate the conflict in Syria to become an international war“, warns Christine Buchholz, member of the executive board of the party Die Linke.

The attack of the US army using cruise missiles threatens to cause a wildfire, further aggravating the suffering of the Syrian population. With the assault the US government does not help the people in Syria but will solely demonstrate its military supremacy in the region.

Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle said yesterday that Germany "in close coordination with its allies" will be among those „that consider consequences to be appropriate. "This boils down to nothing else but support of impending military assaults. The support of an evolving US-led war coalition is insanity".

England and Wales: Reconquer the Labour Party or build a new left party?

By Phil Hearse

July 12, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- A supporter of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain (CPB), under the pseudonym "Michael Ford", has written the most substantial rebuttal of the proposal to found a new left party in Britain – “Left Unity’s Modest Flutter”, posted on the Left Unity site.

Weighing in at more than 9000 words Ford’s article assesses almost every conceivable objection, from the weighty to the absurd. By analysing his critique in depth we can be more precise about what the case for a new party actually is and on what basis it can be built.

Murray Smith: The real European left stands up

By Murray Smith

May 10, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Murray Smith's permission -- Having followed with sympathy the emergence of Left Unity and the possibility of a new party of the left being launched, I read with interest the two-part article by an anonymous figure, who may or may not be called Michael Ford, which may or may not be a pseudonym. I’m sure we’ll find out. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to him as Ford. In any case, whoever wrote it, the aim of the article is clearly to try and discredit the perspective of building a new party to the left of Labour and validate that of working with/within the Labour Party to drive it to the left.

There will undoubtedly be many replies to Ford from people who are directly involved in politics in Britain, which I am not at present. However, an important part of Ford’s argument is to try and demonstrate that the political forces to the left of social democracy in Europe don’t amount to much, either politically or in terms of their support. In doing so, frankly, he paints a picture which has little relation to reality. This is what I want to take up [1].

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Die Linke salute Hugo Chavez's socialist vision

Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.

l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols

March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?

We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.

Germany: Red Pepper interviews new Die Linke co-leader Katja Kipping

Emma Dowling speaks to Katja Kipping, new co-chair of Germany's Left Party (Die Linke)

November 2012 -- Red Pepper -- With 76 seats out of 622 in parliament, Die Linke is Germany’s fourth-largest party. It was founded in 2007 in a merger between the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). Members of the PDS were predominantly East German and many had also been members of the Socialist Unity Party, the former ruling party of East Germany. WASG, meanwhile, was predominantly West German and made up of trade unionists and social movement activists, as well as social democrats who had left the German Social Democratic Party.

Beautiful green world? On the myth of the green capitalist economy

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

June 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The "green economy": It will stop climate change and the extinction of species and in so doing will create high growth rates and millions of jobs. It’s seen as a miraculous weapon. Through it, global capitalism will be stabilised. And then it will be sustainable as well.

But what is the green economy? In it, policy parameters are supposed to ensure the flow of capital to make markets and the economy "greener" and create "green" jobs. Enterprises are to pay an "appropriate" price for environmental damage. And not least: the state is supposed to orient its public procurements to sustainability criteria and create sustainable infrastructures.

As of June 2012 at the UN’s Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, the green economy is to become a new central concept of global policy. The conference is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where the magic formula "sustainable development" was coined.

Germany: Die Linke's program in English (adopted October 2011)

May 23, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is the full text of Germany's radical left Die Linke party's program in English. It can also be downloaded HERE. At the time of publication, this document was unavailable anywhere else on the web.Germany: Die Linke's program in English

Crisis, revolt and the left in Europe

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following presentation is a slightly edited and updated version of a talk given on January 20, 2012, to the eighth national conference of the Australian Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney. The slides mentioned refer to the PowerPoint presentation above, which accompanied the talk. Dick Nichols works in the European office of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona.

* * *

By Dick Nichols

Slide 1

Thank you, comrades, for the invitation to speak—what a pleasure it is to see old faces, and new ones, too! The class struggle may be more advanced in Europe, but I sorely miss what we have created in the Socialist Alliance, as should become clear later in this talk.

My aim is to sketch the present phase of the class struggle in Europe, assess the gains of our side along with the challenges it faces, and hopefully help us all think about what this might mean for Socialist Alliance and the socialist movement in Australia. But the opinions expressed are my own, of course, not the Socialist Alliance’s: so feel free to disagree vigorously!

Germany: Die Linke's road to an anti-capitalist program

By Dick Nichols, Erfurt

November 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Late on October 23, 2011, a chilly Sunday afternoon, the culminating vote of the program congress of Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) came in Erfurt’s cavernous Congress Centre: 503 delegates raised their voting cards to support the document as finally amended by the congress, with only four against and 12 abstentions.

The euro on a knife edge: Are the Greeks to blame? What is the left position on the euro crisis?

On October 19 and 20, 2011, Greece will be stopped by the latest in a series of general strikes against austerity. Above and below: Workers march on October 19. All photos by WFTU International.

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

October 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- “Bloody Greeks—corrupt and lazy, born cheaters who think the world owes them a living. Why should the hard-working taxpayers of the euro zone core economies like Germany have to fund billion-euro rescue packages for those scoundrels?” That’s the vicious tone of Germany’s tabloids and conservative politicians towards Greece’s galloping public debt crisis and the Greek people’s protests against the austerity programs imposed on them by the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the “troika”) as the price of bail-out funding.

Europe Against Austerity conference builds enthusiasm for fightback

By Fred Leplat

October 3, 2011 -- Socialist Resistance -- The Europe Against Austerity conference, held in London on October 1, was attended by 681 people including 150 from outside Britain. This happened the same weekend that two big demonstrations took place. In Glasgow, there was the "People First" demonstration of 15,000 called by the Scottish TUC on October 1. On October 2, 35,000 joined a demonstration in Manchester on outside the Conservative Party conference, called by the Trades Union Congress and backed by the Coalition of Resistance and the Right to Work Campaign.

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