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Die Linke

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.

Greece: 20 popular fallacies concerning the debt crisis

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany)

July 9, 2011 -- It’s that time again! Greece needs more loans and governments in Europe are arguing about whether it’s really necessary and who should foot the bill. There is widespread opinion in Germany that Greece itself is to blame for the problems it now finds itself in. It is claimed that first of all cheated its way into the eurozone, then the government spent too much and the governed worked too little, many believe.

Latently nationalistic interpretations of this kind have been nourished by German politicians and the media, who have no end of proposals for how to "solve" the crisis. For example, the Greeks should save more, work more and sell their public property – and if all of these measures do not help, then Greece will just have to leave the eurozone or declare itself bankrupt.

The stupid thing is, neither are the causes of the crisis that have been named are correct, nor will the proposed ways out of the crisis achieve their goal.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has produced Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! to explain the truth about the fallacies being spread about the causes of the Greek crisis, and who is responsible.

(Updated Feb. 6) International left in solidarity with the Arab revolution


Socialist Alliance local councillor Sam Wainwright addresses a rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, Western Australia, on February 5, 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.

February 4, 2011 -- Most trends in the socialist left internationally have rallied to offer solidarity to revolutionary upsurge in Egypt, Tunisia and the wider Arab world.

Germany: Greens' support surges as two-party system unravels

Chairperson of the German Greens' parliamentary group in the Bundestag Renate Künast.

By Duroyan Fertl

October 17, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Coasting on the back of environmental protests and a hemorrhaging two-party system, the German Greens have sent shock waves through German politics, surging into the position of main opposition party for the first time.

The Greens party, which was part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1998-2005 at the expense of many of the party’s principles, is benefiting from the unraveling of Germany’s traditional two-party system.

Nevertheless, the two major parties — the centre-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union coalition (CDU/CSU) and the centre-left SPD — retain a monopoly over government in Europe’s biggest economy.

But the facade appears to be truly falling apart at last. Opinion polls in early October put the Greens on 24%, one point ahead of the SPD.

Recent experiences in left regroupment and reconstruction

By Jim McIlroy

November 23, 2009 -- How do you build socialism in the First World countries right now? Of course, we are part of a world movement for socialism, including the Third World. We can learn a lot from recent and current experiences in left regroupment and party building that are happening around the world at present -- with all proportions guarded, and realising that there is no direct transposition of one historical, national experience onto another.

When we talk about left regroupment and reconstruction, unlike some of the other overseas examples that I will refer to, Socialist Alliance in Australia is not at this stage a broad left party or a regroupment organisation in quite the same way as some of the other international experiences. But it is a vehicle for constructing one and it is a nucleus for building a broad-based socialist party in the future.

L’appel historique de Chavez pour une 5eme Internationale

par Federico Fuentes

2 décembre 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- S’adressant aux délégués de la Rencontre Internationale des Partis de Gauche qui s’est tenue à Caracas du 19 au 21 novembre (2009), le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez a déclaré : « il est temps de constituer la 5ème Internationale. » Face à la crise capitaliste et la menace d’une guerre qui représente un danger pour l’avenir de l’humanité, « les peuples réclament » une unité plus forte des partis de gauche et révolutionnaires qui sont prêts à lutter pour le socialisme, a-t-il dit.

A l’instar de son appel de 2005 pour la construction « d’un socialisme du 21ème siècle » et son appel de 2006 pour la création au Venezuela d’un nouveau parti de masse révolutionnaire – le Parti Socialiste Unifié du Venezuela – l’appel de Chavez à l’unité de la gauche et pour une nouvelle internationale est un événement historique.

El llamado histórico de Hugo Chávez para conformar una V Internacional Socialista

por Federico Fuentes

2 de diciembre de 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- Hablando a los delegados del Encuentro International de Partidos de Izquierda realizado en Caracas, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez señalo “que llegó la hora de que convoquemos a la Quinta Internacional. Frente la crisis capitalista y la amenaza de guerra que poner en peligro el futuro de la humanidad, la unidad de partidos de izquierda y revolucionario dispuesto a luchar para el socialismo “es un clamor del pueblo,” dijo Chávez.

Como su llamado en 2005 a construir el “Socialismo de Siglo XXI” y su anuncio de la construcción de un partido de la revolución al final del 2006, el llamado de Chávez a unificar la izquierda en torno a la Quinta Internacional representa en hecho histórico.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez calls for international socialist unity

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

November 27, 2009 -- Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future of humanity, “the people are clamoring” for greater unity of those willing to fight for socialism.

Chavez used his November 20 speech to the conference, which involved delegates from 55 left groups from 31 countries, to call for a new international socialist organisation to unite left groups and social movements: “The time has come for us to organise the Fifth International.”

Historic

Venezuela: Chavez calls for new international organisation of left parties

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” of left parties and social movements to confront the challenge posed by the global crisis of capitalism. The president made the announcement during an international conference of more than 50 left organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas over November 19-21.

“I assume responsibility before the world. I think it is time to convene the Fifth International, and I dare to make the call, which I think is a necessity. I dare to request that we create my proposal,” Chavez said.

Positive developments in the European left

By Ian Angus

October 7, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- LeftViews recently published an article by Alex Callinicos, a central leader of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP), on the state of the left in Europe. While conceding that there have been some gains, overall the picture he painted was dire.

Callinicos is an insightful writer on leftwing politics in Europe, and much of his analysis rings true. I’m certainly not going to try to offer a different analysis from my vantage point well west of the Atlantic [in Canada].

But by itself, his article might leave Socialist Voice readers with a picture of unrelieved gloom, when in fact there are some bright spots of note. In Germany and Portugal, leftwing parties made modest but important gains in last month’s elections, while in France and England we’re seeing constructive steps towards greater unity on the left.

Germany

Germany: Big gains for Die Linke as Social Democrats’ support collapses

By Duroyan Fertl

October 5, 2009 – Germany’s ``centre-right’’ Chancellor Angela Merkel was returned to power in federal elections held on September 27, but with a record low voter turnout and an increased vote for the far-left party, Die Linke (The Left).

The election was a clear success for Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Her preferred coalition partner – the free-market fundamentalist Free Democratic Party (FDP) – increased its support by 4.8 per cent to an all-time high of 14.6 per cent, enough to form a CDU-FDP government. The FDP will now replace the CDU’s main rival – the ``centre-left’’ Social Democratic Party (SPD) – as coalition partner in the government of Europe’s largest economy.

At the same time, the SPD’s support collapsed by more than 6 million votes, dropping a massive11.2 per cent to only 23 per cent – its worst result since World War II. As one leading SPD member pointed out on election night, “We have been bombed back into the Weimar Republic”. SPD leader Walter Steinmeier described the result as “a bitter day” for German social democracy.

A balance sheet of the European elections

Left Bloc supporters in Portugal.

By François Sabado

The principal lessons of the European elections of June 7, 2009, are the following: massive abstention; progress for the right flanked by the far right; a collapse of social democracy; an increase in the votes for the ecologists; while the radical left, left reformists and anti-capitalists maintained their position, without making new advances, except in Portugal and Ireland.

Crisis of legitimacy

First of all, the recent European elections confirmed widespread popular abstention. The rate of abstention, at 57 per cent across the European Union, increased compared to the election of 2004, where it had already, at 54.6 per cent, beaten the previous record. The level of abstention decreased in nine countries and increased in 17. This level of abstention provides a fresh demonstration of the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and the governing parties which situate their policies within this framework. It is the result of the peoples of Europe being marginalised in the process of building a European Union that is neoliberal and anti-democratic.

European election: 60% abstain; gains for the right; revolutionary left wins seats in Portugal and Ireland

[See also ``European election: British left discusses urgent need for left unity'' and ``Ireland: Socialist Workers Party calls for a `broad radical left party'''.]

June 9, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance/International Viewpoint -- There was a broad popular abstention in the European elections. Nearly 60% of voters did not vote. Because of this, only a deformed vision of the real relationship of forces in Europe is possible. But it confirms the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and of the governing parties that implement their policies within this framework, writes François Sabado. Other tendencies emerge, initially a rise of the right across Europe.

The right won in the big countries where it governs: in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Austria and Hungary. In Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Cyprus, the parties of the right also came first.

Germany: Die Linke, Hesse and the `super election’ year

Oskar Lafontaine

By Duroyan Fertl

January 29, 2009 -- Germany kicked off a “super election year” on January 18 when voters in the western German state of Hesse returned to the polls for the second time in twelve months. The new election had become necessary after months of negotiations to form a coalition government collapsed late last year, when four parliamentary members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) rebelled against a plan to form government with the assistance of the far-left party, Die Linke.

The SPD had benefited in last year’s poll from voter rejection of the racist scapegoating and law-and-order politics of the ruling right-wing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Prime Minister Roland Koch. Despite its vote, however, the SPD still lacked the numbers to form government, even with its preferred allies, the Green Party, and the SPD’s leader in Hesse, Andrea Ypsilanti, turned to Die Linke for support.

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