Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

German Elections: Die Linke.

with 10 comments

“Die Linke’s pro-capitalist, social democratic outlook has been obvious for quite some time.” writes Ben Lewis in the Weekly Worker.

A more sympathetic article by Peter Thomson in the Guardian on September the 5th stated, that die Linke should not be written fog. It is the ” only party represented in the Bundestag that does not go along with the general austerity consensus on social and economic policy.”

The French Communist paper, L’Humanité notes that the programme of Die Linke resulted from a June conference that endorsed these main points,

Gathered under the slogan “100% social,” the 500 delegates focused on the abolition of Hartz system that millions of precarious workers. The program includes the introduction of a minimum wage to 10 euros per hour. It also calls for the end of the retirement age of sixty-seven. In the debate on the crisis in the euro area, Die Linke has spoken for the continuation of the single currency.The party claims a reform of the content of the monetary union “overcomes the serious imbalances” that have emerged in Europe. And noted that “austerity is the main threat to the maintenance of the euro,” which transformed is essential to building a European solidarity.

They also oppose Western armed intervention in Syria.

The same paper reports that these social demands have made their presence felt during the electoral campaign.

On Saturday the 14th there was a day of action, called by civil society groups, trade unions, and backed by Die Linke, calling for “”Um fair Teilen” (a fair share) demanded a just redistribution of wealth.

Neues Duetschland (aligned to Die Linke) confirms this.

Above all the demand for a minimum wage at a “living” level is popualr,

 Eine Mehrheit der Bundesbürger, die einen gesetzlichen Mindestlohn befürworten, sprechen sich für eine Höhe von 10 Euro pro Stunde aus. Das ist das Ergebnis einer Infratest-Umfrage für den SWR. 41 Prozent unterstützen hingegen eine Höhe von 8,50 Euro. Insgesamt liegt die Zahl der Menschen in Deutschland, die eine generelle allgemeingültige Gehaltsuntergrenze befürworten sehr hoch: 85 Prozent der Bundesbürger wollen die Einführung eines gesetzlichen Mindestlohns.

Die Zahlen bestätigen eine Forderung der Linkspartei, welche sich in ihrem Wahlprogramm … ….

A majority of German citizens advocate a statutory minimum wage. They are in favour of a basic level of 10 euros per hour. This is the result of an opinion  survey for SWR. 41%,  however, support a lower rate  of 8,50 €. The total number of people in Germany who advocate a minimum is very high: 85%  of Germans want the introduction of a statutory minimum wage.

Figures confirm that this – a plank of the the Left Party’s election manifesto.

If the demand for a minimum wage of 10 Euros an Hour is not very radical it clearly has some echo in the population.

Whether this is translatable into votes is another question.

Der Speigel gives the latest opinion polls,

A 58 percent majority of Germans say they would like to see Merkel remain in the Chancellery, with just 32 percent preferring her centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) challenger Peer Steinbrück. But while support for her party remains at a steady 40 percent, the FDP is down to 5.5 percent, barely clearing the 5 percent hurdle required for representation in parliament, but giving the coalition combined support of 45.5 percent.

According to the “political barometer” poll commissioned by public broadcaster ZDF, the SPD, the Greens and the far-left Left Party are polling at 44.5 percent after support for the SPD rose to 27 percent and for the Left Party to 8.5 percent.

The environmentalist Green Party’s popularity, meanwhile, dropped to 9 percent after a turbulent week that saw the party weakened by fresh evidence of its past pro-pedophile sympathies.

Reports indicate that the Greens and Die Linke are about equal, at around 9-10% of intentions to vote (Wikipedia below). This is a drop of about 1 to 2 % from the previous, 2009, election.

Trend Research[6] 18 September 2013 38% 27% 10% 5% 9% 4.5% 9.5%
INSA/YouGov[5] 19 September 2013 38% 28% 8% 6% 9% 2% 5% 4%

Written by Andrew Coates

September 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

10 Responses

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  1. “Neues Deutschland” is, via a very intransparent network of holding companies, owned by “Die Linke”, it’s not “aligned to the party”. If it’s “aligned” to anything it’s towards a right-wing and not very social democratic (let alone socialist in any recognisable sense of the word) tendency in the leadership and the party bureaucrats in the east. Imagine Andy Newman’s love of China and Vietnam, and Putin, combined with the Green leadership of Brighton & Hove Council. That’s their line.

    “The same paper reports that these social demands have made their presence felt during the electoral campaign.”

    I haven’t noticed that their electoral campaign has had any presence whatsover. But I’m in Berlin, so what do I know.


    September 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  2. The massive Linke-posters saying “Revolution?” in massive letters, combined with some slightly smaller text that says “No. Actually we want some tiny reforms, nothing else.” are quite nice, though.


    September 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

  3. No doubt true Dagmar but from here they look well to the left of the Labour Party.

    Andrew Coates

    September 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  4. As is Merkel, Comrade. But then again she was once the agitation and propgaganda secretary of her branch of the “Free German Youth”, and squatted two flats whilst a student.


    September 22, 2013 at 3:20 am

  5. You may well be pleased to note that the Linke got more than the Greens, the Liberals are very probably out of parliament, so it’s even a Grand Coalition or the CDU with the Greens. And if the strange anti-European “Alternative for Germany”, strange on so many levels, but probably just got a protest vote as the party is so new and therefore unknown, gets 5% (which seems possible), that will be interesting as well. Roll on the Prussian 3 class electoral system!


    September 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

  6. Otherwise, if the Liberals are out, and the “Alternative for Germany” don’t get in, Merkel’s CDU-CSU could even have an absolute majority in parliament (with about 44% of the vote).


    September 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

  7. …and in the west German state of Hesse, where there were regional elections today as well, it looks like the Linke are in as well, with about 6%, meaning that the SPD and Greens there will have no overall majority. They have ruled out a coalition with the Left, and after a debacle a few years ago, when the SPD ruled it out – as well as a minority government with ‘toleration’ by the Linke – before the election, but then afterwards went exactly for that minority deal, then held new elections after it collapsed fairly quickly – and were punished by the electorate at those new elections, they’re not going to do that again.

    For Trotwatchers it might be more interesting that the leader of DIe Linke and their parliamentary fraction in Hesse is one Janine Wissler, a member of the SWP’s German section “marx21”, formerly Linksruck but now in ‘deep entrism’ mode a la Socialist Action.


    September 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

  8. …and Cde Wissler has already been on German telly (ARD/Das Erste) sucking up to the SPD and Greens, offering herself and her party as kingmaker for a three party coalition, or again as supporter for a minority SPD-Green government in the state of Hesse.


    September 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

  9. I’m sure you were around in the far left in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I wasn’t (born then), but I’ve heard reports from comrades I respect and trust (also on this subject) how it wasn’t anything spectacular at the time for paedophiles to turn up at conferences on the subject of sexual liberation with their ‘partners’ and argue their case, which was generally accepted or just not commented upon. In (West) Germany the problem – the problem for the Greens now – may have been made worse as homophobic laws also included references to sex between adults and children – i.e. also legally both subjects were ‘in the same basket’. Ideal for paedophile activists, of course. The whole age of consent issue is a minefield, and what is illegal here or in the UK is perfectly (legally at least) accepted in other EU countries. (Cue someone from ‘Socialist Unity’ to turn up and claim the GDR didn’t have an age of consent. It’s a false claim, though.)

    It is also unjustified for this to be a subject that seems to be affecting the Greens and the Greens only. The cases of organised child abuse that have become public have been mainly from inside the catholic church , with a few cases from ‘reform’ boarding schools (which may have been vaguely related, from the late 1970s onwards, to the ‘Green milieu’).

    And to be honest, if the press are going to go after Green leader Trittin, as they did – him being the person who legally signed off the manifesto (which caused an uproar at the time, incidentally, 1985, I think, so this isn’t ‘news’ in any way) – I don’t quite ‘get’ why they are doing it over this. He’s an ex-Maoist! Presumably past Maoism is ‘acceptable’. But he was an object of hate for the right wing press while environment minister under Schröder as well.

    (Oh, and the taz published many pages of articles on ‘man-child love’ etc. at the time…)

    Otherwise: the ‘kiddy fiddler’-card hasn’t worked so far in German politics, unlike in the UK, where it seems to be an argument (one you can’t, mustn’t, argue with) for so much: video observation, internet record production and retention, etc. People haven’t bought that (quite rightly) here. Not yet….


    September 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    • I totally agree Dagmar.

      I recall something like that in the UK in the late 70s – not at any meeting I was at though, but from people involved in Gay lib – who drove these individuals out.

      Later in France, people whose orgs I worked with, Guattari, for example, had these ‘libertarian’ ideas at the time.

      By the late 80s it had disappeared.

      Andrew Coates

      September 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm

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