Difference over Ukraine splits German Die Link
Published 4/5/2023 6:30 PM | Edited 4/7/2023 10:38 AM
In recent months, Germany’s Die Linke (“The Left”) party has struggled with the issue of agreeing on a position regarding the war in Ukraine. Die Linke – founded in 2007 after the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Labor and Social Justice Party – has a link to the ruling Marxist-Leninist party of the former East Germany through the PDS.
The problem is that only a handful of MPs and MEPs have any commitment to the kind of principled anti-imperialist politics that the legacy was supposed to bring with it. The party leadership has done little to distinguish Die Linke’s policy on war from the ruling coalition, while a handful of elected members are openly in favor of endless arms shipments to Ukraine while “we” fight Russia to the last. Ukrainian.
On February 10, 2023, Member of Parliament and leader of the Communist Platform (an association within Die Linke) Sahra Wagenknecht and feminist publicist Alice Schwarzer published their Manifesto for Peace petition. The Manifesto calls on German Chancellor Scholz to “stop the escalation of arms deliveries. Already!” and declared that the government should lead, at the German and European levels “a strong alliance for a ceasefire and peace talks“. The petition obtained more than 750,000 signatures. Wagenknecht and Schwarzer seized on this momentum and held a peace rally in Berlin on February 25 that, according to organizers, drew 50,000 demonstrators.
Die Linke’s leadership refused to support Wagenknecht and the peace demonstration. To cover their tracks, they used the fact that a handful of far-right politicians had signed the petition to argue that the protest would be a “front” demonstration with the far right. In reality, the protest was a great success. Wagenknecht told protesters in advance that there was no place for far-right symbols at the rally, but anyone who wanted peace “with an honest heart” would be welcome. The Communist Platform Council in Die Linke issued a statement in response to the accusation of “front with the extreme right” stating that “The demonstration was as unsuitable for the far right as a union demonstration would be for business people if a few business people joined it.”.
On the eve of the rally, the president of the scientific council of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the philosopher Michael Brie, wrote an opinion article in the newspaper New Germany accusing the Die Linke leadership of “backing off and demobilizing” the rally. He criticized the leadership over accusations of alliance with the far right, pointing out that historic anti-NATO and anti-war movements “they should not be seen in pure socialist form. They are great because they are heterogeneous and united in a single issue. In doing so, they change policy – through breadth, clear direction and pinpoint accuracy. The ‘Manifesto for Peace’ has it all.” Importantly, Brie called Die Linke to set up a special party congress to solidify the party’s position on the war.
On March 5, the Federal Committee of Die Linke voted a motion asking the Committee to establish a special congress to “substantiate the fundamental question of the political position of peace of the left…” The motion was rejected by 24 votes to 22 with six abstentions. 
The party might not have survived the special congress, but it is now losing members on both the left and right. On the Friday before the vote on the motion, Sahra Wagenknecht publicly declared that she would not run again for Die Linke. Since then, Wagenknecht has floated the idea of founding a new party, stating that she no longer has any dealings with the current party executive and that Die Linke is following a course that “has almost nothing to do with my idea of sensible left-wing politics.” In late March, former party co-chair Katja Kipping even opined that Die Linke should “update” its traditional anti-NATO stance.
Will Wagenknecht and other militants on the German left be able to rally enough support for this project in the short term and provide an instrument for the obviously significant German anti-war moment as “The Left” turns right?
Fonte: Socialist Voice
Translated by Wevergton Brito