Duitsland: artikel in The Irish Times over de discussie in de WASG

De discussies in de WASG leiden tot heel wat media-aandacht. Zowel in Duitsland als internationaal verschenen er verschillende artikels over de mogelijke fusie van de WASG en de PDS, en het verzet tegen een gezamenlijke lijst in Berlijn.Zo verscheen een artikel in het Nederlandse blad Trouw. Hieronder herpubliceren we een artikel dat recent verscheen in het Ierse dagblad Irish Times.


THE IRISH TIMES. May 1 2006

Self-confessed Trotskyite revolutionary Redler stirs up Germany’s political left

GERMANY: Lucy Redler is young, intelligent, is able to talk and has a revolutionary plan, writes Derek Scally in Berlin

The dream of Germany’s former finance minister Oskar Lafontaine to build a new, united Left Party has been dealt a severe blow by a 26-year-old self-confessed Trotskyite revolutionary.

Lucy Redler has stirred up Germany’s left with striking looks and striking arguments reminiscent of her idol Rosa Luxemburg, the socialist leader murdered in Berlin in 1919.

"The mainstream is breaking open and the terms socialism and anti-capitalism are acceptable again in polite society," said Ms Redler.

Analysing her appeal, the left-wing Tageszeitung wrote: "She has everything needed to guarantee attention and sympathy . . . she is young, intelligent, is able to talk and looks fabulous. And, she has a plan".

Her plan is to stir up resentment against the former Social Democrat (SPD) leader Oskar Lafontaine and the Left Party’s old Stalinists still unrepentant about the Berlin Wall and the Stasi secret police.

And in no time at all, Ms Redler has cleverly positioned herself at the centre of the blizzard of accusations and acronyms.

The Left Party is the new name for the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), itself the successor party to East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party (SED).

The SED was formed exactly 60 years ago in the Soviet sector of Berlin when the Communist Party (KP) forced a merger on the Soviet-sector SPD.

Now Ms Redler is accusing the SED successor party of trying the same strong-arm tactics to absorb the political grouping to which she belongs, the WASG.

This grouping – the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice – emerged from the protests against the economic and social reforms of the Schröder government, giving a new home to disillusioned SPD left-wingers, union supporters and far-left groupings.

The WASG scored its biggest coup when Mr Lafontaine returned from a six-year, self-imposed political exile to head the party.

To improve the party’s election chances, he opened strategic negotiations with leaders of the PDS who in turn saw the WASG as a chance to expand their influence beyond their eastern German stronghold.

Caught out by last year’s snap election, the PDS and WASG agreed an electoral alliance and won 54 seats in the new Bundestag.

Now the leaders have started the delicate process of merging the two parties that have a joint membership of 12,000, offering Lucy Redler her chance to steal the show.

Last week, she convinced the Berlin branch of the WASG to field its own candidates, including herself, in September’s state election.

Putting the party in direct competition with its supposed political partner was a provocative move designed to highlight the contradictions plaguing the PDS since it entered government with the SPD in Berlin.

Faced with a debt of nearly €50 billion, the so-called "red-red" coalition has slashed social spending and public sector salaries and sold off huge chunks of social housing to help balance its books.

"We don’t need a party that talks of socialism on Sundays and implements cutbacks on Mondays," she said recently, explaining her tactics.

The WASG moved swiftly to sideline Ms Redler and her Berlin comrades at a party conference on Saturday. But she has achieved her aim: exposing party doubts about its future bedfellows, and its leader.

Mr Lafontaine has won praise for his vision of a new left that is "anti-capitalist and anti-neo-liberal", but WASG members complained in a conference motion on Saturday that the merger with the PDS was driven by Mr Lafontaine’s own "ambition and showmanship".

In addition, WASG members from western states remain suspicious of the PDS for never distancing itself fully from the SED regime, the Berlin Wall and the Stasi secret police.

Just last week the former SED politician Hans Modrow, now honorary chairman of the PDS, said that "both [ German] states are responsible" for the deaths of those fleeing over the border from East Germany to the west.

There’s no love lost on the PDS side either. At a party conference on Saturday, leading PDS politician Petra Pau said she hadn’t been elected to the Bundestag to "support Trotskyite WASG sects".

"Whoever wants to be a revolutionary in cloud cuckoo land should do so to their heart’s content, but not with me and not with us," she said.

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