by Klaus Dräger
In February 2018 Oskar Lafontaine wrote: “Do we need a movement of the political left accumulating broader forces (Sammlungsbewegung)? Yes, if we want social cuts to be halted, wages and pensions to rise again, foreign policy to reinstate Willy Brandt’s policy of detente, and the progressive destruction of our environment and species extinction to be stopped.” His analysis of the results of the German national election of autumn 2017 was that DIE LINKE Party with 9.2 per cent is too weak to challenge the rise of the political right and to fill the vacuum that the decline of the SPD has created. Pointing out Bernie Sanders in the U.S., Jeremy Corbyn in the UK or Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI) as new promising attempts to create broader movements against neo-liberalism by mobilizing via social media, he called: “Left, unite!” The aim is to appeal especially to those who have been disappointed and disillusioned for many years and who don’t see themselves represented any longer by the current political spectrum.
Sahra Wagenknecht (co-chair of DIE LINKE group in the German national parliament, the Bundestag), argued along the same line as her husband Lafontaine in numerous interviews and articles. Together with Bernd Stegmann, a theatre director, Wagenknecht announced on 6 August 2018 their common intention to launch a new ‘movement’ called ‘Aufstehen!’ (Stand up!): “In order to be able to make a different policy in Germany, other majorities are needed. To regain these, there must be a left-wing rallying movement that has the courage to engage with the powerful actors. The basis of such a movement is the classic social democratic tradition that politics cares about the material living conditions and ensures that they are good for all people and the opportunities are equally distributed.”