A writer in Germany describes the situation there and is uncertain how to vote:
In Germany, elections for the Bundestag are coming up (a government and a chancellor are elected), and as a left-wing voter you don’t know who to vote for.
Although the party Die Linke is anyway divided and half bourgeois-reformist, it has been a lifeline for us for many years – after all, a parliamentary party that stands for socialism and for the rights of the poor, for redistribution from top to bottom.
Now, however, according to a recent poll, Die Linke is at 7%, which would be its worst result ever after years of decline.
Is it worth voting for Germany’s only left-wing parliamentary party?
At the same time, a miracle happened. While the conservative Union (CDU & CSU) lost 13 points, probably due to the unsympathetic chancellor candidate Armin Laschet, and now only gets 20%, the SPD passed them, for the first time in ages, and is at 25%.
Incomprehensibly, their candidate for chancellor is liked by many.
For a while it even seemed that we might get a Green chancellor, but that candidate, Annalena Baerbock, made a few, actually small, mistakes, which, as a woman, were held against her, torn apart by the media and widely reported.
The Greens are currently in third place, which would at least mean that the SPD and the Greens together could replace the unbearable permanent rule of the CDU/CSU.
Now the left voter asks himself / herself, what’s the point of all this, capitalist party remains capitalist party, no matter whether painted black or green. [NOTE: Black is the color of the CDU.]
That’s true, of course – but besides the class struggle, we have another very urgent problem: nature is dying, and it’s doing so very quickly.
In the person of Julia Klöckner (CDU), the very worst, most pro-capitalist, most lobbyist agriculture minister ever is currently sitting in the German Bundestag. She works so obviously and brazenly for the interests of the agricultural and chemical corporations that she absolutely must leave office!
And there is another side of the Union that is important. If the CDU is re-elected to government, there will be two extreme right-wing hardliners in the government:
Friedrich Merz, a hard-core advocate of capitalism and ex-Black Rock employee, and Hans-Georg Maaßen, a former president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, who is close to fascist circles and hostile to migration.
And now, dear readers, I have a question for you, because I don’t know what to do.
What would you do in this situation?
Vote Green or SPD for once in your life, continue to vote for Die Linke in a hopeless position, or something completely different?
Oaklandsocialist comments: We welcome any thoughts on this situation and any replies to this writer’s question.
Wow. What a political quagmire. In that position, I’d vote Green or SPD. Otherwise I wouldn’t vote at all. Continuing to vote for Die Linke, which has been on socio-political life support for years, is pointless. After voting Green or SPD, I’d recommend convening with like-minded folks and start the process of forming something new, even if its a network of independent leftists that agitate , educate, and organize within an existing formation or to build a base of support for independent candidates in local elections.
WHO GERMAN LEFTISTS SHOULD VOTE FOR
As an American who has lived most of his life in (East) Berlin (I was a McCarthy-Era-refugee), I found the article informative and fair. The question raised is a valid one: How should German leftists vote?
But first a correction: Hans-Georg Maassen, ex-president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and close to fascist circles, is indeed running for a seat in the Bundestag on the Christian (CDU) ticket, to the embarrassment of some in that party. But he has never been suggested even by his soul-mates as a possible Cabinet minister.
And another; I think the sharp popularity loss of the Greens party was less because its leader, Annalena Baerbock, committed “a few, actually small, mistakes, which, as a woman, were held against her.” Not the pervasive plagiarism in her book, the embellishments of her vita or “forgotten” tax payments but a widespread feeling that the goody-goody charm she so obviously stressed was not genuine but a mask for an unprincipled politician willing to ally politically with anyone. For 16 years a majority believed Merkel to be sincere. But Baerbock – not for two months!
But why should leftists vote for the party Die Linke?
It is indeed divided and, all too true, many of its leaders and deputies lean disturbingly close to compromises, with dreams of joining the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens in a ruling coalition in Germany – such as now exists in the state of Thuringia and the city-state Berlin. On the national level those two parties insist that Die Linke must first give up its opposition to NATO and to foreign deployment of the Bundeswehr army. Some in Die Linke would agree to this, hoping for a cabinet seat or two with good staff jobs, perks and increased respectability in western Germany, where the party is stll constantly red-baited.
The leftist sectors of the party insist that any compromise on these issues would rob Die Linke of its parliamentary position as solitary party of peace, making it virtually a second edition of the SPD – and thus largely superfluous.
Die Linke is not a monolith, but an arena, with various groups and individuals moving in contrasting directions. While it is vitally necessary to fight for militant, class-conscious and anti-imperialist positions within the party, it is desperately necessary to save it, to keep it alive. Current polls give it only 6%. With less than 5% of the vote it would lose its status as a caucus in the Bundestag – and thus its possibilities to appear in the media. Regardless of inner differences, it alone has never supported intervention abroad, always opposed the armament build-up and export, growing pressures on the jobless, the underpaid, the seniors, the children, and also for the environment without any nasty deals with big fuel and energy corporations. It alone has received no financial aid from big business. For good reason! It has also been most consistent in fighting fascist influences and organizations. And it is still supported by a few million people.
This means that, while it should not get blind support, it takes leftist positions again and again – now calling for seizure of giant real estate companies in Berlin, and remains a desperately necessary counterpart to the rightwing or sell-out parties which want to demolish it, a political bulwark property which, despite cracks and threats, needs to be fought for! If it should miss that 5% limit in the elections on September 26th the working people of Germany will have lost a major voice and barrier against all those evil forces – like Bayer and BASF, Daimler and the Deutsche Bank, which have been cheating on environment, trying to expand their poliical, economical and military gains and continue, as ever more muscular junior partners of the Pentagon and Wall Street, in attempts to gain hegemony in the entire world.
This is your reporter from Germany writing again. Recently, I puzzled over here which party I should vote for in the upcoming federal elections.
As always, the Left Party, which, however, is currently at an all-time low in the polls with 6%?
Or one of the bourgeois parties, the SPD or the Greens, so that finally, after 16 years, the reign of the CDU is ended and after the elections a more environmentally friendly policy is implemented?
Now I found an answer for myself.
I will cast both votes for Die Linke, because it is the only parliamentary party that stands up for the rights of the poor.
The exact reason for this was a letter we just received from our landlord.
At last, new, economical gas boilers are being installed in the flats (we heat with gas, and the water is also heated this way).
However, the landlord, a millionaire from Munich, is passing on the costs for this completely to the tenants, so that our monthly operating costs will increase from € 40 to € 150 €.
In our house, in our neighbourhood, mainly poor people live, and for the tenants in our house this is an absolute financial disaster.
That’s why we have to fight, and that’s why I vote left.