A recent meeting of activists met and decided to officially launch a new left wing political party called Arbeit & Soziale Gerechtigkeit—Die Wahlalternative (The Work & Social Justice Election Alternative).
The meeting also decided that the new party should run in regional elections in North Rhine Westphalia — Germany’s most populous state and a stronghold for the SPD (the equivalent of the Labour Party).
Some 6,300 people have already been involved in the loose association that was the forerunner to the new party. They came from the SPD, the PDS (the former Communist Party), the Green Party and from a Christian socialist background. One of our candidates in Westphalia is a well known pastor.
We have received support from important sections of the union movement. Of the 14 people on the executive, six are trade union officials, including regional leaders of unions. Discontent with the ruling SPD is growing. The neo-liberal agenda pursued by the SPD has seen a growth in poverty.
Another 1.5 million children are expected to fall into poverty this year. Unemployment has soared and official figures are now approaching five million, the highest figure for 60 years. Unemployment is being made worse by the introduction of the Hartz IV laws at the start of the year. This is one of the biggest ever attacks on welfare and labour legislation and has added to the bitterness.
Our aim now is to use the regional elections to show there is an alternative to the SPD.
For more information, in German, on the new party, go to www.w-asg.de