A new left wing party is contesting the regional elections in North Rhine and Westphalia in Germany this Sunday.
The Wahlalternative Arbeit und Soziale Gerechtigkeit (Electoral Alternative Labour and Social Justice) had its official founding conference two weekends ago.
There were 350 delegates from all over the country, representing 5,600 members.
There were people from trade unions, such as IG Metall and the public sector union, as well as those from the anti-capitalist movement, Christian backgrounds and migrant organisations.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green coalition government of Gerhard Schröder has continued the destruction of the welfare state begun by the previous Tory government.
It has brought in measures against the working class, reducing unemployment benefits. Unemployment has risen to five million.
Many people are frightened for the future and are refusing to vote for the SPD. People believe we have to draw a line in the sand to defend the welfare state.
North Rhine and Westphalia has 16 million inhabitants and has been an SPD stronghold. The government could fall if it loses these elections.
At our conference a leading member declared that the Electoral Alternative welcomed George Galloway’s election success in Britain.