Socialist Worker

Forging a new left party in Germany

Thomas Handel, a leading figure in the IG Metall union and an MP for the new Left Party in Germany, told the recent Respect conference about the challenge facing the left

Issue No. 1980

The breakthrough at the general election, with the 54 MPs for the Left Party returned, was a great advance for the left.

The election also showed there is a left majority in Germany. The campaign by the SPD, equivalent to New Labour, voiced opposition to neo-liberalism, even though the outgoing SPD-led government had implemented a major programme of welfare cuts.

Now we have a grand coalition government of the conservative CDU and the SPD. The government is pledged to launch a series of measures that will hit working people.

There is going to be resistance from the unions. The new left in parliament and outside faces a series of important questions.

You need to understand that it is not yet a party. It is composed of people like me who were supporters of the SPD inside the unions — we formed the WASG election alternative.

The other part of it is from the former Communist PDS, which has support mainly in the east.

We are looking to form a new party in 2007. I believe that the new party should not simply be a coming together of the old left of the PDS and the younger old left of the WASG.

We need to be drawing in newer forces from the social movements in Germany.

What we have is a very good start. But we are only beginning to forge a radical new left force in Germany. That requires being open to new models and ideas.


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International
Sat 10 Dec 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1980
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