Dead Men Left

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Since I'm here... something on the tensions inside the Left Party:

With the Linkspartei’s initial success a debate has arisen. We want a new left — but what should it look like? How should it differ from the old left?

The process of forming the new party has brought together very different political forces—former SPD members, trade union officials, activist from the anti-globalisation movement, the revolutionary left and now the PDS.

These forces are united in their opposition to neo-liberalism, but they have different outlooks on the political tasks ahead. A majority, including Oskar Lafontaine, wants to follow a strategy of “reclaiming our party” — albeit outside the SPD. This would involve forming a new SPD, standing on the vision of the welfare state the SPD had during the 1970s.

I'd tend, at this point, to see these arguments as evidence of a healthy dynamic within the organisation rather than its degeneration. That dynamic tension depends on maintaining some relationship to a working-class base; no doubt many fresh debates will erupt immediately following the election, but at the moment the Left Party is storming along.