Dead Men Left

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Opposing collaboration

The interview with a Left Party activist at Lenin's Tomb has sparked a bit of a discussion about the co-operation of new left-wing parties with old social democrats in government. There's potentially a serious concern, given the way the PDS - one-half of the Left Party - has collaborated with the SPD in various local governments to impose the familiar neoliberal round of cuts in social spending.

Oskar Lafontaine himself, however, has ruled out the possibility:

German Left Party leader Oskar Lafontaine said he'll refuse to support his former ally, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, after next month's election even if that would stop opposition leader Angela Merkel taking power.

The chancellor's "Social Democrats are no partners for us," said Lafontaine, 61, who was once Schroeder's finance minister, in an interview in Berlin Aug. 27. "They're keeping to their welfare- cutting agenda. That's unacceptable to us."

It's a message that needs to be drummed home: the left can't work in government with any of the parties of neoliberalism. This isn't a dogmatic point: the rise of the new left across Europe has been fermented by the mass opposition to neoliberal politics. It would be immensely destructive to pretend otherwise. We're not here to join in the game that has been played for the last twenty-odd years. We're here to change the rules entirely.