I.Some fires have to be put out in the Left Party. That is already evident in the first speech at the online party conference this weekend. “We go through every fire together”, says the co-chair Susanne Hennig-Wellsow about the cooperation with the co-chair Janine Wissler.
Hennig-Wellsow will probably have little choice on Saturday than to openly address the party’s difficult situation. She talks about a “certain woundedness, a certain uncertainty” in view of the polls and the election results in Saxony-Anhalt. Many wondered why the party was between six and eight percent. You perceive “anger and anger” about the fact that discussions are taking place in their own ranks and not always in a productive way. In doing so, she is likely to allude to the couple Oskar Lafontaine and Sahra Wagenknecht, the two prominent leftists who recently had only bad things to say about their party. “We don’t go down,” says Hennig-Wellsow. “We are the Left Party. We are in the class struggle. “
Hennig-Wellsow sends a clear signal for the federal election campaign, which Wissler and co-parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch lead as a top duo, to the SPD and the Greens. The fact that there is now resistance against the left does not surprise them “at all”. “You experience that the progressive camp is basically under attack, be it the Greens, be it the SPD, be it us.” A government with CDU and FDP, she says later, means “in fact a fight against the poor”.
The party leader tries an emotional speech. She wanted to call for “that you actually do politics with your heart, that you see with your heart, because you can see best with your heart anyway, you also know that from the little prince when you read him at some point”. She talks about the older man who collects bottles and about the mother who can no longer lubricate the school sandwich for her children because there is not enough money. Can she use it to create the mood she wants on the screens at home? Rhetorically, in any case, their appearance is weak. Hennig-Wellsow speaks with a tight voice, has to clear his throat often. You may be making the heat in the Berlin hall where the speeches are being given.
Hennig-Wellsow’s tension is palpable even in the live stream when she talks about the split in the party and Comrade Lafontaine. “We are one and there are no two parties,” says Hennig-Wellsow. And she opens up to the audience: “I was with Oskar yesterday.” She was with him out of “deep conviction” that one should talk to one another. “Oskar co-founded our party, we are now 14 years old and we are now in the situation where it depends on us.”
Lafontaine, the co-founder of the Left, who is now the parliamentary group leader in Saarland, recently called for the Left Party not to vote with a second vote in the federal elections. Lafontaine accuses the Saarland top candidate for the federal election, Thomas Lutze, of buying votes in the previous federal election. Lutze denies that.
Hennig-Wellsow does not pronounce the name Sahra Wagenknecht in her speech. Wagenknecht runs as the top candidate for the left in North Rhine-Westphalia for the federal election. In her current book “The Self-Righteous” she accuses left parties as a whole, and thus also her own, of being on the wrong course. Left parties have lost sight of the social issue and alienated traditional voters with low incomes with gender, climate or organic food debates. Several members requested that Wagenknecht be expelled. Even before the party congress, the party leadership had tried to smooth things over and criticized the exclusion proposal.
Core issue of social justice
This weekend will also show whether Wagenknecht has a point. The 574 delegates debate and vote on the draft of the Bundestag election program proposed by the party executive. There are numerous amendments. The program is entitled: “Time to act. For social security, peace and climate justice “. Logically, the party advertises itself in the social media with the hashtag #sozialklimagerecht.
Federal Managing Director Jörg Schindler highlighted the classic core issue of his party before the party congress: social justice. “That is the foundation of our election platform. Overcoming the social divide between rich and poor and stopping climate change are the central tasks of our time, ”says Schindler. That has been “criminally neglected” in the past few decades. “The Left is stepping up to correct that.” In the draft of the election manifesto, the Left is calling for a minimum wage of 13 euros, a solidarity minimum pension of 1200 euros and a guaranteed minimum income of the same amount.
Debates on foreign policy in particular are eagerly awaited. One application calls for the Bundeswehr to be able to deploy abroad if the United Nations has a mandate to do so. Foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr are excluded in the draft of the election program. That would be a major obstacle for possible coalition talks with the SPD and the Greens.