Trojan horse with a horseshoe –

An appeal “for the people’s left” by Sahra Wagenknecht and her supporters in the party and the parliamentary bloc, which was published on May 31, three weeks before the upcoming National Congress of the party, has attracted a lot of attention. The signatories write that DIE LINKE must change if it is to survive. But even this call shows no way out of the party’s crisis.

Written by Thys Wilking, Rheinbeck

What is remarkable about the short text is that it is intended to be “common” within the party. It mainly consists of things that are taken for granted, which the vast majority of LINKE members can declare themselves with. For tactical reasons, the Wagenknecht wing refrains from expressing all positions assessed as unable to win a majority in the party. There are no concessions to racist attitudes in immigration policy, anti-queer attacks on “alien minorities,” and the relativization of the importance of fighting climate change, contrary to what has been reported in most Sarah Wagenknecht’s statements and texts in recent years.

Wagenknecht disguise

Instead, there are statements about poverty and inequality that hardly anyone at Die Linke publicly contradicts. Apparently, the positions of the call themselves are combative and left-wing. Participation in the abandonment of the goals of the left is criticized, and the authors speak clearly against arms deliveries and rearmament. Some of the sentences even seem to relate to the unitary class politics that Wagenknecht already rejected, when speaking of “common class interests” and the left supposedly entrenching itself among people “regardless of gender, among those born here as well as immigrants and people with disabilities”. Wagenknecht’s criticism of the explicit stance against discrimination shines through only in the party’s demand that people “should not teach morally from above”.

At the same time, there are warnings of “unrealistic and exaggerated demands” as well as indirectly against criticism of the union leadership. The criticism that “opportunistic pursuit of joint government at the cost of abandoning the aims of the left” may be harmful to the party is vaguely worded. Socialist ministers from Thuringia, Berlin or Bremen could also claim that they never gave up their leftist aims, but unfortunately the restrictions did not allow the government to act accordingly. The result is a document with no content, and in fact the caller occupies a middle position in the party.

With their signature, the signatories also buy the commitment to Sahra Wagenknecht. This is not mentioned by name, but the sentence “May we […] Do not do without well-known and recognized personalities “is understandable to everyone.

why all that?

It seems that the initiators of the “popular left” are not primarily concerned with advancing the content of the points mentioned in the appeal. In the election campaign of the party chief executive and above all for the office of president, they want to send an effective signal in the media and gather supporters behind them. This call is thus part of the ongoing struggle for power between the majority of the parliamentary group, the so-called “Horseshoe” of the Wagenknecht camp and the orthodox party around Dietmar Partsch, and the former executive majority of the party. Although the “Horseshoe” candidates for the party leadership, Soren Bellman and Heidi Reichenek, were not among the first signatories, it is clear in the context of discussions in recent months and years that the signature must signify support for their candidacy.

With the call, “Horseshoe” presents itself as a force to renew the party. At first, this seems reliable, because the other promising candidates for the presidency, Janine Whistler and Martin Sherdoan, persist in contradictions and disputes over cooperation between the left movement and the “liberal left” part of the right-wing party rejecting the positions of Sahra Wagenknecht.

It is likely that their election was accompanied by “business as usual”, a continuation of the previous course of unproductive compromises and a “plurality” of opposites. On the basis of this kind of pluralism everyone is allowed to remain in the party and put forward their proposals, including the Marxist minorities, but at the same time, at least in the general perception, there will be a modification of the SPD and the Green Party and a purely parliamentary orientation complemented by dissonant tones of conflict.

The tactical alliance of large parts of the party left with the critical Wagenknecht right and abstaining from explicit criticism of their own course of accommodation push the members, who are rightly dissatisfied with the government’s participation and the coalition offer before the last federal elections, into the arms of the “popular left”.


But if the “horseshoe” or supporters of the call succeed in winning the election at the party convention, the question arises as to what form the required renewal should take. Since the call for this does not offer any programmatic basis, he fears that the “popular left” will eventually turn into a Trojan horse and that the party will commit itself to the positions formulated by Sahra Wagenknecht in her book “The Righteous – My Abacus”.

Then Common Class Interests will be just a rant, and the party will isolate more people who fight against racism and queers, for climate justice and feminist stances and will not pursue a unitary class policy, but a backward reformist policy under the illusion of a struggle for a nationally limited welfare state as in the sixties.

Given Sahra Wagenknecht’s popularity, Linke’s rise again in the polls cannot be ruled out. But within the party and as far as activists in the movements, it would be a devastating development, and there would be a clear shift to the right. Many young activists were leaving the party. If the “horseshoe” dominates the party as well as the parliamentary apparatus, the air will become weak for revolutionary critical positions.

No need for a second horseshoe

The left wing should not oppose Wagenknecht-Bartsch with its “horseshoe” with other social democrats within the party. The left of the party must take a clearly anti-capitalist left position, based on social struggles, with the explicit goal of rooting itself in the working class, and emphasizing the “social question” in such a way that the struggle against any form of discrimination is included.

SAV members, who are delegates to the Federalist Party Convention, will elect Janine Whistler, but we do not endorse Trojan Left, Martin Schirdewan, or other candidates who seek to participate in government, soften peace policy positions or oppose: racist and anti-sexist positions.

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