Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2021

German general election

Die Linke party leadership ditches left policies

The Left Party, Die Linke, has seen its support drop to between 6% and 8%

The Left Party, Die Linke, has seen its support drop to between 6% and 8%   (Click to enlarge)

Opinion polls in the last weeks before the 26 September German general election have shown rapid changes, especially for the two main contenders - the conservative Christian Democrat CDU-led bloc and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). These two parties, currently in a ruling 'grand coalition', have seen big swings in their standings.

The CDU's support is down by a third since 2017 and, in some polls, is currently around 21% - practically its lowest ever. The SPD, which just over two years ago was as low as 12% in the polls, has recovered and is now polling around 25%, a big improvement but still way below the 38.5% it won in 2002.

The left party, Die Linke, has seen its support drop to between 6% and 8%, perilously close to the 5% threshold to get into the national parliament, and seriously down on the 9.2% it won in 2017.

Die Linke failed to gain from the previous sharp fall in the SPD's support and, now, in desperation, its four national leaders have rushed out an 'emergency programme', which they hope can make Die Linke be seen as a potential coalition partner by the SPD and Greens, and thereby worth voting for.

Sascha Stanicic, the national spokesperson for Sol (CWI in Germany) and a Die Linke party congress delegate for the Anti-capitalist Left current, explains the significance of this development.

As a delegate to the national party congress of Die Linke, one wonders these days why delegates bothered to read an election programme, discuss amendments, hold a special party congress in June and finally vote on it. Because on 6 September four people - the party and parliamentary group leaders - presented an "immediate programme for a change of policy" which effectively threw the party's election programme into the dustbin.

The issue is not only about what is in this emergency programme - which not even the party executive could read, let alone discuss, before it was published! - it is about the signal sent out by this publication.

Whoever thinks that this signal is a clever move to mobilise votes in the last weeks of the election campaign is mistaken. The opposite will be the case; endangering the chance of Die Linke being returned to the Bundestag.


A government alliance with the SPD and the Greens would be a voluntary political retreat - the abandonment of left programmes and of the actual mission of a left and socialist party to propagate an alternative to the capitalist system and to organise and mobilise people for it. All experience with government participation of left parties in coalitions with pro-capitalist parties shows this.

If Die Linke wants to get out of its present hole, it must make its role clear to those voters who no longer feel represented by the established parties. It must make it clear that it does not belong to the political establishment, which fewer and fewer people trust.

But because they want to belong to the club of those who can govern, Die Linke's main leaders eat 'humble pie' and have a reflex reaction to soften policies when faced with any accusation of being too radical.

Janine Wissler

An example of political retreat was seen on the recent Anne Will TV talk show. There, Janine Wissler (co-chair of Die Linke) was confronted with her not-so-long-ago past as a member of the Marx21 network. Anne Will read out a long quote from Marx21's general socialist principles - which said many right things about the need to overcome capitalism.

But the co-chair did not respond confidently and take the offensive. The principles of the political current to which Wissler belonged for 20 years are suddenly, according to her, now just "some internet pages".

In particular, Wissler emphasised that what had been read out had nothing to do with her own position on a government coalition with the SPD and the Greens. After all, Wissler pointed out, she herself had held exploratory talks in the federal state of Hesse, and had demonstrated her willingness to form a coalition there.

Why didn't she say: "You know, Ms Will, this country and this world could do with a revolution. That means a fundamental change of circumstances, including changing the distribution of wealth, the power relations in society and, yes, also the ownership of resources to end the situation where a few dozen banks and large corporations control the world economy and thus determine the lives of billions of people.

I have no confidence that the SPD and the Greens want to change anything fundamental. They have had long enough and often enough opportunities to do so. I think something will only change if people stand up en masse, so that the millions of workers finally get wages they can live on, so that rents finally go down, so that climate change is stopped and armaments and wars are ended.

All this is a product of the capitalist system. It is clear to me that the ladies and gentlemen here do not want to talk about it. They profit from it. That's why it's so important that there is Die Linke, which doesn't take part in this game and wants to change the conditions."

But Janine Wissler cannot say anything like that because, with Die Linke sitting in coalitions in the federal states of Thuringia, Berlin and Bremen, and the party leadership begging Baerbock and Scholz (the leading candidates of the Greens and SPD), to recognise its ability to govern, the party's actual practice contradicts making any statements on the above lines.

It is precisely the problem of Die Linke that its drive for coalitions with pro-capitalist parties contradicts its claims to be a socialist party in action and not just in its formal party programme.

Socialist course

We call on all members and supporters of the party to fight together with us and other socialists in the party, such as the Anti-Capitalist Left, for Die Linke to take a militant, socialist course. Without this, the party's very future can be at stake.

It is also necessary to put an end to the unspeakable practice of party and parliamentary group leaders bypassing the democratically elected bodies of the party. The party executive, which has been seen as a 'left' executive since its election in February, should call its two chairpersons and the parliamentary group's two chairpersons to order and end this method of operation.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 September 2021:

What we think

Workers' politics won't come from Labour


Working class under attack

NHS workers reject 3% insult

Energy market chaos makes the case for nationalisation

Tory cuts to Universal Credit: we need a union fightback

Interview: Bakers' union to vote on Labour disaffiliation

Tax fraud could be over £20 billion annually

Life expectancy falls - a condemnation of capitalism


Socialists and the four-day week


10 years since Occupy

Workplace news

End the teaching workload crisis

MOJ pay deal accepted - we demand 10%

Workers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

New strike dates in EMR guards dispute

Stop press: Sparks walk out

Oaks Park strikers call eleven days' more action


German general election


Unemployment, low pay, rip-off uni fees, climate change... Join the fight for Socialism

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs relaunched

W Sussex 'disability tax' - protest not going away

Fighting evictions in Cornwall

Leeds taxi drivers and disabled passengers unite to fight station changes

Socialist Students: Youth lit up when they saw us

York: Non-binary and trans rights protest

Readers' opinion

TV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis

Gleision mine deaths: Still fighting for justice

Corbyn had a social care plan

Who pays for the climate crisis?

Famine in Madagascar


Home   |   The Socialist 22 September 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleGerman election: A change of capitalist government, but disaster for Die Linke

triangleGermany: Flood disaster affects hundreds of thousands

triangleGerman Greens: The image and reality

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Rosa Luxembourg

triangleGermany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise

General election:

triangleNew voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

triangleCouncil cuts could cost Labour another general election

triangleWhat next after the general election, for PCS and the left

triangleHillingdon Socialist Party: Following the General Election, what next for socialists and trade unionists?


triangleTrade union support for standing anti-cuts election candidates

triangleCampaigning in Birmingham Erdington by-election

triangleBirmingham Erdington by-election


triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: What now for Ukraine and Russia?

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party


triangleWorkers and students unite and fight


triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine





For workers' unity against war in Ukraine



One year after the military coup in Myanmar



Canada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'



Ukraine: Workers' unity against capitalist warmongers and imperialist meddlers



CWI video on Ukraine



Pro-market Socialist Party wins Portugal's election



Oxfam 'Inequality Kills' report



Tamil Solidarity protest against repressive Sri Lankan regime



Ukraine: Workers' unity needed


Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday 50 years on


Burkina Faso

Coup d'état in Burkina Faso



France: Education workers and students walkout



School students strike in Austria



Trade unionists in the USA fighting back



Murder of Ashling Murphy sends shocks waves across Ireland and beyond

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022