Nevertheless, nimh, the PDS, and by extension Die Linke, lies beyond the realm of respectable parties for me. It's not a matter of ideology -- Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinic may well be as far left as Lafontaine and Bisky, and I do consider them respectable. But when a party suppresses a country for 40 years, the least I can do is shun it. I'm sure you would feel the same if there was a successor party to the Nazis. It wouldn't assuage you if it was led by the likes of Albert Speer rather than the likes of Joseph Goebbels.
(That wasn't meant to trigger Godwin's law.)
old europe wrote:Hey nimh, didn't you favor "Die Linke" on that German elections thread, though?
I take it that is in reply to my post that I would never vote for a communist? :wink:
Well, I'd go even further: I would pretty much never vote for an ex-communist either.
Thats why I would never have supported the PDS (the ex-communist party of East-Germany).
So I think it was wonderful that last year, finally, Die Linke was formed, in which the PDS merged with the mostly West-German WASG, an initiative of dissatisfied leftwing Social-Democrats, trade union activists and the odd Green dissenter.
Even if, like you (I presume) and me, you dont really accept the word of PDS folks that they are no longer (or even never were) a communist, Die Linke still had plenty of folks that had never been associated with any communist party, ever! For one, its national number 1 candidate, Oskar Lafontaine (ex-Social-Democrat).
In Holland, I am a member of the Green Left. The Green Left, back in the late eighties, was formed as a merger between four parties of what used to be called "the small left". The three main ones were the left-Christian Radicals, the Pacifist Socialists (those of the original "third way") and, yes, the Communists. At one point (back in 1994) they had an ex-communist in the top spot, so I switched. But by now, former Communists are hard to find.
Walter Hinteler wrote:Well, the WSAG isn't - in my opinion - mainly influenced by former SPD-members but mainly ny unionists who were DKP (and other extreme left mini parties) members.
Klaus Ernst seems to have been the most important WASG-leader until Lafontaine came on to the scene.. and he's ex-SPD.
Lafontaine joined the WASG once it became clear that it would join with the PDS in a common list, and of course instantaneously became its most influential member - it was he who gave a last rousing speech exhorting the WASG delegates to vote for merger. And he, obviously, is a former national SPD-leader.
Ulrich Maurer stood as the WASG's #1 in Baden-Wurtemburg in 2005, and was the first ever WASGler in a state parliament - when he switched over from the SPD. And he'd actually been the leader of the SPD in that state for nine years.
Next to Ernst, Axel Troost appears to be one of the two most important WASG-leaders aside from Lafontaine. He's not ex-SPD, but he's not ex-DKP either. Just a union activist. And formerly with the alternative youth movement Attac. Hardly the same cup of tea as the DKP's Leninists.
And obviously, the mass of West-German voters for the WASG/Linkspartei list in 2005 were not DKPlers or Trotskyites either - I mean, they got 5% of the vote in the West. [..]
Of course, in Die Linke they are a lot easier to find. But to equate the Linke with the ex-/former-communists is just not right anymore.
Anyway, although the people may be different, the PDS basically kept the property the SED had usurped as a state party. The Linke still owns this property today. My caveat "basically" means that some victims successfully sued to get their confiscated houses back etc., and that the PDS sold some property to pay for damages they were convicted to pay in other lawsuits. But apart from this, the ex-SED has kept its ill-gotten belongings throughout their multiple rebrandings.
Feel free to disagree, but that's a big deal for me.
I consider it outside the realm of democratic respectability -- on par with the NPD, the DVU, and Germany's Republicans.
I saw that an FDP politician said the same thing, that people should treat the Linke like they do the NPD, and I thought it sounded somewhat hysterical.
Then again, I also feel that the CDU/CSU, back in the day, shouldnt have blithely accepted scores of former Nazis into their ranks, appointing them to government and party positions of major significance.
In fact, I'm guessing that you might vote for the PP over Zapatero's Socialists, if you'd live in Spain? Or would have voted for the PP in the past, over Gonzales's Socialists, back before the Iraq war?
You dont think that the fact that the NPD actually propagates fascist politics, and the Linke argues for nothing much more than old-fashioned SPD politics makes a difference, at all? I mean, apart from the whole personnel question of Die Linke PDS?
NPD secretary general Peter Marx is quoted by with Spiegel-online today: "Lafontaine advances in foreign politics unblamished and totally authentic NPD-positions."
I agree -- but at least they started up their own party with their own money. They didn't continue the NSDAP with some prettier faces at the top and the money of disowned Jews in the safe.
Allright.. so what about the governing Hungarian ex-communists of Ferenc Gyurcsany, or the Bulgarian ones? Or the previously governing Polish or ex-communists, or Brazauzkas's party in Lithuania?
Are they also beyond the realm of decency? The equivalents of the extreme right?
nimh wrote:Are they also beyond the realm of decency? The equivalents of the extreme right?
I'm not well enough informed about them to know about any redeeming characteristics they might have. But until I see such characteristics, and unless they are very, very impressive, my answer is yes. Yes, they are beyond the realm of decency for me.
But.. back to you, Thomas. Couple of questions, then.
First one: do you have an idea of what party you might vote for here in Hungary? I mean, obviously, you're not intimately acquainted with the party system here, but I'm guessing you might know enough to have a suspicion or the like?
Second. You've argued that the PDS, and even the new Left party now, are actually "on par" with the neo-nazi NPD. That goes for Prime Minister Gyurcsany's Socialists and the like elsewhere too, then?
I dont know what your opinion is about how the NPD should be treated, where it is represented in state parliament, like in Sachsen. Are you in favour of a cordon sanitaire like in Belgium, where parties agree not to cooperate or negotiate with the Flemish Block, for example? Should the NPD be isolated?
I'm asking, of course, because your equation of Central Europe's ex-communist parties with neo-nazi groups raises questions here. I mean, how would you propose the EU to handle this then, being confronted with a set of member states governed and represented by what you see as the equivalent of a neo-nazi party?
Third. Since merely adopting a democratic political program; refraining from defending past dictatorships; and having a parliamentary group mostly unconnected with the past dictatorship; all do not, as you say, make enough of a difference to change the underlying principle, what would the Linke have to do, exactly, to become part of the realm of decency?
If it would give away those old SED-inherited properties, for example, would that by itself be enough for the party to be accepted again?
Leo Stefan Schmitt, an compagnion of Lafontaine's old times in the Saarland, but he stayed in the SPD (latest position "Fraktionsgeschäftsführer" in the Saxonian state parliament), left the SPD today and joins Die Linke.
And "Fraktionsgeschäftsführer" means he was.. leader of the SPD group in the parliament of Sachsen?