The young politicians as old ideologists

The Juso Chairman Kevin Kühnert is courted by the media and sold in constant regularity as the future of the SPD. The reflection pages always viewed these personnel with great skepticism. Especially on peace policy issues, Kühnert has repeatedly proved to be a zero number. A recent Interview that Kühnert gave to the world shows how justified our skepticism was and is. In this he exerts a massive influence on the internal party debate of the left and shoots with sharp arrows at the left Deputy Andrej Hunko, whom he calls a “whimsical uncle”. Kühnert’s resentment is directed above all at the criticism of the corona measures and the peace policy of parts of the left. The Left party is “difficult to take seriously” and a red-red-green coalition is inconceivable. A steep template for the Kipping-wing that wants to bring the left party is already in the contentious issues on the coalition and on the SPD course.

So there are “a few people” in the Left party whom the Juso chairman “can hardly take seriously”. According to Kühnert, this includes above all “a Mr. Hunko who goes to Venezuela and meets with Maduro there or who goes to so-called Hygiene Demos”. Mr. Hunko was therefore “not a Partner” for him. The SPD politician “expects” (sic!) of a “party that wants to take responsibility”, that it does not"raise every whimsical uncle to office over and over again". Thus, he obviously alludes to Hunko’s election as Group Vice-President. Water on the mills of the Kipping wing, which also wants to put the party on a coalition course in Kühnert’s sense and which already represents congruent positions such as Kühnert in peace policy issues and in the criticism of the Corona measures.

What is the content of this? Let’s start with the “so-called Hygiene-Demos”. It is true that Andrej Hunko gave a speech at a Demonstration organized by left-wing activists against the Corona measures. The content of this speech is published on Hunko’s website and Kevin Kühnert could have looked at this speech and taken a position on the content. What Hunko says is extremely differentiated. But for Kühnert there is apparently only black or white in this respect – either you stand, like him, unreservedly behind everything that the federal government decides, or you are a “whimsical uncle”. This is precisely the populism that Kühnert always indignantly criticizes with others; a rift between extremes that leaves no room for shades of grey and differentiated positions. But since Kühnert and Kipping can certainly lend a hand. What this ideological refusal of discourse is supposed to have to do with a progressive and emancipatory policy propagated by the left is certainly neither bold nor tipping.

It is also significant that as a second precondition for a red-red-green coalition, Kühnert has picked out precisely a departure from peace policy, which fortunately is still held up in the Left party by politicians such as Andrej Hunko. Specifically, Kühnert criticizes Hunko’s visit to Venezuela, during which he “met with Maduro”. Of course, Kevin Kühnert also knows that Hunko met in Venezuela not only “with Maduro”, but also with the opposition leader Guaidó and many others. It is presumptuous to criticise a member of Parliament who speaks to all parties to the conflict and makes an impression on himself about the situation in a state for exactly this. Shortening this dialogue to a meeting with Maduro is as manipulative as it is spiteful. If Kühnert were now an avowed representative of the transatlantic wing, this shortening would at least have to be understood. Kühnert, however, is the chairman of a youth organization that has traditionally advocated precisely this dialogue, relaxation instead of confrontation, and an active peace policy. But that is unfortunately history.

Today’s Jusos are obviously fully on line. This is also confirmed by Kühnert’s statement in a previous Interview with the editorial network Germany. In it, he even links his criticism of the alleged “courting” of “autocrats like Nicolas Maduro” directly to the SPD’s decision that “Bundeswehr operations may be necessary to curb human rights violations.” One speaks with all parties to the conflict, the other thinks publicly about a Bundeswehr deployment. Peace policy, war policy there. Wonders Who here is a “whimsical uncle”.

It is also noteworthy that Kühnert demonizes meetings with Maduro on every occasion, but has never lost a word about the fact that his comrade Heiko Maas posed for a Handshake with the reactionary Brazilian President Bolsonaro in front of the cameras. Good autocrats, bad autocrats? Why is a meeting with Maduro an exclusion criterion for a coalition, while a meeting with Bolsonaro is not even worth a critical footnote to the Supreme young socialist? Obviously, the young politician has already perfectly internalized the system of double Standards.

But even this criticism is actually naive, at least it starts from the claim that Kühnert could think progressive. That this is not the case, especially in peace policy issues, should not be surprising. Two years ago, Albrecht Müller had already expressed his criticism of the “proponent of war” Kühnert. If you are very naive and benevolent, you could have said at that time: the man is still young and you should give him the Chance to develop. This hope should be buried by now. Kühnert’s peace policy ideas are undoubtedly disappointing and could thus also fit 1:1 with the Greens. If he ever expresses himself critically on peace policy issues, then he does not go beyond half-baked phrases, such as the criticism of arms deliveries to conflict areas, which are not wrong, but also not particularly ambitious.

Kühnert’s statements show how important it is that the Left party in particular does not join the chorus of war supporters. Otherwise, we in the Bundestag would have a very large steel helmet coalition, ranging from the AfD to all current and former government parties to the Left party. Today, the Left party is – at least in part-the only parliamentary corrective to Germany’s reawakened tendency towards saber-rattling and transatlantic dominance in political discourse. If the left abandons this unique selling point without necessity, it makes itself superfluous and interchangeable. What is the difference between a Kipping left and the Greens? Then why should the voter choose the copy and not the Original? And apart from such power-arithmetic questions: who then is the voice of reason, The Voice of the policy of détente and The Voice of peace? The Left party should therefore use Kühnert’s influence for a reality check and position itself now even more progressive and peace-political. And if the price is the kühnert cal clearance of the coalition’s inability, then so be it. According to Willy Brandt, it should be said: there is no point in winning government participation for the left if the price is for not being left anymore.