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LEFT peace policy in danger

The consistent rejection of the LINKEN, for example, of foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr has always been the target of attacks – from within and outside the party. In debates about a possible red-red-green alliance at the federal level, these important political positions come under additional pressure: after all, a “government capability” is linked to the renunciation of the LINKEN for the last unique selling point: consistent pacifism.

Kipping: No commitment to “red lines” of left-wing foreign policy

Here, a party leadership would have to give clear rebutts of the regularly emerging demands for compromises in the peace policy line – but this does not happen in an appropriate consequence. Once again, the attitude of co-party leader Katja Kipping is irritating. For example, in a recent interview by Kipping with the “Berliner Zeitung”, one does not read a single clear commitment to the “red lines” of the Left Party in foreign policy, which have come under fire, but all the more important.

For despite the massive differences in foreign policy with the SPD and especially the Greens, Kipping sees “still good chances to sit at the cabinet table next year”. How can this be done without the repeated breach of the party’s foreign policy principles demanded by the SPD and the Greens?

Emphasize pacifism - don’t hide shamefully

These principles are among the last remaining unique selling points of the LINKEN. But instead of emphasizing them and thereby increasing the electoral chances of the Left Party, Kipping demands that the SPD and the Left have put a lot of energy into saying what bothers them about the other. “Now is the time to emphasize what we can do together to bring about change.”

If there is a chance to “jointly prevent poverty, to better put the centre, to ensure a good future with peace policy and climate protection”, then “we will take this on”. Of course, this sounds nice and constructive – on the one hand. On the other hand, however, the positions of dominant parts of the SPD on foreign missions, Germany’s membership in NATO or arms control are no secret; the citizens have now been able to observe the SPD Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at work for a long time. Moreover, many neoliberal aspects of social democratic domestic and economic policy are also questionable, but this text is intended to be limited to foreign policy.

The foreign policy divides between the LEFT and the Greens seem even deeper. Although Kipping is explicitly addressed in the current interview about these serious differences, she is not to be drawn into the sometimes highly problematic green positions on foreign policy.

On the contrary, the controversial party leader is almost ashamed of the principles of the LINKEN, with which she would have to peddled. “Where are your foreign policy red lines?” the “Berliner Zeitung” asks. Kipping’s answer:

“There will have to be a fight about possible no-gos in the coalition talks.”

This is not a strong position. Do the ‘no-gos’ not have to be emphasized all the more before possible negotiations? They should be defended with pride and put in the foreground again and again: because they are politically important and because a consistent adherence to them significantly increases the chances of elections. Wouldn’t the slightest suspicion that the LINKE could sell the pacifist principles in the Coalition party for a ministerial post do serious damage to the party?

Pacifism: SPD and Greens would have to move

And wouldn’t it also be dangerous for the LINKEN to go into coalition negotiations on foreign policy “open to results”? Either they then have to make bitter and self-destructive compromises. If they do not, they can easily be defamed as destructive preventers of negotiations if a red-red-green coalition fails. In order to avoid this dilemma, the LINKEN leadership could make it clear beforehand: In matters of peace policy, the SPD and the Greens would have to move towards the LINKE, not the other way around.

Many media prefer the party leadership of the LINKEN over its internal critics. These tendencies can also be seen in the current interview: these critics would “complicate” coalitions, they practiced “double standards” or would even (oha!) speak of “anti-corona” demos, according to the “Berliner Zeitung”, which asks: Aren’t “potential coalitionists” “scared” by this? Indirectly, on the other hand, the “reformers in the party” are positioned.

LEFT leadership polarized

Kipping does not adequately counter this divisive view in the interview – once again. In doing so, it continues a polarizing behavior that weakens the party and which has reached its provisional climax in a strange intra-party bullying against dissidents– for example, against Sahra Wagenknecht. The current lavishness on the central topic of foreign policy and a sometimes rightly lamented linguistic and content distance from one’s own clientele and their everyday concerns is added.

Fortunately, the LINKE is diverse – but one would like the staff around Fabio De Masi, Sevim Dagdelen and Andrej Hunko to be strengthened more within the party and this would also be reflected in the appearance to the outside world. This external image is too dominated by Katja Kipping’s performances and comments.

“Fire-hazardous departure of the LEFT from left-wing politics”

Bernhard Trautvetter has published a contribution to the “dangerous departure of the LINKEN from left-wing politics”. In it Trautvetter describes a party landscape in Germany, in which the Greens, for example, had taken on more and more NATO positions. If the LINKE agrees to form a coalition with The Red-Green, there is a danger that this will be done at the expense of being close to the demands of the peace movement. In the tense international situation of the present, the LINKE is an “existentially important force in the struggle for a sustainable society”, so the peace-political positions should not be softened, according to the article, which also warns of the consequences of such a softening:

“This means that the nuclear strategy, the armament, the EU militarisation, the drone war strategy, the escalation of tensions against Russia and China, violations of international law, especially in the region between the Gulf, Mali and the Balkans, must be supported by such a policy. The same applies to propaganda lies of a necessary retrofitting of Russian military policy.”

There are also concerns about the steadfastness of the parliamentary left at European level. The fact that these concerns are well-founded is demonstrated by a recent “Peace Policy Appeal” to the members of the LINKEN in the European Parliament, initiated by well-known figures of the German peace movement, including Reiner Braun (International Peace Bureau, Campaign Stop Ramstein Airbase), Kristine Karch (Co-Spokesperson of the International Network ‘No to NATO-no to War’) and Pascal Luig (Natural Scientists Initiative, Responsibility for Peace and Future. It criticises the approval of a decision of the EU Parliament, which would mean a “break with the peace policy positions of the LEFT”. We document the appeal here in the text:

Peace policy appeal to the members of the LINKEN in the European Parliament after the EU Parliament decision decision on the financing of the “Corona consequences”

On 22.7.2020, the majority of LINKEN MEPs in the European Parliament violated the basic positions on peace it had adopted and supported the motion for the so-called Corona package of the Council of the EU.

Our criticism is directed against the break with the peace policy positions of the LINKEN, whose observance of the peace positions and the commitment to peace is existential. In the decision adopted by the LINKEN, the EUROPEAN Parliament calls for targeted increases to be made available in addition to the figures proposed by the European Council for programmes relating to the Connecting Europe Facility, LIFE +, … , Integrated Border Management Fund, Creative Europe, the Rights and Values Programme, the European Defence Fund, …

The consequences of armament and escalation of tensions are waste of resources, social degradation, environmental and climate damage and the threat to peace.

We call on the LINKE to correct this wrong decision and to all! Decisions to vote consistently against any form of further militarisation of EU-Europe.