“We can only find the ways to communism if we get started and try them out, whether in the opposition or in the government,” Gesine Lötzsch, co-president of the German Left Party, declared earlier this week.
Lötzsch’s devotion to the reintroduction of Stalinism, which consumed the now-defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1949-1989, is a telling example of the real motivation of a party that has attempted to reinvent itself as a mainstream, democratic leftist organization stripped of its historical Stalinism.
The German Left Party is, without question, a political force to be reckoned with in Germany. The party is the fourth largest in the Bundestag, with 76 of the 622 members of parliament represented by the incorrigibly dogmatic leftists in the federal legislative body. The party also co-governs the city of Berlin with the Social Democrats, forming the so-called “red-red coalition.”
Oskar Lafontaine, the former Social Democratic finance minister during the early stages of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s administration in the late 1990s, defected to the Left Party and has enabled the party to score victories in West German state parliamentary elections.
All of this helps to explain why Lötzsch’s remarks about the path to Communism have filled the German media with commentary and news reports.
The Left Party members are an amalgamation of disillusioned West German trade unionists and social democrats, East German Stasi (the former GDR secret police), and Stalinists from the GDR yearning for a revival of the ex-worker and farmer state. Arguably, this toxic combination of political forces represents one of the greatest dangers to German democracy in particular and European democracy in general.
Lötzsch, who was a loyal member and foot soldier for the former Socialist Unity Party in the GDR, outlined her party’s Communist goals this week in the daily newspaper junge Welt—a leftover vestige from the GDR that promotes a pro-Iranian editorial line coupled with a hysterically anti-Jewish, anti-globalization, anti-free market, and anti-Israeli world outlook. She is enthusiastic about courting Stasi officials to become ministers in government and plans to speak at the annual Rosa Luxemburg conference in January with a Red Army Faction terrorist, Inge Viett, and a leader from the German Communist party.
The Left Party has not only connections to Red terrorism but to radical Islamic terrorism. Last May, the Left Party appears to have used tax-payer euros to send two of its members of parliament aboard the Mavi Marmara to violate Israel’s legal naval blockade of Hamas and join forces with the Turkish Islamic-driven fanatics.
While Lötzsch is engulfed in her East German Communist paradise scandal, the West German Left Party co-president Klaus Ernst is dogged by charges that he is living high off the hog. The Bavarian trade union leader pockets multiple salaries, drives a Porsche, and owns a high priced country home in Austria. He seems to have a GDR notion of advancing working class economic interests. GDR leaders such as Erich Honecker were notorious for fleecing the state’s coffers to live an opulent lifestyle.
Welcome to modern German Communism in 2011. To paraphrase the famous and oft-repeated Karl Marx line, the history of left-wing politics repeats itself as a farce.
Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies.