The Die Linke (The Left) Party Congress,
Oct 21 – 23, 2011, Erfurt, Germany
Photo: Die Linke founding co-chair Gregor Gysi addresses the Congress, October 21, under the banner of Freedom – Dignity – Solidarity
By Pat Fry
CCDS National Co-Chair
Erfurt, Germany, October 2011 – Culminating nearly two years of discussion and debate, the 519 delegates of the Die Linke Party of Germany united overwhelmingly around a new program at its Congress in Erfurt, Germany, October 21 – 23. The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism was one of 43 Communist, Socialist, left parties and organizations making up the international delegation, and was the sole representative from the United States.
The 44 page draft program, issued in March 2010, was discussed at meetings of local and regional bodies, resulting in 1,300 amendments presented for Congress deliberations. The program was adopted nearly unanimously following 3 days of debate. It will provide the political platform for Die Linke candidates in the 2013 federal elections.
The Congress was held against the backdrop of momentous events in Europe. The Eurozone debt negotiations to save bank profits led by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the general strike in Greece in opposition to the outcome of those negotiations dramatically framed the weekend’s deliberations. A representative of the Synaspismos Party (Coalition of the Left of Greece), Alexis Tsipras, delivered an impassioned greeting of solidarity bringing the Congress to its feet.
“The war in Greece is between capital and labor, not between Greece and Germany,” said Tsipras. “Greece is the guinea pig of the Eurozone. We are committed to defending democracy in Greece before it is too late for you,” he said.
The adoption of the Die Linke party program marks a milestone in the process of forging of a new left all-German party of democratic socialism. Founded in 2007, the party is a merger of east and west political parties and traditions – the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) founded in the ashes of the collapse of the GDR, and the west German WASG (Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice) founded by left wing social democrats in 2005 in a split from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) after its embrace of austerity policies under the Schröeder government.