More than three months after forming the coalition with the SPD and the Greens, Die Linke is still trying to cope with the referendum to “expropriate German housing and co”. The roughly 170 delegates to the state party conference on Saturday passed an emergency motion, which explained that the participation of the left “among others” depended on the implementation of the referendum.
Views diverge on the consistency with which the plan to socialize the housing stock of large companies will be implemented and whether the party will leave the coalition if it fails. “We will then have to assess whether the coalition is still tenable for us,” party leader Katina Schubert said in her opening speech, which was transmitted to the party conference room via video link due to corona.
The committee of experts set up by the Senate last Tuesday to examine the possibilities of implementing the referendum called Schubert an “important step” and referred to a “historic opportunity to implement the article”. Demands such as transparent working methods and parity of commission shifts have been met, the leftist state chairman explained and called on the SPD not to say goodbye to the project once the work of the completed commissions.
Representatives of the party’s more radical camp, such as Niklas Schenker and Ferat Kocak, members of the House of Representatives, have made it clear that government participation without an expropriation law should not be an option.
An if-then condition that Schubert explicitly excluded at the request of the Tagesspiegel. Although she mentioned leaving the coalition as at least an option in her speech, she explained that the results of the commission should be evaluated when they become available. In her speech, she also raised the possibility of a second referendum – then with a bill.
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Bana Mahmood, a representative of the expropriation initiative protesting outside the Estrel Hotel at the start of the party conference, harshly criticized the behavior of Die Linke. In the election campaign, the left closely followed the initiative’s successful campaign, but in alliance with the SPD and the Greens refrained from resolutely fighting for the implementation of the referendum. Mahmood spoke of a “super meltdown” in reference to the current situation and accused the party leadership of failing to honor agreements.
The expropriation initiative is “deceived”
“We feel cheated by the left,” Mahmood said and called on the party not to sacrifice the “historic opportunity of expropriation” for coalition peace. If this does not happen, one gets the impression “that the support for the referendum was just wind for the election campaign”, explained Mahmood in his speech, applauded in particular by the district associations of Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg . Within the ranks of the party leadership, however, there is an icy silence.
Additionally, Schubert and Senate members Katja Kipping, Lena Kreck and Klaus Lederer used their party speeches to call for party unity — and to be outspoken critics of Russia. “We can only stop the downward trend if we come together, clarify what divides us and highlight what unites us,” Schubert warned. “There are enough tasks for us to let ourselves be divided,” Lederer said.
He added to delegates’ applause: “I didn’t help build the party for 30 years to see it crumble now. Kipping thanked the countless volunteers who worked in the first days after the outbreak of war in Ukraine and organized the arrival of the refugees and warned that the major task of their integration lay ahead. There is “nothing, absolutely nothing, to put into perspective” about Russia’s war guilt, Kipping said.
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Schubert had previously said, “We had to recognize that Russia is an imperialist power that consciously uses war as a means. Russia is a dictatorship, it is a capitalist system in which oligarchs and monopolies dictate policy and prices. Other voices clearly remained in the minority on Saturday.
In its flagship motion, passed by a clear majority, the left asks, among other things, that low-income households go into energy debt. Those who receive transfer payments should receive compensatory payments for soaring energy costs. Moreover, the left wants to municipalize companies like Gasag or the S-Bahn Berlin.
New neighborhood centers should be created and public libraries strengthened. Alternative imprisonment must be abolished, poverty offenses must be removed from the penal code and social reintegration must be strengthened. Judge Senator Kreck said, “To me, beautiful prisons are empty prisons.”