Socialist Left (Germany)
The Socialist Left (German: Sozialistische Linke, SL) is a political caucus in the Left Party of Germany. It includes political viewpoints ranging from left Keynesianism and left social democracy to reform communism and Marxism. SL members share a common goal of orienting the Left Party firmly toward the labor movement.
Socialist Left was founded on August 19, 2006 in Wuppertal at a meeting of 50 delegates. Most of its members were initially members of the Labor and Social Justice Alternative, and its membership was centered in West Germany. Following the merger of the WASG with the Party of Democratic Socialism to form the Left Party, the SL formed a tendency of the new party.
The position papers of the SL, "Sozialistische Linke: realistisch und radikal!", summarizes the group's views: "Progressive social changes, in our belief, can only be achieved through interactions between the political forces and extraparliamentary social movements. Most important are therefore the trade unions." The SL has strongly endorsed the campaign for a German minimum wage law. They support demand-side economic policies, as well as public investment in "educational, social, ecological and transportation infrastructure." "Reforms and the struggle for a socialist society are not contradictory," the SL position papers state. "Economic and social regulation, social-welfare structures, as well as the achievements of representative democracy can be the starting point for large changes to society." The organization is particularly sympathetic to the Dutch Socialist Party and the Italian Communist Refoundation Party, both of which have a strong trade-union orientation.
A number of Socialist Left members are prominent in the Left Party, German trade unions and the Bundestag. SL members include Ursula Lötzer (Bundestag member and Left Party spokesperson on international economic policy); Ralf Krämer (Secretary of the ver.di union's National Committee); and Hüseyin Kenan Aydın (a Turkish-born member of the Bundestag and secretary of the IG Metall union in Düsseldorf).
Adherents of the Trotskyist group Marx21 are among the leading members of the Socialist Left, especially in Berlin. Marx21 leaders Christine Buchholz and Lucia Schnell are particiularly active in the SL.
- "Sozialistische Linke: realistisch und radikal!," updated version approved 5 February 2007.
- "Erstes Strömungstreffen der Sozialistischen Linken," SL website (19 August 2006).
- "Sozialistische Linke will in Entwicklung der neuen Linken eingreifen," SL website (3 February 2007).
- "Landesgruppen der Sozialistischen Linken," retrieved 14 November 2008. At this date the only SL state group in the former East Germany was in Saxony.
- Sozialistische Linke, official page at www.die-linke.de.
- "MINDESTLOHN. JETZT!," SL website.
- "Stellungnahmen," SL website.
- Helmut Horst, "Die Sozialistische Partei (SP) der Niederlande" SL-Berlin website (29 February 2008).
- "Brief an die Unterstützer des Aufrufes für eine „Sozialistische Linke“, statement co-signed by Buchholz and Schnell (SL website, 18 August 2006).
- "Christine Buchholz: Mitglied des Geschäftsführenden Vorstandes," Die Linke website.