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Anger about Riexinger: The left is its own worst enemy

Eespecially Kappl is angry. “We tear our asses open and each of you is so shit,” said the Bavarian local politician on Twitter.

Kappl is a member of the Left Party, and her anger is directed at party ideologist Sahra Wagenknecht, Bodo Ramelow, Prime Minister of Thuringia, who was just celebrated as a figure of light, and above all party leader Bernd Riexinger. Sunday is in Bavaria the local election and the leadership of the party is hopelessly divided. Closed borders for asylum seekers, a voice for the AfD and jokes about labor camps for the rich: with controversial statements, the Left Party managed to gamble away the bonus that Ramelow’s triumph had earned it within a few weeks.

Party leader Riexinger is at the center of criticism. Not only in the deep south, but also in the far north of the republic, there is resentment against the 64-year-old former union official from Baden-Württemberg. “We ask you to think about whether you would like to run again for the party presidency,” wrote the parliamentary group of the Left Party in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to Riexinger. “A waiver could be a contribution to avert further damage from us.”

The signs point to resignation: left boss Bernd Riexinger

The signs point to resignation: left boss Bernd Riexinger

Credit: pa / dpa / Gregor Fischer

After the bitter losses in the state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony in 2019, Riexinger and his co-chair Katja Kipping had already come under criticism. But before the Thuringia election, the party had enacted a castle peace, and Ramelow’s victory seemed to confirm the course of the two chairmen: rely on seriousness and seek government alliances with the SPD and the Greens. Riexinger and Kipping could look forward to the party congress in Erfurt from June 12th to 14th and the election of the party leadership.

And then came the “Strategy Conference” in Kassel and made it clear how extreme the party was in part. The North Rhine-Westphalian state chairwoman Inge Höger called for a “radical system change” and the nationalization of entire industries. An employee of the Bundestag member Hubertus Zdebel said that one had to tap “state clay” and “information from the state apparatus” and pass it on to the “extra-parliamentary movements”. The Parliament is otherwise only needed “as a stage”.

Finally, activist Sandra Lust from Berlin asked what to do after going through the revolution “Shot the one percent rich” have. An outrageousness that would have perished – if Riexinger hadn’t joked that the rich would not be shot, but “put into productive work”. What he probably thought was a clever way to distance himself from violent fantasies on the one hand and to accommodate the partly radical mood among the party people on the other.

In fact, Riexinger had the laughs on his side in Kassel. But then the shit storm came. As the members of the state parliament in Schwerin write: “Even a week after your unspeakable admission, we are all feeling the grave consequences of your reaction to the completely unacceptable choice of words by a comrade. Not a day goes by without us being criticized on site or simply being insulted. Our parliamentary work is also being disturbed by the current debate and public outrage. ”

This is how Riexinger defends himself

Riexinger apologized. When asked by WELT whether the left “euphemistically speaking has a problem with revolutionary romanticism in its own ranks”, the party leader replied: It was “dubious, statements made by individuals at a conference open to members as a measure of the left’s ability to form alliances To evaluate the content of our policies. Nobody would question the CDU’s ability to form alliances because of statements made by a member in Wanne-Eickel. “

When asked when the Left Party would be honest about dealing with its own history and the history of socialism, Riexinger replied: “The Left has dealt intensively and critically with its history and the GDR. In contrast to the CDU, which had no problem merging with the ex-block party CDU of the former GDR. The irrevocable break with Stalinism was the founding moment of the PDS ”, the predecessor of the Left Party. It had a large number of young members, the majority “had joined the left, not one of the predecessor parties”.

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However, Riexinger’s co-chair Kipping does not accept this excuse. In the Bundestag, Kipping, who was born in the GDR, declared that she could take the easy way out by pointing out that she was only eleven years old at the turn. She could also make it easy for her party by referring to the majority of the members who had nothing to do with the regime. But she didn’t want to make it easy for herself and the party. Then the 42-year-old apologized to the victims of the Wall and the Stasi.

That had to be understood as a criticism of Riexinger. Ramelow also kept his distance. “It is not at all possible, not even in an ironic form, not even in a satirical form, that one of the richest one percent of the population is said to be shot,” he told n-tv. “I didn’t think it was okay that my party leader, with whom I am friends, dismissed it as an ironic remark.”

In the meantime, however, Ramelow came under criticism because he exaggerated the state-bearing in the eyes of the party and, in the election of the state vice president, to AfD MP Michael Kaufmann gave his voice. The federal executive described Ramelow’s behavior as “wrong” in a statement. Deputy Federal President Janine Wissler tweeted that Ramelow’s decision was “completely incomprehensible and it hurts”. It must remain: “No handshake and no vote for fascists.”

Wagenknecht also burst into this mixed situation with an interview on the Phoenix TV station, in which she defended the closure of the borders to Turkey – criticized by the Left Party. Wagenknecht said that the “total lack of control that prevailed in 2015” should not be allowed again. The European Union is neither economically nor politically prepared for “four million refugees”. Whoever calls for the borders to be opened should work in the hands of the AfD.

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Sahra Wagenknecht:

Riexinger’s days as chairman should be numbered. The fight for his successor has long been going on behind the scenes. Wissler, political scientist and ex-Greens Jan Korte and migration policy spokesman Ali Al Dailami are named. You wouldn’t be the envy of the job. Other parties fear the political opponent. The Left Party, on the other hand, appears to be its own worst enemy.

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After swearing in as the new prime minister, Bodo Ramelow demonstratively refused to shake hands with AfD politician Björn Höcke. Ramelow and Höcke chatted briefly in the plenary hall.


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