Olaf Scholz and Die Linke: Difficult to convey – actually

In the left the original conflict is back. For a few years he was ousted by disputes over refugees, milieus, climate protection and, again and again, by personal quarrels. This year, however, the main question is: Will the left rule soon or not?

The party leadership, especially party leader Katja Kipping, tries to swear the party to a red-red-green left alliance. Even the reformers who were recently somewhat powerless try to get a new collection of their stock. On the other hand, it was not just at the strategy conference in Kassel in February that things were moving violent resistance. Some leftists in Hesse are also declaring war on this course in a position paper.

The nomination of Olaf Scholz to the Chancellor candidate of the SPDit was assumed that this would fuel this conflict.

Scholz was already at the forefront of the SPD when it annoyed so many people with the Hartz reforms that the space for an even left-wing party was created. Scholz was mayor in Hamburg when the police there took robust action against G20 demonstrators and afterwards he stated: “There was no police violence.”

Amazingly conciliatory responses

Many in the particularly left camps of the left, both in that one Sahra Wagenknecht as well as in the movement wing, someone like Scholz should actually be difficult to convey. But the public reactions to his nomination can give the friends of future government participation in the federal government more hope – they are surprisingly forgiving.

Those who want to go into the election campaign with a government perspective do not make their attitude dependent on the SPD candidate for chancellor anyway. First, many on the left believe that the party will become redundant in the long run if it just wants to stand on the edge of the parliamentary playing field. Second, the party leadership likes to argue with three conceivable future scenarios:

  • Either come neoliberalism painted in green (black-green),

  • authoritarian neoliberalism (black and blue)

  • or a progressive transformation (red-red-green).

There are no other options.

In other words, it is about nothing less than the future of the left. Possible flaws of an SPD candidate quickly take a back seat.

An election tactical argument also plays a role: a left-wing SPD candidate could more likely steal votes from the left, while a more central candidate could draw votes from center-right to center-left. So Scholz leaves room for the left but could lure a few Merkel voters – Voters that the left-wing camp urgently needs if it wants to have a chance at a majority.

That is why Scholz would be the ideal candidate for a left alliance is not heard. But that it is at least not an obstacle to a left alliance, this attitude is widespread.

It is not as if there were no sharp criticisms of Scholz’s personality. One example was provided by Raul Zelik, author and member of the party executive who belongs to the left wing movement critical of the government. Alluding to the G20 protests in Hamburg, he tweeted: “Will Scholz have all left-wing MPs beaten up before an R2G cooperation?”

But the current most important representatives of the two left camps found a striking balance between displeasure and openness in their statements.

Amira Mohamed Ali, the parliamentary group leader who is assigned to the left wing, told SPIEGEL that the left stands for a strong welfare state, for a policy from which the majority of workers and pensioners benefit. “In the past, Olaf Scholz was not in favor of this change in policy. I have my doubts as to whether, as a candidate for chancellor, he will stand up for the urgently needed social change.” But doubts can be dispelled.

Wagenknecht told SPIEGEL: “With Scholz it has unfortunately become even less likely that there will be a majority for R2G at all, since Scholz stands for exactly the course with which the SPD has pissed off its voters.” Anyone who is still betting on mobilizing voters through a government majority is mistaken, that sounds like it. But also as if a majority in itself is not necessarily a bad thing.

Janine Wissler, who belongs to the movement wing and is traded as a possible future party chairman, told SPIEGEL that the left is opposed to the grand coalition and will remain that way during the election campaign: “The SPD wants to replace Merkel and is setting up its vice-president. She wants Hartz IV overcome and set up one of the architects: that is not convincing. ” But persuasion can be done.

All of these statements fit the party’s official line. All sides eagerly emphasize that the left must run an independent election campaign and must not appear too supportive of the state. It is not about an unconditional yes or no to assuming government responsibility, but about the possibilities to achieve something in a coalition. Negotiations should show whether this can work. The formula is: Change by approaching at a distance.

Good opportunity for a clear signal

Also, what makes these comments interesting is what is not being said.

Scholz’s nomination would have provided the opportunity to escalate the inner-left conflict and send a clear signal to one’s own camp that they are keeping a distance from the government’s course. At least a party congress is due at the end of October, the key proposal is currently being negotiated, and it may also deal with the question of a preliminary decision on red-red-green. Measured against this, the criticism of Scholz was surprisingly forgiving.

How forgiving can be seen in statements of the parliamentary manager of the left-wing parliamentary group, Jan Korte, judge. Korte is a reformer, recently wrote a book on “the responsibility of the left” and promotes a left government alliance. Shortly after the Scholz nomination was announced, he sent a press release: “Olaf Scholz should be clear that when working together, what matters is the content, especially a policy of redistribution and a departure from the degrading policy of Agenda 2010.”

But then came the relativization: “A policy change is urgently necessary. It is regrettable that the Greens are slowing down this discussion instead of helping to prevent a federal government with Merz, Söder, Klöckner or Scheuer. The Greens cannot fool around forever.”

That sounded like: the left is standing, the SPD too, Scholz or not, it only depends on the Greens.

A day later, a second statement from Korte went through the press distribution list of the parliamentary group: “It is the task of the SPD party leadership to explain how the change of course that it has proclaimed in the program will also take place with Olaf Scholz or whether it has been canceled. For them Left is clear: We do not impose ourselves. We decide according to content, central is and remains the question of redistribution. “

The part with the greens was missing. The tone of the new statement by the reformer Korte hardly differed from the statements of the representatives of the left wing camps.

Icon: The mirror

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