Talking About Power: An Interview with Ingar Solty

Jerko Bakotin in Jacobin:

For all its economic might, Germany’s main centrist parties are in crisis. If barely a decade ago the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) conquered over three-quarters of the vote, in polling today they represent under half of the electorate. But as the main parties lose their hold over Germans, the Left does not seem well-placed to take advantage. The Die Linke party formed by postcommunists and a split from the SPD in 2007 has secured a respectable vote nationally and at the regional level, becoming the country’s fourth-largest political force, and yet has consistently failed to rise above 10 percent of the vote. Indeed, the real upstarts in German politics today are the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, the first such party to reach parliament since 1952) and the liberal-ecologist Green Party.

Seeking to break out of this strategic impasse, some leading figures in Die Linke have created a new populist movement designed to reinsert the language of class and poverty into German politics and split the AfD’s own base. However, this remains controversial within Die Linke, with figures loyal to party co-chair Katja Kipping accusing Aufstehen’s frontwoman Sahra Wagenknecht of kowtowing to anti-immigration sentiment.

In this second part of an interview originally conducted for Novosti, Jerko Bakotin spoke with researcher Ingar Solty about the decline of social democracy, Die Linke’s strategic dilemma, and the possibility of building a counter-hegemonic force able to challenge for power.

More here.