Letter from Germany: Only Sahra Wagenknecht can stop the AfD now (really?)

The German conservative-liberal weekly magazine Focus recently published (Nur Sahra Wagenknecht kann die AfD jetzt noch stoppen an interesting analysis by Ulrich Reitz on the prospects of a ‘Wagenknecht-party’.

Below I provide some essential quotes from that text.

Firstly, Reitz does not believe that the conservatives (CDU/CSU) with their current leader Friedrich Merz nor the social democrats (SPD) can win over voters from the hard right AfD:

Friedrich Merz will hardly be able to halve the AfD. In the meantime, he no longer believes in this himself.”

Secondly, he believes that the ‘Wagenknecht’ project is essentially ‘anti-green, anti liberal’:

Meanwhile, a new social group is forming in Germany that has one thing in common: Its members are anti-green. They reject everything “left-liberal” – for cultural, social, and some religious reasons. At the moment, they are at home everywhere, often with the AfD, but also in the other parties. But they are estranged from their (former) political “home. They are thinking about political “emigration.”

On this, the author also points at the growing potential of non-voters in Germany

Thirdly, on the rift between Wagenknecht & DIE LINKE:

Wagenknecht commented: “A left that wants to be greener than the Greens and is concerned with woken lifestyle issues simply doesn’t have a sufficient voter base.”

From that, according to Reitz, follows:

“Wagenknecht Party: It would be a new mixture of socialism, pacifism and conservatism.”

His final upshot is this:

Let everyone decide for themselves whether such a mix of policies would be attractive. In any case, it is new, and it would also be new as a party. None of the existing parties has it on offer. The CDU doesn’t, because it likes to form coalitions with the Greens. The SPD doesn’t, because its young people in particular have been thinking green for a long time. Not the FDP, because it is the last free-market anti-redistribution formation and is therefore not available for Wagenknecht’s redistribution wishes. The AfD not because of its mixture of market economy and nationalism. This new social group already exists, it is just not yet aware of itself.”

So, according to Reitz, there is the Wagenknecht Gap:

The AfD “will hardly be able to cover a milieu that defines itself not nationalistically but nationally, not liberally but socially. That is the Wagenknecht gap. (…) History teaches us that a new social formation will eventually seek political representation. In any case, it already has a convincing leader, considered by many to be cooler than AfD leaders: Sahra Wagenknecht. She just has to want to. And be able to do it.”

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In my personal view, the rest of DIE LINKE party will go under, and I agree with Reitz that the ‘Wagenknecht-project’ (if it will emerge at all), will be more or less ‘traditional social democratic’ at best. So readers should think for themselves.

However, it is quite ironic that a very bourgeois magazine such as Focus published this and that they hype a Wagenknecht-list. Because they do not believe that anyone else (conservatives, liberals, social democrats, Greens) can stop the rise of the AfD in Germany … Strange times …

KD.

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