The latest weekly Forsa poll in Germany shows that support for Angela Merkel and the CDU/CSU opposition is flattening, but the SPD faces a growing threat from the left, as the Lafontaine/Gysi duo is gaining traction and has surged ahead of the Greens and the FDP as Germany's strongest third party:
The new left party, an alliance of the post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism and the pro-labor Election Alternative for Labor & Social Equality, gained 2 points to 11 percent, improving its position as third-strongest political force in Germany, according to recent polls.
The Greens are clearly worried, and the blog Wahlblog05 has obtained an internal memorandum from the Greens with talking points against the Left Party. Here is my translation of the talking points:
1) The Left Party redistributes, but does not contribute anything to economic renewal.2) The Left Party plays the politics of blame;3 The Left Party does not understand anything about generational justice. It has no understanding of demographics.4)The Left Party does not address environmental issues.5) The Left Party rejects globalizaiton and has no ideas for a just form of globalization.6) Lafontaine and some parts of the Left Party are socially-politically reactionary: they use brown (i.e.fascist) rhetoric in their election campaign.7) If backed into a corner, Lafontaine and Gysi just "make shit up".8) In Berlin and Meklenburg-Vorpommern the actions (of the PDS) stand in direct contradiction to their party platform.
The new Left Party is neither new nor left, just as the PDS - no matter what it calls itself - does not stand for democratic socialism. On the contrary, the successor party of the SED has only half-hearted distanced itself from the police state GDR - including the wall and the orders to shoot - as has their star politician Gregor Gysi from his Stasi contacts. And there is something almost comical about the PDS propagating a return to the west German welfare state that they bitterly opposed in the past. The alliance with Oskar Lafontaine does not add any credibility, since there can be no return to the protected national state from the globalized world economy or the European Union; you cannot establish social security by closing off the borders. In this light, Oscar Lafontaine's usage of the phrase "foreign workers" , who are supposedly stealing the bread and butter from the German workforce, was not a misspeak but rather a revelation. Lafontaine walks in the footprints of Juergen Moellemann and other populists on the far right of society. It is characteristic of the PDS that it simply stood by and did nothing against the growing xenophobia in eastern Germany, but rather rubbed its hands in barely concealed glee along with the neo-Nazis of the NPD. The convergence of left and right extremist ideology extends beyond a simple campaign tactic. The "No" vote of the PDS for the EU constitution is just as much an indication of this as Lafontaine's attitude towards German reunification. If our anxious citizens start following demogogues and anti-Europeans like Gysi and Lafontaine our democracy in the Federal Republic will be put at risk just as it was in the Weimar Republic.
Sagten doch gestern die Spitzenpolitiker, Gregor Gysi und Oskar Lafontaine, sie wollten gezielt bei den NPD-Wählern auf Stimmenfang gehen. Vielleicht haben sie eine andere Intention, als ihnen die Schriftsteller unterstellen, sagte doch Gysi: "Natürlich müssen sich alle Parteien Gedanken machen, wie sie der NPD irregeleitete Wähler wegnehmen können. Ich kämpfe um die."
By attempting to demonize the Left Party as right-wing extremists, the SPD (and the Greens) will only seal its own fate.