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Coffee House

Meet Jeremy Corbyn’s German doppelganger

30 December 2015

3:52 PM

30 December 2015

3:52 PM

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has a socialist doppelganger in Germany. Her name is Sahra Wagenknecht and she serves as co-chairperson of the largest opposition party in the German Bundestag—The Left Party.

Her remarks blanketed the German media on Tuesday because she equated Islamic State terrorism in Paris with Britain’s aerial campaign designed to help destroy the terrorist organisation in the Syrian and Iraqi theatres of war.

‘Of course it is no less a crime to murder innocent civilians in Syria with bombs than it is to shoot them in Parisian restaurants and concert halls. One is individual terrorism, the other state-sponsored,’ Sahra Wagenknecht, an admirer of the now-defunct East German communist state and Stalinism, told the Bundestag on Monday.

The attitudes of Wagenknecht’s Left Party mirror in many respects the enthusiasm of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for Hamas, Iran’s clerical regime and Hezbollah. Moral conflation and a bottomless level of cultural relativity dominate the thinking of both hardcore left-wing leaderships. For Wagenknecht, Corbyn brought ‘movement into the sleeping social democracy of Europe’.  

The Left Party is a formidable force in German politics. Germany’s Parliament has 630 members, of which the Left Party has 64 seats. This amalgam of West German leftists, trade unionists and East German communists (including many former Stasi officers) catapulted itself into the largest opposition bloc in the 2013 national election. 

German Chancellor Merkel’s conservative coalition garnered 41 per cent of the vote. Her coalition partner, the Social Democrats, won 25.7 per cent and the Left Party managed 8.6 per cent. The traditionally powerful Green Party slipped below the Leftists with 8.4 per cent of the electorate.

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The Left Party secured an enormous victory a year later when its candidate Bodo Ramelow won the governor’s race in the eastern state of Thuringia. He became the first socialist to win a German state election since the dissolution of communism in 1990. Merkel warned against a ‘Karl Marx in the state chancellery’ in Thuringia.

Unsurprisingly, The Left Party opposes German military intervention in Syria and does a lot of heavy lifting for the policies of Vladimir Putin. There is no shortage of apologists for radical Islamic regimes in the Left Party. 

The Left Party’s foreign policy spokesman, Bundestag deputy Wolfgang Gehrcke, has attended pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas demonstrations in Germany. He participated in a 2006 rally where ‘We are all Hezbollah’ blared from the loudspeakers. Many of the party’s parliamentarians hold views from a catalogue of horrors. Deputy Christine Buchhloz supports the ‘legitimate resistance of Hamas and Hezbollah.

She and Left Party Vice President Wagenknecht declared as ‘untruth’ the reality of Iran’s drive to build nuclear weapons. However, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, affirmed in reports that Iran has carried work on nuclear bombs.

Wagenknecht and Buchholz’s refusal to participate in the standing ovation for Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his Holocaust remembrance speech in the Bundestag which was praised by Germany’s NPD neo-Nazi party. The Left Party has a peculiar obsession with fanning the flames of the Boycott, Divestment,Sanctions (BDS) movement in Germany targeting the Jewish state.

Wagenknecht has gone to great lengths to defend her party’s lawmakers who traveled aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010 in an attempt to break Israel’s legal blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

By way of background, the deputies, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, agreed to be segregated into an all-female section aboard the ship filled with a substantial number of Islamists. 

Tossing aside the Left Party’s allegedly pro-women views in favour of Islamism is just one example of the party’s startling hypocrisy and reactionary social correctness. Another: when Wagenknecht was caught on camera in 2007 devouring a ‘rich man’s dish’ of lobster, she sought to destroy the evidence of her dinner at the upscale Strasbourg restaurant Aux Armes.

She achieved her goal: The photographs were deleted. It is worth recalling that the Left Party traces its origins to the austere socialist ideology of the communists’ ‘Workers’ and Farmers’ state’ that was East Germany.

When defending her deletion of the pictures because ‘I didn’t like them,’ Wagenknecht said, ‘I’m fighting for a society in which everyone can afford to eat lobster’. 

Wagenknecht’s existing socialism, like Corbyn’s, advances the benefits of the few at the expense of the majority.

Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based research fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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