Publikation Soziale Bewegungen / Organisierung Programmatic milestones on the way to a new Left Party in Germany

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Juli 2008

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Second draft – presented by the programmatic working group, with equal rights to both sides, by the Party executives by the Left Party.PDS and the Left Party.WASG

To the programme group, there belong Joachim Bischoff (WASG), Michael Brie (PDS), Wolfgang Gehrcke (PDS), Bernd Ihme (PDS), Dieter Klein (PDS), Ralf Krämer (WASG), Konstanze Kriese (PDS), Julia Müller (WASG), Katina Schubert (PDS), Axel Troost (WASG), Janine Wissler (WASG). The document is based on the programmatic corner points (I) presented in February 2006 and was fundamentally revised on the basis of the very intensive discussion in both parties and in the public and taking into account of the many positions presented since then.

I – Together for a different policy

The Federal Republic is a rich country. However, participation in social wealth and life chances are unequally distributed. However, there exist new and also growing possibilities for a life in justice, democracy and peace. Destructive processes are the consequence of the highly concentrated power of capital, result from the new advantage of the international financial markets and from the transition of the rulers from a policy of capitalism regulated by the social state to a neoliberal policy promoting radical markets.

Our society like many others in the world is marked by mass unemployment, by economic and cultural divisions. Our alternative to the destructions of an unleashed capitalism is the solidary renewal and consequent democratic forming of society. The destruction of society takes on ever more threatening dimensions. War has again become a means of politics. Imperial politics and fundamentalism are mutually reinforcing.

We put forward alternatives to such a development. We understand the diversity of individual life projects as a social force, whose basis needs to be secured collectively by way of material and social security. We turn this way against a policy of demanding and encouraging that wants to turn social misfortunes into an individual problem. A basic policy change in the direction of a society living in social justice demands answers that link the age-old idea of solidarity with the new challenges. In the light of the unleashing of markets and of deregulation in contemporary capitalism, we commit to a new launch of social transformation that points beyond capitalism and transcends it.

The overcoming of the wrong developments and social divisions we link to a comprehensive democratisation of all areas of life. Before all else the democratisation of the economy demands a broad debate on how the power of disposition over all forms of property can be subjected to social criteria. In this context, we want to clarify how public property as basis of democratic policy and existential services can be shaped and used in a social as well as an efficient way.

The common Party of the Left takes such a political change of direction as its strategic goal. For this purpose, we need the critical and the solidary confrontation with the history of left praxis in the GDR and in the FRG. We place ourselves consciously into the traditions of enlightenment and of democratic socialism, the large emancipation movements of the workers and of women, environmental protection and against nuclear power plants, and the movements against state repressions and for the realisation of fundamental and freedom rights for all. We link up with the commitment of all those that have struggled for the elimination of fascism and of its causes. Our recognition is owed to the efforts for a social and welfare state damming of capitalism as well as to attempts at overcoming the capitalist property and power relationships. We shall maintain and explore different traditions, experiences, and competences of those forces that together form our new party.

We have learnt from history: the respect for dissidents is the prerequisite of liberation. We reject any form of dictatorship and condemn Stalinism as a criminal abuse of socialism. Freedom and equality, socialism and democracy, human rights and justice to us are inseparable.

Together we want to form a new party as it does not yet exist in Germany – unifying the Left, democratic and social, feminist and anti-patriarchal, open and pluralistic, controversial and tolerant, anti-racist and anti-fascist that pursues a consequent peace policy. We are part of the European Left. We are part of the movements everywhere in the world who fight and say: Another world is possible.

II – Another world is necessary

In the sixties and seventies of the 20th century there developed a world-wide crisis, mainly economic in nature. The growth rates of the awkwardly planned economies of state socialism sank rapidly. The oil crisis marked a recession of the capitalist world economy. The catch-up development of the South that had begun in a hope-inspiring way with the processes of de-colonisation was regressive in large parts of the world. At the same time, there developed movements for more freedom, solidarity and democracy. They were fought by the rulers, and as in the case of the Prague spring or the Chilean popular front government under Salvador Allende were even smashed by armed force. The capitalist countries searched for a way out of the crisis in neo-liberalism, in the refusal of social-state “chains”. When, with the breaking apart of the Soviet Union, the largest counterweight dropped away, the destructive tendencies of the unfettered market could unfold better and better. Today transnational companies and the capital and financial markets increasingly dominate social development.

Neoliberalism enters the stage in the name of more liberty, but ever new free spaces are subjected to capital utilisation. Neoliberal forces demand less state and reduce the welfare state in favour of a repressive competitive state. They claim democracy and impose the weakening of the trade unions and of other democratic organisations and movements. They pursue a non-solidary policy of privatisation, regulation and the subjection of all life-spheres under the market. They trigger new imperial wars and exacerbate the terror dangers daily. Instead of promoting equality of chance, they increase the gap between the top and bottom.  Low-wage sectors are expanding. Growing profits go hand in hand with growing mass unemployment. Large party of the population turn away from democratic will formation.

One contradiction becomes every stronger. On the one hand, productivity, educational status, economic and technological capacity for performance, the international division of labour, women’s liberation and the development of individuality are more progressive than ever. Poverty, hunger, slums, illiteracy, and many diseases can be overcome. The typical division of labour between the sexes and the deep-reaching behavioural models of patriarchy are historically outdated. With less work-time under human conditions and in an ecological compatible way, a better satisfaction of human needs can be reached. A basically new relationship to nature is possible. A global, solidary development of all people and regions in peace, a world society of the free and equal could mark the 21st century.

On the other hand, the structures of rule and property of modern capitalism counteract these possibilities. Through the global financial markets, the yield claims of capital act without borders and on a world-wide scale. Loss of jobs, lowering of real income and insecure employment relationship are daily life for many people. The flexible twisting of production and the labour market in line with the needs of capital destroys family and communal life. Public property is privatised and withdrawn to political influence. The destruction of social security is driven forward ever faster. In contrast to a number of other countries, in our country, the ways to the pushing back of unemployment and poverty are not walked.

The glaring class divisions of society coincide with other relationships of oppression: Despite attempts at equalisation, privileges to men are structurally unbroken. People of other origins, skin colour, sexual orientation and religion are discriminated. Racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise.

Global capitalism sharpens the environmental crisis. Its economy ticks following short-term fluctuations in stock-exchange courses. This stands in a deep contradiction to the long-term cycles of nature. Environmental technologies are highly developed, yet the ecological restructuring of economy and patterns of life is nowhere energetically taken into focus.

Neoliberal capitalism means de-democratisation. An enormous amount of power is concentrated at the international financial funds, the transnational companies, and in the supranational organisations of global capitalism – World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Funds, World Bank etc. They are withdrawn to any kind of democratic control. The substance of democracy is eroded. With the proclaimed “war against terrorism” a massive restriction of fundamental and freedom rights is justified. Barbarian methods of rule are resorted to with ever less compunction.

The imperial politics under the leadership of the United States of America aims at the world completely subordinated to capital use, at the unhindered disposition over raw materials and energy sources, at the expansion of domination and spheres of influence. The norm of international law that condemns any kind of war of aggression is cancelled. NATO and the European Union wage upon global intervention troops. In the name of a crusade against terrorism, thousands of innocent people lose their lives. A spiral of violence provokes ever new readiness for terror acts, for humanity-despising answers also to the arrogance of imperial power and to the deep rifts between rich and power countries.

III- Our alternative: social, democratic, and transformation conducive to peace instead of unleashed capitalism

Another policy is necessary and feasible. The Left submits own answers to the challenges of the present – to the grown international linkages, chronic mass unemployment, the crisis of social security system, the limited nature of resources,  the ecological burdening of the earth, and the change in the age structure of society. We refuse the insinuation that due to limited economic potentials, it is indispensable to demand from the population renunciation to security, self-determination and a high quality of life.

The Left presents the programmatic outlines for a comprehensive social restructuring in order to finish the domination of capital use over economic and society and to meet the challenges of the present with an alternative developmental path. It is a programme of change of direction of politics and of renewal of democracy. Our goals are:

  • A democratisation of society that grants equal co-determination possibilities to all. In there belongs the struggle against inequality between the sexes and against racism, anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism;
  • A social shaping of work and economy: At centre stage, there stands as before the possibility for men and women to share in gainful economic activity and its social shaping. That is the condition and the basis for very many other activities;
  • An economic democracy that subjects all forms of property to social criteria. In public ownership of installations of existential services, we see an indispensable basis of a solidary society;
  • A new solidarity on the basis of modern public services, solidary security systems and the ecological reconstruction of society as the foundation of a self-determined life in security;
  • An international order of peace, collective security and of solidary development to which a changed European Union is supposed to contribute.

We strive for a society that makes possible equal participation for each and everyone in the forming of society and in the conditions of an autonomous life in liberty, social security and solidarity. What is necessary is the overcoming of all relationships of property and rule, “where man is a demeaned, an enslaved, an abandoned and a despised creature” (Karl Marx). To many of us, democratic socialism is an emancipatory and transformative process that begins in today’s society and at the same time points beyond it.

1) Work: Self-determined and solidary instead of dependent and competitive

Gainful work today stands more than ever in a relationship of tension between the striving for self-realisation, on the one hand, as well as exploitation and insecurity on the other. A part of the wage labour relationship is determined by growing autonomy at work. At the same time, social insecurity, mass unemployment, low wages, extreme dependence and subordination are spreading. Work in the household, care for partners, social work are as before mainly done by women. The share of women and migrants in badly paid work is especially high.

We strive for a society in which every woman and every man can take part in all forms of work, gainful work, work in families and partnerships, unpaid voluntary work and work in one’s free time, and these kinds of work are distributed in a just way. We want this as a new form of full employment.

In order to reach this goal of a new organisation of social life chances and work, we commit to a roll-back of the power of financial market, a clear reduction of the differences in income and wealth, an expansion of public investments, the re-appreciation of the property forms of solidary economy and a comprehensive system of social security. For wage labour this means:

  • Reduction in work time: We turn against the prolongation of work times and demand their gradual reduction. In the long term, we are striving for a thirty- hour week, choice of work times and sovereignty over time as the basis for a new distribution of gainful work and other work forms. On the basis of the growing productivity of labour, this can be reached with incomes shrinking.
  • New jobs through ecological and social reconstruction, future investment programmes concentrated on that and the encouragement of technological innovations as well as the need-commensurate expansion of public services in the areas of child-raising and education, science and technology, art and culture as well as public personal traffic and other areas of existential services.
  • Publicly sponsored and formed employment sectors with cooperative elements that satisfy the kinds of social, cultural, and ecological needs covered neither by the market nor by the public sector.
  • An active labour market policy that concentrates on those, who have particularly bad chances on the labour market. We want them to get, by the concentration of public financial means and by their combination with other funds regular, insurance-liable jobs paid according to collective agreement results.
  • A use of productivity gains for higher real wages and reduction in work-times.
  • A legal minimal wage at an existence-securing level.
  • The realisation of a new normal work relationship on the basis of full social guarantees of all work relationships and of the humanisation of work, the autonomy of collective agreements and the general applicability of collective agreements, a high level of protection against dismissal and strong rights to co-determination of all employees as well as the adjustment of the wages of women to those of men.
  • Validity of the domestic social standards for all those working here by way of extension of the posting law to all branches and a fundamental reform of the European services directive so as to prevent all forms of competitive dumping and to secure common-weal oriented services.
  • Public contracts only for enterprises who abide by high social standards.

2) Economy: Lastingly committed to common weal instead of capital- dominated and destructive of the environment

The neoliberal counter-reform has strengthened the power of financial market, of transnational capital societies, of market control and of big companies. 500 big companies control half of the world social product. In the market centres of financial capital, there is being decided world-wide in an all-but uncontrolled fashion on investments, jobs and the life perspectives of billions of people. The capital yield in turn has become the measure of all relationships. Today’s economic order leads to low-wage competition, poverty migration, environmental destruction, glaring injustices and misery for very many people.

In order to make possible a self-determined life, reasonable and socially articulated work for everybody, in order to bring about an ecological restructuring, to renew the social security system and to make solidary development possible on a global scale, a fundamental change of course in economic and financial policy is unavoidable.

The Left stands for the primacy of democratic policy over the economy as well as for a social and ecological change in the European Union. Alternative economic policy is formatory policy. It aims at a strong weight of social-state-type policies instead of those of subjection under market constraints. It attributes considerable weight to more long-term structural, scientific technology policy. It considers profit-oriented enterprise action as important for innovation and business economic performance. But is aspires to a new socio-ecological framework for the market mechanisms, because without co-determination, trade union counter-power and social-state regulation, private entrepreneurial interests lead to economic, social and ecologically costly wrong developments. For more investments and the securing of the social state, the state needs money. Only rich people can afford a poor state. By higher incomes, also indebtedness can be dismantled in a socially just way.

For the introduction of an economic policy turn-around we engage to

  • Sponsor public, employment-creating future investment programmes: Public investment programmes must be increased at least to the West European average level, meaning by an annual 20 to 30 billion Euros.
  • Ecological restructuring: in there belong the transition to the use of renewable energies, the reduction of energy input and increased energy efficiency, an ecological turn in traffic development and the reduction of waste in order to make a meaningful contribution to prevention of the climate catastrophe and to getting out of the dead end of atomic and fossil energy economy. We want to extend ecological land and forest cultivation and the encouragement of a Germany and Europe-wide territory of conservation for the maintenance of species diversity. By way of the tax and fee system, environment-friendly action is supposed to be financially rewarded and action that causes ecological harm be punished.
  • Just tax policy: companies and other profitable enterprises again should pay clearly increased taxes again. A wealth tax should be raised again; the inheritance tax on high inheritances should be increased. Tax loopholes that favour especially the well-to-do and big earners should be consequently closed and economic criminality should be fought more decisively.  We want to tax sales gains when selling bonds and real estate without any time allowed for speculation. The top tax rates should be increased to at least 50%.
  • The democratic control of the financial markets and the decentralisation of private economic power. This requires, among other things, the restriction of speculation with titles and currency, European regulations for the damming of capital transfers into tax oases as well as a worsening of cartel legislation.
  • The fostering of cooperatives and of other forms of solidary economy.

3) Social systems: Security and encouragement for each and every one instead of force and social division

Social demolition, privatisation, mass unemployment, insecure employment and stagnating or respectively shrinking incomes have brought the existing social systems into a crisis. They no longer correspond to the new biographies and needs. The solidary security systems and the social state are an essential achievement. Only social security based on firm legal claims makes possible freedom for everybody, not only for the well-to-do.

The Left Party engages to renew the social state and public services. Social security is supposed to support the development of personality and to guarantee a comprehensive protection of all members of society from the great social risks, a securing of living standards in old age, in the case of incapacity to pursue gainful employment or of unemployment, prevent poverty and to make possible the equal position of the sexes and the diversity of ways of life.

For the realisation of these tasks, we commit to

  • The overcoming of the Hartz IV laws.
  • The democratisation of social security system, the strengthening of its solidary elements and the renewal of self-administration.
  • The gender-just shaping of all social contributions and benefits.
  • The introduction of a basic security: He or she, who is threatened by poverty, should have a claim to an individual, tax-financed, need-oriented social basic security, without having to fear repression. Respectful job offers must take into account the level of qualification and be paid according to collective agreement tariffs.

We continue discussions with different forces on proposals for an unconditional basic income.

  • A new pension policy. In sync with higher wages, pensions should increase again as well. The legal pension insurance should be transformed into insurance for all gainfully employment, which should gradually incorporate the members of all professional groups. We demand to finally do away with discriminations in pension law for East Germans. We refuse the increase in the pension entry age to over 65 years.
  • A solidary citizens’ insurance in the health system: The whole population should be in a social health insurance that covers all medically needed services. All incomes are supposed to be included and the contribution measurement threshold should be increased. We want to restore the financing of equal shares of the contribution by the employers.
  • A remodelling of the health system: By way of structural reforms, high-quality medical care for everybody is supposed to be guaranteed. What is urgent is a better cooperation between the physicians, the hospital and all care-providers, the encouragement of health centres, the limitation of the profits of pharmaceutical companies by the introduction of a positive list for medication, a greater weight of prevention and post-treatment care and improvement of work conditions and wages for the medical and care personnel as well as strengthened rights of all female and male patients.
  • The conservation of public local communal existential services: Public existential services for education, health, care and culture, for mobility, water, gas and electricity is an elementary constituent of social security. Therefore, we defend public existential services and engage to expand them. We commit to preventing the sale of public property of apartments and service enterprises.

4) Politics: Dare more democracy instead of authoritarian “material constraint” policies

In ever more sectors of society we register a restriction of democratic rights also by way of international organisations and European institutions. The so-called war against terror is used for the reduction of basic and fundamental rights. We want to reverse these tendencies.

As left-wing people we demand that the economic, political, and cultural ordering of our societies and their development is decided democratically.

We stand for a democratisation of democracy and demand

  • A strengthening of individual rights: State action must always be controllable, and individuals must be protected against unwarranted seizures by the state. Therefore, the legal state with the guarantee of legal rights is a high good for us and we need independent control instances face to the state security organs. We hold on to the strict separation between police and Federal Army as well as between police and secret services. The right to decide oneself about one’s own data and their use is inalienable to us.
  • Economic democracy: We strive towards the democratisation of the power of disposition over all forms of economic power. By way of co-determination, with equal rights, of all employees, their trade unions as well as representatives of the regions and the consumers, the power of capital is supposed to be subordinated to democratic interests. We demand the legal admission of political strikes.
  • Gender democracy: The degree of social democracy to us measures itself in the freedom of women to be able to realise different life plans and directions. To us, the quota, and an equal placement law for the private economy, equal positions for women in the systems of social security and health, equal wages for equal work, need-covering extension of day-long care units for day care as well as a parent money that provides strong stimuli for a partner-like distribution of child-raising work between both parents, are central demands. We want to overcome the division in male and female social roles. We demand the striking of Paragraph 218 from the criminal code. We fight violence against women by strengthening their rights, promote a comprehensive infrastructure of installations of advice and protection and support the self-organisation of women.
  • A close link between parliamentary and direct democracy. Popular petitions and referenda as well as citizens’ budgets are supposed to make possible more influence and co-determination by the citizens, women and men.
  • The strengthening of democratic co-decision: For environmental organisations, consumer associations, trade unions, associations and other forces of civil society as well as citizens, women and men, we want rights of democratic planning, control and intervention.
  • Equal rights: All people living in Germany and in the European Union enjoy equal rights including the right to vote. We understand the diverse countries of origin of the German population as enrichment and accept the shaping of the integration of the immigrant population that has been living here for a long time as a social challenge.
  • Open borders for people in distress – we hold on to that. We commit to the reestablishment of the basic right to asylum and speak up for the harmonisation of the right to asylum in Europe at a high level.
  • Banning of right-wing extremism and Neonazism: we shall fight them, defend public space against them and intensify anti-fascist educational work. Therefore, we want to make civil-society structures against right-wing extremism more effective, among other things by taking care that corresponding initiatives and counselling teams receive public funds.

5) Science and education, media and culture: Contribution to enlightenment and emancipation instead of self-marketing

The revolution of information and communications technologies has considerably increased the chances for the free development of the individuals. Neoliberalism uses these new potentials; yet it subordinates to the competition between locations and the constraints to self-marketing. Instead of education, market-capable knowledge is promoted, learning takes place for an uncertain future, cultural debates about alternatives are over-towered by stereotypes of the media and advertising world. Experimental ideas and artistic as well as scientific basic research are threatened.

With our political alternatives we want to get the creative spaces of freedom out of their niches. We strive for education allowing an independent and free life, for science and culture being democratic goods and obligated to the public weal. For that reason, we need, in our opinion:

  • An well-qualified state educational system close to the homes: We engage to revalorise pre-school education, to institute an all-day comprehensive school from the first to the 9th class, a broad offering of community colleges, music schools and sports facilities.
  • The maintenance and extension of the dual system of professional education: It is the basis of a territory-wide offer of professional education places permitting a wide selection to the students and based on a refinancing system.
  • Elimination of fees in the educational services: education for us is a public good that due to its significance should be accessible free of charge.
  • Democratisation of universities: The profit-oriented influence on universities and colleges should be pushed back and public financing be extended. We strive for a university self-administration by equal-thirds. The access to all degrees of study should remain free. We commit to a strengthening of basic research, to a balanced relationship between theoretical and applied research and teaching, to the reduction of hierarchical structures and greater independence of the scientific middle level.
  • New alignment of research: Scientific research should be concentrated, on the basis of democratic decisions, on the decisive unsolved problems of society. We oppose patents on genes of animals or parts of animals, in particular of people as well as on software.
  • Cultural freedom and diversity: culture and media policy should do justice to the diversity of cultural producers and encourage public and common-weal institutions and private economic publishing houses, studios, agencies and cultural production firms.
  • Cooperative cultural federalism with a European dimension: It has, as its point of departure, liveable communities, who are in a position to promote regional cultural life in all social environments and to guarantee degrees of freedoms for the cultural self-determination of all age groups.
  • Freedom of information and of opinion: We want to secure public radio and freedom of the press in the editorial boards of the mass media. A clear sharpening of cartel legislation should do away with the monopolisation of the mass media. We want to strengthen the rights of the authors face to the user companies in order to find a compensation so as to restrict non-commercial use as little as possible.

6) Regional development: A new departure for East Germany and structurally disadvantaged territories in West Germany instead of division

The neoliberal competition for location sharpens regional disparity. Metropolises and growth centres face structurally disadvantaged, cut-off and empty areas. The form of German-German unity has transformed the country between Elbe and Order into a region structurally dependant on transfers.

A policy of “Continue in the same way…” is irresponsible. It is high time for a change in perspectives and strategy. The long term is a self-sustaining economic and social development for East Germany as well as for all structurally disadvantaged regions of the Federal Republic. Another economic policy in Germany is a necessary condition for that. The shaping of new developmental paths for East Germany demand a new all-German innovation, investment and structural policy as well as a reinforced encouragement of self-organisation from below – in the local spaces, regions, counties. What is needed especially is:

  • Recognition and respect: We demand equal pensions for equal life-long performance and equal pay for equal work. We speak up for equal respect of life achievements East and West
  • A new regional policy: That means mainly a concentration on the development of the developmental potential available in all regions but differing strongly from one to the other – be they high-tech, crafts and small industry, university, health, cultural institutions, natural tourism, biological agriculture – and their targeted promotion as the condition for keeping the existing and for creating new jobs. What is necessary is the cooperative intertwining of growth centres, structurally disadvantaged, rural and peripheral spaces. Required are specific regional development concepts that create a future perspective worth living in for all regions.
  • Reinforced investments in education, qualification, and research: from the pre-schools by way of the universities and research institutes to innovate firms and economic circuits.
  • A changed industrial, agricultural and structural policy: It is supposed to create future branches and companies and create, together with scientific institutions, centres of regional economic development that contribute to the strengthening of regional of economic circuits. The conditions for that are sufficient credits by regional banks and savings banks to the East German firms often weak in capital as well as planning security for the disposition over means from the EU, the federal budget and the solidarity pact. Regions with particularly high structural and budgetary problems should only be required to co-finance a small part of the subsidies instead of half.
  • A tax and financial reform that equips regions and local communities with the necessary means for a sustained development.

7) International politics and European Union: a world of peace, of social justice and democracy instead of militarisation and privatisation

The end of the Cold War became the beginning of a wave of new wars. The struggle for global predominance, the access to important resources and geopolitical control is openly waged by military means. The world-wide armament expenditures have risen to more than 1000 billion (a trillion).  The failure of autonomous development as well as poverty, environmental and ethnic conflicts in a whole number of world regions has brought many states to the brink of falling apart and triggered off permanent civil wars. The European Union contributes to these tendencies by a neoliberal policy and by its militarisation.

A turn-around is necessary. The foreign and peace policy by Left people has its basis in international law, strives for global justice and the realisation of human rights, and demands the world-wide banning of weapons of mass destruction. Only social justice, lasting development and democracy can guarantee stability and peaceful cooperation. Our alternatives are:

  • German and European foreign policy must become peace policy: From German and European soil, no wars may emanate. The Federal Army should no longer be used for military interventions abroad. The use of foreign military bases on the territory of the Federal Republic for wars of aggression and abductions contrary to human rights must be ended. We want to overcome military alliances such as NATO. The military potentials of the EU must be reduced and be reconverted in the direction of a structural incapacity to attack and to intervene. Civil conflict prevention and solution should enjoy priority. Germany should renounce to the development and the production of weapons of aggression, prohibit arms exports, the stationing of nuclear weapons in Germany should be renounced and disarmament turned into the task of the state, also by way of courageous unilateral steps. World-wide disarmament and a prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction belong on the international agenda.
  • Build-up of a just world economic order: In there belong steps for the control and the regulation of international financial markets, a stop to the privatisation of public existential services, transfer of important natural resources into state property, a comprehensive debt relief for poor countries, the increase of developmental aid to more than 0.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Sustainable development and social rights must have the advantage before capital-oriented liberalisation.
  • Reform of the UN: The objective of the United Nations Charta to achieve a world of peace and guarantee of human rights, demands a further strengthening of the UN and more rights of the plenary face to the claims of the world and the great powers. Kidnappings, secret prisons and torture must be banned the whole world over. The coordination of the international efforts for a just world economic and social order should lie with a more democratic and strengthened UN:
  • Changing of the European Union: The Left commits to developing the EU from a European economic and currency union to a European employment union and a social, environmental and peace union. Important first steps would be a European future investment programme for work and environment and a minimal taxation of capital revenues and business profits as well as a democratic control of the European Central Bank. National states and European Union must enter a new relationship. The key for that is the democratisation of national states and the EU.

IV- For a change of course

The neoliberal spirit of the times as yet prevails. New strikes, the demonstrations against the Agenda 2010 and Hartz Iv as well as the electoral results of the Left show that this does not have to stay this way. The women and men citizens are beginning to resist. It is the strategic core task of the Left to contribute to the change in the relationship of forces as the prerequisite for a change of direction. Therefore, we have agreed on the following strategic goals:

  • Confrontation with the ideology of neoliberalism and the development of alternatives. We oppose alternative positions to neoliberal ideology –alternative positions of another developmental path. We shall link these with the experiences and conflicts in the companies and in daily life and argue them popularly and offensively in the public debate. We understand  economic and social policies mainly as results of wrong, neoliberal answers to the new challenges under the influence of capital interests and as expression of crisis processes and contradictions that capitalist economy brings forth. In the public debate, the Left stresses the contradiction between the perspective of the individual economic subject and that of society as a whole. Urgently required are political education, public relations and actions, broadly diffused educational work, the creation of networks and intervention in scientific discussions.
  • Alliance against neoliberalism: the overcoming of neoliberalism can only succeed if there forms, in society, a broad alliance and a political collective movement for a change of direction. We base ourselves on the basic interests of the dependently working gainfully employed in the Federal Republic and on a European and international scale. We want to contribute to a social alliance that brings together highly qualified employed people and core staff as well as people active in insecure and part-time work relationships, independent professional as well as socially oriented women and men entrepreneurs. We shall support alliances against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism. We want to address all people, who commit for social justice, emancipation and more democracy, peace and conservation of nature, independently of their origins and world view.
  • Strategic cooperation: the change in social relationships of force is only possible if the political Left, together with strong forces of the trade unions, globalisation critical and other social movements, initiatives, progressive science and culture actively opposes neoliberalism and all relationships of subjugation in society. As a party, we shall seize upon the concerns and the activities of the movements and exercise our own functions. We shall encourage our members to actively cooperate in these movements.
  • Extra-parliamentary and parliamentary work:  We shall mobilise the women and men citizens against the projects of neoliberalism and engage to build up a new movement collecting these forces. Political struggles and elections serve us in defending our alternative reform projects and to fend for majorities for their implementation. We shall fashion the parliamentary work in such a way that it serves the cooperation with extra-parliamentary forces of the Left, the public presentation of our own reform proposals and the introduction of alternative laws, the transparency of public processes, the examination of the abuse of political power, the development of new social relationships of forces and political majorities.
  • Social protest, development of alternatives and claim to forming policies: The Left will pull together social protest, the development of alternatives and the charting of developmental paths that lead beyond contemporary society. Governmental participation for the Left is a means of political action and social forming when the necessary conditions are given for that. Guiding criteria for governmental participation are the improvement of the situation of those discriminated against and the reinforcement of political co-determination, the construction of barriers against the liberal offensive, the pushing through of alternative projects and reform projects; meaning the change in the relationship of forces and a contribution to the introduction of a change of policy. The Left is – also when in government – only as strong as it is anchored in society and to the degree that it receives social support. Left politics needs criticism driving it further, public pressure and extra-parliamentary mobilisation. We enter parliamentary alliances with other political forces if this furthers the change of direction in politics we strive for. We stand at the same time for a new policy style of transparency, of social dialogue and of direct citizen’s participation. We shall take account of the different possibilities at the local, regional, federal and European level of political action. Decisive for the realisation of a policy change in this respect is the federal political level. Here the most consequences are needed, here the most points are set for the future.
  • Action in the Party of the European Left: The Party of the European Left is a new factor in the political life of Europe. Just as our party in Germany, it is a step towards the unification of the Left and offers the chance to shift the relationship of forces in Europe to the left in common. Common projects for a social, democratic and peaceful Europe can be successful.

We want to create a world, in which the dignity of each and everyone is really inviolable, where social justice, freedom and self-determination, democracy and freedom are united and where people live in harmony with nature. Therefore, we strive for a broad reform alliance. Together we strive lest capitalism be really the last word of history.

Translated by Carla Krüger, October 4, 2006