Die Linke, Europe's most successful left party, is the latest organisation to back the Coalition of Resistance's Europe Against Austerity Conference in London on 1st October.
Supporters from Europe are coming in thick and fast, as the economic crisis facing the continent widens and deepens. But the addition of Germany's left party indicates the significance that the conference is now taking on. Serious left forces will be gathering in London to debate and analyse what is taking place Europe-wide and internationally. But crucially, participants will be discussing whether and how to cooperate and coordinate action – and how to extend solidarity to each other's protests.
In fact, a shared approach is already emerging with participants identifying the G20 meeting in Cannes in early November as the next common focus. The Coalition of Resistance will be joining other activists for a counter-summit in Nice while the Cannes summit is in progress.
A vital feature of the London Conference will be to draw together activists and organisations from different parts of the left across Europe. The economic onslaught on the working class of Europe – under the guise of austerity policies – necessitates left unity as never before, and many are attending the conference in the hope that a new unity will prevail, to meet the challenges that we face collectively.
And Die Linke is very significant indeed when it comes to left unity. Indeed, it is an example that many in Europe look to. The party started life as the direct successor to the ruling communist party in the former East Germany. It then went through a significant political transformation, firstly as the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), embracing the democratic red, green, feminist and pacifist politics typical of the new European left in the 1990s. In its first decade it established itself as a significant political force in the eastern states of Germany, often in coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in regional government. But in 2005 it overcame its regional profile when it joined with a left split from the SPD under the leadership of Oskar Lafontaine. The alliance won 8.7% of the vote and 54 seats in the Bundestag, emerging as the fourth largest party in Germany, with electoral support across east and west. In 2007, Die Linke was founded as a new party from the two traditions. But it rapidly became more than the sum of its parts as activists from other left traditions joined up in significant numbers. Now communists, Trotskyists and left social democrats – and others - have found a common political home in the new party. Not surprisingly Die Linke's share of the vote across Germany has risen to almost 12%.
So it is great news that Sevim Dagdelen, one of Die Linke's 76 MPs will be joining us in London on 1st October. Born in West Germany in 1975, of Turkish origin, Sevim was elected to the Bundestag in 2005 and she serves on the party's International Commission. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear the perspective from a party that has inspired many across Europe that unity is possible and achievable.
Don't miss this chance: register for the conference now at www.europeagainstausterity.org
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