After eight months of struggle within the Left Party (Die Linke) its national control commission has now issued a judgement on the question of the party membership of the first two of eleven SAV (CWI Germany) members whose membership was objected to by Klaus Ernst, one of the party’s four national vice-chairs.
Ernst had raised several criticisms about the SAV members not accepting the programme and constitution of the Left Party (see previous reports on www.socialistworld.net). The national control commission rejected all these arguments of Ernst that had previously been upheld by the Berlin regional control commission. In the cases of SAV spokespersons, Lucy Redler and Sascha Stanicic, it explicitly stated that neither the personal behaviour, nor the policies of SAV or the attitude of the two towards the Left Party were reasons to exclude them from membership. This is an important success not only for the Marxists concerned but for all critical or oppositionist members in the party who could be victims of attempts to be pushed out of the party.
However, Lucy Redler and Sascha Stanicic were refused party membership on grounds that played no part at all in the initial argumentation of Klaus Ernst. These new grounds for excluding them only surfaced during the hearing of the national control commission on April 26th. The new issue the candidature of the local SAV branch in the east German city of Rostock in the local elections on June 7th. The SAV has had an elected city councillor in Rostock prior to the formation of the Left Party. The SAV branch had proposed to the local Left Party that discussions take place about a joint candidature in June’s election and SAV members joining the Left Party. But the Left Party in Rostock, which is of a right-wing character and has a record of government participation in a coalition with the pro-capitalist SPD, was not even prepared to discuss this proposal. Consequently the SAV branch decided to stand its candidates, including the sitting councillor Christine Lehnert, on June 7th.
The national control commission justified its decision by holding Sascha Stanicic and Lucy Redler personally responsible for this candidature because of their position on the SAV executive committee. In the opinion of the SAV spokespersons this judgement is not in line with Die Linke’s constitution which only prohibits members from standing in elections against the party, but says nothing about supporting candidates or adopting a neutral stand. The national control commission demanded that Lucy and Sascha actively oppose the SAV branch in Rostock which they were not prepared to do.
Still the judgement is a partial political victory for the left wing and will help the struggle to prevent witch-hunts against Marxists and opposition forces in the future. Also those SAV members who are so far have not admitted into the party and are not members of the SAV EC should be accepted. It is possible that the situation of the SAV EC members might be changed after the local elections in Rostock are over.