The main enemy is in your own party (

Model for Karl Liebknecht: Gravestone for the man who was murdered in 1919 in the Berlin Socialist Memorial.

Model for Karl Liebknecht: Gravestone for the man who was murdered in 1919 in the Berlin Socialist Memorial.

Model for Karl Liebknecht: Gravestone for the man who was murdered in 1919 in the Berlin Socialist Memorial.

Photo: dpa/Paul Zinken

“The main enemy is at home.” This is how Karl Liebknecht, a member of the Reichstag, put it in 1915. During the First World War, he did not participate in his SPD’s truce with German militarism and voted against the war credits. Liebknecht did not say “that the main enemy is in his own party,” says the call for the establishment of a Karl Liebknecht circle, which is currently being formed as a network in the Brandenburg state association of the left.

Interested parties will come together in Erkner on Monday for the founding meeting. The danger of a split in the party loomed over the assembly. Several participants report that they are considering stepping out of the party, as others have done.

‘We must work our way into the party. More Sahra Wagenknecht is needed,” says Niels-Olaf Lüders, chairman of the Märkisch-Oderland district association. “If we don’t fight now, that’s a two percent project,” warns Heinz Hillebrand, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group in Wildau, before his party collapses again.

In the 2021 federal election, Die Linke only managed to get 4.9 percent. Some are leaving because they see Wagenknecht’s statements as support for the Russian attack on Ukraine, but most because they feel the treatment of members of the Bundestag is unfair, explains Hillebrand. According to him, some officials and journalists are working towards a split in the party.

80 visitors fit in the hall of the Society for Labor and Social Affairs in Erkner. Hillebrand expected in advance that the hall would be bursting at the seams. But only a little more than 50 interested people came, a number of chairs remain free. Lydia Krüger is there and Stefan Roth, both are Wagenknecht employees. Roth used to be a member of the state board. He has since left the party. Whether he corrects this step depends on how the party reacts to the social protests and whether it vacates its peace positions.

The “Get Up” collection movement could have been the beginning of a new party with Wagenknecht as a role model, but unfortunately that was a “failure,” Lydia Krüger regrets. Nonetheless, she cites an election forecast according to which a Wagenknecht list could receive 10 percent of the vote, while the rest of the left would shrink to 2 percent.

But would the disappointed have the strength to build something new? Or would you rather devote yourself to your allotment garden? Krüger dares not make any predictions. Regarding the objection that one could also join the German Communist Party (DKP), she says: “I know good people in the DKP, but I also know their election results.” These are in the per thousand range.

Artur Pech, head of the left-wing faction in the Oder-Spree district council, points to a banner attached to the gallery. “Peace now” is written on it. But anyone demonstrating with it today is considered “at least a ‘lateral thinker’, if not half a Nazi,” complains Pech. It must be about peace and not about “winning a victory over Russia as the left wing of NATO”.

It bothers Heinz Hillebrand that Die Linke does not line up at peace demonstrations, even if only a Reich war flag can be seen. As a role model, he cites the education and science union, which takes part in Monday walks in Königs Wusterhausen, although the AfD provides the loudspeaker truck there. “The right have absolutely no scruples about hijacking a demonstration. Why don’t we hijack a demonstration?’

Left country chief Katharina Slanina went to Erkner as an observer. “You can see that there is a need for discussion,” she summarizes her first impression during a break. She does not believe that the Liebknecht circle is working towards a split from the party. But finally she hears an RBB camera team asking Lydia Krüger whether Die Linke is facing a split. “I can’t say that now,” replies Krüger hesitantly. Slanina goes pale for a moment.


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