Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
sorry to answer so late.

Focusing solely on Lafontaine is contraproductive when trying to assess the role of the Linke in a wider political context. Although I think that many people (most hypocritically the CDU/CSU) deliberately understood Lanfontaine that way, I acknowledge that he potentially could be understood as a xenophobe. But, anyway, the Linke is not Lafontaine. Have a look at the Linke's election manifesto:

"Germany is an immigration country. People from all over the world come here to us - but immigration law is affected by defense and exclusion. An migration and immigration policy which is able to shape the cultural diversity of our society is needed. Not a German "leading culture" but basic and human rights, binding everyone, have to form the basis of our living together. A democratic immigration policy has to put immigrants on par. Laws have to prevent that they could be abused for social and wage dumping. Migrants have to be paid the same wages for the same work. Investments have to be made in learning language, cultural institutions, integrational help and social work. (...)

We advocate a modern citizenship law: Every person born in Germany has to be given German citizenship. Art. 116 GG has to be changed with regard to the diverse ethnic affiliations of the Federal Republic's citizens."

In the case of the Linke, even disregarding our disagreement over the meaning of Lafontaine's statements, overemphais on personality is as much an obstacle to understanding party politics as in any case else. Even if he wanted to "adopt the neo-fascist line on integration", he would not succeed, because it is against everything the PDS, by far the bigger part of the Linke, stood for and stands for.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 04:56:37 PM EST
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Saturday, I agree with you that the Linke as a whole does not share Lafontaine's beliefs. And as I said in a discussion with DoDo I do not find their program extremist. It is to the left of my own views, but so what, the FDP is well to the right of mine but I don't have a principled objection to them being in government (a Mollemann fronted FDP would be a different story). What I object to is a party whose Western side is represented by Lafontaine, and whose Eastern side is full of ex SED functionaries.  Clearly you don't find that reason to boycott them. Fair enough. However, I'd think you'd at least understand the reasoning behind it - it is analogous to a moderate right winger rejecting a party dominated by ex Pinochet or Franco operatives and a racist as the most visible non-ex dictatorship flunky. The good thing is that the SED problem will slowly decline as time goes on.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 05:09:29 PM EST
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