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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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