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Sigmar Gabriel and the Labour Party - Why the SPD has to move left - Tagesspiegel
Radical socialist Jeremy Corbyn could become Labour party chief. In 1997 Labour already showed the trend for the SPD. And in fact the SPD has to stop trying to curry favours with the CDU.

... Blair created a new image for his stale union party and announced a "New Britain" alongside "New Labour". The SPD was never as cool but there are parallels in ascent and descent.

Neither Blair nor Schröder became icons of their parties - there was too much Hartz IV or support for the Iraq war, too much admiration for questionable potentates. Like the SPD Labour has arrived at under 30%. There is even a kind of Linkspartei, only it's called the Scottish National Party.

... Even Oskar Lafontaine looks like a rightwinger compared to Jeremy Corbyn, 66, backbencher, avowed socialist... Corbyn leads with more than 20%... Especially young people... Blair is shocked...

Gabriel has possibly led the SPD into a dead end

In Germany the Linkspartei has established itself. SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel has made the conclusion to make his party into a second workers wing of the CDU. It's questionable whether that will work. With 42 bis 43 percent the CDU could govern alone. ...

2013 Gabriel led the SPD per party vote to the side of the CDU, possibly into a dead end. If the SPD becomes an opposition party with 25% in 2017 he will have to resign as chief. There are a lot of indications that the SPD will move left like Labour that it won't want Schröder epigones like Olaf Scholz or Frank-Walter Steinmeier. A Labour chief Corbyn wouldn't lead his party back to No 10. He simply overshoots too much. But his success stands for a socialdemocratic rebirth, for an attempt to end the alignment to the once dominant neoliberal zeitgeist. In fact the financial crisis of 2008 has shifted the quadrants of the party system to the left not only in Britain.

It seems out of touch for the misplaced economics minister Gabriel to try to gain points as a "comrade of the bosses". It's not about clumsy capitalism bashing. But it's a self deception of the Schröder-Blair generation that only ever more liberalisation will lead to a better standard of living for everybody. The development of wealth has been decoupled from the real economy since the 90s... For the social democrats it means that the promise of prosperity through work has lost credibility.

The SPD can't pretend to be not on the left

Of all people, Peer Steinbrück showed his party the way when he recommended a doubling of the estate tax. Gabriel on the other hand does without tax policy. He believes that the minimum wage is enough. ... SPD cannot only be about redistribution rhetoric. It has to be a party of growth. But it can't pretend to be not on the left. Elections are won in the middle. But they are also won by motivating people to vote because they see an alternative.

It's a riddle why Gabriel is afraid of more left-wing politics which would be politics for the middle class. Presumably he is still caught up in the logic of the Schröder years. The left wing was seen as a danger to chances at government by the Agenda2010 wing. The voters were also skeptical. But the middle has shifted to the left in the meantime. The chancellor had already recognized that when she moved away from the market radical Leipzig program. Gabriel still seems to cling to old patterns.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Aug 6th, 2015 at 04:42:11 PM EST

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