Echoes of Sanders and Corbyn as Left-Wing 'Stand Up' Movement Vows 'New Political Revolt' in Germany
Looking to spark a political revolution in the mold of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ in the U.S. and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s in the U.K., Sahra Wagenknecht and her husband Oskar Lafontaine—two leading figures of the German left-wing party Die Linke—officially launched the “Stand Up” movement on Tuesday with the goal of confronting Germany’s “crisis of democracy,” countering the rise of the nation’s racist far-right, and offering an inspiring alternative.
“The globalization steered by corporations, the disintegration of the welfare state, an endless string of new wars—this not a force of nature. There are alternatives to it and we want to give people back the hope that politics can be changed.”
“Many people don’t feel represented any more and are turning their backs on politics. This is more than just a feeling,” Wagenknect said at a press conference on Tuesday, citing economic data showing that 40 percent of German citizens have less take-home pay today than they did two decades ago. “In such a country democracy is no longer functioning.”
“This is about courage to overcome the neoliberal mainstream, about a social policy in the interest of the majority,” Wagenknecht added in an interview with the website Nachdenkenseiten.de. “The globalization steered by corporations, the disintegration of the welfare state, an endless string of new wars—this not a force of nature. There are alternatives to it and we want to give people back the hope that politics can be changed.”
The emergence of the Stand Up movement—which has also been translated as “Get Up” and “Rise Up”—comes just days after thousands of neo-Nazis marched and rioted in the German city of Chemnitz, just one of many signs that the nation’s far-right is emboldened and increasingly dangerous.
Wagenknect argued that a left-wing populist movement like Stand Up is necessary to counter the pseudo-populism of the right, which seeks to exploit very real economic suffering and despair for racist aims.
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