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The positions of German Fourth Internationalists

Saturday 14 December 2002

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The German section of the Fourth International is divided into two public factions, the Revolutioner-Sozialistische Bund (RSB) and the Internationale Sozialistische Linke (ISL). Their approaches to the federal elections were quite different.

While both drew very critical balance sheets of the government’s policies and stressed the adaptation of social democracy and the Greens to neo-liberalism, they differed in their analyses of the polarization between conservatives and liberals on the one hand, and the SPD and Greens on the other.

The RSB view is that the SPD has for a long time been a bourgeois party like the others, while for the ISL, the historical links of the SPD with the workers’ movement are not entirely exhausted, meaning that it retains a specific role in the application of pro-capitalist policies. All the same, neither the RSB nor the ISL called for a ’useful vote’ for the SPD or Greens against Stoiber. The difference of approach emerged primarily in the attitude to the PDS. The RSB called for a vote for ’revolutionary candidates’ (there were about half a dozen symbolic direct candidatures for the SAV, the CWI group in Germany) and for the direct candidacy of Winfried Wolf in Mannheim because of the latter’s consistent anti-capitalist attitude. The ISL called for a vote for the PDS, although ’critical’, stressing its rejection of the dominant adaptationist line of this party and its participation in regional coalitions as junior partner of the SPD.

It should be said that some militants of the ISL are members of the PDS as part of its left, which remains divided and largely disorganized until now.