Germany’s Left party parliamentary leader, Sahra Wagenknecht, unveiled the first stage of her Aufstehen (“Stand Up”) initiative by rolling out a website that offers visitors a chance to join the movement.
The site’s aim is to lobby left-wing voters and pressure politicians to create a majority that would result in a left-wing government. It is designed to attract the “protest voters” who currently support populist parties such as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
“This is about courage to overcome the neoliberal mainstream, about a social policy in the interest of the majority,” Wagenknecht told the online portal Nachdenkenseiten.de. “The globalisation 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.”
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Aufstehen is not a political party in itself. It welcomes the members of other parties, including the Left, the SPD and the Greens, as well as people without party affiliation.
“Nobody needs to leave their organisation to work with us, but we especially want to encourage those people who don’t feel at home in any party to act,” she told the Spiegel magazine.
What is more, Aufstehen is also not endorsed by Germany’s Left party, and several senior officials have already spoken out against the movement and Wagenknecht. The 49-year-old parliamentary leader has a history of clashing with party heads.
The website, which went online last week, currently consists of a collage of video clips with people across Germany discussing leftist ideas. It notably does not give details on what the Aufstehen members should stand up for, and the group’s manifesto is set to be published only in September.
In an interview with DW, Wagenknecht warned the Left party was bleeding supporters to the right-wing AfD, which calls for strict limits on migration. At least 400,000 voters have already switched sides, putting the AfD ahead of the Left in nearly all of the Left’s traditional stronghold in the east.