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Left remembers Luxemburg and Liebknecht amid communism row

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Left remembers Luxemburg and Liebknecht amid communism row
L-R Lafontaine, Gysi, Lötzsch, Ernst and Pau on Sunday. Photo: DPA
11:49 CET+01:00
Leaders of The Left party met in Berlin on Sunday for the traditional laying of a wreath in memory of the murdered socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht amid in-fighting over whether communism was still their aim.

Joint heads of The Left Gesine Lötzsch and Klaus Ernst were present, as were head of the party's parliamentary party Gregor Gysi, former party chairman Oskar Lafontaine and Berlin party chairman Klaus Lederer as well as parliamentary deputy president Petra Pau.

The wreath laying, to commemorate Luxemburg and Liebknecht, was overshadowed by the row over comments made by Lötzsch last week suggesting she wanted to take the party and eventually the country towards communism.

“We can only find the route to communism if we make a start and try it out, whether in opposition or in government,” she wrote in an article headed “Ways to Communism” in the Junge Welt newspaper.

This had attracted the ire of Gysi who distanced himself from the comments over the weekend, telling party comrades in Hamburg on Saturday, “We have very consciously decided not to be a communist party, and will work not towards communism but towards democratic socialism.”

By Sunday Lötzsch was back in line, saying the communism comment was a question of interpretation, and stressing that the party was working towards democratic socialism.

She rejected criticism from conservatives who pounced upon her article as evidence that The Left party was anti-constitutional, saying such allegations were absurd.

Lafontaine also criticised the attacks on the party, describing them as a malicious campaign.

Gysi simply said it was time to concentrate on other, more important topics. Lötzsch had cancelled a podium discussion planned for Saturday evening during which she was due to talk with former leftist RAF terrorist Inge Viett and German Communist Party chairwoman Bettina Jürgensen.

DAPD/hc

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