33: Solidarity with the caravan; Leandros Fischer on Die Linke’s strategy

This week, we talk to Leandros Fischer of Germany’s Die Linke (The Left Party). In the wake of a wave of refugee migration in 2015, the far right in Germany has made terrifying advances. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) has gained seats in the German Parliament and openly fascist forces have rallied in the streets of Chemnitz. But in the last month we also saw a spectacular demonstration of anti-fascist forces a quarter of a million strong in Berlin.

Leandros explains how Germany’s position as the leader of the European Union, the weakening of labor protections, and the creation of a two-tier, contract-based workforce have all set the stage for a deepening polarization in German politics. He discusses the history of Die Linke, one of the earliest broad-left party projects in Europe, and its current situation and debates. He helps us untangle the debates on the left about the controversial positions taken by Sahra Wagenknecht. He discusses the rise of the right and lays out a strategic vision for how the left can grow in this moment.

In our opener, we are joined by Hector Rivera and Rory Fanning to discuss Trump’s racist hysteria about the migrant caravan and the politics of the border. Hector is a socialist and immigrant rights activist based in Los Angeles and is involved in cross-border solidarity efforts. Rory is a military veteran who recently wrote an essay calling on troops to refuse to obey Trump’s orders to deploy to the border.

Links for our interview with Leandros Fischer:

*Leandros has written frequently for Jacobin about the political debates inside the German left. Here he talks about the rise of the right and how to understand it (http://bit.ly/LeandrosRight). In this article, he discusses the questions surrounding Sahra Wagenknecht (http://bit.ly/LeandrosWagenknecht).

*Socialist Worker recently carried two articles about the advance of the far-right in Germany and the anti-fascist response. In this article, Kathleen Brown describes the street marches of open Nazis in Chemnitz (http://socialistworker.org/2018/09/10/how-can-nazis-be-on-the-march-in-germany). And here, Axel Fair-Schulz discusses how the left should confront the rise of the far right (http://bit.ly/AxelFightRight).

Links for our opener:

*In Socialist Worker, Danny Katch and Khury Petersen-Smith discuss the politics surrounding the migrant caravan and how we can build solidarity (http://bit.ly/SWCaravan)

*In an article for In These Times, Khury Petersen-Smith recounts the history of Germany’s welcoming movement during the refugee crisis of 2015 and talks about how we can apply those lessons to building solidarity with the migrant caravan today.

*Rory Fanning and Spenser Rapone are military veterans who have called on soldiers to defy orders if they are called to the US-Mexico border (http://bit.ly/RorySW)

Music for this episode:

The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)

Lucius, "Two Of Us On The Run”

Spoon, “Tear It Down”

Egotronic, “Raven gegen Deutschland”

Atari Teenage Riot, “Start The Riot”

Die Ärzte, “Schrei Nach Liebe”

Gastone, “Weihnachtsgans”