Young Democrats / Young Left

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Founding Congress of the Young Left, 1990

The Young Democrats / Young Left - radical democratic and party-independent youth association e. V. (abbreviated JD / JL ) is a political youth association in Germany. The association goes back to the young democrats founded in 1919 . In 1992 he merged with the East German Marxist youth association Junge Linke to form the JD / JL.

In the first half of 2018, the Federal Association of JD / JL dissolved after there had been a significant decrease in active members and members in the previous years.


The JD / JL had about 8,000 members in March 2006. Anyone over 14 and under 30 years of age can become a member. Membership ends automatically at the age of 35.


The JD / JL and its spin-offs are represented by regional structures in three federal states (Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony). The state associations in Bremen, Lower Saxony and Thuringia have partly stopped their activities within the JD / JL after various conflicts and appear in public separately from the federal association as " young left against capital and nation ". The state association of Rhineland-Palatinate distanced itself from the federal association in November 2009.

Until 2011, the association's highest body was the Federal Delegates' Conference (BDK), which met once a year. At the BDK at the end of October 2011, an amendment to the statutes was passed, according to which a federal members' assembly (BMV) will replace the BDK in future.

Today's symbol of JD / JL is a small group of protesting people equipped with flags and pitchforks, the so-called "Horde". This emblem was adopted by the Liberal Finnish Youth Association in 1978 and became more and more popular in the years that followed. While the original version of the "Horde" is reminiscent of a gathering of typical enemy images of the political right , the state association of North Rhine-Westphalia uses a modified drawing in which the "Horde" was subsequently quoted as gender .

Content profile


JD / JL describe themselves as a “ non-party political youth association with a radical democratic and emancipatory self-image”. They see no possibility of “bringing about far-reaching democratic changes through parliaments and parties alone”, and therefore work primarily outside of parliament, but they do not reject selective cooperation with parties or double membership.

Radical democracy

JD / JL refer to the traditions of the Radical Democratic Party . They strive for a “radical democratization of all areas of life” and criticize the “undemocratic character of this society”, which manifests itself in the existence of authoritarian structures (they cite the current organization of schools and police as examples) and the lack of democratic control of the economy.

Assessment of the constitution protection authorities

In the constitution protection report of the state of Brandenburg of 2002, the JD / JL was listed under the category of left-wing extremism and mentioned in connection with a call against an elevator by the NPD and the disruption of a Bundeswehr concert. In 1999, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Thuringia classified the regional association of Thuringia as a “left-wing extremist group with a Marxist orientation”. In 1999, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Hesse devoted a separate section to the young democrats, in which the federal association is described as "ideologically not homogeneous"; however, all currents have "a social revolutionary justified rejection of the free democratic basic order" in common. The JD / JL were also mentioned in the Federal Constitutional Protection Report in 1999: The mentions were partly controversial in the media and in politics because they referred to dubious justifications (like the mere disruption of a Bundeswehr vow in 1999). A classification as a "left-wing extremist structure" by the Baden-Württemberg Office for the Protection of the Constitution was withdrawn in 2008 and the report for the protection of the constitution was changed.


The JD / JL have been running the “Left Summer Camp” for many years. In 2016, however, this camp was organized exclusively by JD / JL Berlin. The JD / JL also organized the travel program “radical travel”, which offered educational trips abroad, until 2005.

The association maintains thematically working federal working contexts on the topics of democracy and basic rights, educational policy, migration, gender relations and ecology.

JD / JL published the newspaper tendency until 2012 .

The former own university association Radikaldemokratische Studentengruppen (RSG) has been dissolved. University groups close to JD / JL were part of the Alliance of Left and Radical Democratic University Groups (LiRa), which has ceased its activities.

The association is an official co-supporter of the surveillance-critical data protection demonstration freedom instead of fear .


Until its dissolution, JD / JL were members of the European youth association network ENDYL . They also maintain contacts with the Austrian Action Critical Schoolchildren , the Russian Youth Human Rights Movement , the Israeli Young Meretz , the Palestinian Independent Youth Union , the South African student association SASCO and the American Young Democratic Socialists .

In Germany, there are close contacts to the JD / JL-related student alliance Linke Schülerinnen Aktion (LiSA). In addition, JD / JL have been represented on the Attac Council for years . The state association of North Rhine-Westphalia works together with the International Federation of Non-Denominational and Atheists . Furthermore, there is cooperation with the working group on data storage , the Chaos Computer Club , the Alliance for Political and Freedom of Expression and the Humanist Union .


Posters by the Young Democrats on the hunger strike against the emergency laws in front of the Bremen Cathedral , May 1968

The Young Democrats were founded in April 1919 as a youth association of the left-liberal German Democratic Party . In 1930, a large number of young democrats helped found the Radical Democratic Party, which was also left of the center .

After the war, the Young Democrats re- established themselves as a youth association closely related to the Free Democratic Party . If the young democrats were positioned to be right-wing liberal in the first years, they became a left-wing youth association again under the influence of the student movement. Since the beginning of the 1970s, there were therefore young FDP members who did not agree with the direction at that time. The young democrats saw themselves as part of the extra-parliamentary opposition , which was on the march through the institutions ("The FDP is the agency of the forces we are actually fighting"), and supported the then existing left-wing liberal wing within the FDP. The Social Liberal Youth (SLJ) formed as a split from the Young Democrats in 1970 . In contrast, from 1974 onwards, youth organizations emerged that tended more towards the right wing, classical liberalism , such as Edingen-Neckarhausen (1974), Bonn (1975), Starnberg (1975) and Berlin (1978). The Young Liberals emerged from these groups .

The change in the coalition of the FDP from the SPD to the CDU / CSU on October 1, 1982, marked a turning point in the history of the young democrats. The left-wing liberal and radical democratic young democrats then decided to finally separate from the FDP. The Young Democrats were also the driving force behind the founding of the left-wing small party Liberal Democrats . The Young Democrats worked relatively closely with the Greens in the years that followed. Some young democrats such as Claudia Roth later made careers in this party.

After the fall of the Wall in the GDR, the young democrats merged with the East German Marxist youth association Junge Linke in 1992 . After that they appeared under the name Young Democrats / Young Left. The official name of the association is today “Young Democrats-Young Left - radical democratic, emancipatory and party-independent youth association e. V. “The defining debate between the radical democratic and the anti-national wing in the 1990s ended in 1999 with the latter ceasing to work at the federal level and since then have been working under the name“ Young Left against Capital and Nation ”. The JD / JL were positioned in the left spectrum. They saw themselves as the left wing of the civil rights movement.

In the first half of the 1990s they decided to maintain an equidistance to Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the PDS . The criticism of the red-green government policy, in particular the approval of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen for the Kosovo war , led to the fact that the number of double memberships in the JD / JL and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen increased due to numerous withdrawals from the Greens decreased.

In the first half of 2018, the Federal Association of Young Democrats / Young Left finally disbanded.

Documents of the young democrats are kept in the archive of liberalism of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Gummersbach (North Rhine-Westphalia).


As early as the early 1990s, contact with the Greens was becoming increasingly problematic and almost completely broke off with the founding of the Green Youth in 1994. After the decision of the Greens in 1999 to support the Kosovo mission, there was a violent conflict between JD / JL and the Greens. The JD / JL accused the Greens of having given up anti-militarist and pacifist positions.

Sections of the JD / JL also see themselves as part of the radical left. JD / JL were not spared internal conflicts either.

A "Marxist and anti-national wing", which essentially consists of the Kant and Hegel Marxist state association of Lower Saxony, the anti - nationally oriented state association of Bremen at the time, the anti-German oriented state association of Hamburg and the state association of Thuringia as well as minority groups and the like. a. existed in the regional associations of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Berlin, has ceased working in the federal association of JD / JL since 1999. In previous years, this left wing had provided the political majority in the federal association and z. For example, the Federal Working Group on Drugs Policy , which advocates the comprehensive legalization of all drugs , and the Federal Working Group on biopolitics and gender relations , which work in a discourse-theoretical and deconstructive manner . They accused other parts of the organization of "not sharing our goal of a liberated society (...) or at least (to) confusing it with an ideal citizens' initiative", that is, of stirring up illusions in the reformability of capitalist conditions . Their de facto split from the federal association after the federal delegates' conference in 1999 justified this trend with a "history of defamation, embezzlement, obstruction, theft and perversion of the law, aimed at the complete elimination of the left wing of the association" by the new majority in the federal association, which means any cooperation impossible. As a result, various independent successor groups emerged from the split-off regional associations and above all the organization “Young Left against Capital and Nation” around the Lower Saxony regional association. JD / JL have now set up new regional association structures for Hamburg.

Another libertarian anti-authoritarian group in Berlin stopped working at JD / JL in 2003 and joined the Naturfreundejugend Berlin.

The discussion about a left alliance between the PDS and the election alternative for work and social justice (WASG) founded in 2004 for the 2005 Bundestag election was welcomed by some of the members. At the federal delegates' conference, they called for stronger cooperation and alliances with other left youth groups from the PDS and WASG. Other parts of the JD / JL, however, see the party independence of the organization as an indispensable point of reference and therefore emphasize that they are not bound by party politics. After this controversy, the wing of the Left Party process, which was positive about the Left Party process, joined the Left Party.PDS and largely ceased its activities at JD / JL.

See also


  • Ulrich Albrecht: Military policy and conception of democracy by young democrats and young socialists . In: Young Socialists and Young Democrats on Peace and Security Policy . Frankfurt a. M. 1977, pp. 212-241.
  • Dietmar W. Alt: Information on the history of the young democrats . In: DJD-Aktuell , 5/78.
  • Roland Appel: 60 years of young democrats. Goals and Limits of Liberal Youth Work - 35 Years of German Young Democrats . In: Working materials for the seminar of the Theodor-Heuss-Akademie on 22. – 24. October 1982 .
  • Helmut Bilstein, Hartmut Hohlbein, Hans-Ulrich Klose: Young Socialists - Young Union - Young Democrats. The youth organizations of the parties in the Federal Republic . 2. verb. Edition. Opladen 1972.
  • Gernot Gutsch, Volkmar Kallenbach, Berthold Meyer: Radical for freedom, democracy and peace . In: Young Socialists and Young Democrats on Peace and Security Policy . Frankfurt a. M. 1977, pp. 105-130.
  • Michael Hirschfeld, Elisabeth Korte (ed.): Anti-imperialist solidarity. Young German Democrats and their relationship to communist organizations in the Federal Republic and the GDR . Berlin 1981.
  • Hartmut Hohlbein: The German Young Democrats. Association between FDP and APO . In: Young Socialists - Young Union - Young Democrats . Opladen 1971, pp. 55-66.
  • Roland Kaufhold : No home. Nowhere. From Shanghai via Prague and Israel to Cologne - Peter Finkelgruen turns 70. 2011 (With a long excursus about left-wing liberalism and the young democrats)
  • Roland Kaufhold : radical democrats and liberals under one roof. The Liberal Center (LZ) was founded 40 years ago in Cologne,, September 6, 2018:
  • Michael Kleff: 30 years of young democrats - a historical review . In: liberal , 19 (IV / 1977), pp. 295-299.
  • Michael Kleff: The history of the German Young Democrats from 1945 to 1975. The development of a political youth association . Unpublished diploma thesis, Cologne 1976.
  • Wolfgang R. Krabbe: Party youth in Germany. Young Union, Young Socialists and Young Democrats 1945–1980 . Westdeutscher Verlag, Wiesbaden 2002, ISBN 3-531-13842-1 .
  • Jürgen Kunze: The young democrats between liberalism and socialism . In: Party system in the legitimation crisis . Opladen 1973, pp. 307-326.
  • Jürgen Kunze: Young Democrats between Socialism and Liberalism . In: Jürgen Dittberner , Rolf Ebbighausen: Party system in the legitimation crisis. Studies and materials on the sociology of parties in the FRG . Opladen 1973.
  • Friedrich Neunhöffer: Young Democrats, FDP and the labor movement . In: Blätter for German and international politics , 18, 1973, pp. 498–506.
  • Hans-Otto Rommel: The German Young Democrats after 1945 . In: liberal , 22 (IV / 1980), pp. 563-573.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Board LD for the dissolution of the Federal Association of Young Democrats / Young Left (JD / JL). Liberal Democrats, accessed August 11, 2018 .
  3. a b c d young left against capital and nation: "On the social democratization of the Federal Association of Young Democrats-Young Left"
  4. jungdemokrat_innen / young left Rheinland-Pfalz: "Adieu Bundesverband" 23 November, 2009
  5. Compare the logos on the websites of the Federal Association ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) and of the State Association of North Rhine-Westphalia
  6. ↑ Radically Democratic and Emancipatory . ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive ); Self-presentation text
  7. Independent of party and extra-parliamentary . ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive ); Self-presentation text
  8. ^ Constitutional protection report of the state of Brandenburg from 2002. (PDF; 2 MB) p. 162, p. 172
  9. ^ Constitutional Protection Report of the State of Thuringia from 1999. ( Memento from July 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) p. 113
  10. Constitutional Protection Report of the State of Hesse 1999 ( Memento from August 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (pp. 128–130) (PDF; 5.9 MB)
  11. "Naked again harmless" , TAZ from March 30, 2001
  12. ( Memento from August 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  15. ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ( Memento of March 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  17. trend | Linksnet. Retrieved July 14, 2017 .
  18. ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  20. ^ Demonstration of freedom instead of fear , list of supporters
  21. Post dated March 22, 2016
  22. ^ Resolution of the Federal Main Committee April 25-27, 2008
  23. ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  24. Council members ( Memento of December 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Attac; Retrieved December 17, 2009
  25. ^ Work program of JD / JL NRW 2008
  26. FDP in crisis - "Julis" replace young democrats as youth organization / "Liberal Democrats" remain splinter party .
  27. Federal Board LD for the dissolution of the Federal Association of Young Democrats / Young Left (JD / JL). Liberal Democrats, accessed August 11, 2018 .