Communist Party of Austria
|Communist Party of Austria|
|Federal spokesman||Mirko Messner|
|founding||November 3, 1918|
|Place of foundation||Vienna|
|National Council mandates|
|Federal Council mandates|
|Seats in state parliaments|
|Mandates in the European Parliament|
The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) was founded in 1918 as the Communist Party of German Austria (KPDÖ) and is thus one of the oldest communist parties in the world.
The KPÖ was represented in the National Council from 1945 to 1959 and in several state parliaments until 1970 . In 1949 she ran for election under the name Communist Party of Austria and Left Socialists (KLS) . The KPÖ has been represented in the Styrian state parliament again since 2005 . The federal spokespersons were Melina Klaus and Mirko Messner as dual leaders from 2006 to 2012 ; Mirko Messner has been alone since 2012. The KPÖ is part of the European Left .
The official founding of the KPDÖ took place on November 3, 1918 against the background of the Russian October Revolution . At the founding conference in the Eichensäle in Vienna-Favoriten , almost 50 left-wing social democrats demanded a social revolution instead of a bourgeois revolution. The day before, Friedrich Adler had refused to head such a movement.
The early KPÖ was made up of various, sometimes conflicting groups, the immediate impetus to found it came from a circle around Elfriede Friedländer , in addition there were left-wing radicals from the social democracy around Franz Koritschoner , members excluded from the social democratic youth association during the war and later one Group of former prisoners of war returning from the young Soviet Union, to whom u. a. Karl Tomann and Johann Koplenig belonged. In May 1919, the Federation of Revolutionary Socialists - International , an association of activists of the council movement, joined the KPÖ.
The first action was taken by the newly founded party during the mass rally on the Ringstrasse on the occasion of the proclamation of the republic on November 12, 1918. Communists unrolled a banner on the parliamentary ramp with the slogan “Up for the socialist republic!” Others fetched the new red and white red flag from the flagpole in front of the parliament, removed the white stripe and knotted the two red stripes to show what the "right" flag of the new republic should be for them.
First Republic and Austrofascism
In the First Republic , the KPÖ, which was temporarily paralyzed by factional disputes, remained as good as influential despite the transfer of a larger group of the “New Left” from the social democracy around Josef Frey in 1921; it did not achieve a mandate in any national council or state elections, only in individual cases She reached municipalities in Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg and Styria, representatives in local councils. The KPÖ played a bigger role in the unemployment movement and in the fight against the emerging fascism . Before the National Socialists came to power in the German Reich, the KPÖ also spoke out in favor of a unification of Austria with Germany, but subject to a successful revolution ( for annexation to Soviet Germany! ).
On May 26, 1933, in the course of a wave of arrests in connection with forbidden demonstrations on May 1, the Austro-Fascist government under Engelbert Dollfuss banned the KPÖ by emergency decree and continued to operate illegally. According to its own statements, the KPÖ had been preparing for work in the underground since the late 1920s. After the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria (SDAP) was banned in 1934 , many former SDAP supporters and functionaries worked underground together with the KPÖ. Prominent examples are Ernst Fischer and Christian Broda .
The KPÖ took an active part in the workers' uprising of February 12, 1934, triggered by the Republican Protection League , as an attempt to replace bourgeois democracy with a communist Soviet-style Soviet-style communist republic due to the emergence of fascism, but could not have any decisive influence on it. By turning away from Josef Stalin ’s assessment of social democracy as “ social fascism ” since the 1920s by Josef Stalin , the KPÖ anticipated essential aspects of the 7th World Congress of the Comintern in 1935 and opened up to the influx of disappointed social democrats. After the February uprising was put down by the armed forces and the Heimwehr , the KPÖ grew from 4,000 to 16,000 members in a short time.
In the late 1930s, Alfred Klahr developed the first theoretical concept of an “Austrian nation” independent of the German nation. The Political Bureau of the KPÖ decided in the spring of 1937 to start a debate on the national question in Austria and commissioned Klahr to draw up relevant studies. At a time when Austria's membership of the German nation was a matter of course for many Social Democrats, Klahr came to the decisive conclusion:
“The view that the Austrian people are part of the German nation is theoretically unfounded. A unity of the German nation, in which the Austrians are included, has never existed before and does not exist today either. The Austrian people lived under different economic and political living conditions than the other Germans in the Reich and therefore developed differently. How far the process of developing into a particular nation has progressed or how close the national ties from common ancestry and common language are, can only be revealed by a concrete examination of his history. "
On the one hand, this conclusion was in line with the Comintern's “popular front” orientation , ie the creation of anti-fascist action units of the workers' parties with non-fascist sections of the bourgeoisie and the rural population. For the Austrian communists at home and in exile, the orientation towards an independent Austria became the most important political option in the fight against fascism. Klahr's script subsequently created a basis for the Austrian resistance struggle.
When Austria was annexed to the German Reich in March 1938, the KPÖ expressed its hope for the resurrection of an independent Austria in its appeal to the Austrian people . No other political force reacted to the Anschluss with comparable vehemence and mobilization for resistance.
Resistance to Nazi rule
During the time of National Socialism , the KPÖ played an essential role in the Austrian resistance movement. The communists sometimes fought side by side with former political opponents (such as Christian Democrats , Catholics, etc.) against the regime of Adolf Hitler . The KPÖ took seriously the Allies' mandate from the Moscow Declaration of October 1943 for Austria to make “its own contribution” to its liberation from fascism as a prerequisite for rebirth as a separate state. Many took part as volunteers in missions in other countries, such as in the Spanish Civil War . Over 2000 communists lost their lives in the anti-fascist resistance struggle.
In the course of the Hitler-Stalin Pact , not a few now German communists from the former Austria were extradited by the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany , including Franz Koritschoner, a co-founder of the party.
After the resurrection of an independent Austria, the party achieved national importance not least through the protection of the Soviet occupying power . In the first provisional government under Karl Renner, there were ten Socialists and nine Christian Socialists as well as seven Communists. Johann Koplenig was Vice Chancellor, Franz Honner Head of the Interior Department, Ernst Fischer Head of the Education Department. During the years of reconstruction, the KPÖ campaigned vehemently against “capitalist reconstruction at the expense of the working class ” and strictly rejected the Marshall Plan .
In the first free elections to the National Council on November 25, 1945, the KPÖ received 174,257 votes (5.42%) and with Franz Honner, Ernst Fischer, Viktor Elser and Johann Koplenig four seats in the Austrian National Council.
In some industrial and mining communities (such as Grünbach , Hüttenberg ) the KPÖ received more than 30% of the votes. In the Slovenian-speaking areas of Carinthia, the shares of the KPÖ were sometimes even higher. The party in Zell (the only municipality in which the Slovenian ethnic group is still in the majority today) received 54.8% of the vote. These positions were lost after the “break” between the Soviet Union and “Tito- Yugoslavia ”.
Prime Minister Leopold Figl offered the KPÖ a ministerial post in the concentration government : Karl Altmann became Minister of Energy. With the beginning of the Cold War and the dispute over the Marshall Plan, Altmann resigned his ministerial office in 1947, and the KPÖ was henceforth an opposition party. In the National Council elections in 1949, the KPÖ ran for election in an alliance with the Socialist Workers' Party (SAP) of the former SPÖ National Council and Central Secretary Erwin Scharf as a left-wing bloc and achieved 213,066 votes (5.08%) and five seats, Scharf came back to the National Council via this list .
October strike 1950
A large-scale strike movement from September 26 to October 6, 1950 was directed against the Fourth Wage and Price Agreement , which provided for price increases more than twice as high as wage increases. This biggest strike movement of the post-war years started in the Steyr works in Upper Austria, the VÖEST and the nitrogen works in the US occupation zones. The interruption of the strike to legitimize it by an all-Austrian works council conference , however, deprived the movement of its dynamism, in the second phase the focus of the strikes shifted to the Soviet occupation zone. The general strike scheduled for October 4th failed. As a result, there was violence because Communist Party officials tried to force companies unwilling to strike to strike. At least that is the view of the Social Democrats, which at this point were already firmly allied with the ÖVP. Contemporary witnesses describe these events very differently. After that, the general strike got increasingly out of control, mainly due to social democratic women and their anger against their own leadership. The KP leadership initially tried to prevent the escalation, but this became more and more difficult due to the SP thugs. The ÖGB , which was close to the then co-ruling socialists, rejected the strike. On October 5th, the chairman of the construction and woodworkers' union, Franz Olah , succeeded, also with the help of the thugs he had organized , which were driven by trucks to the factories on strike and forcibly driven out pickets , at which time, according to the historian Peter Autengruber , this was the case It was already clear at the time that the strike would collapse.
The KPÖ took a leading role in this strike, which is why politicians of the grand coalition ( ÖVP and SPÖ ) claimed that the strike wave had been an attempted coup with the aim of installing a people 's democracy . The KPÖ firmly denied such intentions. Today, research has proven the coup claim to be false. In any case, during the economic crisis of 1950, the communists tried to destabilize the democratic system by means of this strike in order to recapture lost political terrain.
The government propaganda appealing to deeply rooted anti-communism in the population - after all, the coup in Prague had only been two years ago - was responsible for the strike's failure more than the counter-violence of the union . Contrary to the expectations of the strike leaders, the Soviet occupying power was very cautious about this, and feared that this would lead to a serious confrontation with the Americans. According to reports, the strike was contained by the Russian occupation forces.
Struggle for neutrality
In February 1953, the KPÖ ran together with the Democratic Union of Josef Dobretsberger and the Socialist Workers' Party as an electoral community of the Austrian People's Opposition (VO). The calculation of the Soviet occupying power was to create a united front with a pseudo pluralist party alliance based on the model of the National Front of the GDR . The popular opposition received 228,159 votes (5.28%) and four seats in the election.
According to secret documents from Moscow published in 2005, there was sufficient contact between the leadership of the KPÖ and the Politburo in Moscow. The chairman Johann Koplenig was in regular contact with Stalin (code name: Gen. Filipof (f) ). The Soviet plans for Austria were discussed. A division of Austria, similar to Germany, between East and West, which was discussed internally in the KPÖ, but was officially rejected by the party, also came up. Interestingly, the documents revealed that the Soviet leadership in particular had no interest in partitioning Austria. A division of Austria into two halves would have meant that western Austria belonging to NATO would have enabled direct land connections between western Germany and Italy. By establishing a united and non-aligned Austria, the Soviets were able to push a bolt (together with Switzerland) between Germany and Italy.
The KPÖ campaigned with interruptions for the coming neutrality, which was demanded primarily by the Soviet leadership as a condition for independence. At the height of the Cold War in the early 1950s, the KPÖ was even accused of high treason by the other parties because of its advocacy of neutrality . The KPÖ played a decisive role in the struggle for the state treaty concluded on May 15, 1955 and the perpetual neutrality decided on October 26, 1955 in the National Council of ÖVP, SPÖ and KPÖ against the votes of the FPÖ's predecessor VdU .
Weakening and crises
Due to the continuous economic boom after the war, which the KPÖ only declared as a short-term "cycle", and the end of the occupation period in 1955 (which lost the protection of the Soviet occupying power and the strong positions in the Soviet-administered USIA companies ) the party is becoming increasingly influential. Just like the other parties of the world communist movement, the KPÖ was oriented towards Marxism-Leninism in Stalin's diction. After his death and that of Khrushchev with the XX. The thaw period initiated by the CPSU party congress also distanced itself from Stalinism , which was then reduced to a mere cult of personality . A more in-depth analysis of the causes and the undesirable developments associated with Stalinism, as well as its negative significance for real socialism and for the world communist movement, was mainly carried out after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc .
Even before the Hungarian popular uprising in 1956, these factors led to heavy losses in regional elections (Salzburg 1954) and also in the National Council election in May 1956 (in the elections the KPÖ was only able to save its parliamentary representation through a gain in Vienna, while in the others Federal states suffered heavy losses). After the election, the SAP merged with the KPÖ.
In addition, numerous members left the party during this time - also in connection with the Hungarian uprising in 1956 (including the former Styrian National Councilor Viktor Elser and the former Lower Austrian Provincial Councilor Laurenz Genner ), and many members withdrew from active activities (including Viktor Matejka , former Vienna City Councilor). On May 10, 1959, the KPÖ was elected from the National Council ( National Council election 1959 : 142,578 votes, 3.27%).
At the 19th party congress in 1965, Franz Muhri was elected as the new party leader and a more eurocommunist orientation was decided. This and also the renunciation of an independent candidacy with the NRW in 1966 in favor of the SPÖ (the KPÖ only ran unsuccessfully in a Viennese constituency) led to intensified disputes within the party, which escalated after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet troops in 1968. This was initially condemned by the KPÖ - in 1971, however, the party revised its position and swung to the Soviet line. As a critic of these developments (“tank communism”), the former KPÖ education minister Ernst Fischer was expelled from the party and only rehabilitated in 1998. Overall, however, these disputes were not only about the attitude to the Soviet Union and its foreign policy, but also questions of assessing the economic conditions and strategies in Austria, as well as the relationship to social democracy.
The party shrank from 150,000 members in the first post-war years to 36,400 (1965) and approx. 20,000 (1974). Today it has around 2,500 members.
After the collapse of real socialism
In January 1990, Walter Silbermayr and Susanne Sohn, two new federal chairmen, took office to renew the party and uncover mistakes from the past. The attempt by Sohn and Silbermayr to found a left-wing electoral alliance in the National Council elections in 1990 failed. The party lost about a third of its members. In general, a part of the Central Committee around the two chairmen after the National Council elections represented the thesis of a self-dissolution of the KPÖ or a transformation of the party (including its not inconsiderable assets) into a “pluralistic left”. After an overwhelming majority of district organizations had already called for an extraordinary party convention to be called and the electoral phase of the top duo was likely, both chairmen resigned in March 1991, just three months later, because the party did not support their course of de facto self-abandonment had been.
That same year, the 28th party congress of the KPÖ took place in Graz, at which three federal spokesmen (Otto Bruckner, Margitta Kaltenegger and Julius Mende) were elected instead of chairmen. The party congress passed a "provisional statute", which initiated a comprehensive democratization and decentralization of the party. However, this organizational reform was later withdrawn under the chairmanship of Walter Baier.
The party always appeared critical of the EC and the EU , and in the early 1990s repeatedly compared Austria's accession to the European Community with Austria's annexation to Hitler's Germany. Today she is against an EU constitution in its previously planned form, but no longer sees an exit from the EU as a priority goal, but as a long-term option.
Until 2003, the Volksstimmefest , named after a former party newspaper, took place every year on the first weekend in September on the Jesuitenwiese in Vienna's Prater . After it did not officially take place in 2004 for financial reasons, it saw a return on September 3rd and 4th, 2005.
Novum judgment and financial crisis
After the collapse of the GDR , there was a long-term lawsuit over considerable assets of the Novum company , which was owned by the KPÖ as an asset reserve. The German judiciary decided in 2003 in the second instance, against the contrary judgment of the first instance, that the former company Novum had belonged to the SED . The KPÖ's assets were confiscated (see main article Assets of parties and associations of the GDR ).
As a result of the loss of assets due to the court ruling on the Novum assets of around 100 million euros, the party was forced to terminate all employees and discontinue the weekly Volksstimme . The continued existence of the party largely depends on the voluntary work of committed members.
Due to the financial problems, the party had to sell the Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus (EKH), which had been occupied since 1990, for around 600,000 euros; the buyer sold the house shortly afterwards to the municipality of Vienna for 1.7 million euros. Within the political left of Austria and beyond the borders, this “capitalist” approach led to massive criticism, especially since the old “Globus House”, the former seat of the party headquarters, was also sold for many times over. Critics accuse the KPÖ of not having exhausted all possibilities to avoid the sale. The party leadership was also accused of deliberately selling it to a right-wing extremist who was an activist in the neo-Nazi group Aktion Neuerechte in the 1970s . The party leadership denies having known of the right-wing extremist past of the buyer.
In January 2005, several cars and private apartments of KPÖ functionaries as well as the house of the KPÖ federal board were victims of acts of vandalism. According to media reports, the perpetrators had come out as EKH sympathizers through a corresponding graffiti label. The KPÖ itself argues that it had no other option for financial renovation than to sell the house. Efforts initiated by the KPÖ in 2003 to have the property taken over by the City of Vienna did not meet with any response; the groups occupying the house were not prepared to cooperate in this regard either.
Internal party conflict
Since 1994 a conflict has raged in the party between the party leadership around Walter Baier and various internal opposition groups , which mainly center around the newspaper nVs (new people's voice) and the internet platform kominform.at. While the critics accuse Walter Baier of revisionism and betrayal of Marxism , they accuse them of Stalinist tendencies .
Already in the summer of 2000, 12 members of the federal executive committee, including the Graz city councilor Ernest Kaltenegger , turned against the political platform for the upcoming party congress, as they saw here, among other things, the tendency towards a de facto dissolution of the KPÖ in favor of a “pluralistic left” the platform saw an insufficient analysis of the economic and political conditions in Austria and Europe. These people submitted a counter paper to the political platform of the federal executive committee. However, the party congress did not decide on a platform, but decided to initiate a broad program debate. However, this did not get off the ground due to internal party conflicts.
The conflict escalated in April 2001: The federal executive board's internet discussion forum, which had been set up shortly beforehand, was discontinued again - as the federal executive board made massive allegations of defamation.
In January 2002 a concept of the "Attersee-Kreis" for the restructuring of the party became publicly known, which among other things demanded the deselection of various functionaries and a clear, partly orthodox-Marxist orientation of the party. Thereupon the party leadership, which could also rely on the paid apparatus of the KPÖ, massively raised the accusation of “fractionism” through the KPÖ's media. In May 2002 a group of members issued an open letter demanding that Walter Baier resign as party leader. In August 2002, the federal executive board decided to convene the 32nd party congress for the end of 2002, but the party congress was postponed to spring 2003 by bringing forward the national elections. This was convened for two meetings, the first of which was to deal with questions of content, the second with questions of personnel.
The first meeting of the 32nd party congress on April 27, 2003 decided as a compromise the document prepared by Manfred Groß What does the KPÖ stand for? The attempt to invalidate the women's program adopted in 1997 was rejected by the majority. Likewise, the majority of the participants in the party congress confirmed their rejection of Stalinism. The party's critical stance on the EU was affirmed, although the party congress rejected a reduction to a mere exit demand.
At the second conference, the Tyrolean KPÖ state chairman Manfred Eber stood as an opposing candidate to Walter Baier and the Tyrolean KPÖ functionary Petra Stöckl stood as an opposing candidate for the women's chairman Heidemarie Ambrosch. While Baier was able to assert himself against Eber with 204 against 183 votes, Stöckl achieved a majority with 197 votes against 188 votes for Ambrosch. Due to the large number of 77 candidates from the opposing camps, only seven members achieved the necessary quorum in the election of the federal board.
In the course of the worsening conflict, four members of the federal board resigned from opposition to Walter Baier between October and February, while Margit Kain was co-opted to the federal board at the suggestion of the women's assembly.
The conflict escalated again in 2004 when a party conference decided to join the European Left Party . The KPÖ did not, however, drop the option of leaving the EU, but instead kept it on the platform decided on at the 33rd party congress in December 2004. As a result, the KPÖ ran in the elections to the EU Parliament within the framework of the electoral alliance LINKE Liste with the top candidate Leo Gabriel. In the journal Profil he spoke out against socialism: “I want a Europe that is based on solidarity, not a socialist Europe.” This sometimes provoked angry criticism from the party opposition. Many party organizations then boycotted the election campaign. The election result of 0.77% or 19,530 votes was a modest percentage increase compared to the KPÖ result of 1999 of 0.73% or 20,497 votes.
At the same time, the conflicts also came to a head because the program commission established by the last party congress made supporters of Walter Baier's course a minority. The commission was then boycotted by the supporters of his course and, among other things, a draft program prepared by this commission was rejected by the rest of the federal executive board and not published in the party media.
In April 2004, at a meeting of the party's orthodox forces in Leoben, the Communist Initiative was founded and Otto Bruckner, Gerhard Bruny and Werner Murgg (since 2005 city councilor in Leoben and KPÖ member of the state parliament in Styria) were elected as its spokesman . In June 2004, this group wrote to the members of the KPÖ, accusing the federal executive committee of betraying Marxism. In general, however, the party opposition lacked a uniform political orientation and behavior, as its members and sympathizers became opponents of the party leadership for a wide variety of motives (e.g. due to the ostensibly undemocratic procedures of the party leadership under Walter Baier and financial advisor Michael Graber).
When the pressure on the party leadership to convene a party congress rose, the federal executive committee, which only consisted of two other members besides Walter Baier, called the 33rd regular party congress of the KPÖ as a delegate congress in Linz- Ebelsberg for December 11 and 12, 2004 and thereby defied a resolution of the 32nd party congress (which was held as a member party convention ), which said that the 33rd party congress had to be held as a member party conference again outside of Vienna. Four members of the federal executive committee who were directly elected at the last party congress and who had already resigned from their mandate due to the conflict also publicly opposed this. Since the party congress is the highest body of the KPÖ according to the party statutes, the opposition saw a violation of the statutes and called the KPÖ's arbitration commission, which has to decide in such cases. The Arbitration Commission decided, however, that there was no formal violation of the statute, since according to the statute a party congress cannot decide on the specific form of convening a party congress. Some members of the KPÖ Ottakring , among them district party chairman Gerhard Dusek, tried, also referring to the statute, to organize a member party conference on their own. This party congress was canceled again due to threats of legal action from the party executive committee. The delegate congress was brought forward and took place on December 4th and 5th, 2004 with 76 delegates entitled to vote in Ebelsberg. The party congress was closed by the opposition and boycotted by the KPÖ Tirol and KPÖ Graz and Styria, which were successful in municipal ballots. The political focal points of the 33rd party congress were the rejection of the EU constitution and the EU services directive, the defense of public property as well as the discussion about the year of commemoration 2005. Walter Baier was re-elected with 89.4% of the votes without an opponent. Among other things, the party statute was changed.
In the course of the conflict several members of the opposition were excluded from the party, other "opposition members" were and will be refused a new membership book, especially in Vienna, for example Manfred Eber, opponent of Walter Baier at the 2003 party congress and since 2006 district secretary of the Graz KPÖ. Some critics accused the federal executive board of an undemocratic approach and resigned from the party.
On February 27, 2006, Walter Baier announced his resignation as party leader on March 11, 2006. On this date, the federal executive elected Melina Klaus and Mirko Messner as the new speakers. The Styrian KPÖ does not accept the resolutions of the 33rd party congress and has been shaping its policy autonomously ever since. It still sees itself as part of the KPÖ, but refuses to send representatives to the national board of the KPÖ.
The relationship with the Communist Youth of Austria (KJÖ) is tense, as the youth association is now in opposition to the Federal KPÖ and is based on the Styrian KPÖ and the Communist Initiative (KI). The Federal KPÖ then tried to create a counter-group to the KJÖ with the Young Communists , which is now politically active as a Young Left . In return, the Communist Student Union (KSV) broke with the Federal KPÖ and is now in close proximity to the KJÖ, while in Vienna the ÖH parliamentary group KSV-Linke Liste supports the party's politics. Both communist student groups each have a mandate in the 2009 newly elected ÖH federal representation. The Young Left was also able to stabilize after initial difficulties and is represented in Vienna, Lower Austria, Salzburg and, more recently, in Tyrol.
The KJÖ and KSV now work independently of the KPÖ, but many members of the youth organizations are involved in the KPÖ-Styria and in the newly founded Labor Party .
Present and current program
34th Party Congress 2007
On the 8th and. On December 9, 2007, the KPÖ held the 34th party conference in Vienna-Donaustadt under the motto “KPÖ in action - party in motion”. At this party congress, a program of demands was decided, which is intended to underline the reorientation of the party to become an “activist party”. In the demands program, the KPÖ deals with the following focal points:
- Work, income, social affairs, redistribution
- Housing, basic services, communal matters, natural resources
- Education, culture, science, way of life
- Democracy, equality, self-determination, anti-fascism
- Europe, peace, solidarity
The KPÖ entered the National Council election in 2008 with Mirko Messner and Melina Klaus. In their “immediate program” for election, one of the central demands is redistribution through taxation of capital and assets, a wealth tax, a tax on added value and the abolition of private foundations. In order to stop inflation, they want compensation for wages, salaries and pensions, as well as a statutory minimum wage of ten euros per hour and a minimum income .
35th Party Congress 2011
The 35th regular party congress of the KPÖ took place in Vienna-Favoriten on February 26 and 27, 2011 (motto: "For a solidary society - what we want to fight for - KPÖ"). The focus was on the debate about the ideas of the KPÖ about a solidary society to be achieved as an alternative to global, neoliberal capitalism and its manifestations of de-solidarization. "The questions of terminology, utopias, our demands for solidarity, economics, coexistence have the potential to sharpen our politics and our offers to fighters and allies to be won over."
36th Party Congress 2014
At the 36th party congress of the KPÖ on October 18 and 19, 2014 in Vienna-Simmering, a revised women's program was decided. The motto of the party congress was "Put your arms down". The explosive nature of international developments was reflected not only in the party convention slogan, but also in some resolutions regarding peace policy demands. After an intensive discussion process over the last few years, the KPÖ passed the demand for an unconditional basic income at a living level. In addition, an application has been on decriminalization of all illegal under the Narcotic Substances Act drugs adopted by majority. Theses about the tasks and functions of the KPÖ in Austria were discussed and adopted. In it, the KPÖ affirmed, among other things, its task as a party of redistribution from top to bottom and its responsibility to contribute to the rallying of the left in Austria. In terms of electoral politics, the KPÖ is committed to the further development of cooperation and alliances to the left of the “system-conforming” social democracy and the Greens. In terms of European policy, the KPÖ wants to fight for a fundamental reorganization of the European Union together with parties of the European left and with all other progressive forces and social movements.
In the election of the new federal executive committee, 36 people were elected, half of them women. When it was constituted, the federal executive elected Mirko Messner as federal spokesman for the KPÖ, Florian Birngruber as federal coordinator and Michael Graber as finance officer. Heidemarie Ambrosch was unanimously confirmed as women's spokesperson by the women's assembly.
PLUS announced with Young Greens
On June 26, 2017, Flora Petrik , spokeswoman for the Young Greens , which are no longer officially part of the Green Party, announced that the group was moving under the umbrella of the KPÖ. According to Petrik, the future name should be KPÖ PLUS - PLUS in the sense of a platform independent & solidarity . KPÖ federal spokesman Mirko Messner formulated: "Our experience and their vigor are the ideal combination for this election." They want to fill the "big gap ... to the left of social democracy and the Greens". The KPÖ ran for the National Council election in 2017 together with the Young Greens as KPÖ and Platform PLUS - open list .
37th Party Congress 2017
The 37th party congress of the KPÖ took place on December 2nd and 3rd, 2017 in the VHS-Zentrum Wien-Liesing under the motto “take sides”. Around 150 delegates decided on a key proposal entitled “How to continue”. Due to the current political situation, the application aims to show alternatives and tasks from the perspective of the KPÖ. The lead proposal includes the thematic blocks "Reversing the logic: redistribution from top to bottom", "Income to livelihood", "For the solidarity society", "Housing is a human right", "Women under pressure", "Existence", "For a social re-establishment of Europe ”,“ Peace is not everything, but without peace everything is nothing ”. In the point "Forming alliances" the question of alliances, also going beyond elections, is addressed:
“The efforts of the KPÖ to increase the voting weight of the left beyond social democracy and the Greens with electoral alliances, and the reorientation of the Young Greens, has the KPÖ Plus together with activists of the Young Greens and numerous independent candidates on the open lists for the 2017 National Council election to the electoral alliance led by the KPÖ. Despite the disappointing election results, this is a good basis for continuing the cooperation and for expanding it with the aim of becoming politically capable of acting on a relevant scale - locally and nationally, with respect for the differences that result from different approaches and experiences. It's about the practical organization of social, economic and cultural interests and alternatives on site. "
The last point “100 years of the KPÖ, 100 years of the republic, 200th birthday of Karl Marx” deals with the party's self-image. There it says:
“The KPÖ will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its foundation with dignity and make its contribution to the 2018 Marx year. This anniversary is not just an occasion to celebrate, to appreciate what has been achieved and to recognize what has failed. On this occasion, we also want to reflect on which function our party fulfills and can fulfill in the current political situation, which visions of the future and strategic options we have, how we see the development of our party and which name fits the party. "
The KPÖ wants to conduct this process of reflection on a broad scale, in the long term, with the involvement of all members and party groups. There should be different discussion and educational opportunities.
Furthermore, motions and resolutions were passed on the outcome of the National Council election , on transport, asylum and animal protection policies, as well as on solidarity with the democratic forces in Turkey, on strengthening the rights of intersex people and on criticism of religion . The draft for a program of demands was assigned to the new federal executive committee for further specification. Further motions dealt with the various topics to improve party work.
In the election of the new federal executive committee, 38 people were elected, half of them women. The heads of the KPÖ, Mirko Messner as federal spokesperson, Florian Birngruber as federal coordinator, Michael Graber as finance officer, and Heidemarie Ambrosch as women's spokeswoman, were confirmed.
The KPÖ in elections
The KPÖ was represented in the National Council from 1945 until 1959, in the provincial parliaments (partly with interruptions) in Salzburg until 1949, in Lower Austria until 1959, in Burgenland until 1956, in Vienna until 1969 and in Carinthia and Styria until 1970. In Upper Austria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, the KPÖ never had a state representative.
After leaving the National Council and the state parliaments, the political focus inevitably shifted even more to work in the municipalities, in companies and unions and, from the 1970s, more and more to extra-parliamentary alliances .
From 1970 to 2005 the parliamentary activity of the KPÖ was limited to local councils. There was or is a permanent or temporary representation of the KPÖ in Vienna district councils and in municipal councils in Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Upper Austria, Salzburg and Burgenland. In 2005 the KPÖ was able to record significant gains in the municipal council elections in the Upper Styrian industrial cities. For the first time since 1991, the KPÖ has also provided district councils in Vienna since 2005. On October 23, 2005, one mandate each was won in the districts of Leopoldstadt and Landstrasse . In some of the other 21 districts, mandates were narrowly missed. In the municipal council elections in 2009, the KPÖ succeeded in returning to the Linz municipal council after 18 years .
The KPÖ has its strongest local political position in Graz , where in 1998 a representation in the city senate was achieved for the first time with 7.8 percent and four mandates, which in 2003 led with an increase to 20.8 percent and twelve mandates or two city senate mandates and 25 district council mandates, which was mainly related to the person of Ernest Kaltenegger . Based on its strong position in Graz, the KPÖ reached the state parliament with four seats in the Styrian state election on October 2, 2005 with Ernest Kaltenegger as the top candidate. In the municipal council elections in Graz in 2008 , however, the KPÖ had to record a significant defeat and with 11.18 percent only achieved six mandates and one city senate seat and 13 district council mandates. Four years later, in the municipal council elections in Graz in 2012 , the KPÖ with top candidate Elke Kahr gained 8.68 percentage points and became the second strongest party behind the ÖVP with 19.86 percent. In the municipal council elections in Graz in 2017 , the party achieved 20% (10 seats), making it the second largest party in the municipal council. In addition, the SPÖ won the second city council mandate for the first time . Robert Krotzer thus became the youngest city councilor in the history of Graz.
In accordance with the provisions of the statute of the KPÖ, the professional politicians of the KPÖ (members of the state parliament, city councils) only claim around 2,000 euros per month for themselves and dedicate the remaining amount to social purposes. A day of open accounts has traditionally been taking stock of the use of this social fund since 1998.
The KPÖ currently (2017) holds a total of 85 municipal mandates in Styria, 38 of them outside Graz. It is represented with six mandates in city governments, has a deputy mayor each in Eisenerz and Trofaiach and is also the second strongest force in Graz with the right to propose the office of deputy mayor. In the state elections in 2015, the Styrian KPÖ was able to hold its two state parliament mandates.
In Lower Austria the KPÖ currently holds 4 municipal mandates, in Upper Austria it is represented with one mandate in the municipal council of the provincial capital Linz. In March 2019, for the first time in decades, it was possible to rejoin the municipal council of the state capital in Salzburg. In Vienna and Lower Austria there are also citizen lists or electoral alliances within which the KPÖ holds individual mandates.
- Election results of the last important elections
(GR = local council, StR = city council)
In the state elections in Burgenland , the KPÖ last ran in 1987 (0.56%), in Vorarlberg the last time in 1989 (0.71%), but ran in 2009 as part of the Gsiberger electoral alliance. After an absolute low in most elections in the 1990s, the KPÖ gradually succeeded in building on the results of the 1980s. From October 2, 2005, the party was again represented with four seats in the Styrian state parliament. In the municipal council elections in Vienna on October 23, 2005 , the KPÖ increased to 1.47% and doubled its number of votes; in the municipal council elections in Linz 2009, a mandate was achieved for the first time in 18 years with 1.65% of the votes. The mandate was defended in the municipal council elections in September 2015 with 2.4%. The KPÖ Styria managed to double its mandates in the municipal elections (except Graz) on March 21, 2010, in which it achieved its best election result since 1970. The KPÖ is now providing members of the city government in four Styrian cities and, with Gabriele Leitenbauer, a vice mayor for the first time in the history of the party, after the KPÖ in Trofaiach received 20 percent of the vote. In the state elections in Styria on September 26, 2010, in which the KPÖ ran for the first time with Claudia Klimt-Weithaler as the top candidate, the KPÖ was able to defend its representation in the state parliament in faction strength despite the loss of votes and mandates.
In the Vienna municipal council election in 2010, the KPÖ fell from 1.47% to 1.12%. It was different in the district council elections, where the KPÖ was not only able to defend its district council mandates from 2005, but also won a mandate in the district council in Margareten . In Leopoldstadt , where the KPÖ had already made it into the district representation in 2005, the KPÖ under Josef Iraschko achieved the largest number of votes.
In the 2015 municipal council elections in Vienna, the electoral alliance of Vienna, in which the KPÖ is involved, achieved further gains in mandates at the district level. Vienna differently district councils have existed since 2015 in Leopoldstadt, on Landstrasse, in Margareten, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus and in Ottakring.
In the municipal council election on March 10, 2019, the “KPÖ Plus” list with its top candidate Kay-Michael Dankl reached 3.8 percent in the city of Salzburg, which means the first re-entry since 1962 into the Salzburg municipal council. On May 8, 2019, Dankl was officially sworn in as a community council member. Dankl is also active in the youth organization Junge Linke and was also national chairman of the Junge Grünen , the former youth organization of the Greens, from 2015 to 2017 . In the 2020 municipal council elections in Styria, the KPÖ reached 1.6%. On closer inspection, if only those communities are taken into account, in which the KPÖ was also a candidate, even an election success of 6.5% can be determined according to a political scientist.
Federal party leader of the KPÖ
- 1927–1965: Johann Koplenig
- 1965–1990: Franz Muhri
- 1990–1991: Walter Silbermayr and Susanne Sohn
- 1991–1994: Otto Bruckner , Margitta Kaltenegger and Julius Mende (federal spokesman)
- 1994-2006: Walter Baier
- 2006–2012: Melina Klaus and Mirko Messner (Federal Spokespersons)
- 2012– : Mirko Messner (Federal Spokesman)
- Alfred Klahr Society
- Communist Student Union
- Communist youth of Austria
- Party of Labor of Austria
- (Sister party ) Communist Party of Germany
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- The Styrian municipal council elections in detail on July 1, 2020