Democratic Socialism Party

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Democratic Socialism Party
Party leader Lothar Bisky (2003–2007)
Gabi Zimmer (2000–2003)
Lothar Bisky (1993–2000)
Gregor Gysi (1990–1993)
Honorary Chairman Hans Modrow (1990-2007)
Emergence Renaming of SED-PDS (formerly SED )
founding 4th February 1990
fusion June 16, 2007
(incorporated in: Die Linke )
Headquarters Karl-Liebknecht-Haus
Kleine Alexanderstraße 28
10178 Berlin
Alignment Democratic socialism
Colours) red
Number of members 60,338 (2006)
European party European Left (EL)
EP Group Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE / NGL)

The Party of Democratic Socialism (short name: PDS ) was a left-wing political party in Germany that existed from 1990 to 2007 and was mainly active in the new federal states .

It emerged from the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), which in December 1989 was initially renamed the Socialist Unity Party of Germany - Party of Democratic Socialism (SED-PDS). On February 4, 1990, after a change in personnel and content, it changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and in July 2005 to Die Linkspartei.PDS (short name Die Linke.PDS ). On June 16, 2007 it finally went on in the course of the merger with the WASG in the party Die Linke . The number of members was put at 60,338 in December 2006.

Some political scientists classified the PDS as left-wing populist .


The PDS emerged from the GDR state party SED , which was renamed SED-PDS after the overthrow in the country in mid-December 1989. From February 4, 1990 it was only called the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). The PDS saw itself in the tradition of the KPD through the VKPD , the USPD , the Spartakusbund , the SPD , the SDAP , the ADAV up to the German labor movement .

The party's name changes were associated with significant cuts in terms of personnel and content. Despite the renaming, the PDS saw itself legally and morally connected to the legacy or legacy of the SED and did not deny its responsibility. However, political opponents accused her of not dealing intensively with the past.

Content profile


The long-discussed new party program was adopted at the 8th party congress in Chemnitz on October 26, 2003. It contained the statements of the 1993 program on "Socialism - Aim, Path and Values", supplemented by the warning:

“The socialist idea has been damaged by its abuse as a justification for dictatorship and oppression. The party sees the experience of the GDR, including the insight into the causes of its collapse, obliged to rethink the understanding of socialism. The program does not construct a 'model' of a socialist society that just needs to be implemented, but starts with the simple question: 'What do people need in order to be able to live independently?' "

It also included the cornerstones of socialist positions on topics such as economy , democracy , education and environmental protection . Topics such as East Germany and work were discussed in more detail.

Political positions

Economic and social policy

In addition to the attempt to carry socialist political drafts into the new millennium, the PDS held fast to overcoming a capitalism that functions according to the laws of the market . According to their ideas, the redistribution from bottom to top should be stopped. In this context, the party called for the "Law for Modern Services on the Labor Market" ( Hartz IV ) to be reversed. The party also traditionally paid special attention to lobbying for the new federal states . The party advocated a reduction in annual working hours and the daily allowable working hours for individuals. The PDS sought a redistribution from top to bottom. It was the first party to demand the minimum wage in Germany. According to the party model, this would amount to eight euros. A progressive taxation of corporations, higher earners and the rich was also sought - for this purpose the PDS demanded a wealth tax .

Pension and Health Policy

In health policy , she relied on solidarity-based citizens' insurance that includes all types of income to the same extent. In her view, the red and green citizens' insurance stopped halfway and the black and yellow model had moved in the opposite direction. According to the ideas of the party, the value added tax should be discussed in Germany within the framework of citizens' insurance and integrated there. In addition, other types of income should be included in the citizens 'insurance, so that the value-added tax partially replaces the employer / employee contributions, but the citizens' insurance also applies to the non-employed. The PDS also advocated decriminalization of cannabis and a drug policy that puts prevention above punishment. A release of so-called hard drugs, however, was not required.

Environmental policy

The PDS had the goal that from 2050 only renewable energies would be used, and was in favor of the short-term phase-out of nuclear energy . She advocated an ecologically weighted primary energy tax. Environmentally friendly action, saving energy and resources should be financially rewarded and unsuitable behavior should be burdened. Economic and research subsidies should be ecological according to the ideas of the party. Inexpensive local public transport should also be encouraged. For environmental organizations, more participation, control and objection rights were sought, regional economic cycles and the economical use of resources should be promoted. The energy monopolies should be unbundled and placed under democratic control. The PDS supported the creation of GMO- free zones, wanted to promote the designation and networking of nature reserves and promote renaturation, peatland protection and construction-free waters. For flood protection, flood areas should be kept free and reclaimed and soils unsealed, according to the party. The ecological platform at the PDS set itself the goal of preventing climate change from becoming a “ climatic collapse ” and that politics and society should also be committed to the vital interests of future generations.

Foreign policy

The rejection of Bundeswehr missions abroad was consistent within the PDS . However, UN blue helmet missions were controversial within the party . In foreign policy, the party took the position that “more security can only be achieved through global justice” . Therefore, according to the party, compulsory military service should be abolished and the Bundeswehr reduced to 100,000 people.


The PDS strictly rejected tuition fees . It sought the abolition of the two- or three-part school system and the introduction of community schools.

Inner structure

organization structure

The Linkspartei.PDS had the legal status of a registered association since the end of 2006 in preparation for the merger with the WASG . It had sixteen regional associations and was therefore present in every German country. In the East German state associations 115 district associations were organized, in the West German states 169 district associations or local associations without district association, to which the grassroots organizations (BOs) belonged.

The highest body of the PDS at the federal level was - according to the party law - the federal party congress , between its meetings the party executive committee, whose members were elected by the party congress. The party council performed a control function vis-à-vis the executive committee, advised and arbitrated in the event of serious programmatic differences within the executive committee and between different party branches. He had the right of initiative and intervention in fundamental decisions.

['solid] - the socialist youth was the party-affiliated youth association of the PDS at the federal level. There were also local or regional youth structures in various countries and cities. The Young Comrades Working Group (AGJG) existed until 1999 . There were also various commissions on various subject areas and over thirty working groups at federal level.

Historical commission

The Historical Commission was a body appointed by the PDS party executive, which consisted of honorary members and advised the party executive as well as party-affiliated educational associations on historical-political issues. The commission was founded in 1990 and new members were appointed in 2001.

The spokesman's council consisted of three members: Jürgen Hofmann (managing spokesman), Daniela Fuchs and Klaus Kinner .

Membership structure and development

Number of members of the
PDS / Linkspartei.PDS
year number
1990 285,000
1991 172,579
1992 146,742
1993 131.406
1994 123.751
1995 114,940
1996 105.029
1997 98,624
1998 94,627
1999 88,594
2000 83,478
2001 77,845
2002 70,805
2003 65,753
2004 61,385
2005 61,489
2006 60,338

(according to information from PDS, status 06/2005)

  • over 65 years: 60.1 percent
  • under 41 years: 7.7 percent
  • Pensioners: 60 percent
  • Employees: 18 percent
  • Workers / unemployed: 14 percent
  • Women: 45.6 percent

Of the former 2.3 million members of the SED, around 95 percent resigned and did not become members of the later PDS or Left Party. Many of these members either only joined the former state party under pressure or for career reasons or, conversely, did not want to accept the change from the state party with claim to leadership to the “ordinary” party; some found acceptance into other parties and organizations after the fall of the Berlin Wall , most of them became non-party. During the upheaval and afterwards, there were only a few new members, mostly young members, who initially wanted to promote the reform process in the GDR or who later wanted to get involved in social issues in the Federal Republic of Germany. The decline in membership in the east could hardly be compensated for by the new members in the west.

In 2007 the Left Party.PDS had around 60,000 members. The biggest problem of the PDS in the east was the high number of membership losses due to age reasons. However, the number of members rose for the first time with the wave of entry in 2005, and with the planned accession of the 12,000 WASG members, the situation was expected to ease further. However, according to one study in 2003, over 70 percent of members were over sixty years old. As a result, some regional associations joined together to form larger units in order to remain capable of acting.

Wings and currents in the party

Anti-capitalist left

The anti-capitalist left tied in with the new common left party and its policies, programmatic minimum conditions and minimum conditions for government participation. She persisted in calling for a strict anti-capitalist party. Prominent representatives of the anti-capitalist left were Sahra Wagenknecht , Tobias Pflüger , Cornelia Hirsch and Ulla Jelpke .

Socialist left

The Socialist Left (SL) represented left Keynesian and reform communist positions in the party. The unionized Socialist Left aspired to a modern socialist party modeled on the SP of the Netherlands or the Italian PRC . In 2007 the SL was strongly represented in the bodies of the WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS. Well-known representative of this movement was the former SPD member Diether Dehm .

Reform left

The Reform Left network advocated alliances with the SPD and the Greens . Examples in which the reform left were able to prevail are the government participation and support in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin. Internally, they were often referred to as "unreal". They were represented within the party with their own working group. Prominent representatives were Petra Pau , Wulf Gallert , Jan Korte , Stefan Liebich and Halina Wawzyniak .

Emancipatory left

The Emancipatory Left ( did not see itself as a wing, but as a mediating current in the party. With critical questions and comments she tried to draw the wings' attention to contradictions. Outwardly, she represented a socially liberal and emancipatory view. According to, freedom and socialism were not a contradiction in terms, but were mutually dependent. As a real political demand, she advocated a stronger demand for an unconditional basic income within the party. The initiators were Katja Kipping , Caren Lay and Julia Bonk .

Working groups

The so-called working groups played a very strong role within the PDS. They significantly influenced the internal opinion-forming process. To party conferences they set depending on the size, a significant number of delegates. Working groups either specifically dealt with a political topic ( e.g. ecological platform , working group on education policy) or they served as a collecting tank for a party wing (network reform left or the communist platform ).

There were, among others, the following working groups:


In 2002, the party received income of 21.9 million euros, 48 ​​percent of which came from membership fees, 33 percent from state funds, 17 percent from donations and 3 percent from other income.

Corporate investments

The Karl-Liebknecht-Haus in Berlin, the newspaper Neues Deutschland (ND), the Karl Dietz Verlag Berlin as well as the Hotel am Wald Elgersburg GmbH belonged to the assets of the Linkspartei.PDS that were unequivocally determined to be legitimate . The ND publishing house was bought back by Deutsche Bahn after the fall of the Wall. Linkspartei.PDS held shares in a few other companies, such as BärenDruck Mediaservice .

According to the statement of accounts, most of the large donations came from active or former MPs and mayors of the party.

Separation from SED assets

According to a settlement between the PDS and the Treuhandanstalt on July 18, 1995 , any old SED assets that were found go to the state. The PDS was accused of not having given sufficient support to the investigation. In 2007 there was still a lack of clarity about the whereabouts of funds and assets that the SED had wrongly appropriated in the GDR. The party successfully took legal action against claims by Wolfgang Thierse that the PDS had continued to use SED assets for their own purposes.

Government grants to subsidiary organizations

The party's federal and state foundations and the local political forums in the eastern states received regular state grants that were strictly separated from the party's finances. In July 2006, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Thuringia won a lawsuit over the disadvantage of foundation funds. For years, the party-affiliated state foundation was only paid the amount that the FDP and the Greens received, which are hardly anchored in the country. The foundation of the SPD, which is much weaker in terms of members and election results, on the other hand, received money that was comparable to the foundation of the CDU, which is dominant in the country. In other federal states, too, party-affiliated associations, such as the municipal political forums, often only received public funds according to their legal claims after legal proceedings. In November 2006, the Linkspartei.PDS announced a lawsuit at the Federal Constitutional Court because it saw itself at a disadvantage in the distribution of funds to the party-affiliated foundations.


Katja Kipping Gesine Lötzsch Oskar Lafontaine Bernd Riexinger Klaus Ernst Gabi Zimmer Lothar Bisky Gregor Gysi

1989/1990: history since the fall of the wall

Hans Modrow, 1999

Shortly after the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the GDR in mid-October 1989 , Erich Honecker was ousted from power by Egon Krenz , who held his party office as general secretary of the SED and the state offices as chairman of the State Council, under pressure from both the peaceful mass protests of the civil rights movement and from his own party base and the National Defense Council took over. The demonstrations on the evening of November 9, 1989 led to further pressure.

On December 1, the People's Chamber deleted the SED's claim to leadership from the constitution by a large majority. On December 3, Honecker and the former Minister for State Security Erich Mielke were expelled from the party. On December 6th, Krenz resigned from office after persistent criticism. On December 9th, Gregor Gysi was elected as the new chairman at an extraordinary party conference convened at short notice; as his deputies, the co-initiators of the internal party reforms Wolfgang Berghofer , Lord Mayor of Dresden , and Hans Modrow , former First Secretary of the SED district leadership in Dresden and since November Prime Minister of the GDR.

In the second half of the party congress, on December 16, the party renamed itself the Socialist Unity Party of Germany - Party of Democratic Socialism (SED-PDS) at the suggestion of Gregor Gysi , after it named the injustice of the SED in a speech by Michael Schumann and had distanced himself from the people involved, such as Erich Honecker and Egon Krenz, and the acts, especially those of Stalinism in the GDR ("turning away from Stalinism as a system").

Around 15,000 people demonstrated on January 7, 1990 in Neubrandenburg against "terror and neo-fascism" and for a sovereign GDR. The working committee of the SED-PDS had called for this

This party congress also faced the question of whether the SED should be dissolved or fundamentally changed and renewed from within. Several leading figures warned more explicitly against the dissolution of the party. Gysi: "In my opinion, the dissolution of the party and its re-establishment would be a catastrophe for the party." Ultimately, the vast majority of delegates opted for the second way. According to the minutes, concern about the party assets and the future of the 44,500 full-time employees at the time played a role in the arguments of various participants. A start-up was also described as transparent and implausible. Representatives of the demand for a dissolution and re-establishment of the party were above all representatives of the Communist Platform , which was founded a little later, and the WF platform, which was founded on November 30, 1989 from various parts of the SED in the Berlin factory for television electronics.

In January 1990, other members of the former leadership were expelled from the party, including Egon Krenz, Heinz Keßler and Günter Schabowski . The party officially committed itself to German unity for the first time. On February 4, 1990, the party separated from the historically burdened part of the name SED and was henceforth only called PDS .

In the first free Volkskammer election on March 18, 1990, the party received 16.4 percent of the vote. It achieved its best result with 30.2 percent in the Berlin district and its worst with 9.9 percent in the Erfurt district . The PDS provided 66 of the 400 members of the People's Chamber.

Two months after reunification , on December 2, 1990, it received 2.4 percent of the vote and a direct mandate in Berlin (Gregor Gysi) in the election for the first all-German Bundestag and moved into the Bundestag as a parliamentary group with 17 members . The provisions of the Unification Treaty provided for a separate five percent hurdle for the former territory of the Federal Republic and the GDR as a one-off special regulation, from which the PDS and Alliance 90 also benefited.

1990–2000: The era under the chairmen Gregor Gysi and Lothar Bisky

Gregor Gysi 1997 in Hildesheim

In 1993 Gregor Gysi renounced a new candidacy for party chairmanship. Lothar Bisky became the new party leader . While the early years were characterized by holding back the collapse of the old ruling party in the GDR, a certain consolidation was achieved in 1993 with the adoption of the first party program .

The following years were marked by ambivalent developments. On the one hand, the election results rose slowly but surely, and public acceptance outside and within the left increased. On the other hand, the sometimes dramatic loss of membership could not be stopped. The various internal party currents were also barely able to enter into an internal dialogue. With external development it came to internal stagnation. The 1993 program served as an armistice agreement, but it was hardly forward-looking. Attempts to adopt a new program led to violent disputes, most perceived publicly as a dispute between reformers and traditionalists .

Although the party missed the five percent hurdle again in 1994 with only 4.4 percent of the second vote, four direct mandates were enough for it to move into the German Bundestag again in groups with thirty members using the basic mandate clause . A controversially discussed incident occurred at the constituent meeting: The writer Stefan Heym , a former harsh critic of the SED rule, had won a Bundestag mandate as a non-party direct candidate through the open electoral list of the PDS and opened the meeting as old-age president in accordance with the rules of procedure . In breach of previous conventions, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Union parliamentary group, with the exception of Rita Süssmuth, unanimously refused to applaud him, and many Union MPs even left the room. The Federal Press Office delayed the printing of the speech. There were also Stasi allegations against Heym, which later turned out to be completely unfounded.

In 1995, Gysi and Bisky played a key role in creating a strategy paper that promotes clear demarcation from Stalinism and the politics of the German Democratic Republic and promotes pragmatic work. The party is not supposed to remain a regional party in the east and should also gain a foothold in the old federal states. The departure from ideological premises as the basis of political activity, which was also promoted by the programmatic “thought leader” André Brie , met with fierce resistance from some circles in the party that are described as ultra-left, including the Communist Platform with Sahra Wagenknecht at its head.

1997 Gysi resigned from the party executive committee. In 1998, the party received 5.1 percent of the second vote in the federal elections and thus passed the five percent hurdle for the first time in Germany. Thereupon 36 MPs moved into the Bundestag. The parliamentary group chairman was Gregor Gysi, who resigned from this office in 2000. In the same year, Bisky decided not to run again for chairmanship. Both wanted to pave the way for younger forces who were to anchor the party in the democratic system of the Federal Republic and the commitment to the social market economy . The new party chairman was Gabi Zimmer , and Roland Claus chairman of the parliamentary group .

2000–2003: The era under chairwoman Gabi Zimmer

Gabi Zimmer, 2004

In 2001, the PDS won their first district council mandates in direct local elections with Barbara Syrbe in the district of Ostvorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Lothar Finzelberg in the district of Jerichower Land (Saxony-Anhalt) and Kerstin Kassner in the district of Rügen (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). Barbara Syrbe and Lothar Finzelberg succeeded in doing this, with the support of the SPD candidates, in runoff elections against the leading CDU candidates after the first ballot. However, Lothar Finzelberg resigned from the PDS in May 2003. In the Rügen district, the election was initially repeated because the first-placed Kerstin Kassner ran for the second ballot alone after the second-placed CDU candidate had withdrawn and did not receive the required minimum number of votes due to insufficient turnout. In the re-election she then won both in the first ballot and in the runoff election against the new CDU applicant.

Also in 2001, after the parliamentary elections in Berlin, a coalition was formed with the SPD . Gregor Gysi became Senator for Economics. In July 2002 he resigned from all offices due to involvement in the bonus miles affair and resigned from his mandate. The resulting loss of popularity of the "figurehead" probably also had a certain influence on the election result in the Bundestag election that took place shortly afterwards. After the federal election in 2002 and missing the five percent hurdle (4.0 percent of the second vote), only Petra Pau and Gesine Lötzsch were able to move into the Bundestag thanks to their direct mandates . The party was therefore no longer represented as a parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

At the first party congress after the election failure, Gabi Zimmer was re-elected as chairwoman in 2002. However, there were violent clashes with other prominent party members and wing battles that broke out openly. Petra Pau and the previous federal managing director Dietmar Bartsch refused Zimmer to work together and withdrew their board nomination.

At a board meeting in May 2003, Gabi Zimmer announced that she would no longer be available as chairman in view of the long simmering and newly flaring up dispute about direction. After further disputes, Zimmer's predecessor Lothar Bisky was re-elected party leader at a special party conference in June 2003 . He succeeded in containing the internal party struggles and prevented an impending fragmentation. In October 2003 the PDS decided on a new party program, which places greater value on the emancipation of the individual .

2004–2007: Renaming and establishment as an all-German party

Logo after renaming

In 2004 the PDS achieved record results in all national elections. In the state elections in Thuringia , she succeeded in winning direct mandates for the first time: both mandates in Gera, the mandate in Suhl and two direct mandates in Erfurt. With 26.1 percent it was again the second strongest force behind the CDU and was able to relegate the SPD to third place with a gap of 12 percentage points.

In the European elections , which took place at the same time , the PDS received 6.1 percent of the vote and was able to move into the European Parliament with seven members . Originally the re-entry into the European Parliament, into which the PDS first entered in 1999, was considered unsafe.

The PDS was also able to achieve second place in the state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg ; in Saxony it reached 23.6% of the vote compared to less than 10% of the SPD. In Brandenburg, it replaced the CDU as the second largest parliamentary group with 28 percent and obtained the majority of direct mandates. The SPD held talks with both the PDS and its previous partner, the CDU, after it was able to assert itself as the strongest party with 31.9 percent, just ahead of the PDS. The red-black coalition of the old and new Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck continued , however.

The social and labor market reforms initiated by the federal government under Gerhard Schröder in agreement with the CDU ( Agenda 2010 , Hartz IV ) resulted in violent protests and demonstrations (" Monday demonstrations "), especially in East Germany . The state governments of Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in which the PDS was involved, did not approve the draft laws in the Bundesrat .

Election results of the PDS (1990-2005) /
Linkspartei.PDS (2005-2007)
Freie Hansestadt Bremen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Berlin Sachsen-Anhalt Nordrhein-Westfalen Schleswig-Holstein Bundestagswahl 2005 Brandenburg Sachsen Thüringen Saarland Europawahl Freie Hansestadt Bremen Niedersachsen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Sachsen-Anhalt Bundestagswahl 2002 Berlin Nordrhein-Westfalen Schleswig-Holstein Freie Hansestadt Bremen Saarland Thüringen Sachsen Brandenburg Berlin Europawahl Sachsen-Anhalt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Bundestagswahl 1998 Hamburg Freie Hansestadt Bremen Berlin Thüringen Sachsen-Anhalt Sachsen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Brandenburg Europäisches Parlament Bundestagswahl 1994 Thüringen Sachsen-Anhalt Sachsen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Brandenburg Bundestagswahl 1990

At the regular party conference in the Caligari Hall of the Babelsberg Film Park , the 400 delegates voted on the new federal board. Lothar Bisky was confirmed as party chairman with 89.9 percent. A quarter of the members of the twenty-member federal executive committee come from the old federal states . At the party congress, which went quietly, the delegates voted for the Social Agenda , which calls for a minimum wage of 1,400 euros, a minimum pension of 800 euros after thirty years of contributions and a uniform unemployment benefit of 400 euros, as an alternative to the Federal Government's Agenda 2010 . In addition, the supporters of government participation were encouraged.

The PDS negotiated a left-wing alliance with the WASG following a move by former SPD federal chairman Oskar Lafontaine , who had left the SPD after the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 22, 2005 in protest against Agenda 2010 and Hartz IV . The reason for this development was the announcement by Federal Chancellor Schröder (SPD) that new elections for the Bundestag would be aimed for in autumn 2005 as a result of the NRW election that was lost by the SPD. Gregor Gysi declared on June 3, 2005 that he was ready to enter the race as the top candidate for the PDS, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

Negotiations in the governing bodies of both parties on the possible candidate models were concluded in mid-June 2005. After that, WASG candidates (including Oskar Lafontaine, who has since left the SPD) were elected to the PDS lists. The party renamed itself for it at a party congress on July 17, 2005 in Die Linkspartei . The party's new logo shows Die Linke.PDS , with the dot in the word Linke replaced by a red arrow. The arrow shows the so-called Lissitzky arrow by the Russian artist El Lissitzky and is primarily intended to appeal to intellectuals.

On June 22, 2005, the proposed alliance name, Democratic Left.PDS, was rejected by the PDS's federal executive committee for electoral reasons, after the Berlin-based small Democratic Left party threatened to take legal action. The name "Die Linkspartei" was then proposed, with regional and regional associations being allowed to use the addition PDS . The new name was decided by the federal party conference on July 17, 2005. During and after the negotiations, over 500 people joined the Left Party.PDS.

At the federal party conference, 74.6 percent of those entitled to vote (93.7 percent of those present) approved the new name, with a two-thirds majority being necessary to accept the name change. The party thus paved the way for the desired left alliance with the WASG, which was founded in 2005 . The Linkspartei.PDS opened their lists for WASG candidates in the federal election. The SPD chairman Franz Müntefering said that he saw a left alliance of the WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS as a “very clear challenge” for his party.

On June 16, 2007, following the majority will of the members of Linkspartei.PDS and WASG, the two organizations merged, making Die Linke with 70,000 members the third largest party political formation in Germany (after the Union parties and the SPD). In the new federal states , the party achieved its highest election results and, depending on the region, had the character of a people 's party .

Government participation at the state level and parliamentary opposition

The PDS was involved as a junior partner in the state government in the capital Berlin from 2002 to 2011 (2005–2007 after being renamed “Die Linkspartei”, 2007–2011 merged as “Die Linke”). Another government participation functioned in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania from 1998 to 2006. From 1994 to 2002 the PDS tolerated an SPD minority government in Saxony-Anhalt and was in the parliamentary opposition there and in the state parliaments of Saxony , Thuringia and Brandenburg .

In the 2007 election for Bremen's citizenship , Linkspartei.PDS made it into a West German state parliament for the first time with 8.4 percent .

Party merger with the WASG

At the Extraordinary Meeting of the 9th Party Congress of the PDS in the run-up to the 2005 Bundestag election , the name was changed to Die Linkspartei on July 17, 2005 . or in short Die Linke. (also with the addition PDS ). This should clarify the strategic cooperation with the Labor & Social Justice party - Die Wahlalternative (WASG). While the party had to be officially called Die Linkspartei.PDS according to the PartG , this regulation made it possible to rename state associations in such a way that they did without the addition “PDS” in order to underline the new beginning in the party formation process. For example, the PDS Schleswig-Holstein was then called Die Linke.Schleswig-Holstein .

On June 16, 2007 , the WASG merged with Die Linkspartei.PDS. To this end, both parties voted in separate party conferences on March 25, 2007 for merger agreements. In the initial votes of the respective memberships on the merger, a clear majority was in favor of the merger of both parties. The resulting new party bears the name Die Linke .

Party Congresses 1989–2007

No. date place
Extraordinary party congress of the SED, 1st session 8/9 December 1989 East Berlin

15-19 Scheduled for May 1990, it did not take place

Extraordinary party congress of the SED, 2nd session 16./17. December 1989 East Berlin (renamed SED / PDS)
1st party congress , 1st session 24./25. February 1990 East Berlin (first party congress as PDS)
1st party congress, 2nd session 15./16. September 1990 East Berlin
1st party congress, 3rd session October 14, 1990 Berlin
2nd party congress , 1st session 26./27. January 1991 Berlin
2nd party congress, 2nd session 21-23 June 1991 Berlin
2nd party congress, 3rd session 14./15. December 1991 Berlin
3rd party congress , 1st session 29.-31. January 1993 Berlin
3rd party congress, 2nd session 26./27. June 1993 Berlin
3rd party congress, 3rd session 11-13 March 1994 Berlin
4th party congress , 1st session 27.-29. January 1995 Berlin
4th party congress, 2nd session 27./28. January 1996 Magdeburg
5th party congress , 1st session 17th-19th January 1997 Schwerin
5th party congress, 2nd session 2nd / 3rd April 1998 Rostock
1st Federal Conference November 7, 1998 Berlin
6th party congress , 1st session 15./16. January 1999 Berlin
6th party congress, 2nd session March 6, 1999 Suhl
2nd Federal Conference 4th / 5th December 1999 Berlin
6th party congress, 3rd session 7th-9th April 2000 Muenster
7th party congress , 1st session 14./15. October 2000 cottbus
7th party congress, 2nd session 6./7. October 2001 Dresden
7th party congress, 3rd session 16./17. March 2002 Rostock
8th party congress , 1st session 12./13. October 2002 Gera
8th party congress, 1st extraordinary session April 5, 2003 Berlin
8th Party Congress, 2nd Extraordinary Session 28/29 June 2003 Berlin
8th party congress, 2nd session 25./26. October 2003 Chemnitz
8th party congress, 3rd session January 31, 2004 Berlin
9th party congress , 1st session 30./31. October 2004 Potsdam
9th party congress, extraordinary conference July 17, 2005 Berlin (renamed the Left Party)
9th party congress, 2nd session August 27, 2005 Berlin
9th party congress, 3rd session 10/11 December 2005 Dresden
10th party congress , 1st session 29./30. April 2006 Halle (Saale)
10th party congress, extraordinary conference November 26, 2006 Berlin
10th party congress, 2nd session 24./25. March 2007 Dortmund
10th party congress, 3rd session June 15, 2007 Berlin

SED-traditionalist and orthodox-communist tendencies

Turn away from authoritarian socialism

In public opinion , the question of whether and to what extent the PDS should be classified as “ left-wing extremist ” was controversial.

Since the state unification of Germany , the PDS had always committed itself to the Basic Law . From the "unsuccessful experiment" of state socialism , from its failures and crimes, she drew the conclusion that socialist goals could only be achieved through democratic means, only through the action of majorities. The PDS defends the Basic Law against the neoliberal undermining” of the other parties. Thus it would not be less based on the Basic Law than the established ones.

Critics doubted the seriousness of this collective change of opinion, at least in parts of the party.

Stasi allegations

Specific allegations were directed primarily against members of parliament and officials who are said to have worked with the Stasi . In Saxony , a large majority of the members of the state parliament requested the initiation of a lawsuit against the then parliamentary group leader of the Left Party, Peter Porsch .

The MP Lutz Heilmann did not comply with the internal party rules for the publication of Stasi burden when running for office. A review of whether and to what extent Heilmann caused harm to people in his work as a Stasi employee was pending in 2007. Heilmann countered this criticism by describing his work as "undramatic". He worked as a property guard, checking ID cards and monitoring video cameras.

For their part, sympathizers and those affected criticized the fact that under current law no files may be handed over to the alleged perpetrators in order to be able to comment on the specific allegations. For example, Frank Kuschel , member of the state parliament , was sued after he published his Stasi files with blackened data from third parties in a discussion event “My files - your files” .

Observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution

The PDS was classified as questionable by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) on the grounds that it openly tolerates left-wing extremist associations within the party and continues to defeat the system through revolution , which, according to Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law, interferes with the free democratic basic order or eliminate it. The party wing, the Communist Platform and the Marxist Forum , was observed by both the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and some state authorities for the Protection of the Constitution , as the relevant authorities for the Protection of the Constitution openly pursue extremist endeavors.

The youth association ['solid] was also under observation. Furthermore, the party cooperated time and again with - according to the BfV - “clearly left-wing extremist” parties, especially the DKP, especially at the municipal level . Furthermore, the fact that DKP members were running on the lower list of the PDS in the 2005 Bundestag election caused criticism. The BfV classified the relationship with the DKP as critical and solidary.

According to the BfV, the party has an ambivalent relationship to parliamentarianism. The party professed internationalism, which is why it had "various contacts with foreign communist parties". This included the emphasis on European cooperation in the European Left Party (EL). The Office for the Protection of the Constitution also viewed cooperation with the Communist Party of Cuba , the Kurdish PKK , which was banned in Germany in 1993, and the Colombian guerrilla organization FARC as questionable.

The PDS in government responsibility

The assumption of government responsibility in the federal states and at the federal level was analyzed with particular attention. Proponents of government involvement pointed to the practical utility for the voter that the party seeks to provide. They hoped for a general normalization in relation to the PDS among other political actors and in the public. Intra-party critics of this course, however, saw this as a tactical error or considered the party's goals to be fundamentally unattainable in a government. Sometimes a “betrayal of principles” was complained about. At the federal level, the party's strict peace course and its rejection of the social reforms of recent years ( Hartz laws ) stood in the way of a coalition with the SPD.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the PDS was involved in the state government from 1998 to 2006 , in Berlin it had been since 2001 and since then has had to make considerable compromises in favor of the positions of its coalition partner SPD . These compromises often met with criticism within the party, as the implementation of the party program is often no longer recognizable. Parts of the party already saw their credibility shaken, feared a loss of popularity and called for a (radical) change of course based on the basic positions of the party.

By contrast, the participation in government increased general acceptance of the party among economically liberal forces. The media praised the party's compromises (privatization of public property, cuts in social benefits, etc.) in the city-state of Berlin as “ realpolitik ”.

Among the entrained compromises and cuts in social spending increasing among KITA -Contributions for high earners, the reduction of the blind money , savings at the universities as well as cuts in subsidies .

The defenders of the government option highlighted some successes as positive. In Berlin, for example, the social ticket for local public transport was reintroduced against the resistance of the employee representatives, and Berlin welfare and ALG II recipients have been able to receive theater and opera tickets for three euros since the first red-red government. The wage cuts for employees in the public sector and at the Berlin transport company were coupled with long-term employment security agreements. In addition, despite pressure from the EU and other parties closely related to privatization, the Berliner Landesbank and the Sparkasse were sold to the Sparkassenverband, successfully preventing the privatization of the Sparkasse division.

See also


  • Manfred Behrend: A History of the PDS. From the crumbling state party to the Left Party . Neuer Isp-Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-89900-117-6 .
  • Manfred Gerner: Party without a future ?. From the SED to the PDS . Tilsner, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-910079-20-2 .
  • Patrick Moreau , Rita Schorpp-Grabiak: “You have to be as radical as reality”. The PDS. A balance sheet (= extremism & democracy . Vol. 4). Nomos, Baden-Baden 2002, ISBN 3-7890-7929-4 .
  • Thorsten Holzhauser: The "successor party". The integration of the PDS into the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany 1990–2005 , Verlag de Gruyter Oldenburg, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-11-063342-9 .
  • Viola Neu : The Janus face of the PDS, voters and party between democracy and extremism (= extremism & democracy . Vol. 9). Nomos, Baden-Baden 2004, ISBN 3-8329-0487-5 .
  • Gero Neugebauer , Richard Stöss : The PDS. History. Organization. Voters, competitors (= Analyzes . Vol. 54). Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1996, ISBN 3-8100-1464-8 .
  • Tim Peters : The anti-fascism of the PDS from an anti-extremist point of view (= research politics ). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14775-7 .
  • Sebastian Prinz: The programmatic development of the PDS. Continuity and change in the politics of a socialist party . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-17215-6 .
  • Eva Sturm : "And facing the future"? An investigation into the "political ability" of the PDS (= research in political science . Vol. 77). Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2000, ISBN 3-8100-2678-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: The Left Party.  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
 Wikinews: Category PDS  - in the news

Individual evidence

  1. See also Democratic Socialism
  2. Ümit Yazıcıoğlu: From the SED to “Die Linke” - The history of the PDS as an all-German party, Second updated edition, page 55 ff, ISBN 978-3-96603-000-7 , Tekman 2018.
  3. February 4th, 1990. Tagesschau (ARD) , February 4, 1990, accessed on August 22, 2017 .
  4. The Statute of the Left Party: § 1 Paragraph 1 ( Memento of the original from October 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 86 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. See for example Florian Hartleb : Right and Left Populism. A case study based on Schill Party and PDS, Wiesbaden 2004, p. 283; Franz Walter : Left-wing populism: aging as an opportunity , Spiegel Online , May 31, 2006; Cas Mudde : Radical parties in Europe . In: From Politics and Contemporary History , 47/2008 ( online ).
  6. DIE LINKE: SED assets ( Memento from November 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  7. ^ Higher Administrative Court Berlin OVG 3 B 22.93: Comparison of the PDS's old assets . PDF file ( Memento of the original from July 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. a b Falk Heunemann: The cooperation between the PDS and the WASG on the 2005 Bundestag election (PDF; 771 kB) January 15, 2006, accessed on March 2, 2008 .
  9. PDS: The Statute of the Left Party: Section 1 Paragraph 1. (PDF; 88 kB) (No longer available online.) November 26, 2006, archived from the original on October 7, 2007 ; Retrieved March 2, 2008 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Left Party and WASG vote for merger. In: Spiegel Online. May 19, 2007, accessed March 2, 2008 .
  11. Bundestag: Birthler calls for the Stasi to review the new MPs. In: FAZ.NET. September 23, 2005, accessed May 20, 2014 .
  12. ^ Matthias Meisner: Ex-Stasi man for leftists in the Bundestag. In: Der Tagesspiegel. October 9, 2005, accessed November 25, 2014 .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on September 20, 2005 .