10 Reasons to vote Die Linke

European Election Programme of Die Linke (short version)


The European elections will be held on June 9th. Die Linke is campaigning for a socially just European Union and for the fair redistribution of wealth in Europe. We are fighting for climate justice and climate protection and for peace. The government and the Right are calling for more armament, stronger militaries, and higher walls around Europe. The concerns of the people are seldom represented; the ‘everyday’ is no longer possible. Those who have enough concerns of their own are burdened with the costs of transitioning to green energy. Our vision for Europe looks different: we stand for greater collective welbeing, more fairness, more equality; for hospitals and care facilities not traded on the European stock exchange; for functioning public transport at no cost to its passengers; for a railway that connects Europe. And that all may profit from Europe’s vast wealth. This is possible. Together we are strong—stronger than the Right, who use the poor and refugees as their scapegoats. Stronger than the lobbies that put corporate interests and armament first. That is why we ask for your vote.

1. Protect the climate—not corporate profits

Climate disaster threatens the survival of our children on our planet. The wealthier someone is, the more CO2 emissions they produce. 100 corporations are responsible for an inordinate share of all CO2 emissions. The federal government has failed to get a handle on these largest instigators of climate change. Companies receive state funding for making the switch to climate-friendly production. All the same, the subsequent profits and dividends land in private wallets.

CO2 prices—petty change for the mega rich—most affect those who already struggle to make ends meet.

Die Linke demands clear specifications and rules for companies and real alternatives for the people. We are fighting for a green transition with public energy producers and socially scaled pricing—for climate friendly economic restructuring that generates secure employment with good wages. To redistribute the burden of CO2 costs, we demand socioeconomically minded climate funds that will especially support those with low and middle incomes.

2. Living wages—not survival wages

Corporate profits are through the roof. Wages are not. Rent, groceries, gas, electricity, and heating costs are exploding. Many can no longer stretch their pay to the end of the month. More than 100 million people in Europe work for low pay as adjusted for the wages of their country. This is the case for one in six full-time employees in Germany—in the former East, that number is as high as one in three.

Companies exploit the low wages of other EU states for profit. The EU is against poverty wages and stipulates that as many workers as possible be protected by collective labour agreements. In Germany, less than half of workers enjoy such protections. Still, the German government does nothing. In Germany the federal minimum wage must be raised to 14.14 euros. Die Linke says: round up to 15!

Workplace pressure builds, a mountain of unpaid overtime grows. Die Linke is fighting for work that fits life in the form of a 4-day or 30 hour week with full pay and more employees.

3. Finding safety

It is not refugees who threaten our welfare, but the mega rich who hide their wealth in tax havens. We want an end to the fatality on EU borders and that no one is left to drown. International maritime law enshrines an obligation to at-sea rescue; something we wish to organise publicly, reliably and legally. Chaos on the borders is a political failure. Asylum procedures compatible with international law and human rights are essential. The costs must be equitably distributed within the EU. Municipalities that take in refugees must be granted additional funds.

4. Abolishing poverty

More than 120 million people are in danger of poverty—including one in four children in Europe. Poverty does not look the same everywhere. Retirees collect bottles, families cannot afford vacations. Children go to school without breakfast. Others live on the streets. Many affected by poverty provide wealthier nations with cheap labour, for example as agricultural workers or 24-hour-care nurses.

Poverty is always a failure of the government. The EU must see that a social security net is provided to all member states—welfare and federal minimum wages must reliably protect from poverty. We demand that in Germany that no pension or welfare payments fall below 1,200 euros per month. Social security is prerequisite to a life in dignity. If corporations and the wealthy are held accountable, this is affordable. We stand for good social security benefits and against the need for them to be collected—because wages and pensions are sufficient for a good life, because public services are free, and because shelter and power are affordable.

5. No profits at the cost of health

Long waits for a doctor’s appointment, cancer surgery, in the emergency room; nursing staff are overworked and leave the branch exhausted—these are everyday phenomenon in Germany. The poor are more likely to suffer from chronic illness and to die earlier. This is true in Germany and across Europe.

Die Linke is fighting for better care for all, regardless of income. Other European countries invest more in healthcare, have more nursing staff per patient, and pay them better. This benefits the employed and their patients.

Die Linke aims to orient nursing and healthcare around communal wellbeing and according to need—rather than European competition rules. Hospitals and care homes should not be allowed to pass profits on to investors. Supplementary funds must be directed back into healthcare and nursing. The EU should set aside funds and assist municipalities in turning private hospitals over to public control.

6. Strengthening that which holds humanity and society together

Classrooms are too full. If a teacher is sick, lessons are cancelled. A free spot in a daycare is difficult to come by. Childcare workers are at their limits. The old apartment has long been too small for the family—there is no affordable, suitable housing. Functioning public transport and railways, or a public library and youth centre? In many areas, the suggestion sounds utopian. Good public services are the glue that holds humankind and society together, or not. Those who can afford to send their children to private schools and purchase homes, do. The EU is pushing for privatisation and public services are at the behest of the market. This leaves traces everywhere in the EU and in our daily lives—private equals costly. Die Linke wants to remove priority for privatisation and profit orientation from EU accords. We are fighting for good public services with enough staff; for enough affordable housing. For education and childcare free of charge. For healthcare organised publicly and not for profit.

7. Wealth to benefit all

Half of Europe’s wealth is in the possession of its richest 1%. The COVID-19 pandemic, war, and crisis have meant less money and more worries for many. The wealth of the richest has grown significantly. Why? Because many countries—such as Germany—lowered taxes for the wealthy; because the prices of rent, power, and groceries have been driven up, and the government is funnelling huge sums of money into armament. This makes corporate owners and shareholders rich. Class sizes could shrink, public transport could be cheaper, and there could be more daycare spaces if a wealth tax was reintroduced in Germany.

Inequality between the top and bottom is growing, as does the inequality between EU member states. This is bad for the people, for cohesion in the EU, and for democracy. We want to raise taxes on corporate profits and the wealth and inheritances of the mega rich throughout the EU. We demand a wealth tax starting at assets of 1 million euros (debts subtracted) in Germany. Assets over 1 billion euros will be taxed at 12%; no one needs more than 999 million euros.

8. Free public transport—not private jets

Well connected public transport, free and for all: beneficial to us, our cities and the environment. We want to expand public transport throughout the EU and make it available free of charge. More transit lines, accessibility, higher frequency service, better connection for rural areas and improved working conditions will require investment in the billions; then, public transport will pose a real alternative to car travel and all would be mobile. Through a well-functioning railway system, we can bring Europe closer together and expand daily commuter routes.

With better track networks, modern coaches, and comfortable night trains, Die Linke wants to make rail the most important form of transportation in Europe—for an affordable price. This way, train travel will be a real alternative to flying. Socially just climate protection means stopping the excesses of the mega rich. We want superyachts and private jets banned in the EU and to abolish tax breaks for aviation fuel.

9. Cap profits, close tax havens

Shell, Lidl, Aldi, and other corporations raised prices during the war and energy crisis. Necessities have increased in cost by one third; energy costs by one half. Excessive pricing has been cushioned with tax money. Taxpayers were left in the cold all the same. Inflation is no force of nature. Price increases tell us that we must pay more while corporate profits increase. Die Linke wants to prevent profiteering from crises. This is possible—if excessive profits are taxed away, raising prices loses its attractiveness. We demand a 90% excess profit tax in the EU on all surplus profits. Electricity and gas prices cannot be left to the market. We want socially-scaled pricing. International corporate giants pay an average of just 19% taxes, while the neighbourhood baker pays around 30%. We want to put a stop to tax havens and tax evasion, through which 835 billion euros escape the EU every year. We want standardised minimum tax rates for Europe’s large companies.

10. Investment in peace—not war

Putin’s criminal war of aggression in the Ukraine has shocked many. The EU has obligated member states to invest more money in armament. The German government quickly set aside 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. The result for some: extra arms-industry profits, with stock values increasing tenfold. For the rest of us: pension cuts, child poverty, care sector and housing crises. As the armament budget goes up, basic child welfare has been abolished. Now, discussions of implementing ground forces and the use of atomic weapons are being held. Escalation and dying carry on. Reliance on escalation brings with it the risk of a world war.

Die Linke wants to outlaw war as a political tool. Negotiations for ceasefire and peace are needed over more arms shipments. We want to ban atomic weapons. If economic lobby representatives propose that we must choose between ‘guns and butter’, then we say, ‘Butter for all!’ Stop the arms race!

Translation: Shav MacKay, reproduced with permission