Why I am not taking a seat in the Bundestag

I will continue to be active outside parliament against war and fascism, and for Palestine


Translator’s introduction: On February 11th, some constituencies in Berlin voted for a third time, as a result of counting irregularities in the previous elections. Although die LINKE vote went up, the low turn out meant that Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg MP Pascal Meiser lost his seat. Germany’s obscure election laws mean that Meiser is succeeded by the next highest candidate on the LINKE election slate in Hessen.

Normally, this means that the seat would go to left-wing anti-war activist Christine Buchholz. But Buchholz said she would not take the post. As reported in Neues Deutschland: “Despite this, Buchholz does not want to retreat from politics, and will carry on being active outside parliament, together with other left-wingers against war and the strengthening of fascism. She will remain active as part of the Berliner Antikriegskoordination (Berlin anti-war coordination), Aufstehen gegen Rassismus, and in the group Sozialismus von Unten (socialism from below) which recently split from the marx21 network.”

In the statement below, Christine explains why she has refused a well-paid job in parliament to concentrate on her activity in the movements against fascism and war and for Palestine.

On 11th February there were repeat elections in Berlin. Because of the German electoral system, Pascal Meiser losing his mandate as an MP in Berlin, which led to me to receiving this mandate. I will not take this mandate.

In early 2021, die LINKE in Hessen nominated me for the fourth time on their State list. In the 12 years before that, I had been an MP with a focus on the areas of war and peace and in the fight against the right wing, in particular in the confrontation with anti-Muslim racism.

Developments in recent years has repeatedly put me in conflict with the majority line within the party and the parliamentary fraction. This concerns both the defensive approach to criticism of NATO and the German role in the war in Ukraine, as well as the party’s failure to criticise the German support for Israel’s war in Gaza. Especially against the backdrop of the mobilisation against Rafah, overcrowded with one million refugees at the border of Egypt, the lethal scale of this failure is clear: In the current decisive situation, Die LINKE is failing to fulfil its role as an anti-war party. Taking the mandate would put me into a continual conflict with the line of the party leadership and the parliamentary group of die LINKE in parliament. I currently see no place for my positions to these questions there.

The Wagenknecht Party BSW offers no alternative to me. Their arguments for limiting migration accept the “boat is full” rhetoric of the right wing political spectrum. Their “Standortnationalismus” [protectionism] weakens a left-wing and internationalist perspective in social movements, in particular in the trade union movement.

Rejecting the mandate does not mean that I am withdrawing from political activity. I will bring my energy and my voluntary engagement to the areas where I can have an effect outside parliament, together with others from die LINKE and beyond, against war and the strengthening of fascism – for example in the Antikriegskoordination in Berlin, in Aufstehen gegen Rassismus and in the group Sozialismus von unten.

This statement originally appeared in German on Christine’s home page. Translation: Phil Butland. Reproduced with permission