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Ten Elements of a Leftist Peace Policy

Die LINKE has always been a party of peace. This must continue


For some time now, unrest has stirred within left-wing political party die LINKE.  In addition to discussion of a possible split, the party has seen a string of conflicts over core themes. Of particular note is the dispute over peace policy. The virulent concerns are also addressed at party-internal regional conferences.

At the south Germany regional conference Claudia Haydt, board member of the IMI who is also active within die LINKE, proposed principles which die LINKE must adhere to in order to continue operating as a credible party for peace. She did so in a 10-item list. The drafted list does not intend to summarise a comprehensive policy, but rather serves as a catalogue of tasks that will help meet the present pacifist-political demands.

Over the past months, many of those actively engaged with die LINKE have been repeatedly confronted with the question: what does this party stand for? Such questioning makes ascertaining the hurdles facing a left-wing political party all the more important in securing the party’s future. As such, consistently relating the fight against poverty to the fight for human rights is essential, just as action against climate change is only effective when combined with comprehensive social policy.

We fight for the rights of individuals (as with the Selbstbestimmungsgesetz  [1]) and for a strong community in which wealth is redistributed from the top downwards. Equally so, the interests of the people must be foregrounded in leftist peace policy. Solidarity with the victims of war, violence, and those in need motivates our stances on international issues. Nonetheless, falling into the trap of imperialist violence in the name of leftist values is not a solution.

Die LINKE’s programmatic framework decisions, met at the party convention, as well as the stances of the party executives bear a pacifist imprint. Unfortunately, public statements by prominent party members repeatedly and fundamentally contradict this message. Therefore, it is necessary to answer with clear peace policy messaging and action. 

In the following, I will list ten items with which we can and must position ourselves against the present socially hegemonic militarisation discourse. The following will also largely disregard issues concerning the geopolitical parameters of current events and the nature of armed conflict—not because these concerns are irrelevant, but because there has yet to be a consensus reached within the party on how to approach them. Here I prefer to concentrate on areas which correspond to the predetermined party programme and the shared political actions and positioning, which are possible and necessary today: 

1. Die LINKE is a party of international order: we uniformly criticise violations of international law, regardless of whether responsibility lies with Russia, NATO, Turkey, Germany, or Saudi Arabia. We do not ignore human death and suffering, regardless of where the affected live or the colour of their skin.

2. We do not defend warring factions. Wars of aggression remain wars of aggression, though the aggressors may refer to history in justifying their actions. Nonetheless, an understanding of the interests with which war is pursued is worthwhile. Striving to understand conflict dynamics does not make anyone an ally to the aggressor. We should not accuse each other of this—insofar as no attempt to justify violence is being made. The search for peaceful and sustainable solutions is not realistically possible without the full picture of a conflict in mind.

3. Military alliances are not collective security systems. Security systems include potential foes. That is demonstrably not the case with NATO. NATO was founded as a military bloc and remains as such today. Thus, NATO cannot be a partner for peace. Simply because Putin’s invasion is clearly bad, NATO is not suddenly good. Our leftist goal of a collective security system which includes Russia is difficult to negotiate at this time. Nonetheless, it is right that we not give up hope  for long-term, peaceful order in all of Europe. 

4. Every weapon finds its war. Armament kills even long after wars end.  To say that weapons remain in their intended destinations and meet their intended targets is to turn a blind eye to reality. Not only do they make their way from one war zone to the next, but they also pose domestic problems. That is how, to this day and in this very country, organised crime is outfitted with weapons from the Yugoslav wars. For these reasons, we must not allow doubt to arise in the fact that armament is and remains problematic—arms production and export alike—no matter where it takes place. Let us halt the mass expansion of the weapons industry and further pursue the goal of economic conversion.

5. In addendum to the above: those who build tanks, warplanes and warships do so with steel and other valuable resources. Steel is forged in furnaces. Furnaces use unthinkable amounts of energy and release corresponding amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Conduction of but also preparation for wars destroy human and natural means of existence. Additionally, investing in the arms industry creates a deficit of billions which are desperately needed for socio-ecological reconstruction. We can either fight the climate catastrophe or arm ourselves. In other words: those who invest a minimum of 2% of the GDP in armament have given up on the goal of keeping global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees celsius. 

6. The global security turning point pursued by Scholz and his Ampel-coalition [2] drives us into an era of mass cuts of social services. Excluding military spending, we are already witnessing budget cuts in all areas. Instead of improvement, care-related professions have seen federal grants slashed; rather than being salvaged, hospitals are being closed, and there is not enough money to fund a basic child allowance for families. The Ampel-coalition passes one armament project after another. Orders for tanks, attack helicopters, and warships are often paid over a period of ten to fifteen years. The exceptional 100-billion-euro credit financing these payments will expire in 2026. Thereon, in accordance with NATO’s 2% spending goal, a remaining 20 billion euros must be drawn from the general budget—a sum nonetheless insufficient to cover the costs of the armament schedule. We must stop this armament madness and the consequential social clear-cutting as soon as possible.

7. It is no accident that debate surrounding mandatory civil service has increasingly swept the political landscape as of late. This obligation, imposed on young people, is intended to fill personnel gaps in the military and social system, and it would be applicable to all genders. However, this is a step backwards rather than a sign of progress. Within the framework of mandatory civil service, young people are registered, sorted, and—according to evaluation metrics—groomed to become either cannon fodder or cheap labour in haemorrhaging health and social sectors. As such, let us take a clear stance against mandatory civil service and in favour of a more robust public sector. Moreover, the freedom to evade military service may also be an important international step toward peace. That young men who have escaped drafting in Russia cannot rely on finding refuge here is unacceptable. 

8. An increasingly powerful arms industry has increasingly strong political influence. The arms industry is among the economic sectors at highest risk for corruption. After all is said and done, this matter concerns billions in public funds and comparable amounts in private profits. The arms industry poses a danger to democracy. The influence of arms industry lobbying in politics is already far too great. The more money that flows into armament, the greater the danger becomes—with Germany being no exception. The Federal Bureau of Defence Technology and Procurement has, to date, broken its own anti-corruption rules in 450 cases. Increases in defence programming and with rules being relaxed last year via the Procurement Acceleration Act will see a dramatic increase in the political power of the arms industry if we do not stand in clear opposition to it—another benefit to the credit of DIE LINKE in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania successfully speaking out against Rheinmetall’s settlement in the region.

9. There are alternatives to global escalation, to the spiral of armament, and to military confrontation. As long as we are unable to overcome global exploitation through fair international cooperation, the path to world peace will prove extremely difficult. As we know, capitalism carries in it war as a cloud carries rain. However, steps toward  deescalation are possible today. This includes the aforementioned strengthening of regional structures for security and cooperation. It also includes new generations of global disarmament agreements, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and regulations halting the use of killer drones and lethal autonomous weapons. Furthermore, foreign cultural policies and all measures which build bridges, person to person: financing for peace service, but also for international student exchange, sufficient funding for humanitarian help, and financing for international development to at least meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sadly, the necessary financial resources to meet these goals are missing—we will not settle for this.

10. As mentioned previously, DIE LINKE must not allow doubt to spawn around the fact that it is a, or rather the, party for peace. Unfortunately, another party has, for the moment, been relatively successful in selling itself as such in the Bundestag. In doing so, the so-called ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) is committing phenomenal label fraud. Although the AfD’s policy against Russia is less confrontational than the governing Ampel-coalition (perhaps additionally due to their admiration for Putin’s reactionist social politics), it is, through and through, a military party that places crucial emphasis on a strong German military with its reactionary political goals. The AfD’s parliamentary representatives have ranked among them several military and armament lobbyists, and the party acts as an antagonist in debates concerning military armament. AfD using the idea of peace as a justification for their policies is a perversion, and the same goes for when other nationalist, reactionary powers use this logic.

True peace policy is international and based on solidarity. On the spectrum of political parties in the Bundestag, only DIE LINKE stands for these values. This we must prove — self-assuredly and clearly — through our stances, actions, and alliances.


1 Proposed policy to ease the process for transgender, non-binary, intersex, and other gender diverse individuals in seeking name and gender marker changes.

2 From ‘streetlight’, Ampelregierung is the name given to the governing coalition of the SPD, FDP and Green party (red, yellow, and green, respectively) as shorthand.

This article first appeared in German on the website of the Informationsstelle Militarisierung. Translation: Shav McKay. Reproduced with permission

“You Poor Jew!”

Broken ribs and conspiracy theories at a municipal meeting


Statement by Palestine Speaks, Palastina Kampagne, and Judische Stimme

  1. Intimidation

On Wednesday, 13th September 2023, a supposedly open pro-Israel public meeting “The myth of Israel” took place in the well-known Szenebar Bajszel. It was sponsored by the Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung (Berlin office for political education) and had Güner Balci, the integration commissioner for Neukölln, as one of the speakers. This meeting took place against an oppressive background – ID card checks, the limitation of press freedom and the filming of participants from close up without their permission intimidated criticism of the historical revisionism which was presented.

The meeting room – the back room of a bar with closed blinds – resembled more a private function than an open funded meeting. All these “security measures” were justified with the protection of Jewish people who have been exposed to antisemitic hostility at meetings on this subject. In fact, the only people in the public who openly identified themselves as Jewish were challenged by the meeting organisers and the audience.

  1. Physical Attacks

The Jewish-Israeli former soldier Yuval was removed from the meeting room after he expressed criticism of the meeting which offensively declared the apartheid status of Israel as a myth. He said that as a soldier he had seen apartheid with his own eyes. Although he did not put up a fight, Yuval was hit to the ground in the entrance area, and one of his ribs was broken.

People in the audience also joined in against people with a different opinion to theirs. The author Nicholas Potter tried to snatch away the notes of one of the participants. After she left the meeting room, the participant was detained by what can be presumed to be the security team. She could not free herself from their grip. Later she was followed by the security team, who continued to film her from behind.

  1. Verbal Attacks

Further Jewish voices came forward to criticise the lack of diversity of the podium, which contained neither Palestinian nor Jewish participants. This, at an event which announced itself as wanting to discuss “Israel-related antisemitism”. These contributions were instantly shouted down. People from the “antisemitism-critical” public shouted “You poor Jew!” and “Shut up!”

The Jewishness of Jews who spoke out against racism, historical revisionism and anti-scientific remarks was questioned. They and other critical voices were removed to derisive laughter from the audience, while their faces were filmed from close range.

  1. Anti-science

Rather than refuting myths, the meeting propagated them. The Nakba – one of the best documented crimes against humanity – was crudely played down by the podium. The legally proved apartheid status of the State of Israel was labelled a myth, while the credibility of international lawyers and UN human rights experts was questioned in an anti-scientific manner, as was the judicial consensus amongst the most recognised international human rights organisations. This is something recognisable from right-wing circles.

All this happened in the presence of Güner Balci, who sat on the podium as the integration commissioner for Neukölln.

How can the city of Berlin help to organise such anti-democratic, anti-scientific, escalatory meetings? We call on Frau Balci, the integration commissioner for Neukölln, to speak up and to pay compensation to those affected. Write to her at or and complain.

Translation from the German: Phil Butland. Reproduced with permission.

A history of theleftberlin Website

How we got here, where we want to go next, and how you can help


A number of people have contacted theleftberlin recently to express their interest in contributing to our website. As a result, we have recently expanded our editorial board and are still looking for writers, editors, translators and people who are active on social media platforms. Commissioning editor of theleftberlin Phil Butland explains where we started, and how we got to where we are now.

10 years ago, the LINKE Berlin internationals began as a group of mainly non-German activists living in Berlin to mobilise for the 2014 EU election. After the election was over, the group just kept on growing, and with it, its potential audience. In the decade since the group was formed, the percentage of Berliners without a German passport has increased from 10% to over 25%.

The LINKE Internationals are still active, and as the name suggests, receive some funding from die LINKE, the German Left party. It has set itself the dual aims of integrating non-Germans into German politics and making the German Left more aware of the wealth of talent and experience living on its doorstep. While the Berlin Internationals is a political project, theleftberlin – which is independent of parties but shares some members – is primarily a journalistic project.

Initially, the LINKE Internationals had their own website, which mainly contained events and activities in Berlin that could be of interest to an international Leftist audience. As the website developed, it started publishing more political articles. Some people who did not want to be connected to die LINKE were interested in being part of what we were doing with the website, so in October 2019, it was relaunched as

Since then, theleftberlin has had an independent editorial board. Although many of our journalists have strong opinions on all sorts of issues, we do not toe any “party line”. Instead, we aim to contribute to the discussion within the international Left in Berlin and beyond.

2020 Relaunch

In December 2020, we at theleftberlin relaunched the website with a new design and expanded our editorial board, many of whom were Berlin-based Leftists who wanted to stay active during the lockdown period of the pandemic. We decided that if there were few opportunities to take to the streets, we would at least take journalistic steps towards building the movement. It was around this time that our current structures started to emerge.

The original website tended to republish articles which had appeared elsewhere, as selected by the editorial board. Since our relaunch, however, we have concentrated on original material – most articles we publish have not appeared in English anywhere else with a few exceptions; most notably, calls to action from the Global South that have not reached a wide enough audience in Europe.

One of our first major projects was the series Rebellious Daughters of History – pen portraits of around 100 radical women by British socialist historian Judy Cox. Some of the women were well-known, others forgotten, but all helped change the course of history. The articles were later published by Bookmarks publications as a book.

Editorial board

We have a weekly editorial meeting which lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. We review the previous week’s articles and take decisions about which articles we would like to publish, and which possible writers and interview partners we could approach. Between meetings, we communicate on the online platform Mattermost.

We have a wish list of articles that we would like to publish, including those to which no one has committed yet. After each editorial meeting, we post a list of articles in search of an author on our Mattermost page, so that people who don’t have the time or inclination to take part in editorial meetings can see some possible subjects which they might address.

As we do not have a budget, the work is 100% voluntary, so we can only publish articles if we find a volunteer to write it or give us an interview. This has its benefits and disadvantages, but it does mean that everyone who works on the website is treated equally. Members of the editorial team write some of the articles, but we also invite people from campaigns and local activists to write about what they are doing.

Our collaborators and confederates

We maintain a close working relationship with the Berlin LINKE Internationals, whose activities we continue to publish on our Events page. If we are looking for an article about a certain part of the world, we usually reach out to Berlin-based exile organisations like Berlin for India or Sudan Uprising. We also have an agreement with Bloque Latinamericano that we will try to translate and publish each other’s articles.

Since the Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen (DWE) campaign to expropriate the big landlords hit Berlin, we have published a number of articles by Right2TheCity, DWE’s working group for non-Germans. Some of our editorial team are also active in Right2TheCity. We also publish regular articles by housing activist Nancy du Plessis.

We were recently approached by a journalist at the neues deutschland newspaper who is interested in working together, so we will see what comes out of this potential collaboration. We are also grateful for the countless individuals – some of whom have been professional journalists, others, people who just want an outlet for their thoughts – who have contributed articles. Our website is much stronger as a result.

What we publish

theleftberlin has gone through some changes over the years, but we have always attempted to provide quality left-wing journalism for an international audience. Although we concentrate on Berlin and Germany, we have a wider brief, with correspondents in cities like Paris, Athens and New York who regularly report on what’s happening in their country.

We do not have a strict editorial line and try instead to reflect the full range of debate on the Left. But there are some things that we will not publish. We oppose all forms of racism, sexism, transphobia, and imperialism. We are also aware that part of the Left and women’s movement have taken positions which are objectively transphobic. Such opinions have no place on our website. Similarly, a worrying part of the German Left supports Israeli settler colonialism. Those views would be better suited to other outlets, of which there are plenty.

We do not speak with one voice on all issues. If we are offered an article that reflects a point of view on the Left, we will usually publish it. But if individual editorial board members disagree with its contents, we may publish a reply offering an alternative point of view.

Every so often, people ask us why we haven’t covered a particular issue. The usual reason is not that we don’t want to, or that we have refused to cover something on principle, but that every published article needs someone to write it. So, if you think that theleftberlin should be doing more to cover a particular issue or viewpoint, please consider writing something yourself, or finding us someone who is acquainted with the subject matter.


One of our big successes is our weekly Newsletter, which we’ve been sending in different forms since early 2019. The Newsletter is now sent out every Thursday lunchtime to over 1,500 people. If you don’t receive it already, you can subscribe here. Like the website, the Newsletter has evolved over time.

The Newsletter currently contains a summary of (usually) five events and activities which will take place in Berlin in the coming week. We also list publications on theleftberlin that have been posted since the previous Newsletter, as well as occasional links to podcasts, videos, photo galleries and radio programmes. We also include the following features, which can also be found on the Website.

The Campaign of the Week (COTW) introduces an organisation or alliance in Berlin, usually one which is organising an event in the coming week. As well as being in the Newsletter, the COTW is linked from our homepage for one week. After that, it is stored in our COTW archive, which is now home to over 150 campaigns.

News from Berlin and Germany is a summary of 6-8 news stories from the previous week. There is a paragraph of information about each story, and a link to the original, which is usually a newspaper report in German. The News from Berlin and Germany item is published on the website every Wednesday. You can search for previous versions here.

Left journalism Day School

In November 2021, we organised our first Left Journalism Day School, in which members of our editorial board introduced parallel workshops on conducting interviews, creating videos for social media platforms, and producing a podcast episode. This was followed by a session by Tina Lee from Unbias the News on how to write for the web. Finally, Alice Lambert and Phil Butland from our editorial board introduced sessions on how people could concretely work on theleftberlin.

After very positive feedback from the 30 people who attended, we organised a second Day School in May 2022. The format was similar, but this time we also presented on Radio Berlin International (see below) and Tina returned to talk about Storytelling and Research. Once more, the emphasis was on collaboration, and giving everyone a voice, regardless of how much or little experience in journalism they had.

Originally, we had planned to offer the journalism Day Schools on a regular six-month rhythm, but people were too involved in other projects to be able to realise that aim. We do hope to be able another Day School in 2024 as we think that the experience of the first schools was a great benefit to both the attendees and the theleftberlin website.

Radio Berlin International

In December 2021, we launched Radio Berlin International, a radio programme that is broadcast every other Sunday on on 88.4 MHz in Berlin, 90.7 MHz in Potsdam, and “FR-BB & 24/3” on DAB+ Digital Radio in Berlin. is currently on summer break, but the next programme should go out on October 8th.

The shows last an hour in total and consist of two to three interviews or reports mixed with music chosen by the interviewees. The subject matter follows the aim of theleftberlin, namely, catering to the international Leftist audience based in Berlin. All past episodes can be accessed via our website.

Get involved

There are now roughly 30 people working in some capacity for theleftberlin, and we are always happy to welcome more helping hands. We prefer to give people small, regular tasks, and to allow them the ability to do as much or as little as their current situations allow.

We also welcome unsolicited articles on any subject which interests you. You can read some guidelines about the format of our articles here. If a subject is not urgent (or if it’s something which won’t go away, like climate disaster), we prefer not to set deadlines and wait until the author has something they are happy with.

Although most communication is online (either through Mattermost or in the weekly editorial meeting), we are planning to have occasional face-to-face meetings to discuss medium and long-term planning. This will be open both to the editorial team and to anyone who’s interested in what we are doing.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, or you just want to know more, you can contact us at Please help us not just to interpret the world, but also to try to change it.

Photo Gallery – Demonstrating against right-wing Fundamentalists, 16th September 2023

Demonstration from Brandenburger Tor to Bebelplatz organised by the Bündnis für Sexuelle Selbstbestimmung



Photos: Phil Butland, Antony Hamilton, Brian Janßen, Rosemarie Nünning