Solidarity and Democracy in times of the Corona crisis
statement by over 30 LINKE MdBen (MPs)
We welcome the fact that the Bundestag is reacting today to the impending dangers posed by the corona pandemic. Further, we acknowledge that experts in virology and epidemiology are setting the course in this situation. We especially share and support the recommendations for the prevention of infection and the particular concern for people at particular risk, even though this requires considerable changes and restrictions to our daily lives.
It is right that the senseless debt ceiling should now be lifted and that large amounts of state funding should be swiftly employed to manage the crisis.
Nevertheless, we cannot give our unconditional approval to the proposed legislation.
Our decision is based on three crucial points:
Preservation of fundamental rights and freedoms, especially in times of crisis
The far-reaching authorization of the federal government restricts federalism, freedom of assembly and free movement of its citizens. These measures are not limited to a few months but are rather laid out to last for an entire year, and will allow for the implementation of strict shelter-in-place policies for this extensive period. In order to prevent abuse and discriminatory actions, this situation requires independent complaint mechanisms, at the very least. We categorically reject an internal deployment of the Federal Armed Forces, and are opposed to having armed soldiers taking over police duties. Since the Corona crisis is also social in nature, we reject uniform fines, as they would treat both millionaires and homeless individuals as one and the same.
While social contact is strongly regulated in the private sphere and cultural sectors, employees across many industries remain unprotected. Many still travel to work by public transport, spend many hours in open-plan offices, factories, and warehouses without face masks or gloves, and remain dependent on the "good will" of their employers. This disparity is incomprehensible.
The cultivation of social justice during the crisis
The closure of schools, kindergartens, and playgrounds disproportionately impacts children whose families have few resources and who are dependent on lunches provided by schools or daycare centers. The order to shelter in place is a particular burden on individuals whose apartments are small, who have limited access to green spaces, and whose stress factors are high. China showed a threefold increase in domestic violence, situations of urgency which often no one is aware of. This must be prevented through increased support of women’s shelters, as well as using other means.
In addition, existential need is rapidly setting in, as only 60 percent of income that is already too low is now being allocated as compensation for reduced hours or reduced productivity. We are therefore calling for an increase in this compensation to 90 percent.
Many smaller enterprises whose employees number between 11 but and 250 are at high risk and receive no support – this, too, must be rectified.
Economic status quo is not an option! A plea for a socially just economic order
The aid designated for hospitals lays the problem bare: competition doesn’t stop – not even during this crisis. Every single hospital must confront the question of whether measures such as freeing up beds for the intensive care of Corona patients will lead to a deficit or a profit, even in this crisis. Instead, abolishing fixed-sum treatment amounts and allocating hospitals a monthly budget that completely covers actual costs would be far more sensible and far less bureaucratic. The Federal Government is also failing to meet the public demand for a risk bonus for nursing staff. Home care and caring relatives must also be granted greater political focus and appropriate support.
There is still no answer to the question of who will end up paying for these exceptionally high public expenditures. But if extensive private assets are not made use of, there is the danger that additional public cuts will be made afterwards with devastating consequences.
In this situation, it is important to do what is necessary while maintaining the proportionality of means. This situation must not be exploited to intervene in fundamental rights that extend beyond the immediate management of the Corona crises.
We support civil society organizations and initiatives that work on a daily basis to protect the most vulnerable among us and to slow the further spread of the pandemic.
Sabine Leidig __________________________
Lorenz Gösta Beutin __________________________
Christine Buchholz __________________________ Niema Movassat
Norbert Müller __________________________
Nicole Gohlke __________________________
Hubertus Zdebel __________________________
Michel Brandt __________________________
Gökay Akbulut __________________________
Harald Weinberg __________________________
Sylvia Gabelmann __________________________
Martina Renner __________________________
Cornelia Möhring __________________________
Tobias Pflüger __________________________
Kirsten Tackmann __________________________
Doris Achelwilm __________________________
Alexander Neu __________________________
Diether Dehm __________________________
Sevim Dagdelen __________________________
Anke Domscheit-Berg __________________________
Thomas Nord __________________________
Achim Kessler __________________________
Heike Hänsel __________________________
Kathrin Vogler __________________________
Andrej Hunko __________________________
Jörg Cezanne __________________________
Bernd Riexinger __________________________
Ulla Jelpke __________________________
Simone Barrientos __________________________
Victor Perli __________________________
Kerstin Kassner __________________________
Translation: Emily Pollak. The original, German, version of this text can be found, for example, here.