Germany – The Left Wingers (origins, rebellions)

The Left Wingers: Right-wing politics considers that some social orders are preordained, normal, or desirable, on the basis of natural law, economics or tradition. It is held that hierarchy and social inequality are results of traditional social differences.

Left-wing politics supports social equality and fairness, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It involves a concern for the underprivileged in the society and a belief that unjustified variations need to be reduced or eliminated.

To put it simply, Left is about change; Right is about preservation. The roots of the terms can be traced to the National Assembly in France, where the nobles sat to the right and the commons to the left.

Left wing politics:

  • The term left wing can also refer to “the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system”.
  • As the left was the side of the workers, it was more towards equal rights and spreading of wealth.
  • They believe that large businesses need to be regulated so that they serve people’s interests.
  • According to left wingers a good welfare system means people are healthier, able to work and as a result will contribute more to the economy.

Weimar republic

After the dictatorship of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany went on the path of democracy and set up Weimar Republic. It had a Bill of Rights and gave voting rights for all over the age of 21.

Proportional representation led to the election of many small parties, who quarrelled amongst each other. As a result, no government could get a majority in the Parliament and could never pass the laws.

Left wing policies

  • Gustav Stresemann organised a coalition of the moderate parties. This meant that the government could get a majority in the Reichstag and pass the laws it wanted.
  • In order to solve the economic problems, he arranged financial aid from America. This helped create jobs in the German industries.
  • True to the Left wing ideology, houses were built for people and Labour Exchanges were set up to provide money to the unemployed.
  • Old currency was replaced with new currency and Germany started paying the war compensation as agreed in the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Stresemann negotiated with France and Britain to secure a revision in the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • He even persuaded the French to leave the Ruhr.

The people of Germany were divided in their support for the left and the right. So there were clashes and one of it was the German Revolution which took place between 1918 and 1919. The right and the left wanted to overthrow the Weimar Republic. German communists called themselves Spartacists and they wanted Germany to be run by worker’s council.  The Spartacists had the support of the sailors. Around 1000 sailors attacked the government headquarters and took Ebert captive. Ebert had to consent to their demands. This victory made them more adventurous and they called their party German Communist Party. They wanted to stage more uprisings and take over completely. But this was not possible as the right wing group Free Corps supported the government and suppressed all the uprising and rebellions.

Analysis of Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie