Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's good to see that the Left remains vibrant elsewhere....

"Live better without nazis" - Red Julia storms Germany

A young German politician, whose bold anti-Nazi protests on aT-shirt and cover-girl looks have made her a national celebrity, has become one of the new Left party’s strongest election campaign weapons. Though only 19, Julia Bonk already has a year’s experience in a regional Assembly, where she began her career in style by wearing a shirt bearing the slogan ‘‘Live better without Nazis’’ to greet the far-right NPD. Pictures of herself on her shirt stole the show from the NPD on their first dayin the Saxony Assembly that landed her on the front pages of 87 German newspapers and won her wide applause. ‘‘We wanted to make a statement that they were not just another party coming inbut an anti-democratic party,’’ said Bonk, who became the youngest state parliamentarian in German history, having left school just three monthsearlier.

The Left party is a month-old merger of the Reform Communist Party of Democratic Socialism, for whom Bonk stood in Saxony, and Left-wing defectors from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD). It hopes that even though she isn’t standing herself for the national parliament, Bonk will win over young voters, especially in the pivotal eastern battleground, and win back thousands whose protest votes helped the NPD in Saxony last year. ‘‘The far-right has to be tackled head on,’’ she said.

Articulate arguments, abundant confidence and an ability to advocate her party’spolicies belie her age and helped make Bonk a regular guest on a number ofheavyweight political talk shows. ‘‘It’s right and also important that the Leftist forces in Germany are coming together now,’’ she said.

She is studying history and political science at the University of Dresden alongside herfull-time state Assembly job. ‘‘It’s an exciting time for the Left in Germany. When two separate worlds come together, there are some areas where noteverything matches up the way it should,’’ she said. Nicknamed ‘‘Red Julia’’ by German tabloids and called ‘‘Socialism’s prettiest face’’ by the communist Neues Deutschland daily, she got swept into one summerstorm between the PDS and west German Leftists who fused to make her party. She was with ex-SPD Chairman Oskar Lafontaine at a rally when he used a loaded term for foreign workers (Fremdarbeiter) that is widely shunned because it was used by the Nazis.

Bonk and many others in all parties accused Lafontaine offishing for far-right voters. He denied this and even apologised to the Left party Congress on Saturday for ‘‘misunderstandings’’. Bonk has had communication problems herself. Last year she said drugs should be decriminalised, creating an uproar that only abated after her party noted itwas part of their platform. ‘‘It’s funny that a lot of people expect politicians to know the answers to everything,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s not the case’’.


At Monday, August 29, 2005, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Monday, August 29, 2005, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Photo of Julia and her T-Shirt here

At Monday, August 29, 2005, Blogger Comrade_Tweek said...

Yes, I wonder how Don would cope with her?

I am feeling quite bouyed by what is happening in Germany - it shows that people are still attracted to and enthusied by left (dare I say socialist)politics.

At Thursday, September 08, 2005, Blogger Rich said...

Why can't we have young cute politicans? - even Laila Harre isn't running this time :-)

Seriously, why are our politicians such a bunce of old codgers - how many under-30s will there be in the next parliament? Nandor is considered a representative of youth and he's 39!


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