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Meet the Left-Wing German Politician Drawing Support from the Right
Our interview with Sahra Wagenknecht airs tonight at 7 pm ET, only on Rumble.
On Friday, we interviewed one of the world's most interesting and heterodox politicians. We will air the full interview on our System Update program live at 7 pm ET tonight here on Rumble, and I wanted to write to urge you to watch it and explain why I think it is so compelling.
As a Guardian profile on her from December explains, "Sahra Wagenknecht is a household name in Germany and the best-known figure on the far left." For years, "the most prominent and outspoken member of the 15-year-old Die Linke party" "has been rattling the Berlin political scene for years with her vague pronouncements that she is planning to form her own breakaway bloc." And as the Guardian says:
Approval ratings are on her side, as are the up to 2 million viewers known to tune in to her regular YouTube broadcasts….
Polls show her chances of succeeding as head of a new party to be good. In research by pollster Insa, 10% of voters signalled they would be “very certain” to vote for her. In a survey for Der Spiegel magazine carried out by Civey, 30% said they could imagine supporting her. In eastern Germany her approval rating is even higher, with 49% saying they would consider voting for her.
What makes Wagenknecht such a fascinating figure is that she now receives as much support from what liberal Western outlets like to call "the German far right" as she does from the German left. There are many reasons for that, beginning with the fact that she has become one of the most vocal opponents of German escalation in the war with Ukraine, arguing – citing ample historical evidence – that few things are more dangerous for the world than when Germany and Russia pursue militaristic antagonism with each other.
Wagenknecht's principles and firm opposition to German involvement in the war in Ukraine comes as both the center-right and center-left establishments support it, and while the left-wing Green Party – that ran on a vow of "anti-interventionism" and "a feminist foreign policy" that would prioritize diplomacy over confrontation – has become the most fanatical and militant voice in favor of greater military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. Opposition is confined, as it is in the U.S., to the populist left and populist right.
During the COVID pandemic, Wagenknecht was a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates and passports, further endearing her to voters who have traditionally voted for what The Guardian calls "far-right Alternative für Deutschland (Afd)." She opposes mass immigration on what was the long-standing left-wing ground that it drives down wages for German workers while benefiting only neoliberal institutions of capital (while she is German-born, her family is of Iranian descent, but this does not stop the white German left from branding her a "racist" for her views on immigration). And she is particularly scathing in her critique of how the German left has become a party almost entirely dominated by highly-educated, wealthy cosmopolitan elites while losing touch with the German working class due to its pursuit of new cultural changes (such as gender ideology) that offend and alienate more middle-class and working-class German workers and abandonment of the traditional pro-worker economic platform that was the backbone on the German left for decades.
As a result, she is achieving something virtually unimaginable by any other Western populist leftist leader: she is uniting left and right-wing Germans behind her. As the Guardian explains:
But now the woman revered as something of a heroine of the German left by some is receiving overtures from the far-right Alternative für Deutschland, with party influencers urging her to effectively join forces with them.
She recently appeared on the front page of the monthly magazine Compact, a self-declared mouthpiece of the AfD. In its latest issue her upturned face appears next to the cover line: “The best chancellor – a candidate for the left and the right.”
Among AfD voters the interest was a staggering 68%, a percentage point above the proportion of Die Linke supporters who would back her. Among conservative voters of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union alliance, a quarter said she was an option for them. The lowest support of 7% was among Green voters. Wagenknecht recently called the party “the most dangerous in the Bundestag” over its environmental reforms.
What made Wagenknecht a household name in Germany is her charisma, her intellect, and her uncompromising commitment to her principles regardless of how she is attacked – to say nothing of how obviously telegenic she is.
I did not know what to expect entering this interview. But afterward, I can confidently say it's one of the most illuminating and fascinating interviews I've conducted with any political figure in my last twenty years as a journalist. We delved deeply into the war in Ukraine, the US/NATO objectives, Germany's relationship with Russia, France and NATO, why she is finding so much support now among the German right and the German left despite long being identified as a left-wing politician, and the way left-liberal politics in Europe and the US have changed so dramatically by virtue of how they have lost contact with working-class voters and values.
Wagenknecht is a German citizen and politician but the dynamics she's so adeptly navigating are ones that dominate almost every Western democracy, certainly including the U.S. And while no one person is likely to agree with all of her views, they are invariably thoughtful and well-informed and, for that reason, shine a great and important light on all of the political debates and changes we cover in our own journalism. I hope you can watch and am confident you will find it, and her, as compelling as I did.
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