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Die Linke - Topical Debate in the EP: A masterpiece of modern populism


Today, the plenary of the European Parliament will hold it’s monthly ‘Topical Debate’. Each Strasbourg session one Group is obliged to choose a topic and title to debate an issue with current relevance. This week the Christian Democrats, the EPP-Group, was responsible for determining the Topical Debate. ‘In the light of current events’ the EPP chose the title ‘Legacy of the 1917 totalitarian Bolshevik revolution‘.
The delegation of DIE LINKE. as well as several other members of Parliament’s left Group GUE/NGL, such as Barbara Spinelli, chose not to take part in this debate. Martina Michels, spokesperson for cultural matters states the reasons for that decision:

“The Christian Democrats in the European Parliament apparently want to use today's Topical Debate to de-legitimize the October Revolution of 1917. Their chosen title is a pathetic display of their understanding of history and a symbol of modern populism, which the EPP and, above all, their chairman Manfred Weber (CSU) always and vociferously pretend to want to fight.”

“One can and one must discuss when, historically, the dividing line with Stalinism begins and where its roots lie, and we should advocate on a cross-party-level for a basic consensus condemning Stalinism as a system. This includes highlighting the betrayal of socialist ideas that led to the gulag. Such a review will at no point discredit socialist ideas.”

“Ultimately, it is unnecessary and dishonest to demonize the open beginnings of the Soviet Union's early conflicts and to stigmatize their perceived inheritance as totalitarianist per se and to pull this into a Topical Debate of the European Parliament. For a complex understanding of European history and the two World Wars that is just as devastating for a European future that wants to exclude a security partnership with Russia, and support democratic forces in Eastern Europe."

"Such complex debates are to be dealt with in the necessary scope in universities and in the social public sphere, however, Topical Debates are the wrong occasion. But apparently the EPP Group does not have an urgent theme which they want to debate, and there are many urgent matters. From the Diesel scandal to the Paradise Papers to the social emergency in Greece, the humanitarian crisis in our midst and at the EU-borders or the obvious and permanent fundamental rights violations by the mass surveillance. The MEPs from the EPP, who have to carry a co-responsibility for these failures and disasters, seek refuge in populism by making historical reinterpretations and ideological reductions as well as instrumentalization of complex social events."

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