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Aufstehen (Get Up), a movement to unite the Left in Germany said that they will take to streets in 2019 inspired by France's Yellow Vest movement.
Sahra Wagenknecht, who set up Aufstehen (Get Up) in September to unite Germany’s left-wing, said that the movement will take to the streets in 2019. France’s famous Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement is said to be the inspiration.
Wagenknecht said that the Yellow Vest movement made her believe that change can be effected without being a political party.
Wagenknecht said, “We have big plans for next year, not least because we recognize when people go on to the streets to protest – especially those who have not had a political voice for many years who rediscover their voice by protesting – then political change can happen,” while speaking to the foreign press association in Berlin. “This is what we’re seeing in France right now.”
She also criticized the fact that due to sporadic cases of violence, the whole Yellow Vest movement was condemned for being a violent movement.
“I think it’s completely wrong to reduce the yellow vest movement in France to violence,” she said.
“Of course there are those ready for violence amongst the protesters, but the movement is much broader than that. I’m clear that we don’t want any violence, but at the same time you have to recognize that it is a clear expression of pent-up anger. It doesn’t just come out of nowhere.”
The reason for Germans to take to streets is the growing inequality and frustration over the government’s failure to tackle inequality.
Wagenknecht said Aufstehen, which has almost 170,000 signed-up members and whose supporters include prominent German writers, philosophers, political scientists etc., hoped to garner support from the common masses across the political spectrum and unite struggling left parties like Die Linke and the Social Democrats (SPD).
“We don’t intend to compete with these parties. We want a movement that contributes to bringing these parties on the left together and instigates a new social revival,” she said.
“It is of importance to us to remain above party politics and I believe that for many people who are becoming involved with us, this is part of our charm, as well as of the movements in France and the UK – that they don’t have to fall in line within a rigid party structure.”
Her initiative has been criticized by many within her own party, Die Link. Many accused her of risking its destruction. On the other hand, SDP accused her of being “on an ego trip.”
She was also accused of wanting to create her own party which she had denied.