Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People take part in a gathering under the motto: 'Heart Instead Of Baiting' ('Herz Statt Hetze') to counter a right-wing gathering that was to take place nearby on September 1, 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany. (Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

Echoes of Sanders and Corbyn as Left-Wing 'Stand Up' Movement Vows 'New Political Revolt' in Germany

"Those in power have absolutely no feeling any more for what the people are going through. That's why we want Stand Up, so that people like you and I get a voice, and that politics is done for the millions, not for billionaires."

Jake Johnson

Looking to spark a political revolution in the mold of Sen. Bernie Sanders' in the U.S. and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn's in the U.K., Sahra Wagenknecht and her husband Oskar Lafontaine—two leading figures of the German left-wing party Die Linke—officially launched the "Stand Up" movement on Tuesday with the goal of confronting Germany's "crisis of democracy," countering the rise of the nation's racist far-right, and offering an inspiring alternative.

"The globalization steered by corporations, the disintegration of the welfare state, an endless string of new wars—this not a force of nature. There are alternatives to it and we want to give people back the hope that politics can be changed."
—Sahra Wagenknecht

"Many people don't feel represented any more and are turning their backs on politics. This is more than just a feeling," Wagenknect said at a press conference on Tuesday, citing economic data showing that 40 percent of German citizens have less take-home pay today than they did two decades ago. "In such a country democracy is no longer functioning."

"This is about courage to overcome the neoliberal mainstream, about a social policy in the interest of the majority," Wagenknecht added in an interview with the website Nachdenkenseiten.de. "The globalization steered by corporations, the disintegration of the welfare state, an endless string of new wars—this not a force of nature. There are alternatives to it and we want to give people back the hope that politics can be changed."

The emergence of the Stand Up movement—which has also been translated as "Get Up" and "Rise Up"—comes just days after thousands of neo-Nazis marched and rioted in the German city of Chemnitz, just one of many signs that the nation's far-right is emboldened and increasingly dangerous.

Wagenknect argued that a left-wing populist movement like Stand Up is necessary to counter the pseudo-populism of the right, which seeks to exploit very real economic suffering and despair for racist aims.

"Anger that has been piling up has helped form a breeding ground for hate and violence. If we don't take counter measures this country will not be recognisable within five to 10 years," Wagenknect argued during the launch of Stand Up on Tuesday. "The climate is more raw than ever, the social divides are deeper. Had we needed another impulse then the events in Chemnitz show us that we urgently need a new political revolt."

"That's why we want Stand Up, so that people like you and I get a voice, and that politics is done for the millions, not for billionaires."
—Mario, Stand Up supporter
According to The Local, Stand Up's primary objective is to galvanize and inspire members of the "Die Linke party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), and ecologist Greens—but also to win back disenchanted working-class voters who have drifted to far-right protest parties."

While the leaders of Stand Up have not explicitly modeled their movement after Sanders' "political revolution" in the U.S. or Corbyn's "for the many, not the few" campaign in the U.K., the parallels are obvious in the rhetoric and political goals of the movement's supporters.

"The main problem for me is those in power have absolutely no feeling any more for what the people are going through," Mario, a supporter of Stand Up, declared in an interview on the movement's website. "That's why we want Stand Up, so that people like you and I get a voice, and that politics is done for the millions, not for billionaires."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·


Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·


Warren, Sanders, and Others Blast Biden's 'Failure' on Federal Cannabis Policy

While commending Biden's pardons and commutations, six senators wrote that "much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Court Applauded for Tossing Trump-Era Rule That Allowed Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination

"We are thrilled that the court has removed the continuing threat the presence of the discriminatory Trump-era rule posed to some of the most vulnerable members of society," said one attorney.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Broken' Capitalist Food System Drives Soaring Global Hunger: Oxfam

Criticism from the charity's food policy director came in response to a new United Nations report revealing that around 1 in 10 people worldwide went hungry last year.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo