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Friday, December 8, 2023

Federal Congress of the Jusos: Left against Left

Who will be the new Juso chairman? Two applicants from the left camp are running. Both are united in criticism of the traffic lights.

Philipp Türmer with a white shirt and glasses next to Sarah Mohamed with a colorful T-shirt and glasses

Who will be the Juso federal chairman? Philipp Türmer and Sarah Mohamed are standing for election Photo: Becker Bredel/imago, Wolfgang Borrs

BERLIN taz | The socialist society is stated as the goal in the first sentence of the main proposal. If the Young socialists in the SPD are going to the federal congress from Friday in Braunschweig, then they won’t settle for half measures. A socialist tax system with wealth and inheritance taxes is up for debate, as is a basic inheritance of 60,000 euros for everyone or the abolition of the European border protection agency Frontex. The chances that the Juso Federal Congress will decide on these demands are good.

However, it is completely open who will become the new Juso federal chairperson. Here, Sarah Mohamed and Philip Türmer, two similarly promising applicants, are competing against each other. The last time there was such competition for the presidency was 10 years ago. The 300 delegates to the Federal Congress have the choice between two candidates from the left-wing camp who represent different priorities.

The 32-year-old Mohamed lives in Bonn, where she studied history and philosophy. As a teenager she was active in anti-fascist groups and came to the Jusos through university politics. She aggressively advocates for the rights of minorities, describes herself as a queer black woman and wants to combine struggles for equality with the fight for social justice. “It is important to me that we as Jusos find more connection to the climate movement, to anti-racist and feminist movements,” she told the taz after declaring her candidacy in September. She wants to make the Jusos “more visible again as an activist youth organization”.

Bringing left-wing social movements together is also Philipp Türmer’s concern. In his candidacy he explains: “The commonality of climate activist, trade union, feminist and anti-racist movements is the fight against capitalism.”

Criticism of Scholz and Faeser

There are no major differences in content between the two candidates, they are more nuances. Türmer explains that his focus is more on the issue of distributive justice. The studied economist is currently working on his legal doctorate. Topic: “The confiscation of assets in criminal law.”

Both also have in common that they are critical of the SPD’s current course in government and rule out their own candidacy for the Bundestag. While Mohamed has the strong North Rhine-Westphalia regional association behind him, the Hesse tower player can count on a good network within the Jusos. The outgoing Juso chairwoman Jessica Rosenthal has publicly avoided taking sides.

The debates on current political issues, in which Jusos sharply criticize the SPD-led traffic light, will certainly be exciting. On the one hand, this is asylum policy. Sarah Mohamed sees “red lines crossed” when it comes to asylum. The traffic light policy has racist traits, she told the taz and that contributes to the current cold relationship between the Jusos and the SPD.

Mohamed particularly criticizes the course of Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Chancellor Olaf Scholz and their right-wing tone that deportations must now be carried out on a large scale. “It is time for people in the SPD to stand up and take a clear stance,” said Mohamed.

In the Federal Executive Board’s lead proposal, the Jusos reject the establishment of camps at the external borders, an essential element of the reform of the European asylum system that Faeser helped negotiate. Instead, they demand safe escape routes and legal means of escape. Every person fleeing persecution or poverty deserves protection and asylum in the European Union.

Another current topic that will probably also be discussed at the Federal Congress are the consequences of the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling. The decision was made on Wednesday, that the traffic light government acted unconstitutionally, when she reallocated loans that had not been drawn from the times of the corona pandemic into the climate fund. There is now a lack of 60 billion euros for the climate-neutral restructuring of the economy and society.

Abolish the debt brake

“If this money is lost in the climate fund, I see a black mark for the climate goals,” said Türmer, adding that the traffic light must now change direction in terms of fiscal policy. “The only right thing would be to abolish or at least suspend the debt brake. To do this, the government can declare a climate emergency.”

In order to abolish the constitutional debt brake, the traffic light would need a two-thirds majority and the votes of the Union. But she is absolutely against it. In an acute crisis, the Bundestag could also suspend the debt brake with a simple majority. However, the FDP, which insists on the brakes, is not playing along.

In their lead motion, the Jusos are calling for the abolition of the debt brake – “and the ruling from Karlsruhe has strengthened us in this demand,” said Türmer.

No matter who prevails in the end, the SPD can probably expect that the Jusos, who traditionally see themselves as the left-wing driving forces of their social democratic parent party, will appear more rebellious and demanding again in the future. Hubertus Heil, SPD labor minister with a Juso past, and Kevin Kühnert, general secretary and former Juso federal chairman, who are coming to the federal congress on Saturday as guest speakers, can dress warmly.

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