Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
Dealing with Wolfgang Thierse
Brandt-Sohn accuses SPD leaders of failure
With a contribution on identity politics, SPD politician Thierse triggers a heated debate. Now the former President of the Bundestag is backed by historian Peter Brandt. In a guest post, the son of the former Chancellor Willy Brandt takes the SPD leadership to court.
In the dispute between ex-Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse and the party leadership of the Social Democrats, a son of the former SPD Chancellor Willy Brandt has now also spoken out. In a guest article in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ), the historian Peter Brandt accuses party chairman Saskia Esken and her deputy Kevin Kühnert of “failure” in dealing with Thierse.
The background to the dispute between Thierse and the party leadership is an internal email in which Esken and Kühnert were “ashamed” of unnamed SPD representatives who painted a “backward-looking picture of the SPD”. Apparently Thierse was meant, who had previously objected to “left identity politics” and gender-sensitive language in a “FAZ” article. In his polemic, Thierse criticized the claim of minorities to define what is right and wrong for them on the basis of their identity, instead of openly discussing it. A heated debate ensued.
In his guest article, which was created together with the publisher Detlef Prinz, Brandt defends Thierse. Thierse worried about the cohesion of the community and developed an offer for a minimum consensus within the social democracy, write the two. In normal times, a “sovereign party leadership” would then have invited to a discussion and offered the protagonists a contentious platform.
This could have been the prelude to a debate in which the focus is not on exclusion, but on the question of what actually connects the party members with those who really threaten this democracy, Brandt and Prinz go on to explain. Not having initiated this discussion is the “real failure of the SPD leadership”.
Brandt judges that Esken and Kühnert let it get this far instead of simply apologizing because, in their “shame” towards Thierse, they actually distanced themselves from a considerable part of the SPD members, points to the core of the superfluous dispute and prince. At the same time, it shows that the SPD lacks a political compass. The party leadership is not in a position to politically manage a debate conflict.