German communists resist attempt at ‘cold ban’

German authorities are seeking to prevent the German Communist Party (DKP) from contesting election on bureaucratic pretexts. The party says it is a bid to drive it into financial ruin

July 11, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch

A wave of global condemnation has met attempts by the German state to outlaw the German Communist Party (DKP). On July 8, Thursday, DKP sources said the Federal Returning Officer of Germany wants to prevent the party from running for the Bundestag election. The delay in submitting annual reports is being used as the reason for the action. Subsequently, communist and leftist groups from various parts of the world denounced the state’s move and expressed solidarity with the party.

Unsere Zeit has reported that in Germany, an association loses its legal status as a party if it fails to comply with its accountability obligation for six years. The DKP submitted the 2017 annual report and the 2018 report is under preparation and will be audited by the end of the month. So, the DKP is gearing up to legally challenge the decision of the returning officer in the Federal Constitutional Court. Earlier, the authorities’ action against the Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists (VVN-BDA) and the communist news paper Junge Welt were also widely condemned, both in the country and abroad. While the German state represses communists and anti-fascists, far-right, neo-Nazi groups are having a free run, sometimes with the aid of collaborators in the security forces and mainstream political parties.

On July 8, Patrik Köbele, Chairman of the German Communist party (DKP), responded to the official action, saying, “What is being attempted is a cold party ban. We as communists are familiar with this. In 1933, the Communist Party was banned by the fascists and in 1956 by Adenauer. There must be a great fear of us if the same is sought to be carried out by bureaucratic means in 2021. Of course, we will use all legal means. We are sure that this attempt will fail.”

He said that the action was intended to drive the DKP into financial ruin. “Attempts have been made to ruin progressive organizations by withdrawing their non-profit status. This is part of the increasing criminalization and defamation of left-wing forces. It is also part of the instrumentalization of the coronavirus pandemic towards the dismantling of democracy and social programs. This is not only about the electoral candidacy of the communists, which is why we call on all democratic forces to oppose this attempt at a cold party ban,” added Patrik Köbele.

The German Communist Party was founded in 1968 as successor of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) which was banned during the Nazi rule in Germany (1933-1945) and by West German authorities.

Some of the organizations which expressed solidarity with the KPD are the the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Party of Labour of Austria (PdA), Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL), Communist Party of Sweden (SKP), Communist Party of Ukraine, Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), Communist Party of Canada, Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Communist Party (Switzerland), Socialist German Workers Youth (SDAJ), Communist Youth of Austria (KJO), Communist Party of Belgium (PCB-CPB), Communist Party (PC) in Italy, Communist Party of USA (CPUSA), Israeli Communist Party and the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic

Germany is not the only European country which is witnessing attacks on the left. In 2019, a controversial European parliament resolution which equated communism with Nazism, called for the erasure of all memorials of “totalitarianism” across Europe, including memorials to the Red Army. In Ukraine, the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) was banned in 2015 following the right-wing Euromaidan protests and in 2019, the pro-communist newspaper Rabochaya Gazeta (Worker’s Newspaper) was banned as well. Attacks are continuing also in Poland against the Polish Communist Party (KPP) and its publication Brzask.