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Young Socialists Criticize the SPD's Lack of a Strategy vis-à-vis the Ecology Movement (1979)

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The means of doing this is obvious. The opponents of nuclear energy in the SPD will not be able to assert themselves at the party congress in Berlin. A credible alternative petition to the proposal by the party’s executive committee – one that the Young Socialists could support – would be voted down by about 60-65 percent of the delegates at the Berlin party congress; [they would do so] not because they necessarily support the resolution of the executive committee, but mostly because they do not want to oppose the social-democratic federal chancellor on a central issue, in order not to weaken his position in light of the upcoming elections.

This would be an opportunity for the “party founders” in the alternative movement to put the Young Socialists under pressure. This is where the risk of politically fraying the organization lies. The Young Socialists must counter this moralizing argumentation by self-assuredly presenting their rational strategy of changing the SPD by working in this organization.

On the other hand, no one can clearly say how the introduction and continued use of this technology [nuclear energy – Spiegel editor’s note] is supposed to be prevented if, on the one hand, the representatives of capital interests in the CDU/CSU and, on the other hand, almost all relevant parts of the labor movement will vote to support these technologies.

Anyone who really wants to prevent nuclear technology must attempt to spread convictions about the necessity of avoiding it by cooperating with the organizations of the working class in the Federal Republic, that is, within the unions and the SPD . This is the approach of the Young Socialists.

In view of this, it must be clearly shown that it is totally out of touch with reality if the “party founders” hope that after the Berlin party congress, masses of Young Socialists will be moved to leave the SPD. This will certainly not strengthen the movement of those who want to run in the Bundestag elections in 1980.

Source: Gerhard Schröder, “‘Die SPD hat kein Konzept’” [“‘The SPD has no Strategy’”], Der Spiegel, 1979, no. 44, pp. 68-71.

Translation: Allison Brown

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