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March 6, 2001: If the MLPD wants to assume its role as party of the future, it must be strengthened all-sidedly!

Interview with Stefan Engel, chairman of the MLPD

stefan-engel.jpgRed Flag: In January the Central Committee of the MLPD met for its 3rd plenary session. We would like to take the opportunity to inform our readers directly about the results of this meeting. What was discussed and what are the most important results?

Stefan Engel: First of all, the meeting took stock of the party work in the year 2000. At the end of 1999, the Party Congress of Gelsenkirchen had decided on undertaking new tasks. At the beginning of the new millennium, the party had to be geared for the preparation of a new upswing in the struggle for genuine socialism. To achieve this goal, a process of self-transformation in the relation between the party and the masses is necessary. The changes related to this are so comprehensive and profound that they can certainly only be implemented in the course of a criticism and self-criticism movement lasting several years. The Central Committee had to evaluate how the party and the youth league REBELL had succeeded in tackling the new tasks.

Secondly, we analyzed the economic and political development and the development of class consciousness. This is the objective basis and the point of reference for our work.

Last but not least, we had to take stock of the leadership work of the Central Committee since the last party congress.

Red Flag: If we give credence to the bourgeois opinion polls the Schroeder-Fischer government is presently in a relatively firm position.

Stefan Engel: I am quite sure that the times of stable government coalitions are over. Since 1975, the leading German monopolies have attained a leading position in the international competitive struggle and in the exploitation of the international working class. However, the basis of this development is not solid and strong; it is rather impaired by a whole series of diverse structural and overproduction crises.

One surge of the destruction of capital after another, combined with shut-downs and dismissals, is causing wage and salary-earners to fell insecure. An army of millions of unemployed and underemployed people has become a permanent phenomenon. Social achievements are being systematically and increasingly cut back. The monopolies are demanding to even step up this process in view of the fierce competition on the world market.

The discontent of broad sectors of the population has become the main feature of a latent political crisis that has become chronic. This already brought the Kohl-government to fall and any other government will suffer the same fate sooner or later.

Within two years, the Schroeder-Fischer government was forced to replace seven ministers. This is a clear postwar record. In the first one and a half years the government had lost a good part of its social-democratic and green mass base and it could not win it back in the meantime. This will become clearly evident in the oncoming elections in the federal states of Hesse, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. On the contrary: the reform of the pension scheme, the BSE-crisis, the continuing mass unemployment, the nuclear power stations that shall run for another 30 years, the NATO-war against Yugoslavia in 1999, the evidently abortive construction of East-Germany or the tax reform that was announced with a big splash and which turned out to be nothing else than a redistribution of the tax burden from direct to indirect taxes - all of these have deepened the mistrust in the government.

The new feature in this development is the fact that the masses do not simply regard the bourgeois opposition of CDU/CSU and FDP as an alternative and that the votes for neo-fascist and right-wing parties have also dropped considerably. This is an expression of the growing politicization in particular of the masses of workers, women and young people.

The abstention of millions of voters with rising tendency is still the main form of protest today. At the same time, a broad range of active protest movements are developing that are causing the government a lot of trouble and that are heralding great social changes. I remind you of the big demonstrations against the reform of the health system, against the evils in the education sector, the demonstrations and strikes against the schemes for the reform of the pensions, the big demonstrations against the government's bowing down to the nuclear industry, the furious protests of small and medium-sized farmers against the shifting of the BSE-crisis on their backs, the hundreds of thousands of participants in the antifascist demonstrations, etc.

The heart of the matter is a developing class independence of the working class movement. The ruling monopolies and their government have great difficulty in influencing the self-organized struggles and initiatives, which carry within them the seeds of class struggle or mass struggles against the government. It will depend upon the development of independent workers' struggles and their combination with various protests of the people's movement how long the government will still be able to be the caretaker of the monopolies.

Red Flag: How will the struggle against the politics of the government develop in the near future?

Stefan Engel: Their are several possibilities. Take the policy on the pension system. The manifold protests against this policy did not pose a problem for the government as long as they were conducted under the leadership of the reformist trade union bureaucracy, the bourgeois women's organizations or the churches and the CDU. However, after the trade unions announced that, for their part, the struggle was at an end, a new phase in the development has emerged. Whenever in the past the trade union leadership had declared the end of the struggle against the will of the broad majority, a new situation emerged that made the real independent struggle and the mass influence of our party on a broad scale first possible. Anyone who still wants to do something against the pension schemes now has to participate in the independent struggle against the pension schemes.

In the political field, the MLPD must focus its activities on the struggle against Riester's pension schemes in the next weeks. It must foster every seed of self-organized activities and give them a clear direction against the entire anti-people program of crisis management of the government. Such a struggle can become a real catalyst for the various movements and activities of the masses.

Of course, there are also other political issues in which the militant opposition can develop. It is very difficult to make a prediction concerning this point. However, the revival of the militant opposition is inevitable.

Red Flag: The MLPD has currently set itself the main task of bringing about a lasting strengthening of the militant women's movement. What does this mean in concrete terms and what are the results of this process?

Stefan Engel: The MLPD has done a lot during the last three months. It actively took part in the preparation and holding of the 4th Women's Political Counsel in Duisburg on 16/17 December 2000. There, 2000 women, men, young people and children with 50 different nationalities came together to discuss their initiatives on women's political issues, to support each other and to make decisions on common activities.

What was so impressive at the Women's Political Counsel was the fact that the militant women's movement is becoming increasingly broader and mutual acceptance of groups and activists with differing world views is growing.It is no secret that the MLPD could contribute a lot to this successful Women's Political Counsel without harming the ueberparteilich (literally: above parties; not affiliated to a specific party) status and the diversity of the counsel.

The sustainability of the strengthening of the militant women's movement is expressed especially in the degree of its organization. Regarding the membership in the MLPD, the proportion of women among new members remains far above average. The same applies to the youth league. In the trade union work, as well, our comrades were able to make a good contribution in several cases to recruiting a number of women to the trade unions and beginning a militant trade union work among women in various factories.

However, the ueberparteilich women's league Courage has obviously not yet succeeded in bringing about a lasting strengthening of the organization. And this although Courage is a very important organization for introducing the broad masses of women to political activities and increasing their self-confidence. The work of Courage is related to the whole scope of the way of life of the masses and has, for this reason, many points of reference and possibilities.

However, this variety also poses a problem that must be solved systematically. The greater the diversity of the militant women's movement, the more important it is to organize a strong, powerful militant women's movement on this basis by means of a democratic culture of debate.

Courage could much more effectively draw attention to itself as a really ueberparteilich women's organization, increase its independent profile and, in doing this, turn especially to the broad masses of ordinary women.

I have the impression that the struggle against petty-bourgeois feminism is still underrated. Ideologically, it is the major obstacle to raising women's consciousness to a higher level. Its disorganizing effects on the women's movement is penetrating more or less all social movements in a subtle way.

This petty-bourgeois feminism maintains that it suffices that every woman personally thinks and acts in an emancipated way and that an organized struggle is not necessary. It denies the necessity of a society-changing struggle for the liberation of women and instead harbors the illusion about a society-changing "female share in power".

We must be aware of the fact that the militant women's movement has experienced a revival and has advanced during the last years. Nevertheless, it is still at the beginning in terms of being a broad mass movement. The strengthening of a new militant women's movement stands or falls on an intensive clarification process regarding the perspectives of the struggle for the liberation of women. This was one reason for the publication of the book "New Perspectives for the Liberation of Women". It is intended as an aid for the militant women's movement and it should be discussed, distributed and become rooted to a much greater extent. It is not possible to win the struggle for a lasting strengthening of the militant women's movement if the preliminary ideological-political struggle that is necessary for it is not waged resolutely.

Red Flag: After having announced this for a long time, the Metal Workers Union has now started conducting its debate on the future. It calls on all forces within and outside the trade union to take part in this debate. Does the MLPD see a chance here?

Stefan Engel: The MLPD has been leading such a discussion on the future for a long time. We must not overrate the fact that the leadership of the Metal Workers Union is now taking this initiative. It only shows that the reformist trade union leadership is under pressure to take action.

The blue and white collar workers are detaching themselves more and more from the policy of class collaboration of the government, trade union leadership and employers' associations. In the meantime the rank-and-file unionists are openly opposing the "Alliance for Jobs" and the nationwide delegates' meetings of the Media Workers Union, as well as that of the union for employees in the trade, banking and insurance sectors have already taken decisions demanding to leave this alliance under the pressure of the rank-and-file. The many independent struggles of the workers in the last few years are probably the most severe criticism leveled at the reformist trade union bureaucracy.

The Metal Workers' Union has declared from the very beginning that the debate deals only with issues that can be settled within the confines of capitalist society. However, a debate on the future will fail if unionists who are critical of society are muzzled. Just during the last weeks, there were again incidents of the undemocratic application of the so-called incompatibility ruling against members and sympathizers of the MLPD.

The MLPD has proven in its practical work for decades that it stands up for strong and militant trade unions. Many members of the MLPD are active unionists, shop stewards, youth representatives and works council representatives. They have been elected by their fellow workers in the factories because they - among other things - criticize the policy of class collaboration of the reformist trade union leadership and are committed to a social alternative without capitalist exploitation and oppression. The most important issues that are being raised by the masses of workers, meanwhile, are those concerning the social system which makes such a crisis-prone development, such dismantling of social reforms, such general wage cuts and such enduring mass unemployment possible. Socialism must be an integral part of the trade unions. The MLPD will take part constructively in the debate about the future in the Metal Workers Union; it will actively further this debate and show initiative.

We Marxist-Leninists mainly consider it to be our task to carry the spirit of class struggle into the trade unions and to make positive proposals for turning the trade unions into fighting organizations again for the improvement of wages and working conditions. They must finally cease acting as co-managers and competing with the employers in presenting the best proposals for rationalization and for the competition in the capitalist world economy.

Red Flag: It was mostly young people who supported the various activities in the factories. How is the youth movement developing presently, what is the share of party work in these activities?

Stefan Engel: In connection with the examinations in January, the issue of not giving regular jobs to young people completing training was raised again on a massive scale. Today, approximately 40 per cent of all trainees every year are not given jobs after completing their training.

The MLPD holds the view that the trainees should not be treated as if they were something special. From the start, they need an unlimited employment contract, as soon as they begin training. It is absolutely not acceptable that those who have finished their training serve as a maneuverable mass for the job cuts of the employers. In the meantime, initiatives have been launched in various big enterprises, at TKS-company in Dortmund and at Opel, for a nationwide movement calling for providing jobs for young people after their training. This movement is very important for giving the struggle against unemployment a fundamental orientation. The workers must learn to wage the struggle against unemployment as a struggle for a political economy of the working class. This means, the workers must learn to stake their claim and to reject capitalist logic. And it is of great importance to link this up with the interests of the youth and the succeeding generation.

Every job lost, no matter whether it gets lost because of a social plan or by other forms of horse-trading, will be lost for some one worker. This is the central point which is disregarded by the attempt to seek an individual way out. We have to wage the struggle for every job and establish the struggle for the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation as a demand that is strictly based on the class interests of the entire working class. It is first and foremost a struggle about the course to be taken in the enterprises and trade unions before it can become a real political mass struggle.

It is a good development that our youth league REBELL has learned to establish themselves better in the factories and trade unions. Rebell has not only increased in membership by 32 per cent within the last two years. About half of its members are workers, male and female, employed in large scale industry. There they play , for the most part, an active role in the working class youth movement.

Red Flag: At a youth representative conference of the MLPD a short time ago there were lively discussions recently on the tasks of the Marxist-Leninists in this struggle.

Stefan Engel: The struggle for reforms must always be conducted as a school of the class struggle, otherwise it will create illusions and can even do harm to the working class movement. This already begins with making the right demands.

Giving regular jobs to young people completing training according to their vocational training is a demand that aims in particular at preventing their being used as a cheap labor force to squeeze wages. Of course, it would be an illusion to demand that every trainee is offered a job that matches his/her training. In order to realize such a demand it would have to be possible to exert an influence on the capitalist mode of production. This is determined by the power of the dictatorship of the monopolies and it can be geared to the needs of the workers only after the overthrow of this power. However, the demand for employment according to the vocational training is a class demand that emphasizes the unity of young and old people, in particular, and that directly exerts influence on the working class movement with its fighting strength.

Until now the party has neglected far too much the task of training the young comrades according to our line. The work in factories and trade unions is the main line of struggle of our party and the youth league is the main reservoir of the Marxist-Leninist work in factories and trade unions. The CC-plenary session has therefore taken the decision to devote the utmost attention to the education of these young people in future.

Red Flag: An important measure of the success of the MLPD in the year 2000 was the development of the balance of power between the MLPD and the PDS. What are the results of the year 2000?

Stefan Engel: We already had a fierce party political controversy with the top-level leadership of the PDS on the occasion of our participation in the annual Lenin-Liebknecht-Luxemburg Demonstration in January 2000. Together with the head of the Berlin police department, it had brought about a ban on the LLL-Demonstration on a flimsy pretext. Apparently this was done primarily to get rid of the MLPD, which had mobilized nationwide to this demonstration.

In this situation the MLPD kept cool. It organized the active resistance against the ban on the demonstration, which had very apparent motives, but at the same time prevented any kind of adventurism and unreflected reaction. This made the protest demonstration against the ban an important test for the MLPD's ability to lead the masses in the most complicated situations.

This exemplary conduct of the comrades of the MLPD and REBELL also made a deep impression on the members and supporters of PDS and DKP and led to an important inner-party criticism within the PDS of the anticommunist conduct of its party leadership toward the MLPD.

In the year 2000, the balance of power between MLPD and PDS gradually shifted in our favor. While our party is experiencing a stable, positive development, the PDS continues to be plagued by a massive loss of membership and its work among the youth is failing repeatedly on the grounds of its own antiauthoritarian concepts. All attempts to expand its influence in the factories remain largely unsuccessful up to now. Especially the building of the PDS in the western part of Germany has not gone beyond a short illusory boom in the municipal elections in the federal state of North-Rhine-Westphalia.

Many young PDS-members are increasingly dissatisfied with the party and are searching for a genuine socialist alternative. They find it in the MLPD, while the PDS is making more and more affected attempts to become capable of forming coalitions and entering the government. For this purpose, it must also sacrifice all remaining verbal socialist claims more and more apparently.

Therefore, it is no coincidence that we could organize a number of new members from the ranks of the PDS and its supporters in recent time. I imagine that this development will increase in the coming years.

But despite all criticism of the PDS, I would also like to emphasize that there are certainly a number of important points of contact in current political issues that we should urgently take up. That applies especially to the basic antifascist orientation of many PDS-members, their opposition to imperialist war politics, their social claim as well as various political activities on a municipal level. The MLPD will continue to seek practical cooperation in these spheres on the basis of struggle without giving up its criticism of the basic direction of the PDS as a left-reformist party.

Our participation in the federal state elections in Saxony-Anhalt on April 21, 2002, will surely lead to a climax in the direct controversy between MLPD and PDS. It is very important to apply the dialectics between practical cooperation on the basis of struggle and fundamental criticism correctly to prevent that we neither take an opportunist direction and water down our independent identity nor that we get into a sectarian position by forgetting that our main opponent is the SPD/ Greens-government with its anti-people politics.

Red Flag: You emphasized the MLPD's political successes, but you also critically pointed out that you are still not satisfied with these.

Stefan Engel: I am especially dissatisfied with the continually recurring tendency in our party work to willingly push aside the ideological-political aspect for pragmatic reasons. This necessarily leads to serious mistakes. The positive development in membership numbers and donations in the first half of the year 2000 was also stopped by this tendency for a time, before now developing anew. As a pragmatic response to the increasingly high hopes that the masses have placed on the MLPD, a petty-bourgeois direction emerged in our party work at first, namely to get lost in the various movements and to neglect the decisive task of strengthening the MLPD.

We succeeded in coming to grips with this problem in a six-month-long discussion within the party, which was very open and creative. The party has a total increase of 5% in membership, but this comes mainly from North-Rhine-Westphalia and the new federal states.

We have to be clear about the fact that with the present organizational strength, the MLPD will not be able to solve the comprehensive tasks arising in the transition to the working-class offensive and to class struggle in the true sense. We need thousands of new members, hundreds of people taking over new functions, people who are capable of orienting themselves independently and who represent a new party style. Anything else will necessarily lead to a test of endurance in our practical work.

The key is the consistent strengthening of the MLPD. There must be a fundamental understanding of this in the entire party. More depends on this than most comrades can imagine today.

Red Flag: What is, in fact, the concrete content of the new criticism-self-criticism movement and how has it developed?

Stefan Engel: In the meantime, we have further developed our understanding of the various fields of work in which the party must develop its interrelation with the masses. There are especially 7 tasks which the party must take on:

1. The party must direct its work toward learning to lead mass struggles and the class struggle in the true sense.

2. The lasting strengthening of the militant women's movement must be achieved, on the basis of which the diverse interrelations between the MLPD and the variety of mass movements can develop.

3. The MLPD must strive to overcome its weakness in the work among the petty-bourgeois middle strata.

4. To accelerate party building and to win over larger masses of members in the coming time, the work among youth, as the organizational-political focus, must be consistently realized as mass tactics of party-building.

5. In order to involve the broad masses in the struggle against the government and the system, it is necessary to develop systematic municipal politics in our neighborhood groups. This must also be the current focal point of proletarian parliamentarianism.

6. In order to expand the influence of the MLPD among the masses it must come to grips with the influence of modern anticommunism. Today, many people have only a distorted picture of Marxism-Leninism. A popular agitation and propaganda of Marxism-Leninism among the masses must be developed as an answer.

7. The self-transformation of the party and the masses in Germany must interpenetrate with the self-transformation of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement for the preparation of the international revolution and a worldwide new upsurge in the struggle for socialism.

We have made progress in all of these fields. This became evident in the county and local branch delegates' conferences and in the general membership meetings of the basic party units which were held at the beginning of the year. In the entire party there is an inspiring readiness to take on new tasks and this radiates great strength. Most of the delegates' meetings were successful in strengthening the leading bodies and especially in winning over new cadres for the various tasks. A total of 20 to 30 percent new comrades, more women and young people were elected into responsible positions. That is a very positive process.

The delegates' meetings also showed that the MLPD could significantly broaden its mass influence in the various fields of work in the year 2000.

Of course, the process of self-transformation for the development of the interrelation of the party and the masses cannot be accomplished by the party on its own. What is new is exactly the fact that we are seeking the lively debate and cooperation with all different sorts of people outside of our party and, for example, in the self-run organizations of the masses for this process of self-transformation. In this debate and in this cooperation, the party and the masses will change noticeably. It is important that people can also follow how the process of molding opinion takes place in the MLPD and how their ideas and proposals leave their mark.

No bourgeois party can allow such transparency in criticism and self-criticism because their entire politics are built upon deceiving the masses. We, instead, have the goal of helping the masses to liberate themselves from the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression.

 

Red Flag: From 27 to 29 May, the founding of the International League of Struggle for Liberation is scheduled to take place.

Stefan Engel: Up to now, about 250 organizations from more than 50 countries have registered. Among them 34 trade unions, many youth organizations, peasants' and women's organizations and a wide range of other militant organizations of the masses. The MLPD was one of the organizations that, from the very start, developed the idea of the necessity for an international association of all relevant forces in the struggle against imperialism. For this reason, it is for us a matter of course to support the founding of such a league of struggle.

Red Flag: Obviously ideological-political differences of opinion have come up during the preparation. What is the substance of these differences and which conclusions does the MLPD draw?

Stefan Engel: The differences of opinion are especially related to the question of who may participate in this league of struggle, what are the methods for its preparation and how it will work later.

The International Initiative Committee has decided that parties, churches and governments are obligatorily excluded from the league of struggle and it wants to restrict the participation in the international league of struggle to mass organizations. We think that this restriction is not correct. We do consider it right that this league of struggle is not subordinated to any party, church or government, but nevertheless, we should leave it to the mass organizations to decide how they organize their struggle, especially since the transition between party and mass organization is flowing in many cases. In Latin America many parties have the character of people's front movements that are, in essence, not distinct from the character of mass organizations. Why should such parties be excluded from the league of struggle, only because they do not fit into the imagination of some leaders? On the other hand, many mass organizations are affiliated to particular parties that are most skeptical about the invitation of their mass organizations to cooperate in an international league of struggle in which parties are not allowed to take part actively.

In practice it will be the case that many party leaders will participate as representatives of some mass organization. However, what really matters is:

that people treat each other equally, democratically and without reservations,

that parties do not have privileges with regard to other organizations,

that an organization will be founded in which really all relevant movements and currents which are waging a struggle against the capitalist reality somewhere in the world and in any field will join to form a great unity.

This great unity must again strengthen every individual organization and movement and give it the moral, political and economic backing it needs to hold its ground in important conflicts with the ruling classes in the own country or with imperialism.

The second big question is related to this. In our view, the International Initiative Committee, which has been set up for the preparation of the founding of the league of struggle, is trying to make too many decisions in advance and to regiment matters from the beginning instead of organizing a broad and democratic process of discussion among the participants.

The principle applied to resolve various problems or differences of opinion by means of a vote of contest is extremely problematic in such a diversified organization. Every organization is participating voluntarily in the international league of struggle. It must have the right to maintain its own identity, even if it does not agree with the views of the majority. In the past, we have made very good experiences at international conferences with the four principles of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations.

In our view, this founding of the league of struggle must take place in accordance with these principles, otherwise it will only be able to include a part of the international democratic, anti-imperialistic, revolutionary and working class movement.

The MLPD has clearly pointed out its position concerning this point and keeps to its criticism. However, it is also aware that the participants of the international league of struggle can only decide themselves what kind of organization, what kind of association they want to found.

It is a natural process of discussion that we will continue, even if our view should not be generally accepted. The decisive point is that it must serve to coordinate and revolutionize the struggles of the workers and masses of people all over the world.

We even take part in the trade unions under reformist leadership, even though we disagree with the basic line of class collaboration as it is pursued by the trade union leaders. We must always clearly distinguish between two things: if we have to support the necessity for a particular organization and if we criticize the practical work or the leadership of this organization. In any case, the MLPD will continue to support the international league of struggle politically, morally and materially and it will encourage a variety of organizations to do likewise.

Red Flag: One of the most important results of the 3rd plenary session of the CC was, as we heard, the reconstitution of the central committee. Why was this reconstitution necessary?

Stefan Engel: The Central Committee had been constituted after the party congress; it introduced some new methods, structures and functions and, in connection with them, we gained important experiences in the course of the year 2000, positive as well as negative ones. After a thorough evaluation it became evident that some things must be further developed. In particular, the systematic cadre work must become the guideline of every kind of leadership work. We must be aware that the many and complicated new tasks with which our comrades in the party are faced require a systematic education, guidance and control. In our methods of work we have to adopt the principle of Karl Marx saying that only the very best is good enough for the workers.

Another aspect is that we are faced with very important theoretical tasks the undertaking of which makes it necessary to prepare a new issue of our theoretical organ REVOLUTIONARY WAY (number 29) and to get some time and energy of the leadership work free for this task.

By the process of the internationalization of capitalist production the imperialist world system has entered a new phase. This must be investigated comprehensively by the MLPD. We have to provide theoretically sound proof of the thesis proposed by Willi Dickhut that the present stage of the internationalization of capitalist production requires an international revolution. This also demands special concentration because this thesis is the subject of controversy in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. In our party, as well, there are partly rather vague ideas about what this means in detail.

I am firmly convinced that the process of theoretical clarification will also lead to Marxist-Leninist party building and perhaps also to the international Marxist-Leninist and working class movement gathering momentum. We have already made arrangements with some parties and organizations in various countries to cooperate as closely as possible on the necessary theoretical analyses.

Red Flag: What are the next tasks for this year?

Stefan Engel: I have already pointed out that the main feature of the entire work this year will be the strengthening of the MLPD and its interrelations with the self-run organizations of the masses.

The next thing we will do is to conclude the main tactical task of the lasting strengthening of the militant women's movement in March. After this we will concern ourselves with the systematization of our work in factories and trade unions for about half a year. During this period we also want to found and build up a number of new factory party groups and to ensure that we really devote 60 per cent of our forces to this work.

This is closely linked to the education and development of new people for this work. The youth league, as well, has to learn to do independent political work in factories and trade unions under the leadership of the party.

On the part of the MLPD, the work in factories and trade unions will also be an important focus of the activities and contributions to the 10th International Whitsun Youth Meeting.

From November on, the entire party will concern itself with supporting the state election campaign in Saxony-Anhalt. The main point here is not to conduct an election campaign, but to strengthen the movement "the country needs new politicians", to step up party building in East Germany and thereby apply new methods of party-building.

We are already now beginning to build up voter action groups and win workers, women, young people and intellectuals from the intermediate strata who are willing to prepare this election campaign with us in connection with party building in Saxony-Anhalt. However, the organizational-political focus in party building is the youth work. By winning hundreds of new members for MLPD and REBELL we seek to lay the foundations for an all-round party work in Saxony-Anhalt.

In the fall of this year, we will put up lists of candidates and direct candidates for the state elections. Here, we also try to win people from outside the MLPD as candidates for our open list.

We are already seeking to support this task by a special donations campaign conducted by the entire party. For this purpose we are selling our shares in the future which will offer all different kinds of people the opportunity to make investments in the future.

Red Flag: You seem to be rather sure that the MLPD is the party of the future?

Stefan Engel: Indeed! Every impartial observer of our party can experience now its obviously growing social role and maturity. The MLPD has a promising future! It, as well as its youth league REBELL, must be considerably strengthened in every respect for this future development. Otherwise it will not be able to meet its responsibility. This is the important message for the year 2001!

Red Flag: Thank you very much for this talk!

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