German Communists have elected a new leadership after a turbulent party congress that revealed a new willingness to openly deal with differing political analyses over the nature of Germany’s imperialist role in the world today.

More than 150 delegates representing thousands of party members in both the traditional West German territory and newer organizations in the former German Democratic Republic participated in the congress with a strong representation of younger Communists, many already veterans of the party’s  youth organization, the Socialist German Working Youth (SDAJ).

A new party leadership was elected that included a fuller range of opinion within the party. Heinz Stehr, the long time leader who is widely credited with holding the party together in the crisis period following the dismantling of socialism, was replaced by Bettina Jürgensen, the district chair of the DKP in Schleswig-Holstein who won two thirds of votes.

The new leadership is likely to favour a more active intervention in politics with a sharper focus on workplace, trade union and industrial organisation and a clearer presentation of socialist ideas including stengthening the party weekly Unsere Zeit (Our Times).

Bettina Jürgensen expressed some criticism of the course taken by the DKP (German Communist Party) in recent years referring to a tendency to ‘jump on passing trains’ including subordinating independent activity to work with Die Linke, the anti-globalization group Attac, and the Social Forum.

October 13, 2010