Germany: Court approves spying on leftists

July 24, 2010
Bodo Ramelow

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled on July 21 that the Verfassungsschutz — Germany’s domestic spy agency — had a right to spy on the left-wing party Die Linke.

Bodo Ramelow, Die Linke’s leader in the eastern state of Thuringia and others were appealing against the agency spying on them. The justification for the spying are claims Die Linke contained “anti-constitutional” elements because of its origins in the former East German state.

Die Linke was formed after 2005 by a merger between disaffected western Social Democratic Party members, left-wing academics and trade unionists, and the eastern-based Party of Democratic Socialism. The PDS was made up of members of the former East German ruling party.

Die Linke won almost 12% in the last national election, making it the fourth largest party in parliament. It has won seats in almost every state parliament. Polls consistently show it is the most popular party in eastern Germany and its social justice policies are making it increasingly popular in the west.

Die Linke is the only party with parliamentary representation to support the view of a large majority of the population by callings for German soldiers to leave Afghanistan.

Die Linke has come under repeated attack from the media and other parties. it is accused, among other things, of containing “communist extremists” and of having members with links to the Stasi — the infamous former East German secret police force.

The ruling said the spying on Die Linke should not extend to such activities as bugging telephone calls. But it allows spy agencies to monitor public activity by party members.

Ramelow said he would fight the decision at Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court.

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