"The grassroots democracy movement that forced the dismissal of East German head of state Erich Honecker in 1989 also empowered a younger generation of reform politicians in the East Germany's ruling Socialist Unity Party who looked to Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union as their model for political change. Reformers like authors Stefan Heym and Christa Wolf and human rights attorney Gregor Gysi soon began to re-invent a party infamous for its rigid Marxist orthodoxy and police-state methods. By the end of 1989 the last hardline members of the party's Central Committee had resigned, followed in 1990 by 95% of the SED's 2.3 million members. A new name, "Party of Democratic Socialism," was adopted to distance the reformed party from its communist past (after a brief transitional period as the SED/PDS). By early 1990, the PDS was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party, though neo-marxist and [C]ommunist minority factions continue to exist."The PDS has subsequently become the main part the Left Party, joining with the Labor and Social Justice Party (WASG), a left group formed by dissident Social Democrats and trade unionists. Two more interesting facts from Wikipedia: (1) Two of the Left Party's leaders, Gregor Gysi and Lothar Bisky, are Jewish. (2) A Left Party Member of the European Parliament, Feleknas Uca, was the world's only elected Yezidi politician until three were elected to the Iraqi legislature in 2005. The Left Party has done OK in the latest elections, outdoing the Greens. Julia, incidentally, was not standing - she is in Saxony's regional assembley.
By the way, the Left's Sevim Dagdelen should probably join Julia Bonk in political hotties category. // German-speaking readers should check out Red Julia and Pizza-Socialism. Maybe pizza socialism should join muscular liberalism as one of the watchwords of this blog? // Blog link: Blue in a Red State, Andy Lang's Blog: Left Party gains votes across political spectrum // At Daniels Counter Blog: Schroeder = Hitler?, Election Campaigning German Style.