Sahra’s Final Form

German „Querfront“: Sahra Wagenknecht’s new party BSW will hardly harm the AfD, but will instead shift the political balance further to the right

04.05.2024, Tomasz Konicz, translated by OlIver Blackwell

Above all, it is a legend that many Wagenknecht fans use to talk themselves into joining the Querfront: The entire phenomenon is purportedly directed against the AfD. Wagenknecht’s national-social formation, which is modestly referred to as the “Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance” (BSW), will effectively counteract the influence of right-wing extremism.


This logic can be summarized as follows: There is a significant potential for protest votes to be cast for the fascist-dominated AfD due to the lack of a populist alternative. Wagenknecht would now appeal to this group of voters and thus harm fascism – even if she might have to sound like a soft-spoken fascist to do so.[1] The FAZ newspaper, for example, warned the German right’s favorite leftist at the end of October that her party could only become “dangerous” for the AfD if it continued to become “radicalized.”[2]

Quite apart from the fact that the AfD’s self-portrayal as the party of the “concerned citizen” is taken at face value, the more serious problem here is that it is simply an expression of the pervasive tendency to reify thought. One imagines an open space for a Wagenknecht-led “AfD-lite,” which only needs to be filled with an appropriate political offer in order to weaken the AfD. Much more important, however, is that the general social mood has been moving to the right for years.

The political coordinate system, in which a gap is now being imagined for Wagenknecht’s “AfD-lite,” is not set in stone. Rather, it is a dynamic, constantly changing system that has been drifting to the right for years. Since the Sarrazin debate and the rise of the AfD, the boundaries of what can be said in public have been pushed further and further to the right, even to the point of open incitement.

The New Right has simply achieved discourse hegemony on many issues – as last year’s migration debate showed[3] – so that the idea of what actually constitutes the political “center” has also undergone a reactionary change. And her years of correspondence with the right-wing extremist Gernot Mörig make it clear that Ms. Wagenknecht has no personal fear of contact with Nazis.[4]

Fifty Shades of Brown

In this way, the BSW is simply furthering the rightward drift of the political spectrum in Germany, which is turning into outright fascism, by creating a political landscape with many shades of brown in which there are hardly any non-right-wing forces left (similar to the situation in countries like Hungary). This can currently be seen in the polls in Saxony-Anhalt, where only various right-wing parties – the AfD, the CDU and the BSW – would be represented in the state parliament if state elections were to be held there.[5] Even if, contrary to expectations, Wagenknecht’s national-socialist electoral association does not share the fate of her disastrously failed political project Aufstehen, this will not lead to a loss of votes for the AfD, but rather to a further shift to the right in society.

Wagenknecht has worked hard to create this constellation. Hardly any other politician has contributed more to the founding and rise of the AfD[6] than Wagenknecht in her lucrative role as a right-wing “taboo breaker” within the Left Party.[7] At the latest since the so-called refugee crisis, she has been precisely the political figure with a permanent media presence who quickly began to criticize Angela Merkel’s refugee policy from the right, thus supporting the AfD in its agitation against migrants, which earned her praise from many and several offers to join the AfD.[8]

For a while, right-wingers began to legitimize their public attacks on refugees by claiming that the “left-wing Wagenknecht” also shared their views. The Left Party’s “right to hospitality” (Spiegel), which liked to confuse the right to asylum with the right to hospitality, effectively paved the way for right-wing views to become hegemonic.

Added to this is the impressive pile of truncated, right-wing critiques of capitalism that the “financial market critic” has produced in her years of obsession with evil, appropriative finance capital – and which can be used to trace the genesis of fascist crisis ideology in quasi-textbook fashion, splitting the capital relation into a good, nationalist and generative one and an evil, international and appropriative one.

Wagenknecht’s Business Model

Since the refugee crisis at the latest, Wagenknecht’s business model has been to cloak resentment in pseudo-leftist phrases. The inventor of the oxymoron “left-wing conservatism” thus served the reactionary mood in parts of the Left Party. Her national-social taboo-breaking and all the “unfortunate” formulations were aimed at those currents in the party that were susceptible to right-wing ideology – and who are now largely leaving the party with her. Wagenknecht thus functions as a central figure of the German Querfront, which in effect acts like a conveyor belt, carrying right-wing ideology into the eroding left.

To the outside world, the German right’s favorite leftist, whose Querfront amalgam was readily disseminated at all times in the FAZ, Welt, Focus, Cicero and Weltwoche, appeared above all as a critic of the left. This was the second pillar of Wagenknecht’s business model that made her so popular with right-wing media: she delegitimized progressive left-wing politics with the force of a wrecking ball. Labeled “left-wing” on every talk show, Wagenknecht, who was constantly present in the media, often said reactionary things that were incompatible with left-wing principles. Her popularity in the press and on social media stems precisely from this ploy of presenting herself as a pseudo-left critic of the left and peddling bogeymen such as identity politics and the “lifestyle” left.

The Identitarian Lifestyle Right

These are projections that are widespread in the Querfront milieu. After all, the millionaire and socially isolated lifestyle right, with its political career focused on self-expression, is itself engaged in identity politics. In her latest book, Die Selbstgerechten (The Self-Righteous), Wagenknecht celebrates national identities as a “civilizational gain” and raves about the “wisdom and traditions” of the post-fascist FRG of the economic miracle, about “decency, moderation, restraint, reliability or loyalty […] motivation and discipline, diligence and effort, professionalism and accuracy.”

The Querfront ticket offered by Wagenknecht consists of adopting the right-wing demand for a fortress-like sealing off of Europe in the midst of a full-blown capitalist climate crisis, which would of course entail mass murder, while at the same time indulging in culturalist illusions of a once intact country enjoying the economic miracle – before it was destroyed by ‘68.

Against this backdrop, Wagenknecht’s recently publicized contacts with individual right-wing extremists from the Identitarian movement seem only logical. Cooperation between the AfD and the BSW is not inconceivable – provided that Wagenknecht’s electoral association not only has the necessary organization, but also manages to clear the five percent hurdle in this year’s state elections in eastern Germany thanks to a permanent presence in the mass media and millions in party donations.

Querfront and Class

The project of a fascism-compatible AfD-lite with a social veneer is apparently finding financially strong sponsors from the ranks of small and medium-sized businesses and family entrepreneurs – the very same milieu from which many AfD supporters were recruited. IT entrepreneur Ralph Suikat is considered the most important sponsor of the BSW. The internet portal Telepolis of the IT publishing house Heise – which was taken over by a Wagenknecht faction of the Left Party with cover from the publishers[9] – and Albrecht Müller’s Nachdenkseiten are largely in line with Wagenknecht. Sahra’s Querfront project can also count on the goodwill of media such as Berliner Zeitung and Freitag, which are owned by IT consultant Holger Friedrich and Spiegel heir Jakob Augstein respectively. Middle-class people, heirs, and rich, old, white men: it is above all this class, notorious for its reactionary dispositions and formerly referred to as the “petty bourgeoisie,” that supports both the BSW and the AfD.

The BSW’s media support is therefore now better than that of the Left Party. And Wagenknecht will continue to have an impact on the eroding left through these right-wing petty bourgeoisie media outlets – as long as the latter does not take an offensive approach to its Querfront history. And this does not look likely at the moment, not even in the Left Party, which for years tolerated the activities of its media front woman and now presents itself as a victim of Wagenknecht and a refuge for anti-fascism. This is also a party in which – it can be assumed – many opportunists are waiting for the upcoming elections before deciding which party offers the best career opportunities.

For more, see Tomasz Konicz’s most recent publication on the subject: the e-book “Fascism in the 21st Century: Sketches of the Looming Threat of Barbarism.”










Originally published in jungle world on 01/25/2024 before being supplemented and uploaded to

Nach oben scrollen