The German Left Party and its Understanding of Wikipedia

Considering that German conservatives have several issues with new technology – as for example evidenced in the discussion about the banning of so-called "Killer Games" – one might think that the other end of the political spectrum would be able to offer an alternative to this ungrounded, uninformed fear. But not only do the German Greens seem to be unable to utilise the web for their means, the post-communists of the Left Party have now proven themselves to be clueless in relation to the intertubes – at least their deputy leader Katina Schuber is (pictured). She filed charges against Wikipedia on the on the grounds that its German language site contained too much Nazi symbolism, particularly an article on the Hitler Youth movement. Says Schubert:

"The extent and frequency of the symbols on it goes beyond what is needed for documentation and political education, in my view. This isn't about restricting freedom of opinion, it's about examining what the limits are."

While she later withdrew her absurd charges this leaves a strange aftertaste. The combination of a well known website and a controversial topic makes for an obvious PR-stunt which emanates in Schubert's wish to heighten her profile but eventually just documents her ignorance. It also demonstrates the traditional fear the far left has with independent structures, even when they, like Wikipedia, rest on the principle that everybody can contribute to it. As pretty much every socialist regime demonstrated: The nationalisation of the economy is always followed by the "nationalisation" of thinking.

Add to this a suspicion of technology that curiously not only affects German conservatives. Also, the Left Party seems to be the collecting basin of frustrated pensioners with the average age of its members currently being 65.

Maybe this explains why the Left Party, like the Greens, does not particularly stand out as being innovative in its use of technology to spread its ideas. Point in case: Schubert's website seems to be a leftover from the last century and, similar to the Greens, the absence of blogs on the official website and on the websites of the chairmen – just contrast this with innovative grassroots, left-wing and anarchist networks that operate outside the party arena like indymedia (whose contributors are probably half the age).