“I meant it very seriously”

Despite strong criticism of his socialism theses, Juso boss Kevin Kühnert sticks to his stance. The outraged reactions only showed “how narrow the limits of what is imaginable have become,” he says in an interview.

IIn the dispute over his socialism theses, Juso boss Kevin Kühnert added up and asked the SPD to aggressively lead the debate he had initiated. “I no longer feel like we only discuss key issues when it is peacetime and talk around it in the election campaign,” said Kühnert to “Spiegel”. If you seriously want a different style of politics, “then we can’t always bite our tongues when it comes to the really big questions”.

“I meant what I said very seriously,” said Kühnert. Capitalism has penetrated “far too many areas of life”. “There is no way we can go on like this.”

“Yesterday’s Recipes”

Criticism of Kühnert’s ideas now came from the industry association BDI. “Half-baked ideas for a socialist economy and society get lost in the fog of vague wishes and recipes from yesterday,” said the chief executive of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Joachim Lang, of the German press agency.

“Anyone who speaks this way is ignoring the complex challenges of digitization and economic competition that our companies have to face on a daily basis,” said Lang. This includes knowing how to realistically secure prosperity, growth and progress. “The collectivization of companies and other planned economy methods would immediately stifle the driving forces of successful economic activity.”

At the same time, however, Lang said: “The social market economy is more than just an empty shell and must be lived.” In the social market economy, freedom and responsibility belong together. It is not about predefined measures from a toolkit, but about a model for politics, economy and society. “Their bases are private autonomy, freedom of contract and property. Property is an unchangeable fundamental right. “

“What did he smoke?”

Kühnert had previously said in an interview with “Die Zeit” on the subject of socialism that he advocates the collectivization of large companies “in a democratic way”: “It is less important to me whether the BMW doorbell says“ state automobile company ”or not “Cooperative automobile company” or whether the collective decides that BMW no longer needs this form. “

For his statements, Kühnert had to take some fierce criticism, including from his own party. The spokesman for the conservative Seeheimer Kreis, Johannes Kahrs, wrote in the short message service Twitter: “What gross nonsense. What did he smoke? It couldn’t have been legal. “

Kühnert said of the criticism: “The outraged reactions show how narrow the limits of what is imaginable have become,” he said to the “Spiegel”. “25 years of neoliberal public address clearly left their mark.”

“Asked the right question”

However, Kühnert had received encouragement from the Left Party. And there were also some voices in the SPD that defend Kühnert against criticism. Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Andreas Geisel (SPD), said on Thursday in an RBB broadcast: “The excitement surrounding this statement by Kühnert shows that he asked the right question. Namely the question of the distribution of income. “

The chairman of the influential North Rhine-Westphalian SPD, Sebastian Hartmann, told the “Spiegel” that the debate had to be started. “We need a fundamentally new economic model.” The unregulated market is “our opponent”. “Inequality is the explosive of our time.”

Bielefeld MP Wiebke Esdar, a member of the SPD federal executive committee, also praised Kühnert: “If we want to speak credibly of renewal, we have to talk about the contradiction between labor and capital.” For years neoliberalism has been growing and the inequality between rich and poor has been growing : “The SPD cannot be satisfied with the status quo.”