Volunteer reserve for health authorities ?: Berlin’s left-wing faction draws these lessons from the corona crisis – Berlin


The Berlin left-wing faction is going into a two-day digital exam this Friday. Mayor and Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer will take part as a prominent “guest” in the context of a general debate on the subject of “Dealing with the pandemic”. Lederer will lead the Berlin Left as the top candidate in this year’s House of Representatives election.

The parliamentary group also wants to pass a draft law on “socialization” at the weekend. He is supposed to legalize the expropriation of large real estate companies. The Berlin Left officially supports the current collection of signatures for a referendum on “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co.”

Otherwise, the corona virus and its consequences are the common thread for this year’s parliamentary group retreat. “Learning from today for tomorrow” is also the title of a position paper by the two new parliamentary group chairmen, Carsten Schatz and Anne Helm, as well as by parliamentary director Steffen Zillich, which is to be decided at the meeting.

The paper, which is exclusively available to the Tagesspiegel, deals in three main points with how society can be made more resilient to crises, which investments are indispensable from the perspective of the left, even in an emergency like the corona pandemic, and finally with the question of where from the money for dealing with the crisis should come.

As with the fire brigade and the armed forces: volunteers for the health authorities

The left wants to make society crisis-proof above all by strengthening the health system financially and in terms of personnel: more staff in hospitals, care facilities and health authorities, who should also be better paid.

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The left also wants to develop “crisis plans” for the health authorities, in which, among other things, it should be determined how the authorities can quickly get additional staff in an emergency. A kind of volunteer reserve is proposed: “In addition to employees from other areas of the public service, volunteers could also be registered and trained for this (principle of volunteer fire brigade or Bundeswehr reserve).”

Left calls for unemployment insurance for solo self-employed

In the welfare state area, the paper focuses primarily on the self-employed: The Left calls for better access to the social system for them, “for example through (European) unemployment insurance for all employed persons, short-time working allowances also for self-employed persons, the introduction of citizens’ insurance, into which everyone pays for retirement and health care “.

Anne Helm and Carsten Schatz have been the new heads of the Berlin left-wing parliamentary group since June 2020.Photo: Doris Spiekermann-Klaas

According to the will of the left, people with low-wage jobs should continue to receive “at least a significantly higher proportion of their wages than those with higher wage groups” in the event that they are sent on short-time work.

Climate change is also mentioned as a crisis: Here the Left advocates the preservation of open spaces in Berlin, which not only offer the possibility of “being outside safely”, but also serve to purify the air, produce oxygen and lower temperatures. The pop-up cycle paths are also mentioned: “They are an anticipation of an incipient redesign of road traffic that is necessary for a crisis-resilient city, in which the dominance of motorized individual transport, especially that based on internal combustion engines, has to be pushed back ever further” it to.

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The paper by the parliamentary group also calls for extensive state investments in the areas of digitization, education and public administration, as well as an economic stimulus program for culture and economy in Berlin.

Regarding financing, it is said that the left had “long shown possibilities” at the federal level with proposals such as the reintroduction of a wealth tax or a reform of the inheritance tax. “In the current situation,” it continues, “we advocate at least a one-off levy on high assets and a longer suspension of the debt limit.”

Pau top candidate, ex-parliamentary group leader Wolf wants to join the Bundestag

After the parliamentary group meeting, the Berlin Left is planning a party congress on March 13, at which the list for the Bundestag will be elected. In order to nominate the candidates in accordance with the electoral law, the Left wants to hold a presence party conference with 150 delegates in the Hotel Estrel in compliance with hygiene rules. All delegates must be tested beforehand.

This week the board of the Left published a proposal for the list. Petra Pau, member of the Bundestag since 1998 and Vice-President since 2006, is to take first place, followed by former parliamentary group leader in the House of Representatives, Udo Wolf. Wolf and his co-chair, Carola Bluhm, had resigned their group chairmanship in mid-2020. Wolf announced in August that he would run as a direct candidate in Pankow. Stefan Liebich had previously won this constituency in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Liebich does not run again for the Bundestag.

Gesine Lötzsch is likely to run for third place on the Bundestag list. Lötzsch has been a member of the Bundestag since 2002 and has since moved into the Bundestag five times with a direct mandate in Lichtenberg. Pascal Meiser will probably come in fourth, a member of the Bundestag since 2017 and deputy state chairman since 2018. Evrim Sommer is slated for fifth place. Sommer has been a member of the Bundestag since 2017 and runs in the constituency of Spandau-Charlottenburg Nord. The Left wants to nominate its list for the House of Representatives at the end of April.

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Volunteer reserve health authorities Berlins leftwing faction draws lessons corona crisis Berlin


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