Allegedly, the new SPD leaders Esken and Walter-Borjans are on the left. But their ideas and economic policy approaches are more in the tradition of Bismarck and Adenauer.
When social democrats come to the lectern at their party conventions, they like to tell stories of social advancement. This can currently be observed dozen of times in the Berlin “City Cube”, where the comrades are still advising until this Sunday. The new party leader Saskia Esken told how she made it from parcel delivery to software developer. Her deputy, Serpil Midyatli, talked about the hard work in her parents’ restaurant and her own catering company before she got into professional politics in 2009 and became a member of the state parliament. Only Midyatli’s new vice colleague Kevin Kühnert, a civil servant’s child, did without such an insertion.
Rise through education, that is still one of the great narratives of social democracy, from the workers’ education associations of the empire to the educational expansion of the sixties and seventies, in which social democratic politicians were significantly involved. Since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, the proportion of domestic first-year students has risen from five to fifty percent. However, this also means that today at SPD party congresses the academics are largely among themselves. People like to talk about the socially disadvantaged, today more often than ever, but mostly in the third person.