The Socialist Youth
(SJ) is the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Austria. For
14 years the Marxist tendency has been active within the Socialist Youth and is
now one of the most active parts of it.
The Marxist tendency Der Funke organized the event with Hugo Chavez in Vienna with more than 5000 young people present (see Vienna, May 12: Hugo Chávez addresses mass rally organised by Hands off Venezuela!), organized the campaign against the coalition government of Social Democrats with the Conservative Party, as well as mobilized several big anti-fascist campaigns. Without the work and support of the Marxist tendency Der Funke, it would not have been possible to create a left majority in the Socialist Youth of Austria in 2000.
Now the leadership of the Socialist Youth of Vienna has started a witch-hunt against the Marxist tendency on the basis of personal e-mails they got by breaking into personal e-mail accounts, as well as documents of the Marxist tendency. According to the leaders of the SJ Vienna the e-mails prove that Der Funke is a "secret society" that wants to infiltrate the SJ. It is a real scandal that the leadership of the Socialist Youth Vienna have resorted to such bureaucratic measures in its attempt to stop the growing influence of Marxism within the SJ. Sandra Breiteneder, the Chair of the SJ Vienna, said: "Now it is time to expell the Marxist tendency Der Funke from the SJ Austria!" In reality the attack is the answer to the growing politcal influence of the ideas of Der Funke within the SJ Vienna.
On April the 17 two active SJ branches, where supporters of Der Funke are active, were dissolved in Floridsdorf, a big working class district in Vienna.
In autumn there was a coup in the SJ Floridsdorf branch where the existing Marxist leadership was replaced by an SJ branch linked to the party leaders with the help of inactive members, who only turned up for the conference and who only became members in order to overturn the existing leadership. The new leadership has good relations with the leadership of the party and is in favour of the coalition government. The coup in the autumn was already a violation of the democratic traditions of the labour movement.
The SJ Vienna decided on April 19 that from now on every SJ district organisation is allowed to dissolve SJ branches in the case that Der Funke supporters "infiltrate" the branch. The comrades within these groups who are not members of Der Funke are allowed to continue their activity in the SJ in the case that they renounce the ideas of Der Funke. In a plenary meeting the activists of the two expelled branches put forward a resolution to continue their work in building a strong, left-wing Socialist Youth in their district. From now on they will organise themselves as "Socialist Youth Floridsdorf (expelled)".
It is clear that this expulsion is an attack against all democratic traditions in the labour movement and must be condemned by all honest activists nationally and internationally.
If the expulsion of Der Funke is successful, it will mean a move to the right as well as the bureaucratisation of the SJ Vienna. This would be the beginning of the destruction of the SJ Austria as an active and left organisation.
When asked, the Chairman of the SJ Austria said that he is against the dissolution of the SJ groups but what is needed now is an open intervention and declaration of the Chairman of the SJ Austria against the dissolution of the two groups.
We ask all honest activists in the labour movement to write protest letters to the SJ Austria, the SJ Vienna and the SJ Floridsdorf (expelled):
Model letter against expulsion:
We condemn the dissolution of the two SJ branches by the SJ Floridsdorf. This is a severe attack on the traditions of democracy in the labour movement. We ask the SJ Austria and the SJ Vienna to condemn the dissolution of these two branches and to ensure their reintegration as regular branches of the SJ Floridsdorf.
Stop the repression against supporters of Der Funke.
Defend democracy inside the SJ.
Name, Position, Organization.
- New government in Austria begins by clashing with the labour movement by Andreas Wolf (January 19, 2007)
- Big Success for Marxism at the national conference of the Austrian Young Socialists! by Josef Falkinger (November 23, 2006)
- Vienna, May 12: Hugo Chávez addresses mass rally organised by Hands off Venezuela! (May 13, 2006)
- Student mobilisations in Austria - Defend the right to education! (October 2005)