Posted on 29 June 2012 by citymag
The spokesman and leader of déi Lénk in the city council speaks about what kind of participatory democracy and social justice he wishes for luxembourg.
David Wagner remembers Luxembourg’s 1987 local elections even though he was only 8 years old at the time. “I’ve always been drawn toward politics. I wasn’t raised in a particularly ‘politicised’ home – even though my grandfather was a member of the French communist party – but we would always talk about the news, watch the debates on TV and discuss what was going on in society.” He took the first opportunity there was – the 1995 and 1996 student strikes – to get actively involved in politics. At 16, he briefly became a member of the KPL (Communist Party), before joining the student union (which he would later lead), the LSAP (Socialist Party) and the Young Socialists (JSL).
Developping the left wing
At the socialist congress in 1998, however, David Wagner resigned. “We had been leading an internal battle for some time against the liberal direction that was being taken. I left to help create déi Lenk. Our goal was to bring together all the components left of the Socialist Party, to create a new momentum.” At the national elections in 1999, déi Lenk won its first seat in parliament. The party is now firmly established in the political landscape. “We obtained between 6 and 11% throughout the country in last year’s local elections – a nice surprise!” As for David Wagner, he won his first seat in the city council. “I’m still discovering local politics, what you can do and what you can’t…”
A city for everyone
One of déi Lénk’s pet subjects is access to housing, which is becoming more and more difficult in Luxembourg. “We want the city to become normal again and affordable for everyone. Housing should be considered as public service and be devoid of all logic of profit.” Déi Lénk would like to see the city buying and building itself, thus fighting land and property speculation. In addition, when there’s a development plan, like in Gasperich – “a disaster”, according to Wagner – the population should be consulted and included in the decision-making from the beginning. “That’s what real participatory democracy is all about!”
Controlled public services
A great supporter of the tramway and of public transport development in general, David Wagner believes that ecology can’t be done without a left-wing commitment. “In the long run, the liberalisation of gas and electricity is antisocial and anti-environmental.” Regarding water, soon to be paid for at its real price, déi Lenk suggests that the basic need (50l/day) should be free of charge, a normal price should be paid for a supply of 50l-150l/day and everything over that amount should be heavily charged. “That’s social and ecological. Instead of green capitalism, we suggest red ecology!”
Journalist and city councellor
In addition to his political jobs, David Wagner is also… a journalist, at Woxx. “I’m often asked if the two are compatible and I answer yes. I don’t hide my beliefs, but I try to deal with topics far from partisan politics. The important thing is to stay honest.”