Skip to comments.A resurgent right (Germany's Extreme Right Gathers Strength)
Posted on 02/10/2005 4:49:24 AM PST by Cornpone
Suddenly a resurgent far-right is taking centre political stage in Germany just as the nation marks the end of the war and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Leon Mangasarian reports.
Sixty years after the Third Reich's defeat, German leaders seem at a loss to counter a tightly organised rightist party which is exploiting the Holocaust in a brazen bid to expand its power.
Germany bickers over what to do with radical right Germany's establishment politicians have been locked in furious debate since January when the extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) marred sombre commemoration of Auschwitz death camp's liberation by comparing the Holocaust to the 1945 Allied firebombing of Dresden.
In a carefully planned affront, NPD members in eastern Saxony state's parliament walked out of a memorial service for victims of the Third Reich. For good measure, they also issued a statement equating Auschwitz with abortion.
"Since the end of Auschwitz, 18 million unborn people have been murdered in Germany ... is Auschwitz really over?" says the NPD on its website www.npd.de
Turning up the political heating in the debate about the extreme right and the NPD, Bavaria's conservative premier, Edmund Stoiber, accused Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrat-led government for causing the "economic failure" that was fuelling extremist parties.
In a weekend newspaper interview, Stoiber said that tackling high unemployment was the key to combating the far right.
Much of Germany is aghast over the NPD, which won 9.2 per ent, or 190,000 votes, last September in economically depressed Saxony. An Infratest Agency poll shows 63 percent want the NPD banned.
Germany's tough-minded interior minister, Otto Schily, is furious.
Neo-Nazis have managed to establish themselves in the mainstream. His ministry outlawed the party in 2000 only to see Germany's highest court overturn the ban in 2003. The reason given by judges was that too many NPD members had been recruited by Schily's ministry as informants.
The Constitutional Court justices alleged the informants were "steering" the NPD.
Schily, who remembers seeing the 1938 "Kristallnacht" or night of broken glass as a six-year-old boy when Nazis launched the Holocaust, angrily rejects this.
"A criminal does not become a state employee just because he gives the police information," says Schily.
Leaders in Berlin are arguing over a possible new bid to ban the NPD - but many are warning this might spark even more support for rightists.
"A second failure [of a ban] would be a disaster," admits Schily.
Political extremism experts, such as Eckhard Jesse of the Technical University of Chemnitz, say banning has not worked in the past and that democratic parties must meet rightists head on with better arguments.
"There is now an intellectual right-wing extremism in Germany," warns Jesse.
The news weekly Der Spiegel agrees, saying, "Neo-Nazis have managed to establish themselves in the mainstream."
Worrying as this may be, the rightists need to be kept in perspective: For years, polls have shown that the far-right has a maximum potential of 10 to 15 percent in Germany which is about on par with other European countries.
Meanwhile, the NPD and their German People's Union (DVU) ally have been cleaning up their act to escape the skinhead and streetfighter image they had in the 1980s and early 90s.
Suits, ties and courses in rhetoric are now the order of the day with private donors funding party thinktanks and rightist academics who serve as advisers. The NPD has temporarily frozen informal ties with Saxony's "SSS" skinhead group.
The NPD's chief strategist and spin doctor is a slick lawyer who, ironically, is named Peter Marx.
Under the ever-smiling Marx, the NPD has focused on east German anger over cuts to unemployment benefits as a way of broadening its appeal and seeks to be both a nationalist and a socialist party.
"The goal is supporting native families ... German money for Germans!" says the website of Holger Apfel, the NPD leader in Saxony's state parliament.
If a party ban is not on the cards, what is to be done? The established parties in Saxony appear clueless, according to Der Spiegel, and notes, "Up until now they have reacted helplessly."
NPD leader Holger Apfel: The radical right's new technocratic look Jesse says Germany's Christian Democrats have made "a terrible mistake" by failing to provide a political home for conservative patriots and thus helped drive them to the far-right.
Der Spiegel argues that the far-right has profited from a new willingness among Germans in books and films to examine their own suffering during the war including the firebombing of cities, mass rape by Soviet soldiers and the expulsion of 15 million ethnic Germans from eastern Europe in 1945.
A letter to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper by Juergen Schulz expresses this increasingly held view.
Schulz begins by underlining his distaste over the NPD's refusal to honour Holocaust victims.
But he adds: "When we remember the firebombing victims, isn't it time that we can say their death was murder and a war crime? Are not the established parties also partly guilty for the rise of the NPD and anti-Semitism in Germany, if they continue to treat this problem as a taboo and leave it to the far-right?"
The confused and uncertain response of established parties seems even stranger given the militant stance of the NPD.
NPD objectives are brutally clear to anybody who bothers to view the party's website or the latest edition of the German domestic security agency's annual report.
A poll shows 63 percent of Germans want the NPD banned. The NPD's geopolitics are shown on a map of Germany from 1938 - including parts of the country lost after World War II to Poland and Russia - which is available as a silver coin to raise funds for the movement. The map has a sword across it with the words, "The Reich, our Mission".
The weekly Stern magazine says the NPD sells T-shirts, sweatshirts and posters emblazoned with the number "88". The letter "H" is the eighth letter of the alphabet and "HH" stands for "Heil Hitler" an expression which has been banned since the Federal Republic of Germany was created in 1949.
The NPD treats Nazi leaders such as Rudolf Hess as heroes and takes aggressive, anti-foreign and anti-Semitic positions, says Germany's home security agency, the Verfassungsschutz.
A commentary in the party newspaper, "Deutsche Stimme" (German Voice), provides just one example: "The Torah is the original document of Jewish hatred of (other) nations."
Another NPD commentary warns that immigrants are threatening what it terms "the continent of the white nations with disintegration and decomposition".
Following their propaganda success with the Holocaust in Saxony, NPD activists plan at least two more big demonstrations aimed at upstaging Germany's established parties.
The NPD has called for a march through Dresden on 13 February to mark the 60th anniversary of the World War II firebombing of the city by British and US aircraft which left at least 25,000 dead.
An even worse public relations disaster for Germany could be in store on 8 May - the 60th anniversary of the Third Reich's defeat - when NPD leaders plan to march past the new Holocaust memorial in Berlin.
"Sixty years of Liberation Lies - End the Cult of Guilt," is the NPD's motto for the demonstration.
The party is also gearing up for state elections and functionaries have high hopes of winning seats in Schleswig-Holstein on 20 February and in North Rhine-Westphalia on 22 May.
Call me flippent if you like, but if the Hapsburgs and Bourbons were illegally usurped then, gulp, are not the United States of America still the rightful property of the British Crown?
Here's an interesting look at the political spectrum.
Here's an interesting test to find out where you fall on a quadrant sprectrum.. Alot of the questions are dumb - but it's still interesting if your bored.
However, even assuming the war of 1776 was a war of independence not a "revolution" (the the colonists never sought to overthrown the government of Great Britian, only to free themselves from it's influence). The Louisana purchase is in my mind invalid having been negotiated with an illegal, revolutionary government of France, the Western US is the legal property of HM Juan Carlos of Spain and Hawaii is an occupied foreign nation.
This is all rather irrelevant tho, revolutionary government do not respect the laws of property.
But where do you stop? Speaking as a Yorkshireman wasn't Richard III illegally usurped and everything that happened since invalid?
All I'm saying is, There's Freedom, and there's Tyranny..
I want all the Freedom I can get..
If I'm being tyrannized, it matters little to me if it's a commie or a nazi..
They are both doing the same thing to me..
Taking away my Freedom..
I wouldn't assume people are not aware of these atrocities. However, I think the general feeling is the German people brought terror on themselves.
The point is such questions have to be settled according to the law.
This is where democracies and monarchies divurge. Contrary to popular belief a monarch was not free to change the law in any way he saw fit, he was as bound to it as the most modest farmer. Democracies on the other hand rewrite laws to suit the opinion of the majority - vox publica, vox Dei.
Laws of succession and property are complex, there is a sampling of some still in force here at Heraldica
That would be an incorrect analysis. In a democractic government ala the US model one branch of government is opposed by another branch of government but both have a vested interest in the expansion of government power. Democracies labor under the illusion of "self-rule", even tho each citizen in a modern mass democracy represents a miniscule fraction of actual power. Somehow "We" are the government so whatever happens must be what "we" want. This has allowed democratic government to gain unprecedented power over the lives of its subjects.
The fact is in a monarchy everyone knows exactly who the government is and who is to be held accountable. Democracy is diffusion of responsibility. This understanding resulted in the following effects:
Tax rates in monarchial Europe never rose above 10%. Since WW I and the collapse of the ancien regime tax rates in all European countries and American have skyrocketed to 40% and higher.
The creation of fiat money - no monarch in history ever would have tried this. Well actually some tried, it never worked.
War between states has become total since the French revolution - since all citizens "enjoy" the protection of the State, they are responsible for its defense. This has resulted in the mass politicalization of society, nationalism, conscription and a host of horrors. ( Monarchy and War )
The monarchy is bound by the law, which is unchangable. There is no legislative power in monarchism. The monarch is rather the supreme judge, like a supreme court of sorts. This is his primary function.
The monarchy is balanced by the aristocracy who have a vested interest in limiting the power of the monarch. Finally, in Catholic monarchies, the best form the monarch is bound by the Church under pain of sin. Coronation is a sacrament of the Church and comes with duties to act as temporal father of a nation.
Perhaps if you understood monarchy better we could discuss it, but you have a maze of misconceptions.
I like the whole concept of "less government"..
I think the "Democratic" form of government ( in it's literal form ) leads to socialism.. True "democracy" is Liberalism and leads to a Nanny state, much like what we have now..
The next step in that direction is Socialism.. and I don't want to go there..
I prefer the "republic" form of government, which is what was intended by the founders..
That means things like the "people" getting really offensive about messin' with the constitution and what it means.. especially the Bill of Rights..
We have the right and the power to tell government and the courts when they are stepping over the line..
I want to revoke the 17th amendment, and return to Senators being appointed/elected by the legislatures of the individual states..
I think I said in there somewhere that I was more of a Constitutionalist..
But I do have a sort of "sympathy" for the Libertarians.
They are a definite underdog.. but they have made it onto the ballots.. they are a recognized political party..
They can be a "spoiler" if you will...
I would rather have a Libertarian in congress than a socialist.. ( and we have a socialist in congress.. damn Vermont..)
Anyway, I'll update one of these days..
I would agree with the above sentiment, as well as the rest of your post..
While I would have supported the Loyalist cause (as all good New Jerseyans did, including our governor William Franklin), the Treaty of Paris did legally grant independence to the colonies. It's ironic, but accurate, to claim that the legitimacy of the United States was guaranteed by the King of England.
If there is any usurping that was done, it was in the triumph of Lincoln's central government over the Confederates States. Thereafter, the federal government has been like a black hole, absorbing our rights one after another.
Welcome! Now this is funny
democracy, egalitarianism, vulgarity (although the last three are inseparable from each other),
I like the about page.
I don't understand.
. What law, where did it come from, and what makes it unchangeable?
You say that in a monarchy that everyone knows who is responsible and that the monarch is bound by the law.
What and who holds this monarch accountable if they violate this law?
The only one that I'm familiar with in a small way that operated in such a manner is the Medo-Persian Empire.
In it was no fixed law but law by decree issued on a daily basis from the king, [who had his advisor's], to fit the situation, which then became unchangeable even by the king who issued it.
I'm not trying to be argumentative but as a history buff where governments are concerned I am truly interested.
Do you have any historical examples that made you prefer this type of system?
I find that throughout history all systems fail because they are administered by men and are easily corrupted.
Thanks for your link to Davids Medienkritik.
I have saved it and will visit it often.
You're welcome. I'm glad you like it.
Davids Medienkritik is definitely the place to go for English readers who wish to know what the German press is doing.
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