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.
That is certainly correct in my case. I would have been glad to be a Tory in 1776, but I'm from Texas and so that little dust up had nothing to do with us. However, modern U.S. rule over Texas can certainly be considered illegal since the Republic of Texas joined the Union by treaty, authorized by a popular vote, and some years later also voted to leave the U.S. and join the Confederacy. Although no invasion of Texas ever succeeded (damn right!) after the war the state was occupied and re-joined the Union by force, not by law or democratic vote. In fact, even this reveals the hypocrisy of the federal government as the whole basis of Lincoln's war had been that the states had no right to secede (their stars weren't removed from the flag) and yet they were still forced to crawl on their bellies to be re-admitted to a Union they were never supposed to have left......yeah, THAT makes sense.
As for the American Revolution, what seems to me to be the silliest thing is the villification of King George III. In my opinion, not only was he not a tyrant, he was the best of all the Hannoverian monarchs, the rest of whom included some real bums. Compared to his father or his son G-3 was an absolute saint.
The so-called far-right in Germany sees a socialist state failing and is doing the popular route to get some things addressed. Most skinheads are dead from indulgences worldwide. It's over. The powers that be feel threatened by people that don't conform, so the scare articles come. Russia has them too, but those skinheads are more of a fad than what was going on 20 years ago in Britain.
This says it all. Neo-cons and other liberals have called anyone to the right of them Nazis for so long, it wouldn't surprise me to see this happen here as well.
How does one maintain a true democracy when you ban certain political parties you disagree with, however vehemently?
No kidding. Since when is socialism right-wing? This shows how successful the left has been in framing the political debate.
The essential legal problem with Lincoln's view of the Union is that it is an hereditary contract that binds third parties (non-signatories) and cannot be broken even in the event of non-compliance by one of the contracting parties (i.e. the federal government). The other word for such a contractual arrangement is slavery.
I agree entirely about George III.
The sovereigns who had been deposed were generally the most morally upright of their respective lines -- Charles I, Louis XVI, Nicholas II -- thus proving that nice guys finish last.
Nobody ever messed with Vlad the Impaler.
Thanks for the question, I been looking all morning for St. Thomas Aquinas' On Kingship online, if anyone has a link for it please drop me a freepmail. Anyways. What is the law and why is it eternal? The Angelic Doctor answers:
Further man participates in this eternal law thru the light of natural reason - this participation is called the natural law. From that natural law proceeds the human law. The process of applying these laws to human acts is called causitry (see Thomas Fleming's Morality of Everday Life for a full discussion of causitry as it was practiced in the Middle Ages).
In short the law cannot be changed by man because man did not create it
What and who holds this monarch accountable if they violate this law?
The Monarch is accountable for acts under pain of sin. This is why the traditional Catholic monarchies are to be preferred for the Church provided a real and substantial check on the power of the monarch.
This is of course broken in Protestant monarchies particularly where the King assumes the role as the head of the national "church". In such cases, and in addition to the Church in the case of Catholic monarchies, the power of the King is held in check by the aristocracy who thru pure self-interest are committed to restraining the authority of the central government, this check is damaged in absolutist monarchies.
The King is also accountable to his own family. A monarchy is in essence a privately-owned government. The King owns the state, he may sell parts and he may bequeath it to his heirs. The current monarch stands in a long line of individuals who have at the least preserved if not increased the value of their holding and his family expects him to do the same. In the thesis of Hoppe his self-interest will cause him to act conservatively so as not to depreciate the value of his holdings and inciting the public to rebellion thru brutal tyranny would do just that. The fact is most "bad" monarchs were assassinated by members of their own families who had a vested interest in preserving their status and power and bequeathing it to the next generation.
Monarchs generally (there are always exceptions) operate with a low time-preference, meaning they are interested in the long term. This is opposed to the situation in republics where the current office holder cannot increase the value of his "publically-owned" post and acts only as a temporary care-taker. This position as a temporary care-taker increases his time-preference - he needs to exploit his position now or he may never get the opportunity to do so again. This is a reformulation of the "Tragedy of the commons" idea of economics.
I'm not trying to be argumentative but as a history buff where governments are concerned I am truly interested.
You questions seem thoughtful and sincere. My question to you is what history? History is always subjective, it is quite literally written by the winners. One has to dig a little (or alot) to find "the other side of the story" if it any longer exists at all. Some writers to investigate - Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihin, Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson and Harry W. Crocker III.
Do you have any historical examples that made you prefer this type of system?
The Holy Roman Empire and related Catholic monarchies of Europe circa 800 AD - 1900 AD.
How rare it is to come across such a lucid and insightful post such as your #79.
Thank you for penetrating to the heart of the matter.
Some of it is quite deep for me and will require some little time of study before I respond.
I will respond but wish to do so in a manner that is coherent and none offensive based on the only authority we have from Him, His word.
I think that's exactly right, and I wrote a little rant on that subject some time ago. It is especially clear with the Russians, as you see how the liberals repaid the "Tsar Liberator" and all this accomplished was for the conservatives around Alexander III to say, "See, Nicholas I was right, we can't bargain with these people, we can't trust them, all we can do is stand them up against a wall".
There were few places in the *world* with greater freedom and prosperity in the early 1700's than the British North American colonies. They ran their own business for the most part, paid almost no taxes at all, yet still enjoyed the benefits of British trade, military protection and 'the rights of free Englishmen'. But, I see I'm talking to a "Hessian" so I'm really preaching to the choir...
We just have to be careful about this sort of talk about Lincoln (or mentioning much of what the man himself said) otherwise we shall be burned for heresy against the "greatest" of America's secular pantheon of gods.
As has already been explained above, even from a monarchist perspective the independence of the United States is quite legitimate since it was recognized by King George III himself in 1783.
However, as a side note, US ownership of Hawaii is hardly legitimate. The Kingdom of Hawaii was an independent country which had treaties with all the major powers; the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy and 1898 annexation were in violation of international law. To his credit, President Grover Cleveland recognized this, opposing the unjust ouster of Queen Liliuokalini, and it was not until he was out of office that Hawaii was annexed.
The overthrow of the Bourbon and Hapsburg monarchies cannot be equated with the American War of Independence. The events of 1775-83 did not interfere with George III's position as King of Great Britain. But the French and Austrian republics displaced ancient monarchies, integral to those countries' heritages, laws, and traditions, whose last sovereigns never renounced their rights and could not have lawfully done so even if they had wanted to. Therefore they remain illegitimate, unlike the United States.
No. Unless one holds to the hardline Jacobite position, Queen Elizabeth II is the only possible claimant to the British throne today, other lines having died out long ago.
There is a world of difference between a dispute over the succession, no matter how bloody, and the abolition of a monarchy. The former never questions the existence of fundamental laws and institutions, only the identity of the occupant of the throne. The latter, however, rejects all principles on which order had been based, decisively severing a country's link to its past and creating a new order contrary to the nation's heritage and traditions. No traditional conservative can approve of such a dismal development.
The NPD is republican and therefore cannot be considered authentically "right-wing" in a German context. (Neither, of course, can Nazism or neo-Nazism.) True German right-wingers are monarchists, advocating the restoration of the 1871-1918 Hohenzollern empire or (even better, in my view) the break-up of Germany into its pre-unification states, almost all of which were monarchies.
Here's the home of the real German right:
As an adherent of European-style "altar & throne" monarchist conservatism myself, who happens to be an American, I have to say that from my side of the spectrum I agree with your summary.
National Socialist I believe.
Nazi'ism is not rightist."
No it isn't, but are they lumping anyone who is against abortion with nazis?
Actually the national socialist party was very pro-abortion. (quite literally pro-murder in all it's forms)
Aye, there's the rub. How do you define freedom? Communists define it as a completely egalitarian society. Libertarians define it as anything goes as long as I have my property rights. The place where the rubber really meets the road is not freedom versus tyranny, but a free society versus a good society. They may well overlap, but they are not the same thing.