What is going on in Germany?

»The Right-Wing Rot at the Heart of the German State« – unter diesem Titel berichtete jüngst die New York Times über Maaßen, Seehofer und die Geschehnisse im Nachgang zu Chemnitz. Nicht nur renommierte Zeitungen aus den USA fragen sich, was gerade eigentlich los ist in Deutschland. Um ein bisschen Licht ins Dunkelbraun zu bringen, hat eine Genossin Ende September beim Politik-, Kultur- und Musikfestival The World Transformed in Liverpool über die Situation hierzulande berichtet – und ihre Perspektiven für die antifaschistischen Kämpfe der Gegenwart zur Diskussion gestellt.

Hello. It’s a great pleasure to be here with you. First of all I would like to send you the solidarity greetings of my comrades from the Interventionist Left in Germany and Austria. It is really important to us to see that the fight against fascism and capitalism is international. And there is something we all understand: No pasaran!

So, What is going on in Germany?

The rise of the far right

The right wing Party AfD (which was founded only a few years ago) entered the German parliament in September 2017. After that the atmosphere in the Bundestag and in society in general has changed dramatically. The AfD says that there would be a »cult of feeling guilty« due to the German crimes in WW2. The Faction leader Gauland calls the Shoa a »bird shit within the German history«, saying that it is of very little significance and is only a very small part of German history. The AfD asks the government how many »disabled« people live in Germany in comparison to 2012. And they ask in particular how many people are disabled because of »marriage within the family« – and how many of these cases have a »migrant background«. Yes, this party actually mixes incest, migration and disability up. Whatever the issue may be, the AfD will link it to migration and migrants.

Now, after years of permanent mobilization and cheap propaganda against asylum and migration, violent marches of the extreme right are increasingly taking place in Germany. The new quality of these mobilizations is that it comes to a collaboration of the entire right spectrum. That’s a development we haven’t observed for decades. Hooligans, Pegida, neo-Nazi groups, AfD, and so-called »rage citizens« are now taking to the streets together. These marches are particularly frequent in Saxony. But also in other parts of Germany – for example in Kandel, which lies in southern Germany, such mobilizations take place too. Such marches can be easily triggered by cases of murder or rape where it is suspected that a refugee could be the offender. The AfD prepares these mobilizations by means of propaganda.

They tell a fairy tale of the supposed omnipresent danger posed by so-called »knife migrants«. The AfD uses the term »knife migrants« as a code for refugees in general. The AfD permanently spreads such fake news in social networks. This propaganda is catchy and it is easy for the right wing to refer to it, when somewhere in Germany a murder happens. Also because it is easy to charge it morally and emotionally, this racist propaganda is effective. In recent weeks we saw these racist motivated riots and manhunts for refugees and migrants. Especially in towns like Chemnitz or Köthen (both in eastern Germany) where Germans have been supposed to be killed by migrants. Up to 8000 Neo-Nazis participated in these manifestations.

State and government as willing helpers

The rightwing has arrived at the conclusion to stand on the eve of a national revolution. Like 1989, when the former eastern German state collapsed, only different. Now you might ask yourselves how the right-wing comes to this assumption. One answer is: they have friends in the state apparatuses and within the Saxon police. Let me start with the Saxon police: On the one hand, Saxony’s police ordered a deployment of special forces when an anti-fascist demonstration was to take place. On the other hand, they give a free hand to the racist mob in Chemnitz. Obviously, there are sympathies for right wing positions among Saxony’s police. Internal information is leaked again and again by police officers and finds its way to right-wing groups. That way, Pegida chief Lutz Bachmann had already received internal police investigation reports in 2015. He was the first to receive the information about the origin of the Islamist assassin Anis Amri long before it reached the media. And even now Bachmann was able to publish the original arrest warrant of the suspected murderer of Chemnitz. In summary, the police in Saxony has a Nazi-Problem.

Now let us have a look at what the government does. First the government of saxony: Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer from the CDU, the conservative party, is playing down the right-wing riots and attacking the media instead. He is worried that he could lose the upcoming election in Saxony and tries to win already lost voters back by copying the agenda of the AfD. He avoids talking about right-wing violence. He prefers to talk about the fact that there will be more deportations in the future.

The situation is similar with the German Interior Minister Seehofer. After the racist lynch mob in Chemnitz, he called migration »the mother of all problems«. He actually is planning to make a deal with Italy about what he calls border protection. On his 69th birthday, he publicly celebrated 69 deportations to Afghanistan – I want to point out that this is one of the main problems. The government follows the racist agenda. They are closing borders. They limit the rights of asylum seekers. To summarize: they are feeding the right-wing discourse.

Last week there was another scandal. Hans-Georg Maaßen, Chief of German secret service, explained that he had doubts about the realness of a video showing a hunt for migrants in Chemnitz. Without any proof. Instead, he suspected that it might be a planned disinformation campaign to distract from murder. At this point, he did not sound like the Chief of secret Service. He sounded like a right-wing troll on YouTube, which is not surprising. Hans-Georg Maaßen is known as a friend of the AfD and their politics.

So what was the consequence of him spreading fake News and conspiracy theory? Several politicians wanted to get rid of the chief of secret service. They wanted him to resign. And what did Interior Minister Seehofer do? Instead of dismissing him, he promoted him to the position of a state secretary. He didn’t do it alone. He promoted him with the help of the social democrats and the conservatives including chancellor Merkel. Meanwhile, the AfD got second place in opinion polls. In the election night 2017, faction leader Gauland said: »We are going to hunt Chancellor Merkel.« I think this is, what he meant with hunting. So is there need for worry in Germany? I would say yes, there is.

Antifascist Strategies

So let me now come to the strategies against fascists. In my view, there are 4 issues we have to work on.

First, it is necessary to take it to the streets whenever a Nazi rally takes place. It is important to make clear, that we are the people who remember the promise of the survivors Buchenwald. You know Buchenwald was a concentration camp. The promise is: »The destruction of Nazism by its roots is our slogan. Building a new world of peace and freedom is our goal.« It is our duty to resist. It must be clear that we will always resist.

Second is, to be with the people who are oppressed and who are hunted. It is our job to stand with them. Two weeks ago I talked to Peggy Parnass a survivor of the Shoa. She told me, that if the people would have stood with the hunted, her family would have been alive. This is what we have to have very clear. We have to be in solidarity with all People, who are attacked by Nazis.

Third is to beat the right-wing, where they have no answers to the real problems of the people. What I hear from AfD but also from the government is: Migration, Deportation, Crime, Police, Border protection, Observation. I’m so fed up with it. What about the expensive rents? Old-age poverty? Precarious jobs? What about health care? What about good education for all? They do not have any ideas on that. No vision. No answer. But we as communists, as socialists, we as leftists have these answers. So I think, it is time to launch a social offensive. To bring these topics up. Increase the pressure. We need to increase pressure and widen polarization. You may ask: Did she say widen the polarization? Yes, I did. After all my examples there is no doubt, that neither the conservatives nor the social democrats will save us from the Nazis. On the contrary. They play a decisive role in the fascisation of society.

And this is how i come to my fourth and last point: To fight Nazis is not our only task. Actually we have to fight all the bridge-builders toward right wing ideology. All the friends of authoritarianism. All the Interior Ministers like Seehofer, all Chiefs of the Secret Service like Maaßen, all Police men who are AFD members and so on.

And I feel forced to say something on what Fabio de Masi from »aufstehen« said yesterday at the Conference. First: solidarity is not dividable. Second the working class is not white. Third: The working class is not national. It is international. And this is why there is no national solution on contribution-issues. As long as the centres of capitalism continue the exploitation of other countries, the workers, the poor and the oppressed will come to Europe. I’m not willing to shut the door on them. I will continue to welcome them, because I belong to the left-wing which does not fall over even under pressure from the right.

Let's push things forward!

What matters now is that we turn the tables. If the AfD denies the manmade climate change and the government continues to rely on the overexploitation of nature, we will go into the pit like at EndeGelände. Or occupy the Hambach forest to prevent its clearing. If the government believes that the invisible hand of the market will solve the rental problem and the AfD argues like Marie-Antoinette that the people should buy more houses. Then we are the ones who demand the socialization of housing. If government and AfD tolerate the mass dying in the Mediterranean, we’ll fight for a right to safe migration and asylum.

We’re the ones who can turn the tide. Let’s do it!

Der im Vorlauf erwähnte Artikel findet sich hier.

Autorin: Carina ist seit vielen Jahren antifaschistische Aktivistin und in der IL Hamburg organisiert.

Bild: Something rotten, von anbar.