National Responses

BERLIN/DRESDEN/NEU-ULM |

BERLIN/DRESDEN/NEU-ULM (Own report) - The NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) is using the global economic crisis to intensify its mobilization efforts on the First of May. The party has announced that it will intervene even more actively than before with "national responses to the economic crisis" and struggle "wherever popular resistance raises its head" to take the path of a "national and social renewal." On today's "International Worker's Day", NPD rallies will be held under the Nazi period's "Buy German" slogan. According to recent research, rightwing extremists are gaining strength particularly among the youth and are intensifying physical attacks on both non-Germans and their German opponents. The rightwing motivated crime rate rose last year by 16 percent, five percent of all fifteen year-olds are organized in a rightwing extremist group. The basis of this development is a dramatic rise in German nationalism. According to a recently published study, about 60 percent of the population is "proud to be German," 70 percent declare that their "German-ness" is endangered through immigration.

"National Socialism"

The NPD has taken to the streets on this "International Worker's Day," with numerous rallies throughout the country. The NPD has been Germany's main rightwing extremist force for years. It has representatives in two regional parliaments and hopes for more success in this year's numerous elections. The main rally takes place in Berlin, where several prominent rightwing extremists will speak, including the party chairman. Other rallies were announced for Dresden (Saxony), New Ulm (Bavaria) and Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate). Only one demonstration (in New Brandenburg) was cancelled due to a government ban. The organizers then called upon their followers to participate in other NPD Mayday rallies. Whereas, under official pressure, a self-confessed member of the elite "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" (Life Guards of Adolf Hitler) was removed from the NPD's Berlin rally's speakers list, the NPD youth organization, "Junge Nationaldemokraten" advertised for their demonstration in New Ulm with the slogan: "We are demonstrating for National Socialism" (from which "Nazi" is derived).[1]

Crisis Campaign

Just in time before today's "International Worker's Day" rally, the NPD has launched a new "Campaign on the Economic Crisis." The party is systematically attempting to exploit the economic collapse to broaden and stabilize its membership. "The months ahead will be marked by reduced hours, mass layoffs and growing social injustice," writes the NPD. "More and more Germans are becoming aware that it can't go on like this."[2] The party provides "national responses to the economic crisis" and wants "to show its colors in the vanguard." "Regardless of if it is the shutdown of a plant, a demonstration in front of the unemployment office or protest actions against the exploitive capitalist system" the NPD is determined "to bring the national and social alternative to the people." Already a few years ago, similar campaigns in crisis-ridden areas ("against Hartz IV"), brought the NPD regional electoral successes in Saarland (4.0% in 2004), in Saxony (9.2% 2004) and in Mecklenburg West Pomerania (7.4% 2006).

Buy German!

The NPD not only makes clear semantic reference to the Nazi period. The party even declares that it seeks a "realm-oriented national economy" a reference to Nazi economic concepts. The NPD, which demands national seclusion, as a consequence of the crisis, writes in its propaganda material, currently Germany proves to be a "complacent executioner for powers alien to the realm, such as the USA." Cheaper products produced abroad must "be taxed," whoever wants to sell in Germany, "must also produce here with German labor."[3] Enterprises "employing foreigners will have to pay a special tax," demands the NPD. The means thus obtained should "be invested in the repatriation of the foreigners."[4] "Buy from Germans!" the party newspaper says of national "measures to fight the crisis."[5]

Fuehrer

Views, such as those advocated by the NPD, are finding a growing acceptance among the German population. Several opinion polls, published over the past few months, indicate that the party is nowhere near the limits of its electoral potential. Nearly one-third of all Germans see Germany as "dangerously swamped with foreigners." Around 18 percent see the alleged "influence of Jews" as "too much." Approx. 13 percent wish to have a "Fuehrer," who "would reign over Germany with a heavy hand for the good of all."[6] Rightwing extremism is particularly spreading among the youth. According to a recently published study, one out of seven youth espouses a high degree of xenophobia.[7] Nearly five percent of all male 15 year-olds are also active in rightwing extremist organizations. At the same time, rightwing extremists are becoming more violent in Germany. The criminal statistics of the police for 2008 show a total of 20,422 rightwing motivated crimes, a rise of 16 percent over the preceding year. Rightwing motivated acts of violence also rose 5.6 percent to reach 1,113 - an average of more than 3 acts of rightwing violence per day.[8]

A Heart for Germany

As documented in a recently published study, the basis for this development is a dramatic rise in German nationalism. According to this study, 60 percent of the population is "proud to be German."[9] In relation to immigration, around 70 percent feel "uneasy about being able to maintain their 'German-ness'." Just as many wish there was "a strong 'we-feeling' among Germans" and say that it is high time "to again be able to be proud of Germany in spite of its history." The centerpiece of this new German nationalism strongly resembles that of the older version. It is not based on political achievements, such as democracy, but rather on secondary virtues and an irrational sentiment. According to the study, the "typical German" in the eyes of 90 percent of those questioned, is "conscientious and efficiency-oriented" and cherishes "rules and orderliness." Seventy percent feel "devotion to the country" because "they have their heart set on Germany." The slogan: "A Heart for Germany," is propagandistically used, above all, by the party that today is publicly launching its new campaign on the economic crisis - the NPD.

[1] 1mai.jn-bw.de
[2] Auf die Straße! Vor die Werkstore!; www.npd.de
[3] Faltblatt "Globalisierung stoppen - Gerechtigkeit schaffen"; www.npd.de
[4] Deutsche Arbeit zuerst für Deutsche; www.npd.de
[5] Jetzt reicht's!; www.npd.de
[6] Elmar Brähler, Oliver Decker: Bewegung in der Mitte. Rechtsextreme Einstellungen in Deutschland 2008, Leipzig/Berlin 2008
[7] Dirk Baier, Christian Pfeiffer: Mitgliedschaft in rechten Gruppen und Kameradschaften, Hannover 2009
[8] Bundesinnenministerium legt bundesweite Zahlen zur politisch motivierten Kriminalität für das Jahr 2008 vor; www.bmi.bund.de 20.04.2009
[9] Wieder eins mit der Nation, sogar im Herzen; Presseinformation der Identity Foundation 29.04.2009