Why the new western “Anti-Fascism” has little to do with fighting against Fascism and National Socialism.
An article on the German Chancellor’s “summer press conference” which appeared in the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 21 July reported that Angela Merkel was worried about the political culture in Germany. She intended to “use the remaining time of her term of office to take a stand for other, gentler manners”. Social networks had “sustainably changed the political culture”; a “process of neglect” was under way which could only be stopped “by setting a good example”.
At first sight there is the impulse to agree with the German Chancellor. But then one starts to think: What exactly does the Chancellor intend? What did the Chancellor’s politics contribute to the development she is now criticising? And what is her way of dealing with critics of her politics?
To this day the German Chancellor and forces inside and outside the country supporting her are surrounding the German government politics with an aura of “there is no alternative”. This has fatal consequences for democracy. Diverging analyses and opinions are no longer considered as alternatives but a priori as wrong and by no means on an equal footing. To label politics as “without alternative” is killing the democratic debate and reminds of a song of the former SED [the East German Socialist Unity Party of Germany]: “The party, the party is always right...” The dissolution of sovereign European nation states and the “deepening and enlargement of the European Union” is one of the policies considered “without alternative” to a particular extent. Thus on 7 July even the Swiss “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” dedicated a very benevolent article and a full page to the project of proclaiming a “Republic of Europe”, titling it with a quote from the protagonists: “Abolish nation states!”
The success and the reach of so-called “alternative media” are also related to the fact that less and less people feel understood and represented by the so-called “mainstream media”. There are numerous examples that these “mainstream media” are reporting and commenting as if they had been brought into line – disregarding the citizens. This has made more and more people distrustful and induced them to look for alternatives.
The sharpest weapon in the fight against alternatives is the resort to the clichés of “Anti-Fascism”. This is not really a new thing. Back in 1994 the political scientist Hans-Helmuth Knütter published the book “The Fascism mace. The German Left’s last resort.” But the German Left’s last resort has meanwhile reached the mainstream of the government benches. There are many hints and proofs for this. The official governmental “Fight against the Right” even includes financial support of tax money for extremist Antifa groups. The government’s politics is downright paradox – or is it constructed so by design? On the one hand there are subsidizes for the Antifa, on the other hand in its annual reports the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution] to this day points out the dangers of “Anti-Fascism”.
Thus the latest report on the reporting year 2017, published in July 2018, reads under the headline “Anti-Fascism”:
“From a left-wing extremist viewpoint ‘Fascism’ is rooted in ‘Capitalism’. Thus the fight against right-wing extremism is only considered as sufficient and expedient if it also focusses on and attacks the supposed preconditions in society. Hence ‘Anti-Fascism’ always included fighting against the ‘capitalist system’ and its supporters and thus more than merely fighting against right-wing extremism.
This attitude becomes apparent in a call for a demonstration against ‘Nazis’: ‘The fight against Fascism is also the fight of those suppressed by the ruling class. Its destruction can only be accomplished through the victory over the capitalist system.’ (Homepage ‘Antifaschistische Aktion Karlsruhe’, 2 March 2017)”.
Further down we read: “Left-wing extremists are mainly seeking direct confrontation with ‘Fascists’ in the streets; they do not shy away from violent attacks.” Then there is a citation: “Militant Antifascism remains necessary and cannot be exercised too often.’ (Internet platform ‘linksunten.indymedia’, 16 January 2017)”
In other words: The violent fight of the Antifa against “Fascism” is a violent fight against civil values and civil democracy, a fight against the free and democratic rule of law.
The “fight against right” is now also led by Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State from the party of Clinton and Obama. Her latest book, published in April 2018 and available, highly advertised, in German translation since July is titled “Fascism: A Warning”. On 20 July the “St. Galler Tagblatt” published a long interview with Ms Albright in which she presented her considerations. Ms Albright sees the danger of Fascism not only in some political factions – which do exist – but in the politics of governments she finds disagreeable. There is no scientifically appropriate systematic and historical analysis on Fascism. The book mainly politicises. It is about Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and North Korea. Against European governments demanding more national sovereignty. Against criticism of the mainstream media and against criticism of the migration politics of the German Chancellor (and the political powers backing it). Not all of this was Fascism, Albright says, but the road was leading there. This is why she had to warn.
Madeleine Albright shares her views with Angela Merkel. And with Joseph Fischer, the former Green politician and German Foreign Minister. Like many other US politicians of the war faction she is full of praise for Germany: “I think that Germany has played a leading role in the positive sense for the development of post-war Europe.” Then: “I would like to state, one of those I respect the most, one of my best friends, is Joschka Fischer. [...] His revolt against what Fascism was and what it meant, his warnings, his credibility with respect to the Balkans when he called for action: We cannot allow for another Auschwitz. He has played a big role at the time.” And one sentence later: “Germany’s role is important. Chancellor Merkel has an important voice.”
Just a quick reminder: In 1998 and 1999 Madeleine Albright and Joseph Fischer were the main political actors in the preparation and execution of the NATO aggression contrary to international law against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They are responsible for more than 2000 direct victims of the war, the destruction of a state in the middle of Europe and uncounted victims of radioactive weapon systems. Albright’s and Fischer’s “Antifascism” was (and is) murderous.
We also need to recall Ms Albright’s response to the question if the years of sanctions against Iraq after 1991 could be justified – in view of half a million of children who had died in consequence of these sanctions. Albright responded the price was worth it.
One thing is sure: As long as alternatives to the past and present politics of the US or the EU and its states are placed under suspicion of Fascism - and particularly by politicians who are advocating and conducting violent politics – Ms Merkel’s concern mentioned in her “summer press conference” will sound like derision. “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones...” will justly be the answer. Ms Merkel is not credible.
Only if the Chancellor was really taking a stand for renewing the democratic discourse in Germany, for the idea that many different political opinions were entitled to respect and equal standing, that factual arguments were important and not polemics, that other people were respected and prized as thinking citizens... then things can get better.
There is a contemporary German short story about a man who has been fired and nobody in the company – neither the personnel manager nor his boss nor the workers’ council – can tell him why and take the responsibility, blaming a computer for firing him. After a few weeks, in his helplessness and despair, the man takes a hammer and smashes the computer to pieces – for sure not a solution. But how are we to assess the behaviour of the personnel manager who remarks to the boss at the end of the story: “It was about time to dismiss him. To be so upset because you are fired!” •
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