Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #984 Fascism: 2017 European Tour

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE.

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself HERE.

This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Ivo Antonov, Bul­gar­i­an Min­istry of Defense offi­cial

Intro­duc­tion: We begin our tour by exam­in­ing overt­ly fas­cist ele­ments in the gov­ern­ing Bul­gar­i­an coali­tion of Boyko Borisov, evoca­tive of Bul­gar­i­a’s past as an ally of Nazi Ger­many in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. . . .”

Oth­er coali­tion part­ners have made dis­parag­ing remarks about Roma (“gyp­sies”) and Jews. Worth not­ing that Borisov’s selec­tion of coali­tion part­ners: ” . . . . Fol­low­ing the recent March 26, par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, Borisov, the win­ner of the elec­tions (his GERB with 32.7 per­cent), did not begin nego­ti­a­tions for a gov­ern­ment coali­tion with the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ist Par­ty (27.2 per­cent) or with the Move­ment for Rights and Free­doms (9 per­cent) rep­re­sent­ing the Turk­ish-speak­ing minor­i­ty, but rather with the Unit­ed Patri­ots (9.1 per­cent). The Unit­ed Patri­ots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing par­ties. . . .”

In recent weeks, the strug­gle over the poten­tial seces­sion of Cat­alo­nia from Spain has gar­nered con­sid­er­able atten­tion

That strug­gle is framed against a larg­er polit­i­cal dynam­ic embrac­ing advo­ca­cy of the elim­i­na­tion of for­mal nation­al bor­ders in Europe in favor of “region­al­ist plans.” Just such region­al­ist advo­ca­cy was the focal point of a promi­nent arti­cle (with accom­pa­ny­ing maps of the pro­ject­ed realign­ment) in Die Zeit, a major Ger­man week­ly.

Region­al­ist advo­ca­cy has a sig­nif­i­cant past, with the ear­ly post­war CIA and Allen Dulles hav­ing embraced such a dynam­ic. ” . . . . the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addi­tion, the region­al­ist dyanam­ic enjoyed the sup­port of long-time Ger­man finance min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble, whose advo­ca­cy and imple­men­ta­tion of bru­tal fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty helped beg­gar much of the EU, includ­ing Spain, fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the ‘nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect’ of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. . . . For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the ‘region­al­iza­tion’ of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s ‘Gen­er­alplan Ost,’ Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as ‘infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.’ In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts. . . .”

Despite an ini­tial impres­sion of “region­al­ism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyan­mic ide­ol­o­gy may be seen as some­thing of a sub­sidiary ele­ment of glob­al­iza­tion. ” . . . .  .In 1979, Schäu­ble became pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), an orga­ni­za­tion with the objec­tive of down­grad­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of bor­ders in Europe. Busi­ness inter­ests played an impor­tant role, which is why the AEBR could find reli­able sup­port­ers in indus­try. A ‘Euro­pean Char­ter on Bor­der and Cross-Bor­der Regions,’ passed by the AEBR in 1981, stip­u­lat­ed that the ‘elim­i­na­tion of eco­nom­ic and infra­struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers’ must urgent­ly be pur­sued. . . .”

The imple­men­ta­tion of region­al­iza­tion would facil­i­tate Ger­man dom­i­na­tion of Europe, which has met resis­tance from poor­er EU and EMU coun­tries over the aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine favored by Wolf­gang Schauble. ” . . . . Eco­nom­ic maps by the EU’s Euro­stat sta­tis­tics admin­is­tra­tion show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, there­fore, Europe’s eco­nom­ic pow­er is con­cen­trat­ed, a block with its cen­ters in south­ern and cen­tral Ger­many, to the west, in Flan­ders and spread­ing to seg­ments of the Nether­lands, and to the South to parts of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy and in var­i­ous sep­a­rate regions of West­ern and North­ern Europe. A num­ber of these regions main­tain close rela­tions to Ger­many, or to the Ger­man regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clear­ly Ger­man-dom­i­nat­ed block would hard­ly have any dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ . . . .”

Also worth not­ing is the fact that the Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence move­ment embraces a Cat­alon­ian iden­ti­ty that involves peo­ple from France, as well as Spain: ” . . . . The Cata­lan move­ment cur­rent­ly push­ing for seces­sion is in fact large­ly defin­ing itself eth­ni­cal­ly. The autonomous move­ment has been close­ly coop­er­at­ing with French cit­i­zens, who live out­side the Span­ish region of Cat­alo­nia, but also con­sid­er them­selves ‘eth­nic Cata­lans.’ At their ral­lies one can hear ‘Nei­ther France nor Spain! Only one coun­try, Cat­alo­nia!’ . . . .”

The two Twit­ter accounts that appear to account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic with the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag, in ref­er­ence to the Cat­alon­ian seces­sion move­ment belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den.

 Of more  than pass­ing inter­est, under the cir­cum­stances, is the Twit­ter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den on behalf of Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence.

 As seen in many past pro­grams and posts, Snow­den and Assange are as far to the right as it is pos­si­ble to be.

 Their cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an activism and their sup­port for Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence is root­ed in anar­cho-lib­er­tar­i­an eco­nom­ic the­o­ry. See­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of nation­al gov­ern­ments as desir­able, their sup­port for the prin­ci­ple of seces­sion is root­ed in what Mus­soli­ni termed “cor­po­ratism.”

 Snow­den and Assange’s osten­si­bly “lib­er­at­ing” doc­trines, if put into effect, would leave cit­i­zen­ry  at the mer­cy of unfet­tered eco­nom­ic will, exer­cised by cor­po­ra­tions and their asso­ci­at­ed elites.

Snow­den specif­i­cal­ly appears to be advo­cat­ing that no seces­sion move­ment any­where ever can be reject­ed by the gov­ern­ment under the premise that self-deter­mi­na­tion is a human right, view­ing this as a “nat­ur­al law” issue.

In that con­text, the right to secede is cham­pi­oned by the Lib­er­tar­i­an far-right, all the way down to the right to indi­vid­u­als to secede from all gov­ern­ment. As this piece from Lib­er­tar­i­an David S. D’Amato demon­strates, extend­ing the right to secede down to the indi­vid­ual facil­i­tates the imple­men­ta­tion of an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety with no gov­ern­ment at all, as seen by fig­ures like Mur­ray Roth­bard. This is envi­sioned as an excel­lent way­of achiev­ing an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-seces­sion­ist move­ment should also be seen against the back­ground of the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, cham­pi­oned by Ron Paul and the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute.

 Fol­low­ing cap­ture of 13 per­cent of the vote in Germany’s fed­er­al elec­tions on Sun­day by the Alter­na­tive For Ger­many (AfD), Alexan­der Gauland, the AfD leader, pro­voked out­rage after sug­gest­ing that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behav­ior appar­ent­ly moti­vat­ed AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the par­ty, just hours after the elec­tion over its extrem­ism.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Review of Dorothy Thomp­son’s 1941 arti­cle about what a Nazi vic­to­ry in Europe would look like–a sce­nario that bears con­sid­er­able resem­blance to the region­al­iza­tion plan dis­cussed above.
  • Dis­cus­sion of the poten­tial for­tunes of Aus­tri­a’s Free­dom Par­ty, formed in 1956 as a vehi­cle for the re-intro­duc­tion of Aus­tri­an Third Reich alum­ni into that nation’s polit­i­cal process.

1. We begin our tour by exam­in­ing overt­ly fas­cist ele­ments in the gov­ern­ing Bul­gar­i­an coali­tion of Boyko Borisov, evoca­tive of Bul­gar­i­a’s past as an ally of Nazi Ger­many in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. . . .” Oth­er coali­tion part­ners have made dis­parag­ing remarks about Roma (“gyp­sies”) and Jews.

Ivo Antonov, Bul­gar­i­an Min­istry of Defense offi­cial

“Bul­gar­i­a’s Euro­pean Course;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 10/09/2017.

The CDU-affil­i­at­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion (KAS) is coun­sel­ing Bul­gar­i­a’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment of con­ser­v­a­tive and sev­er­al extreme right wing par­ties prepar­ing their coun­try’s EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Sofi­a’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment, head­ed by a part­ner par­ty of the KAS, includes a par­ty, whose chair­per­son once wrote that “a gang of Jews had ruined ortho­doxy.” The chair of anoth­er par­ty in the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment coali­tion called Roma “human-like crea­tures that have become beasts.” He is the cur­rent deputy prime min­is­ter. The Bul­gar­i­an defense min­is­ter would like to dis­patch “high­ly spe­cial­ized com­bat troops” to the Bul­gar­i­an-Turk­ish bor­der and “defend” the EU’s exter­nal bor­ders against refugees “with armed force.” Jan­u­ary 1, 2018, the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment will assume the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Hard­ly pre­pared for this task, the KAS is coun­sel­ing the gov­ern­ment. Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing, for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, praised Bul­gar­i­a’s con­tri­bu­tion to the “fight against ille­gal migra­tion.”

“With­out a Clear Line, Cor­rupt”

The CDU-affil­i­at­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion (KAS) began its efforts to help pre­pare Bul­gar­ia for the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy already short­ly after the offi­cial for­ma­tion of Sofi­a’s gov­ern­ment, May 4. This must not only be seen in the con­text of Berlin’s usu­al efforts to influ­ence EU pol­i­cy, but also because the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­men­t’s prepa­ra­tion for the pres­i­den­cy is in a deplorable con­di­tion. Last week, the FDP-affil­i­at­ed Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion’s project man­ag­er for South­east Europe not­ed that, regard­ing the issues Sofia would like to focus on dur­ing its pres­i­den­cy, every­thing is still very “vague;” “var­i­ous pri­or­i­ties with­out a clear thread” are men­tioned. They can­not even for­mu­late their “own ... projects.” In rela­tion­ship to the “ren­o­va­tion of the cen­tral meet­ing place, ... seri­ous accu­sa­tions have been raised con­cern­ing embez­zle­ment of the means for this pres­ti­gious project and cor­rup­tion in con­tract allo­ca­tions.” For exam­ple, the plaza in front of Sofi­a’s Nation­al Palace of Cul­ture is to be ren­o­vat­ed for five mil­lion leva (near­ly 2.5 mil­lion euros), in spite of the fact that it was just ren­o­vat­ed last year for sev­er­al mil­lion leva. The web­site for the min­istry, estab­lished for the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, could “sym­bol­ize the state of prepa­ra­tion.” “It is exclu­sive­ly in the Bul­gar­i­an lan­guage and only par­tial­ly functional.”[1]

Inten­sive Coun­sel­ing

The KAS is there­fore inten­si­fy­ing its efforts. The par­ty of the Bul­gar­i­an Prime Min­ster Boyko Borisov, GERB (“Cit­i­zens for Euro­pean Devel­op­ment of Bul­gar­ia”), is a mem­ber of the con­ser­v­a­tive Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Par­ty (EPP) in which the Ger­man con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties CDU/CSU hold a strong posi­tion. This explains the KAS’s involve­ment. KAS is also pro­vid­ing direct sup­port to GER­B’s women and youth orga­ni­za­tions. Lead­ing KAS rep­re­sen­ta­tives have already met twice — May 31 and July 18, — with Bul­gar­i­a’s For­eign Min­is­ter Eka­te­ri­na Zaharie­va to dis­cuss Sofi­a’s EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Prime Min­is­ter Borisov vis­it­ed the Foun­da­tion’s Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al, Ger­hard Wahlers on June 7 for the same pur­pose. Sep­tem­ber 11, Par­lia­men­tary State Sec­re­tary at Ger­many’s Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or, Ole Schröder (CDU), vis­it­ed Sofia to par­tic­i­pate in a con­fer­ence of lec­tures and dis­cus­sions aimed at cel­e­brat­ing Bul­gar­i­a’s ten-year EU mem­ber­ship. He lec­tured on the “spe­cial chal­lenges fac­ing the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy 2018.” To help pre­pare for the Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, Prime Min­is­ter Borisov also con­vened a six-mem­ber advi­so­ry board, includ­ing for­mer Bul­gar­i­an Pres­i­dent Rosen Plevneliev (2012 to 2017), for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sime­on Sak­skoburggot­s­ki (2001 to 2005) and par­tic­u­lar­ly the KAS Chair­man Hans-Gert Pöttering.[2] Pöt­ter­ing was Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment from 2007 to 2009.

“Bul­gar­ia Above Every­thing Else!”

Berlin and Brus­sels are also wor­ried that, with Bul­gar­i­a’s gov­ern­ment, extreme right wing politi­cians may also pre­side in the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Fol­low­ing the recent March 26, par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, Borisov, the win­ner of the elec­tions (his GERB with 32.7 per­cent), did not begin nego­ti­a­tions for a gov­ern­ment coali­tion with the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ist Par­ty (27.2 per­cent) or with the Move­ment for Rights and Free­doms (9 per­cent) rep­re­sent­ing the Turk­ish-speak­ing minor­i­ty, but rather with the Unit­ed Patri­ots (9.1 per­cent). The Unit­ed Patri­ots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing parties.[3] The coali­tion nego­ti­a­tions were car­ried out under the mot­to “Bul­gar­ia above every­thing else!” and was ulti­mate­ly crowned with suc­cess. Volen Siderov, the head of one of the three par­ties (“Ata­ka”), form­ing the Unit­ed Patri­ots, once called on the Roma minor­i­ty (Gyp­sies) to “behave them­selves,” if they did not want to be deport­ed to India. In a book, he wrote that “a gang of Jews” have “ruined the orthodoxy.”[4] Valeri Sime­onov, Chair of a sec­ond par­ty in the Unit­ed Patri­ots, the “Nation­al Front for the Sal­va­tion of Bul­gar­ia” (NFSB), referred to Roma as “human-like crea­tures, who have become beasts,” and said that their chil­dren were play­ing “in the streets with pigs.”[5] Since May 4, Sime­onov has been in office as the Vice Prime Min­is­ter, in charge of the econ­o­my and demog­ra­phy, as well as being Bul­gar­i­a’s Com­mis­sion­er for Inte­gra­tion.

With a Nazi Salute

Twice, pho­tographs have already emerged show­ing high-rank­ing offi­cials of Bul­gar­i­a’s gov­ern­ment, elect­ed to office in May, in pos­es hon­or­ing the Nazis. May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. (On the right, german-foreign-policy.com doc­u­ments a seg­ment of this pho­to.) His most senior employ­er, Defense Min­is­ter, Krasimir Karakachanov, Chair of the IMRO-Bul­gar­i­an Nation­al Move­ment, refused to fire him.[6]

Weapons against Refugees

One of the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­men­t’s few rec­og­niz­able polit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties is ward­ing off refugees. Prime Min­is­ter Borisov expressed his grat­i­tude to the mili­tia-like cit­i­zens’ defense units, who, already since 2014, have been patrolling — some under heavy arms — the Turk­ish-Bul­gar­i­an bor­der to keep unde­sir­able migrants at bay. In April 2016, one of these cit­i­zens’ defense units, the “Orga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of the Bul­gar­i­an Bor­der,” received an offi­cial award from the Bul­gar­i­an Bor­der Police. In August, Defense Min­is­ter Karakachanov declared, he would “rein­force the mil­i­tary pres­ence” along the Bul­gar­i­an-Turk­ish bor­ders. “High­ly spe­cial­ized com­bat units will be among them.”[7] “Night-vision video cam­eras and drones” will be used, “to bet­ter be able to mon­i­tor the migrants’ move­ments and inter­vene in time.” The min­is­ter also wants to have “NATO and EU troops inter­vene” in Greece and Italy. “The exter­nal bor­ders of the Euro­pean Union must be defend­ed, if nec­es­sary, with armed force,” he demands.

Sofi­a’s EU Con­tri­bu­tion

Bul­gar­ia “is already con­tribut­ing a great deal to the Euro­pean Union, for exam­ple, by fight­ing ille­gal migra­tion,” declared Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing, KAS Chair, which is advis­ing the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment in its prepa­ra­tions to assume the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Com­ment­ing on his appoint­ment to the advi­so­ry board, that met last Fri­day in Sofia, Pöt­ter­ing said it was “also a sign of recog­ni­tion for the work of the Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion, which has been active in Bul­gar­ia since 1994, always advo­cat­ing that the coun­try take the Euro­pean course.”[8]

[1] Daniel Kad­dik: Man­gel­nde Vor­bere­itung, fehlende Visio­nen. www.freiheit.org 02.10.2017.
[2] Dem Berater­gremi­um gehören außer­dem der ehe­ma­lige Lan­deshaupt­mann von Oberöster­re­ich, Erwin Pröll (1992 bis 2017), der ehe­ma­lige Präsi­dent des Europäis­chen Rates, Her­man Van Rompuy (2009 bis 2014) sowie der franzö­sis­che Diplo­mat Jean-David Levitte an.
[3] Den Vere­inigten Patri­oten gehören Ata­ka (Angriff), WMRO-BNB (Innere Maze­donis­che Rev­o­lu­tionäre Organ­i­sa­tion — Bul­gar­ische Nationale Bewe­gung) — und NFSB (Nationale Front für die Ret­tung Bul­gar­iens) an.
[4] Thorsten Geissler: Bul­gar­ien: Deut­lich­er Sieg für GERB — aber schwierige Regierungs­bil­dung. Kon­rad-Ade­nauer-Stiftung: Län­der­bericht Bul­gar­ien. 29.03.2017.
[5], [6] Jörg Kro­nauer: “Bul­gar­ien über alles!” Die extreme Rechte in Bul­gar­ien. LOTTA 67/2017.
[7] Christoph B. Schiltz: “Wir müssen die EU-Gren­zen not­falls mit Waf­fen schützen”. www.welt.de 17.08.2017.
[8] Dr. Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing berät bul­gar­ische Regierung bei EU-Rat­spräsi­dentschaft. www.kas.de 06.10.2017.

2a. The polit­i­cal strug­gle around the attempt­ed seces­sion of Cat­alo­nia from Spain is framed against a larg­er polit­i­cal dynam­ic embrac­ing advo­ca­cy of the elim­i­na­tion of for­mal nation­al bor­ders in Europe in favor of “region­al­ist plans.” Just such region­al­ist advo­ca­cy was the focal point of a promi­nent arti­cle (with accom­pa­ny­ing maps of the pro­ject­ed realign­ment) in Die Zeit, a major Ger­man week­ly.

Region­al­ist advo­ca­cy has a sig­nif­i­cant past, with the ear­ly post­war CIA and Allen Dulles hav­ing embraced such a dynam­ic. ” . . . . the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addi­tion, the region­al­ist dyanam­ic enjoyed the sup­port of long-time Ger­man finance min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble, whose advo­ca­cy and imple­men­ta­tion of bru­tal fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty helped beg­gar much of the EU, includ­ing Spain, fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the ‘nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect’ of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. . . . For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the ‘region­al­iza­tion’ of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s ‘Gen­er­alplan Ost,’ Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as ‘infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.’ In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts. . . .”

Despite an ini­tial impres­sion of “region­al­ism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyan­mic ide­ol­o­gy may be seen as some­thing of a sub­sidiary ele­ment of glob­al­iza­tion. ” . . . .  .In 1979, Schäu­ble became pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), an orga­ni­za­tion with the objec­tive of down­grad­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of bor­ders in Europe. Busi­ness inter­ests played an impor­tant role, which is why the AEBR could find reli­able sup­port­ers in indus­try. A ‘Euro­pean Char­ter on Bor­der and Cross-Bor­der Regions,’ passed by the AEBR in 1981, stip­u­lat­ed that the ‘elim­i­na­tion of eco­nom­ic and infra­struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers’ must urgent­ly be pur­sued. . . .”

The imple­men­ta­tion of region­al­iza­tion would facil­i­tate Ger­man dom­i­na­tion of Europe, which has met resis­tance from poor­er EU and EMU coun­tries over the aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine favored by Wolf­gang Schauble. ” . . . . Eco­nom­ic maps by the EU’s Euro­stat sta­tis­tics admin­is­tra­tion show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, there­fore, Europe’s eco­nom­ic pow­er is con­cen­trat­ed, a block with its cen­ters in south­ern and cen­tral Ger­many, to the west, in Flan­ders and spread­ing to seg­ments of the Nether­lands, and to the South to parts of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy and in var­i­ous sep­a­rate regions of West­ern and North­ern Europe. A num­ber of these regions main­tain close rela­tions to Ger­many, or to the Ger­man regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clear­ly Ger­man-dom­i­nat­ed block would hard­ly have any dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ . . . .”

Also worth not­ing is the fact that the Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence move­ment embraces a Cat­alon­ian iden­ti­ty that involves peo­ple from France, as well as Spain: ” . . . . The Cata­lan move­ment cur­rent­ly push­ing for seces­sion is in fact large­ly defin­ing itself eth­ni­cal­ly. The autonomous move­ment has been close­ly coop­er­at­ing with French cit­i­zens, who live out­side the Span­ish region of Cat­alo­nia, but also con­sid­er them­selves ‘eth­nic Cata­lans.’ At their ral­lies one can hear ‘Nei­ther France nor Spain! Only one coun­try, Cat­alo­nia!’ . . . .”

“The Pow­er in the Cen­ter;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 10/11/2017.

Using the seces­sion­ist con­flict in Cat­alo­nia as a back­drop, the web­site of the Ger­man week­ly Die Zeit pub­lished a fiery appeal for dis­mem­ber­ing Europe’s nation-states. For quite some time, the author, Ulrike Guérot, has been pro­mot­ing the “dis­ap­pear­ance of the nation-state” in Europe. The nation-state should be replaced by regions with their “own respec­tive iden­ti­ties” that could be “eth­ni­cal­ly” defined. As exam­ples, Guérot lists regions with strong sep­a­ratist ten­den­cies such as Flan­ders and Tyrol. The author sees her­self uphold­ing the tra­di­tion of the “Euro­pean Fed­er­al­ists” of the ear­ly post-war peri­od, who — under the guid­ance of west­ern intel­li­gence ser­vices — drew up plans for estab­lish­ing of a Euro­pean eco­nom­ic space with free cir­cu­la­tion of com­modi­ties as a bul­wark against the East Euro­pean social­ist coun­tries. Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the “nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect” of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. Cur­rent eco­nom­ic maps indi­cate which areas in the EU would form the con­ti­nen­t’s most pow­er­ful block if region­al­iza­tion should take effect: south and cen­tral Ger­many as well as its bor­der­ing regions from Flan­ders to North­ern Italy.

From the CDU to the Greens

Yes­ter­day, the web­site of the Ger­man week­ly, Die Zeit, pub­lished a fiery appeal to dis­mem­ber Europe’s nation-states, authored by the polit­i­cal sci­en­tist Ulrike Guérot. Guérot had been employed by CDU par­lia­men­tar­i­an Karl Lamers in the first half of the 1990s and par­tic­i­pat­ed in for­mu­lat­ing the Schäuble/Lamers paper, prop­a­gat­ing the estab­lish­ment of a core Europe. She sub­se­quent­ly became col­lab­o­ra­tor for the EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent at the time, Jacques Delors, and an expert of sev­er­al think tanks (Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, and the Euro­pean Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions). In 2014, she found­ed a Euro­pean Democ­ra­cy Lab at the Euro­pean School of Gov­er­nance. Once mem­ber of the CDU; today, she is polit­i­cal­ly close to the Greens.[1]

“Eth­nic Region”

Since some time, Guérot has been ped­dling an alleged­ly new polit­i­cal con­cept to the Ger­man pub­lic, based on the dis­mem­ber­ment of Europe’s nation-states. Accord­ing to her, “the nation-state will dis­ap­pear” [2] and will be replaced by “50 to 60” regions in Europe, with “their own respec­tive identity.”[3] She is refer­ring to the con­cept of “eth­nic regions,”[4] i.e. an eth­ni­cal­ly defined com­mu­ni­ty of shared ori­gins. As Guérot writes “eth­nic region and state­hood are not con­gru­ent” for exam­ple in Ire­land or Cyprus; Flan­ders, Vene­tia and Tyrol are fur­ther exam­ples. In Flan­ders and Vene­tia, respec­tive­ly more pros­per­ous regions, defin­ing them­selves lin­guis­tic-eth­nic (“Nether­lan­der” or “Venet­ian”) are dis­so­ci­at­ing them­selves from poor­er regions of the coun­try, where­as the Ger­man speak­ing con­struct “Tyrole” encom­pass­es areas of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy. Accord­ing to Guérot, Cat­alo­nia is also one of the regions to be lib­er­at­ed from its con­straints under the nation-state. The Cata­lan move­ment cur­rent­ly push­ing for seces­sion is in fact large­ly defin­ing itself eth­ni­cal­ly. The autonomous move­ment has been close­ly coop­er­at­ing with French cit­i­zens, who live out­side the Span­ish region of Cat­alo­nia, but also con­sid­er them­selves “eth­nic Cata­lans.” At their ral­lies one can hear “Nei­ther France nor Spain! Only one coun­try, Cat­alo­nia!”[5] Last week­end the spokesper­son of the left CUP par­ty in Span­ish Cat­alo­nia com­plained that Spaniards from out­side Cat­alo­nia had come to Barcelona to par­tic­i­pate in a demon­stra­tion. To demon­strate in Cat­alo­nia as a “Spaniard” cor­re­sponds to a “colo­nial logic.”[6]

Europe of the Regions

Accord­ing to Guérot, only a “Euro­pean Repub­lic,” where­in “the regions assume the role of the cen­tral con­sti­tu­tion­al actors,” can save an EU shak­en by nation­al conflicts.[7] For exam­ple, the regions should con­sti­tute “a sec­ond cham­ber” in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment — “a Euro­pean Sen­ate.” Guérot has repeat­ed­ly said that polit­i­cal com­pe­tence must be redis­trib­uted between the EU and its regions. Accord­ing to this con­cept, a cen­ter of pow­er will be set up in Brus­sels, in con­trol of for­eign and mil­i­tary pol­i­cy, while the regions — for exam­ple, in charge of com­mer­cial tax­es — would finan­cial­ly main­tain inde­pen­dent lat­i­tude. Of course, the lat­ter would depend on the eco­nom­ic pow­er of the respec­tive region. Besides its eth­nic con­sti­tu­tion, a “Europe of the Regions” would lead to a com­plete dis­en­fran­chise­ment of its small­est units. Guérot crit­i­cizes the fact that “the EU is full of large regions (such as North Rhine-West­phalia) which are not per­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pate in EU deci­sion mak­ing, while on the oth­er hand, small coun­tries (such as Lux­em­bourg or Mal­ta) are.” That must change. For exam­ple, rather than hav­ing one vote out of 28 in the Euro­pean Coun­cil, Mal­ta would only have one out of “50 or 60” votes in the “Euro­pean Sen­ate.” It would not be able to counter any mea­sures pro­posed by the EU’s eco­nom­i­cal­ly pre­dom­i­nat­ing cen­ters.

Unit­ed States of Europe

Guérot’s con­cept has pre­cur­sors, which had been pro­mot­ed, on the one hand, by intel­li­gence agency cir­cles of the post-war peri­od and by inter­est­ed busi­ness cir­cles, on the oth­er, serv­ing how­ev­er, entire­ly dif­fer­ent inter­ests under cov­er of pro­mot­ing an alleged region­al democ­ra­cy. Guérot says her­self that her mod­el is based on the “Euro­pean Fed­er­al­ists,” par­tic­u­lar­ly the Swiss Denis de Rouge­ment. Since the mid-1940s, the “Euro­pean fed­er­al­ists” sought to found a “Unit­ed States of Europe,” as a uni­fied eco­nom­ic realm — serv­ing as a bul­wark against the social­ist coun­tries, in the process of form­ing. It was also seen as a defense against the idea of aban­don­ing the pre­vi­ous eco­nom­ic approach, which, at the time, was also rather pop­u­lar in West­ern Europe. This is why the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself.[8] Rouge­ment, an OSS-affil­i­ate and pro­fessed fed­er­al­ist, com­plained in a 1948 “Mes­sage to the Euro­peans,” that “Europe” was “bar­ri­cad­ed behind bor­ders imped­ing the cir­cu­la­tion of its com­modi­ties,” and because of this, is threat­ened with eco­nom­ic ruin. On the oth­er hand, “unit­ed,” it could, already “tomor­row, build the great­est polit­i­cal enti­ty and the largest eco­nom­ic unit of our times.” From 1952 — 1966, Rouge­mont con­tin­ued his activ­i­ties also as pres­i­dent of the CIA-financed “Con­gress for Cul­tur­al Free­dom.”

“Loss of Iden­ti­ty”

Wolf­gang Schäu­ble has also pro­mot­ed region­al­ist con­cepts. Guérot had been in con­tact with him in 1994 dur­ing work on the Schäu­ble-Lamers paper. In 1979, Schäu­ble became pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), an orga­ni­za­tion with the objec­tive of down­grad­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of bor­ders in Europe. Busi­ness inter­ests played an impor­tant role, which is why the AEBR could find reli­able sup­port­ers in indus­try. A “Euro­pean Char­ter on Bor­der and Cross-Bor­der Regions,” passed by the AEBR in 1981, stip­u­lat­ed that the “elim­i­na­tion of eco­nom­ic and infra­struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers” must urgent­ly be pur­sued. For exam­ple, the “expan­sion and con­struc­tion of coor­di­nat­ed, com­bined cross-bor­der freight trans­port ter­mi­nals” is nec­es­sary to “close cur­rent gaps in cross-bor­der traf­fic.” In addi­tion, the expan­sion of cross-bor­der ener­gy net­works must be pro­mot­ed. This is being overblown with alle­ga­tions of Europe hav­ing emerged from a “patch­work of his­tor­i­cal land­scapes,” with bor­ders cre­at­ing “scars” on Europe’s regions, and lead­ing to the pop­u­la­tion’s “loss of iden­ti­ty.” The cur­rent “nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect” must be reduced — if not abol­ished, accord­ing to the paper drawn up under Schäuble’s AEBR presidency.[9]

Ger­man Con­ti­nu­ities

For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the “region­al­iza­tion” of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s “Gen­er­alplan Ost,” Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as “infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.” In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts.[10]

Ger­many’s Suprema­cy

Guérot ulti­mate­ly argues in favor of her region­al­iza­tion con­cepts, using the alle­ga­tion that through the removal of nation-states, “Ger­many’s suprema­cy ... can be over­come.” The oppo­site is the case. Eco­nom­ic maps by the EU’s Euro­stat sta­tis­tics admin­is­tra­tion show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, there­fore, Europe’s eco­nom­ic pow­er is con­cen­trat­ed, a block with its cen­ters in south­ern and cen­tral Ger­many, to the west, in Flan­ders and spread­ing to seg­ments of the Nether­lands, and to the South to parts of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy and in var­i­ous sep­a­rate regions of West­ern and North­ern Europe. A num­ber of these regions main­tain close rela­tions to Ger­many, or to the Ger­man regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clear­ly Ger­man-dom­i­nat­ed block would hard­ly have any dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling a “Europe of the Regions.”

(Here, german-foreign-policy.com doc­u­ments two Euro­stat eco­nom­ic maps. The upper map shows the brut GDP per capi­ta, accord­ing to the Pur­chas­ing Pow­er Par­i­ty (PPP), while the low­er map depicts the pri­ma­ry house­hold incomes. The col­ors for Ger­many’s south indi­cate the high­est val­ues, while the col­ors for the fur­thest south­west­ern and east­ern EU indi­cate the low­est. Source: Euro­stat.) For more infor­ma­tion on this sub­ject see: The Econ­o­my of Seces­sion (II).

[1] Ulrike Guérot: Adorno liest man nicht am Schwim­ming­pool. blogs.faz.net 17.03.2015.
[2] Stef­fen Dob­bert, Ben­jamin Bre­it­egger: “Der Nation­al­staat wird ver­schwinden”. www.zeit.de 03.01.2017.
[3] Ulrike Guérot: Europa ein­fach machen — ein­fach Europa machen. agora42.de 25.09.2017.
[4] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offen­bart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[5] Morten Frei­del: Die Brüder im Süden haben es bess­er. www.faz.net 08.10.2017.
[6] Hun­dert­tausende kon­tern Unab­hängigkeit­spläne in Kat­alonien. www.zeit.de 08.10.2017.
[7] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offen­bart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[8], [9], [10] Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow: Zwei Wege — Eine Katas­tro­phe. Flugschrift No. 1. Aachen 2016.
[11] See The Econ­o­my of Seces­sion (II).

2c. Dorothy Thompson’s analy­sis of Germany’s plans for world dom­i­nance by a cen­tral­ized Euro­pean eco­nomic union bears scruti­ny against the back­ground of the “region­al­iza­tion doc­trine,” high­light­ed above. Ms. Thomp­son was writ­ing in The New York Her­ald Tri­bune on May 31, 1940!

Ger­many Plots with the Krem­lin; T.H. Tetens; Hen­ry Schu­man [HC]; 1953; p. 92.

. . . . The Ger­mans have a clear plan of what they intend to do in case of vic­tory. I believe that I know the essen­tial details of that plan. I have heard it from a suf­fi­cient num­ber of impor­tant Ger­mans to cred­it its authen­tic­ity . . . Germany’s plan is to make a cus­toms union of Europe, with com­plete finan­cial and eco­nomic con­trol cen­tered in Berlin. This will cre­ate at once the largest free trade area and the largest planned econ­omy in the world. In West­ern Europe alone . . . there will be an eco­nomic uni­ty of 400 mil­lion per­sons . . . To these will be added the resources of the British, French, Dutch and Bel­gian empires. These will be pooled in the name of Europa Ger­man­i­ca . . .

“The Ger­mans count upon polit­i­cal pow­er fol­low­ing eco­nomic pow­er, and not vice ver­sa. Ter­ri­to­r­ial changes do not con­cern them, because there will be no ‘France’ or ‘Eng­land,’ except as lan­guage groups. Lit­tle imme­di­ate con­cern is felt regard­ing polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions . . . . No nation will have the con­trol of its own finan­cial or eco­nomic sys­tem or of its cus­toms. [Ital­ics are mine–D.E.] The Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of all coun­tries will be accom­plished by eco­nomic pres­sure. In all coun­tries, con­tacts have been estab­lished long ago with sym­pa­thetic busi­ness­men and indus­tri­al­ists . . . . As far as the Unit­ed States is con­cerned, the plan­ners of the World Ger­man­ica laugh off the idea of any armed inva­sion. They say that it will be com­pletely unnec­es­sary to take mil­i­tary action against the Unit­ed States to force it to play ball with this sys­tem. . . . Here, as in every oth­er coun­try, they have estab­lished rela­tions with numer­ous indus­tries and com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions, to whom they will offer advan­tages in co-oper­a­tion with Ger­many. . . .

2d.  The two Twit­ter accounts that appear to account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic with the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag, in ref­er­ence to the Cat­alon­ian seces­sion move­ment belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den.

 Of more  than pass­ing inter­est, under the cir­cum­stances, is the Twit­ter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den on behalf of Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence.

 As seen in many past pro­grams and posts, Snow­den and Assange are as far to the right as it is pos­si­ble to be.

 Their cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an activism and their sup­port for Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence is root­ed in anar­cho-lib­er­tar­i­an eco­nom­ic the­o­ry. See­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of nation­al gov­ern­ments as desir­able, their sup­port for the prin­ci­ple of seces­sion is root­ed in what Mus­soli­ni termed “cor­po­ratism.”

 Snow­den and Assange’s osten­si­bly “lib­er­at­ing” doc­trines, if put into effect, would leave cit­i­zen­ry  at the mer­cy of unfet­tered eco­nom­ic will, exer­cised by cor­po­ra­tions and their asso­ci­at­ed elites.

Snow­den specif­i­cal­ly appears to be advo­cat­ing that no seces­sion move­ment any­where ever can be reject­ed by the gov­ern­ment under the premise that self-deter­mi­na­tion is a human right, view­ing this as a “nat­ur­al law” issue.

In that con­text, the right to secede is cham­pi­oned by the Lib­er­tar­i­an far-right, all the way down to the right to indi­vid­u­als to secede from all gov­ern­ment. As this piece from Lib­er­tar­i­an David S. D’Amato demon­strates, extend­ing the right to secede down to the indi­vid­ual facil­i­tates the imple­men­ta­tion of an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety with no gov­ern­ment at all, as seen by fig­ures like Mur­ray Roth­bard. This is envi­sioned as an excel­lent way­of achiev­ing an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-seces­sion­ist move­ment should also be seen against the back­ground of the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, cham­pi­oned by Ron Paul and the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute.

“On Cata­lan inde­pen­dence, Julian Assange, Edward Snow­den emerge as sur­prise back­ers” by Chris Zap­pone; Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald; 09/26/2017

Two Moscow-linked fig­ures have emerged as the loud­est voic­es on Twit­ter ampli­fy­ing news and com­men­tary about Catalonia’s seces­sion ref­er­en­dum.

Research inde­pen­dent­ly con­firmed by Fair­fax Media shows Twit­ter accounts of Wik­iLeaks leader Julian Assange as well as for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tor con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den now account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic under the hash­tag #Cat­alo­nia.

Assange has pep­pered his fol­low­ers with more than 80 orig­i­nal tweets sup­port­ing the Cata­lan inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, sug­gest­ing “the future of West­ern civil­i­sa­tion is being revealed” by the renewed push by region­al seces­sion­ists.

Those tweets have been gen­er­ous­ly shared.

Of the 150,279 tweets and retweets using the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag in the 10 days until Sun­day, more than 40,368 came from the Julian Assange account, accord­ing to one mea­sure by social media analy­sis account Con­spir­a­tor Norteno. A fur­ther 8198 came from the Edward Snow­den Twit­ter account.

Oth­ers includ­ed the Wik­iLeaks account, with 2120 #Cat­alo­nia tweets and retweets, while Rus­sia-owned net­work RT gen­er­at­ed 598 tweets and retweets.

The surge in pro-seces­sion mes­sages comes as author­i­ties in Madrid con­tend with a new move for inde­pen­dence in the autonomous region of Cat­alo­nia. Span­ish author­i­ties have moved to quash a Octo­ber 1 ref­er­en­dum by dis­solv­ing the region’s elec­tion com­mis­sion, arrest­ing local offi­cials and seiz­ing cam­paign mate­ri­als.

Nei­ther Wik­iLeaks’ Julian Assange nor Edward Snow­den, have a deep his­to­ry of involve­ment with Span­ish pol­i­tics.

Hash­tag analy­sis ser­vice Hash­tag­i­fy, accessed on Tues­day, iden­ti­fied the Snow­den account as the biggest “influ­encer” for the hash­tag, fol­lowed by Julian Assange.

The Twit­ter accounts of both Snow­den and Assange have pub­lished state­ments that dis­tort or exag­ger­ate what is hap­pen­ing in Spain.

Recent polls show 49 per cent of Cata­lans oppose inde­pen­dence. That seg­ment is less like­ly to par­tic­i­pate in the ref­er­en­dum. How­ev­er, the 41 per cent who sup­port becom­ing an autonomous nation, are like­ly to par­tic­i­pate..

A “dis­cred­it­ed” vote is expect­ed to go ahead in Cat­alo­nia. Whether Assange and Snow­den tweet­ing about Cat­alo­nia in Eng­lish would make much dif­fer­ence on the ground, is not clear.

How­ev­er, cast­ing doubt about the legit­i­ma­cy of the Span­ish gov­ern­ment over Cat­alo­nia may have a longer-term effect.

“The right of self-deter­mi­na­tion – for peo­ple to freely decide their own sys­tem of gov­ern­ment – can­not sim­ply be out­lawed. It is a human right,” Snowden’s account tweet­ed on Sep­tem­ber 21.

Fair­fax Media has sought com­ment from Assange’s and Snowden’s Twit­ter accounts.

3. Fol­low­ing cap­ture of 13 per­cent of the vote in Germany’s fed­er­al elec­tions on Sun­day by the Alter­na­tive For Ger­many (AfD), Alexan­der Gauland, the AfD leader, pro­voked out­rage after sug­gest­ing that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behav­ior appar­ent­ly moti­vat­ed AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the par­ty, just hours after the elec­tion over its extrem­ism.

“The leader of Germany’s far-right par­ty quit hours after its elec­tion success—because it’s too rad­i­cal” by Jill Pet­zinger;
Quartz; 09/25/2017.

Just hours after the hard-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) won its first-ever round of seatsin the Ger­man par­lia­ment, its co-leader Frauke Petrytold a press con­fer­ence in Berlin—with her new­ly-elect­ed col­leagues next to her—that she had decid­ed not to go into par­lia­ment with the par­ty. Then she got up and stormed out of the press con­fer­ence.

“I think we should be open today that there is a dis­agree­ment over con­tent in the AfD and I think we shouldn’t hush this up,” said Petry.

She said she want­ed to posi­tion her­self as an inde­pen­dent politi­cian and have a “con­ser­v­a­tive new start” but didn’t say whether she was found­ing a new par­ty. Lat­er, on her Face­book, she slammed the par­ty for the “shrill and far-out state­ments of sin­gle mem­bers” which dom­i­nate the view the pub­lic has of them.

This doesn’t mean Petry is a mod­er­ate, she’s far from it. A mem­ber of the AfD since 2013, it was she who put the for­mer euroscep­tic par­ty on its new anti-immi­gra­tion plat­form dur­ing the height of the refugee cri­sis in 2015. She’s made numer­ous con­tro­ver­sial state­ments about refugees too, includ­ing that “Islam does not belong in Ger­many,” and say­ing that Ger­man bor­der police should be allowed to fire on migrants along the Aus­tria-Ger­man bor­der.

Petry, who for some has been accept­able face of xeno­pho­bia, has been crit­i­cal of rad­i­cal state­ments made by oth­ers in the par­ty as she believed it made it less attrac­tive to mod­er­ate vot­ers as well as for poten­tial coali­tion part­ners when it would enter the Bun­destag for the first time.

In a par­ty rid­dled with infight­ing, she was slammed by some mem­bers for not sup­port­ing com­ments made by an AfD leader in Thuringia state, who said Berlin’s holo­caust memo­r­i­al made the coun­try “laugh­able.” She also pub­licly crit­i­cized Gauland for say­ing Ger­many should be proud of what Ger­man sol­diers had achieved in two world wars.

What now AfD?

It is unlike­ly that Petry’s sud­den depar­ture will mean much for the par­ty, which many expect will strug­gle not only as a pari­ah in par­lia­ment, but also because it real­ly only has one core pol­i­cy issue—being against immi­gra­tion.

“It is part of a pow­er strug­gle, in which she may hope that her steps will cre­ate more fric­tion in the par­ty,” Josef Jan­ning of the Euro­pean Coun­cil of For­eign Rela­tions told Quartz. “She may also hope to split the fac­tion and pull over some oth­er deputies.”

While the now-93 new AfD mem­bers of par­lia­ment can raise a stink in oppo­si­tion, some polit­i­cal experts believe they won’t real­ly make much dif­fer­ence in Ger­man pol­i­tics. “No one will form a coali­tion with them. They’ll be exclud­ed. Their motions will be shot down,” said Oskar Nie­der­may­er, a pol­i­tics pro­fes­sor at the Free Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin. “If they put for­ward rea­son­able motions that oth­er par­ties might agree with, they will be vot­ed down, and the oth­er par­ties will put for­ward slight­ly mod­i­fied motions.”

No change in tone

Alexan­der Gauland stuck to his inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric at the party’s first post-elec­tion press con­fer­ence on Mon­day morn­ing. “One mil­lion peo­ple, for­eign­ers, being brought into this coun­try are tak­ing away a piece of this coun­try and we as AfD don’t want that,” Gauland said. “We don’t want to lose Ger­many to an inva­sion of for­eign­ers from a dif­fer­ent cul­ture.”

It intends, Gauland said last night, to “hunt” Merkel, and “take back our coun­try and our peo­ple.”

That xeno­pho­bic mes­sage res­onat­ed with 13% of those who vot­ed yes­ter­day: An ARD/ Infrat­est Dimap poll on why Ger­mans vot­ed for the AfD found that near­ly 70% of them were con­cerned about the fight against ter­ror­ism, and 60% were wor­ried about both crime and the influx of refugees.

The AfD’s nation­al­is­tic mes­sage pro­pelled it to big wins in some for­mer East­ern Ger­man states—it was the biggest par­ty in Sax­ony. In for­mer GDR states, the AfD is in sec­ond place over­all, behind Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats.

4. Found­ed in 1956 as a vehi­cle for re-intro­duc­ing Aus­tri­an Nazi vet­er­ans of the Third Reich into the coun­try’s polit­i­cal life, the par­ty effect­ed the cos­met­ic sus­pen­sion of a par­ty offi­cial for giv­ing a Nazi salute.

“Aus­tri­a’s Free­dom Par­ty Sus­pendes Mem­ber over Nazi Alle­ga­tions” [Reuters]; Reuters.com; 10/10/2017.

Austria’s far right Free­dom Par­ty, days before par­lia­men­tary elec­tions which are expect­ed to cat­a­pult it into gov­ern­ment, has sus­pend­ed a low-lev­el par­ty offi­cial over alle­ga­tions he used a Nazi salute.

The par­ty is poised to become part of a coali­tion after the Oct. 15 vote with the con­ser­v­a­tives expect­ed to gain around a third of the vote. Both par­ties cam­paign with tough rhetoric on fight­ing immi­gra­tion and closed Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties.
Aus­tri­an news­pa­per Der Stan­dard report­ed, with­out cit­ing names, that an inde­pen­dent local coun­cil­lor in the province of Styr­ia com­plained to her may­or about hav­ing seen her Free­dom Par­ty col­league rais­ing his right arm in Nazi-fash­ion and say­ing the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”.

Own­ing objects or mak­ing state­ments that glo­ri­fy Nazism is ille­gal in Aus­tria, where Hitler was born and which was annexed into his Third Reich.

Josef Riemer, the Free­dom Par­ty par­lia­men­tar­i­an for the con­stituen­cy, said in an emailed state­ment the par­ty was tak­ing the accu­sa­tions very seri­ous­ly and had sus­pend­ed the official’s mem­ber­ship until the case was resolved. He added the offi­cial rejects the alle­ga­tions and had already hired a lawyer.

The mayor’s lawyer Dieter Neger, who declined to iden­ti­fy the town or any­one involved, said he would offi­cial­ly hand the case, which he said includ­ed two wit­ness state­ments, to pros­e­cu­tors in the city of Graz lat­er on Tues­day.
The Free­dom Par­ty, which was found­ed by for­mer Nazis but says it has left its past behind, has repeat­ed­ly thrown out offi­cials in recent years over Nazi alle­ga­tions. . . .

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #984 Fascism: 2017 European Tour”

  1. These con­cepts were first intro­duced by Von List where Ger­many would dom­i­nate a trade block. Then, Fredrick Neu­mann wrote Mit­tleeu­ropa dur­ing WW1. Naumann’s book won recog­ni­tion from many Ger­man and Aus­tri­an lib­er­als. Some, notably Her­mann Onck­en (1869–1945), added his­tor­i­cal argu­ments, while oth­ers, such as the Pol­ish polit­i­cal activist Wil­helm Feld­man (1868–1919), sup­port­ed it with local exper­tise. In con­trast to the response of lib­er­als of var­i­ous nation­al­i­ties, Mit­teleu­ropa was sharply crit­i­cized by Ger­man nation­al­ists attached to the annex­a­tion and reset­tle­ment projects. Per­haps more impor­tant­ly, even Naumann’s lib­er­al­ism and open­ness could not obscure the fact that any Ger­man-led Cen­tral Europe would expect non-Ger­man nation­al­ists, of whom Poles and Czechs were the most numer­ous and polit­i­cal­ly active, to dis­avow projects of polit­i­cal inde­pen­dence. Con­se­quent­ly, there was very lit­tle sup­port for Mit­teleu­ropa among its future cit­i­zens. Notwith­stand­ing these dif­fi­cul­ties, in ear­ly 1918, when the Cen­tral Pow­ers signed a treaty with Ukraine, Nau­mann had hopes of his plan becom­ing real­i­ty. This was, how­ev­er, the last vic­to­ry of Ger­man lib­er­al impe­ri­al­ism.

    In the last months of the World War I and in the inter­war peri­od the con­cept of Mit­teleu­ropa moved deci­sive­ly to the right. Paired first with the polit­i­cal agen­da of Paul von Hin­den­burg (1847–1934) and Erich Luden­dorff (1865–1937) and then with Ger­man geopol­i­tics, it became part of the revi­sion­ist agen­da and, final­ly, of the Nazi ide­ol­o­gy. In an arti­cle in the “His­torische Zeitschrift” in 1942, Hel­mut Rumpf (1915–1986) char­ac­ter­ized it as a “polit­i­cal and judi­cial pre­con­di­tion to the Reich”.[4] Iron­i­cal­ly, though Naumann’s idea was very dif­fer­ent from this rea­son­ing, Mit­teleu­ropa came to con­note Ger­man expan­sion­ism and Leben­sraum fan­tasies, and kept this asso­ci­a­tion until the renais­sance of the cul­tur­al con­cept of Cen­tral Europe in the 1980s.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 20, 2017, 9:33 am
  2. Here’s a look at the evolv­ing tac­tics of the Ger­man far right to get around gov­ern­ment restric­tions on being an open Nazi.

    First, check out the lat­est loop­hole neo-Nazis in the state of Thuringia have dis­cov­ered: if they call their neo-Nazi rock con­certs “polit­i­cal protests”, it’s total­ly legal and will get free police pro­tec­tion too, was was the case with the “Rock against Being Swamped by For­eign­ers” con­cert last July:

    Deutsch Welle

    Neo-Nazi con­cert rais­es free speech con­cern

    The leader of Thuringia in east­ern Ger­many says peo­ple’s right to assem­bly should be rede­fined to com­bat right-wing extrem­ist music events. This comes after some 6,000 neo-Nazis attend­ed a con­cert in the town of The­mar.

    Author Jef­fer­son Chase
    Date 17.07.2017

    “Sad” and “help­less” — that was how Thuringia State Pre­mier Bodo Ramelow of the Left Par­ty described his emo­tions after right-wing rad­i­cals chant­ed “Sieg heil” at the “Rock against Being Swamped by For­eign­ers” event on Sat­ur­day. In an inter­view with the east­ern Ger­man region­al state tele­vi­sion broad­cast­er MDR, Ramelow said that mea­sures need­ed to be tak­en to pre­vent such con­certs from enjoy­ing the same pro­tec­tions and advan­tages as polit­i­cal protests.

    “I find it intol­er­a­ble that they staged a giant right-wing extrem­ist rock fes­ti­val under the guise of a demon­stra­tion and earned mon­ey for their polit­i­cal net­work while all the costs were passed on to tax­pay­ers,” Ramelow said.

    The Ger­man con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees the right of peo­ple to assem­ble, and the state bears the costs of police pres­ences to main­tain order at polit­i­cal demon­stra­tions. Ramelow sug­gests rewrit­ing those rules to exclude con­certs like the one in The­mar, which he cast as a com­mer­cial event that had attract­ed 6,000 vio­lent right-wing extrem­ists from all over Europe.

    “I think we have to define the right to assem­bly pre­cise­ly enough that in future local author­i­ties, licens­ing offices and courts don’t see things like this in terms of free­dom of speech and treat a gigan­tic con­cert as a nice neigh­bor­hood demon­stra­tion,” Ramelow said. “We cal­cu­late that it took in between 300,000 and 400,000 euros ($344,000-$458,000).”

    Thuringia has the option of mod­i­fy­ing Ger­many’s fed­er­al Law of Assem­bly as states such as Berlin and Bavaria have done. And while it is unclear whether Ramelow’s state­ments were an off-the-cuff response or a seri­ous call to action, it is cer­tain that Thuringia is the cen­ter of the right-wing extrem­ist music scene in Ger­many.

    Right-wing hot spot

    It is no coin­ci­dence that Sat­ur­day’s con­cert was staged in this part of the coun­try. Peo­ple in the for­mer­ly com­mu­nist east­ern part of Ger­many are gen­er­al­ly more recep­tive to right-wing extrem­ism than else­where. Hen­ning Flad, project direc­tor of the Fed­er­al Work­ing Group for the Church and Right-Wing Rad­i­cal­ism, says Thuringia has been a peren­ni­al “hot spot” for right-wing extrem­ist music.

    “It always had par­tic­u­lar­ly active, ambi­tious struc­tures of peo­ple who orga­nized con­certs like this,” Flad told DW. “It has always been an infra­struc­tur­al point of con­nec­tion.”

    The orga­niz­er of Sat­ur­day’s con­cert, Tom­my Frenck, who owns an online cloth­ing shop fea­tur­ing neo-Nazi items and has the word “Aryan” tat­tooed around his neck, comes from Thuringia. The own­er of the prop­er­ty where the fes­ti­val was held, Bodo Dres­sel, the may­or of a neigh­bor­ing town, was until recent­ly a mem­ber of the right-wing pop­ulist Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD), who was crit­i­cized from with­in his own par­ty for being too extreme.

    Flad says that there has been a small come­back in right-wing extrem­ist music in the past two years, “which thanks to this well-attend­ed con­cert has become more vis­i­ble.” Jan Raabe, per­haps Ger­many’s lead­ing expert on the rad­i­cal right and music, says there are some 200 extreme right-wing bands and singer-song­writ­ers active in the coun­try. He puts the num­ber of peo­ple in the scene, nar­row­ly defined, at around 15,000.

    “What we, of course, don’t know is how many young peo­ple have this sort of music on MP3 play­ers and oth­er devices,” Raabe told DW.

    A ‘peace­ful coun­terof­fen­sive’

    Local author­i­ties ini­tial­ly refused to grant per­mits for Sat­ur­day’s event in The­mar, but that refusal was over­turned by a high­er Thuringia author­i­ty. Orga­niz­ers are plan­ning anoth­er far-right event for July 29 with the title “Rock for Iden­ti­ty.”

    The may­or of The­mar, Hubert Böse, orga­nized a protest action with oth­er local lead­ers against last Sat­ur­day’s con­cert and says he’ll do the same if the upcom­ing fes­ti­val is allowed to go ahead.

    ...

    Böse said he could­n’t say whether he sup­port­ed Ramelow’s ideas with­out know­ing the details. But he added that his town, which has just over 3,000 res­i­dents, was too small to cope eas­i­ly with large-scale right-wing extrem­ist music fes­ti­vals.

    “In gen­er­al, we should ask whether events of this size, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly exceed the num­ber of inhab­i­tants, should be con­sid­ered exam­ples of peo­ple assem­bling,” Böse said. “We had 1,000 police offi­cers here. In the end it all costs a lot of mon­ey.”

    To change the law — or bet­ter enforce it?

    Video footage from the fes­ti­val, which was shared on social media, shows a crowd shout­ing “Sieg Heil.

    Crit­ics have ques­tioned why police offi­cers did­n’t inter­vene and shut down the con­cert since expres­sions of sup­port for Nation­al Social­ism are for­bid­den in Ger­many.

    The Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many praised the com­mu­ni­ty of The­mar for “brave­ly” oppos­ing the con­cert and said it agreed with Ramelow that a “rad­i­cal right-wing music con­cert should not be classed as a polit­i­cal demon­stra­tion cov­ered by the free­dom to assem­ble.”

    But Ramelow’s sug­ges­tion also attract­ed con­sid­er­able crit­i­cism from detrac­tors who argued that it would do noth­ing to com­bat the prob­lem. Raabe, for instance, said he did­n’t see any “direct advan­tages” of chang­ing laws on assem­bly for com­bat­ing right-wing extrem­ism and the asso­ci­at­ed music scene. Exist­ing laws, he pro­posed, should be bet­ter enforced.

    “What does it mean to say that polit­i­cal events enjoy spe­cial pro­tec­tion?” Raabe asked. “I would like to assume that the law is also enforced at polit­i­cal events. More­over, foot­ball match­es aren’t polit­i­cal events, and yet foot­ball clubs aren’t required to pay for police secu­ri­ty. That isn’t the real prob­lem.”

    The res­i­dents of The­mar now must wait to find out whether anoth­er event will be held in their town in two weeks time.

    ———-

    “Neo-Nazi con­cert rais­es free speech con­cern” by Jef­fer­son Chase; Deutsch Welle; 07/17/2017

    “The Ger­man con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees the right of peo­ple to assem­ble, and the state bears the costs of police pres­ences to main­tain order at polit­i­cal demon­stra­tions. Ramelow sug­gests rewrit­ing those rules to exclude con­certs like the one in The­mar, which he cast as a com­mer­cial event that had attract­ed 6,000 vio­lent right-wing extrem­ists from all over Europe.”

    Yep, the cur­rent inter­pre­ta­tion of the Ger­man con­sti­tu­tion­al guar­an­tees to the right of peo­ple to assem­ble appears to leave a rather mas­sive loop­hole for the neo-Nazis. And a lucra­tive loop­hole at that, with this “Rock against Being Swamped by For­eign­ers” con­cert alone tak­ing in 300–400k euros:

    ...
    “I think we have to define the right to assem­bly pre­cise­ly enough that in future local author­i­ties, licens­ing offices and courts don’t see things like this in terms of free­dom of speech and treat a gigan­tic con­cert as a nice neigh­bor­hood demon­stra­tion,” Ramelow said. “We cal­cu­late that it took in between 300,000 and 400,000 euros ($344,000-$458,000).”
    ...

    But Thuringia isn’t out of options. It just has cho­sen not to use them. Like the option Berlin and Bavaria of tak­en to mod­i­fy the Ger­many’s fed­er­al Law of Assem­bly:

    ...
    Thuringia has the option of mod­i­fy­ing Ger­many’s fed­er­al Law of Assem­bly as states such as Berlin and Bavaria have done. And while it is unclear whether Ramelow’s state­ments were an off-the-cuff response or a seri­ous call to action, it is cer­tain that Thuringia is the cen­ter of the right-wing extrem­ist music scene in Ger­many.
    ...

    So will Thuringia even­tu­al­ly choose that option? We’ll see, but as these con­certs con­tin­ue we should prob­a­bly expect pop­u­lar resis­tance to grow too, if only because if the cost: there were 1,000 police offi­cer at that one event. And they were get­ting paid to pro­tect it while the ‘fes­ti­val’ crowd shout­ed “Seig Heil”. That’s prob­a­bly not going to go down well with local tax pay­ers giv­en how such dis­plays are nor­mal­ly ille­gal:

    ...
    “In gen­er­al, we should ask whether events of this size, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly exceed the num­ber of inhab­i­tants, should be con­sid­ered exam­ples of peo­ple assem­bling,” Böse said. “We had 1,000 police offi­cers here. In the end it all costs a lot of mon­ey.”

    To change the law — or bet­ter enforce it?

    Video footage from the fes­ti­val, which was shared on social media, shows a crowd shout­ing “Sieg Heil.

    Crit­ics have ques­tioned why police offi­cers did­n’t inter­vene and shut down the con­cert since expres­sions of sup­port for Nation­al Social­ism are for­bid­den in Ger­many.
    ...

    But as some not­ed, changes to the laws might not be nec­es­sary because exist­ing laws should actu­al­ly ban neo-Nazi dis­plays even at polit­i­cal events:

    ...
    But Ramelow’s sug­ges­tion also attract­ed con­sid­er­able crit­i­cism from detrac­tors who argued that it would do noth­ing to com­bat the prob­lem. Raabe, for instance, said he did­n’t see any “direct advan­tages” of chang­ing laws on assem­bly for com­bat­ing right-wing extrem­ism and the asso­ci­at­ed music scene. Exist­ing laws, he pro­posed, should be bet­ter enforced.

    “What does it mean to say that polit­i­cal events enjoy spe­cial pro­tec­tion?” Raabe asked. “I would like to assume that the law is also enforced at polit­i­cal events. More­over, foot­ball match­es aren’t polit­i­cal events, and yet foot­ball clubs aren’t required to pay for police secu­ri­ty. That isn’t the real prob­lem.”
    ...

    So it sounds like this legal loop­hole enjoyed by the neo-Nazis is cre­at­ed in part from some ambi­gu­i­ty over how to inter­pret Ger­many’s con­sti­tu­tion.

    Final­ly, note who the own­er of the prop­er­ty was: Bodo Dres­sel, the may­or of a neigh­bor­ing town. This this may­or was until recent­ly a mem­ber of the Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD). And was appar­ent­ly too extreme even for them (or, real­ly, too out in the open):

    ...
    The orga­niz­er of Sat­ur­day’s con­cert, Tom­my Frenck, who owns an online cloth­ing shop fea­tur­ing neo-Nazi items and has the word “Aryan” tat­tooed around his neck, comes from Thuringia. The own­er of the prop­er­ty where the fes­ti­val was held, Bodo Dres­sel, the may­or of a neigh­bor­ing town, was until recent­ly a mem­ber of the right-wing pop­ulist Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD), who was crit­i­cized from with­in his own par­ty for being too extreme.
    ...

    And that was just one of the events of this nature in Thuringia. Fol­lowed by a some­what small­er one a cou­ple weeks lat­er:

    Deutsche Welle

    Hun­dreds of neo-Nazis band togeth­er for con­cert in Ger­many

    Some 1,000 neo-Nazi sup­port­ers turned up for the sec­ond far-right con­cert in a month in the east­ern town of The­mar. Experts say the state of Thuringia is a “hot spot” for music tied to the far-right scene.

    Date 30.07.2017

    Police said on Sun­day that hun­dreds of neo-Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers had gath­ered in the Ger­man town of The­mar the pre­vi­ous evening for a right-wing con­cert for the sec­ond time in two weeks.

    The con­cert on Sat­ur­day drew sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er far-right sup­port­ers than the one that took place ear­li­er this month under the ban­ner “rock against for­eign dom­i­na­tion,” accord­ing to fig­ures pro­vid­ed by police.

    Rough­ly 1,000 peo­ple attend­ed the event com­pared to 6,000 ear­li­er this month.

    Author­i­ties said 36 crim­i­nal offens­es were report­ed dur­ing the event, includ­ing 21 con­cern­ing the dis­play of “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” sym­bols. In the wake of World War II, Ger­many banned the dis­play of Nazi sym­bols such as the swasti­ka.
    ...

    ———-

    “Hun­dreds of neo-Nazis band togeth­er for con­cert in Ger­many”; Deutsche Welle; 07/30/2017

    “Rough­ly 1,000 peo­ple attend­ed the event com­pared to 6,000 ear­li­er this month.”

    Only 1,000 neo-Nazis attend­ed the con­cert at the end of July instead of 6,000 ear­li­er in the month. Which is still 1,000 neo-Nazis too many.

    And as before, there were plen­ty of open dis­plays of swastikas and oth­er “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” sym­bols:

    ...
    Author­i­ties said 36 crim­i­nal offens­es were report­ed dur­ing the event, includ­ing 21 con­cern­ing the dis­play of “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” sym­bols. In the wake of World War II, Ger­many banned the dis­play of Nazi sym­bols such as the swasti­ka.
    ...

    So this is a thing now in Ger­many’s neo-Nazi rock scene: open gath­er­ings under the ban­ner of polit­i­cal protest.

    But that’s not the only kind of neo-Nazi gath­er­ing observed in Thuringia of late. Although this next cat­e­go­ry is appar­ent­ly actu­al­ly ille­gal: A month before these con­certs there was a report of a police raid of right-wing extrem­ist “camps.” Author­i­ties announced that they searched 14 prop­er­ties in Erfurt and Göt­tin­gen and the sus­pects are accused of orga­niz­ing a para­mil­i­tary camp called “Wald­bi­waks” or “for­est bivouacs”:

    Deutsche Welle

    Police raid right-wing extrem­ist camp in Thuringia

    Ger­man police have raid­ed a gath­er­ing of right-wing extrem­ists and searched prop­er­ties in south­ern Thuringia. One of 13 peo­ple under sus­pi­cion of orga­niz­ing para­mil­i­tary camps has been arrest­ed.

    Date 23.06.2017

    Author­i­ties in Thuringia have con­firmed Fri­day that police raid­ed a camp of right-wing extrem­ists.

    “The State Office of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion (LKA) of Thuringia, as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion of the dis­trict attor­ney’s office in Gera, searched dif­fer­ent areas of Thuringia and Low­er Sax­ony this morn­ing at 4:00 a.m. (0200 UTC) on the sus­pi­cion of the for­ma­tion of a crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tion,” a state­ment read.

    The state­ment added that author­i­ties searched 14 prop­er­ties in Erfurt and Göt­tin­gen. The pre­lim­i­nary inves­ti­ga­tion is focused on 13 sus­pects, one of whom has been arrest­ed. The sus­pects are accused of orga­niz­ing a para­mil­i­tary camp called “Wald­bi­waks” or “for­est bivouacs.”

    “At least some of the accused are sup­pos­ed­ly mem­bers of an inter­na­tion­al­ly active right-wing move­ment whose aim is to abol­ish the state and social order of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and oth­er Euro­pean states,” the state­ment said.

    ...

    The LKA did not reveal the names of the groups due to pri­va­cy pro­tec­tion and did not want to reveal any fur­ther details of the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    ———–

    “Police raid right-wing extrem­ist camp in Thuringia”; Deutsche Welle; 06/23/2017

    “The state­ment added that author­i­ties searched 14 prop­er­ties in Erfurt and Göt­tin­gen. The pre­lim­i­nary inves­ti­ga­tion is focused on 13 sus­pects, one of whom has been arrest­ed. The sus­pects are accused of orga­niz­ing a para­mil­i­tary camp called “Wald­bi­waks” or “for­est bivouacs.””

    Neo-Nazi “for­est bivouacs.” That’s also a thing now. But at least it’s still an ille­gal thing for Ger­many. Espe­cial­ly since it sounds like these camps includ­ed peo­ple from inter­na­tion­al right-wing move­ments with the goal of over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    “At least some of the accused are sup­pos­ed­ly mem­bers of an inter­na­tion­al­ly active right-wing move­ment whose aim is to abol­ish the state and social order of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and oth­er Euro­pean states,” the state­ment said.
    ...

    So how many camps of neo-Nazis plot­ting the over­throw of soci­ety aren’t get­ting cracked down on? It’s an unpleas­ant ques­tion that’s trag­i­cal­ly top­i­cal.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle points out, it’s not just “for­est bivouacs” that Ger­mans (and the rest of us) need to wor­ry about as secret gath­er­ing places for neo-Nazis plot­ting over­throw: due to the laws ban­ning pub­lic expres­sion of Nazism (unless its a con­cert, appar­ent­ly), there’s big demand among Ger­many’s neo-Nazi move­ments for pri­vate prop­er­ty, where such gath­er­ings can hap­pen with­out scruti­ny. And for the first time ever, the Inte­ri­or Min­istry released an offi­cial list of at least 136 hold­ings of pri­vate prop­er­ties that give right-wing extrem­ists “unre­strict­ed access” to build­ings, homes, restau­rants and oth­er venues.

    But this Inte­ri­or Min­istry report leaves a num­ber of Ger­mans unsat­is­fied. Why? Because it’s extreme­ly vague and does­n’t actu­al­ly list the prop­er­ties. It just lists how many prop­er­ties were iden­ti­fied in dif­fer­ent regions and a more detailed list won’t be pro­vid­ed when request­ed local author­i­ties who want to deal with these prop­er­ties:

    Deutsche Welle

    Ger­man gov­ern­ment reveals scope of real estate linked to neo-Nazis

    The Inte­ri­or Min­istry says build­ings, homes and venues across the coun­try are being used by neo-Nazis and oth­er far-right extrem­ists. The Left par­ty has warned that some of these places amount to a neo-Nazi “theme park.”

    Author Kath­leen Schus­ter
    Date 26.01.2018

    It’s ille­gal to dis­play Nazi sym­bols or spread Nazi pro­pa­gan­da in Ger­many, at least in pub­lic. But what is done on pri­vate prop­er­ty is hard­er for author­i­ties to crack down on — mak­ing real estate the ide­al thing for neo-Nazis to buy.

    At least 136 hold­ings across Ger­many are linked to or owned by far-right extrem­ists, accord­ing to the Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­istry. The list was pub­lished on Fri­day in response to a par­lia­men­tary inquiry sub­mit­ted by the Left Par­ty.

    Accord­ing to the min­istry, the states of Sax­ony and Bavaria had the high­est num­bers.

    This marks the first time that an offi­cial list has detailed areas where right-wing extrem­ists have “unre­strict­ed access” to build­ings, homes, restau­rants and oth­er venues. The cri­te­ria include own­er­ship, leas­ing, rent­ing or reg­u­lar con­tact with the own­er.

    Anoth­er deci­sive fac­tor for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry was whether the prop­er­ty was being used for polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. Few details about the loca­tions were released out of pre­cau­tion for under­cov­er agents and oth­er domes­tic secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, accord­ing to Gün­ter Krings, who serves as the par­lia­men­tary state sec­re­tary for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry.

    Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’

    The Left par­ty’s Mar­ti­na Ren­ner, who sub­mit­ted the inquiry, likened the prop­er­ties to “theme parks” for extrem­ists, point­ing out that the remote loca­tions allowed them to pro­mote their ide­ol­o­gy away from the author­i­ties.

    An exam­ple pub­lished by Ger­man media group Redak­tion­snet­zw­erk Deutsch­land, which was giv­en a copy of the list, detailed how a pub in Thuringia served up a “Führerschnitzel” on April 20, Hitler’s birth­day. The price of one birth­day spe­cial was €8.88, a ref­er­ence to the code 88. “H” is the eighth let­ter of the alpha­bet, thus 88 stands for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.”

    Even more prob­lem­at­ic was the min­istry’s refusal to release more infor­ma­tion — or list even well-known sites run by extrem­ists, Ren­ner told DW.

    Giv­en pre­vi­ous reports of high­er num­bers by jour­nal­ists, Ren­ner won­ders about the Min­istry’s num­ber: “How can this be? What were the basis and cri­te­ria that the gov­ern­ment used in the first place?”

    The Left isn’t the only par­ty that’s wor­ried, she said, con­sid­er­ing “that we’ve seen again and again that right-wing and racist acts of vio­lence have an imme­di­ate cor­re­la­tion to these hous­es.”

    ‘Slap in the face’ for local com­mu­ni­ties

    Indeed one infa­mous exam­ple occurred in the town of Ball­städt, just 30 kilo­me­ters (18 miles) out­side of Erfurt in 2014. A group of Neo-Nazis wear­ing masks, hood­ies and motor­cy­cle gloves ambushed mem­bers of a local club dur­ing a week­night meet­ing. Sev­er­al were severe­ly injured and pho­tos of spilled blood cir­cu­lat­ed through the press. The attack­ers had their own meet­ing house near­by, known as the “the yel­low house.”

    One of the defen­dants lat­er said he had assault­ed the club mem­bers believ­ing they had infor­ma­tion about who had bro­ken a win­dow at his home.

    Unless munic­i­pal­i­ties can buy up prop­er­ty before extrem­ists get to it, there’s not much that can be done if the group is not con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, Thuringia state par­lia­men­tar­i­an Katha­ri­na König-Preuss (Left Par­ty) told DW.

    The Inte­ri­or Min­istry’s deci­sion to with­hold more infor­ma­tion from com­mu­ni­ties was a “slap in the face,” Ren­ner told Ger­man media on Fri­day, and König-Preuss agrees.

    ...

    ———–

    “Ger­man gov­ern­ment reveals scope of real estate linked to neo-Nazis” by Kath­leen Schus­ter; Deutsche Welle; 01/26/2018

    “It’s ille­gal to dis­play Nazi sym­bols or spread Nazi pro­pa­gan­da in Ger­many, at least in pub­lic. But what is done on pri­vate prop­er­ty is hard­er for author­i­ties to crack down on — mak­ing real estate the ide­al thing for neo-Nazis to buy.”

    A neo-Nazi real estate boom. Yikes. But it’s actu­al­ly unclear if there’s been a big growth in neo-Nazi real estate or if these prop­er­ties have been neo-Nazi friend­ly for a long time because this is the first report of this nature by the Inte­ri­or Min­istry:

    ...
    At least 136 hold­ings across Ger­many are linked to or owned by far-right extrem­ists, accord­ing to the Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­istry. The list was pub­lished on Fri­day in response to a par­lia­men­tary inquiry sub­mit­ted by the Left Par­ty.

    Accord­ing to the min­istry, the states of Sax­ony and Bavaria had the high­est num­bers.

    This marks the first time that an offi­cial list has detailed areas where right-wing extrem­ists have “unre­strict­ed access” to build­ings, homes, restau­rants and oth­er venues. The cri­te­ria include own­er­ship, leas­ing, rent­ing or reg­u­lar con­tact with the own­er.
    ...

    And note how “anoth­er deci­sive fac­tor for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry was whether the prop­er­ty was being used for polit­i­cal activ­i­ty.” Giv­en what we just saw about polit­i­cal protest being used as cov­er for neo-Nazi con­certs, it rais­es the ques­tion of what kind of deci­sion the Inte­ri­or Min­istry would make if it deter­mined a prop­er­ty was being used for neo-Nazi polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. Was it left off the list in that case? We don’t know because so lit­tle actu­al infor­ma­tion was list­ed in the report. In part due to con­cerns over under­cov­er agents and oth­er domes­tic secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, accord­ing to the Inte­ri­or Min­istry:

    ...
    Anoth­er deci­sive fac­tor for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry was whether the prop­er­ty was being used for polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. Few details about the loca­tions were released out of pre­cau­tion for under­cov­er agents and oth­er domes­tic secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, accord­ing to Gün­ter Krings, who serves as the par­lia­men­tary state sec­re­tary for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry.
    ...

    “Few details about the loca­tions were released out of pre­cau­tion for under­cov­er agents and oth­er domes­tic secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, accord­ing to Gün­ter Krings, who serves as the par­lia­men­tary state sec­re­tary for the Inte­ri­or Min­istry.”

    It would be real­ly inter­est­ing to know how polit­i­cal activ­i­ty was treat­ed because it’s pret­ty clear that any neo-Nazi gath­er­ing intend­ed to indoc­tri­nate peo­ple could be framed as a form of polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. Because Nazism is all about pol­i­tics. The pol­i­tics of vio­lent xeno­pho­bic sub­ju­ga­tion. And these pri­vate “Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’ ” are the per­fect place to pro­mote that kind of pol­i­tics:

    ...
    Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’

    The Left par­ty’s Mar­ti­na Ren­ner, who sub­mit­ted the inquiry, likened the prop­er­ties to “theme parks” for extrem­ists, point­ing out that the remote loca­tions allowed them to pro­mote their ide­ol­o­gy away from the author­i­ties.

    An exam­ple pub­lished by Ger­man media group Redak­tion­snet­zw­erk Deutsch­land, which was giv­en a copy of the list, detailed how a pub in Thuringia served up a “Führerschnitzel” on April 20, Hitler’s birth­day. The price of one birth­day spe­cial was €8.88, a ref­er­ence to the code 88. “H” is the eighth let­ter of the alpha­bet, thus 88 stands for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.”
    ...

    And while it’s nice to see that a report of this nature was issued for the first time ever by the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, it’s still pret­ty dis­turb­ing that it won’t actu­al­ly release the loca­tions of those prop­er­ties. Even more dis­turb­ing is that the num­bers of prop­er­ties list­ed in the report are less than num­bers pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed by jour­nal­ists inves­ti­gat­ing prop­er­ties of this nature. Which, again, rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not polit­i­cal activ­i­ties actu­al­ly got the prop­er­ties removed from the list and the ques­tion of what the cri­te­ria was in gen­er­al:

    ...
    Even more prob­lem­at­ic was the min­istry’s refusal to release more infor­ma­tion — or list even well-known sites run by extrem­ists, Ren­ner told DW.

    Giv­en pre­vi­ous reports of high­er num­bers by jour­nal­ists, Ren­ner won­ders about the Min­istry’s num­ber: “How can this be? What were the basis and cri­te­ria that the gov­ern­ment used in the first place?”

    The Left isn’t the only par­ty that’s wor­ried, she said, con­sid­er­ing “that we’ve seen again and again that right-wing and racist acts of vio­lence have an imme­di­ate cor­re­la­tion to these hous­es.”
    ...

    And in addi­tion to not giv­ing the cri­te­ria used, the Inte­ri­or Min­istry isn’t giv­ing more infor­ma­tion to the local com­mu­ni­ties impact­ed by such prop­er­ties, which is being seen as a ‘slap in the face’:

    ...
    ‘Slap in the face’ for local com­mu­ni­ties

    Indeed one infa­mous exam­ple occurred in the town of Ball­städt, just 30 kilo­me­ters (18 miles) out­side of Erfurt in 2014. A group of Neo-Nazis wear­ing masks, hood­ies and motor­cy­cle gloves ambushed mem­bers of a local club dur­ing a week­night meet­ing. Sev­er­al were severe­ly injured and pho­tos of spilled blood cir­cu­lat­ed through the press. The attack­ers had their own meet­ing house near­by, known as the “the yel­low house.”

    One of the defen­dants lat­er said he had assault­ed the club mem­bers believ­ing they had infor­ma­tion about who had bro­ken a win­dow at his home.

    Unless munic­i­pal­i­ties can buy up prop­er­ty before extrem­ists get to it, there’s not much that can be done if the group is not con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, Thuringia state par­lia­men­tar­i­an Katha­ri­na König-Preuss (Left Par­ty) told DW.

    The Inte­ri­or Min­istry’s deci­sion to with­hold more infor­ma­tion from com­mu­ni­ties was a “slap in the face,” Ren­ner told Ger­man media on Fri­day, and König-Preuss agrees.
    ...

    So was it pure­ly just con­cerns over under­cov­er oper­a­tions that pre­vent­ed the release of more infor­ma­tion on these neo-Nazi prop­er­ties?

    Well, unfor­tu­nate­ly, as the fol­low­ing arti­cle alludes to, going for­ward there might be anoth­er very notable rea­son by the Inte­ri­or Min­istry would­n’t want to release more infor­ma­tion on neo-Nazis: the new Inte­ri­or Min­is­tor, Horst See­hofer, is from the far right CSU par­ty — the CDU’s extra-right-wing sis­ter par­ty in Bavaria. He just become Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter this month. And See­hofer has a prob­lem. An AfD prob­lem.

    Specif­i­cal­ly, the AfD is expect­ed to enter the par­lia­ment in his home state of Bavaria dur­ing spe­cial elec­tions this Octo­ber, and See­hofer wants to project as far right and image as pos­si­ble in response. Hence his recent asser­tions that Islam ‘does­n’t belong’ to Ger­many. So when the Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is try­ing to out-AfD the AfD, there’s prob­a­bly not going to be too much infor­ma­tion list­ed about these neo-Nazi prop­er­ties:

    Reuters

    Fac­ing far-right chal­lenge, min­is­ter says Islam ‘does­n’t belong’ to Ger­many

    Michelle Mar­tin
    March 16, 2018 / 4:35 AM / Updat­ed

    BERLIN (Reuters) — New Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer said Islam does not belong to Ger­many, and set out hard­line immi­gra­tion poli­cies in his first major inter­view since being sworn in this week, as he sought to see off ris­ing far-right chal­lengers.

    His com­ments put him on a col­li­sion course with Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, who on Fri­day reit­er­at­ed her long-held view that Islam was a part of Ger­many, even if the coun­try was tra­di­tion­al­ly char­ac­ter­ized by Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism.

    “Islam does not belong to Ger­many,” See­hofer, a mem­ber of Merkel’s CSU Bavar­i­an allies who are fur­ther to the right than her own Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU), told Bild news­pa­per in an inter­view pub­lished on Fri­day.

    See­hofer said he would push through a “mas­ter plan for quick­er depor­ta­tions” and clas­si­fy more states as ‘safe’ coun­tries of ori­gin, which would make it eas­i­er to deport failed asy­lum seek­ers.

    See­hofer is par­tic­u­lar­ly keen to show his par­ty is tack­ling immi­gra­tion ahead of Bavaria’s Octo­ber region­al elec­tion, when the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) is expect­ed to enter that state assem­bly.

    Both Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives and their cen­tre-left coali­tion part­ners — the Social Democ­rats — lost ground to the anti-immi­grant AfD in September’s nation­al elec­tion fol­low­ing the arrival in Ger­many of more than a mil­lion migrants and refugees.

    Merkel, who has faced strong crit­i­cism from some Ger­mans as well as else­where in Europe for agree­ing to take in so many migrants, most of them Mus­lims, reaf­firmed on Fri­day her vision of an inclu­sive, mul­ti-eth­nic Ger­many.

    “There are now four mil­lion Mus­lims liv­ing in Ger­many and they prac­tice their reli­gion here and these Mus­lims belong to Ger­many, as does their reli­gion — Islam,” she said.

    “LIVE WITH US”

    Many of the Mus­lims liv­ing in Ger­many are of Turk­ish ori­gin. But a major­i­ty of those who have arrived in the past three years are from Syr­ia, Iraq and oth­er con­flict zones in the Mid­dle East and beyond.

    Seehofer’s com­ments come at a sen­si­tive time for Germany’s Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. Sev­er­al organ­i­sa­tions rep­re­sent­ing them com­plained on Thurs­day that politi­cians were not show­ing enough sol­i­dar­i­ty after a spate of attacks on mosques.

    “Of course the Mus­lims liv­ing here do belong to Ger­many,” See­hofer told Bild, but added that Ger­many should not give up its own tra­di­tions or cus­toms, which have Chris­tian­i­ty at their heart.

    “My mes­sage is: Mus­lims need to live with us, not next to us or against us,” he said.

    Andre Poggen­burg, head of the AfD in the east­ern state of Sax­ony, said See­hofer was copy­ing his par­ty with a view to Bavaria’s Octo­ber region­al elec­tion: “Horst See­hofer has tak­en this mes­sage from our man­i­festo word for word.”

    The far-left Linke and Greens con­demned Seehofer’s mes­sage, and the Social Democ­rats’ Natascha Kohnen told broad­cast­er n‑tv: “Say­ing that incites peo­ple against each oth­er at a time when we real­ly don’t need that. What we real­ly need is politi­cians who bring peo­ple togeth­er.”

    In their coali­tion agree­ment, Merkel’s CDU/CSU con­ser­v­a­tive bloc and the Social Democ­rats agreed they would man­age and lim­it migra­tion to Ger­many and Europe to avoid a re-run of the 2015 refugee cri­sis.

    ...

    ———-

    “Fac­ing far-right chal­lenge, min­is­ter says Islam ‘does­n’t belong’ to Ger­many” by Michelle Mar­tin; Reuters; 03/16/2018

    “New Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer said Islam does not belong to Ger­many, and set out hard­line immi­gra­tion poli­cies in his first major inter­view since being sworn in this week, as he sought to see off ris­ing far-right chal­lengers.”

    As we can see, a sig­nif­i­cant con­text in the Inte­ri­or Min­istry’s refusal to release more infor­ma­tion neo-Nazis now that Horst See­hofer is the Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is that See­hofer is basi­cal­ly try­ing to pre­empt a very real far right chal­lenge. :

    ...
    “Islam does not belong to Ger­many,” See­hofer, a mem­ber of Merkel’s CSU Bavar­i­an allies who are fur­ther to the right than her own Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU), told Bild news­pa­per in an inter­view pub­lished on Fri­day.

    See­hofer said he would push through a “mas­ter plan for quick­er depor­ta­tions” and clas­si­fy more states as ‘safe’ coun­tries of ori­gin, which would make it eas­i­er to deport failed asy­lum seek­ers.

    See­hofer is par­tic­u­lar­ly keen to show his par­ty is tack­ling immi­gra­tion ahead of Bavaria’s Octo­ber region­al elec­tion, when the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) is expect­ed to enter that state assem­bly.
    ...

    And the AfD has noticed:

    ...
    Andre Poggen­burg, head of the AfD in the east­ern state of Sax­ony, said See­hofer was copy­ing his par­ty with a view to Bavaria’s Octo­ber region­al elec­tion: “Horst See­hofer has tak­en this mes­sage from our man­i­festo word for word.”
    ...

    So, giv­en that the CSU is run­ning even fur­ther to the right (it was already extreme­ly right wing) in response to the AfD, does this mean the AfD itself is going to go even fur­ther to the right to dis­tin­guish itself? We’ll see, but that’s part of the dynam­ic tak­ing place in Ger­many today. A dynam­ic that should ensure smooth oper­a­tions for a whole lot of neo-Nazi prop­er­ties and con­certs. Because don’t for­get that the core mes­sage for the AfD that has pro­pelled it to unprece­dent­ed lev­els of pop­u­lar sup­port isn’t sim­ply “Islam does not belong to Ger­many”. It’s the mes­sage “Islam does not belong to Ger­many, because Ger­many belongs to Nazism.” That’s the real mes­sage of the AfD and the new Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is try­ing to co-opt that. It does­n’t bode well for Ger­many but it does bode quite well for all those neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’ and oth­er prop­er­ties.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 17, 2018, 2:02 pm
  3. This is one of those ‘the good news is bad news that could be worse news’ sto­ries, which is sort of the meta-sto­ry of Europe these days: Good news! The far right Swe­den Democ­rats did­n’t surge quite as much as many feared in Swe­den’s elec­tions on Sun­day. They surged, but it could have been worse. And it looks like the cen­ter-left bloc eked out a slight win, get­ting 40.6 per­cent of the vote vers­es 40.1 per­cent for the cen­ter-right coali­tion. The Swe­den Democ­rats received 17.8 per­cent, which is far bet­ter than the 13 per­cent they received in 2014.

    So the cen­ter-left got 40.6 per­cent, the cen­ter-right got 40.1 per­cent, and the far right got almost all of the rest of the vote, mak­ing this an over­all very right-wing out­come. But an out­come that will allow the cen­ter-left to tech­ni­cal­ly gov­ern. Prob­a­bly. We’ll see if they can cob­ble togeth­er a gov­ern­ment. And that’s what pass­es as good news in Euro­pean pol­i­tics these days:

    Reuters

    Swedish cen­ter-left in slim lead, Swe­den Dems gain

    Sep­tem­ber 9, 2018 / 3:47 PM / Updat­ed

    STOCKHOLM (Reuters) — Sweden’s rul­ing cen­ter-left bloc com­mand­ed a mar­gin­al lead over the cen­ter-right Alliance in Sunday’s nation­al elec­tion with the unaligned, anti-immi­gra­tion Swe­den Democ­rats mak­ing gains, pre­lim­i­nary elec­tion author­i­ty results showed on Sun­day.

    The results after 4,800 of 6,004 dis­tricts had been count­ed, showed the gov­ern­ing Social Demo­c­rat and Green par­ty coali­tion, togeth­er with the Left Par­ty, win­ning 40.6 per­cent of votes, the elec­tion author­i­ty data showed.

    The Alliance oppo­si­tion bloc, com­posed of the Mod­er­ates, the Chris­t­ian Democ­rats, the Cen­tre par­ty and the Lib­er­als, looked set to win 40.1 per­cent.

    The nation­al­ist Swe­den Democ­rats were on track to get 17.8 per­cent.

    ...

    ———-
    “Swedish cen­ter-left in slim lead, Swe­den Dems gain”; Reuters; 09/09/2018

    “Sweden’s rul­ing cen­ter-left bloc com­mand­ed a mar­gin­al lead over the cen­ter-right Alliance in Sunday’s nation­al elec­tion with the unaligned, anti-immi­gra­tion Swe­den Democ­rats mak­ing gains, pre­lim­i­nary elec­tion author­i­ty results showed on Sun­day.”

    Big gains for the far right and a mar­gin­al plu­ral­i­ty for the cen­ter-left. Behold the good news.

    But, again, it could have been worse, so it’s still good-ish news. For now. We’ll see if the trend con­tin­ues.

    And while this elec­toral out­come will no doubt focus atten­tion on the seem­ing­ly end­less elec­toral gains by Europe’s far right as a direct con­se­quence of the EU refugee poli­cies, it’s worth not­ing a recent piece of research about the fac­tors that led to the rise of the Swe­den Democ­rats that points towards of dif­fer­ent, ear­li­er cat­a­lyst for the rise of the Swedish far right that sad­ly gets for­got­ten these days: aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies. Specif­i­cal­ly, the big over­haul of Swe­den’s wel­fare state in 2006 that was fol­lowed by the finan­cial crash of 2008 and result­ing aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies that severe­ly impact­ed what the authors dubbed “out­siders”: peo­ple, pri­mar­i­ly work­ing-class men with low­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion, who had lit­tle sta­ble employ­ment and relied heav­i­ly on gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits. It was that dou­ble wham­my of wel­fare reform (cuts) fol­lowed by harsh aus­ter­i­ty that cre­at­ed the socioe­co­nom­ic con­di­tions for many work­ing-class vot­ers that led to the kind of deep dis­sat­is­fac­tion and grow­ing dis­il­lu­sion­ment with the Swedish estab­lish­ment and made vot­ing for an ‘anti-estab­lish­ment’ par­ty like the Swe­den Democ­rats appeal­ing. Part of the evi­dence of this is the fact that the Swe­den Democ­rats first made their big gains in 2010, long before the refugee cri­sis but short­ly after the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis and aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies.

    In oth­er words, the researchers found that anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ments that are pre­sumed to be behind the rise of the Swe­den Democ­rats were, them­selves, a con­se­quence of the psy­cho­log­i­cal impact of aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies and gut­ting of the Swe­den’s tra­di­tion­al­ly gen­er­ous wel­fare state. So while, yes, gen­uine anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ments are part of the rise of the far right, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that hor­ri­ble far right eco­nom­ic poli­cies that tar­get the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of soci­ety tend to cre­ate those anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ments in the first place:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Aus­ter­i­ty And 2008’s Crash Boost­ed Sweden’s Far Right Long Before The Refugee Cri­sis
    A new study chal­lenges the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom that nativist politi­cians are gain­ing ground sim­ply because coun­tries like Swe­den now have more for­eign­ers.
    head­shot

    By Akbar Shahid Ahmed
    09/09/2018 07:25 am ET Updat­ed

    A hard-line anti-immi­grant par­ty is poised for a big win in Sweden’s elec­tions Sun­day, seem­ing­ly sig­nal­ing anoth­er dra­mat­ic shift toward the far right in Europe in a his­toric lib­er­al bas­tion.

    The Swe­den Democ­rats say their rise is because nations like theirs have been over­whelmed by for­eign­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly after more than 2 mil­lion flowed into Europe since 2015 in the biggest wave of refugees since World War II. But new research sug­gests that line might be as mis­lead­ing as the sto­ries the party’s sup­port­ers have pumped out on social media about immi­grant behav­ior.

    Instead, the party’s suc­cess is strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with a fac­tor for­eign­ers had lit­tle con­trol over: the pol­i­cy choic­es of Sweden’s native politi­cians, accord­ing to a recent­ly released paper by five econ­o­mists that draws on data about Swe­den Demo­c­rat can­di­dates and vot­ers.

    The experts point to a dou­ble wham­my. In 2006, a new cen­ter-right gov­ern­ment took aim at Sweden’s famed wel­fare state, reduc­ing unem­ploy­ment, sick­ness and dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits to finance tax cuts, and spark­ing a sharp and sus­tained increase in income inequal­i­ty. Come 2008, the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis hit, caus­ing big job loss­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly among peo­ple who had already become less secure in the labor mar­ket.

    “Peo­ple most­ly look at the rad­i­cal right from the angle of exter­nal shocks, like trade [with for­eign work­ers prov­ing cheap­er than domes­tic ones] and glob­al­iza­tion… the point that you might take away from our paper is the effect of aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy,” said Johan­na Rickne, one of the co-authors of the report and a pro­fes­sor at Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty.

    The first elec­tion after the events the researchers focus on, held in 2010, marked the first time the Swe­den Democ­rats scored enough votes to enter Sweden’s par­lia­ment. In the next elec­tion, they more than dou­bled their vote share.

    What the par­ty relied on, the researchers show, was the increas­ing pain of “out­siders” — peo­ple, pri­mar­i­ly work­ing-class men with low­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion, who had lit­tle sta­ble employ­ment and relied heav­i­ly on gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits. The Swe­den Democ­rats also attract­ed par­tic­u­lar “vul­ner­a­ble insid­ers” whose jobs were espe­cial­ly like­ly to be out­sourced or oth­er­wise oblit­er­at­ed by the mar­ket, per­haps because of tech­no­log­i­cal change.

    Those groups of “rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic losers” also pro­vid­ed a dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly high num­ber of the party’s elec­toral can­di­dates com­pared with Sweden’s oth­er par­ties. The result was that the two groups became tight­ly tied to a for­eign­er-bash­ing par­ty that had been around, but was not a major force, since 1988, after emerg­ing from neo-Nazi cir­cles.

    “If you are your­self doing worse and worse, rel­a­tive to oth­ers, and your income is stag­nat­ing or even declin­ing year after year com­pared to peo­ple with sta­ble employ­ment… peo­ple are prone to think­ing immi­grants are tak­ing resources rather than under­stand­ing tax and spend­ing pol­i­cy,” Rickne said.

    In the years since, Sweden’s econ­o­my has become one of the fastest-grow­ing in Europe. Swedes who are “insid­ers” have done bet­ter and bet­ter. But inequal­i­ty has con­tin­ued to flour­ish — and so have the Swe­den Democ­rats. The country’s top par­ties on the cen­ter-left and cen­ter-right have shown lit­tle inter­est in recon­sid­er­ing the tax cuts pack­age of 2006 or oth­er steps toward expand­ed redis­tri­b­u­tion. Even the social spend­ing promis­es of the main lib­er­al par­ty, the Social Democ­rats, focus on uni­ver­sal ben­e­fits rather than those tar­get­ed at, say, the “out­siders.”

    That seem­ing cal­lous­ness — and the eco­nom­ic changes in the first place — are the rea­son many vot­ers became dis­trust­ful and were inspired to thumb their nose at the Swedish estab­lish­ment. With that as a pri­or­i­ty, those vot­ers respect­ed the Swe­den Democ­rats’ deter­mi­na­tion to crit­i­cize politi­cians’ gen­er­al con­sen­sus on wel­com­ing immi­grants, the paper argues, per­ceiv­ing that as a way to tack­le Sweden’s own elites as much as (or per­haps more than) for­eign­ers. The often harsh and tar­get­ed rhetoric mat­ters, then, but not just because of vot­ers’ racial ani­mus.

    Vot­ers have stuck with the par­ty as it has focused on immi­gra­tion restric­tions, say­ing lit­tle about revers­ing the poli­cies of the mid-2000s and instead adopt­ing stan­dard fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive talk about the val­ue of tax cuts and argu­ing hav­ing few­er immi­grants will pre­serve the wel­fare state. And the researchers found that those groups’ con­tin­ued sup­port for the Swe­den Democ­rats does not seem linked to direct expo­sure to immi­grants or demo­graph­ic changes in their own com­mu­ni­ties.

    Sound famil­iar? Oth­er devel­oped economies that are grow­ing rich­er but also more unequal have seen sim­i­lar devel­op­ments. A dif­fer­ent study released this year found links between polit­i­cal­ly imposed aus­ter­i­ty in the Unit­ed King­dom and sup­port for the immi­grant-bait­ing par­ty that pro­mot­ed Brex­it, the paper notes. In Fin­land, a rad­i­cal right par­ty has made gains after painful spend­ing cuts even though the coun­try has expe­ri­enced minus­cule amounts of immi­gra­tion.

    Fac­tors oth­er than eco­nom­ic anx­i­ety remain cen­tral to the pop­u­lar­i­ty and con­duct of anti-immi­grant par­ties like the Swe­den Democ­rats.

    “Our paper doesn’t pro­vide 100 per­cent of the expla­na­tion,” Rickne said.

    But it’s attract­ing atten­tion in Swe­den and abroad — and has unde­ni­able val­ue in show­ing what rival politi­cians and oth­ers upset about the hard-right’s growth need to under­stand and address.

    “I find their results inter­est­ing and intu­itive­ly rea­son­able,” Niklas Bolin of Mid Swe­den Uni­ver­si­ty told Huff­Post in an email, not­ing that the study departs from much oth­er research direct­ly tying increased anti-immi­gra­tion views to increased sup­port for the far right.

    A cen­tral ques­tion that remains is whether vot­ers like these sup­port par­ties because they pur­port to be anti-estab­lish­ment, by depart­ing from elite views on immi­gra­tion or oth­er issues, or if eco­nom­ic inse­cu­ri­ty direct­ly makes peo­ple more like­ly to decide they are upset about for­eign­ers.

    “One plau­si­ble hypoth­e­sis is that those vot­ers who are eco­nom­i­cal­ly less well-off also [are] more recep­tive to anti-immi­gra­tion mes­sages,” Bolin wrote.

    ...

    ———-

    “Aus­ter­i­ty And 2008’s Crash Boost­ed Sweden’s Far Right Long Before The Refugee Cri­sis” by Akbar Shahid Ahmed; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 09/09/2018

    “The Swe­den Democ­rats say their rise is because nations like theirs have been over­whelmed by for­eign­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly after more than 2 mil­lion flowed into Europe since 2015 in the biggest wave of refugees since World War II. But new research sug­gests that line might be as mis­lead­ing as the sto­ries the party’s sup­port­ers have pumped out on social media about immi­grant behav­ior.

    As even the Swe­den Democ­rats them­selves like to claim, their elec­toral suc­cess is due to all these for­eign­ers flood­ing the coun­try and mak­ing Swedes sud­den­ly much more xeno­pho­bic. But as the researchers found, if the Swe­den Democ­rats should be thank­ing any­one, it would be be the rest of Swe­den’s polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment that made aus­ter­i­ty a sig­na­ture fea­ture of Swe­den over the last decade, includ­ing the 2006 aus­ter­i­ty that pre-dat­ed the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis. And as a result of that aus­ter­i­ty, it’s the “out­sider” — peo­ple, pri­mar­i­ly work­ing-class men with low­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion, who had lit­tle sta­ble employ­ment and relied heav­i­ly on gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits — who have been hit the hard­est, which hap­pens to be the group most amenable to the Swe­den Democ­rats mes­sage:

    ...
    Instead, the party’s suc­cess is strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with a fac­tor for­eign­ers had lit­tle con­trol over: the pol­i­cy choic­es of Sweden’s native politi­cians, accord­ing to a recent­ly released paper by five econ­o­mists that draws on data about Swe­den Demo­c­rat can­di­dates and vot­ers.

    The experts point to a dou­ble wham­my. In 2006, a new cen­ter-right gov­ern­ment took aim at Sweden’s famed wel­fare state, reduc­ing unem­ploy­ment, sick­ness and dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits to finance tax cuts, and spark­ing a sharp and sus­tained increase in income inequal­i­ty. Come 2008, the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis hit, caus­ing big job loss­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly among peo­ple who had already become less secure in the labor mar­ket.

    “Peo­ple most­ly look at the rad­i­cal right from the angle of exter­nal shocks, like trade [with for­eign work­ers prov­ing cheap­er than domes­tic ones] and glob­al­iza­tion… the point that you might take away from our paper is the effect of aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy,” said Johan­na Rickne, one of the co-authors of the report and a pro­fes­sor at Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty.

    The first elec­tion after the events the researchers focus on, held in 2010, marked the first time the Swe­den Democ­rats scored enough votes to enter Sweden’s par­lia­ment. In the next elec­tion, they more than dou­bled their vote share.

    What the par­ty relied on, the researchers show, was the increas­ing pain of “out­siders” — peo­ple, pri­mar­i­ly work­ing-class men with low­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion, who had lit­tle sta­ble employ­ment and relied heav­i­ly on gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits. The Swe­den Democ­rats also attract­ed par­tic­u­lar “vul­ner­a­ble insid­ers” whose jobs were espe­cial­ly like­ly to be out­sourced or oth­er­wise oblit­er­at­ed by the mar­ket, per­haps because of tech­no­log­i­cal change.

    Those groups of “rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic losers” also pro­vid­ed a dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly high num­ber of the party’s elec­toral can­di­dates com­pared with Sweden’s oth­er par­ties. The result was that the two groups became tight­ly tied to a for­eign­er-bash­ing par­ty that had been around, but was not a major force, since 1988, after emerg­ing from neo-Nazi cir­cles.

    “If you are your­self doing worse and worse, rel­a­tive to oth­ers, and your income is stag­nat­ing or even declin­ing year after year com­pared to peo­ple with sta­ble employ­ment… peo­ple are prone to think­ing immi­grants are tak­ing resources rather than under­stand­ing tax and spend­ing pol­i­cy,” Rickne said.
    ...

    Not sur­pris­ing­ly, inequal­i­ty has also soared dur­ing this peri­od, and nei­ther the cen­ter-left or cen­ter-right have shown much inter­est in revers­ing these wel­fare state cuts:

    ...
    In the years since, Sweden’s econ­o­my has become one of the fastest-grow­ing in Europe. Swedes who are “insid­ers” have done bet­ter and bet­ter. But inequal­i­ty has con­tin­ued to flour­ish — and so have the Swe­den Democ­rats. The country’s top par­ties on the cen­ter-left and cen­ter-right have shown lit­tle inter­est in recon­sid­er­ing the tax cuts pack­age of 2006 or oth­er steps toward expand­ed redis­tri­b­u­tion. Even the social spend­ing promis­es of the main lib­er­al par­ty, the Social Democ­rats, focus on uni­ver­sal ben­e­fits rather than those tar­get­ed at, say, the “out­siders.”

    That seem­ing cal­lous­ness — and the eco­nom­ic changes in the first place — are the rea­son many vot­ers became dis­trust­ful and were inspired to thumb their nose at the Swedish estab­lish­ment. With that as a pri­or­i­ty, those vot­ers respect­ed the Swe­den Democ­rats’ deter­mi­na­tion to crit­i­cize politi­cians’ gen­er­al con­sen­sus on wel­com­ing immi­grants, the paper argues, per­ceiv­ing that as a way to tack­le Sweden’s own elites as much as (or per­haps more than) for­eign­ers. The often harsh and tar­get­ed rhetoric mat­ters, then, but not just because of vot­ers’ racial ani­mus.
    ...

    The Swe­den Democ­rats them­selves don’t actu­al­ly call for revers­ing those wel­fare cuts either. Because of course they don’t. They’re extreme­ly right-wing. Instead, they assure vot­ers if that kick­ing out all the immi­grants and refugees will pre­serve the wel­fare state. But in this kind of polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment, with the cen­ter-left and cen­ter-right show­ing no inter­est in restor­ing the eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty these “out­siders” lost over the last decade, that call to kick out immi­grants to save your own safe­ty-net is going to have out­sized appeal to those that may not nor­mal­ly be dri­ven by racial ani­mus. Inter­est­ing, the researchers also found that the sup­port­ers of the Swe­den Democ­rats don’t seem to have much direct expo­sure to immi­grants or wit­nessed demo­graph­ic changes in their own com­mu­ni­ties. It’s a sense of per­cep­tion that’s dri­ving much of this, a per­cep­tion that’s been exac­er­bat­ed by these aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies:

    ...
    Vot­ers have stuck with the par­ty as it has focused on immi­gra­tion restric­tions, say­ing lit­tle about revers­ing the poli­cies of the mid-2000s and instead adopt­ing stan­dard fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive talk about the val­ue of tax cuts and argu­ing hav­ing few­er immi­grants will pre­serve the wel­fare state. And the researchers found that those groups’ con­tin­ued sup­port for the Swe­den Democ­rats does not seem linked to direct expo­sure to immi­grants or demo­graph­ic changes in their own com­mu­ni­ties.

    Sound famil­iar? Oth­er devel­oped economies that are grow­ing rich­er but also more unequal have seen sim­i­lar devel­op­ments. A dif­fer­ent study released this year found links between polit­i­cal­ly imposed aus­ter­i­ty in the Unit­ed King­dom and sup­port for the immi­grant-bait­ing par­ty that pro­mot­ed Brex­it, the paper notes. In Fin­land, a rad­i­cal right par­ty has made gains after painful spend­ing cuts even though the coun­try has expe­ri­enced minus­cule amounts of immi­gra­tion.

    Fac­tors oth­er than eco­nom­ic anx­i­ety remain cen­tral to the pop­u­lar­i­ty and con­duct of anti-immi­grant par­ties like the Swe­den Democ­rats.
    ...

    Of course, as the arti­cle notes, there’s plen­ty of research that does indeed find that the growth of sup­port for the far right is direct­ly tied to grow­ing anti-immi­grant views. But that’s part of what makes this new research to poten­tial­ly impor­tant. Because it does­n’t deny that there’s been a rise in anti-immi­grant views but still ties that rise to some­thing that has noth­ing to do with immi­gra­tion: aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies wide­ly embrace by the cen­ter-left­/­cen­ter-right estab­lish­ment:

    ...
    “I find their results inter­est­ing and intu­itive­ly rea­son­able,” Niklas Bolin of Mid Swe­den Uni­ver­si­ty told Huff­Post in an email, not­ing that the study departs from much oth­er research direct­ly tying increased anti-immi­gra­tion views to increased sup­port for the far right.

    A cen­tral ques­tion that remains is whether vot­ers like these sup­port par­ties because they pur­port to be anti-estab­lish­ment, by depart­ing from elite views on immi­gra­tion or oth­er issues, or if eco­nom­ic inse­cu­ri­ty direct­ly makes peo­ple more like­ly to decide they are upset about for­eign­ers.

    “One plau­si­ble hypoth­e­sis is that those vot­ers who are eco­nom­i­cal­ly less well-off also [are] more recep­tive to anti-immi­gra­tion mes­sages,” Bolin wrote.
    ...

    And that all points to one of the chick­en-and-egg dynam­ics of this sit­u­a­tion: when peo­ple embrace the far right, they inevitably end up get­ting the kinds of abu­sive poli­cies that end up cre­at­ing the kind of envi­ron­ment that makes them more inse­cure, anx­ious, and there­fore more like­ly to adopt a right-wing world­view. It’s basi­cal­ly a cycle of abuse, some of it self-inflict­ed, played out at a soci­etal lev­el. And fig­ur­ing out how to rec­og­nize and cor­rect that that cycle of self-inflict­ed abuse remains one of the great chal­lenges of human civ­i­liza­tion at this point because we see this same pat­tern play­ing out over and over. Swe­den is just the lat­est exam­ple.

    On the plus side, it sounds like it’s pos­si­ble that humans might become a lot nicer when they aren’t chron­i­cal­ly feel­ing deeply inse­cure. Which we should have already known but it’s nice when research backs that up. So that’s at least good-ish news.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 10, 2018, 9:31 am

Post a comment