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The Beast Reawakens (excerpt)

Excerpt from
The Beast Reawak­ens
by Mar­tin A. Lee
1997, Lit­tle Brown
ISBN 0–316-51959–6

pp 216–217

s in France, such notions were com­pat­i­ble with the hatred of refugees, asy­lum seek­ers, and eth­nic minori­ties. But this ani­mos­i­ty was obscured some­what by the Ger­man New Right’s strong endorse­ment of nation­al lib­er­a­tion move­ments and “rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gles” around the world, rang­ing from the Basques in Spain and the IRA in North­ern Ire­land to the peo­ples 0 East­ern Eu , the Ukraine, the Afghan mujahideen, and the San­din­istas of Nicaragua. In short, any mor­tal ene­my of a super­pow­er was deemed a de fac­to ally by var­i­ous inchoate New Right for­ma­tions that sprang up in West Ger­many dur­ing the ear­ly 1980s.50

This peri­od also saw the emer­gence of the Greens, left-of-cen­ter peace-and-ecol­o­gy par­ty, as a mass-based oppo­si­tion move­ment in West Ger­many. Gal­va­nized by NATO’s deci­sion to sta­tion a new gen­er­a­tion of medi­um-range nuclear mis­siles in Europe, the Greens adopt­ed a neu­tral­ist stance toward the East-West con­flict. Their attempts to forge a third way beyond cap­i­tal­ism and Com­mu­nism bore cer­tain sim­i­lar­i­ties to themes stressed by New Right intel­lec­tu­als and neo-Nazi mil­i­tants, who tried to out­flank their left-wing con­tem­po­raries by enun­ci­at­ing rad­i­cal posi­tions on ecol­o­gy, nuclear weapons, U.S. Impe­ri­al­ism, and “nation­al lib­er­a­tion.” Some right-wing extrem­ists went so far as to call for “rev­o­lu­tion from below” in Ger­many mod­eled after Third World inde­pen­dence strug­gles. They often employed left­ist-sound­ing rhetoric that appealed to the Greens’ sup­port­ers, who also obsessed over ques­tions of per­son­al and col­lec­tive iden­ti­ty. Many Greens were recep­tive to argu­ments that Ger­man uni­fi­ca­tion was an indis­pens­able pre­con­di­tion to a durable peace in Europe. Such mat­ters were debat­ed in New Right pub­li­ca­tions that inter­spersed arti­cles by left-wing authors and neo-fascis­tic “nation­al revolutionaries.“51

The polit­i­cal cross-fer­til­iza­tion that ensued in West Ger­many around this time pro­vid­ed new oppor­tu­ni­ties for far Right strate­gists, who were con­tin­u­al­ly search­ing for ways to tran­scend their mar­gin­al­ized sta­tus. Toward this end, they sought to pig­gy­back on the suc­cess of the Greens, which polled enough votes to enter the West Ger­man Bun­destag — a feat that had not been accom­plished by a rad­i­cal right-wing par­ty since 1949. Although most Greens were indis­putably antifas­cist, some of them lacked the polit­i­cal savvy to real­ize that neo-Nazis and oth­er far Right mis­cre­ants had infil­trat­ed their ranks from the outset.52 *

In 1980, the West Berlin chap­ter of the Greens, known as the Alter­na­tive List, expelled a con­tin­gent of “nation­al rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies” that had employed stealth tac­tics in an effort to take over the group. This was mere­ly one skir­mish in a bat­tle for con­trol of the Greens as left­ists feud­ed with brown ele­ments inside the par­ty. Left-wing forces ulti­mate­ly pre­vailed, prompt­ing eco­fas­cists and their fel­low trav­el­ers to form a rival orga­ni­za­tion, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Ecol­o­gy Par­ty head­ed by Her­bert Gruhl, in 1982.53

While Ger­man neo-Nazis and New Right intel­lec­tu­als expressed con­cern for Green issues, their inter­est in Green issues was lit­tle more than a pre­text for pro­mot­ing a cut­throat social Dar­win­ist ide­ol­o­gy and a dis­guised form of racism. Gruhl, for exam­ple, trum­pet­ed the “laws of nature” to jus­ti­fy a hier­ar­chi­cal social order. “All striv­ings of peo­ple . . . for orga­nized social jus­tice are sim­ply hope­less,” he assert­ed. A guest speak­er at Holo­caust-denial con­fabs and oth­er neo-Nazi func­tions, Gruhl was sub­se­quent­ly award­ed the Bun­desver­di­en­stkreuz (Fed­er­al Ser­vice Cross), the coun­try’s high­est offi­cial hon­or, by the Bohn gov­ern­ment.

* The first orga­ni­za­tion to call itself “the Greens in 1977 was led by August Haus­sleit­er, a bull­necked, red-faced vet­er­an of Hitler’s beer hail putsch, who had a long his­to­ry of involve­ment in extreme right-wing caus­es after World War II. Dur­ing the 1950s, August Haus­sleit­er’s Deutsche Gemein­schaft (Ger­man Com­mu­ni­ty) col­lab­o­rat­ed with the neo-Nazi Brud­er­schaft, which count­ed Otto Sko­rzeny among its key per­son­nel. Short­ly after the Social­ist Reich Par­ty was banned by the West Ger­man gov­ern­ment, Haus­sleit­er engaged in secret talks with Ernst Remer’s col­leagues in an effort to pre­serve the polit­i­cal punch or the SRP faith­ful. The SRP-linked attor­ney Rudolf Aschenauer was an exec­u­tive board mem­ber of the DeutscheGe­mein­schaft. By the late 1960s, how­ev­er, Haus­sleit­er had swung toward the Left in an effort to attract stu­dent rad­i­cals. His group, Action Com­mu­ni­ty of Inde­pen­dent Ger­mans, began to focus on ecol­o­gy and anti­nu­clear issues. Haus­sleit­er sub­se­quent­ly became a father fig­ure for the fledg­ling Greens, whose ini­tial sup­port­ers includ­ed dis­si­dent con­ser­v­a­tives as well as left-wing activists. In 1980, he was elect­ed chair­man of the Greens, but Haus­sleit­er was forced to step down after a months because or his check­ered past.


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