I guess that’s a question to which many people would like an answer.
The first bit is quite easy, so let’s start with that. AfD stands for Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany). This is a political party founded in 2013, at the heights of the Euro-Crisis. After some initial setbacks, it is now represented in 14 of the 16 regional parliaments and the German federal parliament (Bundestag) where it serves as the official opposition, much to the dismay of the established parties.
Over the last months, AfD has been polling between 16 and 18 per cent and is now ahead of the socialkleptocratic, sorry: social democratic party (SPD). It has by now become Germany’s second largest party, polling above 18 per cent and would be represented by 130 to 140 MPs in parliament. Clearly, something has changed in Krautland.
As to why the AfD is so successful, you may hear many different reasons depending on whom you’d ask but the explanations mainly fall into two categories:
A) Establishment masturbation. Immanently pleasing to the powers that be but not much value beyond that.
B) Honest explanation. May require time and effort but also yields more useful results than option A.
The reasons in “A” have in common that all explanations for the AfD’s supposedly “sudden and surprising” success are inherently uncritical of the incumbent parties’ policies and their personnel. At the same time, they’re also viciously demeaning towards the challengers of the entrenched status quo.
This obviously goes well with calling the new kid on the block all sorts of names, particularly “racist”, “xenophobe”, “Nazi”, “islamophobe”, “homophobe”, “misogynist” and what not. The full array of dog whistle insults, of real and invented propaganda buzzwords along with some pseudo-scientific sound bites is deployed against what is perceived as the enemy of the established order – the incumbents must be scared indeed.
Needless to say, this instinctive reaction to challenges to the status quo is an ubiquitous phenomenon and is no German speciality. It follows the same one-size-fits all attempt at reasoning which is being applied to any and all new entries into the world of political power.
I’ve seen the exact same narrative play out in 2001, when Ole von Beust got elected mayor of Hamburg; in 2007, when Mauricio Macri got elected mayor of Buenos Aires; and in 2016, when Donald J. Trump got elected President of the USA. It is always the same intellectually lazy and morally corrupt thin gruel that is being rattled off by the entrenched powers in media and politics, regardless of specific local and historical circumstances.
The official narrative is of course immensely self-pleasing to media pundits and their democratic arm in the established parties. What they fail to realise is that their narrative is saying so much more about them than about the topic at hand. Apart from being a not very edifying experience having to witness this almost Pavlovian reflex in presumably intelligent individuals, it also leaves you none the wiser having to listen to them, or having to watch them doing their little pieces to camera. Which may be one of the reasons why this sort of political pornography is taking a beating in the rankings of late: people have grown tired of this dire sort of establishment masturbation that is saying so much more about its clients and protagonists than about the topic at hand.
I think we’re all agreed that no useful insights could be gleaned from the official narrative beyond what would be charged somewhere between £70 and £100 per hour in psychotherapy. If we’re wanting to find out what really makes people vote popular parties such as AfD, UKIP, Lega Norte or Sweden Democrats, this leaves us with answers which fall into Category “B” – reasons which are not immensely self-pleasing to the established media-political complex and try to give an honest explanation. This approach will have to consider local, regional and national social and historical circumstances to a far greater extent than what is being covered by the entrenched narrative.
AfD was founded at a time when it had become quite obvious that something was going wrong with multiculturalism in Germany. Not with all of it, mind, but there seemed to be something awfully wrong with a specific subset of the immigrant population. The Islamic terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York had – after all – been planned, prepared and executed from the strategic depth of one of the more notorious no-go-zones of Hamburg, Krautland’s second city.
As luck would have it, I was then living within easy walking distance of “that” mosque in Hamburg-St. George. A few times, I went there when all other shops were closed to get a bit of fresh meat; lamb chops seem to have been their speciality.
The place looked, felt and operated about as “authentically Arab” as you could get short of the real deal, i.e. Egypt or Saudi-Arabia. But crucially, all its “rich tapestry”, its “vibrant folklore”, was being talked up by the established media as “wholesome foreign culture”. Whereas even the slightest bit of curious lurking behind the scenes, the faintest bit of a raised eyebrow or – God forbid! – a critical question or comment would have you purged from the body politic as a “racist”, “islamophobe” and “literally Hitler”.
That’s the sort of systemic political blindness by the established order that gave the world 9/11, before it went on with giving it the 1,400 raped kids of Rotherham (and not just there). As for Hamburg, I think it is fair to assume that neither questions were asked nor lessons were learned after the deed was done. The socialkleptocrats in power never forgave the Yankees for liberating them from fascism. And they never will.
That’s the historical background into which Sarrazin intervened with his now famous first book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (“Germany abolishes itself”). We shall not go into it at this point because the topic has already been covered in four excellent articles by Joe Slater on Going Postal. What is important now is that at least for a short period of time, some politicians and their media partners (those of a nominally more conservative bend) were eager to make the right noises. They promised to “take people seriously” and “understand their worries” – of course without having the intention of doing anything about them as must be assumed with the benefit of hindsight.
Dr Angela Merkel, federal chancellor, said things about “multiculti having failed” – lazily subsuming aspects of multiculturalism that clearly haven’t failed, such as immigration from southern Europe and the Far East, and mixing those with forms where it quite obviously has failed dramatically, and with fatal consequences, such as immigration from Islamic countries.
I’ll save for another day Dr Merkel’s lonely decision of highhandedly abolishing nuclear power (“Atomausstieg”) and supplying Krautland’s vast manufacturing industries with “green & clean” (prohibitively expensive, unreliable, inefficient, and not really very clean) energy sources instead. Suffice it to say: an acquaintance working for an important Swedish energy company asked me whether we all had a collective death wish for letting this happen. Clearly, Mad Mutti did not have her country’s best interest in mind, did she?
As I am hoping to show, there’s a story behind the current disenchantment with official media and politics. And it ran a long way before reaching take-off velocity in 2013, when the AfD was founded. If one had been mollycoddled within an inch of his life by the established narrative (“all cultures are equal, all cultures are good”), then I assume one would have noticed none of this, dozing away in a media induced coma. So, I grant most journos and politicians that yes, it did indeed come as a huge surprise to them when someone took Mutti up on her catchphrase that “there is no alternative” – by providing an alternative: the “Alternative für Deutschland”.
Yet, it would be wrong seeing the AfD solely as a reaction against something, a “protest vote” – though at least partially, it certainly is just that. And there’s nothing wrong with protest by democratic and peaceful means neither, at least not in my book.
But the AfD’s foundation occurred under specific social and historical conditions. There had of course been several esoteric parties to the right of the political spectrum before. I’m not talking of the neo-Nazi NPD, but of all the independent candidates, “Free Voters” and “PRO” parties that got painted with the same neo-Nazi brush and grew sick and tired of it. But it took the Euro-Crisis in 2012 to galvanise some of them into action and into a coherent party programme.
Others would join from the established “conservative” party, the union of CDU/CSU, once it had become transparent that the Union was going nowhere, except to the left, and now was only nominally conservative. The Union by then had become rather more an extension of the “Green” party by different means (“Atomausstieg” and all that).
Then of course, Greece had to be “saved”. Or rather the immense debts Franco-German banks had sold to the Hellenic republic. It was all cloaked in technical verbiage by the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and Berlin, but once you cut away the guff, it became clear that German taxpayers would have to work til they drop (or at least until they’re 67) so that Greek train drivers could retire at 48. Predictably, this didn’t go down too well with many German taxpayers. For this, they were then told to shut up and suck it up for the sake of being called “Europeans” – and not nasty Nazis.
I cannot emphasize enough the enormous damage the official propaganda is doing to Holocaust remembrance when this singular act of industrial, state-sponsored barbary is abused for political point scoring – and clearly by people who have only learned the lessons that fit their own narrow narrative and agenda. This hypocrisy becomes painstakingly obvious when the establishment forces try to claim Holocaust remembrance all for them – with which it has only to do to the extent which fits the establishment’s political and personal ambitions of course.
To resume: after the powers that be, had buried the so-called “Rescue of Greece” (“Griechenland-Rettung”) under loads of technical words and phrases that made it difficult to cut to the chase and find out what was really going on, AfD seemed to be going nowhere in the polls and in elections, except in some parts of former East Germany. Problem solved? No, not quite.
What happened next was the EU’s ham-fisted effort at geopolitics vis-à-vis Russia. This breathtaking act of hubris put the former West on the brink of a military confrontation with Putin over Crimea – after the EU’s attempt to bring the country into its orbit by means of subverting the Ukrainian government had ended spectacularly badly, and for many people fatally. So much for the EU being a “peaceful force for good” – but we always knew where Mr Verhofstadt could stick his tweets about his infamous “EUropean Values”, didn’t we?
Mad Mutti’s Ukrainian adventure hadn’t gone down too well particularly in East Germany, for obvious reasons: for two generations, it had really been drilled into them that they owed their continued existence on this planet to the Russians. Of all people, Stasi-Angie should have known this – I’m sure the party line figured prominently in Stasi training.
This wasn’t her only blunder and not even her most severe by a long chalk. Having run out of things to fix or “rescue” (ask the Greeks how they feel about it?), the official media-political complex started ruining things instead, only half hoping to be able to put them together again.
Clearly, we’ve had it too good. And at the height of the “Refugee Crisis”, on the back of a notoriously staged looking photo of a dead kid on a beach in Turkey, Mad Merkel invited sundry all-comers to treasure island and the land of milk and honey. It is always so easy being generous with someone else’s money, isn’t it? And weren’t we supposed to see six million Jews returning from the death camps when in reality, half of West-Africa and East-India were on their way to Krautland? You bet we were.
And though many people all over Europe are now dead, because they got bombed, run-over, shot, stabbed or smashed to pieces because of Mad Marxel’s lonely and extra-parliamentary decisions, we’re still living with the consequences. While “family reunification” (aka chain migration) will make sure that 1.5 million “refugees” quickly multiply to ten million in the next years. Well at least they’re all related (some perhaps since before marriage) so I guess we really ought to be seeing the positive side of things…
It is of course “racist” and “islamofauxbe” in the extreme wanting to survive what the established order has inflicted upon its people. We should of course thank the EU for an equal sharing of the terrorist misery via “refugee” quotas. If terror fails, “EUrope” fails and all that. But how can we ever extol being gifted with all these aspiring brain surgeons, footballers and rap-musicians by the EU! And the “children” – won’t anybody think of the “children”…
Shouldn’t we all get raped and stabbed to prove that we’re not “racist”? I think every Guardian reader knows the answer to that. He or she also knows, I suppose, that there simply “is no alternative” to the common fate called upon us by Our Dear Leaders.
No “Alternative” – really?
© Guardian Council 2018