It’s happened! And we should have seen it coming. What people had feared all the way along, in view of the somewhat undefined attitude of the "middle classes" towards the AfD party, has finally become reality and I am appalled: In Thuringia, an FDP politician has been elected a Regional Premier for Thuringia with the help of fascists’ votes. I daren’t imagine where this will lead. Let’s rise up immediately and disagree with a loud ‘NO’! In view of the explosive nature of the current situation, I wrote the text below together with my editor Roland Rottenfußer.
Thuringia has attempted first steps towards an arch conservative/far-right-wing republic! This is not the first time in history that the middle classes have become impregnated with fascism. For the average person within the FDP and CDU parties, any means, no matter how tacky, now appear good enough to take a share of the power causing a break with taboos and thus entailing unforeseeable consequences. It’s time to rise up!!! Konstantin Wecker and Roland Rottenfußer
And so, disaster has truck! In Thuringia, an FDP Regional Premier was elected to office using votes of the Union and AfD parties. Let’s just remind ourselves here, that this is happening in a country where the AfD party is not simply led by moderate politicians, but by Björn Höcke, who is not only known to be a fascist, but can also be officially called that in court. We are talking about a dreadful political agitator, who – among countless other missteps – kept drivelling on about the "imminent death of the people through the exchange of populations" and who, with regards to the liberation of Germany from National Socialism in 1945, conjures it has been a catastrophic defeat.
CDU and FDP politicians, by means of wordy verbal assertions have always ruled out a coalition with the far right in the past. This has now gone to waste. Instead of using the word "coalition," they now simply use the terms "tolerated minority government." This coup shows a complete disrespect for the will of the voters anyway, as Bodo Ramelow and his left party had achieved a record election result. However, in order to prevent any kind of approach towards a socio-ecological political direction, certain circles are literally prepared to use any unethical means to get what they want.
Alice Weidel already imagines herself in Wonderland and triumphantly claims: "There is no way around the AfD!" Most unfortunately, she is probably correct. Albeit it may be a little too early for comparisons with even worse times in German history, it is clear that we are now already looking at Austrian-like circumstances, i.e. at every election at Federal, Regional and State level, the realistic alternatives will be coalitions made up from Center right and far right with or without the Federals. (Let's simply not accept that this questionable AfD party, which elects racists to its head, takes a lead!).
For yet a little while to come, the Center right and the FDP parties will probably be reluctant to come out, regarding the question of future coalitions. This is somewhat comparable to virgins, blushing in anticipation, demonstrating their willingness to go ahead – be it a bit too early. But usually this changes after a while, when the press or the more courageous politicians will start uttering the words: "It's going quite well in Thuringia, it's been possible to harness the AfD. In view of the left Green Party threat, we can no longer completely rule out using this step to attain power".
The taboo-breakers can sit back and wait patiently, because they know that they will benefit from the Zeitgeist’s backing. Each further step to the right will, of course, be accompanied by deliberate screams of indignation. But the actors will sit this out confidently and continue following their consistent path. Like everything else in this country, which is blessed with a patient population, the new increase of the far right of Germany will ultimately be a matter of getting used to it.
Let’s not kid ourselves! The AfD will have had to fork out quite a bit to fund the election of this Premier Kemmerich. What’s going to happen next is easy to guess. It will be the reversal of even the slightest progress made in the last four years by Minister Ramelow such as the severity of treatment for refugees for example. There is also no doubt that there will be a further expansion of the ‘Supergrundrecht Sicherheit’ (Extra Fundamental Right to security). All in all, the country that is likely to emerge, is one where in which the State is governing from above using educational methods comprising violence and intimidation. This will then prepare a trial ground for the kind of republic, the reactionary forces have long had in mind, but which has so far been avoided due to social resistance.
Encouraging, however, are the many negative and, in parts, reactions of sheer horror emanating from mainstream politics, which feed the hope that Berlin will not simply sit and let a seizure of power happen, without acting accordingly. Even inside the FDP party, not everyone agrees. For example, former Federal Minister of the Interior Gerhard Baum, whose name, these days, almost arouses nostalgia, when recalling times when the FDP party still knew about the term decency, comments as follows: "A touch of Weimar covers the country. The evil is back." It is likely that we need to consider Jürgen Möllemann as the progenitor of this "New FDP", as he carved a name for himself not long ago through anti-semitic advances.
Ulrich Schneider, Federal Spokesman of the Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime – Federation of Anti-Fascists (VVN-BdA), said in an initial statement: "The election of Thomas Kemmerich will – should it be successful - create a Government in Thuringia which will be completely at the mercy of the AfD party. This is a serious threat to all anti-fascist forces in the country as well as institutions, such as the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial ground. That is why civil society resistance in every kind of form is now called for."
I can only agree with that. It is appalling to imagine how a person like Björn Höcke, in his capacity of co-responsible for Buchenwald, could possibly carry out what he announced recently i.e. a 180-degree turnaround in the remembrance policy. In a democracy that is at least partly committed to human rights, Anti-fascists and anti-racists, and indeed all those who are interested in democracy should now take to the streets in their thousands,even if their political ground is not the left. Let us ensure that the shock of Erfurt only goes down in history as a footnote or a short haunt, not as a consequential deep crack and a prelude to a new, dark era of our country.
And, finally, we must stop considering the FDP and Union parties as harmless or slightly conservative exponents of the middle classes.
These are no longer the wearers of traditional costumes, they are arsonists who want another republic, they are aiming for an unleashed capitalism secured by tightly organized state repression. A system that would move the worker’s anger away from politics and direct it towards refugees and precariously living down-and-outs . These parties, which had long ‘sold’ the working population to financially strong investors, have only just now dropped the final remnant of shame! Let’s show them our exasperation by taking to the streets and voting correctly in the next elections!
They must not get away with it!