The causes of the shift to the right and right-wing populism in Germany are currently being sought in fake news and social robots on social networks.
Fake news, i.e. intentionally launched false reports in social networks, aim to manipulate the population. Similar methods were also used by the Nazis. This is in contrast to the journalistic code of honor in Germany, which obliges journalists to tell the truth and to avoid false or misleading reports. Fake news is thus a symptom of destabilizing democracy in a country.
But fake news is also a symptom of a targeted “infiltration” of the population that has taken place over decades, outside of social networks – via newsletters, by e-mail and lectures. As my research over almost three years revealed.
Thilo Sarrazin’s publications made nationalism and right-wing populism respectable again.
For as long as I can remember, I have been concerned with National Socialism and the atrocities that took place in this country with the support of the population.
Other children were read Grimm’s fairy tales. My grandfather told me about the people he hid for years from the Nazis, saved and risked his life. At the last moment they were able to escape to the USA. Told me about the megalomaniac nationalism, the lying Nazi propaganda that was spread in “Der Stürmer”. Told me about a society with the same mindset, about cowards, followers, block guards and denunciators – of whom he was more afraid than of the Nazis. Told me about the uneducated, the failed and the frustrated, who were the first to make a “career” with the Nazis. About the block guards who were finally somebody in the SS. Told me how they picked up their former employers, where they previously worked as janitors, out of resentment and envy, and took them to the concentration camp.
Even as a child I could not understand why no one did anything and helped and how it could be that a whole nation watched and contributed by denunciation to the fact that their neighbors and more than 6 million people were murdered. Because the population was indifferent, thought only of their advantage and wanted to believe the “lies” of a pied piper and demagogue, as my grandfather told me.
I observed the society with the still existing Nazis very closely and saw how denunciation and discrimination against minorities was again promoted, encouraged and rewarded by politicians, public order offices, authorities, the executive and judiciary in Germany. Again with a willing population. Denunciation, false accusation and the discrimination of minorities became socially acceptable again in Germany and a “people’s sport”. Instead of sending denunciators home to learn to solve their problems themselves, they were rewarded.
The new “block wardens” and fellow travelers do not talk to their neighbors or minorities. They control, denounce, denounce and sue others. When all inhibitions have fallen due to right-wing populist propaganda and agitation, asylum seekers’ homes are set on fire or foreigners are murdered. Denunciation, by the way, is an “invention” of the Nazis. To control the willing population by controlling each other and instrumentalized them to accomplices.
They never disappeared. The brown ideas had always been there and were passed on from generation to generation in the families. Alarm calls and signals nobody wanted to hear, were ignored or written down. It was not an understanding of democracy that was taught, but how to make profit by any means to finally present oneself to the world as a winner and export world champion. The “corpses” in one’s own country had long been known and were just being washed up on the “shore”. One did not want to look also here, but as usual away. Suppressed and ignored. Thought again only of his own advantage and did not want to be disturbed and harassed in his comfortable “comfort zone”.
Once again, people looked away and allowed the existing brown “sauce” and the abysses that opened up in society. The dangerous German indifference became visible again. There is again only – black or white. No debates that are conducted in a stable democracy. Either one is for the “windmills” or the enemy. Instead of taking responsibility, own behavior, inability to reflect and learn mistakes, quickly as always a culprit was found. This time foreigners, asylum seekers and refugees.
Then the brown camp formed and organized itself and “spilled over” to the top. The brown demagogues and pied pipers were back. My grandfather once said to me: “They will never learn what democracy, tolerance and plurality mean, they worshipped Hitler too much. The efforts of the Americans and the English to teach them democracy after the Second World War have failed. When the time comes again, leave the country as soon as possible.”
Was he right? Because the people of Germany never had to fight for democracy, but were given it as a gift, and do not appreciate democracy and freedom?
Because the people did not have to take responsibility for their actions, as they did after the end of the Second World War as accomplices and until today?
Austria, the little “brother” of the German Nazis, is ahead of Germany this time with the right-wing populist FPÖ. Obviously, especially the population has not learned anything, falls back into old and known Nazi behavior patterns and also cognitively regresses.
A fearful, desolidarized, cowardly, egoistic, inhuman society without social behavior and understanding of democracy, which obviously learned nothing. A society that once again allows itself to be easily and willingly manipulated and instrumentalized by disseminated conspiracy theories and lies of right-wing populists and radicals. As 70 years ago with tried and tested means: Fear, of a threat created by Nazi propaganda. This society now includes a population that calls itself “conservative,” previously voted for established parties such as the CDU/CSU, and today votes for AfD.
One of the causes is the inaction of politicians, authorities and the judicial system towards right-wing populist, radical right-wing currents and right-wing terrorists of the NSU, as in the case of Zschäpe, experience an obviously different “treatment” than left-wing terrorists, such as those who belonged to the former RAF. They were locked away in high security so that they could not spread their ideas, infiltrate others and recruit.
A society that uses a legal system as a pressure and intimidation tool to denounce and denounce each other mostly out of envy and jealousy. Again thinking only of its own advantage and quickly found again for their own failures and misconduct “culprits” – as currently refugees and asylum seekers.
Right-wing radicals have been organizing in Germany and Europe for over 40 years. After the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann in the 1970s, the Republikaner in the 1980s and 1990s (founded by former members of the CSU), the DVU- which entered the state parliament in Saxony-Anhalt in 1998 with 12.9% and merged with the far-right NPD in 2011, the NSU was the beginning of a new wave of right-wing terror in Germany. Pegida, the AfD and their fellow travelers followed. The pattern is always the same, as in the dark history of this country.
I researched especially in the areas where the Nazis started with the dark past of this country, were very active, Nazi headquarters, SS training camps and munitions plants were located, where forced laborers as well as concentration camp prisoners had to work, and where children were indoctrinated for the Nazi system or for decades Nazi greats like Mengele, after his escape abroad was supported. Above all, to determine whether the population, as connivers and accomplices, has changed or whether the brown ideas were passed on from generation to generation, remained and now come to the surface again and in an organized way. Here are some excerpts of my research results for my book:
It was precisely in these areas that I found the highest concentration of nationalists, right-wing populists, AfD supporters, “Reichsbürger” and a xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic population. A frustrated population filled with intolerance, hatred and mistrust, which is against everything that is different, rejects globalization and the current government. In Bavaria, Saxony and Austria, in the countryside and in small towns.
This attitude was present in all social classes: Farmers, hunters, policemen, members of the Bundeswehr, “concerned” citizens, the unemployed, esoterics, opponents of vaccination, nature and environmentalists, former CSU members/voters, pensioners, all the way to the wealthy middle class.
Not only in Bavarian Swabia, in the district of Günzburg, prejudice, discrimination, denunciation, false accusation and pre-judgement are self-evident “national sport” until today. Which is promoted and rewarded by the mayors and authorities. This population has not yet learned to solve problems on its own.
Encouraged denunciation and defamation was an instrument used by the Nazis to secure their rule and is still common practice today.
Minorities have a hard time in this structurally weak region, where the population constantly monitors and denounces each other.
To this day, this region is characterized by hostility, ill will, corruption, envy, prejudice, intrigue, xenophobia, racism and towards anyone – who is “different”. Which includes Americans, dogs, Jews, homosexuals, foreigners, refugees, asylum seekers and unmarried, single and divorced women.
Despite a small population and enough space for everyone, peaceful coexistence is not possible. The villages resemble ghost towns. Curtains move on the houses of the deserted streets. It is not helpfulness but one’s own advantage that counts. The neighbor is watched begrudgingly and the lawn in deserted gardens – cut with “nail scissors”. Anyone sitting in the garden in the sun is considered lazy and work-shy.
Jews and refugees were considered a threat during and after the war. Today, refugees and asylum seekers are. Prejudice, prejudice and conspiracy theories, the order of the day.
During the war, people enriched themselves on the plight of Jews who had to flee the country or were taken away. Land and houses were taken over for little money or became the property of the population after Jewish families were killed in the concentration camps and no one came forward after the war.
The political attitude is nationalistic, dark black to dark brown. Vigilante justice or murder for base motives in one’s own family for greed of money, is nothing special in this region until today.
On questions about Josef Mengele, the butcher of Auschwitz and his atrocities, the population reacts with silence and aggression. Just like to questions about the support of Mengele from Germany, who was financed from Günzburg for more than thirty years in Argentina and Brazil – where he had fled.
Upward is humped – downward is kicked. Only one’s own advantage counts. The abysses of this society, in which there seems to be no more sense of injustice and decency is a foreign word, become visible. The legal system is abused for personal gain and egoism. Wealthy people “buy” themselves in. From designated farmland then quickly, for a manager of a dairy company who wants to buy a plot, building land. Or 1.8 kg of cocaine disappear from the evidence rooms in Upper Allgäu, 70 km away, and are found by the head of the drug squad.
Diversity only exists in nature. Organic farmers are fought. Cows stand in the barn. Environmental crimes swept under the rug. Siccation with glyphosate is the order of the day. Fields on which liquid manure, artificial fertilizers and sewage sludge land within a week – not uncommon.
Not only the agricultural machines of Mengele’s farmers, are still standing around in this region as silent witnesses.
In all these regions, also in Austria, where Nazis were active, I found similar things. People do not want to be reminded of the past, critical questions are unwanted, the atrocities of the Nazis are played down, the Holocaust is denied. The political attitude: nationalistic, dark black to dark brown, protectionism, populism considered good. Even refugees who came after the war are still unwanted and marginalized today.
Behind the clean facade and the idyllic landscape, which resembles a kitschy picture postcard, the same abysses, the same prejudices, the same sense of injustice, the same inability to reflect, the same denunciation behavior, the same envy and the same criminal machinations are hidden – which I also found in the other regions.
Either one hears, “the Merkel must go away”, or CSU or the AfD is elected. The very frustrated and those disillusioned with politics no longer go to the polls. “They’re all the same, nothing will change anyway,” I heard again and again, mostly from people who work a lot, earn little and also have no time for social networks.
In the fall of 2016, the population learned about the “Reichsbürger” for the first time through the media, when a hunter and “Reichsbürger” who was in possession of 30 firearms shot at the police in Franconia after they wanted to confiscate his weapons. As it turned out, police officers also belonged to “Reichsbürger”. Isolated case? No! Even gun ownership is not a problem in Germany if you belong to a shooting club or hunting association.
The majority of “Reichsbürger” are sympathizers of the AfD, FPÖ, Pegida and right-wing extremists and can also be found at Pegida meetings and all demonstrations that are directed against the government and democracy. Of the existence of the “Reichsbürger” and other right-wing extremist groups, the BND, as well as the state governments, in Bavaria, CSU, and the Interior Ministry, has known for years.
“Reichsbürger” do not recognize the Federal Republic, as well as democracy and deny the Hollocaust. Like the NPD, the “Reichsbürger” demand the replacement of the Basic Law, after it was created according to the specifications of the Western victorious powers.
This extreme right-wing grouping claims that the German Reich would continue to exist under international law and that the Weimar Reich Constitution was not abolished by the National Socialists or by the Allied victorious powers after World War II and that the Weimar Constitution would therefore continue to exist. The Federal Republic is not identical with it, is illegal under international and constitutional law, is not a constitutional state and does not exist. “Reich citizens” are therefore also of the opinion that they could leave the system by a declaration and would not have to pay taxes, fines or penalties.
Through contacts I was able to make during the research, I managed to talk to several “Reichsbürger”. In Upper Bavaria, I met at the Austrian border with a “Reichsbürger” who also lives in Austria. I met a rather introverted, average, inconspicuous-looking man who was hesitant at first, but did not make a mentally deranged impression. Refugees was the “irritant” word that changed his facial expression, color, demeanor and state of mind and it burst out of him, “They’ll all be surprised.” I asked who he meant by that: “Those up there, they think they can do anything they want.” At the same time, he said, Germany is not a state at all, but a limited liability company. “The population is just personnel and politicians do what they want, that’s why the ID card is called an identity card. They have no powers and have nothing to say to us. The German Reich is still occupied by the Allies and is in a state of war.” In the meantime, more and more people know this.
When I asked him if he was also a member of the AfD or FPÖ, he said that he regularly went to the meetings. “We are well networked, also abroad, and are regularly informed via newsletters. There would also be good contacts to the Kuk Klux Klan, in the USA and Germany. When I asked if there was also networking via social networks such as Facebook, he replied, “No. There, only the fools are out and about who want to make themselves important and provoke. “The AfD and FPÖ are right, but they are not tough enough in their implementation.” When I asked how he meant this: “Well, yes all the foreigners who are here must get out. No more refugees should be accepted, they are just freeloaders, foreigners must get out.” Nobody would care about the Germans and Austrians either. Asked what he does for a living, he replied, “I got out a long time ago and don’t do anything anymore, neither for this state nor for the other.”
In the meantime, he had another passport from the “Reichsdruckerei”, where he could also get all other “Reich papers”. When I asked him if he would also present this at the airport and be allowed to leave the country with it, he began to remain silent and then, after asking again, hesitantly answered that he still had a German passport.
In all conversations with “Reichsbürger”, right-wing populists, nationalists, supporters of the right-wing extremist AfD, FPÖ and sympathizers, I always heard the same tenor – without any awareness of injustice and understanding of democracy: Hatred, envy, anti-Semitism, racism, denial of the Holocaust, xenophobia and xenophobia, nationalism, protectionism (isolationism), opponents of globalization with the opinion that globalization can be stopped and reversed through nationalism, admiration of National Socialism and the longing for a “strong” hand – which finally “takes action”.
At the same time, I asked people on the street, in the places and cities where I researched, whether they knew who “Reichsbürger” are. The first time the public learned of the existence of the “Reichsbürger” only at the end of 2016 through the media.
90% of those surveyed did not know anything about the “Reichsbürger” at that time, but had already heard that Germany was just a limited liability company. People would have learned this information either from websites on the Internet, other people, or newsletters that had been forwarded to them.
During my research, I also spoke with ten uniformed police officers, who met with me after a long back and forth, after I guaranteed them source protection, for fear of reprisals. I arranged to meet the first one in a small town in Upper Bavaria: “Aren’t you afraid of the consequences of doing research on the “brown camp”?” Was the first thing I heard. To my question how he would mean this – I was a journalist! “They don’t care about that. Intimidation and the Kachelmann case are no exception. There are enough overzealous uniformed police officers and prosecutors who will do anything to get promoted.” I asked if this means that investigations and trials are being conducted that should not be taking place at all? “Yes, a whole justice system lives on this, lawyers who have to be paid and courts that conduct trials with taxpayers’ money.”
As I write this, reading and listening to my notes, I think of the headlines recently, about the intimidation against clergy who granted church asylum in Bavaria.
I know very well the case of Kachelmann, who had to prove his innocence through the instances in the German judicial system because of false accusations, and in the meantime won the trials, including claims for damages. Recently, proceedings for false accusation were initiated against his ex-mistress.
I asked the policeman how I should understand this? “I refuse to work like this, but there are enough colleagues who have no problems with this and also sometimes “reach out” if the ID is not shown immediately. When I asked what would happen after a disciplinary complaint, he began to smile: “Police officers are always believed and can get away with almost anything.” When I asked him if he meant the case in Rosenheim, he said, “You did your research thoroughly.” I asked whether police officers should not first de-escalate and adhere to existing current laws, the policeman answers that most colleagues neither know the current state of the laws, nor what would be in the Basic Law. De-escalation, would be no longer in demand with the police in Bavaria today.
He had already had enough trouble because he opposed the right, would think and question independently and had a different professional view, which is why he was harassed by superiors and almost lost his job. In Bavaria, one would not make a career with his attitude in the uniformed police anyway. In the meantime, he said, about 40% of uniformed police officers in Bavaria are AfD voters and sympathizers or belong to “Reichsbürgern.” He was fed up with opposing the right, nothing could be changed, and if it was, then one would have to reckon with reprisals in Bavaria. He told me to take care of myself and, if something should happen, to contact the BKA.
After my research, also about the NSU, I received 4 death threats, my cell phone as well as my e-mail account was hacked and several intimidation attempts.
The high percentage left me speechless. I spoke to my colleague Jürgen Roth, who has also been dealing with organized crime for decades. He was not surprised by this result and said the numbers were quite realistic, not only for Bavaria, but in all of Germany. A colleague in Austria was also not surprised about the result and said that the percentage in Austria is much higher, the police officers there are allowed to get away with even more, are less trained and about 60-70% belong to the FPÖ.
Some time later, I myself witnessed a police officer not only behaving disproportionately but also abusing his office because of an alleged disturbance of the peace. The police did not give a warning as usual when they first arrived because of an alleged disturbance of the peace, but acted aggressively right from the start, were not interested in de-escalation and threatened to take him into custody and press charges if the house owner did not identify himself. The identity of the house owner was known to the police officers. If I had not identified myself as a journalist and pointed out that there was no loud music at all, only loud laughter and a TV set at room volume and that I was recording the conversation for reasons of evidence, the situation would have escalated. A member of the German Armed Forces, who is in training in Kaufbeuren, and lives against the consent of the house owner as a subtenant in his house, about 40 km south of Munich, has been making life difficult for him for quite some time. He called the police and let them into the house of the house owner. Insults, also towards visitors and other illegal behavior, which the lawyers of the house owner have to deal with, are the order of the day. Despite my subsequent written testimony, neither I nor the homeowner was believed. The attorney’s appeal of this alleged misdemeanor was unsuccessful. This would also be related to the draft law of Justice Minister Heiko Maas that police officers would already be believed more than citizens. The use of body cams, as in the U.S. and now other states in Germany, would have prevented police misconduct and would not fundamentally question the credibility of citizens, as is already the case.
The causes of the rightward shift in the uniformed police would be related to the fact, as I was told, that there were too few police officers, that they had to do a lot of duty and overtime, that they were poorly paid and, above all, that the newcomers were poorly trained. The permanent quarrels and neighborhood disputes of the population, which have been increasing for years, would also contribute to the overload of the police, “because of every crap the police is called, for serious incidents the police is then missing. But ask the fire department, they have similar problems.” The population is no longer able to talk to each other and solve problems themselves, he said. Advertisements are free and courts are therefore overcrowded, he said. If people had to pay the costs themselves, as in civil cases, and false statements were punished more severely, “the police would suffice in the countryside, in the big cities this is more extreme.”
To my question whether there has not always been denunciation and mutual surveillance in Bavaria, one of the police officers interviewed said, “that will remain so and is desired from “above”.” To the overloading also the increasing demonstrations lead, on which the uniformed police would have then also still, so innumerable overhours would come together.
Politicians would issue permanently new laws, construct safety risks because of voter votes, instead of simply applying existing laws and employing more policemen, who were saved in the last years. Social or civic competence is not important for the Bavarian police, he said, but rather that one has to adapt unconditionally, “not contradicting one’s superiors and doing as much duty as possible.”
When I asked why citizen competence was not in demand and why there were no more officers like in the past who went on patrol, had contact with the population and knew what was happening on their beat, one policeman said: “As I said, police officers have been cut back for years. This is now to be taken over by video surveillance. In addition, according to the guidelines from above and the incidents in recent years, the population is seen more as a threat. The days of the “friend and helper” are over.”
Two other police officers reported that police officers in the big cities can no longer live on their income because the rents are so high. So most of the policemen are frustrated, nervously overloaded and then turn to the right-wing camp or the AfD, because nothing would change. In the former strongholds in Bavaria where the Nazis were active with the SS in the past, not much has changed anyway, but I would have already noticed this.
Also with farmers the frustration increases and are networked by e-Mail over new type character and meetings. Especially farmers with small and medium-sized farms, are frustrated because of the Farmers’ Union, which is “tied” to the government, would do nothing but support large farmers, as well as the EU, and organize. Most of them were former CSU members/voters.
In Bavaria, many farmers refused to take a TB test. In their opinion, the disease would only come from the test, which would use a needle to test the entire livestock. Another reason for spreading the disease, was the Almabtrieb with the thousands of young cattle that stood on the alpine pastures, because of the tourists and profit, rounded up, report the frustrated farmers. One farmer refused authorities access to his farm after his cattle became ill and were to be tested for TB. He told of various machinations of the CSU, to which he had once belonged. Of the “Spezlwirtschaft” of the politicians in the state and federal government with the farmers’ association, the district offices and official veterinarians in Bavaria. “The “Spezln” of the local, and land councils are not controlled and can make what they want.” One would have to defend oneself finally. That’s why he and many others would support the AfD, or belong to the Reichsbürger, they would stand up for him.
“They have nothing to say to me at all.” The farmer, as well as many other farmers, were convinced that the diseases of their cattle were caused by vaccinations. When asked what they were feeding the cows, why they weren’t grazing, or if the pesticides they were using might be the cause of their sick cattle, they fell silent. One would have to do just that – for which one is subsidized in Germany and the EU.
These farmers are also networked with these groups that are against the system, democracy, the EU, globalization, are informed by e-mail and newsletters and invited to events and lectures – outside the social networks.
For more than 10 years, nationalists and right-wing populists have been driving around, especially in rural areas in Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia, the rest of Germany, as well as in Austria, pretending to be political contact persons, environmentalists and conservationists, or belonging to micro parties, pretending to stand up for agriculture, nature, the environment and civil rights in order to organize lectures, meetings and demonstrations all over Germany and abroad – directed “against everything” and networked with like-minded people in EU countries, the USA and Canada.
The target audience includes farmers, a frustrated rural and urban population: former frustrated CSU voters, frustrated low-wage workers, mini-jobbers, temporary workers, frustrated pensioners, so-called “concerned” citizens, the unemployed, as well as a wealthy middle and upper class.
On the lectures the conspiracy theories, half-truths and that one can read on “certain” Websites in the Internet are spread. At the lectures, new e-mail addresses are collected for the newsletters or participants are recruited for the organized demonstrations that take place all over Germany, but also in other European countries.
To the lectures speakers from European countries with Germans and German-born speakers, from Canada and the USA with the same attitude are invited.
Farmers are baited in Bavaria to have enforced gene-free regions, but it is concealed that the imported feed such as soy or corn, which is fed to pigs and cattle in conventional agriculture, is imported from foreign countries such as Brazil or Argentina and is not only genetically modified, but also sprayed with pesticides such as glyphosate.
In order to create acceptance among the population, these so-called activists, pretend to be poor “mini-jobbers” themselves, but live from black money, sponsors or inherited wealth and are interested in profit. Before the organized demonstrations such as against trade agreements CETA and TTIP, they met with wealthy publishing heiresses who own second homes in Berlin, to then go together to the demonstration.
The aim of these lectures is in the first place to unsettle the population, destabilize the system and democracy, spread fear and terror and above all to confirm the participants in their opinion.
Most of the participants in such lectures, in Germany and Bavaria, as well as in Austria, Switzerland and other EU countries, were EU opponents, xenophobes and xenophobes, racists, anti-Semites, nationalists, AfD, or FPÖ members, Pegida supporters and sympathizers, who were also mobilized against the refugee policy. The tenor of these events, which were directed “against everything,” conveyed to the population that one could turn back globalization through nationalism and protectionism.
When the refugees came to Germany in 2015, one of these nationalists said that it was enough for him now, he wanted to do something for the defense of his fatherland and was going to join the Bundeswehr.
The lectures are not about actually and truthfully informing the population or teaching the principles of a democracy – i.e. what the established parties and media failed to do – but in the first place on a primitive intellectual level, spreading half-truths, hatred, agitation, conspiracy theories, recruiting new blood, “black and white” thinking and quick solutions. The participants of these events rejected the press and the rest of the media, these would not report truthfully, about what is actually happening and are in cahoots with politics.
The frightening thing about the participants and organizers of such events was the low level of education and the non-existent understanding of democracy, who believe in what is spread and told, are convinced of it and could have been a “template” for the current shift to the right also in the U.S. and the right-wing populist platform Breitbart – where the same and similar content is spread.
The “business” with conspiracy theories is booming.
The Reichsbürger are thus only a part of a large, nationalistic and right-wing populist network, to which also fans of Jürgen Elsässer and readers of the Kopp publishing house, Pegida, AfD and FPÖ belong, which it around the destabilization of the democracy over the spreading mostly always the same conspiracy theories, untruths, the spreading of national-socialist ideas, agitation, hate and around the large business with conspiracy theories, goes. The so-called “Reich governments” finance themselves through members, the “Reich citizens”, the sale of illegal “Reich identity cards”, permits and papers.
An educationally deprived, frustrated and disconnected population as easy prey in a nationalist and right-wing populist network posing as nature and environmentalists, for civil rights. The results of the established parties, which for many years have not been concerned with the welfare of the population, but with lobbyists, votes and their own advantage, as well as non-existent education, information and enlightenment of the mainstream media in recent decades.
The result is an uneducated, frustrated population without an understanding of democracy, which feels victimized and is once again looking for someone to blame. In a nationalist, right-wing extremist network and found food for Jürgen Elsässer, Frauke Petry and other right-wing populists. The posters with lectures for the rural population will continue to be hung in the villages and small towns – outside the social networks.
So Erdogan’s behavior towards Germany and the attempt to divide society is just a “copy” of what has long taken place, also by established parties, and has become socially acceptable at the latest since Sarrazin. My research is like a blueprint for the outcome of the elections in the USA, when a rural population that felt disconnected voted for Donald Trump.
Under no circumstances should we rest on our laurels in the Netherlands or look at the developments in the United States with Donald Trump. The Americans have a functioning separation of powers, a civilian population that is in resistance and a functioning media. They will also solve the problem Trump and learn from it.
The shift to the right and the disenchantment with politics in Germany are homemade and very dangerous. To think that nationalists, right-wing populists and right-wing extremists would disappear by themselves would have fatal consequences not only for Germany, but for all of Europe.
They have always been there and it will never stop, especially if politicians do not finally take care of the well-being of the population and the media do not provide education for a better understanding of democracy.
Astrid Ebenhoch, journalist and editor of Hounds & People.
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