An election of incredible importance is set to take place September 24, but you may not have even heard about it. Today’s far-right, which arguably borders on Neo-Nazis, or “Alt-Right” if the shoe fits, are set to gain seats in parliament for the first time since World War II in a place that is all-too-familiar with how that plays out.
Populist movements driven by refugee and security fears and concerns could make matters worse, even though we saw those movements suffer losses in the recent French elections. The current leader is up for re-election, and that leader is famous in America for her readily apparent distaste for Trump and Vladimir Putin: Chancellor Angela Merkel –yet this story isn’t making any waves in American media yet?
Germany is, however, extremely well-aware of what’s going on here in America, as you’ll see.
A popular German news magazine called ‘Stern’ just made a shocking statement with a magazine cover that Americans might want to take notice of. See below:
Human Rights Watch media director, Andrew Stroehlein posted the Stern cover on Twitter.
“Germany’s Stern magazine isn’t pulling any punches… “
Germany's Stern magazine isn't pulling any punches… pic.twitter.com/Nqs0grQLF3
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) August 24, 2017
The headline, “Sein Kampf,” is a play on Adolf Hitler’s infamous “Mein Kampf,” and translates to “His Struggle.” The magazine has been widely criticized for the cover, which criticizes Trump for “failing to make a distinction between Nazis and KKK protestors and those who opposed them” in Charlottesville.”
This chilling visual of Trump is alarming. Meanwhile, across the pond, the AfD party, or far-right Kremlin-backed, nationalist, “Alternative for Germany party” has gained more support than expected in Germany. They have been compared to Nazis by Germany’s vice chancellor, whose father was an actual Nazi, and would be the first far-right party to enter German parliament since World War II. The AfD have been loudly heckling Angela Merkel’s campaign rallies.
Stroehlein sums up the AfD campaign strategy succinctly:
“AfD’s campaign is: Fear Muslims, hate Muslims, fear, hate, fear, hate, fear hate… here, have a weapon.”
It sounds uncomfortably familiar, given Trump’s Muslim/Immigration ban.
AfD deputy leader, Alexander Gauland launched a racist attack on a minister in Merkel’s government, saying the German of Turkish descent should be “disposed of.” This same man, Gauland, would “almost certainly” be elected should the AfD reach the 5 per cent threshold needed to win any seat in Germany’s proportional electoral system. Currently, they are polling at 8 to 10 percent, down from 15 percent in January, which means the seat is still likely for Gauland or another AfD member.
“German politics is unravelling at the moment with the rise of the AfD and with the major party losing support,” said Piotr Buras, head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
To give further background on the AfD, their “Hate-driven” AfD youth division handed out pepper spray while election campaigning. They officially claimed it was to protect against animals, but were reportedly overheard telling young women “to protect yourself against North Africans.” The AfD leader, Alice Weidel, recently lost a court case against a satirical TV show that referred to her as a “Nazi slut.” A Hamburg district court found it to be no more than “exaggerated criticism.”
The rise of extremist groups in Germany may not seem to matter to many Americans, comfortable in their homes. They may not see it as something to be concerned with. But with the rise of the same far-right extremists here at home, as has been seen in Charlottesville, we know they reach us where we live.
What happens in America can encourage extremism in other parts of the world and vice versa.
Call it the “Alt-Right,” White Nationalism, Neo-Nazi, Nazi, or White Supremacist. Aren’t they really the same hateful people, constantly trying to re-emerge in the world if given any chance to do so? It’s up to all Americans to keep extremists in their place, marginalized and powerless, no matter where they try to put down roots. I hope the German people heed the same call and refuse to empower the AfD.