Conservatives beware: Germany’s left-wing interior minister has 10-point plan to fight ‘right-wing extremism’

By Lucie Ctverakova
6 Min Read

From the moment she entered office, Germany’s Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) said she was going to make “right-wing extremism” her biggest priority. Now, she says she is taking action with a ten-point plan, which features a raft of measures ranging from gun confiscation to firing civil service workers.

“We take action against right-wing extremism, and that is a high priority for me. Our democracy is vigilant and defensive,” Faeser stated when presenting the catalog of measures on Tuesday.

Nancy Faeser, Germany, extremism
German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser speaks during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

Despite Faeser’s repeated use of the phrase “right-wing extremism,” it remains unclear exactly how this term will be defined. There are worries that such a label and the fact that there are violent right-wing extremists, just as their violent left-wing extremists, will be used as a pretext to pursue conservatives and dissidents.

For example, there is no clear indication whether such a term will cover only the tiny minority of extremists calling for the killing of foreigners or if it will more broadly apply to anyone who is opposed to mass immigration. For many on the German left motivated by the phrase “No border, no nation,” any opposition to legal or illegal immigration is inherently right-wing extremism.

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Just last week, a court in Cologne ruled that the entire Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, one of the largest opposition parties in Germany and a party which has received millions of votes, could now be labeled as a “suspected threat to democracy.” This designation allows all members to be surveilled by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) regardless of whether they committed a crime or not, as well as authorizing the use of informants to monitor the party.

It also means that anyone affiliated with the party could easily fall under the designation of a “right-wing extremist.”

Despite these ambiguities, Germany’s interior minister says her ministry’s new measures will dismantle networks being used to push right-wing extremism and push for disarming anyone identified as a right-wing extremist. That means, for example, that gun confiscation is in the cards.

For this purpose, the BfV will “significantly expand the investigation and analysis of right-wing extremist financial activities.”

“The aim is in particular to identify and combat crucial networks, actors, and business areas,” Faesar added, insisting that action can only be taken to address and reduce “hate speech on the internet,” with the extension of powers and the necessary structures available to investigators.

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The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) will also establish a task force and monitor social media “to identify current developments at an early stage.” The Telegram messaging app, which places a high emphasis on freedom of speech, has become a special focus of the German government, with Faeser issuing frequent threats to outright ban the entire platform. BKA boss Holger Münch said that the government will monitor this app regardless of cooperation from Telegram or not.

As Remix News has previously reported, Germany is preparing an enormous amount of resources to repress the country’s opposition, including censorship, surveillance, and criminalization of speech.

As for Faeser herself, she was outed just last month as having written for “Antifa magazine” shortly before she assumed the role of interior minister, with the magazine funded by an organization officially designated an extremist left-wing organization and a threat to democracy by the BfV.

“Right-wing extremists” will be removed from public service

One of the key measures in Faeser’s ten-point plan is to “remove enemies of the constitution from public service more quickly and easily.”

However, this is only possible if the Federal Disciplinary Act is changed, a move which the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution Thomas Haldenwang considers to be crucial.

“It is necessary to face this. Right-wing extremists have no place in public service,” he noted.

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The question now becomes whether those who support the AfD will now implicitly or even explicitly be labeled “right-wing extremists” by the German government, which could set the stage for a mass purge of anyone associated with the party.

The Cologne court ruling comes despite the AfD’s party’s leaders and its core politicians again and again voicing their support for parliamentary democracy, and even calling for more democracy in Germany, including a citizen referendum system at the federal level, such as the one seen in Switzerland. Nevertheless, the party’s vocal support against mass immigration and opposition to Covid-19 measures has made it the top target of the country’s liberal establishment.

Other measures from Faeser include improved protection for victims of right-wing extremist violence, but questions of bias will inevitably arise over the fact that AfD is the party most targeted for political violence, as per government statistics, including violent assaults and arson.

Faeser previously pointed out the dangers of right-wing extremism and advocated extensive countermeasures. In February, she spoke out in favor of starting the “fight against the right” already in kindergarten.

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