In a blatant display of dictatorial thought control, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has classified the youth wing of the AfD (Alternative for Germany), Young Alternative (JA), as ‘far-right extremist’. This move demonstrates the Orwellian nature of the German state, where freedom of speech is trampled upon and wrongthink is criminalised.
The AfD is often labeled as a far-right or nationalist party, but some argue that its views are not extreme but rather reflect what mainstream parties expressed up to thirty years ago, suggesting that what was once considered normal is now deemed borderline criminal. In Germany, expressing concerns about the replacement of the native population with Third World immigrants can result in being marked as a dangerous extremist.
The BfV was established in 1950. This so-called ‘protector’ of democracy has been accused of morphing into a tool of liberal totalitarianism. Critics argue that its mission to monitor and defend against ‘extremist’ activities within Germany has transformed into a weapon against those who dare to challenge the prevailing liberal narrative. The BfV has increasingly been compared to the notorious Stasi (Ministry for State Security) for its role in surveilling German citizens. The Stasi was the sinister state security service of the communist German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1950 to 1990. It became infamous for its ruthless suppression of dissenting voices and brutal persecution of ordinary citizens, creating an atmosphere of fear and paranoia among the population.
The BfV designated the JA, along with the Institute for State Politics (IfS) and the association One Percent, as having ‘proven far-right extremist intentions’. Thomas Haldenwang, president of the BfV, claimed their positions were ‘incompatible with the German constitution’. This comes after the JA was already classified as a ‘suspicion case’ in January 2019, the IfS in April 2020, and One Percent in June 2020. The organisations have been under increased surveillance since then. The reclassification could impact the organisation members’ employment in public service or the issuance of gun permits.
The BfV’s actions expose the grim reality of Germany’s ruthless suppression of free speech, where dissenting voices are silenced and the government dictates acceptable thoughts. As Orwell wrote in 1984, ‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’
Haldenwang declared that there was hardly any resistance against extremist tendencies within the AfD. He also expressed concern about the ‘heterogeneous mixed scene’ of the Reichsbürger. The ‘Reich Citizens’ are a mixed bunch of loners and small groups who believe the Kaiser’s German Empire still reigns and reject the authority of the current government. One of their representatives, Karl Burghard Bangert, stated, ‘The FRG administration is to be seen as the cancer of the German peoples. Collateral damage is to be expected when it is removed.’
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser denounced ‘intellectual arsonists who prepare the ground for violence’. Faeser accused the ‘New Right’ actors of spreading nothing but hatred against dissenters, refugees, and people with an immigrant background, attempting to ‘mask their inhumane ideologies behind a seemingly educated, modern facade’.
The JA is accused of ‘deliberately degrading Germany’s democratic system, propagating a national understanding that excludes German citizens with an immigrant background and devalues them as second-class Germans’. Immigrants of non-European origin are ‘considered fundamentally non-integrable and xenophobic patterns of argument are combined with anti-Islamic resentments’.
The AfD tried to prevent the surveillance of the JA and the entire party as suspicion cases with legal means, but both lawsuits failed in the Cologne Administrative Court. The party later appealed against the judgements. The proceedings at the Higher Administrative Court in Münster are still ongoing.
In the case of suspicion, the BfV can evaluate and store personal data, and, under strict conditions, use intelligence means, such as covert information gathering, observation, or the recruitment of informants. After a certain period, the BfV decides whether the suspicion is confirmed or not.
The classification as a ‘proven extremist endeavour’ has concrete consequences: the proportionality of using intelligence means is assessed differently. If a security check is carried out on someone attributed to an extremist endeavour, such as when applying for a gun permit, the information provided by the BfV is treated differently.
The BfV seems all too keen to share extensive details of its findings with the public. They claim that their mission is to safeguard the liberal democratic order by exposing certain efforts. Haldenwang and his ilk argue that promoting enemy images and inciting resentments among the population lay the groundwork for hostility against those targeted. However, one might wonder if Haldenwang and the BfV’s true intentions are as noble as they claim.
Germany’s prohibition of dissenting ideologies reveals a disturbing trend towards government control of which beliefs are acceptable and which are not, as well as the erosion of actual democratic values. As the BfV continues its crusade against the AfD and its youth wing, the people of Germany must ask themselves: is this the future they want? It appears that despite the tragedies of the past, the German government has not heeded the warnings or learned the necessary lessons to prevent history from repeating itself.
The German government criticises Russia’s actions against opposition figures, such as Alexei Navalny, who has been imprisoned for over two years. German deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann stated in Berlin today, ‘We are deeply concerned and dismayed to see that not only are Russia’s aggressions abroad increasing, but its repressions at home are also taking on ever greater dimensions. With increasing repression, the population is being silenced.’ Her statement is laughable considering that Germany itself routinely persecutes and jails people for their opinions.
Horst Mahler, a prominent figure in the German Right and a former member of the NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany), was released from prison in 2020 after serving a 14-year sentence for promoting National Socialist beliefs and casting doubt on the official narrative of the Holocaust. Mahler’s imprisonment for merely expressing his opinions and presenting theories, however disagreeable they might be to some, is reminiscent of communist China’s repression of dissidents who speak out against the regime. His case raises important questions about the state’s power to enforce ‘hate speech’ laws. As Western democracies move towards total censorship, Mahler’s example serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to protect the right to express ideas that contradict the mainstream’s views. The concept of ‘hate speech’ is a fallacy as it infringes on the fundamental right of free speech. Germany should acknowledge that it lacks true freedom of expression, rather than pretending to have it while imposing limitations. The inclusion of ‘exceptions’ to free speech undermines its very essence. The hypocrisy of a government espousing freedom while jailing and spying on dissenters is beyond farcical.
Excellent article! Very well researched and educational for those of us who are unfamiliar with the details of the German situation.
I keep wondering – hoping, really – whether the German government will overplay its hand and cause wider outrage among normal Germans.
Great to see Horst Mahler mentioned. His political evolution and charisma inspired many of us!
Horst Mahler’s brutally unfair situation, along with others in Germany who have been imprisoned for questioning the “state religion,” is heartbreaking.