The fight against fascism in Germany requires a socialist perspective
4 September 2018
Millions of people in Germany and around the world have reacted with disgust and horror to the scenes of fascist violence in the German city of Chemnitz. On August 27, thousands of neo-Nazis marched through the city, giving the Hitler salute undisturbed by the police, and attacking people they identified as foreigners.
In recent days, tens of thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations throughout Germany against this outpouring of right-wing violence. But moral outrage is not enough to stop the fascist mob: it is necessary to understand the political roots of its resurgence.
Unlike the 1930s, the Nazis today are not a mass movement, but a hated minority. But this does not make them any less dangerous. They derive their strength from the politics of the establishment parties and from the support they receive from the state apparatus. They feel strong because they have friends in the police, in the secret service and in the government. The Nazi march in Chemnitz was preceded by a years-long campaign to promote right-wing extremist politics.
Eight years ago, the book “Germany abolishes itself” by Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Thilo Sarrazin opened the door for the official rehabilitation of xenophobia and racism. The book, which claimed that German society was being destroyed by foreigners, was praised in feature articles and on talk shows as a bestseller before the first copy even reached bookstores.
In 2013, German President Joachim Gauck announced the end of German military restraint, and the newly-formed grand coalition government agreed on a program of massive military rearmament. The government supported the right-wing coup in Ukraine, setting in motion a…