Alternative für Deutschland for Dummies

AfD election post. Berlin, August 2016.

Nationalist parties are funny things. As convention would have it, they’re platforms for narcissism. Vote for us because we’re about your superiority, is their message. Particularly when it comes to ethnicity, and class.

Unfortunately, what this celebration of ourselves obscures is how much we tend to hate and fear the other. The immigrant, the minority, the poor, and the left-wing. Hence the popularity of parties like Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland.

Yes, there is an ideal German, implied by their politics – one which, without a doubt, is a constellation of Hitler-era, Nazi stereotypes of German ‘peoplehood’. Think Heidi and the Sound of Music. They’re that transparent, and nostalgic.

But, even more so, the AfD is about hatred. They make it safe to dislike Germany’s other, be it the country’s poor, or its minorities, or, God forbid, the miles of brown people trying to get it. They’re a salve, like a shoot ’em up video game, or action film.

Hence the denunciation of the Berlin-area party candidate Jörg Kapitän, in the flyer and translation below. He embodies everything that’s wrong with his party. Exquisitely named, this officer of the right, is a gateway to fascist caricature.


WARNING: There’s a racist about!

Jörg Kapitän: AFD member!

Jörg Kapitän of Lichtenrader Strasse 37 was an AFD candidate for the Berlin chamber of deputies. He is on the AFD’s regional infrastructure committee and is a board member of the association for the promotion of the German language.

The AFD isn’t just any old political party. It is a party that incites hate against migrants and the unemployed and opposes women and worker rights. Anyone that is an active member of the AFD is responsible for such policies.

AFD: Openly racist

People that have been forced to flee their crisis and war-torn homes and who have sought shelter here are actively debased and dehumanised by the AFD. Its deputy chairman, Alexander Gauland, calls for “the borders to be closed and the horrible images to be tolerated”, comparing those that are looking for protection to a busted water pipe, which needs to be sealed. It gets worse: Party spokesperson Frauke Petry and AFD head-honcho Beatrix von Storch in Spring of this year called for refugees to be shot at the EU’s external border, before they could get to Germany. The party uses key phrases like “foreign infiltration”, “asylum abuse”, “parallel society” and “asylum chaos.” In order to stir up fears, they claim that their very existence will cause the German social system to be “plundered” and collapse.

AFD: A party of big earners

People who hate migrants vote AFD because of their racist fantasies of violence. The party is looking to transfer this pervading racist climate into election success. One look at the party’s election programme shows that the AFD wants further repression of social benefits and state involvement in the economy, in order to save and strengthen Germany. Forced labour for the unemployed is also one of the proposals put forward to create their two-tier society, as well as supporting only children from rich families. Programmes that facilitate access to long-term employment have been dismissed by the AFD as “distorting competition”. The party is also after a total abolition of the minimum wage and a reduction in the top tax rate. In their world, a CEO earning millions would be taxed the same as any normal employee.

A Forsa study shows that more than half of AFD members (53%) have a net household income of €3,000. The AFD is no party of the “little man” or “close to the people”, like it would like to be known as. It is party for big corporations and the upper middle class. Its goal is authoritarian economic policies, where the market dictates the laws and people have to bow the knee to its whims. That would mean that people’s working rights would fall victim to the strongest.

AFD: Family policies from the past

The AFD bases itself on an outdated picture of the family, which should be the “nucleus of the nation”. Having children would no longer be a personal decision, rather an act for the “Fatherland”. The AFD thinks that working mothers, immigration and “free sexuality”, “gender mainstreaming” and same-sex marriage threaten the traditional family. Issues like homosexuality should also be banned from the classroom in their eyes. The AFD’s Thuringen outfit have even called for a count of all homosexuals to be made in the region. Additionally, they are after a referendum on banning abortion. Frauke Petry has called for women to have at least three children. For women, that means go to work and leave their kids at kindergarten or stay home and collect unemployment benefits. How is that supposed to happen when the party wants to get rid of benefits, the Hartz 4 system too, and abolish free daycare? They certainly haven’t explained that.

AFD: Not a real alternative!

In 2015, the AFD emerged as a radical right-wing force. Many parts of the party consider themselves the parliamentary arm of PEGIDA and organise Nazi-style marches themselves. The reactionary key phrases of the AFD are exemplary of how the party is trying to get on through the guise of a citizen’s party. The conditions in which we live are shit, we can agree on that. But things are not going to get better by punishing the people who flee countries that we exploit for our own prosperity. The only solution must be to gather in our neighbourhoods, at our places of work, in schools and universities and fight against the thinks that make our lives wretched: falling wages, cost of living increases, high rents, age poverty, poor healthcare etc. The only answers the AFD has to social problems are more social cuts and more monitoring, faster deportations, erosion of human rights and shooting people at the borders.

Jörg Kapitän, as an AFD member, is a spiritual arsonist, in that he pushes racist and nationalistic thinking on people. Refugee shelters are burning once again in Germany. It’s important that we stand up and be counted. We have to show that Jörg Kapitän and his party are not welcome in this neighbourhood.

Nationalism is no alternative!

Stand up against social exclusion and racism!

Get the AFD out of our homes!

Translated from the German by Samuel Morgan. Photographs courtesy of Joel Schalit.