NEW PARTY IN GERMANY
The AfD Party: Old Wine in New Bottles?
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chairman of the German political party BüSo
The tidal wave of refugees entering Europe from the Middle East and Africa—as a result of Obama’s destructive wars on behalf of British policy—in the context of Europe’s economic collapse as a result of the demands of the banks, has enabled the rise of a new party of dissent in Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). Zepp-LaRouche asks, What is it, and why?
May 13—The crucial question for many people in Germany today is not where do you stand on religion, but where do you stand on the Alternative for Germany (AfD)? Is it only a “party of people in a bad mood,” which we should not describe as Nazis as long as the AfD is “only right-wing populist,” as the deputy chairman of the SPD Olaf Scholz put it? Where could Chancellor Angela Merkel have seen people “frothing at the mouth” when they confront the AfD? Does the AfD really provide the “light at the end of the tunnel,” because it denies the influence of CO2 emissions on the climate, as AfD member Michael Limburg, who is Vice President of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), puts it? The presence of varying currents within it, and its sudden electoral successes, make it appear that the most diverse expectations and forms of wishful thinking can be projected onto the AfD.
So what should we think about this party? Can its program fulfill the hopes of those who have voted for it? Is it dangerous, or can it develop into something dangerous? Does it have solutions for today’s existential challenges, such as the escalating danger of a new, this-time-thermonuclear world war, or for the acute danger of a new financial collapse of the trans-Atlantic sector, much more dramatic this time than in 2008, or—to mention one issue that the AfD has already addressed—does it have a solution for the refugee crisis?
Since the party’s self-conception rules out any attempt at strategic thinking, it is foreign to the AfD to attempt to define a solution to overcome the war danger. Since the party is completely trapped in a diffuse mix of social liberalism and the Austrian School, it does not have the analytical prerequisites needed to recognize the magnitude of the crisis, let alone a conception of how to overcome the systemic crisis of the trans-Atlantic financial system.
And even on the refugee crisis, a subject on which the AfD expects to be attractive, its incompetence is appalling. This is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since the immediate post-war period; there will be many hundreds of millions of people fleeing war, starvation, and epidemics in the years to come, if the causes of refugee flight are not resolved. Whoever believes that this crisis can be solved by stopping refugees at the borders with barbed wire and firearms, and purports to implement such a plan, is not only deceiving himself and others, but accepts the hateful spirit of the authors of such proposals.
Rage at the Establishment
Any classification of this party must begin by defining what lies behind its sudden leap in popularity. The source is the complete policy failure of the European Union (EU), the German government, and the established parties, which for a considerable time have given a growing share of the population the impression that there is ultimately no authority that takes their interests to heart or to which they can turn. And as long as this is not admitted and corrected, the major parties will continue to shrink. Mrs. Merkel has occasionally said that the fundamental causes of the refugee crisis must be addressed, but she has not done so: She has addressed neither the wars of the Bush and Obama regimes, based on lies, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen—one cause of the refugee crisis—nor the IMF policy of denying credit to Africa, thus prohibiting any economic development—another cause. As a result, these causes, as well as a real approach for solving the problem, are not understood. That is why more and more citizens fall for the simplistic, incompetent, and profoundly inhuman proposals of the AfD.
The more the German government and the legislature, the Bundestag, have ceded competences and responsibility to a untransparent, soulless bureaucracy in Brussels through European Union treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon, the more the feeling of helplessness grows, as expressed in the Germans’ favorite saying: “You can’t do anything about it!” The impression is thereby created that the party system doesn’t allow the individual to influence political events in any way, because the criteria for nominating candidates and party discipline permit total control from the top. This control is exercised entirely for the benefit of financial interests and against the general welfare—as citizens have learned from experience—and as a result, the rich get richer and the shrinking middle class and the poor get ever poorer, especially since 2008 and the repeated “rescue packages.” Handelsblatt, for example, recently published documentation of what was already clear: 95% of the rescue packages for Greece flowed into the European banks.
Consider these conditions: The implementation of Hartz 4 (the latest phase of the Hartz commission’s reforms of labor policy), amounting to the cold-hearted expropriation of people unemployed through no fault of their own; the flop of the supplementary pension plan (the Riester pension); poverty among the elderly; rising costs and worsening care in health care; the lack of affordable housing; a growing sense of insecurity due in part to layoffs of police; the feeling of being left alone in encountering cultures of immigrant communities that you don’t understand; the feeling of being manipulated by the mass media, of not being protected by the government from total surveillance by domestic and foreign intelligence services; and the awareness that your government is being led by the nose by the United States and Great Britain into a confrontational policy against Russia and China, which is provoking a new war danger. The list could be significantly longer. The result is that more and more people do not feel represented by the established parties. That is not only the case in Germany, but in most European countries and the United States—take the case of Donald Trump, for example.
Learn from History
In Germany, this development presents very obvious parallels to the situation in the 1920s and 1930s: The debt demands of the Versailles Treaty were in essence the same as the EU debt-corset today, which puts the interests of the profit-seeking casino bankers above those of the general welfare, whether in Greece or Germany. The difference between Brüning and Schacht, on the one side [German Chancellor and Reichsbank President in the period before Hitler], and today’s Schäuble and Draghi on the other [German Finance Minister and European Central Bank President], lies only in the predicates, not in the fundamentals. It is almost lawful that various political and social movements, out of a very similar frustration and lack of trust in the political system, are expressing themselves in similar forms.
And precisely as in that time, one can very clearly differentiate between the many who—feeling uprooted and betrayed—follow anyone who promises pragmatic solutions in ideological wrapping, and those who, as masterminds of geopolitical interests, understand how to use the social ferment for their own objectives.
The key to understanding the process which characterized the run-up to the First World War—as well as the developments between the world wars—and which has today brought about these processes in the United States, Europe, and even in Germany in respect to the AfD, is the continuing tradition of the Conservative Revolution. This is a reaction against the “ideas of 1789,” that is, against the ideas of the French Revolution, and even more so, against the Leibniz-oriented American Revolution, of universal human rights, and an image of man which understands the individual as capable of limitless perfectability.
Then, as today, this Conservative Revolution—to which “right-wing intellectuals” such as today’s Götz Kubitschek refer—was not a homogenous world outlook, but a broad spectrum of ethnic nationalist (“völkisch”) and “national revolutionary” ideologies, but always exclusionary, backward, and based on defining mankind by his biology.
To come straight to the point: If we have learned anything from history, then we should see the difference between how America got out of the Depression and the world economic and financial crisis of the 1930s, and what happened in Europe. In America, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the casino economy which was responsible for the crisis. He did it with the Glass-Steagall banking separation law, the reintroduction of the credit system based on Alexander Hamilton, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Tennessee Valley program, and later his own plan for the Bretton Woods System, altogether a package of measures that brought America out of the crisis and allowed it to become the world’s strongest economic power. In Europe, by contrast, varied forms of fascism prevailed, from Mussolini to Franco, Petain, and Hitler.
It is an irony of history that today China, with its policy of the New Silk Road, is implementing the Franklin Roosevelt tradition, while America, in the grip of Wall Street, advocates recipes taken out of mothballs from the Europe of the 1930s. Germany is still teetering on the brink: It has not yet decided which pathway to take. (To be continued.)