But… but… but… that’s Fascism!

This is just plain awful. A hotel in Germany — the Fatherland! (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles et cetera) — has politely requested that two men look elsewhere for accommodation. Their crime? Exercising free speech!*

The decision has sent shockwaves around the world, and local punks will be gathering in solidarity with their German kameraden at a local venue for punk and skinhead gigs that are the same any night of the week, where the proprietor does parties for anyone — doesn’t matter what religion or faith — and when someone comes through the door he doesn’t ask them what they are — he’s even had Iraqis in the pub — The Birmy.

East Germany’s hotels bar neo-Nazis
AFP

BERLIN, Jan 20, 2008 (AFP) — Late last year a hotel in Dresden sent an unambiguous message to two prospective neo-Nazi guests — please do not come.

“Since I would not know how to encourage my staff to greet you or serve you, I beg you to cancel your stay,” Johannes Lohmeyer, manager of a Holiday Inn in the picturesque east German city, wrote to the two men.

If they insisted on staying at the hotel, it would donate their room fees to the local synagogue, he added.

The pair, members of Germany’s xenophobic National Democratic Party (NPD), complied and Lohmeyer received some 2,500 messages of congratulations for showing them the door.

The incident was one, well-publicised case in a concerted but unofficial campaign by hotels in the former communist eastern Germany to redeem the image of the region after a host of brutal, racist attacks in recent years blamed on [boneheads].

“Every new racist attack that hits the headlines harms our tourism figures,” said Birgit Freitag, a spokeswoman for the official tourism body in Brandenburg, the largely rural and poor state that surrounds Berlin.

She pointed out that tourism accounted for 4.5 percent of the revenue of the region and that some 125,000 people here depend on tourism for their livelihood.

An Ipsos survey in neighbouring Saxony-Anhalt, where Iraqis and Malians were harassed in two separate incidents just hours apart in December, found that the state’s tourism figures may have been 11 percent higher last year had people not associated it so strongly with neo-Nazis.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the NPD has held seats in the regional parliament since 2006, an estimated 400,000 people last year changed their minds about visiting the area.

The local tourism office estimates that this cost the region between 120 million and 200 million euros (180 and 300 million dollars).

“All the hotel associations in the east take this problem very seriously,” said Uwe Struck, the head of the hotelliers’ group in Brandenburg.

“But we have not written letters or launched an appeal asking hotel owners to lock out anybody,” as this would be difficult given the “democratic legitimacy” of the neo-Nazi political parties, he added.

“We can and have however asked them to show a measure of civil courage,” Struck added.

But efforts to undermine the neo-Nazi movement have proven complicated.

The NPD party has a strong foothold in the east, holding seats in the state legislature of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, while the smaller German People’s Union (DVU) has a handful of MPs in the northern city state of Bremen and in Brandenburg.

Analysts say they have made mint out of high unemployment and other economic woes in the east, exploiting the fears of disaffected young Germans that foreigners will steal scarce jobs in the region.

The previous government of chancellor Gerhard Schroeder tried to ban the NPD for inciting race hatred but the bid failed when a judge found that the party was riddled with police informers.

Last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel poured cold water on calls for again attempting a ban, saying far-right extremism should be fought on the political front.

The country’s regional interior ministers have said they want to cut off neo-Nazi outfits’ funding but conceded this would fall foul of the constitution which says all political parties should be treated equally.

And police investigators have noted that witnesses to xenophobic violence are slow to come forward to testify.

But Lohmeyer from Dresden’s Holiday Inn said his experience has shown that it is possible to take a moral stand against neo-Nazis without suffering negative fallout.

“It has had no repercussions on our business, neither positive nor negative,” he said.

The NPD has complained that hotel-keepers like him are turning regions into “no-go areas” for its supporters, who accuse the industry of practicing “apartheid”.

*Trans. being members of a neo-Nazi party.

And speaking of neo-Nazi schmucks, in Australia, the riot squad (!) has been placed on standby in case any local fascists get any Big Ideas regarding how they might celebrate on January 26. As it stands, Doctor Jim and his sidekick The Skull will likely be too busy to deliver some racist leaflets in Camden, a task better left to others (should there be any). Instead, Jim, Ross, and an elite group of others are scheduled to assemble (between the hours of 11am and 2pm) in the Sutherland Shire — “the birthplace of modern Australia” apparently — to hear a crank called Rex Gilroy explain how Australia is in fact Atlantis. Then Doctor Jim is scheduled to take the stage (by storm and to enormous acclaim no doubt). “He will explain why the proposed Constitutional change will not actually help Aborigines, but further dispossess them, all courtesy of the same forces who are undermining European Australia. Jim will then go on to formally launch the Australia First election campaign for the Sutherland Shire Council. He will discuss the multiculturalist drive of the Sutherland Council.”

Riot squad will stop Australia Day rallies
Angela Cuming
Sydney Morning Herald
January 20, 2008

THE riot squad will be on stand-by on Australia Day to prevent Cronulla-style violence erupting at hot spots around Sydney, including Camden.

Racial tensions are running high in the semi-rural town, which has fuelled anti-Muslim sentiment after far-right-wing groups and politicians joined locals to fight plans for an Islamic school.

Soon after plans for the school were announced, pigs’ heads on stakes and an Australian flag were left on the planned school site. A crucifix with Bible passages written on it also appeared.

Locals, especially teenagers, wear T-shirts with Australian flags printed on them, while bumper stickers featuring the Southern Cross and “No Muslim school for Camden” adorn cars.

NSW Police said the public order riot squad would be ready to deal with any trouble on Saturday.

Australia Day operation commander Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli said people deserved to celebrate the day without the threat of bullying or harassment.

“I would be disappointed if anyone tried to exploit community celebrations on Australia Day for their own purpose,” he said. “Anyone who acts inappropriately or breaks the laws will be dealt with by police.”

The warning comes after reports that white supremacist groups, including Australia First, have planned a rally at the proposed Camden school site on the national holiday.

It has also been reported that similar rallies have been planned for the north-western suburb of Annangrove, which was the site of anti-Muslim protests when a prayer hall was built, and Cronulla, the scene of race riots in 2005.

Hundreds of people “demonstrated” at the beachside suburb on December 11, 2005, yelling racist chants, and chasing and bashing people of Middle Eastern appearance. An ambulance crew and police were also targeted. Twenty-five people were injured; two were stabbed in apparent revenge attacks.

It is understood the Anzac cenotaph in Hyde Park has also been considered a protest site

And now here’s Red Tape:

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to But… but… but… that’s Fascism!

  1. Liam says:

    “If they insisted on staying at the hotel, it would donate their room fees to the local synagogue, he added.”

    Haha perfect.

  2. @ndy says:

    Icing? Meet cake.

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