The NPD in Germany (and Australia)

In the United States this weekend, a handful of neo-Nazis belonging to the ‘National Socialist Movement’ will be gathering in Greensboro, North Carolina — the site where, 30 years ago, the KKK & Co. got away with murder (Neo-Nazi gathering stirs police preparations, Ryan Seals, News & Record, August 25, 2009). Apparently, according to comrades at One People’s Project, there may be some kinda counter-protest. At the same time, in the birthplace of Nazism, German voters in the state of Saxony will be going to the polls, where the NPD are expected to gain something like 5% of the vote.

Despite an avowed commitment to nationalism, the global neo-Nazi movement understands the importance of and constantly seeks to reinforce its ability to operate in an international context. Further, while the Internet has massively amplified this networking, it has always been a significant feature of modern fascisms. (See : Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International by Kevin Coogan (Autonomedia, New York, 1999) — a fascinating read; and Loren Goldner’s written an excellent of it too, available here.)

With regards the German NPD, its chief, unofficial ‘representative’ in Australia is the Sydney-based businessman Welf Herfurth. Currently, Herfurth wears a number of peaked caps, as a member of the ‘New Right Australia (and er, New Zealand)’; a ‘national anarchist’; a co-founder of ‘Volksfront Australia’; and as Master of Race Ceremonies at the 2009 ‘Sydney Forum’, an annual gathering of fascists sponsored by Dr James Saleam’s ‘Australia First Party’.

Each year the Sydney Forum brings — or tries to bring — to Australia an international guest speaker, and on two occasions organisers have sought the participation of NPD leadership. In 2003, Udo Voigt was invited, while in 2005 it was Gerd Finkenwirth’s turn. On both occasions, entry to Australia was denied them by authorities on the grounds that they were of ‘bad character’. One guest who did make it into the country (2007) is the Croatian fascist ideologue Tomislav (Tom) Sunić. In 2009, the identity of the foreigner is a mystery — seriously. No, really. I’ve no idea who it could possibly be.

    On June 24 [2008], about 40 people attended a talk by Pacifica Forum speaker Tomislav Sunic, who only three days earlier had addressed the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) at its national “leadership conference” in Sheffield, Ala. Sunic, a writer and white nationalist, had previously spoken to the Washington D.C.-area chapter of the CCC and the Institute for Historical Review (at least twice). He appeared on the “Political Cesspool,” a white nationalist radio show, and was interviewed extensively for David Duke’s Internet radio program. Sunic and the former Klan boss (whose latest book is entitled Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question) commiserated about Jewish domination, low birth rates among people of European ancestry and discrimination against whites. “Especially in these multiracial cities, like L.A. or Washington D.C., I’m losing my eye contact,” Sunic confessed to Duke. “I’m sort of afraid even of raising my head and looking at people right in their eyes because I know they may not be of my species.”

Beyond these largely informal linkages, the ‘Australia First Party’ is also part of a regional alliance with fascist organisations from New Zealand (Aotearoa). Of the three Kiwis who attached their signatures to a piece of paper in April 2008 declaring the existence of this worthy project, one was Anton Foljambe, another the Mormon (!) and Fuehrer of ‘Right Wing Resistance New Zealand’ Kyle Chapman, while the third was veteran fascist necromancer Kerry Bolton.

Unkle Kerry is a fascinating — and er, slightly creepy — individual, with whose MaGiCaL pOWeRs I would really rather not contend. One who has is Roel van Leeuwen, author of a thesis on Bolton titled Dreamers of the Dark: Kerry Bolton and the Order of the Left Hand path, a Case-study of a Satanic-Neo-Nazi synthesis. In September 2008, Kerry cast a spell on the University of Waikato, forcing it to withdraw van Leeuwen’s thesis from its shelves; almost a year later, he’s still at it (New scrutiny in thesis case, Nicola Brennan, Waikato Times, August 25, 2009):

Waikato University’s handling of a complaint about a thesis covering neo-Nazi themes is being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsmen.

Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem has agreed to proceed with a complaint by one of the subjects of the thesis, Wellington man Kerry Bolton. A former secretary of the right-wing National Front, he complained the university’s investigation was substandard.

The thesis by Roel van Leeuwen was pulled from the university’s library shelves in September last year after Mr Bolton complained it was full of inaccuracies. It was reinstated last month after an internal investigation found it worthy of its mark.

The ombudsman’s investigation is based on Mr Bolton’s complaints the university investigation didn’t address the specifics of his original complaint or address the investigation’s terms of reference, didn’t outline the process that was followed in reaching a decision or give a reason for it. Mr Bolton said he hoped the new investigation would open the way for further action via the Privacy Commission and elsewhere.

A Waikato University spokeswoman said it had not been advised of any ombudsman investigation.

Where was I ? Oh yeah: nutzis.

As noted, the NPD is preparing to sweep sneak into the Parliament of the Free State of Saxony, the Saxon Landtag. Or rather, to sneak once again into the Landtag. At the previous election, in 2004, the party received 9.2% of the popular vote, giving it 12 seats (of 124). Since then, four parliamentarians have left the party, leaving the NPD with eight bozos on board.

Curiously, in an earlier age, Saxony was a socialist stronghold — for the Social Democrats, from the 1870s through to the early twentieth century, and then the Communists (KPD). The triumph of Nazism in the 1930s was followed by 40 years of ‘Soviet’ tyranny in post-WWII Germany, and since 1989 and German re-unification, Saxony has been dominated by ‘conservative’, ‘Christian’ forces. In some of its major cities, and especially in some rural areas, however, the conservatives have been pushed aside by the radical right.

The relationship between the NPD and the extra-parliamentary radical right is fractious and mirrors, in many ways, that between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left. And while it is not exactly renowned for the depth of its intellectual culture, the radical right is, nevertheless, still a dynamic political phenomenon, and in contemporary, post-reunification Germany, it has successfully absorbed many of the lessons taught by its political opposition in the anarchist and autonomist left.

Like, wearing black hoodies. (See : When Nazis go Pop… New strategies of the extreme right in Germany, RAGGACORE, LFO DEMON, November 12, 2004.)

In Australia, the New Right/’national anarchists’ announced their existence to a perplexed but otherwise indifferent world in September 2007 by attending the APEC protests in Sydney dressed in anarchist drag. Among those in attendance were Darrin Hodges of the Australian Protectionist Party and Andrew Fraser, the former academic. This was the gnats’ first and largest public display to date, with a handful of subsequent public appearances involving an even tinier number of racist sillies. That said, as their already minimal presence on the streets has evaporated, so has their online ‘activism’ increased, with a proliferation of generally sterile blogs.

Despite this, and despite their obviously fascist ideology, Vertigo, the student publication of the University of Technology Sydney, has supported their claims — well, to be considered ‘anarchist’ anyway — and a related group, known as ‘Nationalist Alternative’, has also received media exposure, in both the Sydney Morning Herald and the South Sydney Herald (‘Crisis stirs deeper issues’, Nicholas McCallum, No.74, August 2009).

Of course, pulling the wool over a handful of student journos is one thing — fooling anarchists, another.

Bonus!

Neo-Nazi NPD co-opts 1989 slogan in bid for re-election
Derek Scally
Irish Times
August 26, 2009


(NPD leader Udo Voigt talking to police earlier this month after the party had called on a black politician who appeared in regional election advertisements for the Christian Democrats to go home to Angola, and urged its members to bring the message to him personally.)

IN 1989 East Germans took to the streets and, with their chant, “Wir Sind das Volk!” (“We are the people!”), they toppled the Berlin Wall.

Two decades on, Germany’s neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) has co-opted the slogan to boost its chances in Sunday’s state election in Saxony.

Five years ago, the party was elected to the parliament in Dresden with 9.4 per cent of the vote.

Shocked officials from other parties suggested it was a one-off protest vote against social-welfare reforms.

This time around, opinion polls put the party just above 5 per cent: a drop in support, but enough to return to parliament. That would be a first for the 45-year-old extremist party and a worrying signal for the other parties in Saxony. “The peaceful revolution got stuck along the way,” says an NPD flyer, “the people got a political system that dances to the tune of capital and the EU.”

Since 2004, the party has concentrated on Saxony: its efforts have failed elsewhere in the country and its national wing in Berlin faces bankruptcy after being defrauded by its own accountant.

Outside big Saxon cities such as Dresden and Leipzig, in smaller towns and villages blighted by unemployment, the party has established jobless drop-in centres and youth groups.

Here the party has discarded its Nazi ideology. Local officials wear suits, not bomber jackets, and turn conversations with locals about welfare cuts and unemployment to foreign criminals.

“The NPD likes to present itself as the party of the little man and using the 20-year-old slogan may touch on something with these voters,” said Prof Andreas Anter, political scientist at the University of Leipzig.

Few political observers expected the Saxon NPD to still exist by this election after a disastrous term in parliament.

A year after the 2004 election, three MPs resigned the party whip, while a fourth was thrown out for making Hitler remarks and bringing a gun into parliament.

A fifth MP, a driving instructor by profession, died in a car crash while a sixth man, a young party hopeful, landed in court on child pornography charges.

“These are people no one would want to buy a second-hand car from, let alone vote for,” said Prof Anter.

“If they get back into parliament, it will be in spite of, not because of, their politicians.”

Added Bonus!

Liberal Foundations And Anti-Racism Activism, Michael Barker, Swans, August 24, 2009.

[This slightly edited article was first delivered as a Refereed paper (pdf) at the Second International Conference on Racisms in the New World Order, University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, December 6-7, 2007.]

Tens of thousands of philanthropic foundations finance social change within the United States, and last year they distributed $45.6 billion worth of grants. Thus given the not insignificant amounts of money being distributed by such foundations, an important question to ask is: how has this funding influenced anti-racism research and the evolution of race-related activism more generally? Yet to date few scholars in the field of race relations have attempted to address this simple yet critically important question. Scholarly attention has of course been paid to the role of right-wing foundations in promoting often racist neoliberal politics, but for reasons unknown, the influence of liberal foundations has for the most part been left untouched. This phenomenon is worrying given the small yet growing critical literature on philanthropy.

As might be expected, liberal philanthropists like many other unaccountable and undemocratic bodies regularly downplay the magnitude of their influence on society, successfully disguising the arguably crucial hegemonic function they fulfill for ruling elites. Of course, similar claims from other key powerbrokers — like the mainstream media — are rightfully met with skepticism, but in the case of liberal foundations the opposite appears to be the case. Consequently researchers (in most fields) have naively accepted the liberal foundations’ own benign sounding rhetoric at face value, and have ignored or belittled their influence on democratic processes…

See also : More on Zeskind… and spotting! (August 15, 2009) | Leonard Zeskind on Noam Chomsky (August 14, 2009) | Defamation (The FILM) (August 12, 2009).

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 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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