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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Inquiétante récrudescence des mouvements néonazis

by Charlotte Noblet

A Troubling Revival of Neo-Nazi Movements

Translated Wednesday 27 September 2006, by Henry Crapo

Berlin, special correspondent

Bawling into a microphone in a manner more appropriate for the days of the Third Reich, with the Valkyrie as background music, members of the German Nationalist Party (NPD) campaign in Pankow, a neighborhood in the north of Berlin. It’s the last straight-away before the elections to be held on Sunday 17 September in the city-state of Berlin [1]

The voters are called upon to vote for municipal assemblies in the various sectors of the city, as well as for the regional parliament.

Between the refrain of "It’s either me or the immigrants", played by young blond-haired militants, or "Go back home", addressed to two veiled women, shown from the back, with plastic bags, the posters for the NPD cause are attracting a lot of attention. "It’s alarming to see with what self-assurance and with what insolence the neo-nazis are campaigning" says Andras Kôhn, assistant leader of Ver-di Berlin, the combined labor union for services. According to the chief of the police intelligence services for Berlin, Claudia Schmid, the police already count, during the period since the beginning of the year, some forty aggressions involving the extreme right wing, compared with 52 for all of last year. "For a long time we have been directing our attention to the actions of the Berlin right wing", she explains, "but now when the neo-nazis attack foreigners, leftist activists, or the SDF, our citizens don’t bother to react any more".

According to recent polls, the extreme right should not, however, get above the lower limit of 5% necessary to gain seats in the Berlin parliament. The two extreme right wing parties, the NPD and the Republikaner, are nevertheless likely to win seats in 4 of the 12 local ward assemblies. The two parties have meticulously shared out the neighborhoods in Berlin so as not to find themselves in competition with each other at that level.

While the intrusion of the extreme right will surely be limited within the capital, the situation appears much more thoroughly compromised in Mecklenberg-Pomerania, a land (political region) of the north-east, where an election is also being held on Sunday. The NPD is expected to have 7% of the votes, and may thus gain entry into the regional parliament, as it did in Saxe two years ago. The neo-nazis may benefit, once again, from a protest vote sanctioning all the traditional parties. In a region that has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, part of the population, in particular the youth, hit by a lack of perspective for the future, by poverty and misery, has become very receptive to the racist discourse of the extreme right.

Saturday 16 September, 2006, page 7.

[1See also our issue for yesterday:

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