Friday, October 13, 2017

Germany's new Nazis

Police say Reichsbürger and allied far-right movements could commit violent terrorism, German media report. There are an estimated 15,000 members (with a thousand members licensed to own weapons)  of such groups in Germany, according to the domestic intelligence agency. Followers of the Reichsbürger movement are not organized in any sense, but share a common self-image as subjects of an illegitimate postwar government.

Reichsbürger believe the federal republic founded in 1949 is not a legitimate state because Germany never signed a peace agreement with the Allies, that the Basic Law requires a popular referendum to be transformed into a legitimate constitution, and that the country should restore either its 1871 or 1937 borders  and that the modern-day Federal Republic of Germany is an administrative construct and still occupied by the Western powers.

According to the German newspaper Welt reported that Reichsbürger and sovereign citizens have committed more than 13,000 offenses, about 750 of which were violent, with more than 700 of the acts targeting government employees. In the view of extreme-right ideologues, German citizenship should be tied to an ethnically defined 'people's community' in order to combat 'genocide' through 'mass immigration.'  Those who protect the Reichsbürger constitution "fundamentally reject the state, its representatives and the entire legal system." Its followers do not recognize the authority of the  German government or its constitution, or Basic Law, and often refuse to pay tax.  

Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)  President Hans-Georg Maassen said the danger posed by the movement becomes particularly apparent "when the Reichsbürger believe they have to resort to force to oppose legitimate police and judicial operations."  The group has been designated a terrorist group and is considered to be far-right, nationalist, and often anti-Semitic.
Other far-right parties are:
Alternative for Germany (AfD) Membership: 25,000
National Democratic Party (NPD) Membership: 5,000
PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) Estimated supporters (May 2017): 2,000
Identitarian movement Membership: around 500 

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