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'Warzone' in Hamburg after Nazi demo
Photo: DPA

'Warzone' in Hamburg after Nazi demo

Published: 02 Jun 2012 16:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jun 2012 16:35 GMT+02:00

Clashes in Hamburg between those who support and oppose neo-Nazi groups erupted in violence on Saturday, as the two sides battled it out in the city's Wandsbek district, leaving it in ruins.

Eye witnesses described the neighbourhod as looking "like a warzone" after neo-Nazis tried to block the anti-Nazi groups and then set garbage on fire. The police fought back with water cannons.

Before that anti-Nazi demonstrators greeted police by throwing rocks at them. Eight officers were hurt. The police took as many as 700 people into custody.

By midday there were about 1,000 police officers on the streets trying to control the opposing factions. A police helicopter was also deployed, a spokesperson said.

Not everyone was violent. Earlier in the day some 3,000 anti-Nazi protestors marched in the streets of Hamburg and later about 10,000 gathered to protest against the far-right.

The clashes come after police found eight of their larger vehicles on fire and three police cars also affected by the flames early Saturday morning.

“An investigation is under way,” a police spokesman said, adding that officials suspect the attack is connected to the neo-Nazi demonstration.

The burning vehicles were located in the parking lot of the hotel where police were staying.

Police did not have an estimate as to how many Nazi protestors are expected on Saturday. The Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper said thousands are expected.

Hamburg appears to be a popular spot for such demonstrations. Just one month ago the city was home to another large anti-Nazi demonstration, in which thousands took to the streets to protest against the far-right groups.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:53 June 2, 2012 by smart2012
scary that neo nazi are stil there. A Turkish friend of mine who published an article describing his life in Germany (good and bad) got a letter from a far right group saying to stop or they will prevent him to speak again
20:40 June 2, 2012 by IchBinKönig
I wonder who did most of the damage? The Neo-Nazis or the Anti-Nazis. It looks like the recent Middle East in that picture.
00:53 June 3, 2012 by coffmap8
Awful these things are happening. Just like the hooligans that are destroying soccer. Go away go to another country!! Get out of here.
04:16 June 3, 2012 by siba
smart2012: they are still here and everywhere else... unfortunately! however, they are an extreme small minority in germany and - as you see in this example - , the anti-demonstrations are huge - much bigger than in most other countries where nazis are even part of the paliament!

germany is a free county and also nazis can demonstrate legally, because in the end it is about who wins the discourse... and the nazis do not. however, in some parts of the world, like in the US, Nazi-ideology has entered the public arena. Obama gets 1000s of hate-mails for being black and he does not get impressed by that. Gut so! your friend should neither!

some greek friends of mine will demonstrate soon in berlin against the rise of the nazis in Greece. at the last elections they got around 7 percent in greece (germany < 1 %).
04:38 June 3, 2012 by soros
The Right is making a comeback because the Left has had its day and people are getting tired of liberalism. These trends are cyclical. Part of it too is the sense of being without control over the future of the culture, not just in Germany, but in the UK, Greece, Russia, all over. Globalization is moving too fast for people to adjust to, so the Right wants to put on the brakes. The Left also had it's time of violence if you recall the Red Army Faction. Now it's the Right's turn.
09:51 June 3, 2012 by Sayer
soros, while your comment was insightful.

Here's my take, for what it's worth. Not only in Germany, but around the world, in many developed societies there is a layer, loose or organized, of people who do not develop along with the prevailing socio-economic group. They often have less than the minimum education levels, and so, transferable skills when they need to change jobs. A sense of being shortchanged develops, morphing into indignant jealousy when they see 'immigrants' with signs of prosperity that they feel should be theirs. A small number of these people take that jealousy to violent revenge, others to meetings, chants, slogans and marches, as we see these days.

Nazi-ism in Germany is a particularly convenient meme, remembering "days of past glories" with "Ein Volk, Ein Reich und Ein Fuhrer" a a longing for the good old days that never were. Whatever one thinks of the original perpetrators of Nazi-ism, these poor sods with swastikas tattooed on their heads, and the banners we see, don't have even 1% the academic integrity or the intellectual discipline their forefathers had. They don't get it at all.

To deal with them, I'd say "Leave them alone!" Only prosecute the criminals, but leave the rest of them to headbanger music, the worn copies of Mein Kampf (which I doubt they understand anyway) and their meetings in clubs, covens or sewers, wherever they go. By focusing on their marches and counter-protesting the well intentioned do-gooder Anti-Nazis give these buffoons the undeserved oxygen of publicity. Better to leave them alone, and only have the law come down hard on the criminals among them. Save us all a lot of grief.
09:58 June 3, 2012 by McM
The loony season gets under way.The extreme right appeared somewhat orderly compared to the extreme left and their street chaos methods. Provocative fire lighting of police vehicles , private cars and rubbish bins only plays into the hands of the extreme right. If both groups they put all that time and energy into some needy social projects some positives may happen.

It all seems so brain less and pathetic. I suspect it has more to do with testosterone and the convenience of mobile comms than any mature reasoned consideration.
10:40 June 3, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Looks like those dumpsters put up one hell of a fight.
11:21 June 3, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Small diks and even smaller brains. Why not just put them in a cage and let them fight it out without cost to the tax-payer.

Seriously though. Why march against Nazi's? That is only giving them publicity and acknowleging their presence. Let the Nazi's march and ignore them. Nobody is interested in their disfunctional, redundant and illogilical ideoligy anyway.
12:13 June 3, 2012 by curlycola
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:14 June 3, 2012 by melbournite
the neonazis grow because of capitalist crisis.. this time, as in the 1930s. That the neonazis are not more of a force in Germany is because the crisis has not yet reached here - but it will. That has to be large protests against the neonazis and win not only the discourse, but to stop them organising on the streets and most importantly to fight for an alternative to capitalism
12:18 June 3, 2012 by smart2012
siba, unfortunately radical parties are increasing not just in Germany, but also in France/Greece and other countries.. This is back to my view of poor politician leading EU, which is resulting in more and more "bad" nationalism
13:10 June 3, 2012 by siba
@smart2012 and some others up there: radical parities DO NOT increase in Germany. Where the hell do you take this from? Did ANYONE read the article here. This is just about a nazi-demonstration and a big anti-nazi demonstration. These kind of demonstrations and clashes have existed for the last decades - there is NO increase. 0,0xxx vote for them. They are NOT in the rise, at least NOT in Germany.
13:16 June 3, 2012 by Leo Strauss
curlycola

You put the `Crystal` in `Kristallnacht`. :(
13:52 June 3, 2012 by smart2012
Siba, did u read the article from Schulz (eu head) I have posted recently?
15:33 June 3, 2012 by siba
... yes, I do not disagree with him. but he talks about europe, not about germany.
15:39 June 3, 2012 by smart2012
Germany is Europe or?
16:53 June 3, 2012 by hamburgcitygirl
There is a very important BIG mistake in this article!! I hate to say it but it was NOT the neo-nazis blocking the streets, it was the Anti-Nazi-Protesters doing so, that was before the Nazis were even there!!

Unfortunately the Anti-Nazis were a lot worse than the Nazis, I am living in the area and it really was like a war zone, especially when they changed the root and it went from 500m away to in front of my door.
17:21 June 3, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Maybe it would simplify everything to refer to both groups as political street hooligans.
18:25 June 3, 2012 by bluestratus
Well if we didn´t have criminals, the police would be out of a job...and then the poor motorist would be even further penalised..
18:15 June 4, 2012 by AlexR
@siba "however, they are an extreme small minority in germany... some greek friends of mine will demonstrate soon in berlin against the rise of the nazis in Greece. at the last elections they got around 7 percent in greece (germany < 1 %)."

The far right German party is small but not an "extreme small minority in germany". I wouldn't downplay their importance by saying that "0,0xxx vote for them" or that they got
18:19 June 4, 2012 by siba
smart2012: Germany is Europe like New York is the US.... For Europe: There is not everywhere an economic crisis and there is not everywhere a rise of radical parties. Both applies to Germany but also to some other European countries! Again, things and situations - like humans - are more diverse than you might think..
18:23 June 4, 2012 by AlexR
@siba "however, they are an extreme small minority in germany... some greek friends of mine will demonstrate soon in berlin against the rise of the nazis in Greece. at the last elections they got around 7 percent in greece (germany < 1 %)."

The far right German party is small but not an "extreme small minority in germany". I wouldn't downplay their importance by saying that "0,0xxx vote for them" or that they got
08:54 June 5, 2012 by siba
@AlexR: Each single nazi is too much but this group is very small and has no political relevance on a national level in Germany. Just look at the elections' results.

And again, there is more a decrease than an increase regarding nazis in Germany. And there are many Western and Ex-Soviet countries where nazis have got political power or at least are protected (e.g. if they hunt gays in St. Petersburg the police supports the nazis not the gays...).. All this is not Germany.

So if there is just one nazi left, it is a problem, but this article above does not talk about any rise of nazis in germany as some claimed...
12:12 June 5, 2012 by Craptastic
@siba: "however, in some parts of the world, like in the US, Nazi-ideology has entered the public arena." You mean like the NPD has done in Germany? So, please tell me which is the national socialist party int he US? Or do you mean racism? " Obama gets 1000s of hate-mails for being black"

Please tell me by percentage how many non-white people reside in Germany and how many in the US? Let me help you by giving you this: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855617.html.

As you can see, racism is far more pervasive in Germany. Germany solves the problem by being racially homogeneous. http://www.thelocal.de/national/20090702-20329.html

Let's all do try to think before we spout off about something of which we are entirely uneducated and singularly unqualified to discuss. On the issue of race politics and neo-nazism, siba, this appears to be you.
15:33 June 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Craptastic

I might be wrong, but it might be that siba referred to American TV/radio personalities like Brian Kilmead ("[In the United States] we keep marrying other species and other ethnics...", "All terrorists are Muslims") when he/she mentioned that Nazi-ideology has entered the public arena in the US. I failed to find a similar example for Germany (Sarrazin still looks like a kid, having much more moderate views). So I am not sure how did you came to the conclusion that racism is "far more pervasive" in Germany.

I think the main lesson from this article is that anti-nazi is not necessarily violence-free. Or that the enemy of the bad guy is not necessarily a good guy. It seems that there is more than black and white in this world.
15:39 June 5, 2012 by AlexR
@siba

I'm well aware of the German election results, historical and current. I tried to post them two times yesterday but unfortunately both of the times the Local's servers cut almost 80% of my message as you can see above. I'll try to write and post it again, and hopefully this time will go through.

I wouldn't downplay the influence of the German far right importance by saying that "0,0xxx vote for them" or that "they got
16:43 June 5, 2012 by Craptastic
@ChrisRea: You mean you don't know about the NPD, DLM and other similarly ideologically situated parties actually GAINING SEATS IN PARLIAMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS or are you saying that you see numerous people of color WELCOMED IN ALL ASPECTS OF GERMAN LIFE AND CULTURE or are you inferring that it is morally equivalent to compare A SPORTS NEWS ANCHOR to MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND MAJOR POLITICAL FIGURES? I'm capitalizing that so that you see how silly it is to make the statement that there is more racism in the US AFTER you have LOOKED at the two WEBSITES I provided. Let me know what you think AFTER you read them.
17:38 June 5, 2012 by siba
@Craptastic: Regarding the US, for me the Tea Party - which has some saying in the Repuplican Party - is openly rascist. For German standards the Tea Party and the whole Repuplican Party is extremly fascist and right-wing. This is not possible in Germany. Sidenote: There was even a funny movie called Iron Sky, where nazis on the moon write the political program for sara palin.

You should not forget the US history of slavery... Or France had lots of colonies in Africa... These are reasons why there are many blacks!!! not liberal or welcoming politics!!!! In Germany you have many Turks because once they came as guest workers... so this was also not a humanitarian thing...

Here in Germany the nazis are a bunch of stupid uneducated boys who are not taken seriously and have no space in public discourses. At the last national elections in 2009 the NPD (nazi party) got 1,5 %, but in polls this number dropped < 1 %. Most and only successful they are among young, unemployed men with bad educational background in the poor eastern, former communist regions of Germany.

Sarrazin is the only figure in Germany who has some success with critical statements on immigration. I find him bad enough, but he is not a nazi if you compare him to right-wing populist politicians like Geert Widers in the NL or Heinz Strache in Austria (who both gain up to 20 Percent of the votes!) - who both are a joke again compared to what the Tea Party or Fox News says!

I see e.g. how Roma were pushed out of France by Sarkozy and now many of them live here in my neighborhood in Berlin. Berlin invests l in programs to give them a chance to become part of society... Mainstream policies in Germany are becoming more and more pro-immigration and tolerance, not the way around.
17:50 June 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Craptastic

First of all, Brian Kilmeade is no sports news anchor, he is co-host of several TV/radio shows. Are you capable of understanding the difference?

Secondly, no German public figure with an audience similar in (relative) size to Kilmeade's made such racists comments as his.

Thirdly, I hope you do not suggest that there is more racism in Germany than in US because in the US live more non-white people (your infoplease site). The high number of black people in the US is due to its past racist policies, not because the country had shown open-mindedness.

Fourthly, the article you cite says that there is room for improvement in Germany, making no comparison to the situation in the US. The same UN also says: "Discrimination permeates all aspects of life in the United States, and extends to all communities of color." (August 2010)

I am not sure I understood you correctly: are you suggesting that there are Bundestag members/parties with a (neo-)Nazi ideology? Who/what exactly do you have in mind?
18:09 June 5, 2012 by Craptastic
Per report from British government: Ethnic Minorities in Politics, Government and Public Life (you'll have to search it, Local won't allow the link) German Parliament consists of 1.6 % minorities whereas US Congress consist of 15% minorities.

The high number of immigrants of color (including Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African) since 1970 to the US dwarfs the immigration of people of color into Germany and your inference that the only people of color in the US are the descendants of slaves is beyond laughable and historically untrue so move that one right along.

Finally, and I think you'll have to agree this is the DEATH blow: Which country's courts just determined that profiling based strictly on skin color is acceptable?
18:59 June 5, 2012 by siba
... there are so many historical reasons, the English language... all this does not say anything about rascism. It is a multi-faceted issue...

Profiling based on skin colour - means asking for your id or passport e.g. in a train due to your outer experience - is a common issue around the world, I saw it in the NL, Belgium, France and particularly in the US. For the police skin color might indicate that you are an "illegal" immigrant. I totally oppose this practce.

To my experiences in the US: Just have a flight as a Latino or black man to the US and they will make you sweat when you enter the US by interviewing you thoroughly why you visit the US. You will find a big office full of Lations and blacks. This does not happen if you are white. I made this experience with a friend from Columbia. Generally Latinos seem to be more stigmatized in the US, some regard "them" as "stupid" or "lazy" told me my friend, while here in Germany Latinos have quite a positive image... In the US people first talked to me - probably because I look more like a white American - while they disregarded my Latino friend though he has already lived in the US for many years. This was my strongest experience with often subtle but obvious and direct rascism.
09:50 June 6, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Craptastic

I am glad you stopped claiming that Brian Kilmeade is something/somebody else than he really is.

Also, I am happy that you do not contradict anymore that there is no German public figure similar to Kilmeade making racist comments. Or that there is no Bundestag member/party with (neo-)Nazi ideology.

Apparently you understood now what the article from 2009 that you cited meant.

However, you say "your inference that the only people of color in the US are the descendants of slaves" in response to my statement "The high number of black people in the US is due to its past racist policies, not because the country had shown open-mindedness". So, which part of my statement says that the ONLY people of color in the US are the descendant of slaves? Are you also capable of understanding that people of colour are not only black people?

You also claim that because more people of colour emigrated to the US than to Germany, it means that Germany is more racist. Following your reasoning, it means that US discriminates Turks because many more emigrated to Germany than to the US. Laughable, right?

If you were not able to do it, I will post the link to the report you mentioned: www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01156.pdf. See? It is not so complicated. So what does this report say? "The figures for Germany were 6 (1.3%) of members of the lower house representing 4.8% of the general population, and for the Netherlands 8% and 10.9%. In the 112th US Congress (2011-2012) of 435 members of the House of Representatives, 82 (6%) were minority ethnic as were 4 (4%) of the 100 Senate members." You probably know that the minorities in the US are 36.3% of the total population. So the missrepresentation of minorities in Germany is about 3.5% (4.8%-1.3%) and in the US is above 30% (36.3% minus 6%, respectively 4%). In which country did you say again that minorities are more discriminated?

siba already answered your alleged "death blow" :)
10:32 June 6, 2012 by AlexR
(this is my fourth attempt to post the same comment, I hope it'll go through this time. If it doesn't, I would suggest the Local tech stuff to sort out their comment submission issues)

@siba

The far right German party is small but not an "extreme small minority in germany". I wouldn't downplay their importance by saying that "0,0x vote for them" or that they got "less than 1%" in Germany because this, simply, is not correct. The main reason that the German far right party is relatively small is because, at the moment, the economy in Germany is relatively stable, with record low unemployment and record high savings. However, as history and the recent developments show, the far right parties are increasing their influence, at the times of economic instability. Three examples, two of them regarding Germany, below:

1. What is happening today with Greece and the PIIGS has striking similarities with the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis in the 30s. The 1929 depression in USA produced a shock wave in Germany. The economy that was supported by US loans, almost collapsed when the American banks withdrew their loans to Germany. This led to severe economic and political instability with huge unemployment which resulted to a political earthquake. On 1930 elections the Nazi party got 19% of the vote, almost FIVE times the percentage compared to 1928. And we all know, what happened after that.

2. Currently, the economy in Germany is stable with record low unemployment and the influence of the German far right party is small nationwide. However, its strength in the individual German states, show quite a different picture. On the last federal elections, they got 1.8% (and not 0,0xxx or less than 1% as you are saying), a little more than the 1.6% they got on the elections before the last. However, they got 3.5-4.1% in all Eastern German states. Also on the state election in Saxony, they got 9.2% and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 7.3% of the vote. Those are quite larger numbers than "less than 1%". Again, they got in Saxony almost FIVE times the percentage compared to their nationwide numbers. Of course it's not surprising that all those states are former East German states, with higher unemployment and worse economy than the western ones.

3. The Greek far right party was founded 20 years ago, and during most of those years its influence was so small that it wasn't even able to participate on the elections because they couldn't find enough candidates. They managed to participate on the 2009 elections and they got only the 0.29% of the total vote. Three years and two austerity packages later, they increased their 0.29% of 2009 to 7% last May. That is a TWENTY FIVE times increase. The reasons for that are obvious. The crisis and its handling, more than doubled the total unemployment (and quadrupled the youth unemployment to 53%) and the economy is in near collapse, just like in the Weimar Republic in the 30s.
12:08 June 6, 2012 by Craptastic
Oh, Siba, I won't even attempt to rebut the "everyone is doing it" argument. That one doesn't work from a six year0-old and it won't work from you, either. As a latina from the US, I can tell you that your anecdotal reference is also a non-starter, but you already knew that, right? "Well, I had this friend..." Laughable on its face!

Chris Rea, sayng Kilmeade, a commentator, represents political thought in the US more than Sarrazin represents political thought in Germany is such a non-starter it is beyond comment. That's like saying that little blonde boy on Tagesschau represents political thought in Germany. Mind-numbingly stupid.

Your failure to connect your statement "The high number of black people in the US is due to its past racist policies, not because the country had shown open-mindedness" to the subject at hand is more than clear. Did you miss that day in rhetoric class? Let me rephrase that for you: Would it be fair to say that the genocidal past of Germany in indicative of its propensity to genocide today? Would that be a fair analysis? After all, Germany's genocidal past is in much greater temporal proximity than slavery in the US. I assume now that you see.

Still, you have failed to discuss that which is readily observable and noted and supported in my posts: raw statistics. Germany has 1.6% representation of ALL ethnic minorities in its Bundestag. The US has 18% representation of minorities in Congress NOTE: You actually have to have brains enough to check the mathematics of the British report. Sorry, I overestimated you. 82 out of 435 is 18% and the 4% in the Senate equals an aggregated total of 15% over the entire Congressional body. (You might want to look here for the raw numbers: http://thisnation.com/congress-facts.html and do the math yourself.)

I also hit you with the same hypocrisy charge I level at Siba - Really? You want to say it's ok because "everybody does it"? Are you six? Everybody does not do it. It is not codified as case law in the US. You should reconsider that you think it's ok to profile based solely on race. It's not. I am literally shocked that any grown person would defend such a thing in this day and age. "Everybody does it"! Seriously! That's your defense!? Stunning, really.
14:08 June 6, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Craptastic

Let's try again to make you understand your fallacies.

"Chris Rea, sayng Kilmeade, a commentator, represents political thought in the US " - Where did I say such thing? siba said "in some parts of the world, like in the US, Nazi-ideology has entered the public arena." To support siba's point, I gave Kilmeade as an example of extreme racist comments made on TV (which I think qualifies as public arena, right?). Nobody said that Kilmeade represents political thought. Is it clear now?

I challenged you and you failed to explain which part of my statement ("The high number of black people in the US is due to its past racist policies, not because the country had shown open-mindedness") says that the ONLY people of color in the US are the descendant of slaves. No wonder here.

To the percentages you quote, it means that minorities are misrepresented in the US by about 18% (36.7%-18%), while they are misrepresented in Germany by about 3.5% (4.8%-1.3%). I would say it is pretty clear where the greater misrepresentation takes place.

You also say "You want to say it's ok because "everybody does it"? No, it is not. I never said that as I am against racism. siba also clearly stated that each single nazi is too much. The point demonstrated is that you have no ground to say that racism is more pervasive in Germany than in the US.

The pattern I notice is that, when you see you have no valid argument, you twist the statements of the other commentators.
15:05 June 6, 2012 by Craptastic
From post #4:"however, in some parts of the world, like in the US, Nazi-ideology has entered the public arena. Obama gets 1000s of hate-mails for being black and he does not get impressed by that."

Everything I have written since is to debunk this idea that Nazism and racism are more in the public arena than in Germany. This argument has succeeded handily.

Oddly enough, you've devolved from strawmen to ad hominem attacks. Good for me that I only do this for fun and am not terribly interested in your opinion of me.

Please let me leave you with the words of Cem ízdemir:

Unlike Americans, Europeans still have great difficulty identifying even second-generation immigrants as fellow citizens. Europe has the tendency to define them by ethnic origin, colour or religion. The expression ¦quot;a Turk with a German passport¦quot; is a particularly telling example of this mentality. Only German citizens, obviously, can hold German passports, but the tendency still exists to qualify citizenship with another nationality or ethnic origin (in this case ¦#39;Turk¦#39;). On the other hand, in the US hyphenated or hybrid identities are commonly accepted. Furthermore, the emphasis when employing these identity categories - whether African-American, Turkish-American or Italian-American - is placed on ¦#39;American¦#39;. In other words: American citizen first, ethnic heritage second.

http://www.britishcouncil.org/tn2020-research-findings-authors-ozdemir.htm

There you have it from the mouth of a German who has felt the institutionalized discrimination of German culture.
15:32 June 6, 2012 by ChrisRea
Oh, you change the subject again. Nobody said that "Nazism and racism are more in the public arena than in Germany". Where did you get all this stuff?

"you've devolved from strawmen to ad hominem attacks" -Really? Where? Oh, are you by chance referring to your post, #25, where you attack siba ("entirely uneducated and singularly unqualified to discuss.")?

Funny that quote the subjective opinion of a minority representative who is the head of a major German party. I do not understand why would you consider that he is talking about institutionalised discrimination, when there is no such mention in his integral text. Are you sure you understand the concept? Or are you just twisting his words, just as you twist the words of the commentators here?
17:43 June 6, 2012 by siba
@ AlexR: I corrected myself already in a comment before your last one stating that at the last election in 2009 1,5 % voted for the NPD, the number below 0,X only applies to the West of Germany. However, the number has decreased at the last federal elections and also polls give the Nazis < 1 %.

Before WWII Nazi-ideology was wide-spread also among the elites inside and outside of Germany (e.g. in sciences about genetics...) or antisemitism was common in all of Europe... Today all German elites, the media, public figures... totally oppose anit-immigrant populism (that is not so much the case in some other Western countries!). That is why there is in Germany not any right-wing populist party like in the NL, Austria (where I come from)... and in Germany the conservatives are quite moderate compared to the Republicans in the US, or Sarkozy or Berlusconi. There is still - and I hope it will stay like that - no space for right-wing populist parties in Germany. If Merkel would state the same things that Sarkozy or Berlusconi said about immigrants she would be labelled as the new Hitler... People just look very senstively to Germany which is not bad but evaluations are therefore sometimes out of context.

@Craptastic: Yes, America is the holy land and everyone can live the American dream... dream on!!!! Just look at the elections campaigns against Obama or at the fact that it is so difficult to implement social security systems in the US. Especially African Americans and Latinos who make the biggest part of the US-"underclass" would profit from it... This is not directly about rascism but a sign how much solidarity and empathy is in a country. Always look at a country how it treates its worst off (the poor, the sick...) and then the US will be on the bottom of the list compared to similarly rich countries in Western and Northern Europe.

Just come to multi-cultural Berlin and you will see how diversity can work perfectly in Germany and check the programs of the federal government as it has made diversity the central paradigma for the last 10 years. You will also find a huge comminty of US-Americans here who escaped the narrow-mindedness and right-wingness of the US.
17:52 June 6, 2012 by AlexR
I don't know how some of the latest comments are relevant to Nazism. The neo-nazism is by definition racist and xenophobic but the opposite is not always true. There are many racist and even more xenophobic people in the right/center/left parts of the political spectrum but they certainly don't define themselves as Nazists.
18:33 June 6, 2012 by siba
... no but we do. Most of them might not be by defintion rascist but for sure xenophobic or islamophic. If nazis want to become main-stream they have to become "nazis-light" (which does not make them less harmeless!!) like Geert Wilders' party in the NL or Heinz Straches' party in Austria. For me the Tea Party movement and the Repuplicans also contain a quite xeno- and islamophobic agenda. This way nazi-ideology enters the public discourse quite easily. However, you are right that some so called center-people - like it was e.g. Sarkozy who competed with the kind od nazi party of Le Pen - can be quite xenophobic or even rascist.
18:27 June 7, 2012 by AlexR
@siba:

I was writing my last comment, which obviously wasn't a reply to your comment, when you posted yours so, given the Local's restrictions, I couldn't post a consecutive message. Here's my reply:

My message was very clear, and backed up with three examples, two from Germany and one from Greece: the far right parties increase their influence when the economy gets worse and the unemployment increases. Do you disagree on that?

It seems that you do, since you believe that the the main reason that "there is in Germany not any right-wing populist party" is not the relatively good economy but because "all German elites, the media, public figures... totally oppose anit-immigrant populism". This is completely wrong in so many levels. Let me mention a few:

If the above assumption of yours is correct, why the far right party has FIVE to SEVEN times more percentage points in the Eastern than the Western German States? Do they have different "German elites, media, public figures" in the East? No. What is their main difference then? Isn't it their worse economy and their much higher unemployment?

Also what do you mean that "is not so much the case in some other Western countries". In all EU countries, most of the media and the public figures are strictly against the far right parties. Do you suggest than in the NL and Austria, the media are supporting the far right?

As for Germany, you are wrong that the "media and public figures" don't have/promote a "right-wing populist" agenda. Then what Bild does? What Thilo Sarrazin does? Bild is, on their own words, the "biggest newspaper in Europe" with circulation of 3-5 million and readership of 12-18 million, i.e., it reaches 15% to 20% of the German population. And according to an investigative report by Spiegel the "Bild is an incendiary publication which fulfils the role of a rightwing popular party Germany has never had".

h**p://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/28/spiegel-magazine-bild-germany-right

In other words, the fact that the far right party doesn't have big election numbers (due to the good economy and the inadequacy of the NPD leaders), it doesn't mean that there isn't a right-wing populism in a part of the society. 15% of the population reads the right-wing populist articles of Bild, the current government adjusts many of its policies according to Bild's agenda, while Sarrazin's book was the most popular book on politics in a decade with millions of sales.

In a nutshell, it's relatively correct what you say that the far right party has a small electoral power. However, the much larger influence of the rightwing populist ideas in the German society, it's a fact that must keep us alarmed and not downplay its importance. Because, when a potential financial crisis reaches Germany, those ideas will materialize in votes to the far right parties, exactly like on the three cases I mentioned on my previous post.
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