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One fifth of Germans want revolution: report

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A left-wing demo in Leipzig in May 2014. Photo: DPA
14:27 CET+01:00
One in five Germans believe that a revolution would be the only way to truly reform society, a study released by the Free University of Berlin on Monday shows.

Anti-capitalism, anti-fascism and anti-racism were all are prominent positions according to the study entitled 'Against state and capital – for the revolution', which has revealed a public much further to the left than previously thought.

In the report, 20% of the people surveyed agreed with the statement that "Living conditions won't be improved by reforms – we need a revolution".

A similar percentage of people said they saw the rise of a new fascism in Germany as a real danger, while as many as a third agreed that capitalism inevitably leads to poverty and hunger.

Reflecting the massive media attention given to a wave of anti-Islam Pegida demonstrations, the report highlighted that 48 percent thought that a deep-rooted xenophobia existed in modern day Germany.

East-West divide

An ideological divide between the former East and West was also very prominent, with left-wing statements generally garnering more support in the eastern states.

Among Germans living in the east, 60 percent considered socialism to be a good idea that so far has merely been poorly implemented - compared to only 37 percent of people in the west.

The statement that most people (62 percent) agreed to in the survey was that German democracy isn't real democracy, because it is the economy not the electorate that has the biggest say.

This is as clear a message as any for the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, who commissioned the study as part of their 'Strengthening Democracy' initiative.

State against dissidents

Almost 50 percent of respondents said they had noticed an increased surveillance of left-wing dissidents by police and the state.

And 27 percent fear that by spying on its citizens, Germany is on its way towards a dictatorship.

A more damning finding of the report, which aimed to provide a comprehensive portrayal of left-wing extremism in Germany, was that left-wing related violence had seen a stark increase in recent years.

Police and right-wing extremists were the most regular targets of far-left violence.

An attack on a Leipzig police station in January, with hooded people throwing rocks, bottles and paint bombs and burning vehicles, was the most visible far-left outburst in recent times.

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But left-wing extremists were the prime suspects in the vandalizing of posters for the Hamburg local elections belonging to right-wing party AfD (Alternative for Germany).

The report looked into previous studies, discussions on the notion of extremism and interviews with former and current activists.

Researchers deemed it important to analyse the "structural similarities between right and left-wing extremism", which include a doctrinal fanaticism that can be prone to conspiracy theories.

by Matty Edwards

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