Wieduwilt’s Week: Who is resisting the politics of the brown crutches?

Populism is making gains every day in Germany. And not everything that the black and white speakers denounce is made out of thin air. Is there no one on the right of center who opposes this development?

Thursday was a warning day and so that everyone would wake up, the CDU and FDP in Thuringia passed a law together with the AfD – or, I don’t want to hurt black feelings, of course the other way around! Doesn’t matter! It was for a good cause: There are tax cuts for home ownership and if people are safe anywhere from the brown brood in the East, then it’s probably within their own four fire walls! Happy “Democracy Day” everyone!

You can’t say anything anymore in Germany. In fact, this vote in the Thuringian state parliament is, above all, that: a communicative act. I think tax cuts are as cool as any decent, liberal-minded person, the building of houses that is intended is politically clever, but the signal is different. The CDU and FDP shout: Yes, we are joining forces with the AfD in order to carry out our politics on brown crutches. It’s a give and take, you take it from freedom and give it to the right-wing extremists, that’s how politics works in 2023.

What is so bad about it is obvious to historians and remains completely hidden from the apolitical citizen. Once again, the elites think it’s stupid, which causes everyone else to shrug their shoulders. This discrepancy is great, at least for right-wing populists. They live from it. The core of populism is the narrative that there is a homogeneous “people” that must defend itself against elites, leftists, greens, globalists, Jews and so on; against everyone who repopulates, imprisons, de-industrializes and re-educates that “people”. Democracy is not an arduous search for compromise by completely different interest groups, but rather the hard fist of “the people” that comes down on the left-green table.

Populism, as populists explain it

The range of topics that separates “those up there” from “those down there” is growing: climate protection is annoying, migration should stop, the banks should not be saved, the pandemic should be allowed to rage, globalization should be stopped, digitalization should be slowed down and with that stop the annoying guilt cult. Please do everything as before and then please pay straight away, thank you.

For reasons that are not at all surprising, the AfD has so much momentum that it could soon become the Prime Minister in Brandenburg. Unbrown Germany scratches its head and asks itself: How could it come to this? The reasons have been crystal clear for many years. Alexander Gauland himself once demonstrated the driving forces of populism in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. The populists explain to us how boom works because they have nothing to fear. All you have to do is listen:

“This rift runs through all Western societies today. It deepened enormously when billions upon billions of taxpayers’ money suddenly became available to save banks, finance bankrupt European states and support hundreds of thousands of immigrants. It was a constellation that called for a fundamental opposition. This opposition could come from the right or the left, but it necessarily had to be populist. Populist means: against the establishment. Ms. Wagenknecht understood that.”

That was five years ago, and now Ms. Wagenknecht is about to found a party. It will be national and socialist, but somehow we can’t quite come up with the right name yet, I wonder why.

Decorated with Nazi vocabulary

At the same time, the “those up there” narrative and the “you can’t say anything more” chatter are fed daily, sometimes inevitably, sometimes with a start. A selection from these days: Because officials are constantly sending each other Nazi stuff in chats for some reason, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia now wants to tighten criminal law so that even private messages can be punishable for incitement to hatred. Isn’t disciplinary law enough? At the EU level, the EU Commission wants to use Ashton Kutcher to automatically screen chats for child pornography. What could possibly go wrong?

Tagesschau speaker and author Constantin Schreiber no longer wants to talk about Islam since left-wing extremists harassed and attacked him. A student has to pay 1,500 euros because he called Germany a “dirty state” because of the pandemic measures. The public prosecutor believes that this is a “denigration of the state and its symbols.” Politically, it doesn’t help anyone to drag an angry head before a criminal judge – but the populists have been celebrating themselves as victims of the pig system for days.

Björn Höcke, on the other hand, repeatedly decorates himself with Nazi vocabulary as if it were cheeky nipple piercings, and is now being prosecuted in the Halle district court for his phrase “Everything for Germany”. “Everything for Germany” is a forbidden SA slogan, but it should be easy for Höcke to get out of it – after all, the “Spiegel” has already used this formulation in a comment.

The old spectrum has had its day

No ban on speaking and no throwing of cakes will defend democracy: that is a wrong path. Höcke now behaves with the student as a downtrodden rebel: “Germany 2023 – a country has lost its compass: knife murderers are running around freely, patriotic opposition members are being brought to justice because of a half-sentence taken out of context.” Tearfulness as a brand essence – this works equally well with hard right-wing extremists and the right-wing brown Biedermeier mantle.

Nothing about the percentage points for AfD and Free Voters is surprising. Markus Söder removed the feeling of shame towards populists that remained in Germany thanks to the bravely supported “We remember” backdrop in the Aiwanger affair. According to the survey, his calculation to assert himself through this went straight into the lederhosen and left stains there that can no longer be removed.

And now? A gap is emerging in the party spectrum. The Union allows itself to be eaten by populists and promotes politics of defiance. Presidium member Jens Spahn, for example, just announced that he would do away with the hated heating law without saying who it would actually be for – again with the brown crutch, perhaps? Things don’t look much better for the FDP, they just argue more discreetly.

You will still be able to dream

There needs to be a party, a movement. Rational, anti-ideological and business-minded like the bourgeoisie once were, as civil rights-oriented as the FDP, uncompromisingly anti-fascist like the Social Democrats, strong in communication and up-to-date like the Greens – and please, please, please with someone at the top who knows how you give a speech in 2023.

Someone in France did it. Emmanuel Macron, who has now considerably embellished his reputation, began as economics minister in a socialist government. According to his own information, he had had many conversations before he made his attempt for the highest office.

Is anyone in Germany having conversations right now? Maybe the many grumbling centrists in the Union? The left-wing liberals in the FDP? You can still dream. After all, today is “Democracy Day”.

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