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Fighting the fascist threat in Germany
THERE WERE about 40 of them. Many were openly carrying guns. At first they circled us, shouting, threatening us. Then they attacked the table. They ripped up our leaflets, broke our picket signs, tried to push over the table. When we stood against them to protect our material, they shoved us and pushed us.
After 15 minutes of this two police officers showed up. But they did not intervene. They stood and watched as we were attacked verbally and physically.
Some of the Fascists tried to talk to us about the threat of immigrants and the need for a "pure Germany". We had an elderly woman with us who very fearlessly pushed herself into a group of them and began to tell them about Nazi-era Germany; they told her that had been "the great era of Germany". Finally, six more police arrived and the Fascists walked away, chanting.
What happened in Rostock is far from an isolated incident. In Germany, 5,223 acts of violence from extreme right-wing groups have been registered in the first half of this year. Eight people have been killed in the past two months by neo-Nazis.
I arrived in Berlin on 28 July, the day after a bomb in Dusseldorf seriously injured nine immigrants. Since then, the main capitalist papers carry news every day of the "recent rise in right-extremist violence". The politicians of the Christian Democratic and Social Democratic parties talk about the need to support a "strong state" against the extreme right groups.
BUT IT'S these very politicians who for years have been blaming the unemployment in eastern Germany on the immigrants.
Here's a slogan from the Christian Democratic Union, the German equivalent of the Tories. It's a few years old, from a campaign against giving green cards [employment rights] to Indian immigrants: "Children instead of Indians". And here's a recent one from the NPD, an openly Fascist party: "The future belongs to children, not to Indians." It sounds strangely familiar! How can anyone depend on a police force that was trying to deport them yesterday, to save their life today?
The German politicians don't care about protecting immigrants from violence, but they are terribly concerned about protecting their bloated bank accounts. The Fascists have "gone too far" in Germany today, and the businessmen are afraid of bad publicity damaging foreign investment. So they have to assume a position of "condemning" these groups.
Recently, politicians have been saying that the state should ban these parties, specifically the NPD.
In 1994, some Fascist groups in Germany were banned. Yet Fascism hasn't gone away. In fact, the number of officially organised Fascists in Germany has gone from 35,000 in 1993 to 60,000 today.
We shouldn't trust the government and the state police to stop Fascism. But through Youth Against Racism in Europe and the CWI, we will mobilise a new generation into organised struggle against the neo-Nazis.
Fascists are dangerous against individuals or unorganised groups. But when confroned by a mass movement of the working class armed with socialist ideas as an alternative to the chaos of capitalism, the fascists can be isolated and defeated.
In The Socialist 18 August 2000: