Germany’s Identitarian Movement

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Germany’s semi-fascist Identitarian Movement, [Identitäre Bewegung or IB] like all right-wing extremists and adjacent Neo-Nazis, rejects the democratic order of Germany fighting with public stunts and violent force against democracy. The IB like many Neo-Nazis have given up on the traditional way of eliminating democracy. The IB is not planning a putsch or coup d’état like the infamous Kapp Putsch of 1920. 

The Kapp Putsch and Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, made it clear to Hitler that democracy cannot be annihilated by a putsch. As a consequence, the IB, as well as today’s Neo-Nazis, pursue their right-wing extremist aspirations through what they call a struggle for parliaments which is always linked to a brutal struggle for the streets.

According to the ideology of right-wing extremists like the IB and adjacent Neo-Nazis, a völkische collectivism pushes the individual aside. Key to Germany’s Neo-Nazis is the ideology of mythical blood-and-race based community. It demands belonging to the Aryan Volk – the mythical community of white people. The IB calls this Ethnopluralism – a sharply segregated community here and all the others over there. Ethnopluralism is Volksgemeinschaft with a new and more innocent sounding name.

Germany’s semi-fascistic Identitarian Movement – which is not a “movement”, but a tightly run group of extremists – propagates Ethnopluralism. In reality, this concept is aimed at strict nationalism. Of course, excludes all foreign, Jewish, and non-Aryan people. Like Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft, Ethnopluralism seeks to create a homogeneous Volksgemeinschaft based on a racial and national identity. 

The IB’s enthocentric Volksgemeinschaft is designed to replace the democratic decision-making processes with an authoritarian leader-state [Führerstaat], in which only the unified will of the Volksgemeinschaft, as expressed by the Führer, prevails. As a consequence, right-wing extremist parties like the IB, the AfD, hidden and not-so hidden Neo-Nazis compete in elections trying to make use of democratic structures in order to ultimately abolish them. It follows Goebbels statement that, 

it will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy,

that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.

It worked in 1933 and it may well work in 2021, so the calculation of Germany’s IB. In contrast to the AfD which pretends to be a democratic party, the IB and German Neo-Nazis tend to rely more on an SA-like fight for the street. They try to attract attention through high-profile actions both on the Internet and in the real world.

Like the Hitler Youth, the AfD’s Young Alternative for example, is a right-wing extremist collection of blood-&-soil loving patriots with right-wing extremist potentials. Yet, most Neo-Nazis and the Identitarian Movement support the AfD as a non-party organization. The AfD’s right-wing extremist supporters also recruit in Germany’s Neo-Nazi sub-culture music scene.

Germany’s right-wing extremists are active. In 2020, German authorities registered yet another increase in the right-wing extremism compared to the previous year. IB and Neo-Nazi activities in Germany’s state of Hessen (population 6.3 million) are linked to two of the most hateful crimes in recent memory: the Hanau killings and a political assassination. It is the West-German state where a Neo-Nazi killed several people in February 2020. The year before, another Neo-Nazi killed high profile CDU district president Walter Lübcke in one of the most significant post-war Neo-Nazi assassination of a politician.

In June 2019, Dr Walter Lübcke was found lifeless on the terrace of his home in town of Wolfhagen. He was killed by a firearm from a short distance. Neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst stated in his confession that he had shot the government president in June 2019 because Dr Lübcke defended Merkel’s refugee policy.

Before being murdered, Lübcke said, you have to stand up for values, and anyone who does not represent these values can leave this country at any time if he does not agree; that is the freedom of every German. Stephan Ernst also had connections to Germany’s foremost Neo-Nazi party, the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) before the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) took over. Neo-Nazism is linked to both parties.

In February 2020, nine people were killed in a racially and xenophobically-motivated attack in the city of Hanau. In this Neo-Nazi attack, five others were injured, some seriously. The Neo-Nazi selected his victims on the basis of race – all victims were immigrants in Germany. The Neo-Nazi killer had issued a manifesto in which the perpetrator revealed right-wing delusions constructed from fragments of various conspiracy theories. In Tobias Rathjen’s Manifesto, he spoke of a shadow government controlling the world with the help of a secret organization.    

The Neo-Nazi’s manifesto also revealed a biological racist image characterized by a particular hatred of non-Aryans and Muslims. Non-Aryan people are ascribed as inferior – the Untermensch or sub-human. Self-evidently, this is spiced up with a hefty dose of misogynistic statements.

At the forefront of Neo-Nazi and IB motivation remains the idea of achieving the greatest possible publicity in order to spread fear and terror. This is intended to give Neo-Nazi ideology a mass media stage to attract even more attention. A German secret service report noted that attacks that engineer terror must also be expected in the future. 

This is supported by findings that suggest that there is a widespread online radicalization of Neo-Nazi perpetrators on the Internet. The typical Neo-Nazi perpetrator may act alone but is deeply embedded in a larger ideological network.

One of the strongest Neo-Nazi network is the Identitäre Bewegung (IB) which deceptively presents itself as modern and even intellectual using elements of pop culture. The IB even performs flash mobs to attract attention and new members.

Typically, the IB is very careful in using Nazi terms such as Volksgemeinschaft and race. Instead of their open use, the IB prefers to use cryptograms such as identity (nationalism) and ethnicity (race) to camouflage their Neo-Nazi ideology of an Aryan race. Pretending to be modern and trendy, Germany’s IB wins over young people and young adults. Many of them are attracted via the Internet where the IB runs a successful campaign of self-presentation in various online platforms. The IB runs about 60 of such platforms in Hessen and about 600 nationwide.

Through those, the IB seeks to establish a new ethnic/racist/Aryan youth culture as a political current. Beyond that, the IB attempts to redefine, modernize, and update Neo-Nazi terms. The ideological goal is to pretend that a new content is being presented in a seemingly innocuous way. It uses direct communication using social media websites. The IB avoids traditional media such as television, radio and print media. Yet, its Internet presence appeals to young people outside the right-wing extremist scene. The neo-fascistic IB plays an important role in getting young people into the right-wing extremist orbit.

The IB also uses modern marketing strategies, social media, and public spectacles to attract people. The IB speaks the language of youth and creates images that young people understand. Yet in 2019, the IB faced criticism from within its own ranks for a reference to the Neo-Nazi assassin of Christchurch in New Zealand. Undeterred, IB activities increased significantly during 2020. The IB tried not only to recruit new supporters but to motivate its own activists into even more right-wing actions. 

In recent years, the IB continued to focus on its xenophobic and racist protests mostly against the government’s migration and asylum policy. It does so on IB website and, as in previous years, distributed flyers, put up banners and posters throughout Hessen. In its flyers, the IB claims, for example, that there is a “four million strong migration weapon directed against Germans”. The IB constantly warns against an allegedly imminent invasion in the form of uncontrolled mass immigration.

Beyond that, IB Twitter messages glorify right-wing terrorism and violence. Google has already deleted the IB from the search index. As a consequence, the homepage of the IB-D (IB-Deutschland = Germany) can no longer be found via the Google search algorithm. Yet, other pages of IB still work. In response to the gradual de-plat-forming of the IB, the messenger service Telegram is increasingly used. 

Illustrated contributions of the IB are published on the IB’s Telegram channel as well as, on the IB’s homepage IB-D seeking to recruit for a neo-fascist IB Summer Tour. At the time of the planning of the IB camp, IB members (January 2020) occupied the roof of one of Germany’s prime public broadcaster, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) in Cologne. The IB did this because the WDR has highlighted the IB’s neo-fascist tendencies. 

Such activities fit into the IB preferences of Greenpeace-like actions. The IB copies Greenpeace in an attempt to become the Greenpeace of Germany’s right-wing extremism. At the broadcaster, Right-wing IB-supports hoisted a banner that read, WDR = fake media – stop them!. The IB also threw leaflets from the roof of the WDR building calling to sabotage the much-admired broadcaster WDR.

The aforementioned neo-fascist IB Summer Camp – German Nazis always had a fascination with camps – summer camps, war camps, labor camps, and, of course – concentration camps. Its summer camp took place in August 2020 in the former East-Germany town of Woschkow in the state of Brandenburg. 

It was attended by about 50 IB supporters from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In an IB video, uniformed IB squads conducted war games, runs, swimming, climbing, and martial arts exercises. They attended verbal instructions called “lectures” and held flag-waving ceremonies.

In an internet post, the so-called young IB-Spartans underwent initiation rites to become fully fledged bearers of their imaginary race-based state. This, of course, means all non-Germans have to be eliminated. It follows the ideology of Ethnopluralism. To establish that, IB constructed a so-called extermination map outlining perceived Islamic terrorists. Following that, one of the IB’s banners that was shown in the city of Wiesbaden had the inscription, Paris, Dresden, Nice, Vienna – deport Islamists. 

In the end and despite its attempts to pretend to be modern, trendy, energetic, and cool movement, Germany’s IB is neither a movement nor is it modern. At its core lies a race-based ideology that excludes anyone who is non-Aryan. 

The IB’s ideology is based on French White-Power demagogue Alain de Benoist, German Nazi-philosopher Martin Heidegger, Nazi-lawyer Carl Schmitt, war glorifier Ernst Jünger, as well as the Italian antisemitic conspiracy fantasist Julius Evola. Not only because of this, but Germany’s setup of the IB remains a part of German Neo-Nazism.

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