Bjorn Hocke at the state party conference of the AfD-Thuringen on 19. August 2019 in Arnstadt. Bild: Vincent Eisenfeld/CC BY-SA-4.0
27. October: The world looks to Thuringia
On Sunday are state elections in Thuringia. A close result is expected. Currently, the Left Party seems to be in the lead thanks to the popularity of the incumbent Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, followed by the AfD. While the CDU keeps pace with these two parties, the Grune and Social Democrats receive less than half as much support. The FDP must fear the 5% hurdle.
Even more than in the elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, special attention is being paid to the AfD’s performance in the elections. The first reason for this lies in the fact that it is the first electoral vote following the events of 9. October in Halle will be documented. On that day, a heavily armed Nazi attempted to massacre the city’s synagogue, where numerous members and friends of the Jewish community had gathered to celebrate the holiday of Yom Kippur. When he failed to break open the sturdy entrance door of the place of worship, he threw explosive bombs into the Jewish cemetery and shot a passerby, Jana L., which had appealed to him. Afterwards, he stopped in front of a Doner snack bar to meet a young man, Kevin S., pick off.
What does this have to do with the AfD?? Nothing, the party declares, and its parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland is getting excited in the Bundestag, as if the criticism of his party was the worst thing about what happened in Halle. Many AfDers believe the assassination was staged under a false flag to harm the party.
So it has to do with the AfD after all. No leftist, Christian Democrat, Social Democrat or Gruner has come up with the idea that the attack on the synagogue and the subsequent murders were really aimed at harming them politically. Unwillingly, the distancing of the AfD admits its closeness, its affinity, its relationship to right-wing terrorism.
The so-called lone perpetrators, such as the man who ran amok in Halle or the murderer of the Kassel government president Walter Lubcke, parrot in their stammered confessions just what they have heard and understood from Bjorn Hocke, Alexander Gauland or Alice Weidel: that the German people will lose out to the migrants, that a repopulation or a gross population exchange is underway, that this alleged process is planned and run by global ruling elites, and that a day X will come when a national resistance rises up and settles accounts with its enemies. That is, in short description, common property in the fascist scene, whose runners reach far into the AfD, where they are not only tolerated, but led the word.
In anticipation of the "the next huge cold shock to reality"
They call themselves Reichsburgers, Hooligans, Identitarians and pretend to want to protect a homeland that their predecessors have already effectively dismantled. They do not fear their day X, on the contrary, they are looking forward to it. Some of them cannot wait to use the weapons depots, ammunition stockpiles and other equipment that they have taken the precaution of building up. It is not enough for them to satisfy their hatred on the screen and then go down to the basement to polish the sliding tools. They want to become practical, to attract attention by force and to set a signal to shorten the distance to the longed-for crisis.
Alexander Gauland addresses these people with the hint to exercise tactical restraint. One must "on the lip", he recommends, so as not to scare off bourgeois voters. "Patience, patience and again patience", also demands a chief ideologue of the extreme right, Gotz Kubitschek, in his magazine Sezession. There is already "almost everything available", it must blob yet "the next huge cold shock of reality will drive into the Germans" – an alternative formulation for the day X. In other words: Then we can use you. Do not strike too early, your hour will come yet. This is how the AfD speaks to its supporters with a very special mentality.
It is important for the party strategists that the SA (Sturmabteilung, paramilitary fighting force of the NSDAP) keeps a certain framework for the time being. The assassin of Halle abruptly broke this framework by displaying his hatred of Jews in an unparalleled clarity. While the AfD mimics the persecuted innocence when confronted with accusations of anti-Semitism, the killer relentlessly reveals the state of the scene.
It is the National Socialist Underground, as the name of that organization of Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Bohnhardt and Beate Zschape aptly read. This traditional underground trumps. It pushes upwards, spreads on the Internet, shows itself on the streets, forms "nationally liberated zones" – because there is the AfD, which successfully carries its contents into politics and society, even if in an apparently modified form.
Election successes of the AfD give further impetus to the NS scene. It is as simple as that. That is why the AfD’s performance in Thuringia will be so significant right now. Will the party’s voters go along with it?? During the election campaign, there were death threats against the federal chairman of the Grunen, Robert Habeck, against the state chairman of the CDU, Mike Mohring, against the faction leader of the Grunen in the state parliament, Dirk Adams, against right-wing extremism experts and journalists. These threats were certainly not made by AfD politicians. They only came out of their corner. One in four Thuringians will vote in favor of the directive?
And there is Bjorn Hocke
The second reason why the AfD’s performance is in the general focus, even though Thuringia has only about 1.75 million eligible voters, is Bjorn Hocke. He is not just any national chairman of the AfD, ultra-right, nationalist and populist like the others. He is the founder and undisputed number 1 of the so-called wing within the AfD, a collection of which one does not know exactly whether it is a faction or ultimately the entire party, which significantly has only one, namely a right wing.
Hocke has made a Fuhrer program his special distinguishing feature. As a former history teacher, he thinks he knows: Fascism without leaders is not possible. For this difficult task he has found the suitable candidate in himself. Accordingly he trembles before his own historical role, when he presents himself to his followers. Do you know how hard that is?? Although I am only a human being, he shouts to his audience, which listens with greater emotion the older it is.
The AfD leader from Thuringia will probably know himself that he doesn’t exactly flicker across the screen like a hero from Leni Riefenstahl’s repertoire, but he will say to himself – not without justification – that GRoFAZ had a similar fate at the beginning. At his election rallies, he is obliged to say something about education, energy or migration, but you can see how little he is interested in it. Hocke needs the Thuringian votes to assert his claim to leadership in the AfD, to determine the next executive committee to his liking and to outclass his opponents within the party. First the party has to stand behind the leader, then he will take back our country.
What evil or well-meaning voices claim about the AfD, what they impute to it truthfully or attach to it with evil intent, consequently also what is presented in this and other articles on the subject, is basically irrelevant. The criteria by which this election will be judged have been established. Thuringia did not choose it that way. But this is the situation.
Thuringia sets the pointer on the fascization scale. He doesn’t always have to go to the top, as the examples of Austria and Switzerland show. It can also sometimes swing powerfully downwards.