Is anti-government, anti-national

Right-wing populist identity politics : The AfD was once national, now it is anti-national

Parties that call themselves national or nationalistic or flirt with these terms propagate a strong emotional bond with their own nation or people. Its followers believe that nation states are better than supranational organizations.

A German national politician has a collective sense of identity. He claims to have the welfare of all Germans in view and to feel a high degree of loyalty to other Germans.

Nation and people are more important to him as reference values ​​than religion, classes, dynasties or estates. In this sense, the AfD is not a national party. At the beginning of the corona crisis it was different.

The AfD had an eye on everyone who was threatened by Covid-19 - doctors, nurses, students, parents, teachers, young, old, people with and without previous illnesses. "Standing together is now the first civic duty," said AfD co-parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland on March 25 in the Bundestag, and he praised the federal government under Chancellor Angela Merkel: "Government policy contains many insights that we believe to be correct and that we share. "

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Two weeks earlier, AfD chairman Jörg Meuthen had called for major events to be "categorically" prohibited: "Even if this global epidemic should take a mild course for many of those affected," he said, "it is a fatal risk for old and previously ill patients. "

AfD co-parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel warned in the Bundestag - citing the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten - that up to 70 percent of the German population could be infected with the virus.

Hug the Lateral thinker

Unity became discord. In the meantime, Gauland speaks of a “Corona dictatorship” and hugs the activists of the “lateral thinking” movement, including right-wing extremists, “Reich citizens” and those who believe in conspiracies.

Meuthen, on the other hand, criticizes the provocateurs in his own ranks, urges discipline and warns against aggressive behavior and uninhibited language. Meuthen embodies a traditionally national stance, Gauland a hyper-flexible anti-national stance. At the party congress in Kalkar at the end of November, it became clear how deep the rift is that runs through the party.

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No wonder. Corona has thrown national, radical national and nationalist parties worldwide into a dilemma. Should they advertise a strategy that will save the lives of as many of their compatriots as possible? Do they therefore have to appeal to perseverance and willingness to make sacrifices?

Or should they make common with trivialists, mask refusers and dubious street protesters? Do you have to accept dead and infected, overcrowded hospitals and grieving relatives as "collateral damage"?

The Gauland-Weidel-Höcke-AfD has opted for the second way - and thus for a turn away from any kind of ethnic-national loyalty. Germans who die - to put it in their diction - are accepted for a little part in a pathos of the revolution that is critical of the government.

The intended destabilization of the system takes precedence over reducing the number of infected and dead people. German life, to put it in the popular jargon of many right-wing populists, counts less than the freedom to party or shop without a mask.

The aim is to destabilize the system

This decision marks the change from a national politics to an identity politics. The international role models for this are Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, recognized and accepted the primacy of protecting life for his British after his own corona illness.

Identity politics - that was originally a dirty word of the right wing, who accused left-wing liberals of caring too much about questions of sexual and ethnic identity. The American political scientist Francis Fukuyama thinks that identity politics is partly responsible for the rise of right-wing populism and the division of society.

But rights have long since copied the method. Trump, for example, is operating an “identity politics on steroids,” says Fukuyama.

The sum of many particular interests

The “white man” as the victim of feminists and racism scholars, the “Christian values” threatened by secular socialists, the dissolution of the traditional nuclear family as the nucleus of society, the protection of the police from violent demonstrators: these are key terms that he still uses incumbent US president addresses diverse social groups whose only thing in common is feeling like a victim. Trump's supporters are made up of the sum of such particular interests.

The Höcke-Gauland-Weidel-AfD has followed a similar course since Corona and the protests of the "lateral thinkers". Their extremely heterogeneous ideological orientation makes it easier for right-wing populists to dock.

Rhetorically, they will continue to refer to the “German nation” or the “German people” and demand loyalty to it. In fact, however, they trample on this loyalty. To see this, all you need to do is take a look at the intensive care units in hospitals.

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