The German domestic intelligence service, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has classified the Identitarian Movement (IB) as "right-wing extremist".
The observation that has taken place since 2016 has shown that the IB has exceeded the boundaries, the agency announced on Thursday. “It is now classified as an irrefutable right-wing extremist movement against the liberal democratic constitution.”
The positions of the Identitarians are not compatible with basic law. The IB aims to “exclude people of non-European origin from democratic participation and discriminate against them in a way that violates their human dignity”.
People who do not have the same ethnic origin could never be part of a common culture in the view of the IB. Multiculturalism is seen by the IB as a “culture-destroying” notion because it is an expression of an “ethnically pluralistic society”.
Domestic spy chief Thomas Haldenwang says the decision that his authority had taken of xenophobic and anti-democratic ideology was not doe without much deliberation. “As an early-warning system, we must not only focus on violence-oriented extremists, but we must also keep an eye on those who verbally cluster. These intellectual arsonists question the equality of human beings or even human dignity per se, speak of alienation, increase their own identity in order to devalue others and deliberately foment images of the enemy,” complained Haldenwang. There must be no tolerance of such “extremists” he said.
The domestic spy service had officially started surveilling the Identitarians in May 2016. At that time, the head of the department, Hans-Georg Maaßen, justified this by stating that “they have moved from pure Internet activities to real-life appointments in various federal states”.
At “summer camps”, the IB relies on “physical training” and sees itself as “at the beginning of an era”. The organisation also sees itself as a “metapolitical and activist arm of the new right”.
The news caused a sensation on Thursday. For the IB this could have far-reaching consequences. Daniel Fiss, head of the Identitarian Movement Germany, said however the decision was foreseeable.
“The total hysteria and constructed networks following the murder of Walter Lübcke have shown that every effort will be made to use this murder to discredit the patriotic camp. The first result of this instrumentalization is now the upgrading of the Identified Movement to Observation Object.”
Fiß , a graphic designer and political scientist, and chairman of the Identitarian Movement in Germany since 2016, says it fits into a general climate of “anti-right” hysteria.
He said others might as well soon be affected by this arbitrariness, including the AfD.
According to Fiß the IB website clearly states: “We are not against immigration, because in a historical context it has always existed to a limited extent. We advocate moderate and limited immigration that does not exceed the capacity of our society and does not jeopardize, that is overmould, our ethnocultural identity.”
That means that they do not want to “exclude people of non-European origin from democratic participation,” as the spy service claims.
“We never wanted to arbitrarily deprive people of their basic rights. We describe social processes in which the demographic shift from the German and European majority population leads to a significant increase in non-Europeans, who of course are also carriers of a particular cultural background, which can cause tensions in society. However, we have never opposed the assimilation of immigrant groups.”
But he pointed out that conditions for this assimilation are already no longer present, “encouraging the problem of parallel societies, cultural and religious expansion efforts, but also crime and makes an assimilation of immigrants impossible”.
Fiss dismissed the notion of a “spiritual arsonist” as “unobjective, nebulous concept”.
“What is this spiritual arson? Where does it start? Where does it stop? Already with the AfD, the protection of the constitution with the concept of the “test case” has simply constructed a pseudojuristic category independently.
“The same applies now for ‘spiritual arson’. At any rate, it is clear that the IB has never advocated or even called for violence. On the contrary, our theoretical and philosophical foundations are clearly based on peaceful and non-violent protests.”
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