Alternative for Germany
|Oh no, they're talking about|
“”This party is like a portable toilet: blue on the outside and brown on the inside.
The Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) is a far-right populist and extreme right, right-libertarian, socially conservative, Islamophobic, Eurosceptic, and reactionary political party in Germany. They are the one-phrase answer to the question, "Why has no movement similar to UKIP, Front National, or FPÖ taken root in Germany?"
In 2013, several conservatives and reactionaries on the right wing of the CDU, as well as unaffiliated people who had had sympathies for the CDU in the past, were dissatisfied with the Euro policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and what they deemed a cultural and political shift of her party to the left. As there was at the time no right-wing alternative to the CDU, they set out to provide exactly that for the 2013 elections, which were widely assumed to be a done deal for the CDU and Merkel, with the only open question being whether they would be able to go at it alone or whether they'd need a coalition partner.[note 1] They grouped around one Bernd Lucke and several other figures thrown in mostly to disguise Lucke's near-dictatorial reign over his party. At this point, they had a conservative sociopolitical profile combined with a strongly market-liberal program. 
The revolution eats its children
To the surprise of many—though not its members, who had believed all polls to be faked and predicted double-digit results—they polled 4.7% at the September 2013 federal elections—the best federal result for any newly-founded party in German history. The higher success of more intensely right-wing populist stances in Thuringia, Saxony, and Brandenburg during the state elections led to internal fights within the party between the "old style conservatives" who wanted to focus on Euro policies and Euroscepticism and the hard-right members who wanted to include all kinds of batshit insanity, from anti-wind energy activity to criticism of a "gay agenda", "gender mainstreaming", or immigration policies. The "Erfurter Resolution", pushed by Björn Höcke, openly criticized the moderate position of Bernd Lucke and is considered the founding document of the AfD's right-wing "Der Flügel" (The Wing). Needless to say, the more people uttered these hard-right stances openly, the more hard-right members were attracted to the party, and in a short while, Lucke and his guys were in the minority and lost the ensuing power struggle. One Frauke Petry managed to edge him out for the leadership role and promptly proceeded to kick him out of the party. Et voila, the German FPÖ is born.
Bernd Lucke, its original founder, went on to create the Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch (or Alliance for Progress and Renewal) on July 19, 2015, taking a lot of the European fraction of the AfD with him. The party promptly went on to total irrelevance despite keeping the anti-Euro stance while arguably down-toning the more ridiculous anti-foreigner and conspiracy-theorist ideas, proving once and for all that AfD voters are not and have never been evil, moronic bigots.
History repeats itself
One would think that the internal controversy would impact the image of the party negatively, and for a short time in early 2015, they stayed under the 5% threshold necessary to gain seats in the Bundestag.[note 2] But starting in September 2015, the refugee crisis offered a huge opportunity. Using xenophobic and Islamophobic fearmongering, they were able to gather voters alienated by Chancellor Angela Merkel's more open-armed approach. During the state elections in 2016, the AfD consistently reached double-digit numbers, rising up to 24.3% in Saxony-Anhalt. Contrary to the real balance of power between the moderate and the extremist wing, they still tried to portray themselves as market-liberal, in the spirit of their founders, brushing over internal difficulties and connections to Pegida and the NPD. In the 2017 state elections, their results were slightly worse due to internal squabbles leading to the replacement of Frauke Petry as floor leader with Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel. Incurable absolutely-not-Nazi Björn Höcke referring to the Berlin Holocaust memorial as a "memorial of disgrace" and Gauland calling to be proud of the Wehrmacht probably didn't boost them either. Surprisingly, they nevertheless managed to score 12.6% of the votes in the federal election that year, surpassing all other opposition parties. After the election, a butthurt Petry pulled a Lucke and quickly disappeared into the abyss of political irrelevance, dragging her newly founded Blue Party with her.
It can always get worse
In 2018 and 2019, the party kept on being successful, entering the two last remaining state parliaments in Bavaria and Hesse, while still getting higher election results in the east. The deep inner divide between the moderate and ethnic-nationalistic camps, however, could not be fixed anymore. After the right-wing "Flügel", assembling 20–40% of the party members, was classified by Germany's federal domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesverfassungsschutz, as confirmed right-wing extremist in May 2020, AfD speaker Jörg Meuthen barely managed to kick out its co-leader Andreas Kalbitz and force the "Flügel" to formally disassemble itself. Höcke, the other co-leader, already went through an ultimately hopeless expulsion proceeding from 2015 to 2018, and thus was obviously invulnerable in an even more radicalized party climate. And because of the strong gains of the generally more extreme East German local organizations, former Flügel members did not really feel any kind of pressure to leave the party and, for example, join the NPD. In February 2022, Meuthen, being the most important member of the more moderate faction, forfeited and left the party. During the chaotic party congress in Riesa (Saxony), the mask ultimately fell. Björn Höcke and his right-wing friends removed a known neo-Nazi pseudo-labor union from the incompatibility list, made sure that no moderate was on the national board, and decreed that the AfD might also be led by a single person, paving the way for a possible candidature of Höcke as party executive in 2024.
- The AfD is against renewable energy, particularly wind power, which they claim emits dangerous "infrasound" that is blamed for numerous ills:206.
- In general, the AfD opposes any type of family that is not nuclear enough, as shown by their funding policy that wants to measure how important a family is by the number of children that that family has.
- The AfD was founded on the premise that the Euro is bad. Needless to say, they want to either get rid of the Euro and reintroduce the
ReichsmarkDeutsche Mark or split it into a North and South Euro.:50-51
- They are not entirely sure if they simply want to dissolve the European Union or turn it into a "federation of European nations". And they want to build a wall at the EU border.
- The AfD is opposed to immigration and has been malicious enough to put sentences on their electoral material that could be—and in some cases are—straight-up lifted from parties even more right-wing than themselves.
- Several high-ranking members of the AfD have cooperated with and spoken at demonstrations of Pegida, an anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, and generally anti-everything "movement" that held rallies mostly in Dresden, especially throughout late 2014 and 2015.
- They claim to be in favor of holding referenda on several different issues, notably immigration or the Euro.:13-14
- They believe that all other parties are forming a cartel against them and pushing leftist issues, notably feminism, together:24.
- Several high-ranking AfD members (most notably Alexander Gauland, a former CDU member) hold pro-Russian positions in the whole Ukraine business, and some like to quote RT and/or give them interviews. Along with representatives of other far-right parties, AfD members acted as observers in the very flawed 2014 Crimean referendum on joining Russia.
While the AfD tries to appear solidaric with Jews and Israel, antisemitism lies at its programmatic core. The appearance is only maintained to support their islamophobia by blaming Muslims and/or leftists for hostility towards Jews and to be able to invoke a "judeo-christian culture" whenever it is deemed to be fitting. In reality, it is the AfD itself that is constantly ignoring cases of antisemitic statements and Holocaust denial among functionaries. High-ranking members, especially Björn Höcke, are spreading implicit or explicit antisemitism (for example, by invoking the "globalist elite" or trying to ban shechita because think of the animals) or attacking famous Jews like George Soros or Anetta Kahane with stereotypes and caricatures. There is, however, the JAfD (Jews in the AfD), which has to date 19 members.
The anti-Islamic hate in the AfD is more overt than their antisemitism. According to top AfD officials, Muslims cannot invoke religious freedom because Islam as a whole is supposedly not a religion, but a political ideology that is always intellectually linked to the takeover of the state. To justify their proposed bans on minarets, muezzin calls, and full-body veils, they say that Germany is both secular and Christian. In their election program, they regurgitate the whole variety of fearmongering, from "the constant danger to our lives by jihadists"[note 3] to their proposal to deport "criminal clan members", which would effectively result in people getting higher sentences based on their last name or the background of their family members.
The AfD claims that sex education, especially using new standards for teaching that dare to mention gays, constitutes an "early sexualization" of children and promotes some insidious "gay agenda":113-114. Needless to say, a party of mostly older white males who might remember the Nazi era a bit too fondly is uncomfortable with homosexuality and opposes any form of family that does not consist of a white father, a white mother, two blonde, blue-eyed children, and a Toyota Land Cruiser. This does not keep them from using gays (only white ones, of course) to divide the supposedly liberal and tolerant mainstream German culture from the evil, bigoted Muslims, while openly pursuing anti-LGBTQ+ policies. They are extremely paranoid about "gendering"[note 4] and other forms of gender-neutral language, viewing them as a dictatorial abuse of the German language. The AfD wants to repeal anti-discrimination laws and cooperates with homophobic politicians and activists in Hungary, Russia, and Uganda. AfD politicians spouting extremely queerphobic statements is more of a rule than an exception.
Their results in the most recent state elections vary between 5.3% (Hamburg, 2020) and 27.5% (Saxony, 2019). In the 2021 federal election, they received 10.3% of overall votes, but managed to be the second strongest party in four of five east-German states and, with 27.0%, the strongest party in Saxony.
Their electorate is mostly East German (they get around twice as many shares in the east than in the west), two-thirds male, not very young and not very old. They tend to be more dissatisfied, hostile towards migration, and closer to extreme right positions and conspiracy theories. Although they are materially not much poorer than average, they fear social relegation and are uncertain about their own future. While the AfD's strongest regions in the east are economically weakening, rural, and suffer from emigration,[note 5] in the west, they are mostly present in poor and/or industrial locations.
Although AfD has long been suspected to be an extremist group, and parts of its organization have been officially labeled as such (e.g., the youth division), it was not until March 2021 that the entire organization was labeled as a suspected extremist group by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). The decision was made based on "two years of information gathering by the intelligence agencies, culminating in an 800-page report." This comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody who is familiar with the alt-right.
“”#Deportation of #Antifa to #Buchenwald
|—Mirko Welsch, AfD, MdL (member of a Landtag)|
“”Burning refugee homes are no act of aggression.
|—Andreas Geithe, AfD|
“”👍👋Best to beat the pack back to Africa.
|—Dieter Görnert, AfD, town council of Nuremberg|
- In 2015, they requested that gay people in Thuringia be counted.
- An AfD MP in Saxony officially asked the state government about chemtrails.
- The World Women's Day was vigorously protested by the youth wing of the party. Members claimed, for example, that "we don't need no feminism, because I like men to open doors for me".
- An AfD city councilor of Baden-Baden let himself get caught painting swastikas and "Fuck UA" on two Ukrainian cars.
- GegenUni — a fake university with AfD lecturers.
- Crank magnetism — a surprisingly common occurrence for them.
- Nazism — which they have nothing to do with. Honest. Großdeutsches Versprechen! Oops...
- PEGIDA - another far-right German movement, and closely allied with them.
- Vladimir Putin — their great role model and donor.
- As every German government since the days of Adenauer had.
- Ethnic minority parties are exempt, but the AfD is more like a party against minorities.
- Since 1990, there have been 15 deaths from islamistic terror attacks in Germany, which means around 0.5 deaths per year. To compare, 3 to 7 people are killed each year by lightning.
- German nouns can have one of three possible genders: male, female, or neutral. Most nouns describing groups of people are male. Their female forms are often derived using a suffix. "Gendering" (German: Gendern) tries to reduce the influence of the inherent male connotation of these words, for example by substituting them with compounds of the male and female form (Student*in from Student (m) and Studentin (f)) or using constructed gender-neutral endings (Studenteys).
- kind of a vicious cycle.
- Germany's AfD: How right-wing is nationalist Alternative for Germany? BBC News 11 February 2020
- Etappen der Parteigeschichte der AfD bpb.de, 02 December 2022
- Die Zeit, 23. September 2013
- Wikipedia article on the German Federal Diet election of 2013. That's just 0.3 percentage points below the 5% threshold
- Rechter AfD-„Flügel“ sammelt seine Bataillone endstation-rechts.de, 11. November 2016
- Wahlkampf gegen Muslime, Deutsche Welle, 18. 04. 2016
- Was Höcke mit der „Denkmal der Schande“-Rede bezweckt welt.de 18. January 2017
- Gauland fordert „Stolz“ auf deutsche Soldaten faz.net, 14 September 2017
- German federal election, 2017 results
- Frauke Petry kündigt Ende ihrer "Blauen Partei" an 05 November 2019
- Höckes Machtdemonstration ohnegleichen tagesschau.de, 19. June 2022
- Party Manifesto for the Federal Election 2021 (in German)
- Plan für radikale Umgestaltung : Wie sich die AfD Europa vorstellt zdf.de, 04. August 2023
- Image: Comparison of election posters of the AfD and the NPD
- Image: Proof for the absence of creativity among the right-wing parties
- AfD und Pegida demonstrieren Hand in Hand in Dresdenmdr.de, 25. 02 2023
- Putin’s friends in Europe, Fredrik Wesslau, European Council on Foreign Relations, 19 October, 2016
- Antisemitismus gehört laut Studie zum »programmatischen Kern« der AfD spiegel.de
- Die AfD und der Antisemitismus bpb.de, 10. 10. 2017
- Lars Rensmann (2020). Die Mobilisierung des Ressentiments. Zur Analyse des Antisemitismus in der AfD, in: Ayline Heller, Oliver Decker & Elmar Brähler (Hrsg.), Prekärer Zusammenhalt. Die Bedrohung des demokratischen Miteinanders in Deutschland (p. 309–342).
- 10 Jahre AfD: 10 Jahre Antisemitismus belltower.net, 26. January 2023
- „Der Islam ist ein Fremdkörper“ Deutschlandfunk, 17 April 2016
- Übersicht ausgewählter islamistisch-terroristischer Anschlägeverfassungsschutz.de, 28. February 2020
- Wie hoch ist die Wahrscheinlichkeit vom Blitz getroffen zu werden? 1. January 2013
- Wahlprogramm Islam der AfD, retrieved 07. September 2023
- Richard Grenell, Alice Weidel, Jens Spahn: Rechts unterm Regenbogen tagesspiegel.de, 26. July 2018
- Tief in der Sprache lebt die alte Geschlechterordnung fortsueddeutsche.de, 7. June 2018
- Die Homophobie der AfD - eine unberechenbare Alternative Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschland, retrieved 23. September 2023
- Wahlergebnisse und Wählerschaft der AfD
- AfD-Anhänger und Nichtwähler anfällig für Verschwörungstheorien zeit.de, 27. January 2021
- AfD-Wähler haben Angst vor dem Abstieg fr.de, 07. January 2019
- Germany places entire far-right AfD under surveillance — reports: Germany's domestic intelligence agency is investigating the far-right Alternative for Germany — the largest opposition party in parliament — according to national media. The move comes ahead of national elections. (03.03.2021) Deutsche Welle.
- Germany to spy on far-right AfD party, reports say (march 3, 2021) BBC.
- Faktencheck: Die AfD-Zitate auf dieser Grafik sind alle echt! volksverpetzer.de, Jan 10, 2020
- Robert Klages, "AfD wants a count of homosexuals in Thuringia" (in German), Der Tagesspiegel, Oct 12, 2015
- Chemtrails in der Sächsischen Staatskanzlei spiegel.de, 13. May 2023
- Hakenkreuz auf ukrainischen Autos – Baden-Badener AfD-Stadtrat tritt zurück spiegel.de, 30. August 2023