On the 5th of November, another right wing mass rally with the slogan „Merkel muss weg“ („Merkel has to go“) will take place in Berlin-Mitte. Nazis, Racists and right-wing hooligans have been able to march through Berlin three times already under this banner. Even though the number of participants decreased in every subsequent demonstration, those with 1500 participants or more have to be evaluated as right-wing mass rallies. The starting point of the upcoming rally will once again be the central station (Washingtonplatz).
Who are the participants?
The participants are mainly members of organized right-wing structures. The right-wingers participating in these rallies come from different spectra: Neonazi-comradeships from Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, right-wing extremist parties like NPD, Die Rechte and Der III Weg, right-wing hooligans, other soccer-oriented right, Reichsbürger, the Identitäre Bewegung, right-wing populists of Pro Deutschland, Pegida branches from Hannover and the Havelland, Putin fans, and members of the conservative right-wing Verein der Russlanddeutschen, Islamfeinde and members of the Patriotische Plattform der AfD. Non-organized right-wing sympathizers are also attracted by the „Merkel has to go“ demonstration.
At the previous rallies the atmosphere was aggressive and violent. Many participants carried pepper spray and similar items, demonstrating their violent intentions. Journalists were attacked and slogans like “Lügenpresse” (lying press) were chanted. Counter-demonstrators were insulted and one member of parliament was punched in the stomach.
Who organizes this?
The organizing body is the Neo-Nazi label “Wir für Berlin – Wir für Deutschland” (Us for Berlin – us for Germany). They also run a Facebook page, where the major part of the mobilization takes place. The main personality here is Enrico Stubbe. He is a committee member of the right-wing populist party “Pro Deutschland” and an active member of the “Bündnis Deutscher Hools” (a branch of HogeSa). Additionally, he participated in “Bärgida” demonstrations and organized weekly demonstrations against the refugee accommodation in Marzahn in 2015. “Pro Deutschland” also supported the demonstration financially. It remains unclear if the organizers have connections to the right-wing party “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD).
What are the reasons for the mobilization success of the right?
With the slogan “Merkel has to go” the organizers have successfully united different right-wing currents. Mobilization via Facebook is extremely popular in the right-wing scene. Online, the need for confirmation of one’s own opinion and the search for connection with like-minded people of the racist “Wutbürger” (angry citizens) is met. Accordingly, the event’s Facebook page currently has 26.000 likes.
Berlin, as the seat of the government, the “Lügenpresse” and the “Merkel dictatorship” has a strong appeal. With nationwide media coverage seemingly guaranteed, there is a strong motivation for different groups to bring their racist protest event from the provinces to the capital city. Accordingly, few Berliners participated in the last demonstrations, but the nationwide mobilization was successful.
It is difficult to estimate how many participants will come to Berlin on the 5th of November. The success of past rallies and the lack of other protest offers could result in similar numbers of participants. Four-digit numbers and an aggressive, violent atmosphere are to be expected. According to the right wing, another Merkel term in office has to be prevented, which has to be reflected on the streets.
Where are the dangers of a right-wing mass rally?
Rallies of this kind have several societally and socially threatening implications:
(1) Racist positions become more and more part of public discourse
(2) The alliance of militant Nazis and middle-class racists makes it possible for the Nazis to radicalize the middle-class racist discourse
(3) The alliance of militant Nazis and middle-class racists provides Nazis with a sounding board for their militant rhetoric and assaults on the street (as happened in Bautzen)
(4) There is a concrete risk that this event, just like Pegida’s rallies in Dresden, can become regular in Berlin. This would mean that in the future every two months, thousands of „worried citizens“, together with actors from the organized right would march on Berlin’s center (the next event has already been announced for March 2017)
(5) The unhindered occupation of public space reassures and encourages the militant Nazis in their actions. It reinforces a social climate where racist murderers and arsonists feel legitimized.
What can I do?
– Position yourself clearly against right-wing and racist comments in everyday life. Even though it can be difficult sometimes, never leave right-wing and racist statements to stand undisputed.
– Write to your friends on Facebook. Tell them that you think it is important to join the counter-protest and that they should also come.
– Mention the Nazi rally at meetings, in seminars, during coffee breaks and while having a beer. These are the biggest Nazi rallies in a long time!
– And last but not least: come and join the counter-protests! Bring placards, umbrellas and other colorful things.
What’s the current state of the counter-protests?
Currently the counter-protests are in the planning stage. You’ll find more info shortly on our homepage, https://berlingegenrechts.de or http://www.facebook.com/berlinerbuendnisgegenrechts