Berlin anti-racist coalition formed as threats increase

August 31, 2011 — News

Written by Sibille Merz, Liz Fekete

In the run-up to the September elections in Berlin, and against the backdrop of a rise in attacks on mosques and Muslims, anti-racists in Berlin have formed the campaign Acting Together – Against Racism and Social Exclusion.

The campaign ‘Acting Together – Against Racism and Social Exclusion’ (Zusammen handeln-Gegen rassistische Hetze und soziale Ausgrenzung), which grew out of the earlier coalition ‘Stop Right-Wing Populism’ (Buendnis Rechtspopulismus Stoppen), was formed in July 2011. Two extreme-Right groups, Pro Deutschland and Die Freiheit (Freedom Party) are standing candidates in the September 18 elections for a new mayor and city parliament, and the coalition is concerned about an increase in violence in the run-up to the elections. (Already, two members of Pro Deutschland attacked a Syrian-German man, threatening to ‘beat him to death’ after he criticised them for plastering election posters over buildings with a picture of a crossed-out mosque). Pro Deutschland has links to the far-right Swedish businessman Patrik Brinkmann who founded the Continent Europe Foundation (Kontinent Europa Stifelse – KES) in 2004. The Freedom Party was founded last year by René Stadtkewitz, a founder of the Christian Evangelical Pax Europa and member of the Christian Democratic Union’s parliamentary group in the Berlin city assembly until he was expelled in 2010 for inviting Geert Wilders to speak at a conference in Berlin. The Freedom Party’s 77- page programme includes statements such as ‘We will do everything in our power to oppose the Islamisation of the country’. Some of the Freedom Party’s members are associated with the extremist counter-jihadist website, Politically Incorrect.

The new anti-racist campaign’s most immediate concern is the mounting threat of violence in Berlin, particularly after the far-right website Nuernberg 2.0 published a list of ‘enemies’ (ie left-wing extremist, anti-Islamophobia activists, etc) who they say should face criminal proceedings similar to the trial of war criminals in 1945. The coalition also notes the publication by the website of a manifesto by blogger Michael Mannheimer, calling on the ‘German Volk’ to take its fate into its own hands , defend its freedom against its enemies, and organise for a ‘general resistance’ against the Christian-Islam dialogue and the failure of all political parties and the media to tackle Islam. Mannheimer concludes that the German Volk has to get up, get on the streets and, if necessary, take up arms, for the defence of its children, its history and freedom.

The coalition ‘Acting Together – Against Racism and Social Exclusion’ aims to ‘highlight and challenge everyday racism and social chauvinism in politics, society and media but also in institutions, structures, laws and personal connections’. It is anxious to make links with anti-racist organisations in the UK. A full list of its supporters can be found here.

Related links

Acting Together – Against Racism and Social Exclusion

To contact 'Acting Together - Against Racism and Social Exclusion', email Dirk Stegemann at Kampagne_Zusammen_handeln@gmx.de or phone 0157 846 260 97.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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