It At the same time it presents itself

It is obvious that the AfD promotes right-radical
movements and is connected to a historically questionable ideology. However, the guidelines the AfD is pursuing are somewhat contradictory.
They generally promote the idea that there is a conflict between the civilized
western world and the Muslim world, and that the western democratic ideals and
values are endangered by the Muslim culture superseding the German culture.
This implies their general claim of a more restricted immigration policy, but
also that mosques should be completely shut down. Fittingly, one of the party’s
election posters said “The Islam does not belong to Germany”. At the same time
it presents itself as the ultimate exemplar of lived western values which
include gender equality and sexual freedom, which is supported by lesbian
politician Alice Weidel, the new hope of the AfD. It is like no one really knows whether to trust the
AfD or what might come next. On the one hand it seems like the AfD is an
acceptable, sometimes logical option to choose in elections, but on the other
hand it seems like there is a lot of ambiguity in their political agenda that
create a feeling of insecurity in the people. But does the AfD actually pose a serious threat to the stability and
democratic values the German state is built upon? Where does the fear of the
AfD stem from?

Right-wing parties have been existent long before the
AfD has been founded. The right-radical NPD was active since the 1980s and has
been way more radical and extreme in their actions than the AfD. Statements
were more direct and left not much room for ambiguity or interpretation.
However, Germany is currently experiencing a wave of fear and insecurity as a
consequence of the recent election success of the AfD. This is partly due to
the fact that critical opinions concerning refugee issues and euro-politics
have become everyday life, because of the AfD.

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More
significantly, the AfD does not pose a threat to Germany’s political system,
but rather  to Germany’s apologetic
post-war culture. Germany has a long history of fighting against radical right
forces and the consequences of their success. With the fall of the Nazi-regime
came the acknowledgement that racism and anti-Semitism have to be fought off
with strict laws and politics. As popular this has been with parts of the
people, it has been refused by other parts of the German population. The AfD is
the first politically successful party to give voice to those parts of the
population.                                                                                                                                                
            Sanctions or attempt to restrict the party’s rights in case of the AfD
would however not fall under the duty of the state. The ‘free democratic basic
order’ justifies preventive initiatives to protect the constitution and the
democracy. However, this is only valid if attacks are blatantly aimed at
destroying and overthrowing the democracy often even backed up with the threat
of violence. Even though connections to the radical, violent movement PEGIDA
exist, the AfD itself did never initiated violent demonstrations aimed at overthrowing the state. It is to be judged
that this would also never be the case, as the AfD’s anger is not channelled to
the whole institution, but rather to several people in power, at the head
chancellor Angela Merkel.

 

Conclusion

In Germany, right oriented parties are nowhere near as mainstream as
they are in France or other European countries. The AfD is the first party to
enter political ground successfully and to become a part of the daily political
debate in post-war Germany. In that sense, it was considerably easy for the AfD
to position themselves in the political party spectrum, because they have no
political example or ideal that they need to live up to. This might have
further contributed to their popularity, as their ideas seemed to be modern and
authentic. Furthermore, even though the AfD might not seem to follow a clear
course in their political and socio-political agenda, they are very clear about
who their enemies are.

            One
of the main goal of the AfD for Germany is to distance itself from Europe and
the monetary union between the member states. Their intention lies in their
opinion that through a shared monetary union, the competencies and sovereignty
of Germany are impaired. The AfD might not pose a threat to
democracy but actually aims at protecting it from certain forms of foreign
influence. It might be argued that the political content that is being spread
aims at recreating nationalistic feeling among the people which would further
contribute to the stability of the German democracy. Still, it also keeps
Germany and its democracy from developing further, and from seeking alliances
and trade companionships in Europe and the world. Furthermore, as smaller
radical parties have disappeared from the political area, it is likely that the
AfD has become a convenient opportunity for the most radical members to use
democracy as a cloak for their anti-Semistic, racist mindset.

            On the other hand is it
important for a democracy to have extreme opinions and parties that represent
the dissatisfaction of the population. How irrational and malicious this
dissatisfaction is, it was not as important at first. Through offering a
political alternative to the already established parties, the AfD helps the political
system to legitimize its existence even though large parts of the population
are not supportive of the current political course.

            All in all, applying
instruments of militant democracies have to re-evaluated for every case of
right-radical forces that might emanate a possible threat. Where a banning of a
party seems straightforward in the case of the NPD, it seems like a misplaced
sanction in case of the AfD. It is important to acknowledge the fact, that the
historical background of Germany requires careful examination of political
opinion and decision making. However, Germany’s fight against the radical right
should not take the form of repression and elimination of any political
opposition, as these forms are outdated instruments of a militant democracy and
do not apply to the German image of a free, democratic state. It is instead
important to observe the further development of the AfD in terms of radicalism
and populism in order to use education and elucidation as means of modern
instruments for the fight against the radical right.