Far Right Against Globalization Neo-Nazis Mobilizing Against G-8 Summit

Germany's Neo-Nazis are using anti-capitalist rhetoric and are mobilizing to protest against the upcoming G-8 meeting in June. Police fear that there could be clashes between the extreme-right NPD and radical far-left groups also gathering to protest against the summit.

The far-right NPD is planning to mobilize against the G-8 summit in June.

The far-right NPD is planning to mobilize against the G-8 summit in June.

The men inspecting Marienplatz in Schwerin last Tuesday were pleased. "Ideal," was the verdict from Jens Pühse, the national organizer for the far-right National Democratic Party(NPD). "In the end it's all about visuals -- and this is wonderful."

Peter Marx, the NPD's general secretary and party leader in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania's state parliament, felt vindicated. "I did say that it would be suitable," he crowed. The right-wing functionaries' main concern was that the square shouldn’t be too big. That way, even a small group would be able to make a powerful impression when shown on TV.

On June 2, they want Marienplatz to look so full that the whole world will be able to see that the NPD is more than just a back-room extremist party. The faction is hoping to mobilize 1,500 supporters from across the state using the motto "Not for sale! Stop globalization!" against the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm. Intelligence officers in Schwerin are predicting that the rally could attract up to 2,000 demonstrators. On May 1 the NPD managed to mobilize 700 people from across Mecklenburg-West Pomerania to attend its rally in Neubrandenburg -- in contrast, the DGB trade union umbrella group was only able to muster 500 people for its May Day demonstration in Rostock.

The fact that the Neo-Nazis are now campaigning against the "subordination of politics to economic interests" is something of a novelty and brings a whole new set of challenges for the police. The authorities are going to have to try to protect those attending the G-8 summit from the radical demonstrators -- and they will also have to protect the radicals in the right and left-wing camps from each other.

Intelligence officers fear that by using obvious anti-capitalist rhetoric the NPD could succeed in scoring points in the disadvantaged regions of the former East Germany. In one of their anti-G-8 flyers, the extreme right-wingers fulminate in classic leftist mode against "competition with low-wage countries, which leaves infrastructure deserts and mass unemployment in its wake." And the criticism of the "involvement in global military intervention and virtual enforced rearmament," could strike a chord with many former East Germans. Only the frequent use of words like "nation" and "homeland" distinguishes the flyer from many of the left-wing anti-G-8 tracts.

NPD strategist Marx says that this kind of left-wing posturing can only be successful if party members manage to refrain from engaging in violence during the anti-G-8 protests. However, it is unlikely that his call to "demonstrate peacefully and not allow yourselves to be silenced" will be obeyed.

The DGB and anti-fascist groups have announced that they are holding a counter-demonstration on June 2 in Schwerin, and thousands of demonstrators are expected in Rostock on the same day for the main anti-G-8 protest. The authorities' worst case scenario is that groups of protestors will commute between Schwerin and Rostock. Although there is no indication yet that this is planned, one police officer was far from optimistic: "In the militant scene these kinds of decisions are made late and spontaneously. Then all you need is one spark and all hell will break loose."


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