The NPD starts at an early age

Right-wing extremism

Marc Brandstetter

Dr. Marc Brandstetter is a right-wing extremism expert and head of the news portal "Endstation rechts". Among other things, he published "The NPD under Udo Voigt - Organization. Ideology. Strategy" (2013).

The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is the oldest right-wing extremist party in the Federal Republic. In the 51 years of its existence it has laid down its worldview in five party programs. At no time were there any doubts about their basic anti-democratic orientation. The current program, adopted at the 2010 party congress in Bamberg, is no exception.

The district chairman of the NPD in Gera Gorden Richter is on 07.09.2013 at a rally in Gera, Thuringia. (& copy picture-alliance / dpa)

When the NPD adopted its current basic program at a party congress in Bamberg in June 2010, it was a completely different party than it had been for most of its history. Since it was founded in 1964, it had been rather conservative and bourgeois, at times even offering itself to the CDU as a coalition partner. Since the mid-1990s, however, the NPD, under its chairman Udo Voigt, has steered a social-revolutionary, system-opposed course. The "Bamberg Program" of 2010 continued this direction on the one hand, but on the other hand tried to conceal the most radical statements of this new course somewhat. Even the conference folder for the party congress relied on the federal colors of black, red and gold. In the past, the NPD preferred to use the imperial colors black, white and red. The ideology of the party was also packaged differently - as Udo Voigt called for in an article for the party newspaper "German Voice". Instead of a worldview, the party should rather formulate "simple and clear goals", after all, the party would not be chosen for its worldview, but because it represented "a real alternative to the existing system". Therefore, "topics that are incomprehensible to the electorate such as 'The Basic Law - The Allied Constitution'" should be dispensed with, "the widely re-educated German citizens" would "dismiss this as incomprehensible 'Party Chinese'. ..." This development is the preliminary end point of one long and eventful program history.

The early decades: cautious rhetoric, conservative ingratiation

After the party was founded, it took three full years for the NPD to adopt its first party program at its 3rd federal party congress in November 1967. Previously, the "Manifesto of the NPD", adopted at the founding meeting in Hanover in 1964, served as an ideological guide. This was, following an ultra-conservative understanding of the state and society, formulated relatively cautiously - at least in comparison with the programs of the "Socialist Reich Party" (SRP), which was banned in 1952, or the NPD predecessor organization "Deutsche Reichspartei" (DRP). None of the numerous right-wing groups that had joined the NPD, which was conceived as a gathering movement, should be alienated. Rather, an anti-communist and revisionist bracket held the different currents together, which moreover agreed in their criticism of the "monopoly claims of the Bonn parties". A xenophobic agitation, which was directed primarily against guest workers, also strengthened the inner cohesion. The addressee of the publication was not only the party in the process of being built, but also "two million disappointed voters". Even then, the NPD was already keeping an eye on so-called protest voters.

The authors of the first party program also preferred a relatively cautious rhetoric, which was reflected not least in the prominent first place commitment to the free-democratic basic order of the young Federal Republic. Even then, the party was confronted with an ongoing discussion of bans, which is why its founding fathers relied on the strategy of democratic mimicry.

Hardly more credible than the commitment to the free and democratic basic order took place in 1970 the "conservative turnaround". The party had suffered a setback in the Bundestag election last year and failed with 4.3 percent of the five percent hurdle - and that after it had entered seven of the eleven state parliaments of the then Federal Republic by 1969. In the "Wertheim Manifesto" of 1970, the NPD not only re-emphasized its loyalty to the constitution; she also wanted to give up the violent image of the last few days of the election campaign and present herself to the first opposition Union as a reliable partner in the fight against the new Ostpolitik of the social-liberal coalition. The calculation did not work out, the conservative ingratiation failed. The party then positioned itself much more radically in 1973 with the "Düsseldorfer Program", which testified to the growing influence of the NPD's youth organization "Young National Democrats" (JN). The later head of the mother party, Günter Deckert, who was influenced by the thinking of the New Right, brought this on a strictly national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist course in the 1970s. But even with a more radical course, the NPD did not succeed in attracting new groups of voters.

With the "National Democratic Thoughts for a Future Worth Living", the NPD attempted in 1987 to orientate itself on the zeitgeist. The new version pursued the goal of giving the party a more modern image to the outside world. In the accompanying preamble, the NPD explicitly acknowledged for the first time in its history the "inviolable, inalienable human rights" on which every community is based. "We National Democrats are therefore committed to the free and democratic basic order", the party ideologues now assured again - and put the more radical "Düsseldorf Program" on file.

Nevertheless: the NPD played no role in elections until well into the 1990s. Mostly she did not get beyond the one or 0.5 percent hurdle in state or federal elections, which is why she was not entitled to funds from state party financing. In 1994, two years before the party again adopted a new program, it even decided not to run for the Bundestag election.

Neo-Nazis welcome: radicalization since 1996

Under its new party chairman Udo Voigt, the NPD reoriented itself ideologically and programmatically from 1996 onwards. A social and economic policy orientation came to the fore, a maintenance or expansion of the welfare state was demanded (of course only for citizens with domestic ancestors). This can be interpreted as a targeted reaction to disappointments in the new federal states about the course of reunification. The course correction was also reflected in the new party program that was passed in December 1996. Although Voigt was and is more of a strategist than an ideologist, his handwriting was clearly evident in this program, which emphasized the ideology of the national community and the struggle against the multicultural society.

The new program as well as the "three-pillar concept" - which can be seen as a strategic basis to this day - which focuses on the "fight for parliaments" and equally on the "fight for the streets" and the "fight for heads "and the repeal of the incompatibility resolutions against the neo-Nazi organizations and associations made the party, which had only 3,500 members when Voigt took office, attractive to neo-Nazis. The Voigt NPD campaigned aggressively for the supporters of neo-Nazi groups that had previously been banned by the interior ministers, and their admission culminated in the radicalization of the NPD. It is therefore hardly surprising that the extreme right-wing party renounced its commitment to the free-democratic basic order in its 1996 program, while in the first 32 years of its existence it had at least made sure to maintain the democratic appearance. In the "German Voice", the official party organ, today's MEP Voigt did not mince his words in 2002: "We, on the other hand, consider the liberal capitalist system to have failed. We neither want to support it nor reform it. We want to replace it." In 1998 the NPD leader went one step further. He called for a "German revolution" in the course of which his party would "soon ask the question of power". The "nationalists" should not shy away from "taking up arms and defending the fatherland". The NPD stuck to this program of only a few pages for 14 years.

Volksgemeinschaft as the ideology foundation

The "Bamberg Program" of 2010 did not strike any new stakes in terms of content; many of the formulations had already been used in this form in 1996. The "Bamberg Program" is subdivided into 19 individual thematic complexes, preceded by "basic ideas". The ideology of the national community runs through all 20 pages. Volksgemeinschaft, in the understanding of the NPD, means to see "the people" as a community of all Germans of descent, in which "people" and "state" merge into one unit. All members of the national community must submit to the will and interests of a community defined by the people. This idea is based on an alleged "true to life image of man", the basis of which is the alleged "diversity of people". According to the NPD, biological ancestry determines belonging to a "people". Only the national community guarantees personal freedom, which in turn ends there "where the community is damaged". The different peoples in "descent, language, historical experiences and values" are "bearers of cultures" for the NPD. The party sees its ideology as an alternative to modern western societies, the "multicultural societies" as it calls it, which in turn are "in reality non-cultured forms of society".

Superficially, this NPD has devoted itself to ethno-pluralistic argumentation patterns - it propagates a "diversity of peoples" in which each "people" is assigned certain unchangeable characteristics and which must remain strictly separated from one another. If you look behind the facade, you will soon recognize classic racism. The family consisting of married couples - a man and a woman - and their children (the NPD still exclusively represents the traditional understanding of gender and roles) is for the NPD the "bearer of the biological heritage and germ cell of the people". "Homosexual civil partnerships", on the other hand, cannot represent a family according to the NPD reading. Men and women are different anyway, which is why the "unsanitary gender mainstreaming ideology" should be rejected.

The authors of the "Bamberg Program" avoid expressly defining their understanding of the terms "German", "German" or "German". It is more informative to take a look at the "Argumentation aid for candidates and functionaries" published by the party executive in 2006. There the right-wing extremists write: "A German is someone who is of German origin and was thus born into the ethnic and cultural community of the German people." It goes on to say: "An African, Asian or Oriental will never be able to become German because the award of a printed piece of paper (the BRD passport) does not change the biological hereditary characteristics that determine the physical, mental and emotional characteristics of individuals and peoples are responsible. "

Ethnically homogeneous Germany as a goal

The party's goal is to create an ethnically homogeneous Germany. Foreigners living here are to be "returned" to their home countries. For the NPD, the principle of German policy on foreigners is "obligation to return instead of right to stay". The "multicultural society" has failed. "Integration is synonymous with genocide"; "Mass immigration" calls into question the "right of the German people to exist". In its "five-point plan for the return of foreigners", the NPD claimed that "foreigners" and "Germans" would benefit equally. Because inevitably, according to the party ideologues, parallel societies and foreigner ghettos formed in "numerous cities" in which "strangers increasingly made claims to power". In these "lawless areas", "Germans and members of foreign peoples are increasingly hostile to each other", alleged orgies of violence serve as a justification. A "pre-civil war" had long been imposed on Germany. These "social and ethnic" focal points, which are particularly located in the large conurbations, are to be "removed" by the security authorities. The party always presumes to speak for "the people" when it claims that "against the will of the German people", "millions of foreigners are smuggled into Germany by big business, government and trade unions".

In fact, the NPD is drafting a gigantic displacement program that could only be implemented through the use of coercive measures. Until this long-term goal is achieved, the party proposes a catalog of measures to systematically exclude, isolate and disenfranchise the foreigners and people with a migration background living in Germany. This includes "deleting the so-called 'asylum paragraph' Art. 16a GG without replacement". According to the party's ideas, foreigners should be separated from the German social security system and summarized in a separate "foreigner social legislation". In doing so, this must always take into account the "thought of return" already mentioned. The project is to be financed by the "strangers" themselves or by the companies that employ them. Asylum seekers - the NPD does not provide any information on their status - on the other hand would not be entitled to social benefits.

If it were up to the NPD, non-Germans would not be allowed to acquire "German land". The party even rejects the joint teaching of children of descent German and children with a migration background for racist reasons. Foreign children with their "mostly poor knowledge of German" would lower the level of instruction because their language and reading skills would also affect German students. Of course, the NPD has in mind the idea of ​​creating an atmosphere in order to discredit the people it does not want and, in the end, to drive them away more easily. By the way, she does not lose words about who is allowed to "stay" at all, whether Germans with a migration background, tradespeople or perhaps spouses of Germans.

The NPD's "national health policy" is also firmly on its feet. The effectiveness of the health system must be designed to "improve public health", states the "Bamberg Program" in point 8. At the same time, the "socialist" positions of the NPD shimmer through in every nook and cranny. She claims, for example, that "health protection is no longer in the foreground of health policy, since diseases are often used to maximize profits for pharmaceutical companies and private health service providers".

Furthermore, the NPD presents itself to the outside world as a "Law and Order" party, which, according to its own statements, stands for "the restoration of internal security through law and order". That seems involuntarily funny in view of the numerous convictions and criminal records of their own cadre and clientele. If you look closely, the party is a reservoir for seducers, violent criminals and everyday criminals. Of the 50 mandate holders elected in Thuringia in the last local elections in 2014 via lists of the NPD and the NPD-affiliated "Bündnis - Zukunft - Hildburghausen" (BZH), 20 were legally convicted, according to the state government of the Free State. The convictions amount to a total of 92 cases, including dangerous bodily harm, the use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations or tax evasion (as of August 2014).

Incidentally, the NPD also serves its own interests at this point. She advocates the "immediate abolition" of the protection of the constitution, whose task she sees "essentially in the defamation of unwanted political competition".

Isolate and get out

The party devotes itself in detail to a topic that creates identity for it: the German past. Germany needs a "national view of history", she warns in the 13th point of the "Bamberg Program". May 8 is not a day of liberation, but of defeat and occupation. The "state-decreed guilt cult", which is "not least in the interests of foreign financial interests" - the accusation that today's Jews are making financial profit from the Holocaust - has to be rejected. At the same time, the NPD turns against so-called "allied war criminals" and what they believe to be "unilateral historical accusations against Germany". The Hitler assassins of July 20 are casually dismissed when the "revaluation of treason" is lamented. Hardly surprising in this context is the demand for real "freedom of research and teaching" - Paragraph 130 of the Criminal Code, Paragraph 3, which criminalizes the denial of the Holocaust, has always been a thorn in the side of right-wing extremists.

The fundamental differences between "old" and "new" NPD are particularly evident in their economic and socio-political positions. Until the end of its chairman Martin Mußgnug's term of office, i.e. until the beginning of the 1990s, the NPD displayed a market-economy orientation towards the middle class, whereas today's NPD is characterized by a rather anti-capitalist direction. The 2010 party program sees the economy as the servant of the people (Section 4). The economic order must be designed "in solidarity" and "actively by the state", the local small and medium-sized enterprises are "to be protected from the market power of global corporations". The party calls its political alternative "space-oriented economics". The concept promoting regional economic cycles is based entirely on autarky, the NPD calls it "national self-sufficiency", and follows the idea of ​​being able to get out of the global world economic system. Incidentally, "getting out" is constantly present in the NPD's world of thought. In addition to EU membership, the NATO treaties are also to be terminated.

The NPD positions itself against the European Union for ethnic and nationalistic reasons. The "EU Europe of technocrats and corporations" is a "challenge to the Europe of the peoples". The basis of the reorganization of Europe called for by the NPD, "the Europe of the peoples", must be "the commitment to the occidental heritage, to the nation-state principle of locating, to the application of the peoples' right to self-determination and to the principle of nationality". The NPD categorically rejects an EU constitution that replaces the national constitutions.

Based on well-known ideas

The last two party programs of 1996 and 2010 are more radical than their predecessors. To evaluate the worldview of the NPD nonetheless exclusively on the basis of party programs falls short of the mark. Because these are still formulated comparatively cautiously. The situation is different with the speeches of the functionaries addressed to the "comrades" at demonstrations or events, the internal training materials or the NPD newspaper "German Voice".

However, there are no major differences between the party programs in 1996 and 2010 - on the contrary. The authors have adopted the core formulations and only inflated the surrounding area, camouflaging or weakening sensitive points. Nevertheless, there are minor deviations: Anyone looking for an equivalent in the current program to point 10 of the 1996 program, "Germany in its historically grown borders", in which the NPD inter alia. for the "revision of the border recognition treaties concluded after the war" will not be successful. Rather, the current programmatic guideline hides this revisionism under point 12 "Foreign policy principles" - supplemented by a defensive reference to the fact that "the reunification of Germany within its historically grown borders" should take place "in accordance with international law".

The demand for "reintroduction of the death penalty in particularly serious cases in the case of repeated sexual, child, robbery and mass murder and in the most serious cases of drug trafficking" has not even been taken up again by the party in the Bamberg program. Now there is only talk of "harsher penalties for child pornography and pedophile crimes" or for violations of the Narcotics Act. This also includes the "possibility of castrating pedophiles" or "the introduction of a Germany-wide, publicly viewable sex offender database. While the NPD was still trying to" exchange the powerful "in 1996," the rulers "were later targeted.

Optical changes immediately catch the eye. While the brochure of the 1996 program was designed soberly and without photos, the Europe program from 2003 tried a pleasing appearance: Four younger adults and one child smile from the title page. In the "Bamberg Program", the NPD also relies on a sympathetic visual language: for example, photos of a mother and her newborn or a worker are shown.

The 2010 party manifesto often conceals his harsh nationalist views behind vague formulations. In terms of radicalism, however, it does not compromise. Even for the "reformers" in the party, who gathered around the parliamentary group leader in the Saxon state parliament, Holger Apfel, in the second half of the 2000s, the ideological framework of the NPD (especially the racist principle of descent) was never weakened Debate. In 1996 the program item "The basis of the state is the people" without further ado "The preservation of our people and the protection of all its parts are the highest goals of German politics", saw the ideological clock of the NPD 14 years later " the people as the center of national regulatory policy ". As is so often the case, the wording is less explicit, but the content has remained the same.

The NPD was hardly able to disguise its biological views on the family, even with slight semantic adjustments to its program. In 1996, racist family friendliness was still propagated. On page two of the program, the party wrote: "The family is the bearer of the biological inheritance. A people who sit idly by as the family is destroyed or loses its strength will perish because there is no healthy people without healthy families." In 2010 it was formulated in a supposedly more harmless diction: "The family - as the bearer of the biological heritage - is the nucleus of the people. The special importance of the family for the future of our people is becoming increasingly clear in the face of a catastrophic population development in an aging Germany. In the FRG Families are increasingly being torn apart spatially by the economic necessity of mobility. This development needs to be stopped. " In essence, the statements have not changed. The merger with the DVU at the beginning of 2011, which in any case did not have a detailed program, did not affect the content profile of the NPD. The grandiose concept of a "Dresden School", which was intended as an intellectual alternative to the so-called Frankfurt School around the philosophers Theodor W. Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, and which was supported by Jürgen Gansel, a former member of the Saxon state parliament, was put to the record. With "folk-loyal theoretical work" a "new social order should be spiritually prepared" and "neo-Marxism" and "liberal capitalism" declared war. But the "Dresden School" really didn't have anything new to offer: Typical right-wing extremist thought patterns were ostensibly intellectually packaged in the founding manifesto, with the aim of mentally underpinning NPD hate tirades and thus giving them greater significance. The initiators never succeeded in filling the "Dresden School" with life.

Alternative to the system

However, the party has made a programmatic radicalization. Today the NPD is blatantly extremist and pro-National Socialist, its goal is the abolition of the democratic constitutional state, it represents an aggressive anti-capitalism. According to its self-image, the NPD is thus a "ideological and fighting party". It sees itself as an alternative to the system and not, as under the first three party leaders and the earlier party programs, as an alternative in the system. In place of the democratic constitutional state, a totalitarian dictatorship with severely restricted rights to freedom and a president with extensive powers should take the lead. In accordance with the orientation towards the ideology of the national community introduced by Udo Voigt, the NPD understands people and government to be a unity. "Foreigners", "dissenters", "pests of the people" or "unwilling to work" should not disturb the coexistence of the "German people".