Anti-Germans (communist current)
:"This article pertains to the Anti-German current, for other uses see
Anti-German ( _de. Antideutsch) is the generic name applied to a variety of theoretical and political tendencies within the radical, communist left mainly in Germany and Austria. The Anti-Germans emerged as a distinct political tendency as a response to the rise in racist attacks and nationalism in the wake of the
The term does not generally refer to any one specific radical left tendency, but rather a wide variety of distinct currents, ranging from the so-called "hardcore" Anti-Germans such as the quarterly journal "Bahamas" to "softcore" Anti-Germans such as the circle around the radical left journal "Phase 2", originally conceived as a federal discussion bulletin for the
Antifamovement in the wake of the dissolution of the "Antifaschistische Aktion/Bundesweite Organisation"(Antifascist Action/nationwide Organisation). Some Anti-German ideas have also exerted an influence on the broader radical leftist milieu, such as the monthly magazine " konkret" and the weekly newspaper " Jungle World".
Furthermore, the most common practical and theoretical position commonly associated with the anti-Germans, that of solidarity with the state of
Israel, is not a position exclusive to the Anti-Germans. The groups Krisisand Exit around the publicist Robert Kurz, ["Israel ist der einzige Staat mit Existenzberechtigung" - Robert Kurz, _Die Antideutsche Ideologie_, page 205] as well as many Antifa groups in Germanyalso hold Israel-sympathetic opinions, while rejecting any identification with the Anti-German current.
The basic opinions of the Anti-Germans include support for the state of Israel and - although this is only true for some - American foreign policy such as the
2003 invasion of Iraq, a critique of mainstream left anti-capitalist views, which are thought to be simplistic and structurally anti-Semitic, [de iconVerfassungsschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen: " [http://www.im.nrw.de/sch/doks/vs/antideutsche.pdf Die Antideutschen] – keinvorübergehendes Phänomen", pg. 4. Retrieved February 10, 2007.] and a critique of anti-Semitism, which is considered to be deeply rooted in German cultural history. The Critical Theory of Theodor Adornoand Max Horkheimeris often cited by Anti-German theorists along with the original Marxist as well as post-structuralisttheory. [Ibid, pg. 2.] In 2006 Deutsche Welleestimated the number of Anti-Germans at between 500 and 3,000.http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2145701,00.html]
Emergence of the Anti-Germans and the Birth of the Journal "Bahamas"
The first stirrings of the emergence of the anti-Germans can be traced back to the dissolution process of the
Kommunistischer Bund (KB)("Communist Federation"), a Marxist-Leninistpolitical organization primarily active in Hamburgand Northern Germany [Hagen, Patrick: [http://www.politik.uni-koeln.de/jaeger/downloads/hagen.pdf Die Antideutschen und die Debatte der Linken über Israel] . Retrieved 2007-02-21. Pg. 11.] and noted on the Left for its relative sophistication and high level of theoretical reflection as compared to other Marxist-Leninist organizations.Fact|date=February 2007. The KB also distinguished itself from other extra-parliamentary groups through a decidedly pessimistic analysis with regard to the potential for revolutionary change in Germany. Known as the "Fascisation" analysis, this theory held that due to the particularity of German historyand development, the endemic crisis of capitalismwould lead to a move towards the Right and to a new Fascism. [Ibid, pg. 11.]
The rapid process of collapse of the
German Democratic Republicand the looming reunification of Germany led to an internal crisis within the KB and the development of irreconcilable perspectives within the organization. The majority tendency argued that with the collapse of the GDR, questions of social justice in connection with the restoration of capitalism in the former GDR should constitute the center of political work, and this tendency accordingly sought cooperation with the Party of Democratic Socialism(PDS). [Ibid, pg. 17] There also emerged a minority tendency which argued for a position of fundamental opposition to the restoration of a unified German nation-state, essentially representing a radicalized version of the Fascisation thesis, arguing that the coming period was one of reaction, and advocating a perspective of opposition against German nationalism, racism, anti-semitism, historical revisionism and a revival of German great power politics. It is said that during an internal debate, representatives of the majority tendency said that the minority current, due to its bleak analysis and unwavering pessimism, "might as well just emigrate to the Bahamas."Fact|date=August 2007 The minority tendency, in an ironic gesture, thus named their discussion organ "Bahamas". The phrase "Germany, Never Again" ("Nie Weider Deutschland"), which became a central Anti-German slogan, originated in demonstrations against reunification.http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=890853] http://www.cafecritique.priv.at/interviewIN.html] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/aug/28/germany.lukeharding]
In its first few years of existence, the journal "Bahamas" served as a pluralistic journal for a variety of currents of the radical left united by a common opposition to
German nationalism, racism, and anti-semitism, as well as against apologetic currents within the left which sought to relativize such issues. Gradually, this diversity of perspectives gave way to a tendency oriented towards a Freiburgerorganization known as the " Socialist Forum Initiative" (Initiative Sozialistisches Forum), a radical left formation mixing elements of council communismand elements of Critical Theory, particular Theodor W. Adornoand the Frankfurt School. At around the time of this shift in perspective, many of the former KB members left the editorial circle of the journal. In 2007 Haaretz described "Bahamas" as "the leading publication of the hardcore pro-Israel, Anti-German communist movement."
The Development of the Anti-German Current in the 1990s
The notion of a revival of German nationalism and racism as a result of the reunification seemed to confirm itself over the course of the 1990s, as shown by such events as the racist
pogromin the town of Rostock-Lichtenhagen ( Rostock) and a murderous attack on a Turkish family in the West German town of Solingen. As a result of this populist wave of xenophobiaand violence against foreigners, the German political establishment responded with an increased wave of repression against immigrants and a tightening of Germany's hitherto liberal asylum laws.
Throughout the 1990s, elements of the Anti-German critique of the German mainstream society found their way into the broader left, especially the then-popular
Antifamovement, which was the dominant organizational expression of radical leftist youth politics in the 1990s.
In 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, Anti-Germans praised the bombing on the grounds that so many of the city's civilians had supported Nazism. James points to this as an example of a shift towards support for the United States that became more pronounced after 9/11.
NATOintervention in Yugoslaviain 1999 was also a focus of opposition for the Anti-Germans, as for most of the radical left. The Anti-Germans condemned the war as a repetition of the political constellation of forces during the Second World War, with the Serbsin the role of victim of German imperialism. The Anti-Germans thus issued a call for "unconditional" support for the regime of Slobodan Milošević, whereas pacifist and other leftist currents also condemned human rights violations committed by the Serbs. This led to a break between "Anti-Germans" and so-called "Anti-Nationalists."
* [http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2145701,00.html Strange Bedfellows: Radical Leftists for Bush] ,
Deutsche Welle, 2006
* [http://www.metamute.org/en/The-World-Turned-Upside-Down The World Turned Upside Down] , Mute magazine, 2005
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/aug/28/germany.lukeharding Meet the Anti-Germans] ,
The Guardian, 2006
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=890853 Benjamin Weinthal: Letter from Berlin: The anti-anti-Zionists, Haaretz,
August 7, 2007]
* [http://bikinibottom.blogsport.de/ Introduction to the anti-German concept]
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/806069.html Assaf Uni: "The good men of Leipzig"] ,
Haaretz, January 3, 2007
* [http://cafecritique.priv.at/interviewIN.html Interview with Stephan Grigat of Cafe Critique, an anti-German group in Vienna, Austria]
* [http://www.realization.info/pol/deutsch/40.html Interview with Thomas Becker, a contributor to Bahamas]
* [http://www.copyriot.com/sinistra/reading/texte/antigermans.html Statement by the anti-German group sinistra!]
* [http://www.isf-freiburg.org/isf/beitraege/dahlmann-antideutsch.html Manfred Dahlmann: What does "Anti-German" mean? (in German)]
* [http://www.redaktion-bahamas.org/ Homepage of the journal "Bahamas" (in German)]
* [http://www.isf-freiburg.org/ Homepage of the group "Initiative Sozialistisches Forum" (in German)]
* [http://www.cafecritique.priv.at/ Homepage of the group "Café Critique (in German)]
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