Extremism is on the rise in Germany – left-wing extremism to be precise. While the better part of the country expresses its concern about the right-wing AfD and its extremist “flügel,” people remain rather silent when it comes to the left side of the aisle. Germany’s politicians, as well as the public, refuse to recognize the threat that continues to emanate from the left, even though the statistics, as well as recent occurrences, could not be any clearer.
The Lurking Threat Of Germany’s Extreme Left
Whenever the rise of populism or the right is being debated, one’s proclivity is to refer to the AfD and the right-wing elements within its ranks – due to Germany’s history. As for the (ex)communists of Die Linke, who openly reject the German state and democracy while being monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution? Very few people seem to care.
In the second quarter of 2019, violent attacks against politicians occurred on average ten times a month. In the third quarter of 2019 alone, German police registered a total of 31 cases of assault or grievous bodily harm directed against politicians, according to a response from the government to an inquiry by the AfD. Twenty-four victims were AfD members, who, regardless of whether they belong to the Flügel or were amongst the moderates in their party, are considered Nazis by the Left. Accordingly, the perpetrators were mostly part of the left milieu, police statistics show.
Left Wing Violence Has Become The Norm In Germany
Left-wing violence against in many forms has become almost routine in Germany over the years. In addition to politicians, left-wing violence is aimed at police, who they believe act as “puppets” for the “oppressor state.”
According to 2018 statistics from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, left-wing extremist were responsible for 108 arson attacks (11 by the extreme right), 48 cases of dangerous interference in rail and air traffic (12 by the extreme- right), 376 cases of resistance crimes against the police (74 by the extreme-right), and 2,219 cases of property damage (905 by the extreme-right). Right-wing extremists were, however, far ahead in terms of bodily harm with 938 to 363.
These figures are hardly a surprise. After all, the extreme-left has a track record, which states that they neither accept the state democratically legitimized by the consent of a majority of the population (i.e., elections) nor its monopoly on law and order. They consider violence against the hated—and in their eyes repugnant —system as progressive and legitimate counter-violence, as non-violent systemic change to a “better society” is impossible in their view. Moreover, the far Left strives for political alignment and social leveling of society and consider parliamentary democracy as a form of government that could transform into a fascist regime at any time.
Recent Examples Of Left Wing Violence In Germany
Accordingly, the list of recent examples is plentiful. On October 3, 2019, several cranes burned on a construction site, resulting in damage in the millions. Shortly afterward, a letter of confession was published on Indymedia: “We set the night on fire.” As a bonus, the perpetrators published the affected contractor’s address on the website also, putting the individual in direct physical danger.
At the beginning of November, two men rang the doorbell in Leipzig at a female real estate agent who also sells high-quality apartments in the left-wing Connewitz district in Leipzig. She opened the door and was then attacked with punches. In this case, too, a letter of confession followed on Indymedia: The real estate agent had been hit where “it really hurts: in her face.”
A columnist of Axel Springer Verlag, publisher of Germany’s largest daily newspaper, was not much luckier either. His car was set on fire for the second time, followed by a letter of confession publish – again – on Indymedia. In it, the perpetrators suggested the columnist is urged to “change jobs.” Naturally, his address was also published.
On New Year’s Eve, violent acts and riots occurred across German cities. Rioters in the Connewitz district of Leipzig acted particularly aggressively against police officers. More than 1000 people came together at the Connewitzer Kreuz at midnight and lit fireworks. Shortly after midnight, according to the Leipzig Police Directorate, officials were “massively attacked with stones, bottles, and fireworks.” “A group of violent criminals tried to push a burning shopping cart into the middle of a riot police unit and fired massive pyrotechnics at it.”
The most recent case only happened this week. Approximately 1,600 individuals had demonstrated on Saturday evening against a ban on the aforementioned extreme-left online platform www.indymedia.org, the mouthpiece for leftist violence. In the further course of the demonstration, among other things, rockets and firecrackers were detonated, bottles and stones were thrown at police officers and vehicles were damaged. Thirteen police officers were injured.
Germany’s Newly Resurgent Extreme Left Is Egregious
While there has always been an extreme-left resistance, the new level of escalation and the militancy it has transformed into, resembles terrorist quality in some instances, per legal definition. The state, as well as the wider society, must react, as all forms of extremism are egregious and without a place in Germany’s democracy.
However, considering the reactionary nature of German politics, the issue on the left will likely only get addressed seriously once a significant crime occurs—only by then it will be too late.