How can the far-right Alternative for Germany be beaten?

Following the revelations about a secret meeting between business representatives and Alternative for Germany (AfD) officials to plan the mass expulsion of people with a migration background, hundreds of thousands are demonstrating across Germany against the AfD’s right-wing and inhumane policies. The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party) welcomes this mobilisation. However, it must not only be directed against the AfD, but against the government that is adopting the fascists’ programme and paving the way for them.

Demonstration against the AfD on 18 January 2024 in Berlin

The secret meeting has shown how far the plans for dictatorship and mass deportation have already progressed. The AfD is a fascist party that will not hesitate to put these plans into practice. It is closely linked to the countless right-wing terrorist networks in the police, army and secret services, which are preparing for a “day X” on which they want to round up and murder political opponents and immigrants.

But the danger comes not only from the AfD. All over the world, far-right parties are growing and governments are resorting to increasingly brutal methods of political repression. Far-right governments, such as those of Meloni in Italy or Milei in Argentina, are not much different from the “democratic” governments of Joe Biden or Olaf Scholz: they are all taking brutal action against refugees, arming themselves for massive wars and suppressing freedom of expression.

In Germany, this is taking on particularly nasty forms. All members of the Bundestag (federal parliament), from the Left Party to the AfD, have backed the Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip and called for protests against it to be suppressed. Since then, countless demonstrations have been banned, Jews who express a critical stance have been detained and millions of immigrants have been threatened with deportation. With the new citizenship law, only those who back the state’s support for the Gaza genocide are entitled to German citizenship.

The AfD’s refugee policy is also being implemented word for word. On Thursday, the Bundestag passed the so-called Repatriation Improvement Act, which allows the authorities to detain people for up to 28 days who are obliged to leave the country, to take them from their homes in the middle of the night and even to break into the rooms of uninvolved people if they suspect that someone they want to deport is there. Suspicion of certain criminal offences is now enough to make a person subject to deportation. The door is deliberately being opened to police terror and arbitrary behaviour by the authorities.

This not only serves to deter refugees, but to strengthen the state apparatus so that it can be used against any form of opposition. While the budgets for education, health and housing are being slashed, the police, secret services and army are being continually given more money and more powers. When Chancellor Scholz (Social Democrat, SPD) announced the €100 billion special fund for the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces), the AfD cheered that their rearmament programme was finally being implemented.

The federal government, a coalition of the SPD, the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and Greens, is not only implementing the AfD’s programme, but has also promoted the far-right party and integrated it into parliamentary work. Right-wing extremist positions are systematically being made acceptable. It is the height of hypocrisy if representatives of the government and opposition now participate in demonstrations against the AfD. Fighting together with these pro-capitalist forces against the AfD would be like casting out the devil with the aid of Beelzebub.

Calls for the AfD to be banned or for the fundamental rights of its leading figures to be revoked also completely misjudge the situation. Such a precedent is not suitable for combating the fascists, but on the contrary would strengthen the state apparatus with its murky fascist networks and fuel authoritarian tendencies.

The AfD is not a foreign body in an otherwise healthy organism, but the worst symptom of a thoroughly sick system. Just like 90 years ago, the deepening capitalist crisis is once again leading to fascism and war.

The latest Oxfam report has just shown how blatantly social inequality has increased in recent years. While the five richest individuals have more than doubled their wealth from US$405 billion to US$869 billion in the last four years, 5 billion people—well over half of the world’s population—have become poorer. Such an incredible redistribution of wealth from those at the bottom to those at the top cannot be realised with democratic methods, but only with violence and dictatorship.

The same applies to pro-war policies. With the proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, the German ruling class and its NATO allies have started a war for sales markets and raw materials. Now they have opened a second front in this global conflict in the Middle East. The brutality with which they are supporting the genocide of the Palestinians shows what they are capable of in their own country in defence of their selfish economic interests.

As early as 1933, almost the entire ruling class supported the transfer of power to Hitler. In January, Hitler was appointed Reich chancellor in a conspiracy by representatives of the military, the media and the corporations, and in March he was then handed dictatorial powers by all the bourgeois parties. The elites were convinced that only Hitler could suppress resistance to the growing inequality and preparations for war. They saw the destruction of the SPD and Communist Party (KPD) and the trade unions as a basic prerequisite for returning workers to the front after the horrors of the First World War.

Even today, the government and the opposition are prepared to enforce their policies of war and social austerity by any means necessary. This is the reason for the authoritarian tendencies around the world and the rise of the AfD in Germany. Just as 91 years ago, the only way to stop this development is to mobilise the international working class against capitalism.

But there are also significant differences to the 1930s. Today, the fascists do not have a mass movement made up of war veterans and the lumpen petty bourgeoisie. If right-wing parties are winning large shares of the vote today, they are doing so primarily due to the complete lack of a left-wing alternative. From Syriza in Greece to Bernie Sanders in the US and the Left Party in Germany, the formerly “left” parties have become right-wing organisations that openly support policies of social austerity and war.

The mass of workers, on the other hand, are moving to the left. In the past year, there have been large-scale strike movements throughout Europe, and mass demonstrations against the genocide in Gaza are taking place almost daily, showing how powerful and networked the working class is today. The large demonstrations against the AfD are also part of this mobilisation.

It is important to develop these growing protests into an international movement against capitalism itself. Only if the power of the banks and corporations is broken and the basis for war and inequality is removed can the development towards dictatorship be stopped. This requires a struggle against the government and its pseudo-left appendages, which paralyse the struggles and defend capitalism.

We therefore call on all demonstrators against the AfD to join the fight for socialism. If you live in Germany, become a member of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei and if you are eligible to vote, sign up to support our participation in the European elections.