The German AfD is Challenging the System
Forget all the hype. So what really are the AfD’s positions on NATO, immigration, conscription, bank bailouts and the Euro?
The AfD congress made headlines for the extremism of the left wingers who were trying to prevent them from meeting this past May 1st weekend. Almost 400 hundred black clad anarchists were arrested. Something reminiscent of what Trump had to deal with this last week in California.
They also got a lot of press for making a clear stand on the issue of mass Muslim migration. But there were quite a few points that got hammered out in the resultant 78 page position paper, which can be found in German, here.
One of the main takeaways is that they are aware of the fact that the AfD is the third largest party in Germany, and the two main parties, particularly the squishy left SPD, are quickly losing members and votes. Petry is aiming for the reigns of power, and they wanted full fledged platform that went beyond their signature issues of immigration and the Euro.
Not quite Trumpian, but a good start for a party that is only three years old. Importantly, the AfD has been willing to stand up to Germany’s stifling culture of political correctness. They even seem to have a little fun with it. Here’s a summary of the main points.
European Union and Euro
The EU should devolve many powers to the respective nation states. Should the EU not do this the AfD will push for a withdrawal and the replacement of the EU with an European Economic Community.
They also have stated that Euro experiment needs to be ended in an orderly fashion. If the Bundestag doesn’t take this path, the AFD will demand a referendum on Germany’s participation in the Euro.
German banks would not be obliged to bail out foreign banks, but instead only be required to “limit their joint liability to the national level”.
The EU Membership of Turkey is categorically rejected. This is to be a “non-negotiable clause for the AFD to enter any coalition agreements”.
They want to set up special border patrol units under the auspices of the Federal Police with increased powers. They also want to build walls to further curtail illegal immigration.
Not surprisingly they would like to improve the ability of the police to do their job. Focus on protecting the victims of crimes over the perpetrators of crimes. Get better at fighting organized crime. Standard fair really.
As opposed to the CDU, they probably mean it.
Foreign and Security Policy
All nuclear weapons and all foreign troops should be withdrawn from Germany. Conscription is to be reintroduced. There was some discussion of a withdrawal from NATO, but resolutions in that direction didn’t pass.
Party deputy Alexander Gauland is very popular with the rank and file. He was instrumental in quelling any discussion of leaving NATO, calling Germany’s membership of strategic importance.
Islam and immigration
Of course these are the points that got all the press. The AfD did pass a clear resolution stating that Islam is not an intrinsic part of German culture. (Der Islam gehört nicht zu Deutschland.) This goes back to Merkel some months back making a grand statement that it was, which pissed off the Germans to no end.
Minarets, Muezzinrufe and full-face veils are to be banned as well as head scarves in schools, something like the recently passed French legislation.
In the end the AFD adopted a push for a “moderate immigration” that allows people in if they have needed tech skills, but radically reduces or stops the influx of refugees . “Unregulated asylum immigration” harms Germany. They welcome are “skilled immigrants with high willingness to integrate”.
Some of the membership was pushing for stronger Danish or Polish style immigration rules, but that’s what got through. Not terribly radical, but a step in the right direction for a Germany that has been incredibly weak in standing up for the rights of Germans over foreigners. Of course the press will play it up as very dramatic.
Islamic organizations are to receive no corporate status.
They also resolved that asylum applications should only be vetted directly in the regions from where the applicants come from. The expulsion of foreign offenders should be facilitated.
Firstly, they want term limits. Members of parliament and state legislatures would be limited to 4 legislative sessions. This would not apply to directly elected officials. The President should be elected directly by the people. Moreover referenda are sought on the Swiss model.
For those of you who don’t know, it is practically impossible to get a referendum on anything in Germany, and it is clear that most of the shenanigans going on from bailouts to mass migration were not voted on. This is a very popular issue with a lot of Germans across the political spectrum. The fact that the two main parties have been able to virtually prevent referenda seems like a testament to the corrupt nature of their power-sharing relationship.
Promotion of family values
The AfD has made a bold policy statement in saying Germans having more children, and not mass immigration, is the correct solution to labor shortages. They are also committed to the traditional family of father, mother and children as a the fundamental unit of society.
The AfD wishes to promote Germans to have large families, and discourage abortions. To put this in context, it is important to know that the birth rate in Germany is something around 1.3%. Nothing close to replacement rate. This is a huge problem throughout Europe and it is great that they are not pussy-footing around the issue.
This is a big issue in Germany. Every household has to pay a fee to support broadcasting. This is whether you watch TV or not. Listen to radio or not. As well, no one seems to be entirely sure who gets the money or to what end.
The AfD wants the license fee for public service broadcasters to be abolished along with the state funded television broadcasters. This an almost universally popular position in Germany and it is anyone’s guess why this fee still exists. Always was hard to shrink those government agencies and taxes. Germany is no exception.
Simple Tax System
The tax law is to be drastically simplified, with lower taxes for middle and low-income earners, especially families. The inheritance tax should be abolished, commercial taxes reviewed. The AFD wants a constitutional limit on taxes to limit the “state power over the citizens.”
Yes to nuclear power and no to climate protection goals
They obviously want to vacuum up all the support from people who thought Merkel’s energy policy was stupid. She seemed like a good strategist when she said Germany is going to abandon nuclear. Took the wind right out of the sails of the Green Party who were climbing in the polls. Now that her ratings have dropped through the floor, those policy decisions are probably up for review with the German people.
This will annoy the hell out of the Greens who view global warming as an ersatz religion. They’ll make some enemies with this one, but it seems like the standard position of most conservative/populist parties at the moment.
Environment, animal protection
Protect nature. Stop building wind farms. Stop the negotiations on the proposed free trade agreements CETA and TTIP.
Slaughtering animals in Kosher or Halal style will be prohibited, unless the animals are anesthetized. Something that some people find controversial until they’ve seen a few videos of the actual ritual slaughter for Halal and Kosher meat production. YouTube it. It isn’t pretty.
Infrastructure, Housing and Transport
They want to improve it. They place an emphasis on preservation. Honestly the Germans are quite good in this direction, so really it only becomes a matter of degree.