[sixties-l] Baader-Meinhof story (9/10/00)

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 04:19:19 CUT

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    German extremist who has swung from the left to the right

    from YAHOO! Asia News
    September 10th 2000

    BERLIN, Sept 10 (AFP) - In a Germany living the drama of right-wing
    extremism, there is the story of Horst Mahler, once one of the country's
    most ferocious leftist extremists but now a member of the far-right
    National Democratic Party (NPD).

    Mahler, 64, was a founding member of the revolutionary Marxist Red Army
    Faction, the infamous Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang, and spent 10 years in
    jail after being caught for bank robbery in 1970.

    Mahler, who is a lawyer, has swung all the way to the other side of the
    political spectrum by joining in August the NPD, a far-right
    grouping which Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government is seeking to ban
    for alleged links with neo-Nazi skinheads responsible for a wave of
    xenophobic attacks over the past few months.

    The NPD denies it is involved in any attacks and says it urges its young
    members to seek change politically, rather than in violence.

    At a garden press conference last week at NPD headquarters in eastern
    Berlin, NPD leader Udo Voigt, Franz Schoenhuber, the former leader of
    another far-right party the Republicans, and Mahler spoke of
    working towards unity among far-right groupings.

    Mahler's presence there was yet another sign of how the right is a magnet
    for expressing the rumblings of discontent in post-unification Germany,
    especially in the former communist east where high unemployment,
    particularly severe among the youth, feeds the discontent that flares in
    skinhead attacks against foreigners they claim are taking their jobs.

    As Germany's mainstream parties move towards the political center, the
    unabashedly anti-foreigner NPD claims that it is not a threat because of
    violence, which it condemns, but because it is feared as the
    country's true opposition party despite its small size.

    Jumping on this bandwagon, Mahler said he sees no contradiction between
    his past and present.

    In a calm tone but with the intensity of a lawyer pleading his
    case, Mahler told the press conference: "The NPD is against globalization.
    It is the same as fighting against imperialism as I did in fighting against
    Vietnam War," with Baader-Meinhof.

    Mahler had earlier in the week told AFP in an interview: "The NPD
    knows that the only power that can stand up to this globalization is the

    Mahler said at his home in the leafy Berlin suburb of Klein-machnow that
    his political change had begun while he was in prison, when after
    exhaustive reading he moved towards Hegel, rejecting Marxist teachings.

    "The labels left and right don't apply anymore today," said Mahler.

    Mahler, who as a lawyer defended Andreas Baader from arson charges before
    turning to illegal actions himself, said he was moved to join the NPD in a
    gesture of solidarity since he feels parties should not be banned in a

    Mahler said he is above all a nationalist, fighting for the identity
    of the German people and the German nation.

    "The problem is that foreign people, especially Turkish people, have set
    foot in our homeland and that we (Germans) will become a minority if this
    flood of migration continues."

    "If this is racist, then I am a racist. I oppose that the German
    homeland becomes Turkey," Mahler said.

    What makes Mahler stand out, besides his dramatic past, is his unabashed
    anti-Jewishness, something German politicians, even most of his NPD
    colleagues, studiously avoid.

    In the interview, Mahler, both of whose parents were Nazi party members,
    said the Jewish God "is a terrible God, a genocidal God."

    "There's a 2,000-year-old conflict between Jewry and the
    European peoples," he said.

    Asked if he was anti-Semitic, Mahler said: "The opposite is true but of
    course that is how it's portrayed."

    He said the Jews are in Europe "a foreign body and they want to be
    a foreign body because that is the way that they can sustain themselves.

    "Jews need a hostile environment to survive as Jews in the Diaspora and
    they create it," Mahler said

    This considering of the Jews as responsible for the hate they face is the
    essence of neo-Nazi logic, Berlin Free University political science
    professor Hajo Funke told AFP.

    Funke, who said he remembered Mahler as very "authoritarian" from hearing
    him talk in the 1960s, said the neo-Nazi reasoning was a "combination of
    the old, European anti-Jewish tradition cloaked in modern terms
    of tolerance for other people's opinions" in order to look different from
    Hitler's propaganda.

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