Home » Heiligendamm 2007 » G8 2007 english  


Watch also...


Neo-Nazis at the G8 summit

A German neo-Nazi party hopes to benefit from the populist battle between rich and poor by joining the many left-wing groups protesting globalization at this year`s Group of Eight summit in Germany.

The protest against inequality and the detrimental effects of globalization has so far been an exclusive left-wing battleground. Yet Germany`s most popular far-right group, the National Democratic Party, or NPD, claims it has been pursuing the same goals as the likes of ATTAC.

'In terms of the criticism, there are a lot of similarities,' NPD spokesman Klaus Beier recently told the online version of the German news magazine Der Spiegel. 'Sometime in the near future, there will be joint activities,' he said, adding that on a grass-roots level, there are already talks between far-right activists and far-left globalization opponents. He refused, however, to give details. 'We want to do this seriously and not shout it from the rooftops.'

Beier`s remarks have outraged left-wing activists.

'Those are infamous lies,' Frauke Distelrath, spokeswoman of ATTAC, a multinational left-wing group critical of globalization, told United Press International Wednesday in a telephone interview. 'The NPD has not engaged in talks with any significant left group, and of course no group would talk to them.'

Distelrath added no neo-Nazis will be tolerated near their demonstrations. 'We have nothing in common,' she added. 'They won`t join our protests and we will not allow them to do so.'

ATTAC -- the French acronym for the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens, a name that reflects its anti-tax origins -- claims not to be anti-globalization, but is only critical of the neo-liberal ideology that it sees as dominating economic globalization. It supports globalization policies that the coalition characterizes as sustainable and socially just. One of ATTAC`s slogans is 'The World is not for sale,' denouncing the 'merchandization' of society.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the home state of Chancellor Angela Merkel and host to the G8 summit, the NPD made it into the state parliament, with a top candidate who on election day called Adolf Hitler 'a phenomenon -- militarily, socially and economically.'

The NPD even submitted a resolution in the state parliament stating that U.S. President George W. Bush is 'not welcome' in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania.

In some regions in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt (eastern Germany), the major democratic parties have already lost ground, the expert said.

'There, the NPD subculturally has taken the lead,' Hajo Funke, an extremism expert at Berlin`s Free University, told UPI.

The NPD`s opposition to globalization is not a new thing, he added.

The party has always been anti-capitalist and critical of America`s influence; it`s just that this opposition is paired with anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas aimed at keeping immigrants out or sending foreigners living in Germany back home.

To soften its image to outsiders, the 'far-right populist NPD' for its latest anti-globalization course has also taken up arguments from the far-left.

'They blatantly copied from them,' Funke said.

Ahead of the G8 summit to be held in the northeastern city of Heiligendamm June 2, the NPD has registered a protest march for 1,500 people in Schwerin, close to the summit venue. The far-left groups -- anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 could attend, Distelrath said -- will meet in nearby Rostock.

The NPD also marched Tuesday in Erfurt, eastern Germany, under the motto: 'Future instead of globalization -- work for millions instead of profits for millionaires.'

While the NPD tirelessly tries to attract voters from the middle of the political spectrum, its success has been limited. In Erfurt, several thousand people marched in peaceful counter-demonstrations, and experts say the G8 protests will be attended by those few who already lend their voice and vote to the NPD.