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In light of the electoral success of the extremist NPD in the East and the highly visible presence of a violent neo-Nazi youth "scene", the result is rather surprising.

Oh good, I was waiting for a forum where I could ask questions about the NPD.

Last week the Financial Times ran a piece on how the NPD is making electoral inroads in the rural areas of the east at the local level, e.g., mayor. This doesn't directly impact the Bundestag numbers but I would be very interested to hear any German's comment on how the local level support DOES impact national-level politics.

I mean guys, did you even read the headline of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung study?! Because it is: Vom Rand zur Mitte, Rechtsextreme Einstellungen und ihre Einflussfaktoren in Deutschland, "from sidelines to the middle, far-right opinions and reasons for their influence in Germany". Does that REALLY, and I mean REALLY sound like underestimating to you? And are you aware of the social democratic anti-fascist campaigns last year?

Note from David: The FES study - so the Transatlantic Intelligencer critique - "underestimates the extent of neo-Nazi sentiment in East Germany". The FES study (check
http://www.fes.de/rechtsextremismus/pdf/Vom_Rand_zur_Mitte.pdf for details) describes nazi sentiment as a phenomenon in all of Germany. You may differ with TI's arguments, but at least they are consistent in their critique.

Pamela, the NPD problem zones are typically such areas where population density goes down while there is little to no presence of Islamic immigrants. The problem there is similiar as that posed by the Muslims, parents using youth gangs as their policing tool of choice.

One of these areas U.S. President Bush visited last summer when he came to Angela Merkels home constitutency for barbecue. The left carefully had to kick Nazis out of their protests to avoid a bad press.

One specific problem of the NPD is their flipflopping whether to hate Islam as a foreign culture or to love the enemy of their enemy.

This problem has two sides: On the one hand, the "far-right" (anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Democratic) sentiments are indeed increasing in Germany. That lead to some successes of "far-right" parties. BUT the described sentiments are also increasing on the left side of the political spectrum. That however doesn't lead to very much concern from politicians or the media so far.

The other part of the problem is that left-wing parties and media have for too long - and still do - called practically every non-left, non-mainstream opinion "(extreme) right-wing". These days, we had a so-called "study" that "proved" that every second German was hostile to foreigners. You can read about this ridiculous form of "science" at the German blog PI.

@ Pamela

As far as the NPD is concerned: Their small successes don't lead to any acceptance of their ideology, and it surely doesn't influence German politics. However, as I said, parts of their ideology gain strength in other parties as well - so far pretty much unrecognized by the media. You know how it goes: Anti-Semitism from the NPD is called Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism from others is called "criticism".

Thank you both.
Anti-Semitism from the NPD is called Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism from others is called "criticism".

I look forward to my first opportunity to plagerize that one!

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