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Monday, September 18, 2006

Evil breeding evil: neo-Nazis on the march

The local election results in Germany send a shiver down the spine. The fears voiced here have proved justified, with the neo-Nazi NPD repeating their success in Saxony two years ago by picking up over 7% of the vote in the coastal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with German politics, it should be stressed that this is not (at least not yet) a German problem. It is an East German problem. So far the NPD's derisory showing in the West has ensured that they're kept out of the Bundestag. But in the East they are doubly the beneficiaries of four decades of communist misrule. Firstly, because they're benefitting from the economic collapse which the communist regime engineered - unemployment is running at over 20%, and people are looking for scapegoats. And secondly because, in stark contrast with the West, the regime suppressed honest discussion of the Nazi past, instead presenting themselves as the heirs to a mythical mass anti-fascist resistance movement - and in doing so succeeding in glamourizing Nazism in the eyes of many young people. Everyone knew they were being ruled by congenital liars, so it was a natural reflex to believe the opposite to whatever the official propaganda said. The more the rhetoric of international solidarity was prostituted to deny the reality of the country's status as a Soviet colony, the more credibility was lent to the opposite extreme of aggressive nationalism.

Thus does evil breed evil.

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