All over Europe a lot of people in the radical left have strong negative feelings about the so-called “Antideutsch movement” within the radical left in Germany and Austria, a faction that is often known for its solidarity with Israel, its hatred for Germany, its opposition against traditional antiimperialism and its fierce stance against everything they deem antisemitic. Some calling them zionist racists while others regard them as some sort of neoconservatives in disguise. But those who demonize the movement often don’t really know exactly why it started in the first place and what its key points of criticism are. Others seem to be sure that, since it is called Antideutsch, it was only relevant in a German context and they didn’t need to consider or to discuss its criticism.
With this short pamphlet We want to add fuel to these dialectics. We want people in the radical left outside Germany and Austria to discuss what Antideutsch critique is about and whether or not some of its criticism might be relevant in their own contexts instead of simply disqualifying the whole theoretical current as zionist, racist or fascist and hence not relevant for radical left discourse. It is not our aim to convince each and everyone that everything that came out of the context of Antideutsch critique is good and right. In fact We disagree with a fair amount of it myself. But it is our idea of progressive thinking and of radical left politics that you listen to what others have to say and to respond with arguments instead of polemic identity politics. Of course, at least at some points in history exactly these mistakes have also been made by Antideutsch people and We won’t deny that.
We are convinced that many of the topics that have been brought up by Antideutsch critique were and still are important within the German context and beyond. After all the National Socialism and the Shoah are not only important parts of German but of European and world history. The current rise of the far right in Eastern European countries like Hungary or Bulgaria might appear in a different light if you take a look at how the given societies tried or did not try to come to terms with their past and their involvement in the Shoah and the National Socialist terror. Similar questions could be asked about collaboration in Norwegian or Swedish economic relations to the Third Reich. As a matter of fact antisemitism is still present in all Western societies. While many people are strongly involved with fighting racism, sexism and homophobia, only a few seem to be really interested in fighting antisemitism. Probably the conflict in Israel and Palestine is playing a role here but maybe this is not the absolute truth. Maybe there are vital antisemitic currents within Western societies which are strong even within the radical left. Fighting this antisemitism was and is one of the key ideas of Antideutsch critique. It doesn’t matter what you might think about Israel and its politics, if you consider yourself as a progressive person you should be willing to stand against all forms of discrimination - Including antisemitism. We really believe that people outside Germany and Austria can learn something from the more than twenty years of discussion within the German radical left just like all of us can learn something from the indigenous struggles in the Americas, the anticolonial struggles throughout the global South or from the French situationism. Different countries developed different currents of thoughts and different theories about how and why everything is as fucked up as it is. Let us try to benefit from all of them!
But before we start to dig too deep in the details we will give it a break and add some final words to this introduction:
This is not the truth. This is just an attempt to broaden perspectives. This is a contribution to a discussion we – as an international radical left – must have. This is not the answer. This is only an attempt to help ask some questions. Always question everything!
Jan Tölva & the incredible hagen, Berlin October 2012
jan tölva is a freelance journalist, sociologist and part time punk. he currently resides in berlin and focuses his work on football fan culture and critical masculinity.
the incredible hagen is a bike punk from berlin, who currently travels through canada. his mission is to meet nice people, share everything and make the world a better place.
II.Concepts and definitions
III.Case history – The German patient
IV.Beeing afraid of a Fourth Reich – The Antideutsch history
V.To defy everything that appears to be certain – Political positions
1.Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution – These are no revolutionary times
2.We, the People… - “Volk” versus “Nation”
3.United we stand? - Individual versus collective
4.Nie wieder Deutschland! - In opposition to Germany
5.Why Israel? - Antisemitism and antizionism
6.Eat the Rich? - Simplified criticism of capitalism
7.Yankees raus! - Antiamericanism
8.Some are more equal – Universal human rights
9.The Road to Mecca – Islam, Islamism and Antiislamism
VI.Contra la Contra – Criticism on the Antideutsch critique
VII.Talking is over – Violence against Antideutsch
VIII.False Friends – Right wing antiimperialism and populism
IX.It ain’t that simple any more – Antideutsch pluralism
X.I learned something today – What to take from all this critique?