A United Front Emerges In Germany
Are we seeing the genesis of a multi-partisan pro-Western political scene in Germany? Contributing Writers Niklas Anzinger and Daniel Fallenstein examine the implications of this promising development.
Writing for The New Republic, Jeffrey Herf recognized the emergence of a mix of conservatives, liberals and leftists with a common vision of indivisible universal human rights in Germany. The demarcation lines are often blurred. Where do they come from and what unites them?
Some of them are genuine libertarians. Some emerged from the anti-fascist Left and radical criticism of regressive tendencies in Leftist mainstream.
The Frankfurt School scholars recognized regressive tendencies in the German Left that are stuck in traditional Marxist thinking. Jean Amery, a Jewish-Austrian intellectual and radical Leftist noticed the German Left´s hostility towards Israel in the aftermath of the Six-Day-War 1967. At that time, German Leftist terrorists seperated Jewish and non-Jewish passengers in the Entebbe hostage taking in 1976.
In the aftermath of German reunification the radical Left split. Skeptical communists saw racist nationalism in more frequent attacks on migrants. During the Gulf War the German-skeptics saw Saddam Hussein threatening Israel, the protective haven for the Jewish people after the Holocaust, with German-produced weapons. Defending the actions of Israel, reflection upon the threat of Islamism and radical criticism of Leftist apologism came in focus. Consequently, 9/11 was seen for what it was: as an attack by regressive Islamists upon a symbol of Western freedoms.
Jeffrey Herf did his research about the parallels of Nazi propaganda and Islamist ideology at that time.
Meanwhile, in early 2005 a group of disillusioned radical left intellectuals, the “Friends of the open Society” (Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft), declared themselves to be no longer leftists but classical liberals. This happened in a climate where the pro-Westerners from several backgrounds started to explore each other's ideas.
Through a landslide of blogs the discourse among pro-Westerners of all political denominations increased and the foundations for the political phenomenon observed by Herf were laid. The Euston Manifesto and Eric S. Raymond's Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto shaped the ideas of liberal/libertarian part of the scene that had its journalistic mentors in Richard Herzinger, Henryk M. Broder and Leon de Winter.
The conservative wing was largely influenced by the American neoconservative school of thought and George W. Bush. Articles were aggregated in the liberal-conservative portal “Axis of Good” (Die Achse des Guten) which turned into the convergence point for pro-Western discourse among liberals and conservatives. The publicist mainstream during George W. Bush's presidency sneered at the notion of western values. It was the conservative-liberal blogosphere that provided a forum for the few journalists that would not let go of Western idea.
Despite diverging intellectual backgrounds, this movement is unified in pro-Westernism, defense of Israel and denouncing of political Islamism. The influence of this movement is limited, but new leaders may emerge.