Germany’s Right-Wing Identity Movements Offer a Cautionary Tale for the U.S.

Germany’s Right-Wing Identity Movements Offer a Cautionary Tale for the U.S.
Right-wing demonstrators protest against Muslim refugees, Cologne, Germany, Jan. 9, 2016 (AP photo by Juergen Schwarz).

Since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, white nationalists have gained new visibility, galvanized by the president-elect’s campaign rhetoric and his appointment as chief adviser of Steve Bannon, the former head of the far-right Breitbart News who is infamous for his ties to the so-called alt-right movement. In response, many Americans are bracing themselves for a long fight against the potential normalization of racist rhetoric, as hate crimes against minorities and women have already multiplied across the country.

This trend is hardly a uniquely American phenomenon. Right-wing parties have also made gains in Europe, capitalizing on fear and insecurity linked to high-profile terrorist attacks and the migrant crisis. In Germany, in particular, Chancellor Angela Merkel has expended significant political capital on an open-door response to refugees that has earned her enemies across the political spectrum. With elections slated for 2017, Merkel’s prospects for re-election have dimmed, with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party rising in polls and making impressive showings in by-election results.

But the emergence of a new right-wing movement in Germany isn’t limited to the political class. The forces underpinning the AfD’s rise have galvanized grass-roots groups demanding an end to immigration and what they call the Islamization of Germany. Today, Identitare Bewegung (IB)—the Identity Movement for Germany—has gained particular prominence; it was put under surveillance by Germany’s intelligence services in August.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.