After pressure from the right, the Federal Agency for Civic Education changed a definition in the “Left-Wing Extremism Dossier”.
It often helps to relate events to one another in order to understand them. One such event: the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) changed the teaser of an online dossier on “left-wing extremism”. This was preceded by right-wing to right-wing extremist outrage on Twitter, right-wing cancel culture, so to speak.
Tweeted on January 10th NZZ-Editor Anna Schneider took a screenshot of the mentioned teaser and was surprised that this would be “a serious publication” by bpb. She had marked the following sentence: “In contrast to right-wing extremism, socialist and communist movements share the liberal ideas of freedom, equality, brotherhood.”
The tweet was shared more than 700 times, including by the former AfD politician Frauke Petry and the author Martin Lichtmesz, who is on the right blog Sezession released. Right publications like that Young freedom and Tichys insight reported about it, but also those Picture-The newspaper responded on January 12 with the title “Downplaying Communism: Are Lefts the Better Extremists?” All of this could be ignored if the bpb had not changed its teaser shortly afterwards, whereupon the Political scientist Michael Lühmann pointed out.
In fact, the original wording, which reproduced evaluations from scientific research, was replaced by a wording “by the security authorities”, says bpb spokesman Daniel Kraft of the taz. Anyone who googling the first sentence of the new formulation, which defines “left-wing extremists” through efforts “against the free democratic basic order”, ends up on the website of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, where a very similar formulation can be found.
They looked at the discussion again and came to the conclusion that the original wording should be revised and sharpened, says Kraft, “in order to rule out future misinterpretations and misunderstandings.” The picture quotes the Federal Ministry of the Interior in its report as saying that it has asked for a revision. The bpb is a subordinate authority of the Ministry of the Interior.
To answer the question of Picture, Whether left-wing extremists are the better extremists, to answer, we now need to relate various events; it is also called thinking in context. The outrage over a supposed trivialization began a few days after right-wing extremists stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6th.
But you don’t have to look to the USA for a sensible classification: the teaser, which was changed because of an alleged trivialization of left-wing violence, now resembles the definition of an authority whose former president played down the right-wing extremist riots in Chemnitz in summer 2018; an authority that was actually responsible for preventing the racist NSU murders, but instead was never able to credibly dispel those doubts that it was involved in them or that they at least allowed them.
The bpb changed its teaser because of the alleged trivialization of left-wing violence in a country in which in the past two years it was not the left, but the right-wing who murdered: in Halle and Hanau. And isn’t it right-wing conspirators who are looking forward to the X day and making plans about how to execute their political enemies? To all of this, to also to the police scandals surrounding uncovered right-wing extremist chat groups and the threats posed by a self-proclaimed NSU 2.0. This text is not sufficient to be adequately addressed. But all of them are events that occurred within the competence of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the authority that apparently caused the change in the teaser.
Anyone who is sincerely concerned about the basic liberal order should think in these contexts in order not to fall for real smoke grenades. This also applies to those who like to define themselves as the “middle” of society and who were pretty angry a few months ago when it came to the appearance of a cabaret artist who likes to make anti-Semitic jokes. It is bitter that the very institution which is largely responsible for political education in Germany could not withstand right-wing hysteria. But one also wonders: where are the defenders of the liberal discourse?