The Slatest

German City Declares “Nazi Emergency”

A neo-Nazi surrounded by riot police during a rally in Dresden, eastern Germany, on Feb. 13, 2013.
A neo-Nazi surrounded by riot police during a rally in Dresden, eastern Germany, on Feb. 13, 2013.

The city council of the eastern German city of Dresden passed an alarming resolution this week declaring the city to be in the grips of a Nazinotstand or “Nazi emergency.” The resolution was put to the city council Wednesday, decrying that “anti-democratic, anti-pluralist, misanthropic and right-wing-extremist attitudes and actions, including violence in Dresden, are occurring with increasing frequency.” The city has a history of neo-Nazi activism and of late has proven to be a haven for the far-right, giving birth to the anti-Islam and xenophobic PEGIDA (“Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West”) movement in 2014. The state of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, is also a stronghold of the far-right Alternative For Germany (AfD), which finished second in state elections in September with a quarter of the vote.

“Among other things, the resolution calls on the city and civil society organizations to strengthen a democratic culture, protect minority and human rights, and help the victims of right-wing violence,” according to Deutsche Welle, “[focusing on] the causes and consequences of anti-Semitism, racism and position of extreme right to restore trust in democratic institutions and the appreciation of diversity and respectful solidarity.” The resolution was passed by the city council by a 39-to-29 vote, but was opposed by Germany’s current governing party, the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), who rejected the resolution as a “provocation.”

The CDU chairman of the Dresden city council said the “vast majority” of Dresden citizens are “neither right-wing extremists nor anti-democratic,” as if that was the question being asked, before embarking on a pretty extraordinary both sides-ism explanation of their opposition to the BBC. “’State of emergency’ means the collapse or a serious threat to public order,” the chairman said. “Furthermore, the focus on ‘right-wing extremism’ does not do justice to what we need. We are the guardians of the liberal-democratic basic order and no violence, no matter from which extremist side it comes, is compatible with it.”