The National Democratic Party of Germany has continued with its political makeover, completing a highly successful conference so far removed from its previous image that a local leftist journalist announced that "vast segments of the population should be able to identify with the party’s new policies.”
Writing on the opinion-editorial news site Rheinneckarblog, 21-year-old leftist journalist Minh Schredle said that this makeover made the party “more dangerous than ever.”
The Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or NPD, has been long reviled by the establishment as a party of “skinheads and thugs.” Founded in the mid-1960s, it reached an electoral high in 1969 when it polled over 1.1 million votes.
Its fortunes have varied since then, sometimes caused by its own missteps and other times by deliberate sabotage and a sustained campaign of controlled media smears.
In 2014, a new leader, Frank Franz, took over the reins, and he has worked hard at shedding the party’s previous image and associations. The latest conference marked a new page in the party’s transformation, as the article in the Rheinneckarblog confirmed.
Reporting on the conference, held in the town hall in Weinhem, Baden-Württemberg, the Rheinneckarblog said there had been a “radical change of course in the NPD.”
The journalist then admitted that “Actually, it is not at all racist. Rhetorically, the party can hardly be distinguished from the CDU [Christian Democratic Union] and the AfD [Alternative for Germany]—and that makes them all the more dangerous: under the guise of legitimate pragmatism, rightist radicalism is on the way to becoming mainstream.”
Frank Franz, NPD leader.
The article starts off by pointing out that party leader Franz’s media persona “can hardly be distinguished from the design of a promotional video from one of the establishment parties. It is a radical change in style: the NPD is now presenting itself as a friendly centrist party, one which wants to be elected and seeks to draw votes from all camps, including the left.”
It then goes on to dissect Franz’s main address to the conference:
“We are not a "normal party; we are the only party of normality. We are the last remaining bastion that is still fighting for the welfare of the German people,” Franz told the 200 delegates.
“We are not racist, and we do not hate refuges per se. In fact, we stand for humanist values,” he continued, prompting the Rheinneckarblog journalist to ask if this was “CDU, AfD or NPD speech?”
The journalist went on to opine that the “NPD has obviously found their sheep’s clothing in the asylum debate, because a large proportion of the population fears an overtaxing of the welfare state.”
It then went on to quote Franz as saying that “real, genuine war refugees should be given temporary protection (with the emphasis on temporary) but that Germany was not the world’s social welfare office and cannot absorb millions of social tourists.”
As the Rheinneckarblog remarked, such comments could have been made by the CSU’s interior minister, Thomas de Mazière.
Then Franz went on:
“Who still holds [vice chancellor] Sigmar Gabriel as authentic, when he visits the refugee camps and tears roll down his cheek, but at the same time he says nothing against arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other states which support ISIS?”
“If the no-good other parties really want to tackle the root cause of the crisis, then they should first address the issue of Europe’s wayward child, the terrorist state of the USA. We want nothing to do with people such as Obama, the chief of this central genocide. We see him as neither friend nor ally,” Franz went on to enthusiastic applause.
This is the reason why the NPD could never cooperate with the AfD party (the equivalent of Britain’s UKIP), Franz said:
“The AFD is too western-bound, pro-US, and not system-critical enough. That is why cooperation is not an option. We want to take Germany out of NATO and start proper relations with Russia.”
After engaging in the usual smears, the Rheinneckarblog article then went on to opine that “Considerable portions of the population are likely to be able to identify with the NPD’s new demands. For this reason party chairman Frank Franz should be watched; he embodies like no other a serious radicalism: unassuming, calm, and quiet. Always in a suit and tie. A well-groomed appearance, razor-sharp rhetoric.”
This strategy has, the journalist admits, shown the first signs of success: The NPD newspaper Deutsche Stimme ("German voice"), has seen a 14 percent increase in subscribers over the previous year, and now has a circulation of 20,000. In addition, the party’s membership has grown by 10 percent in the same period.
The NPD’s own media channel, DS-TV, has also gained a significant following and many of its videos have attracted over 200,000 views, something which, the leftist journalist admitted, other parties would be happy to achieve.
* A handful of communist thugs protested outside the town hall against the NPD conference and when they could not physically attack the delegates, they attacked the police and public property.