Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 21:37:54 -0600 (CST)
From: Tom Burghardt <>
Subject: [AFIB] Soaring Nazi Movement: The New Lifestyle of Hate
Article: 47658
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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Soaring Nazi movement: The new lifestyle of hate

By Brenda Williams, Germany Alert special report, 12 November 1998

Right-wing extremism as a lifestyle? That's an heretical thought, but it can explain many phenomena in the new German states, where traditional political frameworks only inadequately take hold or do not take hold at all. Right-wing extremism in everyday life today can no longer be understood by just asking questions about political parties and organizations, number of members and election results. Here, a worldly context—developed from right-wing beliefs, standardized behavior among youth, and the constant preparedness for violence—is on its way to becoming the norm. Without visible resistance, a type of counterculture is being created in which the ethical and humanistic values of democracy no longer have a place.

Those who drive attentively through the towns will notice a monoculture, especially among young males. The right-wing extremism of the late 90s is moving from the country to the cities. The pressure in the community to conform is strong; rejecting the prevailing right-wing views inevitably leads to exclusion and loss of social contacts. Those who have conformed are most prepared to become violent because they must constantly prove their loyalty to their clique, group or scene.

In this type of organization, where one chooses to give up one's freedom, the higher-ranking or older members in the hierarchy can often avoid showing the typical characteristics of group membership, whereas the average right-oriented/right-wing extremist youths usually go all out in their appearance, which has only slightly changed from about fifteen years ago: short haircuts, bomber jackets, combat boots, polo shirts, and T-shirts from special sports clothing manufacturers (Lonsdale, Fred Perry), T-shirts printed with symbols, slogans, pictures and band names, the choice of either Domestos pants or jeans (special color fading techniques are currently in), parts of uniforms (olive green, fall/winter camouflage), and the most varied accessories such as patches, suspenders and baseball caps.

For the most part, clothing and some behavioral patterns are consciously adopted from the skinhead culture, which appropriately satisfies the exaggerated manliness and the rituals that are associated with it. Even if the skinheads with non- rightist or so-called non-political beliefs don't like it (though the latter belief is that politics should be kept out of the skinhead culture, a non-political skinhead can certainly also be a nationalist), most right-oriented/right-wing extremist youth describe themselves as skinheads and only wearily smile with condescension at the legendary spirit of '69—and they are the overwhelming majority.

In certain regions, children already start wearing this clothing when they are eleven years old, the equivalent of fifth grade; the numbers just go up from there. The most basic similarities between students with right-wing tendencies and organized right-wing extremists is the open and aggressive practice of inequality toward people and groups of people from which all of the hate groups stem (foreigners, those who have differing opinions, the homeless, Jews, Muslims, Christians, the handicapped, homosexuals, members of other youth groups).

The right-wing beliefs that an eleven-year-old carries with him are what he has heard at the dinner table. There, after having survived the GDR system and hiding out in an internationalist disguise, nationalism raises its ugly head. Derogatory terms like Prekoehle, Dachpappe and Ofenrohr (equivalent to nigger, coon, or jungle bunny) were invented in eastern Germany to describe people of color, as was the term Fijis to describe the Vietnamese and all people considered to be Asian. The latter term has already entered into the colloquial language. It is therefore of utmost importance to warn people against describing right-wing extremism as a fringe group or a problem among youth, even if right-wing extremism is most visible as a phenomenon among youth.

The manner of dress plays two roles in demonstrating their views. On the one hand, it identifies that the person belongs to a specific group; on the other, it strengthens the person's status within the group. The typical entry-level attire includes a bomber jacket, most often still green in color and covered by a scarf from the wearer's favorite soccer team. The short haircut is only the second most important change. The third most important accessory is combat boots made by Doc Marten. Their uniform is consciously militant and is supposed to raise self-esteem, to suggest power and authority, to intimidate and to demonstrate their willingness to attack.

Ideally, the outfit should be associated with the values and norms that are defined as national: order, cleanliness, discipline, hard work, loyalty, honor and pride... Everyone kindly turns away when they drink too much, belch and vomit. Getting drunk is a manly thing to do and is part of the stylized working class culture. It is important that one's own clothes are interpreted as making a political statement and are interpreted as an element of an alternative youth culture—even as a national liberated zone.

Unlike the styles of other youth cultures such as the beatniks, punks, Grufties (death cults) or flower-power followers, the style of clothing is not a form of protest against adults, their parents, or their grandparents' generation. The number of girls who are right-wing oriented has always been relatively small up to now. The differences in manner of dress are quite apparent. The girls are slowly getting more involved, though in larger numbers. They appear more reserved, although the hairstyle of the culture—the feather cut—is becoming more common. They are, however, hardly any less aggressive than their male counterparts.

In addition to clothing, there are legends and myths that are passed on from generation to generation. There is a relict that has hung on from the days of the GDR, for example: LONSDALE T-shirts are part of the classic outfit. When the zipper on the bomber jacket or leather jacket is zipped up half way, the letters NSDA—which stand for National Socialist German Workers (instead of NSDAP --the National Socialist German Workers' Party)—appear in a triangle. This is not obvious to outsiders, but is highly symbolic to the group.

In eastern and western Germany more than ten years ago, an alleged connection was made between one's conviction and the color of one's shoelaces: the nationalists wear white, political opponents supposedly wear red, and anti-Semites or cop killers wear yellow. Whereas the initiates still treat the color of their shoelaces as a secret sign of recognition, the older members no longer see them as important.

The accessories also serve two functions: political demonstration or outward provocation, and recognition and means of communication within the group. Accessories gained their current importance in the mid-80s, when punks started looking more like skinheads and acts of violence were often avoided only by giving one another certain signals.

National symbols already form elements of an internal language to a degree. These symbols are, as an article on the home page of the racist newspaper Nordische Zeitung states: ... not just a means of communication... With runes and ... symbols, pledges are sealed and desires are made manifest.

The colors of the German Reich are the most important symbols: black, white and red. It doesn't matter if it is the Reich flag or the naval ensign—they are only disguised symbols for the flag with the swastika—the national flag of the Third Reich. No one who carries the Reich flag at demonstrations wants to have the old Kaiser Wilhelm back again. Therefore, since the adoption of the naval ensign in the Canon of Regulation Infringements, the black-white-red Reich's patch is emblazoned on sleeves. The so-called Proud Patch (I am proud to be German) is now rarely to be seen. Even the last people to wear it finally noticed that you have to be careful if you're going to wear the Proud Patch. At the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig in 1989 and for months thereafter, there weren't just a few comrades walking around with a patch that had the Austrian eagle in the center of the noble maxim instead of the eagle of the German Reich.

Triangular patches representing different districts of authority were worn until members of the Viking Youth and the Free German Workers' Party were banned. These triangular patches were black and contained the symbol of the district in Gothic black lettering. Actually, in accordance with paragraph 86a of the German Penal Code, the district symbol should have been banned since the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany and not just since the banning of the Viking Youth and Free German Workers' Party; however, this symbol, like the Wolfsangel rune, was still considered part of the attire of the German Young People, Hitler Youth and League of German Girls.

An expert witness who testified in proceedings against two young right-wing extremists in the district court in Grimma on March 3 and 4 of 1997 didn't see it this way. He found no special connection to national socialist ideology; despite his knowledge and training as an historian, had he not been ordered by the court to investigate, he would not have associated the triangular patch with an organization of the Third Reich; he would especially not have identified it as a symbol from the Hitler Youth uniform. The defendants were acquitted... A ruling made by the regional court in Berlin with regard to the Celtic cross resulted in a similar weakening of the ban. No one dares, however, to wear the Sig rune (Hitler Youth, SS) or the Odal rune (Viking Youth) patches in public.

Instead, the most favorite symbol now is the number 88, worn as a patch or embroidered on their clothing. The number 88 stands for Heil Hitler (H is the eighth letter in the alphabet). The other favorites are 14 and 14/88. The 14 stands for the famous report about 14 words, roughly translated as We must protect our race's survival and also ensure the future of Aryan children. The 14 and the patch White Power are both symbols of pure racism. Members wear Fred Perry polo shirts with the number 88 embroidered on the collars. Shirts with the number 88 are available over the Internet from the National Democratic Party of Germany for 29 marks (roughly 17 dollars).

New variants of the swastika, some of which have Celtic origins, are constantly appearing on T-shirts with right-wing extremist symbols or slogans. As of yet, there is still no general guide that is even close to covering all of the symbolism. The police in the German states are struggling to compile rough lists. The extremists are able to cleverly get around bans. Since the salutation with German greetings is banned, people just write or say with forbidden greetings instead. Everyone knows what is meant, but despite this, no one is prosecuted. Strange words that are used as a form of war against foreign influences are creeping into the language. Now, people wear T-Hemden instead of T-Shirts, send a Fernkopie instead of a Fax, visit the Young National Democrats' Internet Heimatseite instead of Homepage, and use the German script for their signatures.

The religious component is formed from a conglomeration of the Germanic pantheon, the natural religion of the Celts, and Viking myths. Those who are conscious of their elitism or of having a mission to fulfill, who are prepared to sacrifice others, and those who expect salvation in heaven are fed by this religious component. In contrast to Christianity, neo-heathenism, the species-specific religion, does not stem from thoughts of equality; it is expressed openly—either with the hammer of Thor, which is worn on a chain around the neck, with relevant T-shirts (Odin instead of Jesus), replicas of Germanic and Celtic jewelry, which all mail-order companies of the organizations offer, or with rune graffiti. There are interesting examples of rune graffiti that are only comprehensible to insiders and that are filled with ideology. The symbol W is still considered an omega, but it is actually a rune that expresses an expedient return. In this context it is meant to express hope for the expedient return of the Reich.

The Reich essentially controls its own music, which is also viewed as a national liberated zone. The (Third) Reich appears in all of its facets (beliefs, military presence, economic structure) in the name of bands (Division Wiking, Oilthanasie, Volkstroi, Macht und Ehre, Heldentreue, Arisches Blut, Volkszorn); it is printed on CD sleeves and dominates lyrics. The people's community is turning into national solidarity.

The new German states are strategically and tactically besieged by national work for young people, the constant search for accepted vehicles of culture, such as bands, which are immediately offered CD contracts. The traditional left-wing forms of music (folk singers) and forms of politics outside of parliament are being abolished. Learning from Mao means learning to conquer; the spirit of the times is tending to the right, and the long march through the institutions has begun.