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Photo Gallery: 29 August Demonstration – You’re marching with Nazis and Fascists

Today there was a demo in Berlin against the Corona measures, organised by a dubious group which was happy ro welcome hard-core Nazis into their ranks. Although not everyone demonstrating was a Nazi, Nazis from throughout Europe mobilized. Counter-demos were organised with the main slogan being chanted “you’re marching with nazis and fascists”. Police used […]


Today there was a demo in Berlin against the Corona measures, organised by a dubious group which was happy ro welcome hard-core Nazis into their ranks. Although not everyone demonstrating was a Nazi, Nazis from throughout Europe mobilized.

Counter-demos were organised with the main slogan being chanted “you’re marching with nazis and fascists”. Police used a strategy of random kettling, often separating counter-protestors from each other. This led to anti-fascists being spread across town. Here are some photos from the protests.

For more information, see ,,Solidarity instead of common cause with Nazis.

Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass and Hertha Marks Ayrton

Rebellious Daughters of History #49

by Judy Cox and Sam Kirk (guest post)

The real first black woman to stand as Vice President (and it’s not Kamala Harris) Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass (1874 – 1969)

Charlotta Amanda Spears was born in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1874, the sixth child of eleven. She received an education from public schools.

Later, she moved to California and began working at the California Eagle newspaper. When its founder died, she became editor and then owner of the California Eagle, one of the first black women to own a newspaper.

She took courses at Columbia University and University of California. In 1912, Joseph Bass joined the Eagle. He shared Charlotta’s concern about injustice and racial discrimination. They married and ran the Eagle together.

During the 1920s, Charlotta became co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded by Marcus Garvey. She campaigned against segregated schools and against job discrimination. Carlotta was also the director of the Youth Movement of the NAACP.

The Eagle’s circulation of 60,000 made it the largest African-American newspaper on the West Coast. Between 1912 and 1951, Under Charlotta’s leadership, the Eagle led various campaigns, against D. W. Griffith’s film, The Birth of a Nation, against the Ku Klux Klan and against police brutality. The paper also supported the “Scottsboro boys,” nine young men who were framed and convicted of rape in Scottsboro, Alabama, in 1931.

Charlotta received threatening phone calls and at one point was confronted by eight men robed in white, who she scared off after displaying a firearm.

In 1934, Joseph died and Charlotta assumed control of the paper.

In 1942 the Department of Justice interrogated Charlotta over claims that the paper was funded by Japan and Germany. The FBI monitored Charlotta, who they believed supported the Communist Party.

In the 1940s, the Republican Party chose Bass as western regional director for Wendell Willkie’s presidential campaign. But she later left the Republican Party and joined the Progressive Party.

Carlotta served in 1952 as the National Chairman of the Sojourners for Truth and Justice, an Communist-led organisation of black women protesting against racial violence.

That year, she was nominated for vice president of the United States by the Progressive Party, the running mate of lawyer Vincent Hallinan. Charlotta became the first African-American woman to run for vice president of the United States. Her platform called for civil rights, women’s rights, an end to the Korean War, and peace with the Soviet Union.

In 1966, Bass had a stroke and retired. In 1967, when she was ninety-one, the FBI still classified Charlotta as a potential security threat.

She died in Los Angeles on April 12, 1969 and was buried alongside her husband in Evergreen Cemetery, East Los Angeles, California.

Hertha Marks Ayrton, 1854 – 1923

It is a pleasure to tell the story of a scientist to which I have 3 affinities. Firstly she is a physicist, secondly she helped found an organisation which became the union that became the first trade union that I joined as a science technician in the NHS, and thirdly she was an activist trying to make the world a better place.

Born Sarah Marks to Jewish parents she showed great promise as a child. Due to family hardship after the death of her father, her education was funded by others.

As a woman scientist, she was not taken seriously by many institutions. She invented many things, but her most well-known achievements were the invention of a line divider used by engineers for scale diagrams, arcing in lamps and the Ayrton fan. If you’ve ever been to the “flicks” but wondered why cinemas are sometimes called this because there is no flickering, you have Hertha Ayrton to thank. The lamps originally used in cinemas and street lights were unstable so caused flickering. Hertha redesigned them which stabilised the light source and got rid of the flickering, but the name for cinemas continued.

Her work attracted the attention of other scientists and she was proposed by one male scientist to become a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1902, only given to top scientists then and now. However, married women were not admitted at the time. Two years after her rejection, she was allowed to read a paper to the Royal Society, becoming the first woman to do so. It took another 20 years for women to be allowed to become Fellows (sic) of the Royal Society!

She invented many other things. Her invention of a fan to clear poisonous gas from the trenches in the first World War was at first turned down, but later adopted and also used in mines.

A woman not afraid to speak out, after Marie Curie’s discovery of Radium was wrongly attributed to Curie’s husband, Ayrton engaged with the media regarding the sexism: ‘Errors are notoriously hard to kill, but an error that ascribes to a man what was actually the work of a woman has more lives than a cat’. This had also happened to Ayrton, despite the fact that her husband was keen for her to get recognition for her work and fully supported her.

She and Marie Curie were friends. After Curie needed somewhere to rest, following an operation on her kidney, and being pilloried in the French press with sexist and racist abuse for having a relationship with a man who, whilst married, was separated from his wife and Curie was a widow. Curie and her teenage daughters, Irene and Eve, stayed with Hertha in 1912.

Ayrton taught Irene maths and it was through Irene that Ayrton persuaded Marie Curie to sign the petition against the imprisoning of suffragettes, something that Curie was normally averse to. The stay coincided with the most active time for Hertha in the suffragette campaign (1911-1913) and probably influenced the young Irene who became involved in politics later in life.

Joining the Womens Social and Political Union (WPSU) in 1907, she got involved in a variety of ways, attending the marches, looking after many of the women (including Emily Pankhurst), when they were released from prison after being force fed during the tortuous cat and mouse episodes. Like many other women, Hertha refused to fill in the 1911 census. Instead she wrote on the paper: “How can I answer all these questions if I have not the intelligence to choose between two candidates for parliament? I will not supply these particulars until I have my rights as a citizen. Votes for Women.”

She agreed to have WPSU money transferred to her account to protect it from threatened confiscation by the state.

A formidable woman, George Eliot allegedly based the character Mirah from the novel Daniel Deronda on Ayrton. Eliot along with others supported Ayrton to study at Girton College Cambridge having no independent means. Like other women of the time, although completing her degree studies she was not allowed to be awarded her degree. A situation that didn’t change until 1948!

Ayrton was also a founding member of National Union of Scientific Workers which later merged with another union becoming the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs (ASTMS).

Her daughter Barbara also joined her on WPSU marches and went on to become a Labour MP.

Suggestions for Spahny

Jacinta’s 4-point plan for improving the German health service

I think I am not alone as a Brit abroad to have been slightly surprised to discover that the United Kingdom is not, in fact, the only country in the world to have some form of socialized healthcare. And I am sure I am not the only Brit living abroad who now finds the way the NHS is viewed as some form of state religion vaguely puzzling at times.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I think British people are right to be proud of their National Health Service, which, for all its flaws (and it’s certainly in danger now!) is a hugely noble socialist project in a cruel, cold country which has never really embraced the necessity of a welfare state. The NHS is an ambitious, socialist, utopian dream come true – imagine how Andrew Neil or Piers Morgan would sneer at it had it been first suggested by Corbyn in the run-up to December’s General Election!

One thing that does frustrate me, though, is that we Brits seem only to be capable of comparing ourselves with the USA and literally nowhere else on Earth! It seems to me like British people think there are only two systems – the NHS system and the American “each man for himself, it’s a dog eat dog world, then you get cancer the hospital charges you $100,000 for treatment and you die in poverty” type system. I would go so far as to say the melodramatic comparisons with the United States combined with this view of the NHS as a religion and its workers as Saints has done little to protect it. A more selbstverständlich acceptance that profit and healthcare don’t mix, that even the poor deserve to live, that healthcare is a human right and not a charity, would serve my home country better I feel.

The Germans have a very selbstverständlich attitude towards their healthcare. I feel that probably most Germans, certainly most Germans I know, think that healthcare doesn’t need to be socialist, but should be solidarisch. People in work pay a certain portion of their wages to their Krankenkasse of choice, and their employers pay a certain amount too. Meanwhile, and this is important, people out of work get the costs taken over by the Job Center or Agentur für Arbeit. Furthermore, anyone who earns over 4,800 euros, has “Beamte” (civil servant) status, or is self-employed, can choose to go private. Refugees get basic medical treatment when they arrive in the country, but once they are part of the welfare system, they’ll get a health insurance card and the same treatment as everyone else (theoretically, at least.)

The system is seen as basically quite efficient and fairly humane. It’s rare to hear someone claim, with specific reference to healthcare, that Germans are healthy and hard-working and refugees are lazy and sick hypochondriacs. Think about the Pegida rallies – there were a lot of complaints, but foreigners going to the doctor too much wasn’t one of them.

However, there is another thing you won’t hear mentioned much. The uninsured. To be quite frank, the German indifference to the uninsured people living in this country is as alien to me as the British worship of the NHS. Estimates say that around 140,000 people have no health cover in Germany – my gut tells me it is far higher.

One of the things I can never understand about my German friends is their claim that it is impossible to not have health insurance in this country. A German friend of mine, let’s call her Sandrine, said to me recently: “Oh, but we’re not allowed to have no health insurance in Germany! It’s not like America. It’s basically forbidden.”

Well, let me tell you: something being mandatory to have does not mean it is easy to get! And it is really bloody easy to live in Germany with no health insurance. Undocumented people, homeless people, semi-homeless people, housewives in an abusive relationship who have just arrived, self-employed people who are doing a lot of/a bit of Schwarzarbeit, students who have just lost their jobs, people who are unemployed but not not organized enough to go to the Job Center so they are just living off money their partners give them every now and then, every single British person who lost their job due to Corona but doesn’t qualify for Hartz-IV…..THE LIST IS ENDLESS. Nice Sensible German People are always slightly puzzled as to how you can end up with no health insurance in this Sozialstaatparadies we call Deutschland, well Nice Sensible German People I AM COMPLETELY BAFFLED HOW YOU CAN LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY ALL YOUR LIVES AND NOT MEET ANY UNINSURED PEOPLE! Do you ever go out, like ever?

Imagine you are a nursery school teacher or nurse who thinks she’s at high risk of getting corona. A German person, I am not even bringing homeless foreigners into it now. Your doctor doesn’t think you’re high risk, but you think you are. Your doctor won’t sign an “Attest” to prove you are high risk, your manager keeps on asking you to perform tasks which you see as dangerous and unnecessary in these Corona times. After a few fights, you resign. Now, because you resigned, you won’t get your benefits for a while – which means, that, for a while, you won’t have any health insurance. IT REALLY IS THE EASIEST THING TO HAPPEN IN THE WORLD.

(A shout out here, by the way, to EU citizens who were in the country legally, getting by doing sex-work or dog-walking or whatever, and after seven years of being here get hit with a hefty bill from the AOK because it is, actually, illegal to not be health insured. I dunno. That’s seven years of not going to the doctor and paying for it, it doesn’t seem fair to me!)

Some people in Germany think we should introduce a National Health Service here, and I am inclined to agree. At least for the duration of Corona, and possibly ever. But failing that, I have a few helpful suggestions for my main man Jens Spahn and I’m sure you’ll agree they are all brilliant:

  1. Let’s get rid of all the different Krankenkasses – like what the fuck is the point? I am with AOK, and it’s blatantly the best one, although they do waste too much money on ads. But let’s put all the Krankenkasses together, AOK can be the boss, and we call it a Solidaritätskrankenkasse, and then we’re done with it
  2. Get rid of private insurance, get all the richies back into our Solidaritätskrankenkasse, and make them pay fairly high fees. They can afford it, can’t they? Not crazy high, just like €600, €700 would be fine.
  3. Stop making people show their cards when they go to the doctor’s. I think it should be like this: you HAVE to have health insurance, but you don’t need to prove you have it. So, if you don’t have your card on you, you can go anonymously. In this way, undocumented people, homeless people, and dog-walkers flatsitting who got caught out by Corona can all get cared for.
  4. GIVE EVERY KID IN GERMANY KINDERVERSICHERUNG – like seriously, Spahny, if you don’t listen to any of my other ideas at least listen to this one! Yeah Familienversicherung is nice and all but considering every kid in Germany has a family and the ones whose families are too poor/disorganized/self-employed hot messes to get their health insurance sitch in order ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THEIR PARENTS FUCK UP. My solution is give every kid a health insurance card with their Kindergeldbescheid. Valid for 18 years. Maybe 19.

I find it strange that the Nice Sensible German People I know are often complaining about Germany’s healthcare system being two-tiered – divided into the publicly insured and the privately insured. I think the big difference is between the insured and the uninsured and I truly, truly believe that the numbers will be getting higher and higher and higher due to Corona. As far as I’m concerned, Germany could do a lot, lot better than this.

Gegen Berufsverbot

Against the racist and sexist ban of the headscarf in public employment


The coalition #GegenBerufsverbot (#AgainstOccupationalBan) is made up of organisations and individuals working to fight racism and sexism. It aims to educate the public about the discriminatory and unconstitutional effects Berlin’s so-called Neutrality Law has on religious and racial minorities, as well as womxn. Our ultimate goal is to overturn this law and any religious dress restrictions.

The Law on Article 29 of the Berlin Constitution came into force in 2005 and prohibits people who wear visible religious or ideological symbols or clothing from working in public schools or from being officials of the prison system or the police, and in a more moderate form from being educators in day-care centres.

Although this law is falsely dubbed the ‘neutrality’ law, it is anything but neutral. It disproportionally affects religious and racial minorities as well as womxn. They are denied access to work. Above all, it is Muslim womxn who wear a headscarf who are deprived of their free choice of profession. Men* from the Sikh community who wear a turban or from the Jewish community who wear a kippah are also affected.

Human dignity, protection against discrimination, free choice of profession and the freedom of religion are enshrined in the constitution and are human and civil rights cornerstones that Germany heralds as part and parcel of their democracy. However, the State of Berlin argues that religious minorities endanger state neutrality and – in education – school peace and must thus be banned from serving in these public sector jobs.

The law must be repealed and access to work, as well as all other areas of society, should be open to all, regardless of religion, ethnic origin, race, class, disability, sexual orientation, gender and all other backgrounds.

Solidarity instead of common cause with Nazis

Why Die LINKE supports the anti-Querdenken protests


by Christine Buchholz and Rene Paulokat


Querdenken” – German for “thinking outside the box” or, literally, lateral thinking – is a campaign started in April by Stuttgart-based IT entrepreneur Michael Ballweg. The movement’s focus is on criticizing the measures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19, which it characterizes as a “dictatorial” infringement on fundamental freedoms. “Querdenken” argues that economic consequences should be given greater weight than impacts on health; however, they fail to articulate any social demands for things like financial aid for people who are suffering economically in the pandemic. [1]

By now, “Querdenken” has evolved from a campaign into a movement, organizing similar protests every week around the country. On August 1st, an estimated 30,000-50,000 people joined the demonstration in Berlin, with the goal of uniting the movement. Since then, the number of protesters has multiplied – even in places where, until recently, scarcely more than a dozen people had shown up. [2]

“Querdenken” is once again calling for people to converge on the capital on August 29th, this time under the banner “Berlin invites Europe.”

No clear separation from far right

Members of the AfD and NPD, as well as adherents of the Reichsbürger movement – and neo-Nazis – can all participate in “Querdenken” without objection. Fascism and racism are styled as “opinions” to be accepted. In a published manifesto, “Querdenken” declares: “We are non-partisan and do not exclude any opinion.” [3]. Ballweg’s catch-phrase about the unity of “Querdenken” is: “Where we go one, we go all”. This is a slogan lifted directly from the anti-semitic conspiracy theory QAnon. The oft-repeated stacatto refrain is: “We’re neither right nor left; we’re for freedom, peace and the Basic Law.” The adversary is “the Merkel regime,” “the mainstream media,” or “compulsory vaccination.”

Such simple explanations make “Querdenken” a magnet for fans of conspiracy myths. They see in the pandemic a secret plan to control the world (aka the “New World Order,” or NWO). They use the prevailing uncertainty to spread their simplistic explanations. Myths like these provide fertile ground for right-wing, anti-semitic and nationalist narratives. This ability to connect with such ideas is part of “Querdenken”’s concept.

What they all have in common is a clear picture of the enemy: politicians, scientists, and, above all, the mainstream media. [4] Chants of “Lügenpresse” (a Nazi-era slur meaning “lying press”) fill the air whenever television cameras are nearby. The majority are in agreement with the organizers’ strategy of disallowing any overt distancing from the far right at the demonstration. [5]

Neo-Nazis take part with no objection

Organized neo-Nazis were free to take part in the march on August 1st in Berlin unhindered. To be seen were members of the NPD, known Holocaust deniers, Identitarians, Compact magazine, the AfD, Reichsbürger with Imperial flags, German flag-wavers, Nazi hooligans, and antisemitic T-shirts. Eric Graziani’s Nazis from “Patriotic Opposition Europe” rode along with the “Corona-Rebellen” (“Corona Rebels”) on a Love Parade-style party truck.

At the nationwide “Querdenken” protests, members of the Reichsbürger movement are even allowed to lobby freely for a referendum to abolish Germany’s Constitution. The fascistic far right, up to and including some on the terrorist spectrum, was present at the “Querdenken” rally in Berlin – people like Martin Wiese, who in 2003 conspired with other neo-Nazis to bomb an event for the laying of the foundation stone for a Jewish cultural center in Munich. [6]

AfD and ‘Identitarian’ tactics

The AfD, which currently finds itself internally divided and in crisis due to the huge anti-Fascist mobilizations, is using the movement to style itself as the parliamentary arm of the “Coronaleugner” (“Corona deniers”). [7] Members of the party’s neo-fascist wing have been especially vocal in calling for “lateral thinking.”

One tactic of the fascistic right, both within and outside of the AfD, is to gain strength within the movement without overtly appearing to dominate it. ‘Identitarian Movement’ leader Martin Sellner has issued a tactical instruction [8] to participate actively yet unobtrusively in “Querdenken.” “Recruiting people… building up nests of resistance… to disturb the growth of the movement as little as possible with visible and thereby criticizable rightwing positions, until the movement has grown big enough.” Not until the economic consequences of the pandemic have become palpable will the time be ripe “to test and to activate the latent identitarian potential of these protests.” Commenting on an exchange with Bodo Schiffmann (a leading figure in “Widerstand 2020”! [Resistance 2020] and “Querdenken”), Sellner has revealed “that the base of the movement does not want to keep avoiding this taboo [of migration policy] in the long term.”

Currently, both the ‘Identitarian Movement’ (IM) and the AfD are still practicing tactical restraint by not dominating the movement with their racist themes of “migration,” “Islam,” and “population replacement.” The group ‘Mobile Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus’ (MBR), a mobile counseling center against rightwing extremism, reports [9] that some neo-Nazis have toned down clearly racist and fascist slogans and so were not easily recognizable. However, following the successful mobilization on 8/1, a greater number of speeches veered unambiguously into this racist territory at “Querdenken” rallies held the subsequent weekend in Stuttgart, Dortmund and Augsburg. [10]

Training ground for fascists inside and outside the AfD

“Querdenken” is once again mobilizing across Europe for its August 29th event -“Berlin invites Europe – Festival for Freedom and Peace.” Charter bus companies are providing critical infrastructure to travel to the city. Neo-Nazis and fascists will take advantage this opportunity. In a video message, far-right politician Björn Höcke calls on people to “perform this service for your country.” [11] It can be assumed that more violence-prone Nazis will be in attendance.

Like ‘Pegida’ before it (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West), the “Querdenken” movement is a training ground for fascists both within and outside of the AfD. The AfD is attempting to put an end to its decline in popularity by capitalizing on an issue that will allow it to reach out to new milieus. Fascists both inside, as well as outside the AfD – link these efforts expectations to gain new forces to grow a street-level rightwing movement. To prevent this from happening, we need widely supported counter-protests.

DIE LINKE must be part of the counter-movement

An alliance [12] started by ‘Aufstehen gegen Rassismus’ (Stand Up to Racism, Germany) has been organizing in Berlin. It appeals for counter-protests on 29th August under the banner: “Solidarity instead of common cause with Nazis.” It – Aufstehen gegen Rassismus – states: “We all need social security and access to good health-care for all, especially during the pandemic. To achieve this and much more, solidarity struggles are possible and necessary. Hostility towards the scapegoats of Nazis and racists is not OK!“ [13]

The extent to which “Querdenken” is able to continue to build momentum and provide a breeding ground for the fascist far-right is dependent in part on how strong the counter-protest turns out to be. As DIE LINKE, we cannot allow neo-Nazis to take to the streets unopposed and spread their fascist ideology. It is thus critical as DIE LINKE that we become an active and visible part of the protests against the alliance between “Querdenken,” the AfD and neo-Nazis.

It is up to all of us – DIE LINKE must make its social critique of the federal government more visible, mobilise more intensively and build the solarity required to answer the questions posed by Covid-19. The rich and the corporations must pay the costs of the pandemic rather than the vast majority of people.

This article first appeared in German in links-bewegt, the online magazine of Die LINKE. Translation by Julie Niederhauser



1 The “dazzling decay of political life” sometimes takes a bizarre shape, like when it is alleged that the coronavirus was invented by “powerful people” in order to prepare Germany for the “international locusts” that will then invade and “introduce Socialism.” A recommended report on August 1st by Gerhard Hanloser on

2 (Weekend of 15th August: Hamburg approx. 3,000, Stuttgart approx. 2,000, Dortmund approx. 5,000)

3 “Querdenken” manifesto

4 See the video edit by the ARD series Kontraste:

5 Again and again from the sound-truck speakers booms the message: “We see a few Reich flags here. The press will once again use that as a reason to talk about right-wingers, conspiracy theorists and antisemites at the protest. But we will not allow ourselves to be divided. The real fascists are in the government.”

6 Not until after the event did this “undercover participation” come to light, thanks to an antifascist research group

7 AfD chairman Tino Chrupalla said in an interview: “People have taken to the streets for their rights; that can only be welcomed.” Bundestag member Peter Bystron tweeted: “Hundreds of thousands” came out to demonstrate and asked: “How long can she [meaning Merkel] keep sitting it out?” MP Stephan Protschka tweeted about an alleged 1.3 million demonstrators.

8 Martin Sellner (Identitarian Movement), quoted in Sezession’ after 1st August –

9 MBR in an interview by Supernova magazine:

10 Masks came off in Stuttgart on 8/8/2020 – and a national anticapitalism was invoked: Thomas Bauer (a retired first lieutenant) on 8/8. at the “Querdenken” rally in Stuttgart – “Mass migration of poorly qualified and totally unqualified workers will put a further strain on social security funds and the middle class, which funds the whole party. […] Elections will be reversed […] I will stop religious social gatherings and attempt to take away people’s faith. I will transform the media so that anyone who does not pay homage me will be denounced. […] By skillfully manipulating the media, I can now finally make the richer even richer.”


12 Currently the preparatory alliance includes the DGB (German Trade Union Confederation), ver.di (United Services Trade Union), SPD, Omas gegen Rechts (Grannies Against the Right), unteilbar (Indivisible), campact, VVN (Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime), and residents’ campaigns.