The Berlin FRIKO has been organizing the Berlin Easter March for over 40 years. The traditional Easter march is an important action of the peace movement. But this year something is different: The NEA (North East Antifascists) – Berlin published on March 12, 2023 a text with the title: “No peace with rightists! Against ‘Querfront’ [unity with right wing COVID-conspiracy theorists] ambitions within the Berlin FRIKO and collaboration with right-wingers in parts of the peace movement!”
What is the truth of these accusations? Are they justified?
Discussions around these issues within the Left and the anti-war movement have focussed on 3 main questions:
1) Are dieBasis (COVID-conspiracy-based political party) and the ‘Querdenker’ milieu to be classified politically as right-wing adjacent or right-wing?
2) Should Leftists work together with the right wing in alliances?
3) Do we demonstrate together with right-wingers?
This year, the FRIKO is cooperating with the “Alliance for Peace Berlin” who are part of the group organizing of the Berlin Easter March. The call of the NEA to put pressure on the FRIKO to exclude this alliance from the organization of the Berlin Easter March has obviously not been successful so far: the date is still on their website, and in their reply letter to the NEA the FRIKO confirms its cooperation with the current group of organizers.
What is the “Alliance for Peace Berlin”?
As early as 2020, Aufstehen gegen Rassismus (AgR) produced informational and educational material around the Querdenken movement and its connections to the AfD. It was explained in the flyer “Corona Protests: Hand in Hand with Nazis and Racists” why they were talking about collaborating with Nazis and why this is so extremely dangerous for our society.
The protests began in April 2020 and were directed against the protective measures in the Corona pandemic. They resulted from a deep distrust of science, a rejection of scientific knowledge, and an orientation towards romantic notions of nature, etc.
The protests of the ‘Querdenker’ movement often seem harmless, with seemingly Leftist demands like social justice, against war and corporate profiteering, as can be seen in their call to action May 1, 2022 in Wedding. But beware, appearances can deceive.
From the very beginning, esotericists, vaccination opponents, homeopaths, antroposophists, hippies, and evangelicals have met with members of the AfD, Reichsbürger and old and new Nazis, who exploited the protest for their goals. (despite these meetings, Jürgen Elsässer, the founder of the right wing Compact magazine, admitted in an interview that he did not share the conspiracy theories of the ‘Querdenker’ at all). Because Corona was denied or downplayed, the search for other reasons for the protective measures began.
This was the time for conspiracy theories: including antisemitic theories about Rothschild and the East Coast, sharing the abstruse views of QAnon and building a conspiracy theory about the “Great Reset “. The protest is superficially directed against the rich and powerful, the elites. They are supplemented by conspiracy theories about September 11 or parallels with National Socialism, imagining oneself in the resistance (I am Jana and feel like Sophie Scholl…). Some wear “Jewish stars” at the demonstrations.
The Reichsbürger and Nazis tried to hijack this protest, and in many places were able to lead the “Monday walks” against Covid measures. They are united in their rejection of the state and its institutions. Often, known Nazis are significantly involved in the organization of these protests – unchallenged by the other participants. For example, the “Free Saxons” in Saxony mobilized for the protests against the Corona measures and organized the “Monday Walks” in many places. The “Free Saxons” are an extreme right splinter party.
In Köpenick, the far-right Udo Voigt of the NPD regularly walked joined the marches. In Pankow and Prenzlauer Berg, the neo-Nazi party “Der III Weg” and the AfD participated. Their goal is to build a nationwide right-wing street movement.
In the ‘Querdenker’ milieu, old and new Nazis are given public space where they can spread their ideas and gather new forces. Not everyone who protests with this milieu is automatically a Nazi. However, those who do not clearly demarcate themselves from the radical right help them to strengthen the far Right.
One alliance partner of the “Alliance for Peace Berlin” is dieBasis Berlin:
The “Basisdemokratische Partei Deutschland” was founded on July 4, 2020, during the course of the “Corona protests.” In elections, it has so far remained below the five-percent hurdle needed to get into government. ATTAC has issued a statement saying that it cannot work with the dieBasis party and is planning its own actions for the Easter march.
Viviane Fischer has been Chairwoman of dieBasis since 2021. According to Tagesspiegel: “The four lawyers Antonia Fischer, Justus P. Hoffmann, Viviane Fischer and Reiner Fuellmich founded the self-proclaimed “Corona Committee” in 2020, creating a platform for crude conspiracy theories that was celebrated by vaccination opponents and Corona deniers alike”.
The top candidate for the 2021 federal election was Reiner Fuellmich. He spreads lies and disinformation about corona vaccination and trivializes the Holocaust. For example, he claimed that the vaccine would directly kill 25 percent of the German population and that the federal government wanted to establish “a kind of concentration camp” for non-vaccinated people. What the rulers were planning would be worse than the Holocaust.
Fuellmich wanted to sue Christian Drosten and Lothar Wieler by class action: “The two of them, together with the WHO, were the driving forces behind the Corona pandemic. There was no worldwide Corona pandemic, he said, but instead an elite-driven PCR testing pandemic.” But his former clients have now sued him.
DieBasis competes with the AfD in opposing Corona pandemic protections- They see a similar voter potential, and both parties have collaborated in organizing events. DieBasis allows dual membership.
“Die Basis can be described as at the least open to the right” says social scientist Claudia Barth, who has been observing the Corona protests. She concludes. “I see a very close proximity to the AfD and its positions.”
In February 2023, supporters of the party dieBasis, together with the “Free Left”, Michael Bründel (Captain Future, Freedom Parade) and others, demonstrated in front of the Thälmann monument under the motto “Create peace without weapons”. “In the Berlin election campaign, “Die Basis” agitates against the sanctions against Russia, opposes German arms exports and demands the opening of Nordstream 2. Flags of the Russian Federation or with the Russian eagle emblem can be seen at the rally. “
A top candidate for the dieBasis party (Michael Fritsch) in Lower Saxony was arrested in December 2022 during a raid as a suspected member of the right-wing terrorist group “Patriotic Union.” Suspended police officer Michael Fritsch talked to ‘Querdenkers’ in Konstanz about the SA and SS, and the parallels to today’s security apparatus on Oct. 3, 2020.
The call for the Berlin Easter March can still be found on the website of the party dieBasis: “The Alliance for Peace Berlin, to which dieBasis also belongs, is part of the orga of the Easter March for the first time.”
How should we position ourselves in relation to a ‘Querdenker’ movement that is open to the right?
It is legitimate and necessary to criticize government policies. Anger is justified. We are all fed up with war, profiteering and social injustice.
However, we do not march with Nazis and do not offer them a stage. And we do not have any solidarity with the right-wing adjacent ‘Querdenker’ movement.
Because we do not forget: Fascism is not an opinion, but a crime! “Marching with Nazis is not a walk!” These were and are important slogans against the “Querdenker-Processions”.
Our alternative is a solidarity which is borderless and international!
We are in solidarity with all people who flee from war, poverty and need. We demand to open the borders for all people who want to flee from Ukraine, for conscientious objectors from Russia and Ukraine.
And we say no to Putin’s war of aggression! No to arms deliveries by NATO and no to the rearmament package of the German government! The military arms race must come to an end!
We are not ready to pay the bill for this madness. Instead, we demand a redistribution from top to bottom. We need an expansion of schools, daycare centers and the public health system. We need additional support for families and children.
We fight for a just and solidary society.
We have no cause in common with the AfD, conspiracy theory ideologues, Nazis and racists! We are set against them.
How do we want to deal with the Easter march of the Friko?
Fascists from AfD & Co. are presenting themselves as being part of the peace movement with the aim of instrumentalizing and dividing it.
We should not open up a political stage, with speech and performance opportunities, to the right at demonstrations. This would only serve to make fascists and racists “presentable”. Instead, we actively oppose them.