Social Matter is pleased to present the following interview with the Identitäre Bewegung Deutschland – the Identitarian movement in Germany. The Identitarian Movement originates in France and has spread to Germany, Austria, and many other European countries. Its intellectual origins are in the European New Right, which abandoned the game of political parties and sought to challenge the common ideas on which all modern Western politics are based. The Identitarian Movement first gained the attention of many with its Declaration of War against the generation and worldview of the 1968 protests. They have since gained further attention and notoriety with their actions, including the occupation of Social Democratic Party offices and its marches in cities like Vienna. Social Matter reached out across the Atlantic and had the pleasure of learning firsthand about the movement’s beliefs and goals. We hope you enjoy the result.
We know that the currently reigning ideology – called liberalism, cultural Marxism, and so on – advances itself through a coalition of certain academics, politicians, bureaucrats, activists, and media. But what do Identitarians see as the origin of this ideology?
This development towards a world without borders is something we have observed for some time now. The first public expression of this ideology was surely seen in 1968, when masses of people – mostly young – went to the streets with demands for “free love”, “one world” and an abstract form of peace. These were not the products of rational thinking, but instead an expression of the desire to abolish social standards and controls on behaviour – both for many of the protesters and their representatives nowadays. Most people today are easy to control with the “Nazi club”, as we like to say. They are actually good people, but they have a huge fear of being seen as right-wing. So they are more likely to fall to the other side, sometimes radicalizing in a leftward direction.
What is the role of democracy, and does it help or hinder this ideology? Is it beneficial or harmful?
Democracy itself firstly means “rule of the people“. Democracy is based on assumptions of a homogeneous society. Only if people are able to give the same answers to crucial questions of life can a decision truly be taken by the majority. The more diverse a society is, the less society is capable of democracy. Political decision-making degenerates into a circus and ultimately can only offer compromises between factions. If democracy loses its basic assumptions, it becomes a plaything of the political establishment and the main purpose of an election becomes to provide legitimacy for the government. It has no influence on political decisions any more.
As with most political ideas, it can be used for the common good – or it can be misused. This also depends on how the ruling class in politics and media defines the essential values of this idea. So the modern definition of the word “democracy“ more and more tends to excessive and unlimited tolerance towards every kind of minority in society.
The IB has an intellectual relationship with the European New Right. Is the IB a political manifestation of the New Right?
The IB does not understand itself as a political movement. Instead, we define ourselves according to a higher level of ideas: a metapolitical one. What we want is not the passing of some law or other, but a change in how we think about modern Western society. We aim towards understanding the value of what belongs to us, what distinguishes us on every level: family, region, nation, continent. We also differentiate ourselves from the “old right”, which tends to discriminate against and hate other communities; we clearly stand for equal rights and a respectful coexistence of all ethnocultural communities of humankind.
An important idea of the New Right is that culture must always come before politics. This is the foundation of what is called metapolitics – a cultural struggle which aims to shift the common cultural environment of all political ideologies. Is the IB a cultural or a political movement?
While a cultural movement would mainly be passive – conserving traditions, language etc – a political movement tries to change something in the field of politics. We want to achieve the latter in order to accomplish the former…and vice-versa. So in a way we are both. As stated previously, what we are not is any form of political movement in the common sense.
The IB maintains activism as part of its strategy, including videos, flyers, and demonstrations. What are your goals with activism and how successful do you believe this strategy has been? And how closely do groups in different cities and countries cooperate, especially when language barriers exist such as with the French movement?
At the moment there is a big campaign in Germany and Austria called “Der große Austausch”: the Great Replacement. In this campaign we try to wake people up, not only by bringing a hypothesis about what the goal of this phenomenon is, but through information about the statistical and demographic facts of mass immigration and Islamization. While we still are growing, we continually reach more and more people, including many through the internet.
Groups in different cities and regions work very closely together in their actions, recruitment, and organization. International cooperation is, of course, also present – mainly in form of big workshops like the one in France a few weeks ago or in demonstrations like in Vienna in June this year.
As the migrant crisis continues to unfold in Europe, many are watching with astonishment as Germans and Europeans clap and cheer for the crowds entering their countries. The fact that over 70% of the arriving individuals are men – many without families and of fighting age – and that ISIS is known to be sending members over the Mediterranean goes unmentioned. This is not simple political correctness, it’s enthusiastic support. Why do so many people seem to be responding in this way?
People always want to be seen as good and tolerant. In Germany, this has an even bigger dimension when you consider the fact that from the beginning of school until the end we are told each year what the Nazis did. On the other hand, there is nothing said, for instance, about the battle on Lechfeld – on which it’s said that the German nation was founded. In the opinion of many politicians and the media, we all have to feel guilty for what some of our grandfathers did. This is a very weak point which ideological indoctrination nevertheless focuses on. Thus, everything that is critical towards immigration or Islamization can easily be called “right-wing” or “Nazi”, and that’s what most Germans are enormously scared of.
An example how the ideology works is the case of Eva Herman. She published a book about the question of what the aim of feminism is and what it should be. She expressed the opinion that feminism shouldn’t destroy the gender of women, but support women in their decisions between work and family. She lost her job; the media called her “Eva Braun”, “Nazi Eva” and so on.
But this kind of defamation is losing its effect. More and more people realize that they can’t trust media and politicians anymore.
Naturally, we also need to think about the reactions to this crisis. Dissident parties now have a chance to further broaden their horizons. Perhaps we can speak about two currents: first, a simpler Euroskepticism that does not concern itself with metapolitical ideas (UKIP, Alternativ für Deutschland); second, a stronger critique of liberalism which also questions the cultural and social future of Europe (Jobbik, Casa Pound, the European New Right). Is there a relationship between the IB and these parties and currents? Are there parties with whom you refuse to work with out of principle?
First, the IB is not and will not be part of any political party, nor will it bind itself to one. But of course, most of our activists and supporters have corresponding favorites in every country. There are also parties which whom we strongly refuse to work or speak with at all. This includes several far right small parties in Germany, such as the NPD, Der Dritte Weg (The Third Way) or Die Rechte (The Right). The simple reason for this is their extreme and for the most part fanatical and irrational positions and actions.
One cannot speak of values about marriage, gender, and even children and demographics in modern Europe, without addressing religion and social conservative politics. The Church lost its battle against modernism and the social conservatives have been utterly defeated in Europe, as in the increasing majority of North America. Is there room in the IB for former members of these movements?
The IB is principally open to anyone who can identify with our values and our understanding of the societies of Europe. We do not have any rule that forbids membership of people who were in any party as long they are now in full agreement with our principals and with our exclusion of extremist movements. We are also happy for atheistic/agnostic and humanist individuals engaging with us, as well as for Christian believers from every confession. Of course, our worldview is (in the modern understanding) a rather conservative one, so we naturally are open to those people, too.
And what role does religion play in the lives of individual identitarians? What fraction are Christian, Heathen, and members of other traditions?
Religion is not a major theme with us, but some members are of course religious. Our worldview does not build on religion, but rather on humanistic and secular values, so most of us lay our focus on these principals. On the other hand we are, of course, aware of the fact that a lot of Europe’s cultural attributes and social principals have their roots in religion, e.g. the Ten Commandments of the Bible, and for that reason we do not deny religion in any way. Heathen religions are much more of a cultural phenomenon than the Christian belief. This manifests in many traditions taken over by the Church from old Germanic and Celtic tribes. Examples are most Christmas traditions, New Year’s Eve or Easter.
The IB says that it is “neither Right nor Left”. One of the well-known bloggers in our scene once noted the following:
“Leftism is like a club: you can’t just say you’re a leftist, and be one. You have to actually be accepted into the club. You have to be part of the Left, and if you’re not you are part of the Right – ie, the set of all those competing, unjustly of course, with the Left.”
When the majority of your sympathizers are more or less to the Right, isn’t the IB a right-wing movement?
That fully depends on how you define “right-wing”. Is it the old sense, which prefers a rather authoritarian, monarchistic system over the socialistic, democratic one promoted by the left? Or is it the definition of the modern media, which proclaims that right-wing equals xenophobia? The term “right-wing” is actually used to defame political positions which are different from those of the establishment.
So we don’t define ourselves as right or left because we are no ordinary political movement in the everyday sense, and because we are no right wing organization as most of the politicians and media understand it.
Finally, what are your predictions for the coming years, both for the IB and for Europe? At the writing of this interview, Germany has temporarily restored border controls with Austria due to the overwhelming migrant crisis.
We think that the common European politicians, propagating the Great Replacement, will increasingly make use of lies and radical actions to increase their hold over the people. This will result in a more and more authoritarian style of leadership and ultimately in a collapse of political legitimacy.
We think the steps being taken by these politicians show no real change in thinking, but are rather a strategy of appeasement, which reveals how they think and what they hope to achieve.
The IB is growing rapidly, and so are many political movements and parties, as well as the hatred of the European population towards their politicians. This will open the real possibility to change the way the European people thinks of its role in the world, and both its history and future.
We here at Social Matter encourage further debate and discussion in the comments below. Many thanks to the Identitäre Bewegung Deutschland for taking the time to answer our questions. Their website can be found here (German language, naturally).