After Petry Departure, AfD Set to Shift Right
Last week the AfD became the third largest party in Germany. Now it looks to shift drastically to the right.
by Jay Lorenz
On Tuesday, AfD leader Frauke Petry quit the party just days after it won 94 seats in parliament, making it the third largest party in Germany. Petry had said she would not sit with the parliamentary group on Monday, and officially broke ties with the party the next day.
This ends a protracted period of conflict and disagreement between Petry and others in the AfD leadership. To begin with, the party chose Alexander Gauland as their main candidate for the elections instead of Petry, who had headed the party since 2015. Petry has previously criticized Gauland for saying the AfD would “go after,” Merkel, fearing that the rhetoric would turn off moderate voters. She also disavowed Gauland’s claims that “We have the right to be proud of the achievements of German soldiers in the two World Wars.” Before this, Gauland and Petry had feuded over how to respond to Björn Höcke , who made controversial remarks during a speech in January. Höcke said, referring to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, “We Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital.” He also suggested that Germans “need to make a 180 degree change” in the way they remember their past. Petry called Höcke a “burden to the party” over these remarks and supported his expulsion. Gauland and the right-wing of the party came to Höcke’s defense, and he remains in the party.
Petry is making the same mistake Republicans have been making for years. She is bending over backwards to appeal to moderates, when there are millions of people waiting to hear a forceful anti-immigrant, nationalist message given with no apologies. Every time you cede ground to the left or punch to the right, it is a mistake. If the right is willing to give in to moral shaming from the left, it will never succeed.
That is why Petry’s departure is so promising. She was never going to be the champion that the AfD needs. In fact, since her departure, she has signaled against her former party’s position that Islam has no place in Germany, saying that Muslims are welcome in Germany so long as they don’t seek to impose sharia on a national level. In her stead, much stronger politicians are rising. Gauland is now by far the party’s most influential member. Along with his previously mentioned statements, Gauland has also questioned whether Germany should include Israel’s right to exist as part of its foreign policy. After the election he told media, “The government has to buckle up. We will hunt them. We will hunt Frau Merkel … and we will reclaim our country and our people,” and “We don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture. Very simple.” This is very promising, especially when you consider that there are younger, more radical members of the party who will be pushing the leadership to the right. Björn Höcke and others are waiting in the wings, ready to establish the AfD as a true nationalist party.
The Alternative für Deutschland must establish itself as a true alternative to the system. Indeed, all right-wing parties in the West must. To the extent that these parties attempt to work with the system, they lose significant ground to the left. Unless the demographic changes in Western nations are halted and then reversed, any path is a losing one for the right. Obsessively appealing to moderates and playing by the rules set up the left means that you can’t truly fight the issues in our societies. Being a true alternative means opposing the current regime fundamentally. If the right plays by the unwritten rules, it loses, because the rules are rigged to keep the same people in control and to perpetuate the neoliberal globalist anti-White system. The AfD must oppose that system, and Petry was not willing to fight the real battle.
Of her departure, Gauland said, “I cannot rule out that some will follow her into the political wilderness.” Indeed, some already have. Other moderate members of the party, including Petry’s husband, Marcus Pretzell, Bernhard Wildt, the co-leader of AfD in the state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Matthias Manthei, and Christel Weissig left the party due to its growing right wing. However, the political landscape really is a wilderness. Outside of the AfD and the mainstream parties, there is only irrelevance. If Petry thinks she is going to succeed with an Alternative for Germany-lite platform, she is sorely mistaken. With her gone, it’s time for the AfD to become a true alternative for Germany.