Ben Mauk

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March 22, 2016

Online Only

Ben Mauk

“We are the People“

The Rise of the German Right

AfD’s worldview, too, is vague enough to appeal to an array of voter groups once considered mutually exclusive: not just confirmed neo-Nazis, but disenfranchised former Communists, eurosceptics, libertarians, and social conservatives who decry abortion as well as gender studies departments at state universities. Forty-five percent of AfD supporters think of themselves as centrists. (Nearly 75 percent are men.) Their broad appeal is based on the floating signifiers familiar to any populist campaign. “Germany for Germans” is just one rallying cry. The most egregious is probably supporters’ adoption of the motto Wir sind das Volk, or “we are the people,” which every citizen knows as the chant of dissent and democratic inclusivity among the East German protestors who precipitated the fall of the Iron Curtain.

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