Germany’s Minister of Family Affairs is asking for the sum of €100 million from the German government to tackle right wing extremism in the wake of the incidents in Clausnitz, Saxony that have made headlines across Germany. The request would double the current annual budget for dealing with so called “right wing” incidents and those who espouse anti-migrant beliefs.
Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Manuela Schwesig (pictured), a member of the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), wants to increase the funding for a specific program called “Living Democracy – Active against right violence and enmity”. It is described on its website as a program to encourage diversity and democratic coexistence. The program, scheduled to last from 2015 to 2019, works with regional and local governments and schools to educate children and adults about right wing ideas and how to stop them.
Much of the funding goes directly to governments but national scale non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will each be given €200,000 to develop what they call a “nationwide infrastructure” of education.
The about section of the program website lays out it’s purpose saying: “Attacks on democracy, freedom and rule of law and ideologies of inequality are permanent challenges for society.” It targets “right-wing extremism, racism and antisemitism, the challenges posed by Islamophobia, anti-Gypsyism, ultra-nationalism, homophobia” and says “to counter them forcefully, it will take a concerted effort by government and civil society.”
One of the more interesting parts of the website is the so called “diversity library”. Under a broad range of topics from nationalism and anti-migrant attitudes, to Islamophobia and trans/homophobia, it contains various .pdf format books and brochures designed to educate Germans on how to be more tolerant and diverse.
Some of the texts range from rather ordinary, like how to tell if right-wing people are leasing space in your restaurant to “Living and Working in the Migration society” which is designed to make Germans recognise that their country will be house migrants for the foreseeable future and that they must learn to adapt to it.
While the SPD is asking for more funds to fight against anti-migrant sentiment, the Green Party has taken it a step further. Leader Anton Hofreiter wants to see more legal cases being brought about against anyone deemed to be “xenophobic” agitators. “We can’t have no-go areas in Germany, and no one should be made to feel inhuman by threats or attacks,” he told German paper Neue Osnabrueker Zeitung. He also said that without action against right wing supporters the government will have failed to uphold its responsibility.
Breitbart London reported that media in Austria had already labelled the Clausnitz protesters as “xenophobic” and said that the popular “We are the People” slogan should be classified as hate speech. Media in Germany has been outraged by the protest though there were no reports of violence by protesters or by police during or after the incident.