chapter  4
23 Pages

“National solidarity—no to globalization”: the economic and sociopolitical platform of the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)

WithGIDEON BOTSCH, CHRISTOPH KOPKE

In 2010, Germany’s Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD, National Democratic Party), the oldest party within the extreme right-wing spectrum of the Federal Republic of Germany,2 was able to de-escalate the internal battles that had kept members preoccupied for years. Such progress was needed in order to achieve what had long been a stated party goal:3 at the convention on June 4-5 of that year, an agreement was reached on a national party platform headlined with the slogan Work-Family-Fatherland.4 Furthermore, at year’s end they announced the merger with the Deutsche Volks-Union (DVU, German People’s Union), which means that one of its most serious competitors among right-wing extremist parties has now been de facto absorbed into the NPD. Almost all other political parties of the German extreme right have become insignificant in recent years,5 and the neo-Nazi spectrum has similarly been integrated into the NPD. Apart from the fact that the NPD may have to fear the competition of xenophobic right-wing populism by other parties seeking to woo voters, it really remains the only nationally relevant political power openly expressing anti-government, anti-constitutional right-wing extremism. While its significance within the overall political culture of the Federal Republic remains marginal, within the right-wing extremist spectrum it has become a hegemonic power. This means that Udo Voigt, who functioned as chairman from mid-1996 to

the end of 2011, can claim to have achieved three essential goals he had been working towards since taking over the party leadership: to change the NPD’s internal structure to turn it again into a visible political power; to overcome the division of the “national opposition” among DVU, NPD, and neo-Nazis; and to achieve a more convincing party platform with which the NPD could go public. The platform that was valid from the end of 1996 to 2010 remained largely

true to traditional middle-class protectionism, but at the same time supported a social Darwinist performance-oriented agenda, as can be found in the oldest programmatic NPD documents.6 There the systems of social security were anchored relatively weakly despite a fundamental acceptance of the German

tradition of the welfare state.7 The party platform polemicized against the “mirage of the total welfare state” and saw it as the task of social policies simply to “protect the individual in the happenstance of human life from becoming the innocent victim of misery.”8 A flyer to that effect which was circulated as the party platform for the federal election campaign of 1998 articulated the NPD’s central socio-political demand very clearly in the slogan “welfare policy for our people alone.”9