The Future of Europe is for Right-Wing Parties
The following is from an interview transcript
- Last week, Frauke Petry was in Moscow. What was the purpose of this meeting?
- -Well, the AfD party is Germany's most important opposition party.
Frauke Petry is the leader of the opposition party, and I think her decision to visit Russia is a very natural move for both sides, to have a personal meeting, to know each other. There is a lot written in Germany about Russia and about Russian leadership and also about the Russian political elite, and there is a lot written in Russia about Germany, about different political fractions, as well as about AfD. So, I think the best way to avoid misunderstanding is a personal meeting and I think we’ve witnessed exactly that.
- Western media call anyone who doesn’t support liberal ideology a “Kremlin agent”. Why does this happen and how can this tendency be fought?
- First of all, the AfD is a party which would still exist and would have the same public support as they have today with or without the existence of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the success of the AfD party and of the other Eurosceptic parties in the European Union doesn’t have anything to do with Russia or the Kremlin. But it is a natural thing that Russia is very much interested in what happens because we are neighboring countries. Europe and Russia are directly neighbors. A big part of Russia is part of European continent.
So, it’s absolutely natural and nobody would get the idea to call someone an American agent when German politicians travel to Washington. We witnessed very transparent moves when we witnessed German politicians traveling to Moscow to have conversations and traveling back. It’s absolutely natural.
- What do you think are the AfD’s prospects for the elections in autumn?
- When it comes to the content of AfD, I think they have an electorate which is 30% or even more. But it’s very unlikely that they will manage to reach all these people who would agree with their content. The AfD has around 15% in polls, but in just several weeks the party itself has been struggling. So, the polls are a bit abrupt. We hope that they will recover from this. There is still a lot of time until the elections, more than a half a year. So, that they find back their old shape, their old unity - I think that is the most important thing. So that the public, who read about the party, don’t just read about who hates who inside the party, but why the party is an alternative for Germany, why it is an alternative to Angela Merkel and what its proscriptions are.They have to find back that they communicate what they are and don’t communicate what they don’t like within their own party. I think that is essential right now.
- How would you describe the ideology of the party?
- Well, I would describe them as the most sovereignist party, which is deeply skeptical towards all different types of transnational alliances such as EU, but also in big part against NATO. I would describe them as a party which relies on and which defends the national character and national identity of Germany exactly as do the other Eurosceptic parties in Europe defend their national character and their national identity of the different countries. Alternative for Germany is also a party which wants to defend the German industry and the German industrial presence and power. They were founded in the opposition against the Euro currency, with the crisis in Greece and rescue packets, which were done by Euro Central Bank.
So, in their nature, they are the most sovereignist party which aims for an independent and sovereign Germany in the framework of a cooperative Europe. That means, we could say, for a Europe of nations, for a Europe of motherlands or fatherlands.
- What is the future of the Eurosceptic coalition?
- Right now, the Eurosceptics have a big union to beat their common enemies – the Brussels superstate, the EU. Indeed the question is what will come after.
Right now, it is a big challenge facing all Eurosceptics from all over the Europe to find mutual solutions to what we all want. It is very easy to say what we don’t want but it’s very hard to get to a point of mutual interests.
And right know, unfortunately, if you ask about how they imagine the future Europe, the real Europe, the European Europe, you might get 10 different answers. So, we have Eurosceptics who are absolutely in favor of coming back to the nation-state as we had it in the 19th century. We have Eurosceptics who have a tendency towards rationalism, so-called Europe of 1000 flags. We have Eurosceptics who just want the European Union to be reformed a little bit, but not to be abolished. So, we see already is that now there is an absolute necessity not just for a plan of one Eurosceptic party, but for a mutual plan for an Eurosceptic alliance. There are different national interests in Europe. These things were a little bit forgotten during the EU but they will come back. There will be the absolute necessity of finding a solution, or we will not wake up and Eurosceptics will fight among each other. I think that would be for us the most horrible end and for the Euro-bureaucrats it would be absolute heaven. For the Eurosceptics, it is their responsibility to develop a solid plan today for the future.
- What has changed in Europe after the election of Donald Trump?
- We have to be thankful to Trump because of both Trump-effects. The first positive Trump effect was when he came into office in January. Trump's election showed the European electorate that it is possible to fundamentally change power by election and that it is possible to motivate the European electorate to go to the elections. The problem is not in those people who are voting for the Eurocratic parties. The problem is in the Eurosceptics who don’t vote. So, it motivates them.
The second Trump-effect comes from the chaos in Washington. We have the feeling that things are not going around very well. So, if we want some fundamental changes, there will be chaos around us. And this shows us that we have to be very well prepared when the moment comes. For example, if Marine Le Pen will become president, then it’s not just about her as the president of France. It’s about the French political elite. It’s about the administrations. Therefore, it is not enough simply to change a person; we must change the establishment as quick as possible. For this, we need people who are ready to do so.
- Is AfD a right-wing party or left-wing party?
- Well, that is an interesting question because in the past we had the tendency to define “left” parties, which were elected by the workers. When we look at what is happening in France and Austria, we can see that the Front Nationale and the Freedom Party in Austria are the new workers’ parties. They were elected by the working class. Therefore, that would define them by this old definition as sort of left-wing.
Last year the Austrian candidate for the presidency Norbert Hofer was asked in an interview how he could run for office when he knows that all the artists, musicians, journalists and cultural elite are against him. He simply answered that the people are for him. And I think this is precisely what is happening everywhere in Europe.
We see at the same time that the Left has lost connection with those who struggled for social equality. The Left, for many decades already, is not anymore for the majority of the people but for the minorities such as homosexuals, migrants, and Muslims. They chose minorities and rely on them. So, it’s a very natural move that the Right took over the working class. We are seeing a total shift in the political landscape.
The Left traditionally always meant the parties connected to things like pacifism and non-violence, but when we look at who is today in all of Europe in charge of peaceful politics towards Russia, who is in charge of fighting against NATO, and we can look very, very far, and we can find few Left individuals who are really for this. On the other side, we have the Right parties for peace, for understanding with Russia. If we compare this with the European right at the beginning of the 1940’s, it was the European Right attacking the Soviet Union. So, here we see a total shift. The Right became the party of peace and social equality and the party of the working class and the majority, while the Left became the party of the elite, also of the financial elite. We shouldn’t forget that mass migration can only take place because we have an alliance between the ultraliberal financial sector on the one side and radical Left open-borders-activism. The Right division is for control of borders, for control of migration, and for securing working class conditions.
Therefore, in general, we see that we cannot compare today’s political landscape anymore with the political landscape of the 1980’s or ’90’s. It has fundamentally changed for the better.
- What do you think will happen in the upcoming elections? What will happen with Merkel?
- Well, I’m a good friend of a pragmatic approach on that. Whoever is doing good politics for Germany, I’m OK with. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the AfD.
Let us say that the AfD has very good results in the election and will “steal” seats from Merkel’s CDU party. This is the thing that most probably will happen. The electorate of the conservative party has changed today. And this is what we see everywhere.
There would be a natural move by Angela Merkel to change her rhetoric due to pressure from her own functionaries, who don’t want to lose their positions just because of the boss of the party. We shouldn’t forget that Angela Merkel is not just chancellor; she’s the party leader of the CDU. So, they might push her in order to save their own positions. So, it’s not about ideology, it’s not about idealism. No one wants to lose his seat because of the mistakes that bosses are doing.
So, it is not unlikely that under this pressure Angela Merkel, to save her own position inside the party, will make some moves towards the positions of AfD. When we hear today that she is saying that rejected migrants should be deported much quicker than is taking place, then we can just say: “so do it!”. Why was she not doing this? At the same time, she’s saying things like: “the German people" - are everyone who live right now on German territory. So, we see contradicting massages.
I deeply doubt that she will change her ideology within the next 6 months. But it is not so unlikely that she will change it after the elections, after the CDU party will lose a lot of seats, after she’ll fall under pressure from her functionaries.