|SocialismToday Socialist Party magazine|
From a 1960s ‘left terrorist’ to a neo-Nazi
Following the review of the World in Action DVD (Socialism Today, No.96), a collection of twelve episodes of the Granada TV documentary series, Steve Kühne from Germany sent this letter explaining the political ‘evolution’ of Horst Mahler, who featured in one of the episodes, from 1978, Prisoner of Terrorism.
THE MINISTER of the interior, Otto Schily, the ex-chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, and the Green-left Ströbele – Horst Mahler knows them all. He knows them as a lawyer and because of his connection to the students’ movement in the sixties. Yes, the political high society of Berlin knows Horst Mahler.
A member of a far-right students’ club, a lawyer, a ‘left’ terrorist, an anti-Semite, the hope of the German neo-Nazis, Mahler has passed all the stations in the life of a German petty bourgeois. During this life he met all the Ströbeles, Schröders, Schilys and Rauses of the German political scene.
At first they walked side-by-side in the students’ movement. Later, they fought each other about how rightwing the German political system would have to be to work for the bourgeoisie.
Very often Mahler is called a renegade, because he is one of the people who founded the Rote Armee Fraktion [RAF – Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof group], one of the far-left armed groupings operating in Germany at the time. Born in 1930, he studied law and, at the end of the sixties, defended a lot of members of the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, the main left-wing students’ organisation at the time. In 1970, Mahler was sentenced to 14 years for membership of the RAF, during which time the World in Action interview took place. After his release, Schröder supported his readmission as a lawyer.
In the late nineties, Mahler gave some anti-Semitic interviews, for example to the journals Focus and Süddeutsche Zeitung, but also to the neo-Nazi paper, Junge Freiheit. Subsequently, Mahler was a speaker at a lot of neo-Nazi-events, for example at the ‘day of national resistance’ in Passau in 2000, organised by the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (National Democratic Party – NPD).
The NPD is the most important neo-Nazi party in Germany. It wants to unite different nationalist groups and parties in a ‘brown popular front’. The connection of the NPD with neo-Nazis who operate along terrorist lines, as well as old Nazis from the time of the Hitler regime, makes it the most dangerous neo-Nazi party in Germany.
In August 2000 Mahler became a member of the NPD. Only a few months later he demanded the banning of all Jewish communities in Germany. He became the NPD’s lawyer, defending the party in a trial aiming to ban it. But at the same time Mahler epitomised the struggle between several trends in the NPD. On the one hand, some were afraid that Mahler’s anti-Semitic arguments would be a potential reason for the party to be banned. On the other hand, Mahler remained a ‘left’ politician in the eyes of many NPD members.
They shouldn’t have worried. In a document he published outlining a programme for the first 100 days of a ‘national German government’, Mahler demands the banning of political science and sociology at German universities and the prohibition of all Jewish communities. Also he wanted to abolish all current television stations. Only two television stations would be allowed: one for science and one for ‘German culture’.
In Mahler’s ‘perfect’ German state only 5% of the population will go to college. If you are unemployed, but able to work, you won’t have the right to social security. He wanted to abolish state pension schemes, too. Neither for immigrants, nor for Jews would there be a place in Mahler’s Germany!
The German courts did not ban the NPD. But after the trial, Mahler left the NPD – in his opinion it is a reformist party. But both the NPD and Horst Mahler carry on fighting for their far-right visions and continue to be dangerous. We have to stop them!