POST 4: Nazis Against Nazis: How to Diffuse Right Wing Extremism

James Meland-Proctor

The war fairing political unrest of WW2 and Nazi Germany may seem like relics from the past which the whole world learnt important moral lessons from. It may come as a surprise to some, Neonazism has had a come back and is a serious problem in some parts of the world. In order to tackle this crippling problem, especially in Germany, a group called Rechts Gegen Rechts (RGR) has not only employed public relations skills with design assets in order to cater for a march originally organised by the neonazi group, to have the whole event turn against the very movement. These marches happen often, and while this video shows one march, a lot go ahead without clever intervention since everyone ought to have the right to freedom of speech in most Western countries. However on the 15th of November 2014, a group of neonazis expressed their right to protest in the town of Wunsiedel, to find a bittersweet reception.

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Nazis against Nazis – Germany’s most involuntary charity walk

“We’ve secretly turned this Nazi march into something sensible, Germany’s most involuntary walkathon.”

The group RGR design the discretely intervene in the event to leave the marchers to think the protest was going on as planned. They had collaborated with a group called EXIT-Deustcheland, a group which aims to de-radicalise and prevent extreme German nationalism. On this occasion, for every meter the neonazis marched, 10 euros were donated to programs specifically aimed at the group marching that day. Along with this initiative, the group had created some brightly coloured posters with witty slogans playing on WW2 and mocking far right German ideology. The protestors had become increasingly aware once they started marching, with demarcations on the road indicating how much money their steps made towards EXIT-Deustcheland. RGR had entrapped an extremist group to inadvertently march against their own cause by using humour and public space to raise awareness of a serious issue. It would not have been without the help from other groups and collaboration from the town that this rather simple and effective design solution would have been as successful.

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As humorous and ironic the whole event came to be, the point of this initiative by EXIT-Deutschland was to do more than showcase situational comedy or to ridicule anybody. The narrator at the end of the video states that the money raised is to help fund people to safely disassociate and live separately from right wing groups and communities (EXIT-Deutschland, 2016). Hatred is learnt for someone to see the message they are actually projecting, could be a real life line to a different path in life. We can see that from recent history that there lies many potential dangers in any political extremism and the intolerance it breeds. So, to see such a display of compassion from everyday Germans in wanting to help members of a hate group, is at first a jarring contrast but reveals itself to be a true glimmer of humanity.

References:

EXIT-Deutschland 2016, Exit-deutschland.de. viewed 22 August 2016, <http://www.exit-deutschland.de/start/&gt;.

Nazis against Nazis – Germany’s most involuntary charity walk 2016, YouTube. viewed 22 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvjIYl_Nlao&gt;.

 

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