A German court has ruled that Alternative for Germany’s independent youth organization Young Alternative (JA) can be classified as a “certified right-wing extremist organization” – which means that the intelligence services have the right to spy on the organization’s members and that JA may eventually be banned.
Germany has perhaps the toughest laws in the world against what it describes as “right-wing extremism”, “Nazism” and “racism”, and over the years a number of organizations or parties have been banned because their ideology was deemed by the court to be in conflict with the German constitution.
Young Alternative went to court to have its extremist label revoked, but the administrative court ruled that Germany’s intelligence services have the right to classify the youth association as “extremist”.
Although the decision can still be appealed to a higher court, the court said it is “convinced that the JA is an extremist organization” – because it has an “ethno-nationalist view” of society and seeks to expel large numbers of people with a migrant background.
The court further claimed that JA engages in “agitation” against foreigners and Muslims and that the youth association “maintains connections to organizations that are classified as unconstitutional”, such as the Identitarian Movement.
Interior Minister cheers
– Today’s decision clearly shows that we are dealing with a massive contempt for humanity, with racism, with hatred of Muslims and with attacks on our democracy, said home affairs minister Nancy Faeser, welcoming the court’s decision.
Almost a year ago, JA was added to the “extremist list” – which, among other things, gives the intelligence services a mandate to monitor and map the group’s members.
The allegations are not entirely clear-cut, but broadly speaking, JA is said to spread “extremism” and strive for a “general degradation” of Germany’s “democratic system”. It also allegedly “incites hatred against refugees” and “propagates an ethno-nationalist world view”, reports Deutsche Welle.
Even if those in power want to ban JA, and perhaps even its parent party AfD, it will take a long and protracted process to do so. Previous attempts to ban the nationalist NPD, for example, have so far failed, although the party’s access to public funding has been blocked.
The Young Alternative is presented and described as the Alternative for Germany Youth Association – but is a legally independent parent party. JA is also known to take a more radical line than the parent party on many issues. Hannes Gnauck, the leader of the youth association, also represents the AfD in Parliament.