The Junge Alternative, a congregation that brings together the young militancy of the German ultra-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), was framed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, branch of Brandenburg, as an extremist right-wing organization.
In practice, this classification can compromise the employability of the organization’s militants with public bodies or the ability of these people to obtain firearms. It also means that the agents leading the investigation will have more powers to gather evidence against Junge Alternative.
The decision adds to that of other German states that have already reached the same conclusion regarding Junge Alternative, but it does not yet have national reach – in April, the Protection of the Constitution extended the classification to all offices in Germany of Junge Alternative, but had to temporarily back off because the case is in judicial dispute.
The militants had been under investigation by agents in Brandenburg since 2019. The AfD state directory itself has been monitored as a suspected case since 2020. According to the body’s accounts, Brandenburg had 730 right-wing extremists within the party last year and another 90 within the youth militancy.
Junge Alternative has been chaired since October last year by a politician with a seat in the Bundestag – the Federal Parliament – Hannes Gnauck. He and other members of the youth militancy maintain contacts with an institute in the state of Saxony-Anhalt accused by agents of maintaining “extremist efforts” – that is, committing acts with a view to annihilating fundamental values of the liberal-democratic order. The investigation of parliamentarians with a mandate constituted by agents for the Protection of the Constitution, however, is only authorized in exceptional cases.
AfD to challenge decision in court
When announcing the decision this Wednesday (12/07), the secretary for internal affairs of the state of Brandenburg Michael Stübgen stated that the positions of Junge Alternative (young alternative, in the translation into Portuguese) clearly contradict the Federal Constitution and that this would have been verified repeatedly in concrete circumstances. For this reason, explained the Christian Democrat politician, the organization represents a “danger” to youth, public safety and the democratic regime and freedoms.
The party’s directorate in Brandenburg, headed by Birgit Bessin, has announced that it will take the case to court. Bessin suggested that the “brazen” action against Junge Alternative was motivated by the lack of evidence against the AfD directory.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution functions as a secret service focused only on internal affairs that may threaten the German democratic order, the rule of law and human rights – this is the case, for example, with possibly extremist organizations operating within the country.
Founded in 2013 as a gathering of right-wingers disillusioned with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which headed the government at the time, and the policy of the European Union, the AfD projected itself nationally with a nationalist rhetoric from the refugee crisis in 2015, with the outbreak of war in Syria. With the end of the pandemic, the party updated its speech to include the climate debate and the war in Ukraine.
The party is under observation by Constitution Protection agents. A populist-nationalist faction, Der Flügel (The Wing), is already considered right-wing extremist, and some of its most prominent leaders have been accused of flirting with Nazism. Despite this, the party currently enjoys around 20% approval from German voters.