Manès Weisskircher https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/22866/all cached version 09/02/2019 02:50:57 en PEGIDA turns 4 – will AfD be among the well-wishers? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/man-s-weisskircher/pegida-turns-4-will-afd-be-among-well-wishers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Some have spoken out against a rapprochement between the AfD and PEGIDA. The AfD leader in Saxony <ins datetime="2018-10-16T08:51" cite="mailto:Manes%20Weisskircher"></ins>insists: 'The AfD is the political arm of all non-violent, liberal-democratic citizen movements.' <ins datetime="2018-10-16T08:52" cite="mailto:Manes%20Weisskircher"></ins></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-38311507.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-38311507.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>01.09.2018, Saxony, Chemnitz: Lutz Bachmann, founder of PEGIDA, makes a selfie in front of a photo of the murdered Iulia from Viersen during AfD demonstration. Ralf Hirschberger/ Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Four years ago on October 20, 2014, 'Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident' (PEGIDA) staged their first-ever demonstration in the city of Dresden. About <a href="http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/chronik-von-pegida-vom-facebook-protest-zur-feindseligen-bewegung-13862975.html">350 people</a> attended. Soon, the weekly PEGIDA protests turned into the most talked about issue in German politics. In the winter of 2014 and 2015, <a href="https://durchgezaehlt.org/pegida-dresden-statistik/">up to 20,000 people</a> joined the 'evening walks' in Dresden. While since then a political party, the AfD (Alternative for Germany), has become the key radical right player in German politics, PEGIDA still regularly mobilizes <a href="https://twitter.com/durchgezaehlt/status/1021459031297273857">more than 1,000 individuals</a>. By now, their Monday gatherings have become a '<a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-67495-7">protest ritual</a>'. </p><p>Every now and then, PEGIDA re-enters the spotlight, most recently this summer. In Chemnitz, another Saxon city about 50 miles away from the region's capital Dresden, a German-Cuban man was killed on August 26, with two individuals from Middle Eastern countries as suspects. What followed was mobilization by various far-right activists from in and outside Chemnitz, who entered the scene and exploited the death for their own mobilization purposes. Some protests involved <a href="https://www.raa-sachsen.de/newsbeitrag/hemnitz-eine-erste-bilanz.html">violence against immigrants</a> and the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/chemnitz-protester-convicted-over-hitler-salute/a-45475528">showing of the Nazi salute</a>.&nbsp; </p><h2><strong>PEGIDA-AfD relations</strong></h2> <p>While initially, PEGIDA organizers were unrelated to the emerging Chemnitz protests, its founder, Lutz Bachmann, and others soon got involved. Key figures of the AfD, Germany's biggest opposition party, staged a '<a href="http://www.afdsachsen.de/files/afd/kreisverband-meissen/presse/2018_08/Schweigemarsch%20Chemnitz%20010918.jpg">silent march</a>' together with PEGIDA, with various other far-right activists present. This was the latest peak in a longterm public rapprochement between PEGIDA and parts of the AfD.</p> <p>The relationship between PEGIDA and the AfD has always been difficult, for the most part because of different views within the AfD on how to deal with the far-right protest group. Many AfD politicians from the west of Germany have been critical of close relations, fearing that they would endanger the party's legitimacy. But Dresden-born Frauke Petry, former AfD leader and the key figure of the party's radical right turn in summer 2015, remained distant. </p> <p>At the beginning of 2015, Petry, then regional leader of her party's branch in Saxony, rejected further cooperation with PEGIDA after having personally met with Bachmann, <a href="https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article136686553/Naehert-sich-Pegida-Frau-Oertel-der-AfD-an.html">whom she did not find trustworthy</a>. Over the following year, the AfD's national executive stressed their desire to keep their distance on several occasions. However, many within the party were not convinced of this official line. An event in 2017 underlines this point: on May 8, PEGIDA and AfD kept as little distance as possible; in Dresden, both organized two 'separate' demonstrations at the same square, registering their events for two different consecutive time-spots and using different stages.</p><h2><strong>Pros and cons</strong></h2> <p>In March 2018, reflecting the close relations between some AfD politicians and PEGIDA, the AfD national executive clarified that any member is free to appear at PEGIDA protests in Dresden. Most prominently, Björn Höcke, AfD leader in Thuringia, seized this chance. Höcke is well known for his far-right stances. In January 2017, for example, he denounced Berlin's Holocaust memorial, or at least its central location, thus demanding a '<a href="https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article161286915/Was-Hoecke-mit-der-Denkmal-der-Schande-Rede-bezweckt.html">180 degree turn</a>' in the country's politics of memory. In May 2018, he gave a speech at PEGIDA in Dresden – an event widely covered in German media. The AfD leaders of Brandenburg (Andreas Kalbitz) and Saxony (Jörg Urban) were also present. Together, all three <a href="https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2018-09/chemnitz-afd-pegida-kundgebung-rechtsextremismus">joined</a> the 'silent march' in Chemnitz</p> <p>In recent weeks, some within the AfD have spoken out against a rapprochement between the party and PEGIDA. Chemnitz-born Alexander Gauland, both co-leader of the national party and of the Bundestag parliamentary group, has made several positive remarks about PEGIDA in the past, but spoke out against close relations with Bachmann. Georg Pazderski, AfD leader in Berlin, supports this position, hinting at Bachmann’s criminal record: '<em>Solange bei Pegida ein Gewohnheitsverbrecher eine führende Rolle spielt, erübrigt sich jedes Nachdenken über eine wie auch immer geartete Verbindung</em>' ('<a href="http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/afd-und-pegida-streit-in-der-afd-ueber-den-trauermarsch-mit-pegida-a-1226454.html">As long as a habitual criminal plays a leading role at Pegida, any reflection on any type of link is unnecessary</a>'). And also in Saxony, after long debates at a party conference in September, a spokesperson emphasized: 'Es gibt keinen Schulterschluss - mit keiner Bewegung' ('<a href="https://www.sz-online.de/sachsen/afd-will-keinen-schulterschluss-mit-pegida-4014491.html">there is no closing of ranks – with no movement</a>'), with the practical implications of this statement remaining unclear. At the same event, Urban, AfD leader in Saxony, still stressed that '<em>die</em> <em>AfD ist der politische Arm aller gewaltfreien, freiheitlich-demokratischen Bürgerbewegungen</em>' ('<a href="https://www.sz-online.de/sachsen/afd-will-keinen-schulterschluss-mit-pegida-4014491.html">The AfD is the political arm of all non-violent, liberal-democratic citizen movements</a>').</p><h2><strong>This Sunday</strong></h2> <p>Next year, Saxony will hold regional elections. At last year’s federal election, the AfD became Saxony's most popular party, causing an upset by ending up 0.1 percent ahead of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Now the party also wants to challenge the longterm dominance of the Christian Democrats in the regional legislature. </p><p>The response of AfD Saxony's top figures to PEGIDA's fourth anniversary – scheduled to take place this Sunday, October 21, at the central <em>Neumarkt</em> in Dresden – may provide an indication as to whether they will regard emphasizing friendly relations with PEGIDA as beneficial or detrimental to that aim.</p> <p><em>This blog is based on the forthcoming chapter 'Remaining on the Streets: Anti-Islamic PEGIDA Mobilization and its Relationship to Far-Right Party Politics' (co-authored with Lars Erik Berntzen) in </em>Radical Right 'Movement Parties' in Europe<em> (Routledge), edited by Manuela Caiani and Ondřej Císař.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Visit the <a href="https://www.radicalrightanalysis.com">Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right</a> (#CARR).</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/maik-fielitz/truth-lies-in-chemnitz"> The truth lies in Chemnitz?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/cynthia-miller-idriss-daniel-k-hler/united-german-extreme-right">The united German extreme right </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/barbara-manthe/scenes-of-civil-war-radical-right-narratives-on-chemnitz">Scenes of ‘civil war’? Radical right narratives on Chemnitz</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Germany </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Germany Manès Weisskircher Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:43:42 +0000 Manès Weisskircher 120128 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The rise of veganism in politics https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/man-s-weisskircher/rise-of-veganism-in-politics <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On World Vegan Day it’s time to recognize that veganism isn’t just a fashion statement. The decision to boycott animal products has major political implications.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Manes.jpg" alt="" width="460" /></p><p class="image-caption">Credit: <a href="http://www.pixabay.com/">www.pixabay.com</a>. CC0 Public Domain.</p> <p>In November 1944, a woodwork teacher called Donald Watson founded <a href="https://www.vegansociety.com/">The Vegan Society</a> in the English city of Leicester, thereby coining ‘<a href="https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism">veganism</a>’ as a term, later defined as a “philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” </p> <p>In the nineteenth century, a small number of individuals and communities such as the Harvard-based <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitlands_(transcendental_center)">Fruitlands commune</a> in the 1840s had followed and advocated for similar diets. However, only recently has veganism become a household word in many parts of the world, especially among younger people. Even when they don’t focus on the spread of veganism, most animal rights organizations are also calling for lifestyles that are free from animal products, including <a href="http://www.peta.org/">PETA</a>, <a href="http://www.animalequality.net/">Animal Equality</a>, <a href="http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/AA/HOME/">Animal Aid</a> and the German <a href="https://albert-schweitzer-stiftung.de/">Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt</a>. Correspondingly, since the end of 2011&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&amp;q=vegan,vegetarian">Google searches for the English term ‘vegan’ have surpassed queries for ‘vegetarian.’</a></p> <p>It’s true that there are still way more carnivores than vegans and vegetarians all around the globe by an overwhelming majority. Nevertheless, in the next few decades the consumption of animal products is likely to become an issue in mainstream politics. Contrary to views that reduce veganism to a contemporary fashion statement related to personal health or identity, the decision to boycott animal products has major political implications. It tackles several important issues including justice towards animals, action on global warming, and halting environmental degradation, as well as public health—for example, the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. </p> <p>Therefore, <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/world/world-vegan-day">World Vegan Day</a> should make us think hard about the following questions: how will veganism evolve both personally and politically; and, most importantly, what will the future hold for animals?</p> <p>The production of animal products (especially but not only of meat) is already leading to severe environmental problems.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/111/33/11996.abstract">Most prominently, meat consumption contributes to global warming, with around 20 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions stemming from animal agriculture.</a>&nbsp;In addition, factory farming and the production of food for farmed animals lead to deforestation, soil degradation, and water pollution. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/21/eat-less-meat-vegetarianism-dangerous-global-warminghttps:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/21/eat-less-meat-vegetarianism-dangerous-global-warming">Vegan diets, or at least the massive reduction of the consumption of animal products, are steps we can take to counter these negative trends.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the environment continues to change and the effects of global warming become more visible, will environmentalists turn their attention towards the consumption of animal products?&nbsp;Up to now, the major environmental organizations have shied away from attracting public attention to veganism. The popularization of this criticism by a recent movie, <a href="http://www.cowspiracy.com/">Cowspiracy</a>, has led to reactions from some of the organizations that were accused, including <a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/food-for-life-cowspiracy/blog/54404/">Greenpeace</a> &nbsp;and the <a href="http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2014/10/food-and-our-climate">Sierra Club</a>. </p> <p>If environmentalists do change their strategies, vegan advocacy could provide a platform to strengthen collaboration between environmental and animal rights activists. In fact some other political players are already emphasizing the environmental dangers of animal agriculture.&nbsp;For example, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/chinas-meat-consumption-climate-change">Chinese government has announced a plan to reduce meat consumption by 50 per cent until 2030</a>, a decision endorsed in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHSkahIFDF4">a popular YouTube video by Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron</a>. </p> <p>Public health concerns are also growing around factory farming and the dangers of meat consumption. In factory farms, the living conditions of farmed animals constantly cause diseases which are treated with antibiotics. However, their frequent use leads to the growth of antibiotic resistance among both animals and humans.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nature.com/news/who-warns-against-post-antibiotic-era-1.15135">The World Health Organization (WHO) is already predicting a ‘post-antibiotic era</a>.’ In addition, it warns that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/11/03/report-says-eating-processed-meat-is-carcinogenic-understanding-the-findings/">the consumption of processed and red meat is linked to the spread of cancer</a>. </p> <p>Animal agriculture also <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/andy-west/i-stopped-eating-animals-because-of-human-rights">endangers the health of workers in slaughterhouses</a> and on fields where animal feed is produced with the heavy application of pesticides. Many of these workers are socially disadvantaged. In Germany for example, the weekly <em>Die Zeit</em> described the hiring practices of German slaughterhouses as “<a href="http://www.zeit.de/2014/51/schlachthof-niedersachsen-fleischwirtschaft-ausbeutung-arbeiter/seite-3">human trafficking for cheap labor, covered by EU law</a>.”</p> <p>Fortunately, concerns about animal welfare and animal rights are on the rise in many parts of the world. Not only have vegan advocacy groups sprung up in Europe and North America, but they are also being launched in countries like <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veganos-Ecuador/240145949447811">Ecuador</a>, <a href="http://www.vgan.in/home">India</a>, <a href="http://anonymous.org.il/cat78.html">Israel</a>, and <a href="http://vegansociety.org.za/">South Africa</a>. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country">In some Western European countries, five to ten per cent of the population is already either vegetarian or (to a lesser extent) vegan</a>. In <a href="http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.621105">Israel</a>, one survey found that 13 per cent of the population is vegan or vegetarian, while for <a href="http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/At-99-Telangana-has-maximum-non-vegetarians-in-the-country/articleshow/52697572.cms">India</a> the figure for vegetarians is 29 per cent. Public opinion beyond vegans and vegetarians is also shifting. </p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.google.it/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0ahUKEwi-lu7DuqvPAhXGshQKHf2qA7sQFggmMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fec.europa.eu%2FCOMMFrontOffice%2FPublicOpinion%2Findex.cfm%2FResultDoc%2Fdownload%2FDocumentKy%2F71348&amp;usg=AFQjCNGAs6mpxt_qycWDFlnOfkv3ep97KQ&amp;cad=rja">Eurobarometer data</a> show that 94 per cent of the EU population regards animal welfare as an important issue, while 82 per cent support improvements in the conditions for farmed animals. In many of these national examples, younger people are particularly open to animal welfare issues and to lifestyles that are free from animal products. Therefore, it seems safe to assume that generational changes will add to the growing salience of animal rights and veganism in contemporary societies.</p> <p>Faced by this prospect, some commentators suggest that technological solutions will be developed to address the problems of animal farming and meat consumption. Vegan advocates like <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ingrid-newkirk/artificial-meat-lab-grown_b_3688992.html">PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk</a> point to the potential of ‘<a href="http://www.foodphreaking.com/FP02_WhatIsInVitroMeat.pdf">in-vitro meat</a>’—cultured meat that is grown from the cells of actual animals. The ideal end product for these advocates is real flesh that’s produced without harming a living animal. Although the large-scale development of cultured meat is still decades away in terms of both quality and cost, there has been some recent progress. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/aug/05/synthetic-meat-burger-stem-cells">In 2013 for example, researchers from the University of Maastricht presented the first cultured hamburger in London</a>. However, the idea of in-vitro meat remains controversial among vegans. </p> <p><a href="https://verdict.justia.com/2013/10/02/whats-wrong-with-in-vitro-meat">Some criticize this development</a> on the grounds that it makes meat consumption seem more desirable, not less. Others say that it diverts attention away from veganism as the straight-forward strategy of ending animal exploitation. In addition, the growth hormone that’s used in in-vitro meat is ‘<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_bovine_serum">fetal calf serum</a>,’ which is still an animal product. These are important concerns, but it’s worth remembering that the large-scale exploitation of horses and donkeys as draft animals and in wars only occurred after breakthroughs in new transportation technologies, particularly affordable automobiles. So if technologies are developed to produce and marketize affordable and tasty cultured meat, the public debate around our relationships to animals might actually be pushed forward in a variety of positive ways.</p> <p>For now, however, these are vague hopes for the future. The actual reality of farmed animals remains absolutely dreadful. Even the most ‘advanced’ animal welfare legislation remains quite modest in scope,&nbsp;while increases in population, urbanization and incomes <a href="http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/11/3907S.full">have led to an increase in meat consumption</a> in ‘developing’ economies.&nbsp;In Germany, a country where meat consumption is on the decline, <a href="http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/lebensmittelindustrie-in-deutschland-wird-mehr-geschlachtet-als-je-zuvor-1.2850521">the slaughtering of animals continues to increase</a> as exporters flood foreign markets. </p> <p>In addition, veganism is not simply a diet; it’s also an ethical position that rejects the use of all animal products as harmful, dangerous and unjust. As <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/carol-j-adams/sexual-politics-of-meat">the writer and activist Carol Adams has argued</a>, meat consumption is also highly correlated with the rise of sexism in politics. To be sure, vegan advocates face enormous challenges in the years ahead. However, given the increasing acceptance of animal rights and the risks of meat consumption to the environment, global warming and public health, ‘vegan politics’ look likely to enter the mainstream of public debates, social activism and policymaking. If so, both animals and human beings will benefit enormously.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/sophie-barnes/veganism-and-compassion">Veganism and compassion </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/andy-west/i-stopped-eating-animals-because-of-human-rights">I stopped eating animals because of human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/carol-j-adams/sexual-politics-of-meat">The sexual politics of meat</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Transformation Transformation Vegan politics and animal rights veganism Manès Weisskircher Activism Care Culture Economics Environment Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:04:00 +0000 Manès Weisskircher 106348 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Manès Weisskircher https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/man-s-weisskircher <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Manès Weisskircher </div> </div> </div> <p>Manès Weisskircher’s research interests include the study of social movements, political parties and democracy. Recently he has collaborated on a forthcoming book understanding the gains and losses of social movements. He is teaching at TU Dresden and the University of Vienna, having taught at the universities of Bonn, Dusseldorf, and Bucharest. You can find information <a href="https://eui.academia.edu/ManèsWeisskircher">on his latest publications here</a> and follow him on @manesweissk </p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Manès Weisskircher is a Researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. His research focuses on social movements and political parties, with an emphasis on animal rights, the radical left and the radical right. You can find information on his latest publications here, and follow him on @manesweissk. </div> </div> </div> Manès Weisskircher Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:16:21 +0000 Manès Weisskircher 106349 at https://www.opendemocracy.net