In the past Right-wing usually easy to spot: They wore jump boots and bomber jackets. They shaved their hair short and paraded in marketplaces with drums and flags. They organized themselves primarily in parties and comradeships. Some eventually switched bomber jackets for pinstriped suits and made careers in parliaments. Others went underground.
This is what has changed. Right-wing extremist structures are much stronger today fragmented, interwoven and conspiratorial. Ideologically, the right-wing scene is fanning out; technically, it can communicate via encrypted messenger services. Not just local, but global.
Verfangsschutz sees danger from right-wing extremist violence
Within the radical right movement, "identitarians" are growing, who cleverly spread their racism with campaigns on the net. "Preppers" are forming, preparing for a political fight with the enemy on a "day X". "Reich citizens" reject the Federal Republic and form their own bastions. Neo-Nazis organize themselves into micro-groups, sometimes lone perpetrators strike without having previously radicalized themselves over several years in a party or comradeship.
According to a report in "Welt am Sonntag," the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution now sees a growing danger from radical right-wing violence. The intelligence agency's internal analysis comes as no surprise – civilian groups and experts have seen the threat from far-right perpetrators in Germany growing for years. Especially with the crisis of the European asylum system becoming obvious, right-wing extremist violence against foreigners and migrants increased. Shelters and refugees, as well as Jewish institutions, have been targeted in attacks.
Dwindling membership in parties, churches and trade unions
Across society, large organizations are losing relevance, at least immediately in the neighborhood. This is best seen in the decline in membership in political parties, churches and trade unions. At the same time, global networks are growing – digitally and decentrally.
It's also evident on the extreme fringes. The "global jihad" organized on the Internet has given a terrorist organization like the "Islamic State" an unprecedented influx of accomplices. But even with military defeat, IS is not disappearing. The group continues to operate – mainly in small cells locally, but networked worldwide via the Internet.
Extreme right-wing networks are also organizing themselves using precisely this method. Neo-Nazis found cells such as "Old School Society," "Freital Group" or "Revolution Chemnitz. They are networked locally in chat groups, but globally in a racist ideology that they share via the Internet. The public has little idea of the extent to which extremists incite each other in forums and chats and fuel their ideology.
Hate goes analog again
But the hatred is not lost in endless forum debates and off-the-wall chat rooms of the digital world. Hate becomes analogous again when young radicalized perpetrators strike – like this weekend when an attacker shot at people in a synagogue in the U.S. In the end, the goal of every terrorist is usually the act of targeting known public places: Mosques, markets, churches, synagogues.
When a far-right assassin in Christchurch, New Zealand, moved into a mosque and killed dozens of Muslims in March, he wrote names of previous assassins on his weapons and symbols of neo-Nazis. In a forum on the Internet, he announced his act, broadcast it on Facebook live. A crime shows, as rarely before, how an extremist mixes his digital and analog worlds. (Christian Unger)