One of the crucial questions in the new millennium is how to treat far right extremists in Europe, especially in those countries with a specific past, such as Italy and Germany, whose right wing regimes sparked the most dangerous and bloodiest war of all times.
The National Democratic Party in Germany is the reincarnation of the Hitler National Socialism, although the party members deny this.
New research shows that more than one third of the members of the party have a serious crime offense conviction or are currently under investigation for possible crimes committed either within the scope of the party's agenda or outside of it. Most of the crimes are assault and battery, coercion, and violations of the assault weapons law. A further charge, surprisingly, is the 'creation of criminal and terrorist groups', although such a charge is levied against the individual and not the party to which they belong.
Many German states would like to ban the ever swelling Nationalist Party altogether, but almost equally there are calls for respecting freedom of speech which preclude such a ban.
But the picture in Europe is changing. Many European states have strong neo nazi or neo fascist entities, who are seeking to organize Europe-wide to secure positions in the respective parliaments and exercise power in legislative decisions.
But together with such political ambitions, these far right parties or organizations, are also undertaking scorched earth tactics that include violence and intimidation on an ever increasing schedule. In Greece, already two people have been killed and many others are suspected of having been killed by the Golden Dawn, the extreme right wing party that sadly has an almost 20% approval in the country.
Germany had tried to ban the party before without success before. A new initiative was again rejected by Angela Merkel's federal government this year. That initiative was promoted after the discovery of an even more radicalized group, the National Socialist Underground in 2011, which has been responsible for the murder of 10 immigrants, the majority of whom were Turkish nationals.
Opponents of the ban point to the fact that the NPD has only a meager support base of less than 1.3% of the population. But does it truly serve Germany well, to have such radical parties in its midst? Why does Germany have to wait until these groups pose a real threat to propose such a ban? Is there a percentage that will trigger action, and set freedom of speech claims aside? Already monitoring has revealed that neo nazis are gaining ground through specific and aggressive recruitment practices of youth in sport and musical venues.
Again, freedom of speech has its limitations. When a party or group expounds violence in the name of some right wing ideal, one that specifically harkens back to a past ideology that had ruinous consequences and murderous outcomes, does it really warrant protection in the name of freedom?
Partial Source : Spiegel intl./ 12.21.13