Brochure "Individual cases and repeat offenders"
Brochure "Individual cases and repeat offenders"
Just before the Austrian parliamentary elections in October 2017, the Mauthausen Committee Austria presented a total of 68 extreme right-wing activities of FPÖ politicians covering a period of about four and a half years. The documentation "Nothing but individual cases?" received a strong media response and led to a wide debate. Since then, the term "individual cases" has become commonplace for describing the continuous anti-democratic activities of the FPÖ.
Now, the Mauthausen Committee has followed up the individual cases that occurred since the parliamentary elections. After all, the FPÖ became a governing party in December 2017. Does the party fulfill its responsibilities in this regard? Is it more moderate now? Has the number of extreme right-wing activities in its ranks declined? Has at least the party leadership taken a step away from right-wing extremism? And does it really fight anti-Semitism?
The conclusions from the "Individual cases":
- The number of extreme right-wing activities of FPÖ politicians did increase markedly. The Mauthausen committee was able to properly document a total of 68 individual cases in the period of about four and a half years before the parliamentary elections. In the half year since then there were 38. So, we can by no means say that the FPÖ as governing party became more moderate - on the contrary.
- The new individual cases also occur at all levels of the FPÖ. Eight out of 38 can be assigned to members of the party leadership or members of the federal government. Four other cases can be assigned to close co-workers of FPÖ ministers.
- Anti-Semitism in the FPÖ emerges much more publicly again. 14 new individual cases have connections to anti-Semitism, among others the song book scandals, the acceptance of the conspiracy theory against George Soros by Johann Gudenus and Heinz-Christian Strache as well as the support for media bringing anti-Semitic content.
- The FPÖ continues to show a close proximity to Nazi ideology. 15 new individual cases demonstrate a National Socialist or neo-Nazi connection.
- The FPÖ continues to incite against refugees and minorities. 19 new individual cases demonstrate the relevant connections.
- The FPÖ continues to work closely with right-wing extremists in Austria and abroad. Many FPÖ politicians, especially from the leadership, are members of extreme right-wing fraternities. They are also in very good relation to the "identitarians", whose leaders were charged in May 2018 for the formation of a criminal organization, for incitement and other crimes. At EU level, the FPÖ has joined forces with parties such as the Front National to form the "Europe of Nations and Freedom" group. There is no indication that the governing FPÖ would like to terminate the close connections to the right-wing extremists in Austria and abroad.
- The anti-democratic activities in the FPÖ only have consequences if they become publicly known and if the party leadership is afraid of disadvantages. In that case - as the example of the "Aula" magazine shows, which has been supported for decades by the FPÖ - also conflicts within the party may be the result. However, they prefer to deny or downplay the situations if possible.
- Repeated affirmations of the FPÖ leaders, that they do not tolerate neo-Nazism or anti-Semitism, are completely unbelievable in view of the steady individual cases. It is very much likely that vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache would like to entirely replace the highly stressed concept of the enemy "Jew" with using "refugee" or "Muslim", which would be better communicable. But on the one hand, the transformation of concepts of the enemy does not change the underlying misanthropic attitude. And on the other hand, the anti-Semitic thinking patterns, which are close to the Nazi ideology and deeply rooted in the FPÖ and in the fraternities, prevent exactly this kind of change.
Brochure "Nothing but individual cases?" – 68 "individual cases" before the Austrian parliamentary elections
In August 2017 Mauthausen Committee Austria published the brochure "Nothing but individual cases?" reporting extreme-right activities by FPÖ politicians. The brochure reported on 68 pertinent incidents from 2013 to 2017 in a concise overview. The cases are well documented and were always reported by the media. The overview is by no means comprehensive; indeed, it could include many more similar incidents for the same time period. Shortly after publication, Mauthausen Committee already needed to complement this brochure: In the eight weeks after the editorial deadline, FPÖ politicians provided nine new "individual cases". Once again, racism, antisemitism and Nazi revival were involved in the "individual cases": They called for the re-opening of Mauthausen Concentration Camp, used Nazi language such as "Jewish pigs", and incited against children of "wrong" ethnicity.
The FPÖ leadership did not perhaps react concerned, it rather reacted in a strongly rejective way. However, their attempt to shatter the credibility of the Mauthausen committee failed embarrassingly. After the Upper Austrian FPÖ member of parliament Gerhard Deimek disparaged the documentary on Twitter as "fake and based on lies", the Mauthausen Committee took legal action against him. Deimek was not able to even prove of a single point of the documentation to be incorrect. He had to give a cease-and-desist declaration, publish a revocation on Twitter and bear the entire legal fees of the Mauthausen Committee.
The conclusion: These may be "individual cases", but not rare or untypical. Extreme right-wing statements and actions happen in the FPÖ permanently and at all levels. Mauthausen Committee draws the following specific conclusions:
- The FPÖ wants to restrict human rights. Federal Party Leader Heinz-Christian Strache as well as secretary general Herbert Kickl have explicitly declared that.
- The FPÖ is insulting, mocking and slandering different-minded people. The party deliberately ignores the limits of democratic discussion and does not even stop to do so with regards to the deceased, like Nazi victim Friedrich Zawrel.
- The FPÖ is taking action against the freedom of opinion. Most recent proofs can be found in the forced termination of a lecture at school and the establishment of a "reporting office" for denunciations of politically undesirable teachers.
- The FPÖ agitates in a very vicious way against refugees and minorities. Racism is the order of the day. They deliberately stir up prejudices and disseminate enemy images. Anti-Semitism also resurfaces over and over again.
- The FPÖ is working closely with right-wing extremist forces in Austria and abroad, as well as with the authoritarian Putin regime in Russia.
- The FPÖ shows time and again a close proximity to the Nazi ideology.