The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution can classify the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative as a “certified right-wing extremist effort” – just like a number of groups within the party. But who exactly is on the list?
Now also the youth organization of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). According to a decision by the Cologne Administrative Court, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is allowed to classify and treat the Junge Alternative (JA) as a “secure right-wing extremist effort”. On 70 pages, the court explains that the JA pursues anti-constitutional goals.
The youth organization continues to represent a ethnic concept of ethnicity. The exclusion of “ethnic strangers” is a central idea of the JA and therefore a violation of human dignity. Furthermore, the Basic Law does not recognize a concept of the people that is based exclusively on ethnic categories. “In addition, there is ongoing massive anti-foreigner and anti-Islam and anti-Muslim agitation at the JA. Asylum seekers and migrants are generally suspected and degraded. Immigrants are generally described as parasites and criminals or are viewed with contempt in other ways and their human dignity is therefore disregarded.” , writes the administrative court.
With the decision, the domestic secret service can now monitor the party structure using intelligence means, for example recruiting informants or carrying out surveillance.
It is by no means the first time that the domestic secret service has classified a branch of the AfD as a suspected unconstitutional case or even as confirmed right-wing extremist. It was only in December that the NRW regional association of the JA was declared a suspected case by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution there.
Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), has emphasized several times in the past that his office views right-wing extremism as currently the greatest threat to the free-democratic basic order of the Federal Republic. A number of AfD sub-organizations nationwide are now classified as suspected right-wing extremist cases and are being monitored accordingly – unique in the German party landscape. The overview:
AfD state associations in the focus of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
According to the respective constitutional protection offices, three of the 16 AfD state associations are considered right-wing extremist, including the Thuringian association of state party leader Björn Höcke, which is considered particularly radical. Six other regional associations are listed as suspected cases.
* The “suspected case” category does not officially exist in Bavaria, but the AfD regional association there is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
There has been a legal squabble over the classification of the federal party in recent years. The BfV was banned by the court from publicly describing the party as a “test case”. The Federal AfD has now also become a suspected case and can be monitored, although the party also wants to take legal action against it. A decision should be made in March.
Young alternative in the focus of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
Where there is a party, there is also a youth organization. In the case of the AfD, this is the JA for members between 14 and 36, according to “Spiegel” there are around 2,100. The JA is therefore one of the largest associations within the party – and also of particular interest to the secret services in several federal states. The classification of the NRW-JA as a suspected right-wing extremist case was the sixth of its kind. Four JA regional associations were considered by the constitutional protection offices to be definitely right-wing extremist in December – now it is the entire organization.
Other AfD groups in the focus of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
Until its (at least official) dissolution, the ethnic-national group Der Wing within the AfD was also monitored by intelligence services as a suspected case. Up to 7,000 followers were attributed to her. The leading figures were Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz, among others, two right-wing extremist politicians. Since the wing was a rather informal circle, it is difficult to prove that it was actually dissolved. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has not published any findings that indicate a cessation of activities.
Overall, according to the 2022 Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the BfV assumes that around 10,000 members of the AfD, i.e. almost a third, are extremists.
The AfD repeatedly criticizes the actions of the secret services as politically motivated and sees its (fundamental) rights as an opposition party limited. Several legal proceedings against the classifications of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are still open. The authorities are required to carry out their assessments based on objective criteria and have made these – at least in part – public in their annual reports.
Sources: Constitutional Protection Reports 2022 from the State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution,News agencies DPA and AFP
Editor’s note: This article was first published on December 12, 2023 and has been extensively updated. The maps were last updated on January 17, 2024.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.