Commentary anti-racist protest: the hour of civil society

The opposition triggered by the shift to the right is getting louder and louder. The vast majority of people in the country want to keep it open.

The demonstrators in Hamburg wanted to show how many people agree that racism is unacceptable Photo: Imago/ZUMA Press

It’s a paradox: the solidarity movement is stronger than ever. Arguably 25,000 people responded to a call from refugee groups on Saturday, demonstrating against closure and for a yes to migration. There have already been major actions against the right in this country – but none that were initiated by refugees themselves. And their action is part of a series of large-scale protests against a radical European policy of isolation and right-wing agitation that began in June and is now set to continue on October 13 with the #unteilbar demonstration. This time of total closure is also a great hour for civil society.

"Migration is the mother of all societies" was written on the main banner of We’ll Come United on Saturday. There is no more succinct way to counter Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s unspeakable statement that migration is the "mother of all problems."

Behind We’ll Come United is also kritnet, a network of left-wing migration researchers. In the past, they have repeatedly spoken out against xenophobic sentiments. Their calls bore titles such as "Solidarity instead of Homeland" or "Democracy instead of Integration. They were always aimed at a conservatism that was skeptical about immigration but did not completely reject it. But this attitude is eroding. Old-style conservatism understood integration as unconditional adaptation to the Leitkultur. Today, he is increasingly openly pacting with right-wing populists who want to clean up migration altogether.

The demonstrators in Hamburg wanted to show how many people agree that this is unacceptable. There are many. But the polarization in society along the migration issue is increasing. The opposition triggered by the shift to the right is becoming louder and louder. At the same time, polls now show the AfD as the second strongest party, which will probably fuel its upward trend even further.

Actions like the one in Hamburg are the best way to avoid being distracted by this: The vast majority of people in the country want to keep this open. For them, it is clear that a society without immigration is simply not possible. Insisting on this has not become any easier and will continue to cost energy. But at the same time it is true that even the second strongest party is a minority.

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