The small German neo-Nazi party The Third Path, which has just a few hundred members, drew internationals over the weekend when it gathered people on the German-Polish border in Brandenburg state to try to prevent migrants to enter the country.
Police seized a number of weapons from the more than 50 people they arrested – including pepper spray, batons, a machete and bayonet – and ordered them to clear the border area.
Foundation and membership
The Third Path was founded in September 2013 in Heidelberg, southwestern Germany, as a splinter party of the far-right nationalist National Democratic Party (NPD). The party’s founder and national leader is a former NDP official who fell out with the party over its ideological orientation.
Armstroff is said to have actively recruited members of a neo-Nazi group known as the Freies Netz South (Free Network South), which was active in Bavaria before being banned in 2014. Armstroff is seen as well connected, with ties to neo-Nazi groups outside the political system.
Counter-demonstration: Anti-far-right protesters staged a vigil against far-right Third Way activists in Guben over the weekend
In its latest report, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency Verfassungsschutz (BfV) claims the party has only 600 members across Germany, but it’s deliberate: the Third Way sees itself as a small, unconditional unit which has less interest in expanding its membership than in political activism.
The third way takes its name from the so called “third way” in politics. As the party’s first point on its ten-point program says: “The goal of the party Der Dritte Weg is the creation of a German socialism away from exploitative capitalism as well as egalitarian communism. ”
The party is seen as affiliated with the “left” branch of historic Nazi ideology and supports the nationalization of all key industries in Germany, as well as its public services and welfare, its banks. and its large companies.
But his brand of socialism is decidedly nationalist and racist in tone, close to the goals of the original Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler: his program includes “the rigorous funding of large families to prevent an imminent extinction of the German people” and “the preservation and development of the biological substance of the German people. ”
Moreover, the Third Way openly questions the legitimacy of post-war German borders, demanding “the peaceful restoration of Greater Germany with its original borders.”
Strategy and methods
In its latest report, the BfV has noted in recent years an increasing professionalization of the Third Way. In 2019, the party realigned its structures to adapt to German electoral rules, which enabled it to stand in national and regional elections. The BfV claims the party has around 20 bases across Germany and is most politically active in seven of the 16 German states, including Brandenburg, where self-defense activities have been halted, Bavaria and North Rhine- Westphalia.
During the federal election campaign of 2021, the Third Way was prosecuted for hanging posters with the slogan “Hang on the Greens” in Munich and Saxony. German courts ultimately ruled that the posters were in fact against the law and should be removed.
The party says it has divided its activities into three “struggles”: the “political struggle”, “the cultural struggle” and the “struggle for the community”. The political struggle includes its electoral campaign, and the cultural struggle is defined as “the preservation of customs”.
The struggle for the community involves a number of charitable efforts, including helping the homeless (although only those considered German) and organizing local sporting activities, especially martial arts.
The Third Path has also participated in a number of protests against the German government’s lockdown measures and has broadcast theories downplaying the pandemic on its website. In an article published on its website in 2020, the Third Way claimed that the pandemic was being exploited by the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to accelerate the abolition of cash, and claimed that ECB President Christine Lagarde, had a Jewish heritage. The BfV describes the Third Way as anti-Semitic and racist.
Much like its calls for vigilante groups in Brandenburg, the BfV also noted that in 2020 the Third Path assembled “national patrols” in German cities, supposedly to protect the German people from criminals. foreigners, on the grounds that “the German people were declared free to play.”
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