Election results: a radical fag hag's response
After the right-wing AfD party won 13% of votes in the German election, faux queen and political commentator Selin Davasse a.k.a. Miss Nipple delves into the implications for queers
Sep. 26 – Sunday night, post-war Germany looked in the mirror and it was a shade less liberal. The overtly xenophobic, nationalist, euroskeptic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) won third place in the election with 13.4% of the vote by capitalizing on the perceived threat of foreigners on Germany’s national identity, the East’s economic decline since the Reunification and blame on immigrants for the damage globalization has inflicted on workers under the watch of centrist coalitions. Far-right populism fashioning itself as anti-establishment, which led to Trump and Brexit, entered the stage of German politics with a death drop, stealing the spotlight from Angela Merkel’s fourth victory, with the CDU/CSU receiving their lowest support in years.
Campaigning on the blood-and-soil politics of taking Germany back with fortified borders, Islamophobic practices and war against political correctness, the AfD will be the third largest in the Bundestag. They advocate vehemently for “traditional family values” taught in schools, and they plan to sue the government over the same-sex marriage vote and restrict homosexual couples from adopting children. Still, the fear of “the homophobic Muslim attacker” or the “predatory Muslim rape-ugee” led to the AfD resonating not only among the right extremist fringe and people disadvantaged under the current European status quo who might not have voted otherwise, but also with moderates including women and gay men: interviews revealed they do not necessarily identify with far-right nationalism but desire to cast a reactionary anti-Merkel vote to make their dissatisfaction about the 2015 refugee influx heard.
For moderates who were previously repulsed by some party officials’ use of Nazi terminology but were attracted to the anti-immigration position of the party due to fears of terrorist attacks, the casting of the openly lesbian Goldman Sachs economist Alice Weidel to lead the party alongside the chauvinistic xenophobe Alexander Gauland, may have provided some incentive. But Weidel – who sees the current asylum law as an overcompensation for Nazi-era crimes and champions banning headscarves and minarets and wants to withdraw Germany from the European Court of Human Rights – is at best a self-contradicting opportunist co-opting the struggle for gay rights to spread Islamophobia with statements like: “The grand coalition is pushing through ‘marriage for everybody’ legislation, while the mass migration that has swamped the country over the last two years considers homosexuality a crime.” So do some AfD officials, as reported in the the regional legislature of Saxony Anhalt, where Andreas Gehlmann interrupted a speaker condemning countries which outlaw homosexuality, to yell, “We should do that in Germany too!”
Fortunately, that is so far only a homophobe’s wet dream, as it appears that Merkel will opt for the “Jamaican coalition” with the FDP and Green Party, making Martin Schulz’s SDP the main opposition. With no party willing to cooperate with AfD, it will be left to crumble with disunity alongside stories of resignations, such as Frauke Petry’s. However, there are real threats the AfD may pose for us, as they now have access to state funding for scholarships and other programs to spread their volkisch ideology and even if other parties block their agenda, their extremist rhetoric will reach a wider platform, making it less shocking in time, shifting the general discourse more to the right.
An obsessive poller and relentless pragmatist, Merkel’s strategy of neutralizing the opposition by shifting her stances according to public opinion – such as allowing the vote on same-sex marriage even though her party is traditionally against it – is what has kept her in power for so long. Her new challenge, as stated by the Chancellor herself, is to win back the AfD voters. It is not clear yet whether this means she will try to compete with the aggressive and taboo-breaking rhetoric of the nationalist wing of the AfD, or try to woo the more moderate conservatives, as the AfD does not only attract the disillusioned working class; 39% of the party’s supporters have a higher than average income. In any case, when rhetoric such as the AfD’s is tolerated, normalized and later adopted by other political parties in an attempt to win over voters, the whole political platform transitions right. Standards drop so low that even progressives come to appreciate centrists like Merkel, Macron and Hillary Clinton, as opposed to the likes of Trump, Erdoğan and Putin.
This is the sentiment behind the recent international media crush on Merkel, hailing her as the leader of the free world, the last powerful defender of Europe. Her resilience, calmness, reliability and calculated decisions – which often manifest a versatility in her political positions at the expense of offending CDU voters, who view her as straying away from their conservative ideology – have earned her respectability among liberals, who before the trend of right-wing populism were more haters than fans. When the most vocal anti-establishment flag-bearers are so viciously and obnoxiously far-right, the establishment suddenly appears more agreeable, and progressive demands shy away in fear of appearing too radical to the general public.
We revolutionary queers should avoid falling into these defeatist traps and persist with our emancipatory struggles without giving in to despair or a reevaluation of our rightful demands. Remember that opportunistic centrism is what brought us the pussy-grabbers and neo-Nazis in the first place.
The new season of Selin Davasse's show premieres next month, featuring the return of Dildoğan ("the world's first queer fem POC dicktator"), plus a new character, Anjelique, based on a certain brutally benevolent chancellor. After-party to follow.
The Miss Nipple Show: Dildo Dialogues
Oct. 14, 23:00, Südblock