How a Sleepy German Suburb Explains Europe’s Rising Far-Right Movements

BUCH, Germany — Buch, a small community on the outskirts of Berlin, seems at first glance to be the kind of place Goldilocks would declare “just right.” It is not too rich or too poor, not too expensive or too scruffy, not too close to the crowded city center but not so far that its tree-lined streets of tidy apartments are beyond a daily commute.

It is probably not the sort of place people picture when they think about the tide of far-right populism overwhelming Europe. But beneath the surface, this cozy, safe neighborhood is starkly different from the depressed postindustrial zones often portrayed as the populist wellspring, and is emblematic of the forces threatening to upend Western politics as we know it.

  • Dana Garcia

    People hate it when the government dumps too many immigrants in a community. It’s human nature to reject diversity, particularly when it’s forced, seeming like an actual invasion.

  • J. C.

    And of course the New York Times tries put a pro-refugee spin on it…

    • David Murrell

      Indeed. No mention, in the posted article, of the Islamo-Nazi rapes and war criminality afoot. The NYT supports Islamic-based crime.

  • Watchman

    This whole article is a whitewash of immigration (oh, who could guess, it’s in The New York Times!).
    Some points:
    • AfD is treated as a symptom of populism, rather than as a dissatisfaction with the political direction of Germany and the EU. Wikipedia’s entry says, “Populism is a political doctrine that proposes that the common people are exploited by a privileged elite, and which seeks to resolve this.” This would seem to be a good description of the current government of Germany and the EU, let alone any new politician that may appeal to the masses.
    The Mirriam-Webster second definition of a populist is ” a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people”. The linked article seems to scoff at this belief that the common people are capable of having any rational thoughts, virtues or rights that should not be managed by an unelected elite.

    • The quote “‘There are right-wingers here,’ he said. ‘You should be careful asking such questions.’” seems to imply that there is danger in talking about right wingers; as if they will suddenly become violent if they hear some journalist asking about migration.

    • Their quoted “Halo Effect” ignores the possibility that in highly ‘diverse’ neighbourhoods, people unhappy with the diversity may have already left, leaving only those who are happy with the diversity, or those unable to leave. People on the periphery of the ‘diverse’ areas may not have reached the stage where they feel it necessary to leave. The ‘Halo Effect’ seems to make no allowances for a self-selected group – where did they think the right-wingers moved to if they didn’t wake up one day loving all migrants? Which right-wing citizens are going to tell a journalist what they really think, especially if they don’t trust the media to report the news accurately?

    • Don’t forget to mention the Nazis, the only possible nationalist influence that the German people have had and the only possible nationalist ideology that the Germans might revert to.

    • Behold the success of “Critical Theory”: “This gap in self-definition has left them no way to express their identity except by what they are not”. You can’t identify as a proud German since they have been taught for so long that everything German is bad, and must be rejected.

    “Mr. Orthman said that he had developed a positive view of refugees after becoming a security guard in a refugee center in a neighboring town.” It also might have something to do with his reliance on presence of ‘refugees’ for continued employment. “ It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair

    • Arson attack: no proof, no witnesses, no claims of responsibility, just assumed to be perpetrated by ‘far-right arsonists’ instead of a possible arson by the ‘refugees’ themselves as has happened in other places.

    “Far-right support may eventually diminish. But in the meantime it will leave Germany’s migrants, and European politics, under tremendous stress.” Wanting to control the culture in your own country is now ‘far-right support’?

  • simus1

    Sorry, I just don’t NYT.

  • stubb

    I went to read this article, and found that it was in the NYT. I still haven’t washed the taste of horror and revulsion out of my mind. 🙁