The unlikely AfD sympathiser

Anna* is a friendly, laid-back Berliner who speaks fluent English and works at an international start-up. Formerly a Die Linke voter, she recently confided she’d now rather vote for the AfD. Here’s why.

Image for The unlikely AfD sympathiser

Olaf Kosinsky, CC BY-SA 3.0

Anna* is a friendly, laid-back Berliner who speaks fluent English and works at an international start-up. She’s also mother to a bi-national teenager who recently came out as transgender, to Anna’s wholehearted support. Formerly a Die Linke voter, she recently confided she’d now rather vote for the AfD. Here’s why.

“I’m just so fed up with a system I can’t trust any longer. The whole world is controlled by a few people who have lots of money, these power elites. The gap between poor and rich is getting wider; if you go on the U-Bahn, you see so many poor people and retirees who can’t even live on their pensions…

So yes, I identify with the so-called ‘truther’ movement, the need to understand what is actually going on behind this whole power structure. And that’s where the Lügenpresse issue comes in. Because if you look at the mainstream press, you won’t find any of that. I know it’s contentious, but take Trump… he’s a horrible person in many ways, but what he has to say about the press is completely my thing! I was like, ‘Unbelievable! He’s talking about the press lying!’ It’s becoming so obvious that they’re not telling the truth, which brings me to the refugee question. I happen to know people in the police, and they tell me stories. There’s such a gap between what’s happening in reality and what they tell us in the media, crimes by refugees that never get reported. To be honest, for me, I think that’s the argument for voting AfD and not Die Linke. There was an interview with Frauke Petry (AfD) and Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke) sitting next to each other, and I thought they were so similar in the way they were fighting for their point. But Wagenknecht, like the whole left here, can’t address this refugee question. It’s taboo. Sorry, but I can’t vote for her; it’s a very crucial point.

I’m not saying we should let women and children die at our borders. The families who are really in need, real refugees, or LGBT people who have to flee their country, that’s completely fine. But these people who came in – they weren’t just poor families from Syria, or persecuted minorities. And why did they let them in without a proper passport check, when every Hartz IV person gets checked ten thousand times before being able to get their welfare? Now Merkel’s closed the borders – great – but it’s too late at this point, they’re all here now.

And things have changed. I’m scared at night these days. I used to take the Ringbahn at 4am, but I don’t anymore because of those strange guys hanging around there. As a woman and a feminist, there’s stuff I can’t accept. Like excusing guys who are harassing women, because they are immigrants and we want to be cool and open. As a teenager in West Berlin, I was beaten in the face by a Turkish guy because I didn’t let him grab my behind. But you can’t really talk about these things. And where were the feminists demonstrating for women’s rights after what happened in Cologne? It made me angry.

And see, I have a problem with the way I’m being labelled as racist because I feel uncomfortable with men who can’t respect our liberal culture. AfD is accused of being homophobic, but what about all these Muslim refugees coming here? They’re completely against gays. It’s just a double standard. I don’t think anyone from the AfD would beat up my child at school [for being too ‘gay’], but some immigrant kids did. I know they are kids, but it speaks for their culture.

So am I Islamophobic? [sighs] Good question. There are many Muslims who are totally cool and integrated, and I have no problem with them. If I called myself an Islamophobe, I’d have to reject them, so I could not say that. I don’t consider myself a racist, either: I judge everyone individually. Like with refugees – they are individuals, each has a different story, and not all of them ought to be given asylum here… it seems like such an obvious thing, but when I say that, I’m immediately crucified. I sometimes wish freedom of expression worked for everyone. The people at my workplace are very ‘liberal’, and sometimes, I must say, quite prejudiced. I usually hold my tongue around them – I don’t want to offend anybody, and I know they can’t accept what I think. There’s this thing called Schweigespirale, where you go with the flow in fear of not ‘thinking right’. People should really use their brains, judge everything individually, and not just assume an opinion because it fits in their international left-wing bubble.

But I’ve started to talk to more people – people at my kid’s school, etc – and they completely agree with me, like ‘Yes, you’re one of us!’ It’s like a deep, underground movement. I felt I’ve held back for so long, but I don’t have to now. The establishment is trying to silence us with censorship and control of Facebook and discrediting anything they don’t like as ‘fake news’, and people they don’t like as ‘fascist’, the ultimate insult in Germany. What they don’t get is that it’s not about AfD. In a couple of years, it might vanish like the Pirates did. I’m not really a dedicated follower myself, and I might not vote at all. I’m not sure about parties anyway – once in power, they all do the same thing! I’ve been thinking maybe I should start a revolution.”

— As told to Ruth Schneider

*Name changed