In Germany, a controversial new action by a collective of artists against the far right

In Chemnitz, November 16th.
In Chemnitz, November 16th. Jens Meyer / AP

Chemnitz is once again the main news in Germany. Three months after the violence that followed the death of a 35-year-old man, stabbed during a fight with asylum seekers on 25 August, the name of this city of Saxony has reappeared in the media and social networks in favor of an artistic "action" -politics that arouses much controversy.

At the origin of this "action", called Soko-Chemnitz, the Center for Political Beauty (Zentrum für politische Schönheit, ZPS), an association founded in 2009 by two political science students whose members do not "Neither as artists, nor as caricaturists, nor as activists, but as aggressive humanists". On Monday, December 3, the SPA opened a website collecting dozens of photos of participants in the far-right demonstrations held in Chemnitz between the end of August and the beginning of September. At the visitor's address, this call: "Denounce colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances and immediately receive the money as a reward! Help us to move these German problems away from our economy and public services!"

The reactions were immediate. The Land Berlin Privacy Commissioner – where the SPA is domiciled – was therefore concerned about the legality of the initiative, even though its initiators had taken the precaution of blocking most of the 2000 faces exposed. a black line in the eyes. For its part, the Saxon government filed a complaint for usurpation after the resumption, on the site, of the slogan "So it goes to Saxony", used by the regional authorities for communication purposes.

"Persecution of the German race"

This request for denunciation has also shocked the associations that have also committed themselves against the extreme right. This is the case of the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Anti-Semitism, for which the SPA "Discredit" is "Complicates" the work of all those involved in the fight against the extreme right. An opinion shared by the German Cultural Council, which represents almost 300 associations with the authorities. This initiative "It does not help to enlighten, but only leads to further dividing our society"his director said in a statement published under the headline: "Art is free, but has responsibilities".

It is not surprising that the case has given rise to extremely harsh comments from activists or right-wing groups, some of whom have reported "Call for the persecution of the German race", the others are called "New Jews" victims of methods comparable to those of IIIis Reich. In November 2017, another initiative of the SPA had already provoked similar reactions: the installation of a replica of the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, built in Berlin, in front of the house of Björn Höcke, figure of the right wing of the far right party alternative for Germany (AfD), which was outraged by the German capital in its heart at "Monument of shame".

A replica of the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, installed by the Center for Political Beauty (Zentrum für politische Schönheit, ZPS) in front of the house of Björn Höcke, an AfD leader, in Bornhagen (Hessen), November 2017
A replica of the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, installed by the Center for Political Beauty (Zentrum für politische Schönheit, ZPS) in front of the house of Björn Höcke, an AfD leader, in Bornhagen (Hessen), November 2017 SWEN PFORTNER / AFP

Wednesday, forty eight hours after the launch of this action, the SPA has removed the controversial search warnings and replaced them with a jar of honey … The meaning of this symbol? According to the group, several hundred participants at the same protests would have reported by inserting their name or those of friends in the search engine of the site to see if they had been identified. One way for ZPS to create its own database from the searched names … Since then, we can read at the bottom of the homepage: "Thank you for this Christmas present ahead of time."

Read also Migrants drowned in the Mediterranean buried in Berlin

Thomas Wieder (Berlin, correspondent)

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