The PEGIDA Chronicles

Below is the latest on PEGIDA, as translated and annotated by JLH.

The PEGIDA Chronicles
by JLH

Another chapter in the PEGIDA Chronicles, which will have:

1)   the usual snarky mainstream review of PEGIDA;
2)   the emergence of the SPD as another major antagonist;
3)   a view from the inside of East Germany on the significance of the movement;
4)   supporting evidence from a school in Leipzig.

One casual mention elsewhere suggests that Bachmann and company have decided to ask their followers to bring a coin, button, etc. to drop into containers so they can do their own count. Like the rest of us, they are probably suspicious of “official” estimates of attendance.

1) First, from Handelsblatt, the continuing — and repeated — saga of Bachmann’s legal troubles. And the clever use of “what ifs.”

PEGIDA and Lutz Bachmann — Like a Superstar

By Alexander Schneider, March 23, 2014

They will promenade again this evening, perhaps again with “Lutz” banners. The PEGIDA protesters revere Lutz Bachmann, who is even bringing the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders to Dresden. But PEGIDA is also growing weaker — and also because of Bachmann.

The PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden. Will it be repentant or pugnacious? How would the co-founder of Islam-critical PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, have behaved standing in court? The deadline was withdrawn.

When Lutz Bachmann last stood before a court a year ago, the world took little notice. But things look different in March, 2015. As the co-initiator and frontman of the Islam- and asylum-critical movement PEGIDA, Bachmann has achieved nationwide fame. This evening in Dresden, thousands of people will again “walk” against Islamization of the West — with Bachmann in the middle of it all and at the speaker’s podium.

All this fame is now associated with the report of a canceled trial.

The 42-year-old Dresden native owes the mother of his son €2,000 in alimony and was sentenced to a fine of €1,600 in April, 2014. The appeal was to take place last Wednesday at the state court in Dresden. The justice system was already prepared for great media interest.

A few days ago, the appeal date was withdrawn and the original verdict was in force. According to Bachmann, the state’s attorney withdrew the appeal. The PEGIDA chief can breathe easy. He does not have to submit to an embarrassing trial.

It certainly would have been interesting to see how Bachmann — who has spent months on Mondays philosophizing on Christian, Western culture and demanding the expulsion of criminal foreigners — would act as a defendant. How would he behave when he is not making the rules? Repentant? Humble” Or undiscerning, pugnacious? Bachmann has extensive experience as a defendant.

The former insurance-, cell phone- and bratwurst hawker allegedly ran a nightclub and owns an advertising agency. He ran the gamut in the criminal code for 20 years — several driving-without-a-license, as well as a series of break-ins in the 1990s. He fled to South Africa and then spent several years in jail.

2) The Greens have already gotten excited about the meetings with CDU. The SPD and the Antifa are a little more direct. Note the clever use of carrots left behind to suggest — without any substance — that there were a lot of protestors.

From the Sächsische Zeitung:

PEGIDA — Carrots for the Scared Rabbits

At the 20th PEGIDA walk, Bachmann confirms that he has a mayoral candidate, but does not give a name. Is it an ex-AfD woman?*

by Thomas Schade

On Monday, PEGIDA celebrated not only something like an anniversary — for more than 20 weeks, followers of the Islam-critical movement have hit the streets to save the Judaeo-Christian West, as it is called in diverse statements. But Monday was also Carrot Day.

Demo Monday in Dresden

Frontman Lutz Bachmann’s gag was understood by only a few of his followers. According to police estimates, ca. 5,500 people were walking from the Dresden Altmarkt — so, fewer than a week ago. Only a handful of carrots were left behind — much too few for the “scared rabbits” who had collected at Postplatz. PEGIDA opponents from the alliance “Dresden For Everyone,” namely, had called for a “Parade of Scared Rabbits.” The idea was to point out the fears of some people who are rarely in public view: immigrants, Muslims, refugees.

That is why, hours before the weekly walk, Bachmann and Siegfried Däbritz encouraged their followers via Facebook to bring carrots. Bachmann suggested that they use them to stop up the “maws of the hideous Antifa rabbits.” They had to be fed, because “they are not capable of taking care of themselves.”

The real PEGIDA news of this Monday made the rounds in Chemnitz. While two less gifted speakers tried their hand in Dresden, and then the crowd made their leisurely way across the Pirnaischer Platz, the former AfD politician Tatjana Festerling was being introduced by the organizers in Chemnitz as the mayoral candidate for Dresden. Festerling had appeared several times previously in Dresden as speaker and was inducted into the PEGIDA group in January. There was no official confirmation. Bachmann answered a related question from Sächsische Zeitung only with: “I have no idea what is going on in Chemnitz.” After the walk, he simply said to the demonstrators: “Our candidate for mayor is confirmed,” but gave no name. He confirmed again that the head of Netherlands’ PVV party, Geert Wilders, is coming to Dresden on April 13th and will speak at the PEGIDA demonstration.

Before the walk, PEGIDA had first and foremost celebrated itself and reacted to political scolding, especially from the SPD (Socialist Party). Bachmann answered the rhetorical question of why thousands are on the street for the 20th time by saying that PEGIDA had caused considerable turmoil in the established parties. He particularly targeted SPD chief Gabriel, who had grudgingly moved his party to vote for the free trade TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

Bachmann is especially insulted by the attempt of Saxon SPD economic minister Martin Duillig who has called upon the organs of the Saxon state to engage against PEGIDA.

* AfD = Alternativ für Deutschland party — euro-skeptic

3) As told by someone from where this is all taking place:

Here is an actual precipitating cause for PEGIDA; a reflection on now and 1989; an intriguing comment on education. (cf. Common Core); comments on “meddling” that may disquiet some.

From Bürgerstimme:

The Real Reasons for the Success of PEGIDA in the East

March 24, 2015

In November 2014 a few upstanding people in Dresden started a more or less spontaneous action against religious violence in our streets. It was occasioned by a recent confrontation between Muslims, characterized by considerable violence. The idea was not to put up with such scenes on our streets in the future, and to make an effort to stop them. From the beginning, the emphasis was on peaceful protest.

This is the first reason for PEGIDA’s success in the east, because we have had the experience of a peaceful revolution from the streets. So it is not surprising that these citizens, with this consciousness, chanting “We are the people,” is both natural and justified. East German citizens fought for and earned this right on the street. I still recall with pleasure the appearance of cabaret performer Uwe Steimle on the ZDF (German second TV channel) program “News from the Nuthouse,” when he shouted to the audience: “We had our revolution — you’re next.”

As the movement developed, there was some investigation of the causes of this religious violence. And with this, I come to the second reason for the success of PEGIDA in the east. All of the citizens of the GDR who were born ca. 1943-1973 went through a school system that qualitatively represented the best of European education. This was true because the state placed great value on the all-round education of its citizens — ergo the polytechnic secondary school.

A strong emphasis was on thinking in larger causal relationships, deducing from processes and then making, developing and expanding logical conclusions. You might say that the GDR’s demise was due to its well-educated citizens. In this country, we have many sociologists, party researchers, extremist researchers, etc., all of whom have instantly analyzed and recognized the causes for PEGIDA — from their own perspectives, of course — and some with an assignment to reach a specific, desired result. All of the stuff that is broadcast and sprinkled over the public from that endeavor is pure dross and has nothing to do with scientific effort.

But since we have been shown in excruciating detail how the present system functions, beginning with the military-industrial complex and onward through media, propaganda, economy, etc., it is no surprise that the massive media and political hostility, up to and including the reduction of basic rights, has not had the desired results. The media rejection and the cries of “Liar Press” as well as the continued growth of the movement (latest walk = ca. 18,000) are the logical result. The citizens in the west of the republic cannot understand all that and simply believe the system media, especially their beloved Tagesschau and ZDF today. No one there seems to care that these media have been admonished 30 times in the last year for false and/or incorrect reporting. They are told that the Saxons have no reason to go to the streets over 2% foreigners and besides, those are all Nazis and people who have lost out due to unification. The real reasons are ignored and most western citizens unfortunately do not ask questions.

Another reason for PEGIDA’s success in the east is the human being’s acquired and internalized love of peace, as well as a special attachment to the Russian people. Even the best propaganda cannot destroy our connection to Russia. The majority of East Germans still do not understand why the western part of our country is still occupied. The logical result is cries of “Ami go home!” at the demonstrations.

I believe that another reason for PEGIDA’s success in the east is the clear refusal to include all established parties in the movement, in any form whatsoever. This attitude and the insistence on its own demands, which are quite legal, causes the present power structure and media elite much concern and anxiety — and with good reason. Concern and anxiety are good motivators for change, as witness PEGIDA.

I would like to note one more important reason, and that is the ability of people (born 1943-1973) to bond as a group over a particular thing and be disciplined. The weekly, peaceful walks demonstrate that. Such a large group embodies power and determination which should not be scorned or underestimated. And they cannot be killed with silence. The PEGIDA movement will continue undeterred, working with determination and endurance toward the realization of its demands. PEGIDA has not — as is repeatedly maintained — split society, but is representing at least two-thirds of the German people, which has a documented right, like all peoples, to maintain and stand up for its culture, history, traditions, language and self-determination.

4) And another factor behind the rise of PEGIDA? How to be a PC pretzel while also attempting to be a responsible parent.

From Politically Incorrect:

Parents’ Revolt in Leipzig Multiculti School

by rotgold, March 23, 2015

How does a school do in the press outside its locality? Positive headlines in Germany are rare. And negative headlines — who needs that? What gets a Leipzig school to the title page of Zeit-online? PEGIDA? Hyper Germanism? Maybe even Nazis? We are talking here about the grade school at Rabet Park in the eastern part of Leipzig. It is the school with the highest percentage of immigrant families in the Saxon world — 61.6%. And representatives of parents claim that the facility is hopelessly overwhelmed, and something to avoid.

So the parents have begun a concerted action . “We didn’t know how else to help ourselves,” says Ulrike Geisler, 29, acting chair of the parents’ council. On Monday, Geisler sent an open letter to Governor Stanislaw Tillich (CDU), signed by the parents’ council and the friends-of-the-school association. It speaks of “serious grievances” — students are “screamed at, insulted, even struck.” The children’s welfare is endangered. There are serious complaints, says Zeit-online.

What is interesting about this article is that the signatories of this letter take a position on it in the readers’ comments. The commentaries can be traced back to shortly before noon, apparently while the article was still being written — the article is timed at 2:48 PM.

The grievances described at Zeit-online are the following:

Students were “screamed at, insulted and even struck” by teachers.

“Children are beaten, actually beaten to a pulp by fellow students” says Geisler, and points at the playground in front of the austere school building.

“Of course there are difficulties in this district of the city,” says Roman Schulz, press spokesman for the education agency, but until now, he says, the school had controlled it well.

The problems in the school come from the specific situation in this part of the city. And what would they be?

Then Zeit-online quotes the parents’ council:

  • Parents had made reciprocal complaints because their children had come home with noticeable bruises.
  • In the previous year, a female student had hit teachers, destroyed furniture and run away.
  • Teachers again and again would lose self-control, grab children roughly, push them against the wall, scream at them. One female teacher hit a student on the head; a male colleague kicked a student’s knapsack.
  • A victim of bullying is advised to change schools. In some classes, teaching is impossible without a social worker.

These are the complaints as shown in Zeit. These complaints, as quietly acknowledged at the start, apparently have something to do with immigrant families. It is sensitive. This could be ammunition for people who fear such situations and their causes — people always ridiculed because there are hardly any foreigners in Saxony. And those who are here, they are no problem… but they are just very diverse. Is it possible to call such a dose of reality by its real name, and support PEGIDA and LEGIDA?

Of course not. Mrs. Geisler’s first disclaimer is built into the article:

“This is a respectable district,” says Ulrike Geisler. “The people came from all parts of the world. I would never think of moving away. I don’t have to protect my child from everything.” This is intended as a kind of clarification: She has nothing in common with PEGIDA or LEGIDA, these immigrant-critical movements. But still, problems at the school have to be mentioned.

And yet apparently much that is incorrect has crept into the article, even though the sources can hardly be misunderstood. The document was quoted; so was Mrs. Geisler. Assuming the Zeit reporter has no hearing defect, he has probably reported correctly. Right?

Anyway, reader comment #2 follows the above-mentioned “clarification” of the letter’s signatories:

‘In our view (the signers of the open letter) the school is not so much like the Rütli school* as suggested in the article. It is not a violent school. The article depicts individual instances as being the rule, which they are not. We categorically deny the sentence: ‘Again and again, teachers would lose self control…’ Most teachers are dedicated and competent and do good work every day in class. The main problem is personal: an overwhelmed school administration.”

So, was it the principal who destroyed the furniture, grabbed children hard or kicked a student’s knapsack? Surely not. It looks as though a sacrificial lamb is needed, but that does not eliminate the grievances. Here is a statement in the “clarification”:

“Primarily, we want a competent school administration which faces the problems and does not ignore or trivialize them;”

Accompanying the continued attacks on the school administration, it is conceded that there are problems. But they are ignored or trivialized. This demonstrates indirectly that the problems must be considerable.

“…and gives the teachers clear guidance for conflict situations.”

So the principal has not given clear guidance. Is she doing that all by herself? Are teachers so lacking in independence that they must ask the principal what to do? Or are they afraid of getting the wrong reputation? Why do the teachers not speak, even anonymously, to Zeit-online?

“…who will consistently protect those children who are being beaten up by other children.”

Apparently this happens frequently or it would not be mentioned. However — is the principal alone responsible for the protection of children whenever they are beaten up? Must she be fetched, and can a normal teacher not separate two ruffians? Does he not have any means of discipline? Are there none, or “must” they not be used? Why not? What are the teachers afraid of? Why are they not being praised in the “clarification”? What is going on?

“…and imposes immediate sanctions against the guilty children;”

Why are there no sanctions imposed by the teachers? What kind of jellyfish are they? What kind of cowards? Do they speak German at all? What are they afraid of? Of the children or the children’s parents? Of the principal? Is it possible that the principal is preventing sanctions against the little toughs? What is she afraid of?

“…who encourages the inclusion of immigrant parents in the life of the school;”

What do they have to do with it? Why must their inclusion in school life be “encouraged”? Is it so far to the school? Don’t they speak German? Have they expressed a desire to learn German and not been offered any German classes? Was it too expensive for them? Why don’t these representatives of the parents suggest this? Aren’t they a part of this group, these “immigrant parents” from this “respectable district,” as Mrs. Geisler calls it? Why do these parents not rejoice in their enrichment and why criticize the principal? Is she supposed to take over enrichment too?

The problems remain unclear. The principal is in the spotlight and so, repeatedly, are aggressive and violent tendencies at the school. Is the principal inactive, or someone who trivializes problems? Does she not think much of ineffective diversity methods of conflict resolution? Then discord arose through a sports teacher who attempted:

“…to make peace-loving children out of aggressive ones.” She started a judo club called “Roughhousing and Individual Combat” and word spread. Middle German Broadcasting did a documentary. But soon she left the school. She had fallen out with the principal, who thought her school was being presented in a false light by reports on aggressive children.

The article raises many questions and answers hardly any. And the “clarification” of the parents’ representatives gives only the vaguest hint of what is wrong. The impression remains of a swampy, malodorous atmosphere composed of politically correct laziness, cowardice and complacency, all being carried on the backs of the children.

*   The Rütli school was in Berlin Neu-Kölln (the crucible in which Heinz Buschkowsky was shaped into the contrarian politician who gave his own SPD heartburn). It was the subject of a scorching letter from its teachers demanding its closure, which caused a national rumpus and precipitated drastic action to transform the institution.

For links to previous articles about PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) and related movements, see the PEGIDA Archives.