In the above photo, you’ll notice that the banner being held by Filip Dewinter and his colleagues features “PEGIDA Vlaanderen” — that is, “PEGIDA Flanders” and not “PEGIDA Belgium”. PEGIDA is now spreading rapidly throughout Western and Central Europe, but it is very much a national movement. Since Belgium is an artificial multinational state that acts as the Mini-Me of the European Union, a PEGIDA Belgium franchise would make no sense at all.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this German-language article published last week by Geolitico:
PEGIDA Conquers Europe
by Günther Lachmann
January 17, 2016
PEGIDA has become an export item of the national-conservative rebellion. On February 6th, it will show its strength in many European cities.
With 350 participants, the group that hit the streets in Antwerp against the Islamization of Europe was a modest size. For PEGIDA leader Lutz Bachmann, however, the appearance in the Belgian port city is another important strategic success. He came to Flanders at the invitation of the extreme rightist and separatist Vlaams Belang [Flemish Interest] party. Among the nationalists on the Belgian North Sea coast, Bachmann is highly respected because of the mass marches of up to 20,000 people he organized in Dresden. He appeared in Antwerp next to the Vlaams Belang politician Filip Dewinter, as the main speaker
Edwin Wagenveld — better known to PEGIDA followers as “Ed the Dutchman” — was also there. A Netherlander by birth, Wagenveld has lived in Germany for several years, is a frequent guest in Dresden, and has built up PEGIDA in the Netherlands on the German model. There, as in Belgium, the movement has taken over the German name, so it has for a long time been more than just a German phenomenon. It has become an export item of national-conservative rebellion which is increasingly popular among those who no longer feel represented by the established parties.
Major Demonstrations on February 6th
Requests for contact information from nationalists all over Europe were not long in coming. And they were welcomed in Dresden. By now, PEGIDA is in Austria, Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland and Great Britain. The movement has good connections from Vlaams Belang, through the French Front National, the British EU-hostile UKIP and the nationalist parties of Eastern Europe, to the Italian Lega Nord. These connections for Bachmann’s movement are tended by the self-appointed PEGIDA advocate, Götz Kubitschek.
Kubitschek is the co-founder of the controversial Institute for State Policy, where Thuringian AfD head Björn Höcke recently propounded the theory about “evolutionary differential reproduction strategies” of Africans and Europeans. Further, Kubitschek publishes the nationalist conservative journal Sezession. Last year he represented PEGIDA at a congress of Lega Nord in Rome, and as “a guest at a huge demonstration of the Lega on the Piazza des Popolo” as he wrote on his internet site.
On the sixth of February, PEGIDA will show how strong it has become with large demonstrations all over Europe. The central demonstration is planned for Dresden; further demonstrations are planned for — among many other cities — Warsaw, Tallinn, Prague, Bratislava, Amsterdam, possibly Birmingham.
Press Conference in the Czech Parliament
Tatjana Festerling of the PEGIDA organization team talks of a “Europe-wide PEGIDA rally.” “We will be in touch with the individual locations by live hook-up,” she says. It is intended as a show of strength against a policy that is increasingly distrusted — a policy for which Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is held to be primarily responsible.
The organization intends to make final arrangements in Prague on the 23rd of January. In attendance will be Marek Cernoch of the Czech right-populist Úsvit (Dawn) and representatives of the local “Blocks against Islam.” From Great Britain will come the former leader of the staunchly rightist EDL, Tommy Robinson, who launched PEGIDA in the United Kingdom. Islam critics and nationalists do not need to lie low in Prague. On the contrary. PEGIDA is already presentable in Czechia. In fact, there is a press conference planned in the Czech parliament after the meeting.
Founding of a Party
Festerling, who garnered almost 10% of the votes in her first attempt at the Dresden mayoral race last year, says, “We had a lot of fans right from the beginning. In Prague we are virtually folk heroes.” Although she puts great value on contacts to Eastern Europe, she will also represent PEGIDA at the Academics’ Ball of the Austrian FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) at the end of February. PEGIDA sets great store by “good neighborly relationships,” she says in justifying the creation of the European network. Above all, it should be about maximum clout in the political battle against the European Union.
But it is in her own birthplace — Germany — that the movement has thus far found no partisan political connection. “AfD can on no account be considered the partisan political representation of PEGIDA, even though by nature it should be,” writes Kubitschek. So PEGIDA chief Bachmann has for some time been considering the founding of its own party. Preparations are apparently proceeding nicely.
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.