January 31, 2022

Canadian Truckers, German Walkers & MAGA Folks: Taking Sides with Nazis makes You one of Them.

 

I see your frustration, but that doesn’t justify protesting side by side with Nazis.

We are all annoyed by COVID-19 and want our lives back.

But I am not sure if protesting against a virus is really that helpful. And I am furious about far-right activists hijacking these protests.

Canadian truckers portray themselves as freedom fighters who stand up against tyranny. There are protests all over Germany every Monday. And parents at school board meetings in the United States also lost their patience a long time ago.

I see these protests. I feel the frustration. But I am also worried about the dynamics behind these protests.

As a student, I was part of many protests. We protested against tuition fees in university, the war in Iraq, and Nazis. I got pepper sprayed once or twice and I am no stranger to questioning the ones in power. But what we are seeing right now has nothing to do with innocent activism.

In my hometown in Germany, there are protests every Monday—and I am more than angry at the ones organizing these protests.

I have no problem with anyone who wants to criticize the current situation in Germany. But I have a huge problem with far-right groups claiming that we live in a dictatorship. It makes me sick to hear elected officials demanding “peace, freedom, and no dictatorship.”

First of all, if this was a dictatorship these folks wouldn’t be able to protest.

And what bothers me even more is the fact that protesting on Mondays has a history in Germany. In the 90s, Germans went to the streets on Mondays demanding the reunification of our country (and it worked). But in 2014, far-right activists started protesting against refugees on Mondays.

These far-right groups hijacked the symbolism of Monday protests in Germany.

Especially in Eastern Germany, we see exactly the same groups who used to agitate against refugees protesting on Mondays. But in my hometown, everyone claims that they have nothing to do with these Nazi groups organizing protests.

And that might even be true in some cases. But why don’t they avoid the controversy and march on a different day? Most probably because it’s a huge movement by now.

But does that make it right to march with Nazis? I don’t think so.

In Canada, we see a similar dynamic. There are folks who are annoyed by COVID-19, and there are far-right activists who use this as a trigger to voice their hate toward Justin Trudeau. There are confederate flags, swastikas, and other symbols that make it quite obvious who is behind these protests.

It reminds me of the January 6th crowd that tried to frame the horrible events as a peaceful protest that escalated “a little bit.”

It’s an old strategy of the far-right. They pick a controversial topic (in this case vaccines) and try to channel the frustration toward other topics that fit their agenda.

Why does anyone need a confederate flag at a protest against a virus? Why does anyone need to question climate change when protesting a pandemic? And why is the so-called woke crowd always the target of these folks?

It seems as if this wasn’t about the virus at all. It’s just the trigger that got certain folks going.

Governments around the world made mistakes in this pandemic. I don’t even question that. But I question the ridiculous claims that there was a big plan behind all of that. There is no New World Order or QAnon or any other bullsh*t—it’s just incompetence.

Nobody has any experience in this. So, it’s not surprising that mistakes were made.

If our frustration leads us to join forces with Nazis, we are lost. If average citizens are willing to take sides with conspiracy theorists spreading anti-Semitism and fake news, our society is lost. If society accepts far-right narratives as freedom of speech, democracy has a problem.

I am sure not every person who protests in Canada or Germany is a Nazi, but that doesn’t excuse joining forces with Nazis.

I support freedom of speech. It’s the most important thing in democracy. And I use my freedom of speech to tell these folks that they are wrong. That’s my opinion.

I boycott Joe Rogan—that’s my freedom of speech. I speak up against Germans marching on Mondays—that’s my freedom of speech. I disagree with Canadian friends who support the trucker movement—that’s my freedom of speech.

It’s as simple as that. If these folks are free to express their concerns, I am free to express mine.

Let’s not make the mistake and confuse freedom of speech with a guarantee to be right on something. It doesn’t limit the freedoms of Rogan when Neil Young decides to leave Spotify.

When I am invited to play a concert at a bar that also hosts far-right musicians, I will reject the offer. That’s my personal freedom. End of story.

If you decide to join a protest or share controversial content on social media, please make sure to check the sources of these folks.

The last thing we need is politically illiterate folks taking sides with far-right extremists without even noticing. The United States already paid the price for that on January 6th, 2021.

Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen in Canada or Germany.

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