During the AfD classification process, right-wing agitator Maximilian Krah appears docile. The verdict is still far away.

Maximilian Krah meets at the OVG in Münster and gives an interview to ARD

He likes to talk about “revolkung”, but believes that his popular concept does not pose problems: Maximilian Krah (AfD) Photo: Guido Kirchner/dpa

MUENSTER CHEESE taz | Unintentionally, a funny moment occurred in meeting room 1 of the Higher Administrative Court in Münster. Maximilian Krah, who is popular among sections of the AfD due to his and hostile to his racism he said at the end of his speech about the popular concept that feels misunderstood.

The AfD's main candidate for the European elections made a somewhat pitiful impression, appearing obviously ill and coughing between his statements. In the end he concluded: “Life is colorful, long live diversity.”

Krah's speech can be summarized as follows: He means no harm. He claims that he is “an opponent of assimilation.” The AfD does not want to restrict the private practice of Islam. Only public life should function according to a dominant German culture. This is like the CDU and is in no way constitutionally questionable.

Because of his cough, Judge Gerald Buck took pity on him with a cough drop. And perhaps it was actually just the broad-spectrum antibiotic that caught Krah's attention when he attempted to deny the AfD's racist core brand.

Observers believe AfD has little chance

Krah's conference took place on Thursday, on the third day of negotiations in the AfD's mammoth trial against the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The party is suing against its classification as a “suspected far-right case.” The secret service won the first instance before the Cologne Administrative Court and the appeal hearing before the Higher Administrative Court has been taking place for a month.

Most observers believe the AfD has little chance. This is probably why AfD lawyers are trying to delay the trial: in the run-up to the third day of the trial, the AfD has resubmitted more than 400 requests for evidence and wants to avoid a verdict before the regional elections in the east.

The decision of the Higher Administrative Court is also of great importance in view of a possible classification of the party as “certainly far-right” and for a possible ban procedure. Since being classified as a “suspected far-right case,” the AfD has become even more radicalized and is now dominated by the far-right around Björn Höcke.

“General and discriminatory devaluation”

And he sees the popular concept the same way we know it from Krah. This was also highlighted by the lawyer for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Wolfgang Roth. The AfD distinguishes between nationals and ethnic people, combined with a widespread and discriminatory devaluation of people with a migratory background and even second-class citizens. This can be seen not only in the program in regards to “preserving ethnic identity,” but even more clearly in many of Krah's statements.

Krah says he is not racist and refers to his Slovakian wife

Roth referred to his numerous tweets in the extensive collection of material on the conspiracy ideological concepts of “Umvolkung” and the “Great Exchange.” “We don't want this melting pot,” Krah said. Or he laments that “mass immigration is fundamentally changing the ethnic structure of the population.” In his book “Right-wing Politics”, he complains that 15 million people do not want to integrate and whom Krah wants to convince – regardless of whether they are German or not – to “remigrate”.

Roth could have given many more unpleasant quotes if Chief Justice Gerald Buck hadn't stopped him at some point: “We all know these quotes. We read everything. Please, no more quotes. Our meeting room has become much smaller because of the files.” In fact, the trial material consists of thousands of pages of files in 20 meters of folders. And especially on Thursday, the AfD's top politicians assure that the collection of evidence continues to increase.

Things got a bit absurd when Krah tried to use his good connections in authoritarian regimes to argue that he couldn't be racist; After all, he employs an employee of Chinese immigrant origin and is married to a Slovak woman. Things did not improve when AfD lawyers stated that the “individual case ticker” – a kind of Internet compilation of violent acts that the AfD uses to incite violence against minorities – was not intended to be cynical or to place anyone under general suspicion.

AfD federal executive committee denies Islamophobia

Also traveling on Thursday was AfD federal executive Peter Boehringer, who likes to write in emails about the “violated body of the people” or “whore Merkel”, but was relatively docile here.

He should speak on behalf of the AfD program commission and make it clear that the large number of appointments did not affect the program. Boehringer stated that there had been no shift to the right in the AfD and in general: “It is not prohibited to adhere to a conservative worldview that was still completely normal 20 years ago.”

And as far as “Islamophobia” is concerned, Boehringer actually claimed that Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, deputy state executive of Saxony-Anhalt and one of the most radical AfD politicians, had a very differentiated view of Islam as an Islamic scholar.

BfV's lawyer, Roth, limited himself to responding with statements from Tillschneider himself, who stated that it was a mistake “to distinguish between Islam and Islamism” and that “the Basic Law was not made for Islam.” A year ago, Tillschneider literally called for a “war on the federal government.”

The delaying tactic is at least partially working

Another point of contention was the debate on the principle of democracy, which the AfD questioned from the point of view of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Here Roth explained that numerous comparisons of the Federal Republic of Germany with the Nazi regime or the GDR dictatorship were not permissible criticisms of the opposition, but rather an illegitimate equation that also trivialized National Socialism.

For example, if a “Nuremberg 2.0” is demanded after the coronavirus and the Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach, is equated with the main war criminals of the Nazi dictatorship. Roth said such statements “ended the basic free and democratic order and prepared the ground for the assault on the Reichstag.”

This finally bothered the otherwise fairly calm Boehringer on Thursday, who was very present at the Lateral Thinking protests. The federal executive committee stated that the AfD was repeatedly called a Nazi party by the other parties, so, according to its logic, all other parties would also have to be supervised by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The judge later made it clear that no one was at the mercy of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. After all, the measures of the secret services in the rule of law are “completely verifiable in court, that's what we are for.”

However, this may take some time in the appeals process. At least on Thursday the trial progressed relatively well, probably also because Judge Buck had developed a routine of postponing requests for evidence. What is clear, however, is that a verdict will not be reached so quickly, and public interest is already significantly lower, and there were fewer journalists on site than at the start of the trial. The AfD's delaying tactics are working, at least in the short term.