“Now say, how are you with religion? You’re a warm lyer, but I don’t think you think you think you think much of it.” – this is how Margaret asks Heinrich Faust in Goethe’s famous work. Translated into the present day, Gretchen would probably ask the Weidels, Gaulands and Meuthens of this party with regard to the AfD: “Now say, how do you deal with the distance to the extreme right? You do very well and brazenly, but I don’t think you think you think you think much of it.”
Time and again, afD politicians stand out with shocking statements or their proximity to the far right. Again and again, one is half-heartedly distanced or one retreats to the fact that it was employees or that one“slipped on the mouse”. Kalbitz, too, has repeatedly attracted attention for his harsh rhetoric. He is one of the most important figures in Höcke’s ethnic “wing” and one of the most powerful AfD men in the new federal states.
Kalbitz has always dismissed criticism of his relations with the far-right scene as youth sins, saying that he was“generally interested”in this. However, this seems more than implausible, given the long list of his contacts. Member of the school boyhood Saxonia-Czernowitz. Member of the Witikobund. Contacts with the Danubia fraternity. Participation in a torchlight procession with neo-Nazis in Athens. Member of the board of the Association of Cultural and Contemporary History, Archiv der Zeit e.V., which is regarded as far-right. Participation in events of the HDJ, the home-afaithful German Youth. According to research by Der Spiegel, Kalbitz is also said to have admitted membership in the Young Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen to the Military Screening Service (MAD). What a vita! “Kalbitz! I’m afraid of you.”
None of this has harmed the rise and career within the AfD. In the end, success was right for him. Gauland stood protectively in front of Kalbitz, even saying that he was “just as bourgeois” as he was. Kalbitz, for his part, says he has “no far-right biography.” The fact that the AfD celebrity was not only a guest of the HDJ, but also a member, became a disaster for him. As well as the secretive membership of the Republican Party in the 1990s. Now the Federal Executive Board has thrown Kalbitz out by seven votes to five. Imaginably scarce – but at least. AfD leader Meuthen was able to prevail (initially).
This was not a uniform mood. Despite. Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland appeared in front of the press with their faces in front of them and criticized the decision as “wrong and dangerous for the party“. Stephan Brandner therefore calls for a federal party congress “urgently and at short notice”. AfD leader Tino Chrupalla speaks of the “great merits” Kalbitz”, Björn Höcke of “division and destruction of the party” and of “betrayal“. A credible distancing from the extreme political right is different. Especially since the announced dissolution of the “wing” observed by the constitutional protection was not followed by any discernible acts.
The AfD will now have to decide: if it wants to save the fig leaf of civility, which is fluttering in the wind, even in its approach, it must make a clear separation from the extreme right. If it does not do so, Höcke and the wing prevail. Then the whole party is finally a case for the protection of the constitution. The first point on this issue goes to Kalbitz: the Landtag group in Brandenburg has today backed him, left him part of the group and has changed its rules of procedure. That, too, is a signal.
“We are liberals and conservatives. We are free citizens of our country. We are convinced democrats.” the preamble to the AfD’s policy programme states. In view of the current events, Goethe’s faust is again in the end: “I hear the message, but I lack faith.”