Antifa – between regular job and activism

Since almost 14 years by now so called „Federal Programmes against Right Wing Extremism“ (Bundesprogramme gegen Rechtsextremismus) subsist in Germany. Many activists from the antifascist movement have joined these projects sponsored by the public authorities. They are working in Mobile Counselling Services for victims of right wing voilence (Opfer- und Mobile Beratungsstellen).
Due to this engagement far more people were reached, given advice and were supported as in previous years by the antifascist movement. Especially in rural areas these government-funded projects seem to be indispensable. The know-how acquired, the professionalisation in their work and the acceptance by broad parts of society is striking. Furthermore it is welcome that antifascist engagement is getting paid finally.

However some bitter pills had to be swallowed: The federal programmes are based on an anti-extremist ideology, which equates pretended „extremism“ of the political left with the extreme right. Antifascists who do not want or cannot commit themselves to this ideology have been segregated and excluded from governmental support. Critical discussions of state racism, failures by the security agencies
or connections between the established politics, the conservative right and the New Right therefore are avoided by these government-sponsored projects. If they give attention to those connections, their govermental funding might be in danger. Another problem concerns the „braindrain“ of competent activists to those projects and the resulting weakening of the movement.

Until now there has not been a wider debate on the work with or for governmental sponsored projects against right wing extremism by the antifascist movement. Decisions on this engagement have usually been made individually, at the most they were discussed in political groups or on a regional level. This Workshop is intended to be a first step towards an exchange of views on these topics.