By the end of 2018, Germany's secret service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) started composing a report on Germany's most notorious right-wing political party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).1 In January 2019, one of the authors asked Germany's secret service to supply this report but was told “It's secret.” On 28 January 2019, a short note even noted: “We will not send the document.”2 On the very same day, Netzpolitik.org posted the entire report online-all 436 pages of it.3 Netzpolitik.org stated: “We make the report available because open debate is vital in a democracy … and because it destroys the AfD's fairy-tale of being a normal political party.”4 In their introduction, Netzpolitik's Andre Meister, Anna Biselli, and Markus Reuter, who published the report, also emphasize: “We make the report available because the secret service believes ‘parts of the AfD violate Germany's constitutional guarantee that human dignity is inviolable.”’5 Netzpolitik.org is convinced that Germans have a right to know. Reading through the report one hardly finds evidence that would justify secrecy. Instead, it is a valid report written by a German state agency tasked with defending the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) concerning a political party.
Thomas Klikauer is a senior lecturer teaching Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations to mba students and PhD candidates at the Sydney Graduate School of Management at Western Sydney University, Australia. He holds Masters from Germany (Bremen) and the U.S. (Boston) and a PhD from Warwick. His forthcoming book, entitled “The Alternative für Deutschland: the AfD-Germany's New Nazis or another Populist Party?” will be published by Sussex Academic Press in 2020.
Kathleen Webb Tunney is currently in the Translation & Interpreting Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She holds a Master of Arts degree in German Language & Literature from Temple University, and has studied in Munich and Tübingen on fellowships. She was previously published under the name Kathleen M. Webb.