On Monday, a high court in Germany ruled that the right-of-center Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party can indeed be considered a threat to democracy and thus a domestic extremist group that should be surveilled by the government.

Magistrates at the high administrative court of Muenster upheld a previous ruling in 2022 by a lower court that the categorization was “proportionate” and not in violation of the Constitution nor European Union (EU) law. This means that government intelligence units can continue to use wiretaps and recruit internal informants to collect information on the group and monitor their activities.

“The court finds there is sufficient evidence that the AfD pursues goals that run against the human dignity of certain groups and against democracy,” the judges wrote. “There are grounds to suspect at least part of the party wants to accord second-rank status to German citizens with a migration background.”

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“This ruling shows that our democracy can defend itself,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement. “It has tools that protect it from internal threats.”

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), a bureaucracy that exists to protect “democracy” from “extremism,” began to classify AfD as “potentially extreme” in 2021 and placed them under surveillance.

“The agenda is clear. First we are made a ‘case to investigate’, now we are a ‘suspected case’ and are under surveillance – and at some point there will be a request to ban our party,” said Alexander Gauland, the AfD’s parliamentary floor leader at the time. “That, thank God, will be a decision for the Constitutional Court and not the BfV.”

Since then, AfD has fought against the categorization in the national court system. In March 2022, a court in Cologne ruled that the label was accurate and the government could continue spying on them. “The party stands for racism, the party stands for exclusion of minorities, the party stands for contempt of the social system,” BfV President Thomas Haldenwang said after the ruling, calling it a “good day for democracy.”

“That is why it is important that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution can talk about this party again after a year of silence,” he added.

AfD is a populist, pro-border, EU-skeptic political party that has consistently fought against unchecked immigration since it was founded in 2013. It considers “Political Islam in particular” to be a “danger” for Germany and the EU, and aims to “severely limit immigration” and “push back parallel societies” through tight border controls and “deportations consistently to the extent necessary.” It says the “dominant German culture” ought to apply to everyone and calls for the asylum system to significantly strengthen its criteria.

While it supports free trade between European nations, it opposes the “EU’s drive towards ever more centralization and paternalism” and aims to “reduce excessive bureaucracy.” It proposes the founding of a new European bloc similar to the EU but grounded in national independence. It calls for the removal of environmental building regulations in the name of affordable housing, for “family values” instead of “gender ideology,” promotes “hard currency” over central bank digital currency (CBDC) and other efforts to make cash virtual, and a reformation of the agricultural industry along animal-friendly and anti-factory farm lines.

As with much of the left-wing political developments in Germany, this development could be copied in other countries throughout the West, including America. Antifa was originally a German group (Antifaschistische Aktion), both during the rise of Nazism in the early twentieth century and over the last four decades, and spread to the United States when American leftists became inspired by their “decentralized” actions of “resistance.”

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics and business for VT and a regular guest on The Unusual Suspects. Follow Shane’s work here

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