“Dear young African men,
we know you’re seeking your fortune,
but you won’t find it here with us.[...]
No way, dear young African men:
for you there is no future and no home in Germany and in Europe!”
AfD politician Björn Höcke, Alte Schlachthalle Helbra, August 2017. Start of election campaign for Bundestag elections in Saxony-Anhalt.
After more than 60 years, a right-wing party made it into the Bundestag in the 2017 elections in Germany thanks to right-wing slogans, islamophobia and racism. Many citizens fear an alleged alination. The populist and rising party AfD (die Alternative für Deutschland) has skillfully exploited that fear. The rejection of established parties also leads many protest voters to vote for the AfD in order to teach “those up there” a lesson.
In August and September 2017, shortly before the Bundestag elections, I followed AfD politicians through the election campaign and portrayed them. I wanted to observe the party and document the atmosphere. And I wanted to comment on what I experienced: how politicians gain power over their audience and get intoxicated by it. How they reduce complex ideas to simple messages. The power of polemics.