German Cabinet

YMGE 2018

Chair Letter

Howdy Delegates,

I would first like to start off by saying welcome to YMGE! I know we are going to have an exciting conference and I look forward to meeting every one of you.

My name is Rene Olivarez and I am currently a junior at Yale University. I am a chemistry major with a specialization in chemical biology. I am originally from South Texas; coming to Budapest is definitely a well-received change of pace. On campus I am involved with the Yale International Relations Association as a chair for a variety of other conferences like YMUN and SCSY. Along with that I am also on MUNTY which is Yale’s competitive Model UN team. I am also a member of the Tory Party in the Yale Political Union and am a STEM and campus tour guide!

        I am excited to see where our debate leads us as we traverse through the various crises that await us. I really enjoy the art of public speaking and how each person has their own individual style of doing so. Personally, I enjoy the theatrics of Model UN and when delegates get really invested and creative with the work we are doing. The crises that await us will truly be exciting, and I can’t wait to see how each of you handle the situation!

Once again I look forward to meeting all of you and seeing where committee takes us. If you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at rene.olivarez@yale.edu Enjoy the topic!

See you in November,

Rene Olivarez

Committee History

Germany’s government is based off of the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which is the country’s constitution. This constitution was established on May 23, 1949 after the establishment of the Federal Republic, then known as West Germany. East Germany then adopted the administrative, judicial, educational and social structures of West Germany, which ultimately led the reunification of the country on October 3, 1990.

The Basic Law of Germany created a federal system, which was modeled after that of the United States. This gave the German states a considerable amount of autonomy, as to not concentrate too much power at the federal level. The two defining features of the German Constitution are: 1) the formal declaration of the principles of human rights and a basis for a government of the people and 2) the strongly independent position of the courts, especially in the right of the Federal Constitutional Court to void a law by declaring it unconstitutional.

The Bundestag is the parliament of Germany which consists of over 600 members. They exercise much wider power than the Bundesrat, which is the Federal Council of Germany. These bodies are responsible for drafting legislation in Germany to then be enforced by the chancellor.

The formal chief of state is the president, and they are chosen by a specially convened council every 5 years. The president’s job is to sign all formal legislation and treaties, as well as select the chancellor and their cabinet. The government of Germany is headed by the chancellor, who is responsible for initiating government policy. The chancellor and their ministers enjoy relative autonomy and power. Most cabinet members are part of the Bundestag, and come from the majority parties in parliament.

The Chancellor and their cabinet represent the chief governing body of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Chancellor and their cabinet are linked, so when the tenure of the chancellor is over so are the terms for all the ministers in their cabinet. The Chancellor has the authority to dismiss any minster that they do not see fit of performing their duties and have a new chancellor appointed by the president. The Chancellor is responsible for appointed the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Justice. This is done to prevent the Chancellor from holding any one of these positions themselves, and prevent the consolidation of power. The German Cabinet consists of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Minister of Finance, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Economics and Energy, Justice and Consumer Protection, Labor and Social Affairs, Defense, Food and Ag, Family Affairs, Health, Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Environment, Education, Economic Development, and Special Affairs.

Topic History

The history of post WWII far-right politics in Germany can be traced to the ending of Nazi Germany and the Allied occupation of West Germany. The first far-right party to be formed was the Deutsche Rechtspartei (The German Right Party) in 1946. This party was later succeeded by the Deutsche Reichspartei (The German Reich Party) in 1950. A vast majority of all the far-right parties in Germany were founded after the Allied occupation of West Germany ended in 1949. Around nine new parties were formed from 1945-1992, with four of them being banned from participating in German politics. Many of these parties held similar beliefs to the Nazi party with emphasis on anti-immigrant sentiments.

In 1964 the National Democratic Party of Germany was founded, and is the only remaining far-right party in Germany. This party aligns itself with ultranationalist beliefs and is the only significant neo-Nazi party to form after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. The party has been found to have been working with several organizations that have been ruled unconstitutional by the German courts. The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), views the National Democratic Party of Germany as a “threat to the constitutional order” and keeps a very close watch over the organization. The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution tried to outlaw the organization in 2003, but were unsuccessful because work used against the party had been written by agents of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The National Democratic Party of Germany has never been able to gain the necessary 5% of the vote to be represented in the Bundestag. It has gained the 5% threshold in state parliaments, but never on the national level. This could be due to the party holding a belief that is described as “not communism or social liberalism but that people are products of their environment”. This belief of people being products of their environment comes from “natural law” which is the belief certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature.

The National Democratic Party of Germany also has connections with several white nationalists across the globe, including David Duke in the United States, who is a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). They also have connections to the International Third Position, a British neo-fascist organization, Forza Nuova, an Italian neo-fascist organization, and Youth Conference, an anti-abortion organization in Ireland. The National Democratic Party of Germany keeps contact with these other organizations in order to gain more momentum and exposure in other countries in an effort to gain international support.

Udo Voigt, a member of the National Democratic Party of Germany, gained a seat in the European Parliament. Voigt was the Leader of the National Democratic Party of Germany from 1996-2011 and is an active member both representation them in the European Parliament and in other positions.

Current Situation

In Germany, there have been cases of far-right extremism present in a variety of places around the country. A majority of the cases began around 1992, when neo-Nazi groups began to become violent with their anti-immigrant sentiments. This involved various attacks to refugee camps in Germany as well as other actions taken by the neo-Nazis. There have also been cases of large scale protests by neo-Nazi organizations and the National Democratic Party of Germany as a response to the far-left in Germany. Most recently, there have been cases of far-right extremism found within the Bundeswehr, the German army, and far-left activists have asked for the “drying out of the brown sump”. Some of the events that occurred have direct connection to the National Democratic Party of Germany, with members of the party being either present or involved with the events that occurred. However, the National Democratic Party of Germany has been very particular about how they present themselves and tries to keep themselves under the radar, while at the same time ensuring that their enemies are not allowed to make any major advancements that could lead to their condemnation. Many of their strategies include tagging their opponent’s actions as wrongful forms of political campaigning. There have been 4 major attempts to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany, but with no success. These attempts occurred in 2011, twice in 2012, and 2016. The reason these attempts have not been successful is because the National Democratic Party of Germany has claimed that their actions are only forms of protest. For example, in 2011 the members were wearing Thor Steinar, which is a popular clothing brand for neo-Nazis, and refused to take them off during Saxony’s Parliament. They were then removed from the Parliament but said their actions were only a form protest, so they could not be banned from further meetings. There was nothing that the Parliament could do, so the members were allowed back in. This is an example of why the National Democratic Party of Germany has been able to survive and continue to spread their ideology.

Attacks:

From August 22 to August 24, 1992 violent riots took place in the Lichtenhagen region of Rostock. The riots were conducted by a group of neo-Nazis that attacked the Zentrale Aufnahmestelle für Asylbewerber für Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Central Refugee Shelter). The building is called “Sunflower House” because of the large sunflowers that are painted along the side of it. The shelter was also notorious for having inhumane conditions and housing more migrants than they could handle.

The riots began when a group of young people in the local neighborhood began throwing rocks at the building and attack people that were entering and exiting the building. This quickly escalated as the police got involved to insure that the mobs would not escalate any more. Local news coverage of the event quickly got the attention of many neo-Nazis in the area and they began to participate in the mob. The new arrivals of neo-Nazis quickly outnumbered the police in the area by the third day of the riots. The “Sunflower House” was evacuated and the mob turned their attention to another refugee center nearby that house Vietnamese immigrants. The mobs began throwing fire bombs and using Molotov cocktails to burn down the building. The people inside began to barricade the building to insure that none of the rioters would be able to enter the building and directly harm any of the people living inside. While this occurred, a group of over 5,000 onlookers applauded the mob and encouraged them to continue their actions.

The police eventually got the situation under control and the rioters were suppressed after the police began to use water cannons. There were over 300 arrests and over 400 investigations that occurred as a result of this. It was difficult for the courts to place blame on individuals as there was not enough evidence present to convict people of the acts that were committed.

Protests:

In the city of Dresden in Germany a radical left group known as the Anti-Germans gather to praise the bombings of the city that occurred during WWII because many of the cities in that town were supporters of Nazism. Around the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, members of the National Democratic Party of Germany began to protest the Anti-Germans for praising the Bombing of Dresden calling it the “Bombenholocaust” (holocaust by bomb).  This response caused major controversy within the German Parliament because they were outraged that the act was not a “holocaust by bomb”.

In 2009, around 6,000 neo-Nazis met in order to protest the gathering at Dresden. They were stopped by police and not allowed to go to Dresden to confront the Anti-Germans. This is an example of how the National Democratic Party of Germany was unsuccessful in their protesting due to early police action.

Military:

The German army has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of far-right extremism, with the cases doubling from around 200 to 400 cases. The Militärische Abschirmdienst (MAD), German military’s internal intelligence agency, has been instigating the 431 cases that have arisen in the year. There were a total of 23 new cases just around the start of 2018. The total amount of cases includes both current and new cases for the year.  

The Left party’s chairman stated that "The Bundeswehr has a far-right extremist problem." She believes that many soldiers no longer want to tolerate the far-right extremism of their comrades. The only solution that she sees, is removing the members who participate in far-right extremism or have penalties for those who engage in such activities. They want to throw out the old traditions of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht, and instill new traditions that do not pay tribute to the Nazis.

Some examples of far-right extremism have been recorder by fellow soldiers. The sentiments that the far-right soldiers have xenophobic themes and calls back to Nazism. Some include solders using the word “eradication”, when referring to immigrants. Others include soldiers saying to “Shoot African heads off”, when the German army was stationed in Mali. Currently there are 180,000 active duty members in the German army.

Bloc Positions

As with any country, Germany’s government has a variety of political parties. The major parties that are represented currently in the Bundestag are as follows: Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), The Left (LINKE), The Greens (GRÜNE), Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), The Blue Party (B), Liberal Conserative Reformers (LKR), Free Voters (FREIE WÄHLER), Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), Die PARTEI (DIE PARTEI), Pirate Party of Germany (PIRATEN), National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP).

Currently in the German Cabinet there are 7 members of the CDU, one of which is Angela Merkel, 6 are members of the SPD, and 3 members of the CSU.

The CDU is the liberal-conservative party in Germany. They are the go-to for a majority of the center-right people in Germany. They are the largest party.

The SPD is the second largest party in Germany. The members are social-democrats and believe in more progressive views for Germany and its citizens.

The CSU only operates in Bavaria, and is the smaller version of the CDU. The party is much more conservative on social issues than members of the CDU, and stems this from their deep catholic beliefs.

Questions to Consider

It is important to understand the issue as a whole. Why did this issue come to rise? Could this issue have been avoided if other actions had been taken? It is also important to look at the current actions that are being taken, and the actions that have been taken to combat the issue in the past. Understanding the successes and failures of actions will help you all to better craft resolutions that will be able to solve the problem with a long term solution, rather than one that will only momentarily solve the problem.

It is also important to consider the current political climate in Germany. What party has the majority? Could political factors play an important role in allowing this problem to persist? Having a strong grip of the political climate in Germany will allow you all to find solutions that will have a long lasting impact, without causing any tension between parties.

Lastly, I would like you all to consider how your actions will have a long lasting impact on the world. How will other countries be affected by the resolution? Would the actions taken help lead to other positive changes in the world? In committee these are the questions that must be considered in order to craft a resolution that will have a long lasting impact.

Further Research

When looking into this issue I would recommend not only looking at this issue in Germany but also in countries all across the world. Focus on solutions to this problem of far-right extremism across the globe and see how different countries have tried to combat this issue. I think it would be good to look into various groups that are actively trying to stop far-right extremism from spreading and see what methods have worked and which ones haven’t.

I would also look at things from a historical perspective. See how people have handled this issue throughout time and what methods were effective in nipping it in the bud. Also look into strategies that did not focus on violence, but rather those that took more peaceful methods. As a cabinet you will have to find a way to draft legislation that can reach the most people without seeming too overbearing on the population, so non-violent methods usually would work the best.

Lastly, I would look into the different strategies that far-right and neo-Nazi organizations employ to not get stopped. Knowing the tactics of the enemy will be important for drafting legislation that will be able to counteract their actions. Also look into why these organizations start and what they feed off of. By knowing this, you all will be able to find an alternative to counteract them.