German counter-extremism programme – a ’spying charter‘

By Liz Fekete & Sibille Merz

As we await Lord Carlile’s much trumpeted review of the Prevent strategy, anti-racist groups are revealing the sinister danger in Germany’s new counter-extremism strategy

The Berlin group ReachOut is amongst a number of victim support organisations which have refused to sign up to new grant conditions announced by the German federal government. Under a clause entitled ‚Affirming democracy against extremism‘ (Demokratieerklärung gegen Extremismus), all federally-funded associations will have to sign a statement in which they swear allegiance to the German constitution. The clause also instructs funded groups to abide by the same definition of extremism as that of the Federal Office for the Defence of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) which is the government’s domestic intelligence agency which gathers intelligence on threats concerning the democratic order, the existence and security of the federation or one of its states, and the peaceful coexistence of people. (more on