News Release

Berlin Wall Anniversary

MARTIN A. LEE
The author of The Beast Reawakens, a recent book about neofascism and right-wing extremism in Europe and the U.S., Lee said: “Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany is a deeply troubled nation, vexed by high unemployment, a stagnant economy, acrimonious relations between eastern and western residents, a charged politics of ethnicity, and an unfulfilled quest for a ‘normal’ identity. Influential German officials, eager to deflect attention from their own policy failures, continue to scapegoat foreigners and stir up xenophobic fears that are fueling neo-Nazi and anti-immigrant attacks. At the same time, a conservative nationalist groundswell — which harkens back to an imperial tradition that predated Hitler — is gaining momentum. Riding the crest of a populist backlash against economic globalization, those at the forefront of Germany’s post-Cold War nationalist resurgence do not rely on old Nazi symbols and slogans. This kind of extremism is more difficult to recognize — and potentially far more dangerous — than racist violence by skinhead gangs.”

MICHAEL SIMMONS
Director of European Programs for the American Friends Service Committee, Simmons said: “The Berlin Wall has come down to be replaced by an economic wall that has created a two-tiered economic system in Eastern Europe, between countries in the north and those in the south… While the Eastern European countries clearly had a lot of problems, things like housing, educational and day-care subsidies are being eliminated. These societies were never given a chance to find their own way, rather than taking their cues from the United States. Women are being pushed out of the workforce and into stereotypical roles… While the Warsaw Pact dissolved, NATO has expanded, perpetuating a curtain in Europe. It’s extremely dangerous, as NATO seems to be ignoring the legitimate concerns of Russia about NATO expansion. Further, joining the European Union has been basically used as a way to compel Eastern European countries to join NATO.”
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ALISTAIR MILLAR
A host of peace groups are today tearing down a replica of the Berlin Wall in front of the Capitol in Washington, “The Wall of Denial,” to protest what they charge has been persistent U.S. militarism, a decade after the Berlin Wall was demolished. Program director for the Washington office of the Fourth Freedom Forum, Millar said: “The Cold War ended a decade ago, yet thousands of nuclear weapons remain intact, on hair-trigger alert, and poised to launch at a moment’s notice. Russian weapons are improperly safeguarded while the United States continues to develop scores of new nuclear weapons. Sadly, the risk of a catastrophic nuclear accident has actually increased since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167