By Chelsea Albers, JMI Intern and Florida State University Senior in International Affairs, German & Spanish
Several months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Germany for three weeks with Beyond Borders – a student exchange between Florida State University and the Technical University of Dresden located in the German state of Saxony which lies in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). While in Dresden, we were privileged with a tour of the Saxon State Parliament and a private meeting with members of the Green Party, Social Democratic Party, and Christian Democratic Party.Upon meeting these representatives, the first to speak was the leader of the Green Party who briefly introduced herself then boldly stated “and we are NOT Communist!” While the Greens do not identify themselves as Communist, there is a party who does. I was stunned to discover that not only do Communist and Fascist parties exist, but they actually hold a significant number of seats in the Saxon Parliament. There are 132 members of this state’s Parliament, of which 29 seats are held by Die Linke “The Left” (Communist) and 8 seats by the growing National Democratic Party of Germany (Fascist).So what is my point? Not to misrepresent Germany as a nation of radicals–by no means does Saxony represent Germany as a whole, and the largest percentage of the votes in Saxony belong to the Christian Democratic Union (politically closest to our Democrat Party). The point is extreme ideologies still threaten global freedom. The fact that they can survive in a country that has been torn apart under both Communism and Fascism within the last 80 years is unsettling. It is important for Americans to be aware that these ideologies did not die at the end of WWII or with the fall of the Berlin Wall; rather, we must continually be aware of their existence and their threat to the free world.