Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How German xenophobia is made: Christian Democrat/Social Union against dual citizenship

Germany's mainstream conservatives are fascinating. They have managed to govern the country for most of the post war decades, all by themselves early on, then in various coalitions, several of which are being called "grand" in English because they are with the Social Democrats, giving these governments super majorities.

The Christian parties Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union do not have a monopoly on xenophobia. Take, for example, the Social Democrats' Mr. Sarrazin with his crude anti-immigrant conjectures and his disdain for the poor.

The Christian Democrats even have some members from immigrant backgrounds, which in part goes to show what Americans have figured out a long time ago: if you let them in,  immigrants tend to be more patriotic than other citizens.

All of this notwithstanding, the CDU/CSU duo has played with xenophobia for decades, as much and even more so than the current populist right "du jour", the bad gals and boys of the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Here is a quick, not necessarily complete list:
Accusing legal immigrants from poor Eastern European EU states and asylum seekers of flocking to Germany to be lazy and just collect generous social services benefits? Check.

Trashing Southern Europeans as lazy, while snapping up cheap property? Check.

Reducing access of foreigners to social services, including new limits on EU citizens despite official policy of "equal treatment"? Check.

Not giving the first generation of migrants from the 1960s German citizenship until decades later? Check.

Raging against majority immigrant neighborhoods in German cities, while tweeting cute photos of themselves in San Francisco's China Town? Check.

Advocating profiling of people of color in public? Check.

Advocating torture (openly in the 1970s to 1990s)? Check.

Demanding abolishing dual citizenship for children born in the country? Check.

The latter has become a big topic within the past months, and it is primarily directed against Germany's Turkish minority. The party chairman of the CSU is the latest to chime in with his call for a ban.

He claims that dual citizenship is becoming the rule and that it devalues "the German passport".

Yet, only just over 4 million citizens (out of a population of about 83 million) have dual citizenship, and around a quarter of those are of Turkish origin. So far, not a single one of the politicians who want to ban or increase the hurdles for dual citizenship has been able to resist singling out Turkish people in this context.

[Update 3/12/2017] The 2017 national elections are casting a long shadow. "Christian Democrats" are once again talking about abolishing dual citizenship. Last time around, the blogster suggested to offer every politician opposed to dual citizenship a second passport, preferably a British or an American one.

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