January 19, 2020

ALL COMEDY IS CONSERVATIVE (profanity alert):

THE POLITICAL PRANKSTER TAKING ON GERMANY'S FAR RIGHT (Jessica Bateman,  JANUARY 19, 2020, Ozy)

Die Partei -- which translates as "the party" -- was founded in 2004 by a group of German comedians, and satirizes the world of politics with humorous campaigns and policy suggestions. After Aschenbach was elected in the East German city of Dresden, however, the political prankster soon made headlines around the world for a very serious reason. He put forward a successful motion declaring that Dresden has a "Nazi emergency," meaning that the city, which is home to the anti-Islam Pegida movement and where a quarter of the population voted for the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, has a problem with extremism on a level with the climate emergency. "I've been interviewed by Russians, Canadians -- everyone!" he says.

Die Partei is known in Germany for its joke policies, such as a pledge to annul votes if voters cannot answer questions such as "What is the capital of Paris?" It prints posters with slogans such as "Yes to Europe! No to Europe!" But last year it won enough votes to gain two seats in the European Parliament and attracted 9 percent of the youth vote.

And as it enters the world of real-life politics, its stunts have taken a more serious turn, and it is quickly emerging as a thorn in the side of Germany's far right. In 2017, Die Partei members took over 31 of AfD's Facebook groups a week before the country's election. And after finding out the party was exploiting a loophole in Germany's political financing rules by selling gold coins and bars online, Die Partei began selling 100 euro notes for 105 euros. This led to AfD being reprimanded.

"I think satire can be more honest because it doesn't have to struggle for favor," says Aschenbach, a lanky figure who teams his politician's shirt and tie with battered DM boots and frayed jeans.

Posted by at January 19, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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