Extra-parliamentary opposition

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Extra-parliamentary opposition ( APO ) describes an opposition ( Latin oppositio , `` opposing '') that takes place outside parliament because the APO either does not (yet) have a mouthpiece through the parties represented in parliament or other parties or does not want to have a mouthpiece at all.

Situation in Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany , an extra-parliamentary opposition can primarily invoke the fundamental rights of freedom of expression , freedom of the press and freedom of assembly in order to present its demands publicly. New political currents usually only begin their work outside the parliaments and under certain circumstances come through a state parliament to the German Bundestag or even to the Federal Government of Germany . An example of this path is the party Die Grünen , which was formed in January 1980 and later formed the federal government as Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen in a coalition with the SPD from 1998 to 2005.

The APO in the 1960s

APO call for demonstration

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the student movement , which is often synonymous with the APO, strengthened the most important extra-parliamentary opposition in Germany (which called itself APO ) from the mid-1960s . Its activities, which particularly originated in the university towns, reached their peak in 1967 and 1968. Often in reference to the time of their peak period and 68 movement called student APO was supported by the Socialist German Student Association ( SDS ), but also by other groups such as the Republican Club (RC), in particular in West Berlin played a key role.

The APO developed out of the opposition to the so-called grand coalition of CDU and SPD under Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger (CDU), which has ruled since 1966, and the emergency legislation planned by this government , which ultimately opposed the protests of the APO and the vote of the only small opposition party FDP was enforced. The almost lack of opposition in the German Bundestag and the widespread feeling of not being adequately represented by any of the parties in the Bundestag encouraged the extra-parliamentary opposition to gain strength.

Furthermore, the APO called for a democratization of university politics (a motto of the student movement, which was supposed to show the encrustation of the structures at the universities, was: " Under the gowns - mustard of 1000 years "). The parents' generation, who were only interested in economic reconstruction, were accused of social repression of the crimes of National Socialism , and in particular of the fact that former National Socialists still held high and highest offices. The APO criticized the emergency legislation with its extensive disenfranchisement and control of the citizens in the event of an event, which aroused the association with fascism. In addition, she joined the global protests against "Western imperialism " and the growing danger of nuclear war due to the nuclear armament of the rich industrial nations, especially the USA , and the protest against the Vietnam War and showed solidarity with the North Vietnamese guerrillas against the USA. In addition to other protagonists of the revolutionary liberation movements of the so-called Third World , such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara , the leader of the Vietnamese Revolution and founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Ho Chi Minh , and Mao Tse-Tung , who was responsible for the cultural revolution in China , also acted had initiated as figureheads on protest marches. However, influential student leaders such as Rudi Dutschke and Hans-Jürgen Krahl criticized not only the inadequately advanced democratization process in the West, but also the communism in the East, falsified by bureaucratism , especially Soviet communism, which had already been discredited by the murderous Stalinist era.

Very soon it wasn't just individual political areas in which the student movement intervened in the social discussion. It expanded its criticism and called for fundamental social changes in a socialist-revolutionary sense. New forms of coexistence were tried, as well as new forms of protest and political action. In particular, the " Commune I " with spokesmen such as Fritz Teufel , Dieter Kunzelmann and Rainer Langhans made a name for itself. Their political happenings and actions led to court proceedings several times, which were also used as a platform for spectacular protests.

The APO also found support and theoretical orientation in part from intellectuals and philosophers such as Ernst Bloch , Theodor W. Adorno , Herbert Marcuse , the representative of French existentialism Jean-Paul Sartre and others (cf. also Frankfurt School and Critical Theory ).

Overall, the West German APO was essentially restricted to rather young people such as students and schoolchildren . It could hardly gain a foothold in the working class and in the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois milieu of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, some chroniclers of the time, such as Jutta Ditfurth , contradict this thesis and include the workers (trainees, etc.) in the political movement.

It was different in France . There the unions showed solidarity with the student movement at times , which in May 1968 led to an almost revolutionary situation and, in the wake of serious unrest, street fights and mass strikes, to a state crisis. One of the protagonists of the German and French APO, the Franco-German activist and later Green politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit , was temporarily refused entry to France in 1968 on the initiative of President Charles de Gaulle .

Further members of the APO were Joseph 'Joschka' Fischer , Federal Foreign Minister from 1998 to 2005, and Matthias Beltz († 2002), a well-known cabaret artist in the late 1970s and 1980s .

Exacerbation of the conflict

A turning point in the history of the German APO came when on June 2, 1967, during the demonstrations against the state visit of the Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot by the police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras in West Berlin. The student movement became more radical, became increasingly militant and turned increasingly against the Springer press , namely the Bild newspaper , which was held responsible for the heated mood against the APO in the population. Less than a year after Benno Ohnesorg's death, one of the most prominent spokesmen of the SDS , Rudi Dutschke, was seriously injured by the worker Josef Bachmann, also in West Berlin, when he was shot with a pistol. Dutschke survived the assassination attempt, but died in 1979 of the long-term effects of the injuries that had caused him to suffer from epilepsy .

After 1969, the APO in its previous form no longer played a significant role in the Federal Republic of Germany, although extra-parliamentary opposition activities continued to exist. Since the 1970s, new social movements have taken up at least individual areas of politics and society, some of which had already been thematized by the student movement. Newly added from the 1970s were the subject areas and extra-parliamentary fields of action of environmental protection ( ecology , eco-movement ) and atomic energy ( opponents of nuclear power ), in which many former APO activists also found themselves.

From the end of the SDS to the founding of the Greens, from the end of the 1960s to the present

The SDS split up after 1968. Various competing left circles and small communist splinter parties ( K-groups ) emerged, which in the political landscape, at least at the parliamentary level, had no significant influence.

The " March through the institutions " propagated by Rudi Dutschke was attempted in a certain way by those who, around 1980, set up the party "Die Grünen" (today Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) as an organizational form of the anti-nuclear , peace movement and others new social movements of the 1970s and 1980s formed. Some of the founders were already active in APO. In 1983 the Greens were elected to the German Bundestag, where they saw themselves as a parliamentary variety of the "movement", initially still seeing their roots and focus in the new social movements. Within a few years the Greens established themselves as a parliamentary force. Already in the initial phase after the founding of the party, a right-wing conservative wing of the party split off. Fundamental conflicts between so-called “ Fundis ” (fundamentalists) and “ Realos ” (real politicians) have led to the withdrawal of prominent eco-socialists from the party to this day, especially in the early 1990s. The accompanying adjustment and increasing willingness to compromise on the part of the Greens with regard to conventional socio-political structures brought the Greens on the one hand an increased increase in voters, on the other hand an increasing contradiction in the extra-parliamentary movements to which they once invoked - and in some cases still do so today to do. Especially since they were involved in the federal government as Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen in the coalition with the SPD from 1998 and in this coalition also no longer or too little represented original topics and concerns of the former APO in the eyes of many, demonstrations of the new extra-parliamentary movements also against the politics of the Greens, especially after their consent to participate in the war in Kosovo (1999) and the war in Afghanistan (2002).

Radicalized factions

A small number of APO activists around Andreas Baader , Gudrun Ensslin and others, who were later joined by the journalist Ulrike Meinhof , went underground after several arson attacks on department stores and organized the “armed group ” as the Red Army Faction (RAF) Resistance". Bank robberies, kidnappings and finally also assassinations of protagonists of the German economy, politics and justice were to the account of the RAF and other similar underground groups like the " Movement June 2nd " or the Revolutionary Cells (RZ) until the 1980s .

Extra-parliamentary opposition and mass movements from the 1980s

As a countermovement to the Greens, who chose a parliamentary route, the “ Autonomous ” established themselves outside the parliaments in the u. a. Anti-nuclear, social struggles, tenant rights, international solidarity. Over the decades, these have passed into all areas of the extra-parliamentary opposition. In order to reduce the influence of a new opposition and to control it, a lot of money flowed into " non-governmental organizations " in the last few decades. In rare cases, exposed persons were offered posts and mandates. In some cases, the activities of the APO are even countered or adapted by state institutions. A strong anti-fascist movement developed in the early to late 1990s, see “ New Social Movements ”. In the case of Sven Giegold , a co-founder of Attac Germany, it was possible to get an extra-parliamentary person from the 1990s APO for the Greens into the European Parliament . Attac then lost its influence and was z. B. inherited by " Occupy Germany ". In the meantime, the Greens have hardly any influence on decisive movements outside the parliaments, but they have always been among the beneficiaries in the form of votes. A misunderstanding between APO activists and their sympathizers. In the area of ​​tension between the APO and Parliament, the Pirate Party Germany became strong; these brought it from the state to over 30,000 members and in several parliaments.

Like the protests against Stuttgart 21 (stay up!) And z. For example, Hamburg in the winter of 2013/14 (toilet brush revolt) prove that the "APO" is now well established in the population and there are real popular movements, especially in the urban centers, without parliamentary parties having any influence on these movements . In election results, Greens have recently benefited from these movements in the form of votes, but are no longer understood as the parliamentary arm of the extra-parliamentary movements. In basic positions on economic and security issues, surveys and studies show, the parliamentary parties isolate themselves more and more from essential positions in the population. The parliamentary parties are less and less able to implement their basic claim to determine the political will-formation of the people . Parliament now only takes the concerns of the electorate as an interest that is at best equal to one another. B. to the interests of military allies, business lobbyists, judiciary lobbyists, executive lobbyists, foreign policy directives, reason of state and the like, this is acknowledged with increasing alienation. So much for the accusations of the extra-parliamentary opposition against the established parties.

In order to strengthen parliament, political parties with a large number of members are required. No APO has yet achieved this without becoming parliamentary, only the banned SRP and the also banned KPD were very influential and strong political extra-parliamentary parties, involuntarily due to the ban. The K groups of the 1970s were partly absorbed by the Greens and later by the Left. The Communist Party of Germany of the Communist Manifesto was founded in 1848 as an extra-parliamentary internationalist political force. The suffragettes were also out of parliament, as women did not have the right to vote at the time . In Turkey z. B. many of the active parties in the APO are now banned parties. This is also the case with the eponymous APO in West Germany, it was a reaction to the KPD, which was banned in 1956.

The conservative protest movements of sections of society that feel no longer represented in current politics by either the government or the opposition are described by some media as a new form of extra-parliamentary opposition.

The APO and the State Security

The processing of the files of the East German State Security showed that a number of members of the APO had contacts with the Stasi. How the contacts between the APO and the Stasi are to be assessed and to what extent the West German APO was influenced by the Stasi is controversial in research. Hubertus Knabe takes the view that the APO was infiltrated and significantly influenced by the Stasi. Groups like the DKP or the West German peace movement were also financially supported by the GDR .

See also


  • Otto Wilfert , Gerhard Szczesny : Annoying Left. An overview of the extra-parliamentary opposition of intellectuals, students and trade unionists . Asche-Verlag for Political Texts, Mainz 1968
  • APO address book, Germany, Austria, Switzerland . Pamphlet-Verlag, Munich 1969
  • APO-Press. Information service for the extra-parliamentary opposition . Maringer, Munich 1968–1969
  • Danny Walther: The “Fiedler Debate” or a little attempt to write down the “Cipher 1968” a little from the left. Leipzig 2007; Abstract and full text (based on the so-called “Fiedler Debate” of 1968, the tension between (revolutionary) politics, art, literature and aesthetics is comprehensively examined.).
  • The student protests of the 1960s. Archive guide, chronicle. Bibliography. Edited by Thomas P. Becker and Ute Schröder. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2000. ISBN 978-3-412-07700-6 .
  • Boris Spernol: State of Emergency of Democracy. The protest against the emergency laws and the question of the Nazi past . Klartext-Verlag, Essen 2008, ISBN 978-3-89861-962-2 .
  • Guido Viale: The dreams are back on the streets. Open questions from the German and Italian (!) Left after 1968. Wagenbach, Berlin 1979 (very important book by someone who was really involved).
  • Michael Ruetz : "You just have to look this guy in the face" - APO Berlin 1966-1969. Zweausendeins Verlag, Frankfurt 1980 (photo book with texts).
  • Che, Shah,! @ # $% ^ & *. The sixties between Cocktail and Molotov. Editing: E. Siepmann, I. Lusk, J. Holtfreter, M. Schmidt, G. Dietz. Elefanten Press, BilderLeseBuch, Berlin 1984. ISBN 3-88520-060-0 .
  • Peter Mosler: What we wanted, what we became. Evidence of the student revolt. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1988.
  • Michael Ruetz : 1968 - An era is visited. Zweiausendeins Verlag, Frankfurt 1997. Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, 1998.
  • Lutz Schulenburg (ed.): Change life, change the world! 1968 - documents and reports. Edition Nautilus Hamburg, 1998. ISBN 3-89401-289-7 . (Here the different currents of this international revolt are gathered.)
  • Rudolf Sievers (Ed.): 1968 - an encyclopedia. Suhrkamp TB, Frankfurt 2004. ISBN 3-518-12241-X . (This book provides some of the most important texts that were formative at the time.)
  • Stephan Eisel , Gerd Langguth : Myth '68: on APO and its consequences. Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Sankt Augustin 2001.
  • Martin Klimke, Joachim Scharloth (Ed.): 1968. A handbook on the cultural and media history of the student movement. Stuttgart 2007: Metzler. ISBN 3-47602-066-5 .
  • Jochen Zimmer (Ed.): Campfire in the atomic age. Union and social democratic youth groups under the influence of the ApO. Trikont Verlag Duisburg 2009.
  • Jens Benicke : From Adorno to Mao. About the bad repeal of the anti-authoritarian movement. ça ira Verlag 2010. ISBN 978-3-924627-83-6 .
  • Reiner Zilkenat : Historical research on the revolution 1918/19 and its reception in the time of the extra-parliamentary opposition , online at workerscontrol.net
  • Michael Hewener: The West Berlin New Left and the Stasi - The fight for the "Republican Club" . In: Work - Movement - History , Issue I / 2017, pp. 22–44.
  • Rainer Holze: The APO archive in the university archive of the FU Berlin . In: Communications sponsorship group archives and libraries on the history of the labor movement . No. 57 (March 2020), pp. 11-14. ISSN  1869-3709
  • Tilman Fichter , Siegward Lönnendonker : History of the SDS 1946-1970. With a foreword by Klaus Meschkat and a part of the picture by Klaus Mehner. (1st edition 1977) Extended and revised edition, Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2017, ISBN 978-3-8498-1259-1 .
  • Tilman Fichter, Siegward Lönnendonker: Dutschkes Germany: The Socialist German Student Union, the National Question and Criticism of the GDR from the Left - A pamphlet on German politics with documents from Michael Mauke to Rudi Dutschke. Klartext, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0481-1 .
  • Siegward Lönnendonker, Bernd Rabehl, Jochen Staadt : The anti-authoritarian revolt. The Socialist German Student Union after separating from the SPD. Volume 1: 1960-1967. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 2002, ISBN 3-531-13301-2 .
  • Siegward Lönnendonker: Left-wing intellectual departure between "cultural revolution" and "cultural destruction". The Socialist German Student Union (SDS) in post-war history (1946–1969). A symposium. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 1998, ISBN 3-531-13099-4 .
  • Tilman Fichter: SDS and SPD. Partiality beyond the party. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1988, ISBN 3-531-11882-X .
  • Jürgen Briem: The SDS. History of the most important student association in the FRG from 1945 to 1961. Pedagogical-extra-Buchverlag, 1976.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Hewener: The West Berlin New Left and the Stasi - The fight for the "Republican Club" . In: Work - Movement - History , Issue I / 2017, pp. 22–44.
  2. Holger Witzel : Pegida is like '68 from the right . Stern.de from October 27, 2015, accessed on January 6, 2016.
    Hans-Joachim Maaz : Pegida on the couch: A conservative APO? In: Deutschlandradio Kultur from January 23, 2015, accessed on January 6, 2016.
    Alan Posener : What Pegida and the 68ers have in common . In: Die Welt from January 17, 2015, accessed on January 6, 2016.
  3. Hubertus Knabe : The Infiltrated Republic: Stasi in the West , Munich, 2001.