In This Review

We Are the People: The Rise of the  AfD in Germany
We Are the People: The Rise of the AfD in Germany
By Penny Bochum
Haus, 2020, 90 pp.

Recent years have seen a flood of books and articles on extreme-right parties—a torrent out of proportion to the meager influence these parties wield. Bochum, a German political researcher, argues that the future dangers posed by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) demand serious attention. But it is hard to see why. In this slim volume, she reports that other parties perpetually exclude the AfD from participating in the German federal government. Brexit has been such an embarrassment that extreme-right parties of reasonable size in Germany—including the AfD—no longer advocate leaving the EU. The AfD’s other policy aims have met with equally little success, except, at first glance, the imposition of greater restrictions on immigration. Yet even there, Bochum might have added, these measures passed not because of extreme-right pressure but because most Germans favor strict controls on immigration. Riven by factionalism and scandals, the AfD is now, in the author’s words, “self-destructing.” It may be admirable to sound the alarm about the rise of the far right in Germany, but is it still necessary?