By Can Çakır, Magdeburg, Germany
Compact Magazine, under the editorial leadership of Jürgen Elsässer, organized a conference titled “Withdraw from NATO, Peace with Russia.” The conference, which took place in the city of Magdeburg, featured many important speakers from Germany and Russia.
We followed the conference on-site in Magdeburg. Also had the opportunity to have evaluations of Jürgen Elsässer, the Editor-in-Chief of Compact Magazine, personally.
The war council of peace advocates
Jürgen Elsässer, General Editor of Compact Magazine, made the opening speech at the conference. Elsässer emphasized that Russia’s operation was not only about Ukraine, but directed against the US. Elsässer reminded the audience that the US had incited wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and established military bases in several parts of the world.
After describing the current situation, Elsässer criticized the Olaf Scholz government: “NATO is marching. Biden commands, Scholz implements. Baerbock lies and Habeck laughs. … German citizens freeze so that the US can finance the war against Russia. However, Wall Street’s war, as evidenced by the attacks on Nord Stream, the first hostile move against Germany since 1945, is also a war against Germany.”
“56% of the participants oppose sanctions on Russia”
The first speech of the conference was delivered by Oliver Kirchner, a Member of Parliament for the Alternative Party for Germany (AfD) in the Saxony-Anhalt State. “This war is not ours,” started his words, and criticized the discrimination against views supporting Russia in Germany. He pointed out the backstory of Russia’s operation in Ukraine, discussing NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe and the color revolution in 2014 in Ukraine. Kirchner mentioned that participants in the 2014 events were paid $100 a day, and “As in Chile and other countries, this coup was directed behind the scenes.” Noting the growing dissent in East Germany, Kirchner mentioned that his party conducted a survey in Saxony-Anhalt with the INSA Research Company: “The majority of participants blamed the West for the escalation of conflict in Ukraine. 56% of the participants oppose arms shipments to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.”
“Germany should look up to Türkiye”
Kirchner also criticized the German government’s attitude in the face of attacks on the Nord Stream pipeline: “The Federal Government’s stance in the Ukraine crisis is dragging Germany and Saxony-Anhalt into a disaster in terms of energy policy.” Highlighting that the sanctions don’t hit Russia’s economy as expected by doers, and Russia’s increased trade with China and India during this process, Kirchner said, “Türkiye has taken a stance that Germany should look up to. Türkiye has a policy of neutrality in the Ukraine crisis and thus has ensured an agreement for grain shipments from Ukraine. In 2022, voices calling for the lifting of energy sanctions and opening of Nord Stream 2 for Germany’s interests, have grown louder.”
Martin Sellner: The decline of the West, multipolarity and independence of Europe
Another speaker at the conference was Martin Sellner, the Spokesperson for the “Identity Movement” (Identitäre Bewegung). Sellner criticized Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni over the migration crisis in Europe. Sellner said that despite election promises, Meloni failed to control irregular migration -focusing on arms supplies to Ukraine instead of addressing the irregular migration- and shifted the responsibility to the European Union. Sellner emphasized the need to draw a distinction between Atlanticist policies and anti-imperialists that prioritizes Europe.
Sellner spoke of “the decline of the West” and “multipolarity and the independence of Europe as a possible response” to that. He called for the prohibition of foreign interventions and underscored the importance of national values.
Sellner also claimed that Atlanticist circles suppressed Germany through historical guilt over Hitler fascism.
Thierry Meyssan: The US is provoking the Third World War
The last speaker of the conference was French researcher and journalist Thierry Meyssan.
Meyssan gave an account on how the US took the United Nations under control after the Second World War, and the ambitions of the US and the UK to reshape Europe and West Asia since World War I.
Reminding that the 14 principles of Wilson included the establishment of “Kurdistan” and “Israel” as states, Meyssan emphasized that the recent Israeli attacks on Palestine are based on US hegemony.
Meyssan highlighted that NATO is the “way” that the US keeps European countries under control. He mentioned the placement of nuclear weapons in Europe as an important moment in this regard.
Current tension with Russia contains the potential of a third world war, Meyssan said, and the German government is under US control in this process.
Elsässer on US involvement in Nord Stream attacks
In the second part of the conference, Jürgen Elsässer shared the latest findings on the Nord Stream attacks. Elsässer stated that Compact Magazine is closely following the issue as well as the judicial investigations and drew attention to the “US trace” behind the sabotage. Reminding that Biden saw the Nord Stream sabotage as “an opportunity to end Europe’s dependence on Russian gas”, Elsässer said:
“NATO organized the BALTOP Maneuvers in the Baltic Sea from July to September in 2022, consisting of 45 ships and 7 thousand soldiers or sailors. The US aircraft carrier USS Charge, which participated in the exercise, stayed in the East Sea until 22 September. And many US aircraft were also in the region at the time of the attack.
Elsässer also reminded that US journalist Seymour Hersh wrote that a five-man team was set up in the White House for the attack.
Discrimination against Russians
There are also Russian guests among the participants. Addressing the participants, the Representative of the Russia Emigrants Group for the AfD, Olga Petersen, stated, “Like an elephant in a China shop, Mrs. Baerbock is destroying relations with Russia that Helmut Kohl built with difficulties.” Petersen criticized particularly the Greens, saying, “Arms and drug trafficking used to be the realm of the mafia, now it’s in the Green Party’s program.” Olga Petersen also mentioned that the German government’s anti-Russian stance has also affected Russians living in Germany, as 63% of Russians participating in a survey said that they are experiencing discrimination.
The former president of PEN Russia, Vladimir Sergijenko was also among the speakers. Sergijenko mentioned experiencing such intense pressure for the first time in his 30 years of living in Germany. He shared that he has been labelled as far-right by various German media outlets: “When entering Germany, I was thoroughly searched at customs, and the cash on me was counted. Later, I read about the amount of cash on me in Spiegel magazine.”
Now I move on to my small interview with Jürgen Elsässer. Elsässer explained to me the background ideas that gave birth to such a conference. Firstly, on Russia:
De Gaulle and the Ramstein Base
“De Gaulle’s proposal in 1968/1969, that France should be a political member of NATO, but US soldiers should leave France, should also be considered for Germany. The presence of Americans is a deadly threat to Germany, as the entire Eastern front of NATO is managed from the Ramstein base in Rheinland-Pfalz. The air forces, electronic surveillance etc. This is a real stake driven into the heart of German territory. It may render Germany a possible target for Russia in any counterattack.”
“We will strengthen the anti-imperialist wing”
Jürgen Elsässer, secondly assessed the positioning of left and right wings in Germany:
“The majority of the Left Party (Die Linke) has already become pro-American. “Withdraw from NATO” used to be a leftist discourse, but there is no one left within the Left Party advocating that. Even Sahra Wagenknecht. On the right, the overall look is somewhat more positive, but not sufficient. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party still has a Transatlanticist, pro-American fraction within that maintains the ideology of the Cold War and sees Germany as an ally of the US. This political line has been inaccurate since 1989, as Germany has been nothing more than a captive of the US since then.
Compact Magazine’s commitment is to monitor these parties and tendencies carefully and strive to bring together the anti-imperialist and independent policies, both from the left or the right. We want to raise the banner of ‘Ami go home’”.
“Most of the left and right side with Israel and the US”
“We say what is necessary. We won’t allow our expressions to be banned. We want to bring the community together. Some of the things we say are not pleasing to the AfD. We don’t act according to a party’s line, what the truth is. On the current developments in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, Compact Magazine has a different perspective than others. Strangely, a large part of the right-wing positions itself entirely on the side of Israel and the US. Most of the leftists, too. However, we say that this war is not ours. We are not on the side of Israel, nor I am not a friend of Hamas. I find Hamas dangerous, but a middle ground should be found. A two-state solution is needed. I think Israel wants a world war. We are totally against that.”
Cover photo from the Compact Conference, center: Jürgen Elsässer, Source: Compact-online.de