Rethinking one's own lifestyle

After the trial against the right-wing extremist "Freital Group", a danger of repetition cannot be ruled out. Social researcher Kollmorgen sees social cohesion as not just a task for the state.

Following the trial of the far-right "Freital Group," social researcher Raj Kollmorgen urges greater cohesion among society's middle classes. "The danger of a repetition has not been banished with the verdict," he told the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" (Friday). On Wednesday, the Dresden Higher Regional Court had imposed multi-year prison sentences on eight defendants who had carried out a total of five attacks on refugee shelters and people in 2015.

Not only state task

It cannot be "the task of the state alone to counter these developments," Kollmorgen said. Society must "discuss the conditions under which we live", he says. This includes not only perceiving rural areas as problematic, he said. The media must also tell "innovative stories" from there "and not just send a broadcast van when there were riots."

At the same time, the researcher emphasized that the situation of medium-sized cities in several regions is problematic. "From the fire department to the choir, there is a lack of new blood," he explained. In the milieus from which the perpetrators in Freital also came, many people felt neglected during the influx of refugees. In their perception, "resources were mobilized for strangers" that were denied to them themselves. "This feeling of degradation is the humus on which xenophobic violence thrives."

"Prosperity is no guarantee of liberality"

Kollmorgen also referred to an "educated and propertied middle class" that "represents conservative to nationalistic values in parts. The foreign is tolerated, even considered attractive, as long as it is exotic or ornamental". However, when one's lifestyle is challenged or beliefs are questioned, "people turn away and celebrate the homeland". This milieu, he said, exists in Dresden, but also in Swabia or Baden. "Prosperity is no guarantee of liberality," says researcher.

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