The German establishment is becoming increasingly concerned by the nationalistic Reichsbürger-bewegung, according to a report by the regime mouthpiece Deutsche Welle.
DW, citing statistics compiled by the Bundesverfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or Stasi for short), claims that the Reichsbürger is ‘preparing an army’ for ‘judgement day’ and can boast of a 56% increase in membership.
The group first emerged in West Germany in 1985, and the crux of their argument is that the current government, constitution and all affiliated institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany are in fact illegitimate. They assert that the Weimar Constitution of 1919 remains the de jure legal code of the land.
And however idiosyncratic this might seem, they do actually have a point. In 1973 the Federal Courts ruled that, technically speaking, the constitution that was in effect from 1919 to 1945, along with all of its provisions and institutions still constitute the de jure German state. However, given that the practicalities of governance under said constitution are all but non-existent, the Federal Republic and its 1949 constitution are Germany’s de facto state composites.
The legal technicalities are complex and legal experts have written extensively about them. For a more detailed description of the 1973 ruling, please read the following:
The most important aspects of this story are that, firstly, the group are ardent nationalists, and secondly that they’re striking the fear of God into the established order. Merkel’s regime is perhaps finally starting to understand that its actions may have consequences.
According to Germany’s Thought Police, the Reichsbürgerbewegung can boast of over 15,600 members. The group is most popular in Bavaria, the home of German nationalism, where it’s thought there are over 3,500 Reichsbürger members.