Parks, train stations, or streets are part of public space. Oftentimes, no one feels responsible for what happens in those spaces. In situations of conflicts, the majority of passers-by remains passive, victims of right-wing extremist assaults and insults are left on their own.
The democratic reappropriation of spaces where right-wing extremist activities happens, as well as the strengthening of civic courage are two essential efforts of MBR’s work.
Right-wing extremists aim to secure right-wing extremist content a permanent presence in communal and public spaces by specific strategies of seizing space. They try to establish themselves as ‘normal’ clientele in social space. Newly opened and already established right-wing extremist stores, bars, tattoo studios, band rehearsal spaces, etc. are starting point and expression of a subtle occupation of public space. Dealing with this right-wing extremist infrastructure presents a particular challenge to politicians and civic society, and as such constitutes and important field of MBR’s counseling services. The existence of the infrastructure increases the traffic of a public oriented towards right-wing extremism, and thus increases the potential threat for potential victims of right-wing extremist or racist violence. It is possible that as a result, a permanent space of fear is established threatening specific groups of society.
Such spaces of fear demand specific action. Long-term processes in which local actors of civic society, communal politics, and administration are involved, such as intercultural festivities, presence of alternative youth cultures, a topical redesign of the space, etc., help to raise awareness and communicate in the media that civic society is not willing to give up on public space. MBR supports such processes conceptually as well as by moderating them.
Right-wing extremist assaults occur mainly in public space. Once they are noted, MBR supports those affected and cooperated with the counselling centre for victims of right-wing extremist, racist or anti-Semitic violence ReachOut. In addition to psychological care, the victims are encouraged not to accept physical or verbal right-wing extremist violence, but to react with juridical means. In accordance with the affected, MBR helps to make such incidents public on the level of local politics to make sure right-wing extremism remains present on the agenda as an issue concerning civic society in its entirety.