Recently, The European Conservative had the opportunity to speak with Petr Bystron, a German MP representing Bavaria for the anti-establishment Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD), where he currently holds their foreign affairs portfolio. The interview was conducted by Editorial Board member Benjamin Harnwell. It has been edited for clarity and length.
Firstly, congratulations on your re-election.
Thank you! But in the case of the AfD, you should not say ‘congratulations.’ You should rather say: ‘my heartfelt sympathies.’ To be elected for the AfD is like when you were in the Middle Ages, storming a castle—you just get hot oil, stones, and shit poured over your head.
That’s pretty much the populist experience of elections these days. I want to start with the violent mob that was rampaging outside of your family home recently. I’ve seen some of the photos, and it does look absolutely horrific. Could you describe what happened?
First of all, this was at my private home where I’ve been living for more than twenty years. Secondly, it’s not the first time that I have been attacked here.
This is quite the daily agenda in Germany now. The first time this sort of thing happened to me was in 2017 when the window of my car was smashed at night. That same year, someone threw paint over my house. More disturbingly, someone figured out the whole route my son—who was then eight years old—took from my house to his school and covered it with Antifa stickers.
The message was clear: “We know where you live. We know where your kids are going to school.” These things are happening every other day.
So, these acts of intimidation are not only against you, but also against your children?
Yes, of course. Just look at the videos of this protest. There was a violent mob, probably drawn from across Europe. These people are the same people who have thrown concrete bricks at policemen, who are part of militant Antifa. They are really violent. They threw paint against our house, they ignited small bombs, they fought with the police in front of our house. The scene was like a civil war—like something from a war zone.
Am I right in saying that there were nearly a thousand protesters?
So, that’s a seriously coordinated event, then.
Yes, of course, they were coordinated. But you know, I’m not blaming the Antifa. They are just doing their “job.” I’m blaming the official authorities. It was an officially permitted demonstration of leftist extremists—and they were allowed to go through a residential area.
The usual way for such a big demonstration to be conducted is to hold it some distance further away because there are special security measures that come into play where a member of parliament lives—demonstrations are not legally allowed on these roads. But in this case, the authorities allowed it knowing that I live there. It was on purpose. The people who allowed this are to blame.
Has anybody from the security services reached out to you to apologise?
Absolutely not. The scandal is that two weeks beforehand, there was some alert within the federal secret police, and they wrote me two emails saying I might be in danger and therefore shouldn’t attend some election campaign rallies. They even sent two policemen some 650 kilometres from Berlin to Munich, just to accompany me to a few meetings, because there was obviously a concrete danger. They had some information that militant Antifa is planning something against me.
The authorities allowed this mob to come down the street in front of my house.
Despite the police knowing that my family and I are in danger, the authorities still allowed this mob to come down the street in front of my house. This shows just how highly politically coordinated the oppression is against opposition in Germany.
It’s not about some spontaneous kids running around—it’s about systematic oppression of opposition.
Encouraged by the state?
Yes, of course, by the state. And this is not the only occasion. In the summer there was a really big demonstration in Berlin against the COVID measures of the government. They were absolutely friendly. The people were wearing pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and peace signs—a lot of them were former voters of Greens, of the Left—they used to be in the peace movement in the ’80s. And many of them were physically beaten by the police really heavily. The authorities said, ‘yes, well, because they were not wearing masks and they didn’t observe social distancing.’
And at that exact same place, just one week later, there was a big demonstration in favour of LGBT supporters with sixty thousand people, a crowd very close together, not wearing masks, not observing social distancing—but with the difference that this protest was not against the government. And this time, the police did nothing, absolutely nothing. They just escorted the demonstrators.
Once again, what we see is a really heavy oppression of everything that is in opposition to the government—and the government using force, using special police forces to beat people, even kids, old people, women, sitting peacefully on the ground. We have all the videos. Anyone can see everything that happened.
It went so far that even a member of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights said he is alarmed about it and started to collect all the facts.
What did that mob outside your family home—almost a thousand people—what do you think they wanted to achieve?
Well, [laughs], it’s quite obvious that they want to scare us so that we stop our opposition activities.
Do you have any intention of being intimidated into submission by these violent mobs?
What can I say? Whenever there has been a demonstration in front of a public audience, a public meeting, I have always gone right through the middle of the mob. I refuse to go through the back door. That’s my answer.
Let me put something to you, and you can say whether it is fair or not. It seems to me—not just in Germany, but here in Italy, in the UK, in the United States—that these supposedly anti-fascist movements are so morally convinced that they are unquestionably right that they are blinded to the possibility that they are increasingly resembling the very fascist movements that they believe themselves to be opposing.
This is a good question. I’m asking myself every day if they really can believe so firmly that they are right. Because, in fact, they believe they are conducting a fight against capitalism and against globalism. So, I’m asking myself every day if it can be that they believe they are fighting against the system. Because, in fact, they are the fools of the system, they are the henchmen of the system. They are helping the system to oppress opposition.
When you think about that violent mob outside of your home and you close your eyes, do you think of these protesters as anti-fascists or as fascists—is it possible even to tell the difference anymore between the two groups?
The preposition ‘anti’ doesn’t belong to the name of these people. Of course they are behaving in a fascist way—they are fascists! And the funny thing is that I said this already in 2017.
I wrote a Facebook post showing the logo of the former Nazi organisation, the SA—Adolf Hitler’s ‘stormtroopers’ in the ’30s. Their logo is quite similar to the Antifa logo, and I put these two logos side by side, and I wrote that the SA is back again but now it is calling itself ‘Antifa.’ As a result, my home was searched by the police—completely illegally. I took them to court afterwards and I won: the police had illegally searched my home.
This was just the first time. But in the last four years we have experienced it several times. It is really a huge problem.
Were you an MP at the time?
No, I wasn’t an MP. It was during my first election campaign. It was quite obvious what was happening, because the then-Bavarian interior minister was actually my direct rival in the election. He was the number one on the list of the conservative party. So, you know, he could just send the police to my home. And I was the then head of the AfD in Bavaria, not yet a member of Parliament.
To be precise, the other guy was from the Christian Social Union?
Yes, the CSU. The interior minister was the number one on the CSU’s candidate list for the Bundestag, so, my direct competitor.
And he was re-elected, I would imagine.
No, he wasn’t. That was nice: I won and he was defeated.
Yeah, that was great stuff.
So, the AfD took votes from the CSU?
Of course, we took from them some 12% because—just to explain—in the voting system in Germany, you have two votes. And with the first vote they won the regions; but no one from their list came in.
Just out of interest, how many MPs are there in Bavaria?
It’s 116 out of 735. Forty-five of them for the CSU, 12 for the AfD.
Why do you think people find the AfD controversial? Is there something from your perspective that people are misunderstanding about the AfD?
Oh, this is quite easy. People are afraid of the AfD because we have been subjected to a heavy media bashing over the last three years, and we are systematically pushed into a corner: the ‘right-wing corner.’ This is a proven strategy of the Establishment. They did this in the ’90s with the party of Republicans, and in the 2000s, the other party, which was called Bund freier Bürger. And the funny thing is, the Republicans was a spin-off of the CSU, and the Bund freier Bürger a spin-off from the liberals.
The same people—literally the same members of parliament who had been for years highly reputable persons in public life—became Nazis overnight when they switched to another party. And the same with the liberals.
So now the Establishment is doing exactly the same thing with AfD members.
Is the hard-left aggression of these ‘wokeist’ mobs getting more pervasive than the mainstream media reports?
The mainstream media do not report it at all anymore. Even before this year there was very little reporting: the first attack in 2017 on my home there was just one article in a Munich-based newspaper; of this most recent attack, nobody whatsoever reported anything. We have five large daily and two weekly newspapers in Munich, and not one of them reported about it.
So, the mainstream German press is deliberately hiding from the German people the reality of what is going on, on the ground.
Of course, of course.
Tell me a bit then about your philosophy, about what you are doing in the Bundestag. What are you working on?
I am responsible for foreign policy, so I am trying to connect all those parties across Europe and the U.S., to connect us all together.
We are fighting in the Bundestag for freedom. It’s not about the Right against the Left.
We are fighting in the Bundestag for freedom. It’s not about the Right against the Left. It’s more libertarian against oppression. It’s those who favour freedom against those who support oppression. It’s about people against the government, at the moment.
Many people around the world are increasingly seeing the populist-nationalist anti-establishment battles in religious terms—a global movement that I suggest has Steve Bannon as its intellectual godfather and Archbishop Viganò as its honorary chaplain. You’re Catholic. How important is your faith to you—and does it inform how you see the world?
Our Christian faith should be very important to all of us—all so-called ‘western’ values are based on Christianity and Roman law. Our complete moral codex, our values, our culture, the way we are managing our coexistence, is determined by Christianity.
For centuries these facts were unquestioned. For decades even political parties were carrying the word ‘Christian’ in their names and felt obliged to defend those values. Nowadays in Germany, only the AfD remains in this tradition.
The best proof of this is the fact is that the only MPs at the ‘International Religious Freedom Summit’ in Washington, D.C., representing Germany were from the AfD.
Do you identify any principal threats against the Christian nature of the West?
The AfD is the only German party that says publicly that Europe has no problem with immigration. The problem is with Islamic immigration.
There are hundreds of thousands of Polish, Italian, Greek, and other European migrants in Germany without problems. Why? Because we share common values derived from Christianity. The problem comes when migrants believe that sharia law weighs more than the constitution—and nearly all Afghans and Iraqis in Germany believe this. Polls show that almost half the Turkish people think this way, even when they are second or third generation immigrants.
Europe would today be much stronger—if we believed a little more.
I personally am a great supporter of the Remembrance Day of the Battle of Kahlenberg, where in 1683 Christian armies from different European countries lifted the Siege of Vienna by the Muslims. I think this is what made Europe great for centuries: common faith, common values, and the ability to defend those against enemies from outside, when it comes to it. And this is exactly the point: Europe would today be much stronger—if we believed a little more.
What is the current dynamic like with regard to the COVID vaccines?
The government is oppressing people. They passed laws that are violating our constitution. They are forcing people to take the vaccine, in spite of it being medically unnecessary.
Now they are trying to force kids—even kids!—to take the vaccine, in spite of really good studies by prestigious German universities stating that it is absolutely unnecessary. They are forcing kids to wear masks in spite of studies stating that it is harming kids to make them wear masks the whole day.
They were forcing kids to stay at home, not to go to school, in spite of studies saying that this is also harming kids, and their mental development—it’s really terrible. Parents are writing letters to me, crying for help. It is a terrible situation.
The AfD—just like Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia in Italy—is called by the mainstream media ‘fascist’ or ‘post-fascist,’ and yet yours are the political parties that are radically engaged in defending people’s freedom.
Exactly. That’s exactly the point. Also, those who are in power, they are oppressing the people.
When you fight for the rights of the people, that’s when they call you fascist. They can do so because they have power over the media.
I guess that in Germany now, like in Italy, like in the UK, like in the States, people are less and less willing to be guided by the mainstream media’s description of political parties such as the AfD as far-right extremist parties because they can see with their own eyes what you are standing for and the popular support you are having in the country because of it. And you are clearly not a fascist movement.
Thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to discuss these many important issues. Do you have a closing comment?
Buy my book, Make Europe Great Again! It is written in German, so you don’t need to read it—just buy it! At some point I hope to bring it out in English.