Joachim Kuhs is an Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) politician who’s been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since 2019. Having joined AfD in 2013, he is one of the earliest members of the party.
Throughout his political career, Kuhs has placed a strong emphasis on the promotion of the common good, engaging in volunteer work for various non-profit and church associations. He serves as the secretary of the association “Hope for a New Generation,” which focuses its efforts on the well-being of underprivileged children in Romania and Moldova, especially those without a home.
Over the past quarter-century, Kuhs has shown unwavering commitment to aiding orphans and underprivileged Roma families in Romania. He serves as an executive in the Federal Association of Christians in the AfD (ChrAfD), allowing him to combine his political responsibilities with his commitment to Christian values.
To an observer, it appears that Germany’s establishment is in full panic mode over the continued rise of the AfD. They’re pulling out all of the stops. But none of it appears to be working to curtail AfD’s popularity. Why do you think that is?
The [establishment] parties are in a kind of panic mode, and they just can’t cope with the success we currently have as the AfD, and they’re lashing out wildly. The measures they are taking at the moment are diverse, and some harm us while others benefit us, so we need to discuss in detail which are good and which are not so good for us.
But overall, I must say the entire strategy from the media, who always provide the initial push, is not working. Just as now in this matter with Correctiv and this Potsdam meeting. On the other hand, it’s, of course, the government parties primarily, but also the CDU and the Left targeting us because they realize they can benefit from the success of the AfD. And that’s indeed the case. The CDU, when it distances itself from the traffic light government and adopts the AfD’s proposals regarding migration and so on, it sees an increase [in support] rather than losses.
What’s happening with the Left is also interesting; they are dissolving and forming this new alliance with Sarah Wagenknecht. It shows they don’t really know what they want. But they all know one thing—they are against the AfD and are trying to somehow undermine us. I am very confident that we can counteract the strategies and campaigns of the media and the parties and achieve the opposite.
I would like to ask you about this so-called ‘independent investigative journalist network’ Correctiv. The outlet ran a ‘remigration’ hit piece following the Potsdam meeting where some AfD and CDU members were present in an unofficial capacity. The piece claimed that the AfD plans to deport millions of non-German migrants, including those with citizenship. Do you want to correct the record on the AfD’s official policy regarding deportations?
For the federal election, in all our programs, we use the term ‘remigration.’ Remigration is nothing more than simply the legal—that is, based on legal grounds—return of migrants who, in any form, do not have the right to stay in Germany or Europe. That means it is a legal, completely normal, law-abiding return of migrants. And this is not for German citizens. Yes, that’s nonsense. A German cannot be emigrated. That’s not possible.
We don’t want any legal changes here, we don’t want to change anything. Also, the position of the AfD has not changed in this regard in the last ten years. Everything is still the same, and everyone else says the same. Even Olaf Scholz, our chancellor, last year in this Der Spiegel interview, he said we need much more and much faster repatriation, and in the English translation, he used the word ‘deportation.’ So you have to let that sink in.
At this meeting in Potsdam, according to the members who were there, and also from the lecture itself, the word ‘deportation’ was never used. At least that’s what I was told, and individual members have also confirmed that it was not used, nor was the word ‘expulsion’ used. And when they talked about it, they spoke of ‘remigration,’ specifically and legitimately referring to millions of people who are illegally present here, that they should be ‘remigrated’—returned. That is legal and legitimate, and we can demand that. And there is nothing wrong or reprehensible about it.
And the interesting thing now is that Correctiv has now even backpedaled, they said they didn’t even use the word and it was only constructed by the other press. Yes, the other press apparently used their report and then constructed something that was not reported there at all. So, Correctiv itself is now correcting its original statements and correcting the conclusions that others allegedly drew. So you can see that this whole hype and this whole campaign is falling apart, and we don’t have to correct anything. It was also legitimate for people to converse there, who were invited.
By the way, there were more CDU members there than AfD members, and one wonders why there wasn’t a campaign against the CDU as well, because they represent exactly the same opinions and so on. So, what happened is all very questionable, and I am very grateful that now slowly the truth is officially coming to light, and even Correctiv has to correct itself, and that others are now getting cold feet and withdrawing their statements.
Ultimately, this incident has shown that the media plays an unfortunate role here and possibly even the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), as there are indications that the entire transcripts and recordings from the hotel were taken by the BfV.
If it turns out that the BfV provided these recordings to Correctiv, then we have a new Watergate scandal or something similar. It’s almost circus-like what is happening. And all of this is being done by the BfV.
And just as a brief concluding remark, what the BfV has done today is that they seem to be observing their former chief of the agency, Hans-Georg Maaßen, classifying him as an object of observation and quasi-labeling him as a right-wing extremist. This is so ridiculous and far-fetched for anyone who even remotely knows Hans-Georg Maaßen, and understands how he argues, and what he says. To associate him with right-wing extremist activities and accuse him of being unconstitutional, especially coming from the agency he once led, is ridiculous and unbelievable.
Do you have any information about Correctiv that our readers ought to know about?
It is clear where the financial sources come from. A significant portion comes from the Ministry, specifically the Family Ministry, for the fight against right-wing extremism. Other non-governmental organizations have their fingers in the pie, collectively supporting it through such state-affiliated sponsors. It’s always questionable when an organization receives a significant amount of state or state-affiliated funds. There’s an old saying, “Wess Brot ich ess, dess Lied ich sing” which in English translates to “Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.”
This is something fundamentally problematic. Otherwise, it’s nothing new. Thinking about the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, it’s also a dubious institution heavily funded by the state, dedicated to combating right-wing extremism, and has done a lot in that direction. It’s all on the same level, the same line, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that Correctiv works the way it does now. And when it comes out that they are collaborating with state entities, such as the intelligence agencies, it’s almost unbelievable. It’s incredible.
The establishment politicians and their supporters in the mainstream press, as a strategy, have opted to slander AfD, deplatform it, boycott it, and the list goes on. It appears that the German public is increasingly indifferent to their message, however. In light of this indifference, do you think the globalist establishment in Germany will alter its methods? For example, in the future, do you see public broadcasters inviting AfD politicians to debate their establishment counterparts more? It seems that if AfD ideas and policy positions are so deplorable, they would want to show them being soundly refuted in the public sphere, wouldn’t they?
Yes, but they have always wanted that. As they always said, ‘we must confront the AfD on the factual level,’ that was the old concept. For the past five or six years, they have tried. But they have not succeeded. Because they cannot counter us on the factual level, and cannot refute us, so they resort to delegitimizing us in some form, defaming us and making us look bad, etc.
One of the methods was not letting us participate in factual discussions and debates in recent years. But what always happens is that when an AfD representative is invited, as an exception, all three, four, or five opponents there basically pounce on the AfD representative and try to attack him in some way. And that’s not good. It’s just the wrong approach to the whole thing. We need to have a factual debate, as we’ve always said, and we have never rejected that. We are also willing, and we don’t avoid public debate. The fact that we are occasionally invited is simply due to our rise in the polls. A party that consolidates over 20 percent of the electorate cannot be ignored as they have done so far.
What do you think the chances are that the AfD’s access to state funds will be cut off? And if this does happen, how will the party respond? Is it taking preemptive action to prepare for this eventuality?
Well, that is, of course, a very difficult point and a threatening situation. The Federal Constitutional Court had already decided against banning the NPD [National Democratic Party] in 2018. However, with this party, they have at least managed to exclude it from [state] funding. Because of this decision from 2018, the Federal Constitutional Court established a precedent that all parties that act against the liberal-democratic basic order can be deprived of state funds.
That is the common term in the entire debate around what the AfD is accused of —that we would act against the liberal-democratic basic order. That is not true, but that is what they say. We are, of course, legally challenging that accusation, with ongoing proceedings. The Federal Constitutional Court is trying to push us into that corner, but we say no, that’s not true. There is still an ongoing fight, and it will take many years before any decision is reached. However, we see the danger that the government might try to cut us off from the financing of the so-called state partial financing. That would be a severe blow, as we currently receive around 12 to 14 million euros from it every year.
We are not comparable to the NPD, and the AfD firmly stands on the ground of the liberal-democratic basic order. The Basic Law is unconditionally acceptable to us and we do not question the fact that the Basic Law can be changed with a constitutional majority. That is not an issue at all. Governments have done that dozens of times already. Therefore, if I want to change individual paragraphs or articles of the Basic Law, except for Articles 1 to 20, which I am not allowed to change, all others are generally changeable.
If that’s the case, then it’s not a violation of the constitution, and I still stand on the ground of the liberal-democratic basic order. That’s what it essentially revolves around—the whole struggle is just to clarify and prove that we are law-abiding, conform to the law, and will not attack the liberal-democratic basic order in any form. And once that is established, both the complaint that we should be watched, classified as extremist, and the complaint or the possibility of withdrawing our financing, all of that will become invalid. None of that will apply anymore.
What do you hear about actions being taken to ban the AfD? Are they moving forward? I know CDU MP Marco Wanderwitz, who for months has been working to amass support for draft legislation to ban the party, has so far failed to collect the 36 signatures required to table the bill. It seems like there’s little support for such an extreme initiative.
I think a ban on the AfD is such a serious intervention we wouldn’t be able to deal with it. That would truly be our demise if we were banned and we couldn’t lift it within two or three years. That would be our end. However, reaching this step is quite difficult.
There are so many hurdles. Only the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, and the Federal Government can submit the application, and if the application fails, the embarrassment is so significant that they can’t afford it. I believe they won’t dare to do it because it would accelerate their downfall or their replacement by other parties. Therefore, they won’t dare to take this step. I’m pretty sure about that.
What would you like to say to your colleagues in the SPD, CDU, and Greens who say, in quite Orwellian fashion, that it’s ‘democratic’ to ban the AfD and that AfD must be banned to preserve democracy?
Yes, suddenly the government determines that 2 plus 2 is 5 and not 4, as it has always been. Things are headed in that direction at the moment. Yes, and that should indeed be frightening on one side, but on the other side, it’s a sign to me that this government can’t find any other means to make itself heard or conceal its dwindling support, other than through such terrible, truly undemocratic measures.
Combating the opposition with a ban is not democratic. That is senseless. We all know that, and more and more people are recognizing it now. So let the government continue. Let it keep filing these applications and using this language. It will harm them, I am quite sure. Even the most stubborn democrats will eventually wake up and say, “this is the opposite of what we stand for.” When, for example, there is a demonstration against the AfD or the Right, it’s a demonstration against the opposition. That has never happened before.
What do you make of Stephan Kramer, the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia, calling 16 million supporters of the AfD—it’s probably more at this point—”brown dregs,” a clear reference to Hitler’s brownshirts?
Well, Mr. Kramer is a very questionable president of the Constitutional Protection Office in Thuringia, as he is not a lawyer himself and has made very strange statements. But he is not alone in making such statements. Just yesterday or the day before, our President, Mr. Steinmeier, referred to AfD voters as rats. This kind of language is no longer in line with the normal level we were accustomed to.
And these terms are prevailing, which is very indicative of the decay of language and is causing me a great deal of concern. Not just a little, but a lot. What should we do about it? I am in favor of expressing our dismay and sorrow over this deterioration of language on the one hand, but on the other hand, we should never respond in the same way. We should continue to talk with people calmly and reasonably, trying to convince them, and if someone insults us, well, we don’t insult back, we don’t stoop to that level.
Having joined the AfD in 2013 when it was considered the ‘professors party,’ you’ve witnessed the party mature and its voting base change as well. Previously, the demographic profile of the party’s supporters tended to be older, less educated, and under-employed. Now, they come from all social classes, ages, and education groups. An INSA survey revealed that Germans making more than €4,000 per month were most likely to be the most willing to support the AfD. What do you attribute this shift to?
Yes, this observation is correct. We also notice that the people who work, especially the working population in the middle class between 25 and 60, are the ones who know what they have to lose, who know what the government is taking away from them through misguided energy policies and misguided migration policies. These are the two biggest threatening policies that the government has wrongly started and initiated, especially the CDU, ten years ago. And these are the real threats to us. And you can feel it now. Germany is Europe’s and perhaps even the world’s worst-performing economy. We are the only country in the EU that now has a negative growth rate, and it will get worse.
They are systematically destroying us, and people who earn money and pay taxes notice that first because they feel it in their wallets. Many can no longer afford what they used to. These are all the threats to the renovation of their homes due to this crazy heating and climate policy. Then the rising fuel prices, the pressure with new cars, the need for increasingly expensive cars, and who knows what else. Then tax increases here and there and everywhere—and we are simply on a downward spiral in that regard. These people notice it first, and they say to themselves because they work, they are sensible enough because they have a future, see a future, and say, yes, something has to happen.
Currently,we in the AfD are the only party in the Bundestag addressing these issues and have a program against this energy and climate policy and against this migration policy. The others try to get involved and jump on the bandwagon, but many people say, okay, then we’d rather choose the original than the copy. That’s why I believe there is still this support from middle-class people, whereas we don’t penetrate at all among the older people—those around 60-65 who are retired or on a pension. It affects them, but they still believe the media propaganda and what the government announces to them every evening on the news.
Especially in this population group, we experience significant resistance. And that is almost tragic for me that retirees, who are being heavily taxed, are so misinformed by the media that they continue to resist us and even hate us. It’s very sad.