The head of the union of conservative values approaches AfD and lateral thinking. He also maintains contacts with a network of financial sector conspiracy theorists.
By Dominik Lenze
For an economist, Max Otte, the new president of the CDU network ValorsUnion, an unusual weakness for protest music: on its YouTube channel it treats classics like Marius Müller-Westernhagens Give my greetings to colleagues. The song is about searches of left-wing homes in the 1970s. In Otte’s version, however, the sung “comrades” are right-wing extremists like him Identity Martin Sellner and AfD politician Petr Bystron, who was temporarily observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Otte herself appears as a protest singer – al Lateral thought movement. In late April he spoke at a rally in Aachen and played a song to drink on his guitar. On stage he said: “We are not in opposition, we are in resistance. (…) And resistance is not always fun. “A remarkable saying for a member of the ruling CDU party.
The fund manager, who has also become famous with books on an alleged economic collapse, has chaired thewerteUnion since May controversial club on the right wing of the Union, which defends uncompromising conservative positions within parties and claims to have about 4,000 members. The ideological orientation of the group is explosive and not just since it became known in early June that Otte MP Klaus Dageförde in the 1980s. Maintaining connections in the militant neo-Nazi scene.
Until January of this year, leader Otte was still on the board of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, affiliated with AfD. And as the organizer of the New Hambach Festival, he has a networking meeting for new rights and racists Thilo Sarrazin created by Jörg Meuthen. But Otte is not only in contact with the new right and side thinking, but above all with a network of radical neoliberals. They describe themselves as “anarcho-capitalists” or “libertarians,” harboring fantasies of overthrow, and spread conspiracy theories on issues such as the crown and climate change.
Sociologist Andreas Kemper, who teaches in Münster and Berlin, has long studied the ideology of these self-proclaimed freedom fighters. He considers radical libertarians like Krall to be an independent form of extremists: “They want to abolish the state so that everything is regulated only by companies,” he says. “Anything that restricts the free market – whether it’s employee rights, blockade or climate policy – is socialism from a libertarian perspective,” Kemper says. It is a different ideology to that of right-wing radicals like Björn Höcke: “Some want an authoritarian völkisch state, others abolish it, but both are enemies of democracy and are working to overthrow it,” Kemper says. To this end, rights and libertarians would enter into an alliance of convenience.
A notable example is the denier of climate change Naomi Seibt: He spreads lies about man-made climate change and always seeks to get closer to right-wing extremists. His political home is the Hayek libertarian clubs: when he received an award from one of these clubs in 2018, Max Otte delivered a speech. With former investment banker Thorsten Schulte, now a familiar face on the side thinker scene, Otte went to protest for the first time in 2015, against the alleged threat of abolition of cash.
The conspiracy follows financial advice
The libertarian economist Markus Krall, a good friend of Otte’s, speaks openly about his dreams of a coup: in his book The bourgeois revolution by 2020, Krall sees an alleged economic shock as a demolition opportunity. Specifically, he wants the right to vote to be only for the “best artists”: “Only those who pay in the system can vote,” he said last year at an AfD event in Saxony. Krall is the head of the gold trader Degussa. According to research by the mirrors and the Swiss weekly WOZ significantly involved in AfD funding. The head of the Union, Otte, does not see himself as a “liberal” like Krall, but for him the 58-year-old remains a “defender of freedom with courage and bravery.”
He Fantastic conspiracy tale, which sees the dawn of “climate socialism”, is useful for neoliberal prophets such as Krall and Otte. His channels mix up conspiracy stories and financial advice: “The big resettlement will also be expensive for FRG taxpayers,” says Markus Krall, for example. In recent months, Otte has also often spoken of the supposedly imminent economic recovery, with YouTubers from the orbit of lateral thinking or through their own channels. Sociologist Kemper sees it as a strategy: “It’s about mobilizing people from Crown protests.”
When asked about her relationship with Markus Krall and her side thinking, Otte said on request that as a “Democrat, you talk to everyone without sharing your opinions.” He does not share Krall’s view of a bourgeois revolution. And contrary to what his music videos suggest, he doesn’t see Martin Sellner and the like as a resistance fighter: “We don’t live in a dictatorship yet and I hope it stays that way.”
“It’s great to have side thinking”
In conversation with the appropriate online portal Tichy’s vision Otte lamented at the beginning of the pandemic: “The mass of those who could carry out the bourgeois revolution is getting smaller.” A few weeks later, he sought contact with the still young side thinking movement: in May 2020, as a speaker at a rally in Darmstadt, he said he thought it was “fantastic” for side thinking to take place now. In Aachen, in April this year, he reaffirmed his support for the movement that believes in conspiracies: “Every society needs lateral thinking and we will continue to think sideways.”
Meanwhile, offensive flirtations with the right-wing and conspiratorial environment have marginalized Otte and his Union of Values within the Union, even though he recently claimed it was “Solid and bomb resistant CDU member”. Conservative wing activities still have the potential to harm the Union. Earlier this month, the head of the CDU, Armin Laschet, tried to achieve the maximum possible delimitation. The Securities Union, he said, “has nothing to do with the CDU.”