With the acronym PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident), a group of men began “walking” every Monday evening through the streets of Dresden, reaching at the top 25.000 participants in January. The organizational form of Monday demonstrations referred to famous political marches “Montagsdemonstrationen” in East Germany in 1989/1990. Xenophobic attitudes were clearly visible from the beginning but that could hardly be sufficient to attract so many people. Most participants declared themselves to be ordinary people from the centre of the political spectrum. But beyond the undeniable anti-immigrant attitudes of many PEGIDA-adherents, there seems to be a general challenge to the concept of representative liberal democracy of the type that has been successful in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Dr. Dietrich Herrmann (University of Dresden) is historian and political scientist and an expert for the politics of constitutionalism, discourses on immigration, and political culture.
The event was held as part of the project "The Politics of Protest. Understanding political protest in Central Europe" organized by the Warsaw office of Heinrich Böll Foundation in partnership with Collegium Civitas university. The Project under the academic supervision of Mateusz Fałkowski PhD. from the Collegium Civitas examines recent protests in six Central European countries. Between March and October 2015 six expert seminar discussions examined protests taking place recently in following countries: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Invited country experts discussed the background, causes and forms of current mobilizations. The case studies of marches, riots and demonstrations (mostly of 2014) have helped us to develop common analytical framework for understanding political protest in CEE countries. Each seminar was documented in a short "country paper".
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.