Short Life of Party Based on Comparing Every One Else to Nazis
East Germany - The early 1990s saw a series of tumultuous events that would change the face of international politics. The fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact led to political restructuring and ideological shifts. Several important political movements have come out of times of crisis and changed the future of the world forever. There have also been movements that have come up and died quickly that serve as a warning to others. The Godwin Party was one of those.
Mike Godwin, an early internet lawyer, coined "Godwin's Law" which states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." This law, in the early stages of the internet before the World Wide Web and mass acceptance of the medium, became the founding principal of a series of technologically savvy young people in the newly liberated Eastern Bloc.
The Godwin Party, made of mainly of young people dissatisfied with the old Communist order, but as suspicious of the capitalism of the West, sought to make revolutionary change in the Eastern Bloc. Starting in November 1990 at the "Congress of the New Order" in East Berlin, the group took the name Godwin Party in recognition of the agreed upon political strategy for change. The party dedicated itself to other throwing out the old order by making nasty comparisons between the rival political parties and the Nazis, Communists and Fascists.
While they strongly agreed on electoral strategy, that strategy remained the one thing the group could agree on. Based on vague notions of an "Ideal Constitution" and universal human freedoms, the movement itself had no sound ideological basis except opposition to the existing order. It was held together through the working of its founding leader Wolfgang Blentz, who changed his name to Wolfgang Godwin in order to gain support.
Like the Ron Paul supporters of the US in 2008, the Godwin Party was run by self proclaimed "free thinking and independent citizens" who nonetheless spent most of their time parroting talking points established by the party. One popular campaign tactic was a "Who is Wolfgang Godwin" list
• He has NEVER voted to raise taxes.
• He has NEVER voted for to exterminate Jews
• He has NEVER voted at all in any election, which would only justify the current system
• He has NEVER supported the government or capitalism by working a job.
• He has NEVER had a dollar he didn't steal from an oppressor to give to the poor
• He has NEVER sought to oppress the masses by supporting individuals
• He Has NEVER sought to oppress the individual by supporting tyranny of the masses
The party first ran in the German Federal Elections of 1990, where they implemented their Godwin strategy. While Western parties were riding a wave of optimism on the Reunification, the Godwin Party managed victories in local offices and Parliament by riding a wave of continued national guilt about the country's Nazi past. They held six seats in Parliament and several local offices. The victory would be their greatest in the German state and they would be all voted out by 1998.
The party would have international affiliates throughout Eastern Europe. In seven nations the Godwin Party would hold seats and ride on waves of anti-establishment sentiment. In Bulgaria the party would actually gain a majority coalition with several smaller parties. The strategy, in which they linked Communist parties to Stalin and right leaning parties to Hitler, led to them ascending party leader Georgi Veneva to Prime Minister.
Immediately after taking office the Godwin Party learned that a revolution must begin after the battles are done. The party was fractured by infighting over the meaning of their movement. Having only existed as a party to call others Nazis, they resorted to the same tactics to battle opponents in their own party. This led to fracturing of the party which the minority coalition in Parliament manipulated for their own ends. The party saw its coalition members leave and themselves slipping into the minority.
In order to unite his party Prime Minister Veneva ordered a purge of disloyal party members. When the purge left the party weakened and the coalition broken the nation called for new elections. A protest march on the Capital was crushed with brute military force. When the Parliament tried to investigate the incident Veneva suspended Parliament and used the military to enforce his will. Veneva would rule until June 1997, when he was removed by a coup and democracy was restored.
With Veneva becoming a dictator the international affiliates condemned him as, what else, a fascist leader. In their home countries the parties saw their support wane as people feared the Godwin Party would try and usurp the local democracies. That left parties scrambling to develop an ideology to counter the Bulgarian Veneva-Godwinism.
An international consensus on philosophical Godwinism failed to materialize, but one leader, Boris Albusel of the Romanian Godwin Party, tried to create his own power base by aligning it with Zionism. While himself an atheist with Catholic heritage, Albusel thought Zionism would allow the group to disassociate completely with the Holocaust and permanently removed any accusation of being Nazis. Albusel traveled to Israel to try and form relations with Zionist political parties.
However, when challenged by rabbis about the use of the Holocaust as a political tool, Albusel grew angry and declared Israel a crypto-Nazi state and removed all Jews from his party. The Romanian Godwin Party disavowed the state of Israel, associated themselves with Hamas and Iran and became an anti-Semitic movement. The party would lose all seats in the next election.
The last of the Godwin parties dissolved after the "Congress of 1998". No longer having any unity, and with half the parties boycotting the Congress as a "Beer Hall Putsch", the international Godwin organization dissolved and no party remained by 1999.
While the Godwin Party remains an obscure movement outside the Eastern Bloc nations, it still has adherents in the world today. Its main tenant, Godwin's Law, has been picked up by the Tea Party Movement in the United States. In associating centrist-liberal President Barack Obama with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, the group has tried to lead a populist movement against a popularly elected President.
The group has used cult of personality tactics in Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and made itself known in the New York 23rd Congressional race, where the managed to hand a traditional Republican stronghold over to Democrats for the first time since the Civil War. Like the Godwin party before them, many political observers expect the Tea Party movement to fizzle out due to a lack of clear philosophy and reliance on fear tactics.