Competing With Neo-Nazis for the Youth Vote

German officials fight skinhead music with a CD of their own
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2007 6:33 PM CST

(Newser) – The government of one East German state is so concerned about the influence of neo-Nazi extremism on the young that it's handing out free CDs of leftist punk music as an antidote. Der Speigel reports that the tactic is borrowed from the far-right NPD party itself, which has been distributing skinhead compilations at schools and subsequently achieved record electoral results with young voters.

The government's CD is titled "Respekt!" and it includes well-known German bands that Der Speigel calls "left-leaning." Critics knock it as a token effort against far stronger forces of xenophobia and economic stagnation; one student knocked it as being the sort of music his mom would like, while he personally favored Landser, the neo-Nazi band with the distinction of being the first to be classified by the German government as a criminal organization.