Timo Weber has left the AfD. He talks about the miserable human interaction within the party and the power of right-wing networks. He also thinks the AfD is lazy, especially in local politics.

Whenever Timo Weber walks past the AfD’s Ludwigshafen office, he remembers the state his former party is now in. The shutters are always down, everything is dirty. “This reflects the neglect of the AfD well,” says the 46-year-old party dropout in an interview with FOCUS online.

Weber joined the Alternative for Germany in spring 2016, and from 2018 he was even district chairman in Ludwigshafen, Rhineland-Palatinate. But two years later, the software developer had had enough: in November 2020, Weber announced his departure.

He justifies this, among other things, with the radicalization of the party. This is particularly evident in the appearance of the Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke: “At the beginning it was far away for me because he was in the state parliament in Thuringia and I was a local politician in Ludwigshafen. But when he spoke at the beginning of 2020 about having to ‘sweat out’ critics – for me a clear reference to Auschwitz – a new dimension was reached. I can’t support something like that.”

In addition, there were personal conflicts that arose from the work of the Ludwigshafen city council faction – of which he was not a member. The AfD faction regularly did not submit an article for the city magazine “neue LU”.

District chairman Weber and his board disliked this, which is why he warned the parliamentary group members in May 2020 for their inadequate press work. In emails sent to each other by the AfD council members, a member of parliament described Weber as an “asshole”. The email traffic is available to FOCUS online.

In addition to the miserable human interaction, the episode exemplifies two things for Weber: firstly, the failure of the AfD in local politics. By not submitting any contributions to the city magazine, the AfD faction clearly expressed its “lack of interest in political work and its laziness.”

Weber’s thesis is supported, at least for Ludwigshafen, by numerous other incidents: in 2019, for example, AfD MPs accidentally voted for the wrong motion and knocked themselves out of the city council’s most important committee. “The AfD council members also submitted almost no motions,” says Weber.

If they cooperated, then with absurd demands: “When it came to increasing the fees for resident parking permits, the parliamentary group demanded more than ten times the old fee rate and significantly more than the other parliamentary groups.” The AfD also advocated the closure the obstetrics ward in the city hospital.

“The work of the AfD is directed against the citizens. The AfD does nothing in the local community except scandals.” Some AfD MPs only sit on the city council because of the expense allowance in order to earn a little extra money.

On the other hand, the “asshole” email also shows Weber how the AfD works internally. With a lot of commitment – standing at information stands, organizing regular meetings and writing press releases – he worked his way up to district chairman. But that is no longer the rule: “The AfD is based heavily on right-wing networks,” explains Weber.

He cites AfD member of the Bundestag Sebastian Münzenmaier as an example from his former Rhineland-Palatinate regional association: “He worked his way up to the position of deputy parliamentary group leader, even though he had little professional experience and was convicted of aiding and abetting grievous bodily harm. But he knows how to rally other party members around him and influence them.”

In fact, Münzenmaier does not shy away from contacts with dubious groups. As the portal “rheinlandpfalz.de” reports, among others, he is said to have been a guest at the Mainz fraternity Germania, which is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

In addition, Münzenmaier is said to have surrounded himself with hooligans and, according to reports, to have employed a board member of the right-wing extremist association “One Percent”. He gave an interview to the right-wing extremist magazine “First!”, which is why the MP is mentioned in a report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Weber, who has dropped out, knows the pressure to network well: “Even at a barbecue, people always look at and strategize who supports the network and who criticizes the network. Anyone who doesn’t get involved in the networks will quickly be disgusted and bullied. There’s a system in the AfD.”

And so the insult did no harm to the MP who called Weber an “asshole”. On the contrary: he has risen in the district association and is at the top of the list for the local elections on June 9th. However, a party member who defended Weber at the time has also left the AfD.

Looking back, Weber doesn’t see his joining the AfD as a mistake. At that time, the party was primarily Eurocritical, but not right-wing extremist. However, he assesses the timing of his departure differently: “I thought that the helm could still be moved around and the sensible people would take over again. But that was a mistake, I definitely waited too long to leave.” He thinks the classification of the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist case is correct.

However, Weber did not end his political involvement. Initially he was involved with the Liberal-Conservative Reformers founded by ex-AfD leader Bernd Lucke; he is currently a member of Alliance Germany. The small conservative party is home to many AfD dropouts.

Nevertheless, Weber believes that the experiences in his former party will not be repeated here. “Unlike the AfD, I and the Alliance Germany stand for the EU,” he emphasizes. The European Union is needed, but it is too bureaucratic. And in terms of personnel, Weber doesn’t think his new home party is a second AfD: “A Björn Höcke couldn’t become a member at all. And if there were people like him, we would throw them out immediately.”