Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lawrence Wittner - The Emerging Worldwide Alliance of the Far Right, led by Putin and Trump

Political parties on the far right are today enjoying a surge of support and access to government power that they have not experienced since their heyday in the 1930s.

This phenomenon is particularly striking in Europe, where massive migration, sluggish economic growth, and terrorism have stirred up zealous nationalism and Islamophobia, but it resonates through large areas of the world including the Asia-Pacific. In France, the National Front - founded in 1972 by former Nazi collaborators and other rightists employing anti-Semitic and racist appeals - has tried to soften its image somewhat under the recent leadership of Marine Le Pen. Nevertheless, Le Pen’s current campaign for the French presidency, in which she is one of two leading candidates facing a runoff, includes speeches delivered against a screen filled with immigrants committing crimes, jihadists plotting savage attacks, and European Union (EU) bureaucrats destroying French jobs, while she assails multiculturalism and promises to “restore order.” In Germany, the Alternative for Germany party, established three years ago, won up to 25 percent of the vote in state elections in March 2016. Led by Frauke Petry, the party calls for sealing the EU’s borders (by shooting migrants, if necessary), forcing the migrants who remain to adopt traditional German culture, and thoroughly rejecting Islam, including a ban on constructing mosques. According to the party platform, “Islam does not belong in Germany.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the story is much the same. In Britain, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), led until recently by Nigel Farage, arose from obscurity to become the nation’s third largest party. Focused on drastically reducing immigration and championing nationalism (including pulling Britain out of the EU), UKIP absorbed the constituency of neo-fascist groups and successfully led the struggle for Brexit. In the Netherlands, a hotly-contested parliamentary election in March 2017 saw the far right Party for Freedom emerge as the nation’s second largest political party. Calling for recording the ethnicity of all Dutch citizens and closing all Islamic schools, the party is headed by Geert Wilders, who has been tried twice in that country for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. In Italy, the Northern League (so-named because it originally pledged to liberate industrious Italian workers in the north from subsidizing lazy Italians in the south), demands drastic curbs on immigration and removal of Italy from the Eurozone. Its leader, Matteo Salvini, contends that Islam is “incompatible” with Western society.

Other European parties of the far right include Hungary’s Jobbik (the country’s third-largest party, which is vehemently hostile to immigration, the EU, and homosexuality), the Sweden Democrats (now vying for second place among Sweden’s parties, with roots in the white supremacist movement and a platform of heavily restricting immigration and opposing the EU), Austria’s Freedom Party (which, founded decades ago by Nazis, nearly won two recent 2016 presidential elections, vigorously opposes immigration, and proclaims “yes to families rather than gender madness”), and the People’s Party-Our Slovakia (which supports leaving the EU and the Eurozone and whose leader has argued that “even one immigrant is one too many”)... read more: