By Dr. Lawrence Wittener
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. In France, the National Front?founded in 1972 by former Nazi collaborators and other right-wingers 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, 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 led the struggle for Brexit, which it won. 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”).
Only one of these rising parties is usually referred to as fascist: Greece’s Golden Dawn. Exploiting Greece’s economic crisis and, especially, hatred of refugees and other migrants, Golden Dawn has used virulent nationalism and the supposed racial superiority of Greeks to emerge as Greece’s third-largest party. Golden Dawn spokesman, Elias Kasidiaris, is known for sporting a swastika on his shoulder and for reading passages from the anti-Semitic hoax, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” to parliament. The party also employs a swastika-like flag, as well as gangs of black-shirted thugs who beat up immigrants. Party leaders, in fact, are on trial for numerous crimes, including violent attacks upon migrants.Dr. Lawrence Wittner
Dr. Wittner decribes Golden Dawn with alarmist accusations. For example, reading “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” isn’t unusual. Hasn’t the ADL read the book? Jewish historians? How did they determine it was a “hoax” if the book was not read?
According to Audrey Shehy of the Harvard Political Review, “Over the past year, far right political parties have made major gains in divisive elections throughout the West. Although some of these movements enjoyed victories in previous elections in the 1990s and early 2000s, success of this magnitude across Europe has not occurred since before WWII. Grown from worldwide recessions and refugee crises, nationalism and populism are newly ascendant political forces to be reckoned with. While coverage of right-populist movements has mainly focused on Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, the far right has been strengthening throughout the West. Austria almost saw the Austrian Freedom Party gain the presidency, the National Front is making great political strides in France, and the Party for Freedom is ahead in the Netherland’s presidential polls. Additionally, the Golden Dawn has been a strong force in Greece, while in Germany, the Alternative for Deutschland party is expected to gain seats in its state’s parliaments.”
Far-Right populism is a bulwark against the globalism and open-borders of the Left. Refugees, culture-clash, broken economies, and cheap labor are the driving forces of Nationalism.
“These right nationalist campaigns, including those of Brexit and Trump, have run on two fundamental ideas currently trending in many western countries: uplifting the poor working class in a crippling globalized economy, and constricting immigration from the Middle East. Although the political clashes in culture and economics seems to be the major driving forces of the rise of the far right, there is another factor at work. The economy and immigration concerns have only been political speaking points disguising the true catastrophe of modern politics: the loss of the general public’s trust in institutions.”