BEFORE YOU VOTE IN THE FORTHCOMING EUROPEAN ELECTION YOU SHOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO KNOW WHAT EXACTLY DO THE FAR RIGHT PARTIES STAND FOR.
The European far right represents a confluence of many ideologies: nationalism, socialism, anti-Semitism, authoritarianism.
Given the significant variations that exist between these parties and groups, any term that groups them together and compares them will have limitations.
But the term “far right” is the least problematic precisely because it can be used, on the one hand, to identify the overarching similarities that make them comparable, and on the other to distinguish between different variants.
Though Europe’s far-right parties differ in important respects, they are motivated by a common sense of mission: to save their homelands from what they view as the corrosive effects of multiculturalism and globalization by creating a closed-off, ethnically homogeneous society.
Under the “far right” umbrella, we must distinguish between two sub-categories: extreme and radical right.
The extreme right includes both vigilante groups and political parties that are often openly racist, have clear ties to fascism and also employ violence and aggressive tactics. These groups may operate either outside or within the realm of electoral politics or both.
The term “right-wing populism”, however, is less appropriate.
Populism is an even broader umbrella that often includes disparate parties and groups.
To narrow down this category, we often tend to conflate populism and nationalism, identifying a party as populist, not on the basis of its populist attributes – what party doesn’t claim to speak on behalf of the people in a democracy? – but on the basis of its nationalist attributes.
But despite the similarities between “populism” and “nationalism” – both emphasise conflict lines, focus on the collective, and put forward a vision of an ideal society – the two are conceptually different. While the former pits the people against the elites, the latter pits the in-group against the out-group.
In part, both can be seen as a backlash against the political establishment in the wake of the financial and migrant crises, but the wave of discontent also taps into long-standing fears about globalisation and a dilution of national identity.
This civic nationalist rhetoric presents culture as a value issue, justifying exclusion on purported threats posed by those who do not share “our” liberal democratic values.
The justification is that certain cultures and religions are intolerant and inherently antithetical to democracy.
They tend to oppose procedural democracy with some common themes, such as hostility to immigration, anti-Islamic rhetoric and Euroscepticism.
The forthcoming elections are going to expose just who are they, where they are, what are their political programmes and why they have risen from the political fringes.
So where does this leave Europe’s political landscape?
Will the far right triumph in Europe in 2019?
Will the far right redraw the political map of Europe?
Is the European Union being pulled inexorably towards the agenda of the far
There is little point here in listing party after party, it is sufficient to say that they all to some degrees or other blame and want to get rid of migrants. While conveniently ignoring that their countries are for the most part made up of refugees in one form or another.
If the far right wins 100 seats in the new European parliament this year, and the EPP group’s drift to nationalism and xenophobia continues, it is safe to say the projects of integration and social liberalism will be on hold.
They believed in what Trump promised in the USA.
The reality is that the EU in the forthcoming elections needs to look at the next distribution of structural funds. It needs to redefine the allocation criteria to reflect the preparedness of regions and authorities to receive and integrate migrants.
What is the solution?
It is surely this:
For the centre-left and the radical left to seek tactical unity with as many green and liberal parties as possible to defend democracy, suppress fascism and end austerity.
At the moment it’s hard to get the leaders of the European radical left to occupy the same room, let alone persuade social democratic politicians to collaborate with them.
However, the migration issue is the starting point of a continental power struggle pitching two very different versions of the principles that should bind Europe together.
One is liberal democratic, and attuned to the notion of an open society; the other is fortress-minded, illiberal and intolerant.
These far-right leaders are now uniting to attempt a national-populist takeover of the EU as we’ve known it.
There is, however, one wild-card option with a non-negligible chance of happening:
Theresa May falls, a second referendum cancels Brexit, Article 50 is revoked, Britain elects new MEPs and a new, left-led British government appoints a commissioner to match its politics. A unilateral cancellation of Brexit would merely leave Britain with all its rights under the status quo: but it would alter the dynamics of Europe.
Because even at 40 per cent of the vote, a new raft of left-affiliated MEPs would shift the balance in the parliament, while a feisty, communicative left commissioner from the fifth-largest economy in the world would tilt the balance in the EU.
For the democratic-minded across Europe, Europe needs to get its priorities right before it’s too late.
We all need to ask ourselves why should we relive the pain and terror today of far-right policies?
Surely if we Europeans have learnt anything it is that we all must distance ourselves from fascism in order to appeal to broader electorates.
And so herein lies the problem.
If nationalism is always a feature of the far right, as most researchers agree, what is the added value of the term “populism”? To put it another way, what is the difference between a radical right-wing party and a populist radical right-wing party? While populism may or may not be an attribute of some far-right parties, it is not their defining feature. Rather, nationalism is.
But while these parties differ in many ways, their progressive entrenchment in their national political systems raises similar questions about out-group exclusion, anti-immigration narratives and mainstream responses.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, a leading advocate of the alt-right in the United States, is hoping the movement can lead Europe’s nationalist and populist parties to a strong showing next May.
For me “Bannon is American and has no place in a European political party.
It is disrespectful and unnecessary!
Many of the themes of Bannonism/Trumpism do not translate well in Europe.
For far-right groups, the migrant issue is something of a zero-sum game:
One country’s “gain” (by refusing refugees) is necessarily another’s nation’s “loss”.
Ultimately, as national right-wing groups chart their paths forward, few will find their domestic legitimacy bolstered by linking up with other groups on the far right.
Allusions to transnational links complicate matters for most of them.
The history of far-right activism is replete with examples of efforts to develop international links, and their failure.
The reason why far-right populists in Europe do not coordinate more systematically is that most of them are profoundly different, both in policy and style.
The sad truth is that it does not take Steve Bannon to build a strong far right in Europe. The voters are doing his job perfectly well – by not voting, and by supporting nationalist, anti-EU forces in their home countries.
History repeats itself, sadly, so don’t vote with false news spread by social media.
There are more than 40 million Muslims and 1.6 million Jews in Europe.
Do they need our votes?
I don’t think they need our votes. They need our kosher stamp.
No country can be forced to take in refugees. Every country has the right to say, ‘We don’t want others coming here.’ But the moment we’re talking about [engaging with parties that talk of] restriction on freedom of religion and racism.
The old world order is going through a lot of turbulence and is in danger of collapsing.
Those who believe in social democratic, green or liberal agendas have become accustomed to viewing far-right populists as automatically anti-EU.
Faced with this ideological flexibility, pro-EU politicians will need to think long and hard about how to protect the EU from those who would misuse it to promote a darker vision of Europe. These right-wing parties should be ostracized.
Make an informed choice rather than a mere expression of frustration with the EU in May.
There’s no steady political weathervane pointing in only one direction.
OVER THE NEXT TWELVE YEARS WITH ALL OF US TREATED BY CLIMATE CHANGE THAT IS GOING TO MAKE EVERYTHING IRREVELENT WHY WASTE A VOTE ON A FAR RIGHT OR INDEED FOR THAT MATTER ON A FAR LEFT PARTY WHEN WHAT IS NEEDED IS A VOTE THAT BRINGS US ALL TOGETHER TO ACT.
The far right has never had the slightest interest in the unknown.
It wants to be told the news it wants to hear, and the atmosphere of mystery it cultivates—like the pseudo-science to which it often gives rise—only exists to provide obvious lies with a vague cover of authority, a comfortably blurred prestige.
The tinder is dry, waiting for a lighted match.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.