Europe’s traditional liberal and tolerant policies, when directed toward the most intolerant people on earth (Muslims), are being challenged by right wing patriotic parties in virtually every country. Not surprisingly, this is not sitting well with the socialists, multiculturalists, and Muslim-apolgists who are trying to destroy European culture, traditions, and even Christianity.
Ukranian Week The Breivik massacres are a brutal awakening for Europe’s politicians, who have tended to ignore the growing
Islamophobia and opposition to immigration (justifiable anti-Islam sentiment and opposition to a flood of Muslim immigrants, most of whom live off the government dole, getting benefits that the native populations are not not entitled to) even in countries traditionally liberal and tolerant.
In Scandinavia, across central Europe and especially in France, as Marie Le Pen has just shown in the French elections, hundreds of thousands of people, especially the young, are rallying to parties that promise an end to the influx of immigrants and refugees, a harsh crack-down on Muslim activists and a new emphasis on Europe’s ethnic “purity” and Christian identity.
Across Europe there are now some 30 far-right political parties that are winning votes, entering parliaments, influencing mainstream politicians and even signing agreements with traditional conservative parties – as has happened in the Netherlands. Few of these groups openly espouse the more extreme ravings published in Breivik’s manifesto. But all share similar core beliefs, and all, like Breivik, are spreading these through right-wing websites.
Extremist Patriotic parties on the right are mainly motivated by their visceral opposition to immigration (especially of Muslims), to ethnic diversity and to multiculturalism, which they believe is a danger to European culture and identity. They appeal to latent nationalism, are hostile to pan-European institutions such as the European Union, and have no time for liberalism or “soft” social policies.
Nationalism is still a powerful force among far-right groups, which seek to whip up pride in past glories and hatred of any curbs on the right of the majority to enforce its views on minorities. In Hungary, the Jobbik party has made clear its contempt for post-communist democracy. “We are not communists, fascists or National Socialists,” said Gabor Vona, one of its leaders, in January. “But – and this is important for everyone to understand very clearly – we are also not democrats”.
The party received 17 per cent of the vote in elections two years ago. And although the mainstream press gives it little publicity, it disseminates its views effectively on Facebook and other social networking services. And far from being a party made up of social misfits or losers, studies have shown that most of its supporters are young, have jobs, a secondary education or even a degree. This profile is also true elsewhere: most of those who vote for populist right-wing parties in Europe come from the middle classes, and are people afraid of economic and especially social change (aka the welfare state), according to a study made recently by the University of Nottingham, in England.
In Germany and Austria there has always been considerable concern for historical reasons, especially abroad, about the growth of right-wing extremism. Other members of the EU boycotted Austria in 2000 when the Conservative party went into coalition with the Freedom Party, led by the charismatic far-right Joerg Haider.
In Germany, concern has been growing not only at the recent success of the NDP party but also at the activities of fringe movements that have been targetting Turks and other immigrants – with little official investigation or hindrance. And mainstream parties are picking up some of the right’s ideas. Thilo Sarrazin, a highly respected German Social Democrat, published a book in 2010 in which he said Germany would become poorer and lose its identity as well as its potential because Turkish and Arab immigrants had a lower IQ. He said his ideas were supported by a third of Germans, who believed that the state should limit immigration and the practice of Islam. He was sacked from the SPD, but only a year later Chancellor Angela Merkel, from the ruling conservative CDU party, echoed some of his views when she declared that multiculturalism had failed.
In Greece, now suffering rising unemployment, social upheaval and despair as a result of the harsh economic austerity measures, anti-foreigner right-wing groups have been growing fast. They blame Albanians, Muslims and any other foreigners in Greece for taking Greek jobs and undermining Greek morale. Comparisons are being made with the appeal of the Nazis during the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic. (Big difference: the Jews weren’t killing anyone, trying to impose Judaism on non-Jews, or trying to create Jewish-compliant republics all over Europe)
But it is the growth of
extremism patriotism in traditionally liberal climates that is alarming many politicians. In 2009 Swiss voters approved a ban on the building of any minaret on mosques in the country. Finland’s new party, True Finns, has sprung from nowhere to capture a significant share of the vote on a platform of hostility to outsiders and to any EU bailout for the weaker southern members of the EU. Sweden, Denmark and Norway have also seen a rise of the far-right.
And the biggest upset has been in traditionally tolerant Netherlands, where Geert Wilders, a politician who has denounced the Koran as an evil book and called Islam a “totalitarian ideology”, won 15 per cent of the vote in 2010. His Party for Freedom is now the third biggest force in Dutch politics. His views on Islam are so
extreme controversial that he was recently banned from entering Britain, (but the ban has since been lifted). Before that, after the assassination in 2002 of Pim Fortuyn, the gay anti-Muslim campaigner, there were widespread attacks on mosques in the Netherlands and anti-Muslim riots that shocked many Dutch voters. All governments since then have promised to curb immigration and crack down sharply on Muslim clergy preaching intolerance.
Britain, too, has never had a strong party on the far right, but has recently seen the growth of far-right movements that are winning votes largely on their anti-Muslim platform. A new group, the English Defence League, has organised street marches against Muslims and acquired a strong following on the football terraces. Its membership is so far small, but it has attracted a large following on the internet – as have other far-right groups elsewhere.
Earlier this month, the English Defence League organised the first pan-European conference of far-right parties in Aarhus, Denmark. About 200 members from several countries met and voted to form a European Defence League, to protect Europe from Islamist extremism. Most of these parties have denounced what Breivik did, but cannot escape association with him, as he has specifically cited his links to far-right groups in Britain as a main influence on his political views.
Part of the
blame credit for the rise of the far-right lies with traditional political parties that have sidestepped awkward questions about immigration and the integration of minorities. Most are now adapting their policies to respond to popular pressure. David Cameron, Britain’s Prime Minister, said recently, like Merkel, that multiculturalism had failed, and called for a much stronger assertion of British values and British identity.
Muslims in many European countries have been alarmed by the trend. Some have responded by urging fellow Muslims to do more to denounce extremism in their midst and report suspected terrorists to the police. But instead, many have denounced what they call a wave of Islamophobia, and have hunkered down in their own communities, isolating themselves from the mainstream. The perception that the far-right is goading attacks on Muslims has also enouraged militancy and extremism among many young Muslims in Western urban centres. France saw an eruption of violence in the Paris suburbs three years ago.
But the murders by the Toulouse gunman in March have reawakened fears of al-Qaeda terrorism striking again in Europe. And across Europe, governments are fearful that another Breivik may be waiting somewhere, encouraged by far-right xenophobia and ready to take fearful revenge on what he sees as the new danger to his country’s national identity. (So typical of the left, they fear another Breivik massacre more than they fear another Muslim terror attack)
The following write-ups about Europe’s right wing parties are from a far left wing rag in the U.S. called The Nation
The Nation The continent’s far-right parties vary in their individual ideologies, but most express a growing anxiety with immigration, multiculturalism and what they see as the “Islamization” of Europe. Here are 13 of the many right-wing parties fighting for ground in Europe’s charged ideological battles.
NORWAY: PROGRESS PARTY:
Norway’s anti-immigrant Progress Party, of which Breivik was a member until 2006, won 23 percent of the vote in the country’s 2009 parliamentary election. The party is now the country’s second-largest. A brochure for the Progress Party urges tighter limits on immigration depicts a masked criminal with the text, “The man is of foreign origin.”
FRANCE: NATIONAL FRONT
The National Front, under the new leadership of Marine Le Pen, has disavowed some of it’s more openly fascist positions in favor of a more specifically anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant platform, and is steadily gaining favor in the country: in local elections this March, the National Front won 15 percent of the vote, only one percent less than President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party. Marine Le Pen at a news conference in December 2010 during which defended her remarks comparing overflowing Mosques in France to the Nazi occupation.
HUNGARY: FIDESZ & JOBBIK
The nationalist Fidesz party won more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament in Hungary’s national elections last year, giving them the supermajority that’s needed to change the country’s constitution. But even more startling were the electoral gains of the neo-fascist Jobbik party, whose anti-Roma and otherwise racist rhetoric secured it 17 percent of the vote in the same elections, making it the third-largest party in the country. This alliance has already cracked down on dissent, censoring media and cutting funding for culturally important theaters.
NETHERLANDS: FREEDOM PARTY
Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party almost tripled its representation in Netherland’s House of Representatives last year, winning 15.5 percent of the total vote. Wilders has become an icon of the anti-Islamization movement with his controversial policy proposals: he advocatesbanning the Quran, limiting the construction of mosques and taxing wearers of headscarves.
Geert Wilders in court in March after he was charged with inciting hatred against Muslims by comparing Islam to Nazism. He was acquitted in June.
ENGLAND: ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE
The English Defence League takes its ideological battles to the streets: since its founding in 2009, the EDL has specialized in soccer hooligan-style provocation and violence to get its message across. The group confrontationally rallies through largely Muslim neighborhoods, and in the wake of Breivik’s attacks, the EDL’s founder argued that “What happened in Oslo shows how desperate some people are becoming in Europe.”
Apparently, The Nation is unfamiliar with the British Freedom Party with whom members of the EDL are now vice chairmen.
AUSTRIA: FREEDOM PARTY
Governments of the European Union were outraged in 2000, Buruma writes, when the Austrian Freedom Party garnered enough votes to form part of a coalition government. Party head Heinz-Christian Strache was active in Austria’s neo-Nazi underground for years, and even took part in militia training. None of which has tarnished the party’s image among voters: Freedom Party now garners as much support in Austrian polls as the two mainstream parties.
Austria’s far right Freedom Party (FPO) is causing outrage with its advertising campaign. The slogan causing all the fuss appears in bold letters across huge billboards next to the smiling face of Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian Strache. “Mehr Mut für Wiener Blut” – more courage for Viennese Blood. The next line says – “Too many foreigners does no one any good”
ITALY: NORTHERN LEAGUE
In the country of Mussolini, the neo-fascists of the now-dissolved National Alliance partyhave found new positions as members of President Silvia Berlusconi’s government. But they’re hardly the only far-right politicians in the country: the anti-immigrant Northern League party’s Mario Borghezio—who is also a member of Italy’s parliament—defended Anders Behring Breivik after the Norwegian attacks, saying “Some of the ideas he expressed are good, barring the violence… some of them are great.”
GERMANY: Pro NRW PARTY
Der SpiegelSadly, Germans again voted overwhelmingly for left-wing parties with the SPD (Socialists) up almost 5% to finish as the largest party on 39.1%. The Socialists and Greens are now likely to form a coalition. The anti-Islam PRO NRW achieved only 1.5% of the vote, approximately the same as in the previous elections, meaning they get no seats in the regional parliament. This was despite the massive publicity surrounding the Mohammed cartoons and anti-Islam graphics which provoked Muslim rioting and attacks on the police that made national headlines. The demonstrations at which the violence occurred were part of PRO NRW’s electoral campaign.
North-Rhine Westphalia is one of the most heavily Muslim-colonised parts of Germany. There is large-scale Turkish settlement there, along with the usual infiltration of the Socialist and Green parties. The media is obviously hostile to any anti-Islam party but the cartoon riots forced them to at least give PRO NRW some coverage. If an anti-Islamic party was going to break through into the mainstream, this is one of the places where you would think it most likely to happen. But it didn’t.
It’s bad news, then, but PRO NRW did at least cross the 1% threshold, which secures it some state financing.