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(en) No PasaranNov - 2003 - Looking at the Extreme right in Europe

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(www.ils-sil.org/bul1-us-020.htm)
Date Fri, 19 Mar 2004 07:51:38 +0100 (CET)


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Throughout Western Europe, right wing populist parties have known a
considerable development these last 15 years. We can attest to these
phenomenons in various different countries: Austria, Italy, Belgium,
Denmark, Holland, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland. At this point, let us
take a broader yet more precise look at these political tendencies of
national populism which dissociates itself, to a certain extent, from
neo-fascists movements.

In Austria, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland, these parties belong to a
right wing governmental coalition, i.e. they are their partners in the
minority. In Denmark and Portugal, right wing governments are largely
dependant on their support (refer to the below chart showing the recent
results of these parties). Still, a distinction must be made among these
different political forces. The Vlaams Blok (VB) remains a fascist party,
which disguises itself behind a " populist " strategy. The Austrian
Freiheitliche Partei Österreich (FPÖ) is a populist party whose origin is
strongly anchored in Hitler's NSDAP. L'Alleanza Nazionale (AN) is a
fascist populist party in many aspects and also the direct descendant of
Mussolini's fascist party. The other parties on the list have a political
tradition close to that of the established political parties, most of them
being fragments of conservative or liberal parties. For these reasons,
these parties won't work with parties such as the VB, the FPÖ or the AN
and categorically refuse any collaboration with these latter.

These populist parties converge in their ideology and concrete
propositions in two key issues: immigration, asylum rights and
islamophobia on the one hand, and "law and order" on the other. There are
some possibilities of convergence on a the European scale, primarily
concerning taxes. In Denmark, Holland, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland,
the right wing populist parties are neither fascist nor authoritarian
despite their way of tackling immigration issues and the right of asylum
or even security issues. Putting aside these themes, these parties have
more in common with conservative and ultra-liberal parties than with
fascism or the traditional extreme right wing.

Concerning social and economic issues, they are absolutely ultra-liberal
and present themselves as ardent advocates of free trade and oppose any
form of state intervention or regulation. They are not totalitarian: the
concept of " masses " is absent from their ideology and focus mainly on
the individual. They are not violent, and consider themselves as the true
representants of the mainstream. They do not advocate political violence
and play by democracy's rules. They are not " anti-parliamentary " or "
anti-democratic ". They are political opportunists who do not work towards
the application of a clearly defined program: they are the anchor point of
"popular" complaints, grieves and anguish. They try to find legitimacy in
commonly accepted opinions: that all established parties are identical and
on the increasing absenteeism rates all over Europe. Generally, they do
not prone a racist ideology, even though they can create a racist
atmosphere. They are islamophobe, and putting aside the VB and the FPÖ ,
anti-semitism remains taboo for them.

The rise of these types of right wing populist parties has two major
consequences: first of all, it accentuates the already started
rightwing-isation of the political landscape of Western Europe and
participate to the legitimization of racist propaganda of neo-fascists
groups, giving it a respectable familiar resonance.

For reminder, these types of forces have proved their capacity to conquer
a political space and mobilize a social base, which belonged up to now to
the traditional left, i.e. the social democrats. The social democrats,
having given up the working classes, the populist didn't loose any time in
filling this political void. To do so, they tackled the anguish and
preoccupations of the " ordinary " people (unemployment, capacity to buy a
house …) which has a strong resonance for the working class. To this day,
the left wing, confronted with this phenomenon, has remained without any
answers and has given up any perspectives of finding collective answers
and responses to socio-economic issues. And when the support given to
populists fades, it is the traditional right which benefits from it, not
the left.

The antifascist movement would male a great mistake if it were to confuse
right wing populism as it manifests itself today with fascism and nazism.
We should bring to light the populism of the right as it is in its
terrain: wanting to label it " fascist " or " nazi " would only discredit
the anti-fascist movement. Often, the differences existing between these
close political tendencies are as important as the similarities that bring
them together.

Austria FPÖ, Freiheitliche Parteiöstesrreich (Austrian liberal party) 10,2 %
Belgium VB, Vlaams Blok (Flemish block) 11,6 %
Italy AN, Allianza Nazionale (National Alliance) 12 %
Denmark DF Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People's Party) 12 %
Holland Lijst Pim Fortuyn 19 %
Norway FP, Fremskritts Partiet (Progress Party) 17 %
PORTUGAL PP, Partido Popular (Popular Party) 8,75 %
Switzerland SVP, Schweizerische Volkspartei (People's Party) 28%

http://www.ils-sil.org/bul1-us-020.htm
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