From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/15/far-right-rise-european-marine-le-pen-geert-wilders
As Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders unite to wreck the EU, the left must fight for its alternative to economic stagnation at a European level
The Guardian, Friday 15 November 2013
In the years since the global banking crisis in 2007, commentators across the political spectrum have confidently predicted not only the imminent collapse of the euro – but sooner or later an unavoidable implosion of the European Union itself. None of this has come to pass. But the “European Project”, launched after the devastation of the second world war, now faces the most serious threat in its history. That threat was chillingly prefigured this week in the launch of a pan-European alliance of far-right parties, led by the French National Front and the Dutch Party of Liberty headed by Geert Wilders, and vowing to slay “the monster in Brussels”..
Of course, the growth in support for far-right populist, anti-European, anti-immigrant parties has been force-fed by the worst world recession since at least the 1930s and possibly since before 1914. Mass unemployment and falling living standards in the euro-area and the wider EU made worse by the crazy and self-defeating austerity obsession of European leaders has opened the door to the revival of the far right.
Parties that skulked in the shadows for decades after 1945, playing down their sympathies with fascism and Nazism are now re-emerging having given themselves a PR facelift. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French NF, plays down the antisemitic record of her party..
The Dutch far-right leader has ploughed a slightly different furrow – mobilising fear and hostility not against Jews but rather Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands. Like Marine Le Pen, Wilders obsessively focuses on the alleged cosmopolitan threat to national identity from the European Union. It is a chorus echoed in other European countries by the Danish People’s party, the Finns party and the Flemish Vlaams Belang among others.
For now, the French and Dutch populists are carefully keeping their distance from openly neo-Nazi parties such as Golden Dawn – whose paramilitary Sturmabteilung – have terrorised refugees and immigrants in Greece, and the swaggering Hungarian Jobbik, who terrorise the Roma minority. For now, our own Ukip is tactically keeping its distance from the new European far-right alliance while whispering a similar story about “east European immigrants”.
Ridiculous comparisons have been drawn by some commentators between the rise of the populist far right and the growth of the radical left – notably the Syriza party in Greece, which has pushed for a reverse of austerity crisis policies, both in Greece and throughout Europe. In fact, Syriza represents the main challenge to Golden Dawn’s offensive. Moreover, while the Italian Northern League may be drawn to the far-right alliance, the bulk of the semi-anarchist followers of the comedian Beppe Grillo in the Italian parliament are anti-fascist and unlikely to take the same path.
Continue reading at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/15/far-right-rise-european-marine-le-pen-geert-wilders