Fascism in Europe is strong, smart and growing fast

February 18, 2012 1:27 pm

On Monday, I was disappointed to learn from the Bureau of the European Parliament that seven European political parties – all of the far-right, all extremists – had created a new political group. Called the “Alliance of European Nationalist Movements (AENM)”, their bland title hides a raw fact: the AENM will qualify for a reported €289,266  of EU taxpayers’ money.

That was no surprise. Amongst the usual Fascist suspects we find the British BNP, the French Front National and Hungary’s Jobbik. But where I was surprised is that such an act of outright Fascist defiance in the European Parliament has secured so little press time in the UK. Yes, the development has been covered. Sadly, it has not been analyzed.

Democracy in Europe is an implausible outcome. It is also precious. Before 1945, democracy in most individual European countries seemed very unlikely. Interwar Fascism was a powerful force, and liberation – even during most of the war – was never guaranteed. Likewise, after the conflict ended, the prospect of a democratic European Union looked equally implausible. Nowadays, despite economic and fiscal pressures unprecedented in the modern world, every European Member State is democratic, and each democracy a member of the EU. But to imagine that democracy in Europe is simply a fact, and that the 21st century will require no effort, is an illusion.

I do not refer here to the Eurozone crisis. Current media storms about the Euro are wrong. Speculators in various media and markets are mistaken to think that the Euro will fail – the currency is simply too important for that to happen. But they are also mistaken on another, more important count. The Euro currency’s problems is not the main threat to Europe’s harmonious future.

That is because the Euro is a tool, and European society the fabric. Tools can be changed and improved. But if the fabric is soiled, that’s it. And the far-right is threatening just this, the fabric of European democracy. We’re looking at maybe a three fix for the Euro, a task that’s tough but possible. But there’s a 20 plus year fight with the new far-right on our hands and no-one seems to be reporting it with the urgency required.

So what is the essential Fascist strategy now? From the European Parliament, often sitting just seats away, I can see how it’s a cunning paradigm shift: do not confront democracy as the object of Fascist ideas, but embrace it, rhetorically at least. The BNP are masters of this strategy. And they are making strong headway too. Having failed to form an alliance of far-right MEPs in the European Parliament, they have still managed both to work closely with the French Front National and form a part of this new pan-European political party.

That is what concerns me most. Fascism in the 1930s was easy to spot, uniforms, shouting, marching and symbols predominated. Now, however, the average Fascist is indistinguishable from a mid-ranking bank clerk. That is dangerous, especially during a long recession and even more so when their unacceptable views are to be promoted and financed by European taxpayers, potentially entering the mainstream of debate.

It is my sincere I hope that none of the other parties in the European Parliament work with this alliance of racists, extremists and neo-Nazis. But that’s not enough. There are also very strict rules about how this political funding can be spent, including respect for democracy and human rights, and I’ll personally be monitoring how these Fascists spend every penny of their funds as one very small contribution to confronting – and defeating – the strongest challenge from the European far-right in 70 years.

Claude Moraes is a Labour MEP for London

  • Democritus

    The real threat of fascism to europe is that of the religious type.

  • SR819

    At a time of economic uncertainty, it’s sad but unsurprising that immigrants are again the focus for many politicians looking to divert attention away from their austerity policies. A lot of people don’t actually back these right wing fiscally conservative policies, but the right wing are clever, and try to focus on issues of culture, race and immigration. Look at Sarkozy for instance. The Coalition is more moderate, but they could go down this route if the economy doesn’t improve.

    On Alex Hilton’s piece, the comment that received the most likes was a far right wing diatribe by a poster, which suggests immigration is still a major issue. In the UK, attitudes towards immigration are extremely negative, and with people’s incomes being squeezed, this creates fertile ground for the BNP to start growing again.

    This is why Labour have to push through genuine socialist alternatives to give people hope. Ed at the moment is too busy triangulating, and hasn’t come out with a coherent policy on immigration or benefit reform. It’s as if we’re criticising the Tories on these two polices, but actually agree with them because we think that most people in this country back those polices. We should try to change people’s minds and show them another way is possible, not simply pander to prejudice against immigrants, unemployed people etc.

  • JoeDM

    Fascism =  Socialism + Racism

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      That’s a bit simplistic. There are right wing parties with a strong statist element who support interventionist policies in the economy, but Jobbik, for example, certainly aren’t one of them

      • JoeDM

        Fascism has always been about National Socialism – nasty big State politics.

        • Jeff_Harvey

          Not according to the Italians, who consider Fascism to be a very right-wing phenomenon viz., The Doctrine of Fascism. Italian Fascism was hostile towards and entirely opposed to the aims of Socialism.

  • W G

    Why is Claude Moraes portraying nationalists as fascists; are Scotland, Catalonians, Cornwall or Palestine for that matter, fascists for wanting independence?

    And, why does he so easily throw the fascist description around when the European Union is visibly the most fascist organization when judged against Musollini’s definition of fascism being “state corporatism”

    The people of Europe are facing austerity whilst a clique of privileged bureaucrats are living the high life; the ordinary people on the street are being told that they must work harder and longer whilst those in the Brussels bubble are increasing their salaries and pensions.

    Countries, such as Greece, are facing massive hardships in order to keep the EU vanity project on track.

    Yes, by all means highlight what is happening in Hungary, France, and here in Britain, but, for goodness sake, Moraes should take some time out to have a damn good look in the mirror at himself and his EU buddies. 

    Dismiss me as a troll, but I am a working class person who is well aware that the majority of working class people absolutely despise the EU and are increasingly totally contemptuous of the message of people like Claude Moraes; Moraes doesn’t represent the working people of Britain, he represents his buddies in Brussels. 

    • Markrichardsmith88

      The Scottish National Party wants fiscal independence for Scotland – this is what we call a nationalist policy. The British National Party wants to expell every non-white inhabitant of the United Kingdom – this is what we call a fascist policy. Does that answer your question?

      Claude Moraes is warning against the proliferation of fascist ideas which prey on the weak and vulnerable in society, promote authoritarian rule of a privileged few over the majority.

      MEPs work tirelessly to understand the concerns of their constituents with whole teams of staff whose job it is specifically to listen to a their constituents’ view. Someone claiming to have a better idea of Londoners’ views on the EU is making a considerable claim.

  • Pingback: AENM, l'analisi del movimento fascista europeo di Claude Moraes

  • Richard

    The greatest single achievement of the EU is the spread of democracy around Europe and the consensus this has provided. The EU is a fantastic project and has brought benefits to all Europeans. Nationalism and Fascism breed discontent, hatred of ‘others’ and conflict.
    The EU will push these  people aside. 

  • Keith Veness

    As an active Labour member, I did write to Claude about this.

    We should be careful not to conflate racism (reprehensible as it is) with fascism. Avowedly racist opinions will always exist in this sort of society. The EU makes this worse by encouraging a “white European” ethos. Why is it okay for thousands of Poles to come into England whilst Bangladeshis and Indians with strong family connections to here are barred or put through outrageous immigration procedures?  Why is Turkey refused membership whilst basket cases like Poland and Hungary are welcomed? This is the institutional racism endemic in the EU culture.

    The nazis of the BNP and its Euro equivalents are a different issue. There can be no compromise with these groups, who stand for smashing the organised labour movement and imposing their nightmare society on us. The must be confronted and driven off the streets at every opportunity. The battle for Barking at the last General Election showed how it should be done. By the end of the campaign Griffin required Police protection just to exit Barking Station.

    Incidentally, the daft P.R. systems in the EU allow nazi groups with 5% of the vote to win seats. The BNP can not get elected for Parliament and got wiped off Barking & Dagenham Council – under STV they would still have ten councillors in Barking even though they lost every ward.

    Yes Claude M. is right warn about the antic of these moronic nazi groups – but let’s change the system so they don’t get on the Strasburg gravy train! 

Latest

  • Featured In praise of Simon Danczuk

    In praise of Simon Danczuk

    Simon Danczuk has led the front pages this week with his explosive account of how an MP could hide a lifetime of abusing children. The Westminster reaction to his Cyril Smith allegations? Embarrassed coughs. Good on Simon for having the courage to speak his mind. Since his 2010 election, itself a feat of endurance, he’s demonstrated a forensic mind and a canny eye for a story. He represents a diminishing Westminster breed, a ‘character’ who speaks with an authentic voice […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Swinging The Axe – Why hiring Axelrod means Miliband is going big

    Swinging The Axe – Why hiring Axelrod means Miliband is going big

    David Axelrod has been hired by Labour to work on the party’s general election campaign. First – let me get the excitement out. David Axelrod is the biggest star in the world when it comes to political campaigning. Nevermind “guru”, this guy is a campaigning deity in his own right. From Barack Obama’s Chicago kitchen table to the Oval Office was a journey that few thought possible, but Axelrod managed the shift from state senator, to Senator, to President in […]

    Read more →
  • News Video David Axelrod’s video message to Labour members and supporters

    David Axelrod’s video message to Labour members and supporters

    Labour’s new strategist David Axelrod – who helped get Obama elected in 2008 and 2012 – has recorded a message for Labour members and supporters. He argues that “It’s isn’t people like me who win these elections – it’s people like you” – here’s the video in full:

    Read more →
  • Comment 10 social history visits for British politicos

    10 social history visits for British politicos

    New Lanark (Lanarkshire) The Robert Owen Museum (Montgomeryshire) The People’s Palace (Glasgow) St Giles’ Cathedral (Edinburgh) The People’s History Museum (Manchester) The International Slavery Museum (Liverpool) Cable Street (London) The Holocaust Memorial Garden (London) The British Library (London) The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum (Dorset) Obviously most LabourList readers think of this Saturday as part of the countdown to polling day but on the off-chance your organiser is letting you get any friends and family time this holiday weekend, here are ten […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Obama veteran David Axelrod joins Labour campaign team

    Obama veteran David Axelrod joins Labour campaign team

    There are few superstars in political campaigning – but David Axelrod is undoubtedly one of them. And he’s joining Labour’s 2015 election campaign team. The Obama veteran – who took the US President from state senator to the White House in a matter of years, and then got him re-elected – will be joining Labour’s campaign team as a Senior Strategic Adviser. That means he’ll be going head to head with fellow Obama veteran Jim Messina (now working with the […]

    Read more →