World in View: Europe’s racist leaders

November 11, 2022

From the November-December 2022 issue of News & Letters

by Eugene Walker

Sweden—The Swedish Democrats—the anti-immigrant party that is the largest of the Rightist bloc—has enough seats to exercise its racist immigration policy and veto power over government actions. After the elections, the party’s leader, Jimmie Akesson said: “Now we will get order in Sweden….It’s time to put Sweden first.”

NOT ELECTED BUT THEIR POLICIES RULE

With neo-Nazi roots, the Swedish Democrats are politically unacceptable government partners. But never mind, a 62-page agreement on policy, heavily influenced by their concerns, was constructed. It calls for big sentence increases for gang-related crimes, an expansion of police powers to stop and search people for weapons without probable cause, and limiting immigration to the absolute minimum required by the European Union

Jonas Hinnfors, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg, said: “We are at the brink of something very different in key respects in Swedish society: how we relate to each other, the forces of the state in relation to individual freedoms and what it is to be a foreigner in this country.” 

Jason Diakité, a Swedish rapper known as Timbuktu, put it more succinctly: “To all Black and Brown people in Sweden—be extra vigilant now. This election result will undoubtedly embolden even more extreme forces that have existed in this country for almost 100 years.”

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Italy—A new government has been installed with Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy, a hard-right party born of fascist roots, as the prime minister. Known for her fiery speeches against gay rights and illegal migrants, including advocating a naval blockade, when it came to her election campaign, she modified her tone and content to support the European Union, and NATO arms for Ukraine against Russia’s Putin.

SPEWING RACIST HATE

However, Meloni’s rhetoric has depended on her audience. In a visit to the far right Vox party in Spain, she shouted: “There is no possible mediation. Yes to the natural family. No to the LGBT lobbies. No to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration…”

She had previously declared the European Union an accomplice to “the project of ethnic replacement of Europe’s citizens desired by the great capitals and international speculators.”

Moreover, she has coalition parties in government who are open about their extreme nationalism, anti-EU stance and often pro-Putin positions. Foremost of these is Matteo Salvini, who headed the once-secessionist northern-based League party. Another “partner” is Silvio Berlusconi, a several-time prime minister, Putin admirer, misogynist and corrupt businessman.

Where this rightist coalition will end up is anybody’s guess. But certainly, in terms of migrants fleeing the violence and poverty of the Middle East and Africa, a future in Italy looks bleak.

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