From the May-June 2018 issue of News & Letters
by Gerry Emmett
The victory of Far Right and “populist” parties in Italian elections, preceded by that in Austria, and followed by that in Hungary, emphasizes the current threat of neo-fascism.
France’s Marine Le Pen expressed their goal openly: “Nationalist parties could be a majority in Europe at the next European Parliament elections in 2019.” Far from being anti-European Union (EU), as is often said, these neo-fascists mean to take power in the EU.
DON’T BE FOOLED!
We can’t be misled by petty politics. As this is written, Italy’s former president Silvio Berlusconi is playing a wild card as he negotiates the next stage of his career. But the fascist Lega and “populist” 5 Star Movement are expected to form a government.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz Party won 44.87% votes, while the fascist Jobbik Party came second with 20.22%. Orban ran an anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant campaign, calling for a “Christian Hungary.” While up to 100,000 (including Jobbik) may have demonstrated against Fidesz, they retain power. Their victory was celebrated by Far Rightists from Le Pen to the “Alternative for Germany.”
These Far Right parties embody a familiar mix of racism, anti-immigrant hatred, and strange attraction to Russia’s Putin. Lega’s Matteo Salvini, among others, has signed a cooperation deal with Putin.
Not to be ignored are the arms shipments and military training offered by Putin to the racist Serb Republic entity in Bosnia.
This current version of European fascism has its roots deep in the 1990s Bosnian genocide, and just as deep in the wretched failure of European and U.S. “civilization” to deal with the historic causes and consequences of that atrocity.
Bosnia’s betrayal gave rise to a whole new era of world reaction—a weaponization of twisted historic memory locked and loaded under the flags of racism and religious bigotry, masquerading as populism but envisioning itself in the gilded halls of state power.
Again, popular wisdom says that these neo-fascist parties are mortal enemies of the neoliberal capitalism shorthanded as “Brussels.” But if they achieve their goal of continental power expect the capitalist class to negotiate an accommodation.