This week’s Time Magazine has an extensive front-page feature by Catherine Mayer on the turn to the far-right in Europe, focusing on four parties: the BNP, France’s Front National (FN), Hungary’s Jobbik and Geert Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV).
The whole article is really good and worth reading, so I recommend you do that. But I also have a few points to make:
1. It’s good that Geert Wilders is being included in the list of the ‘far-right’. I’ve been saying this for ages. It’s also worth nothing that he has supporters in the UK, especially Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion. That tells you a lot about their politics.
2. The writer does a good job of capturing the dilemmas for anti-facists:
…the urgent question is how best to contain the surge. Deny far-right leaders the oxygen of publicity? Tricky â€” they have a democratic mandate. Confront them? That risks casting them as martyrs, victims who tell unpalatable truths. Expose the racism that often underlies professions of patriotism? Well, yes, but that assumes voters choose far-right parties in ignorance of their views, rather than because they strike a chord. Steal their nationalist thunder by taking tough lines on issues such as immigration? This smacks of capitulation to the very ideas critics seek to defeat.
3. There are some hints towards, but not a deeper look at the solutions. These would be: (a) have politics more about grassroots campaigning and organising; (b) have Parliament more representative of class, gender and race; (c) raising rather than doing anything about people’s concerns (on immigration, globalisation, poverty, housing etc), as Sarkozy has done, while promoting diversity.
4. They could have also interviewed Jon Cruddas MP – who is by far the best mainstream politician to talk sense about the far-right.
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Filed in: Race politics