We’ve been deeply concerned for some time about the resurgence of racism in Europe [for extended analyses, see here and here].
The rantings of self-confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik as his trial begins in Oslo for the 22 July 2011 massacres Norway offer a stunning reminder of the thread of racism that lies at the heart of all extreme right wing movements across the globe.
The last time racist extremism surged to the fore in Europe was in the years of the 20th Century’s Great Depression, and the targets of the Nazis were Jews, the Roma and Sinti peoples [“Gypsies”], and Slavs.
The Sinti and Roma were targeted for total annihilation along with Jews.
In the 21st Century collapse, Jews have been replaced by Muslims, while Europe’s wandering peoples have again been singled out and the Slavs are rarely mentioned.
Both former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched mass arrests of Sinti and Roma and expelled them from their borders.
Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff drew the parallel:
Europe’s security services neglect Far Right
This should come as no surprise.
Way back in 1966, when we were reporting on radical politics for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, we interviewed a member of the Minutemen extremist group who worked at a secure government nuclear facility, where he’d been vetted for atomic-level secrets.
The Minutemen actually published a guidebook by founder Robert Bolivar DePugh [subsequently arrested and jailed for diddling young boys], which included instruction on assassination techniques suitable for deployment against government officials.
Had the guy been a communist, he’d have never been cleared, but the far Right was neglected by security agencies because they were deemed to pose no threat.
Now the same sort of selective blindness is happening in Europe, reports one human right group.
From Nikolaj Nielsen of EUobserver:
Security services in Europe have neglected the kind of right-wing extremism which inspired Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik to commit mass murder, a UK-based rights group has warned.
“Post-911, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took their eye off the ball on the radicalisation of Europeans,” Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver on Monday (16 April).
“EU authorities have been lagging on radicalisation in Europe. They’ve been slow to grasp the power of the Internet and social media that encourages and helps co-ordinate the activities of the groups,” he added.
Hope Not Hate in a report out on Sunday said the ‘counter-jihad’ movement has become the new face of the far right in Europe and North America. The survey identifies some 300 disparate groups and individuals behind the trend.
Read the rest.
Greece’s racist fascists out from under their rocks
The latest example of a neofascist party to rise in Europe is Greece’s Golden Dawn, which espouses a policy of ethnic cleansing and has adopted explicitly Nazi elements into symbology.
Here’s one example you can purchase at their website, the Golden Dawn hoodie:
Here’s Evangelos Venizelos, head of the Greek “socialist” party [PASOK] commenting on the rise of Golden dawn, via Greek Reporter’s Marianna Tsatsou:
He said that the Greek Political party Golden Dawn “longs for fascism and nazism of the past.”
Golden Dawn and other similar chauvinist parties became popular with Greeks, due to the great number of illegal immigrants coming to Greece everyday. In the centre of Athens, residents and businessmen are terrified by their actions.
When citizen’s listen to Golden Dawn’s officials saying that “we need Greece with only Greeks living in it,” a proportion of them feel safe so they choose to vote for them.
Read the rest.
The issue, of course, is immigrants, and the party is already having an impact, as the New York Times’ Rachel Donadio and Dimitris Bounias report:
[E]ven if Golden Dawn fails to enter Parliament, it has already had an impact on the broader political debate. In response to the fears over immigration and rising crime, Greece’s two leading parties — the Socialist Party and the center-right New Democracy Party — have also tapped into nationalist sentiment and are tacking hard right in a campaign in which immigration has become as central as the economy.
Experts say the group is thriving where the Greek state seems absent, the most virulent sign of how the economic collapse has empowered fringe groups while eroding the political mainstream, a situation that some Greek news outlets have begun comparing to Weimar Germany.
“Greek society at this point is a laboratory of extreme-right-wing evolution,” said Nicos Demertzis, a political scientist at the University of Athens. “We are going through an unprecedented financial crisis; we are a fragmented society without strong civil associations” and with “generalized corruption in all the administration levels.”
With what critics say is a poorly policed border with Turkey, Greece is seen as an entry point for illegal immigrants, some of them asylum seekers but most intent on moving to more promising economic terrain in Northern and Western Europe. But many of the immigrants remain in Greece or are returned there after being deported from other countries in Europe. This has stoked fears here of an onslaught of illegal immigrants, who economists say bear little or no responsibility for Greece’s economic troubles but who make easy scapegoats for politicians across the spectrum.
Read the rest.
More from Foreign Policy’s Allison Good:
Golden Dawn joins the ranks of dozens of nationalist-populist fringe parties all over Europe whose enflamed euroskeptic reactions to the “cuts to wages and pensions imposed in order to secure aid from the EU and the IMF” have resulted in political shakeups. The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) , led by Geert Wilders, won 24 of the 150 parliamentary seats in the 2010 general election, and came in second in the Netherlands in the 2009 European Parliament elections.
Golden Dawn also espouses a particularly anti-German sentiment:
“It’s right to hate Germany, because it is still the leader of the banksters and the European Union,” Mr. Michaloliakos, the group’s leader, said, using a derogatory term for bankers.
Of course, Golden Dawn is still transitioning from a street-fighting group into a political party, but it remains to be seen whether it can become a well-oiled machine like France’s National Front, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, is still campaigning for the presidency. Even so, its increasing popularity is evidence of a dangerous trend that only promises to worsen.
Read the rest.
Interesting choice of words: You can hate Germany, but only because of the power of German banks. And note that he doesn’t say it’s alright to hate Germans.
As the party’s symbols make clear, there’s another Germany, now vanished, that they very much like. And note their official logo, which strongly resembles the flag of that other Germany, right down to the choice of colors [black and white on a red background] and the strongly angular central figure.
Another famous logo
Golden Dawn logo
Another warning on the spread of racism
This time from a European monitoring group.
Areti Kotseli of Greek Reporter:
The RED (Rights Equality and Diversity) Annual Report for Europe 2011 sounds the alarm for Greece who seems to be , along with Spain, the most acute example of racist violence cases.
The bigger increase in crime cases against immigrants in Greece and Spain is partly attributed to the fact that “these countries present the highest unemployment rates among young people,” explains Miltos Pavlou in the findings of the report.
The report findings underline the inconsistency between the political correctness of the EU and the previous European legislation for the protection of minorities’ rights on one hand, and the rise of xenophobic rhetoric and racist violence in the Member States on the other.
“The EU seems to be cut out from national governments,” Miltos Pavlou, RED Network Coordinator, points out. In almost all EU countries of the RED Network, problems concerning the implementation of national legislation prohibiting discrimination and combating racist and hate crime are reported. The situation is deteriorating even in countries which didn’t exhibit such problems in the past,” he added. A special emphasis is put on the Roma children being segregated in education in most EU countries and immigrants.
Read the rest.
The January annual report of the European Commission on Human Rights takes note of the persecution of Roma and Sinti peoples and the Travelers, who have been singled out for prosecution in Britain:
As a result of persisting serious challenges in the field of securing the enjoyment by Roma and Travellers of their human rights throughout Continue reading