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John Passant

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June 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



A fascist future for Europe?

It looks like the European Union elections have seen a slight fall in voting numbers and a swing to conservative Governments in power (France, Germany, Poland), a collapse in the vote for the traditional left – the Socialists in France and the Labour Party in Britain – an increase in the vote for the Greens and a swing to the fascists.

This latter is probably enough to give the Nazis across Europe party status or whatever it is called in the EU Parliament. Is this the first step on the long march to fascism in Europe or parts of it?

At first blush (and I hope to get my head around this more and write on it) it is an expression of disillusionment with the EU project as presently conceived and a view among those who did vote that the conservatives are better placed to deal with the crisis with one current warming to the fatal song of fascism wrapped in extreme nationalism.

It is also to be frank a recognition that the revolutionary left has little influence at present in Europe.  That may change if class struggle increases, although social democracy may be the initial beneficiary of any serious struggles, especially if they adopt left rhetoric.

The failure of social democracy in power in Europe or in opposition to address in any form (actions, suggestions etc) the economic crisis may explain the swing to Berlusconi and Sarkozy.

How interesting that as the neoliberal experiment dies before our eyes one form of its political expression gains swings to it. Or maybe this is just a rejection of one version of neoliberal keynesianism and the adoption of another.

Perhaps I am over-intellectualising this. Maybe the right – conservatives and fascists – could better mobilise their supporters to vote and the supporters of the traditional mainstream left have become so disillusioned with their parties they didn’t bother to turn out.

As I said I hope to write something on this that is more considered (as best I can do that!) in the near future.



Comment from juan
Time June 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Hi Bill, yes we need to worry a bit about the result in the European elections. But the results are not so bad. As you point out there has been a slide to the right in France and the UK. But more worrisome are the results in Poland, Italy and Hungary, particularly Italy, where there is already a tremendous shift towards a facist state. It is the like of Berlusconi and Zarkozy that we must be weary of.

Comment from Leonie
Time June 9, 2009 at 9:18 pm


Good to hear from you again!

Conservatives are not fascists. Sarkozy and Berlusconi and Merkel and whatever the PM’s name is in Poland are a worry but I don’t see them as much different to Brown etc. The Labour Party in the UK is in trouble not because of its personalities but because of its policies – pro boss, pandering to nationalism etc.

I am more worried about the real fascists like the BNP in Britain and the Freedom Party in Holland. In 1928 Hitler got 2 percent of the vote. In 1930 it skyrocketed as his appeal to the ruling class to smash the unions gained ground, and in 1933 he was constitutionally elected with over 30 per cent of the vote.

The situation now is the same and different. We are going into a great recession, but the union leadership so far is collaborating in the cuts in wages and conditions across the world. The radical and revolutionary left is non-existent now compared to the late 20s and 30s in Germany, even though the Stalinist Communist Party criminally attacked the German Labour Party equivalent rather than unite with it against the fascists. The Labor Parties are shadows of themselves, especially in the sense of having a combative membership prepared to confront the fascists.

But the magnificent general strikes in places like France, Ireland and Greece show that workers can respond as workers. The task for the revolutionary left is to turn that anger into further action, both in defence of jobs and wages and conditions and against the fascists.

If the great recession worsens the scapegoating will continue and increase and sections of the ruling class will look again at using the battering ram of fascism to drive down wages and conditions. We are not there yet, but it is a possibility. Destroy the disease before it destroys us all.

Comment from juan
Time June 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Thanks Leonie
By intimidating the judiciary, Berlusconi managed to censure the publication in Italy of rather vulgar and shameful photos of himself surrounded by naked or half naked young females but could not manage to stop their publication by the Spanish paper El Pais. So what does he do? He threatens to sue the paper and blames the left, and Rupert Murdoch!, for its publication.
The last time the world was exposed to such naked show of power, impunity and coarseness was during Tiberius’s tyranny. The difference this time around is that the tyrant does have a telephone!
If Italy is not yet a fascist state, it is very close to it. The election to the Euro parliament of the two ultra right wing from the BNP is precisely what we need to alert people of what is already happening in some countries; so that we start to worry and mobilise.