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FTR #951 Fascism: 2017 World Tour

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Marian Kotleba (left) of the People's Party Our Slovakia

Mar­i­an Kotle­ba (left) of the Peo­ple’s Par­ty Our Slo­va­kia

The Yamato DynastyIntro­duc­tion: The events over­tak­ing the Unit­ed States are echoes of events occur­ring world­wide. This “2017 World Tour” exam­ines aspects of ascen­dant glob­al fas­cism, includ­ing his­tor­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal trends stretch­ing back to the World War II peri­od.

Yet anoth­er of the fascist/Nazi/racist influ­ences on Steve Ban­non is French writer Charles Mau­r­ras. A doc­tri­naire anti-Semi­te, he was sen­tenced to life impris­on­ment for col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Third Reich.

Set­ting Mau­r­ras’s activ­i­ties in an his­tor­i­cal con­text, we recap an excerpt from FTR #372 (August of 2002) detail­ing the French Fifth Col­umn that sub­vert­ed the French mil­i­tary resis­tance to the armies of the Third Reich. Mau­r­ras’s L’Ac­tion Fran­caise was among the jour­nals influ­enc­ing French fas­cists, who saw the Ger­man inva­sion as a vehi­cle for elim­i­nat­ing democ­ra­cy and, at the same time, blam­ing the defeat on gov­ern­ment of Leon Blum, whose mur­der was advo­cat­ed by Mau­r­ras.

In Italy, Bepe Gril­lo’s Five Star Move­ment is lead­ing in the polls, and may come out ahead in the 2018 elec­tions. Observers have seen the par­ty as an heir to Mus­solin­i’s black­shirts. We note, in pass­ing, that the pop­ulist ide­al­ism offi­cial­ly endorsed by Five Star is sim­i­lar to aspects of many left-pop­ulist agen­das, while incor­po­rat­ing fea­tures of con­tem­po­rary fas­cist pol­i­tics.

Trav­el­ing north­ward, we observe the resus­ci­ta­tion of Slo­va­kian fas­cism and the cel­e­bra­tion of Nazi quis­ling Josef Tiso’s World War II col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment. Social media/Facebook are a key ele­ment of the suc­cess of the “neo-Tiso’s.”

An American/Swedish axis, of sorts, man­i­fests as a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between Trumpenkampfver­bande sup­port­er Richard B. Spencer and Daniel Friberg, a key fig­ure in the Swedish fas­cist milieu of Carl Lund­strom.

Trav­el­ing to Asia, we note the re-emer­gence of Japan­ese fas­cism, insti­tut­ed in the Abe gov­ern­ment by orga­ni­za­tions like Nip­pon Kai­gi. In addi­tion to insti­tut­ing revi­sion­ist teach­ing in the Japan­ese edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, the Abe gov­ern­ment is cur­tail­ing that coun­try’s free press.

Sev­er­al of Abe’s cab­i­net min­is­ters are sup­port­ive of Hitler’s elec­toral strat­e­gy, see­ing it as a blue­print for the imple­men­ta­tion of Japan­ese reaction–among them Tomo­mi Ina­da, the new defense min­is­ter.

The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­du nationalist/fascist gov­ern­ment and it selec­tion of a hard-line anti-Mus­lim big­ot to gov­ern the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Review of Mod­i’s BJP as a cat’s paw for the Hin­du nationalist/fascist RSS.
  • Dis­cus­sion of the eco­nom­ic links between Ger­man and French indus­tri­al­ists that under­lay the devel­op­ment of the French Fifth Col­umn inspired, in part, by Charles Mau­r­ras.
  • Review of the links between Carl Lund­strom, Wik­iLeaks and Assange aide Joran Jer­mas, a doc­tri­naire Holo­caust denier.
  • Review of the “Naz­i­fied AI” at the heart of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s data manip­u­la­tion engine.

NaziRoundup1. Anoth­er of the fas­cist influ­ences on Steve Ban­non, Trump’s top strate­gist, is French anti-Semi­te and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Charles Mau­r­ras.

“Stephen Ban­non Is a Fan of a French Philoso­pher . . . . Who Was an Anti-Semi­te and a Nazi Sup­port­er” by Pema Levy; Moth­er Jones; 3/16/2017.

Stephen Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief strate­gist, recent­ly spoke approv­ing­ly of the ideas of an anti-Semit­ic French intel­lec­tu­al who was sen­tenced to life in prison for coop­er­at­ing with the Nazis dur­ing World War II.

In an arti­cle on Ban­non’s inter­ac­tions with Euro­pean right-wing nation­al­ists who want to break apart the Euro­pean Union, Politi­co report­ed last week that Ban­non has “expressed admi­ra­tion for the reac­tionary French philoso­pher Charles Mau­r­ras, accord­ing to French media reports con­firmed by Politi­co.” Recent arti­cles in French media claim Ban­non favor­ably cit­ed Mau­r­ras to a French diplo­mat. . . .

. . . . But Mau­r­ras was more than a nation­al­ist. He was an infa­mous anti-Semi­te, whose anti-Jew­ish views were cen­tral to his out­look. From 1908 to 1944, Mau­r­ras edit­ed the anti-Semit­ic paper L’Ac­tion Fran­caise, the organ of an epony­mous move­ment that was anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic and pro-monar­chy. The move­ment was born out of the Drey­fus Affair, an inter­na­tion­al con­tro­ver­sy in which an inno­cent Jew­ish sol­dier was con­vict­ed in 1894 of pass­ing secrets to the Ger­mans, a crime for which he was lat­er exon­er­at­ed. The move­men­t’s “found­ing prej­u­dice” was that Drey­fus was in fact guilty and that those who sup­port­ed him were under­min­ing France, accord­ing to Fred­er­ick Brown’s The Embrace of Unrea­son: France, 1914–1940. Mau­r­ras spent years writ­ing anti-Semit­ic arti­cles. He referred to the French gov­ern­ment, known as the Third Repub­lic, as “the Jew State, the Mason­ic State, the immi­grant State.”

In 1936, Mau­r­ras served eight months in prison for incit­ing the attempt­ed assas­si­na­tion of Jew­ish politi­cian Léon Blum and oth­er French offi­cials. Accord­ing to Car­men Callil’s Bad Faith: A For­got­ten His­to­ry of Fam­i­ly, Father­land and Vichy France, Mau­r­ras penned numer­ous arti­cles call­ing for Blum to be lynched and shot in the back and have his throat slit.

Mau­r­ras blamed World War II on the Jews, fault­ing them for the Ger­man occu­pa­tion of France. “The bar­barous occu­pa­tion of 1940 would not have tak­en place with­out the Jews of 1939, with­out their filthy war, the war they under­took and they declared: our occu­piers were intro­duced by them, it was the Jews who launched us into cat­a­stro­phe,” he wrote, accord­ing to 2001 arti­cle by Callil in the New States­man. Callil also not­ed that Mau­r­ras’ news­pa­per sup­port­ed the Nazis and “named names, hunt­ed down ene­mies, and called for hostages, resis­tants, Jews and Gaullists to be shot.” In his polit­i­cal col­umn dur­ing the war, Mau­r­ras wrote that “if the death penal­ty is not suf­fi­cient to put a stop to the Gaullists, mem­bers of their fam­i­lies should be seized as hostages and exe­cut­ed.”
At the end of the war, Mau­r­ras was sen­tenced to life in prison for com­plic­i­ty with the Nazis. He report­ed­ly called his con­vic­tion “Drey­fus’ revenge.” Due to his fail­ing health, he was released from prison short­ly before his death in 1952.

Accord­ing to Politi­co, Ban­non approv­ing­ly cit­ed Mau­r­ras’ dis­tinc­tion between what the French philoso­pher called the “real coun­try” of the peo­ple and the “legal coun­try” led by gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Mau­r­ras put Jews in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, accord­ing to Brown, and referred to all Jews as for­eign­ers. . . .

2a. Next, we excerpt part of FTR #372, dis­cussing the French Fifth Col­umn to which Charles Mau­r­ras belonged.

The account of the actions of the French Fifth Col­umn relies heav­i­ly on the account pro­vid­ed by Pierre Cot, the French min­is­ter of avi­a­tion under the Leon Blum gov­ern­ment. In his 1944 book Tri­umph of Trea­son, Cot dis­cussed the sub­ver­sion of the French mil­i­tary resis­tance to the Ger­mans by mem­bers of the armed forces sym­pa­thet­ic to the fas­cist cause. The Vichy gov­ern­ment then under­took to pin the stun­ning mil­i­tary defeat on the Blum gov­ern­ment, instead of the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al activ­i­ties of some of its own sym­pa­thiz­ers.

Tri­umph of Trea­son; by Pierre Cot; Copy­right 1944 [HC]; Ziff-Davis; p. 14.

. . . First of all, it was nec­es­sary to ‘pre­serve the hon­or of the Army.’ Gen­er­al Wey­gand thun­dered these words like a com­mand. He used, uncon­scious­ly, the same terms that lead­ers of the French Army had invoked dur­ing the Drey­fus affair to pre­vent pub­lic opin­ion from dis­cov­er­ing their crit­i­cal mis­takes. ‘Pre­serve the hon­or of the Army,’ to French mil­i­tary men, is to secure by every means-includ­ing those out­lawed by moral law and the Penal Code-the defense of the mil­i­tary cor­po­ra­tion.

The ques­tion of the respon­si­bil­i­ty of mil­i­tary lead­ers in the mil­i­tary defeat of France either had to be evad­ed or posed in dis­tort­ed terms. To ‘pre­serve the hon­or of the Army,’ the scape­goats of the defeat had to be cho­sen from the polit­i­cal per­son­nel of the Third Repub­lic. . .

2b. The com­bi­na­tion of inep­ti­tude and delib­er­ate sub­ver­sion by ele­ments of the armed forces was rel­a­tive­ly well known at the time.

Ibid.; pp. 14–16.

. . . In truth, at the end of June, 1940, the ques­tion of who was respon­si­ble was in every­one’s mind. In the two weeks pre­ced­ing the armistice, I was in touch with the crowd of refugees that slow­ly and painful­ly fol­lowed the roads south­ward. In the offices of the pre­fects, in the town halls, restau­rants, and relief cen­ters, I lis­tened to many con­ver­sa­tions received many con­fi­dences, heard many opin­ions. Opin­ions dif­fered on gov­ern­men­tal pol­i­cy, but all agreed in denounc­ing the blun­ders of the French Gen­er­al Staff. The coun­try was unan­i­mous, not against Blum, Dal­adier, or me, nor even against Laval, Pierre-Eti­enne Flandin, Georges Bon­net, or Jacques Dori­ot, but against the gen­er­als who had been inca­pable of under­stand­ing the con­di­tions of mod­ern war­fare and who were guilty of not know­ing the rudi­ments of their pro­fes­sion. ‘Just as before 1914 they had pre­pared for the war of 1870,’ the peo­ple said, ‘before 1939 they pre­pared for the war of 1914.’ . . .

. . . .The sever­est con­dem­na­tion came from the sol­diers. Lost on the roads in pur­suit of dis­persed divi­sions and phan­tom reg­i­ments, thrown togeth­er with the refugees whose uncer­tain­ties and anx­i­eties they share, the men in uni­form cursed the con­duct of their lead­ers. They repeat­ed that they nev­er had been schooled in the tech­niques of mod­ern war­fare, espe­cial­ly in the com­bined use of tanks and avi­a­tion, and they were amazed at the inept­ness of their com­man­ders in the bat­tles of May and June. They asked why the Meuse and Seine bridges had not been blown up before the arrival of Ger­man motor­ized columns; why Paris had not been defend­ed street by street, as the Span­ish Repub­li­cans had defend­ed Madrid (and as the Rus­sians were to defend Stal­in­grad); and they want­ed to know why more than half of the tanks and air­planes had been left in the rear-in Orleans, Toulouse, Lyon, North Africa-instead of being massed for a coun­ter­at­tack that might have changed every­thing. They knew that the depots were burst­ing with the can­non, air­planes, and equip­ment they had need­ed. . . .

. . . . One began to hear quot­ed the dis­turb­ing remarks with which Gen­er­al Wey­gand had tried to per­suade the cab­i­net to ask for an armistice: that he need­ed his tanks to mas­ter the rev­o­lu­tion­ary ele­ments, if it should become nec­es­sary. That is to say, the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the French Army pre­ferred fight­ing French work­ers to throw­ing all his forces against the Ger­man troops. The sol­diers praised the brav­ery of cer­tain lead­ers-Giraud, Lestien, De Gaulle, Lucien, Delat­tre de Tas­signy, and many oth­ers-but they declared that most of the offi­cers had been the first to flee. ‘They left in auto­mo­biles and we left on foot,’ they said, talk­ing about those offi­cers, faith­ful fol­low­ers of l’Ac­tion Fran­caise, [Ban­non influ­ence Charles Mau­r­ras’s publication–D.E.] Je Suis Partout, Gringoire, and oth­er Fas­cist news­pa­pers which had said in var­i­ous forms, dur­ing the win­ter, that this was a demo­c­ra­t­ic war and con­se­quent­ly did not inter­est them. . . .

. . . Their anger was legit­i­mate. It was inex­plic­a­ble, after all, that the Gen­er­al Staff, after decid­ing to aban­don Paris and thus open­ing the east to the Ger­mans, had not ordered the troops which occu­pied the Mag­inot Line to fall back toward the south. More than a mil­lion men, the best of the French Army, were caught in the Ger­man trap, a dis­as­ter which could have been pre­vent­ed by an order from Gen­er­al Wey­gand. . .

. . . . By its com­po­si­tion, the gov­ern­ment of Vichy was rep­re­sen­ta­tive not of the French peo­ple but of the Gen­er­al Staff. Its first cab­i­nets were head­ed by Petain, the spir­i­tu­al leader of the French Army, the man who had played the most impor­tant part in the prepa­ra­tion of the war and in the for­ma­tion of the Gen­er­al Staff. And these cab­i­nets were com­posed large­ly of mem­bers of the Gen­er­al Staff-Gen­er­al Wey­gand, Gen­er­al Pujo, Admi­ral Dar­lan, Gen­er­al Huntzinger, Gen­er­al Berg­eret, and Admi­ral Pla­ton. As the French proverb says, ‘the wolves do not eat each oth­er’! . . .

2c. Cot dis­cuss­es in detail the appoint­ment of Cagoulard fas­cists to posi­tions of influ­ence with­in the Vichy gov­ern­ment, in addion to the use of Fifth Col­umn activ­i­ty by fas­cists in the 1930s and 1940s. (AFA 10 con­tains an account of the 1934 coup attempt in the Unit­ed States by pow­er­ful eco­nom­ic inter­ests who hat­ed Franklin Roo­sevelt’s New Deal.)

Ibid.; pp. 17–18.

. . . . To their aston­ish­ment the French peo­ple saw Petain slow­ly fill the most impor­tant posts of author­i­ty in local, depart­men­tal, and cen­tral admin­is­tra­tions with men who had tak­en part in the Cagoulard plot, with those who had repeat­ed the infa­mous refrain ‘rather Hitler than Leon Blum,’ and even with some of those who before or dur­ing the war had been arrest­ed for trea­son­able domes­tic and for­eign activ­i­ties. The peo­ple were apply­ing to the gov­ern­ment the old proverb, ‘tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.’ They were alarmed to see Vichy employ for its most del­i­cate mis­sions Fer­di­nand de Brinon, Jean Mon­tigny, Jean Goy, Jean Luchaire, and Gas­ton Hen­ry-Haye-mem­bers of the Comite France-Alle­magne, an orga­ni­za­tion which, before the war, had been inspired and financed by Otto Abetz, after 1940 Hitler’s Ambas­sador in Paris.

They learned with fury that on the night of the armistice, when France was in mourn­ing, French­men and French­women of the aris­toc­ra­cy, high finance, and indus­try had drunk at Bor­deaux to the defeat which had rid them of the night­mare of democ­ra­cy and the Pop­u­lar Front. The peo­ple under­stood that the Fifth Col­umn in France, as in Spain, had opened the door to Hitler’s agents. And they watched with awe the agents of the Fifth Col­umn become mas­ters of France, the France of Petain, Wey­gand, and Laval.

The activ­i­ty of the Fifth Col­umn will not be con­sid­ered by his­to­ri­ans a spe­cial phe­nom­e­non of French pub­lic life, but as an inte­gral part of Fas­cism. The Fifth Col­umn has appeared wher­ev­er Fas­cism has tried to gain a foothold. It was at work in Spain, Aus­tria, and Czecho­slo­va­kia before it turned up in France, and there are Fifth Columns in the Unit­ed States, India, and Latin Amer­i­ca. By the Fifth Col­umn I do not mean only spies and licensed trai­tors. The Fifth Col­umn includes all who, by accept­ing fas­cist doc­trines or meth­ods, become the con­scious or uncon­scious accom­plices of a for­eign pow­er. Trea­son and com­plic­i­ty have their degrees and nuances. The Gen­er­al Staff of the Fifth col­umn con­sists prin­ci­pal­ly of ambi­tious men who try to seize pow­er by destroy­ing or par­a­lyz­ing the demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem.

The body of the Fifth Col­umn is com­posed of peo­ple who think they are sav­ing their coun­try from the ‘com­mu­nist men­ace’ or from ‘British impe­ri­al­ism,’ and who do not even know in whose favor their actions are oper­at­ing. Through hate of the Poplar Front, good French­men, or men who con­sid­ered them­selves such, served Hitler gra­tu­itous­ly by doing work to which they would nev­er have con­sent­ed, had they had been offered pay­ment. Why? Because they detest­ed the Repub­lic and democ­ra­cy more than they loved France.

They accept­ed the idea of the defeat as a nec­es­sary evil which per­mit­ted them to rid France of the demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem and to keep in pow­er, in the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, the Fas­cist dic­ta­tors whom they con­sid­ered sole­ly capa­ble of main­tain­ing order in Europe. They then became uncon­scious col­lab­o­ra­tors of these dic­ta­tors. They thought they were doing their duty in let­ting Hitler free France from the ‘Judeo-Mason­ic’ influ­ence, and Europe from the Com­mu­nist per­il. . . .

. . . .They pre­ferred the risks of an entente with a vic­to­ri­ous Hitler to the risks of a demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry that would cause the col­lapse of the Fas­cist dic­ta­tors in Europe. Con­sid­er­ing Hitler in Ger­many, Mus­soli­ni in Italy, and Fran­co in Spain as knights of an anti-Bol­she­vist cru­sade, they became pre­cur­sors and lat­er par­ti­sans of ‘col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hitler’s New Order.’ . . .

2d. More about Cot’s account of the Fifth Col­umn:

Ibid.; pp. 62–64.

 . . . . Enough evi­dence has been pub­lished already to prove that France was stabbed in the back by those who saw in Hitler the new St. George who would slay the Com­mu­nist drag­on. When Pierre Lazareff, for­mer edi­tor-in-chief of Paris Soir (the French news­pa­per with the widest cir­cu­la­tion), reports roy­al­ists as say­ing: ‘We need the defeat to wipe out the Repub­lic;’ when Elie Bois, for­mer edi­tor of the Petit Parisien (the most influ­en­tial polit­i­cal news­pa­per), reports great indus­tri­al­ists ad admit­ting to him, dur­ing the win­ter of 1939–1940, that a plot had been orga­nized to replace the demo­c­ra­t­ic regime by a ‘gov­ern­ment of author­i­ty’ and that this plot pre­sup­posed a Nazi vic­to­ry. . .We have every rea­son to accept their affir­ma­tions, which tal­ly so per­fect­ly with the events. . . .

. . . . No, France received no excep­tion­al treat­ment from Hitler and Fas­cism. A gen­er­al plan coor­di­nat­ed the activ­i­ty of the Fifth Columns all over the world. All were recruit­ed from the same cir­cles and had the same social and polit­i­cal com­po­si­tion. The object was the same every­where: to divide and unnerve pub­lic opin­ion, weak­en the resis­tance of the regime, and pre­pare a gov­ern­men­tal group ready to exe­cute a Fas­cist coup d’e­tat at a moment of trou­ble or con­fu­sion. The meth­ods were the same every­where: cul­ti­va­tion of the seeds of dis­uni­ty which nor­mal­ly exist among free men and in free coun­tries, exag­ger­a­tion and inflam­ma­tion of all racial and reli­gious con­flicts, all class rival­ries, all polit­i­cal antag­o­nisms, grad­ual con­ver­sion of oppo­si­tion and dis­sent into hate, cre­ation of an atmos­phere of civ­il war. The means used were the same every­where: cam­paigns of calum­ny against the demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers capa­ble of oppos­ing Fas­cism (Blum in France, Roo­sevelt in the Unit­ed States), the devel­op­ment of anti-Semi­tism, because anti-Semi­tism is the first man­i­fes­ta­tion of racism and con­tains in pet­to the whole doc­trine of Hitler, use of the fear of Com­mu­nism among the mid­dle class­es, because anti-Com­mu­nism is the best way to pre­vent the union of all anti-Fas­cist forces. This last device has been the most effi­ca­cious; the fear of Com­mu­nism has become, in Euro­pean and Amer­i­can pol­i­tics of recent years, a much more impor­tant fac­tor than Com­mu­nism itself. . . .

3. Here’s a reminder that even if the EU makes it through 2017 with­out one of the nation­al elec­tions hand­ing the far-right a major vic­to­ry, there’s always 2018!

“Italy’s 5‑Star Builds Strong Lead over Renzi’s PD in Polls” by Crispi­an Balmer; Reuters3/21/2017.

Italy’s anti-estab­lish­ment 5‑Star Move­ment, ben­e­fit­ing from a split in the rul­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (PD) and divi­sions in the cen­ter-right, has built a strong lead over its rivals, an opin­ion poll showed on Tues­day.

The Ipsos poll in Cor­riere del­la Sera news­pa­per put the 5‑Star, which wants a ref­er­en­dum on Italy’s mem­ber­ship of the euro, on 32.3 per­cent – its high­est ever read­ing and 5.5 points ahead of the PD, which was on 26.8 per­cent.

The sur­vey sug­gests that the 5‑Star is like­ly to emerge as the largest group in nation­al elec­tions due by ear­ly 2018, although it might strug­gle to cre­ate a gov­ern­ment giv­en its stat­ed aver­sion to forg­ing coali­tions.

Such a sce­nario could spook finan­cial mar­kets wary of both the 5‑Star’s euroskep­ti­cism and the threat of pro­longed polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty in Italy, which has the heav­i­est pub­lic debt bur­den in Europe after Greece.

The PD appeared to be pay­ing the price for its inter­nal feuds, drop­ping more than three per­cent­age points in a month, as for­mer prime min­is­ter Mat­teo Ren­zi bat­tles to reassert his author­i­ty fol­low­ing a walk­out by a left-wing fac­tion.

“Polit­i­cal par­ties that pre­oc­cu­py them­selves with their inter­nal divi­sions are elec­toral­ly doomed,” said the British-based think tank Euroin­tel­li­gence in a note.

“We are now at the point where it becomes increas­ing­ly improb­a­ble for the PD to regain pow­er after the next elec­tions.”

The cen­ter-right is riv­en by its own divi­sions, with for­mer prime min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni look­ing to take charge of the bloc once more, but strug­gling to find com­mon ground with old ally the North­ern League, which has shunt­ed to the far right.

Tuesday’s poll of some 5,000 peo­ple put the anti-immi­grant North­ern League on 12.8 per­cent, with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) on 12.7 per­cent.

A small cen­ter-right par­ty, which is in the gov­ern­ment coali­tion and is led by For­eign Min­is­ter Angeli­no Alfano, has seen its sup­port grad­u­al­ly erode and was put at 2.8 per­cent, mean­ing it risks fail­ing to even enter the next par­lia­ment.

Alfano’s group, which rebrand­ed itself at the week­end as the Pop­u­lar Alter­na­tive (AP), is the only main­stream par­ty besides the PD and MDP, which open­ly touts a pro-EU agen­da, rais­ing the prospect of a euroskep­tic gov­ern­ment tak­ing pow­er in Italy.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are still try­ing to draw up a new elec­toral law, with polit­i­cal ana­lysts expect­ing them to agree on some form of pro­por­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion that might reward a sta­ble major­i­ty to any par­ty or group that wins 40 per­cent of the vote.

The Ipsos poll sug­gest­ed that both the tra­di­tion­al cen­ter-left and cen­ter-right blocs would fall well short of the 40 per­cent thresh­old, leav­ing the 5‑Star in the dri­ving seat.

How­ev­er, the par­ty, found­ed by com­ic Beppe Gril­lo, has repeat­ed­ly ruled out form­ing an alliance with oth­er groups, sug­gest­ing Italy could face months of polit­i­cal uncer­tain­ty fol­low­ing the next elec­tion, as hap­pened last year in Spain.

“The sur­vey sug­gests that the 5‑Star is like­ly to emerge as the largest group in nation­al elec­tions due by ear­ly 2018, although it might strug­gle to cre­ate a gov­ern­ment giv­en its stat­ed aver­sion to forg­ing coali­tions.”

4.  Is Italy in store for a 5‑Star revolt next year? Well, a lot can change between now and Italy’s ear­ly 2018 elec­tions but don’t for­get that one of the biggest changes over the next year could be some­thing like a far-right vic­to­ry else­where in Europe. But if cur­rent trends con­tin­ue it’s look­ing like the EU’s 2017 elec­toral scares aren’t going away any time soon. What that means for the EU as a whole if Italy decides to go down the ‘pop­ulist’ route remains to be seen. And, inter­est­ing­ly, what a 5‑Star vic­to­ry would mean for Ital­ians real­ly remains to be seen too in part because it’s unclear what exact­ly 5‑Star stands for although the dis­tinct Trumpian flare gives us an idea:

“Italy’s Five Star Move­ment May Be the Heir to Mussolini’s Fas­cists” by Fred­eri­ka Ran­dall; The Nation; 8/30/2016.

The par­ty harps on the mes­sian­ic theme of redemp­tion for the betrayed, is allied with Britain’s far-right UKIP, and is con­trolled with an iron hand by leader Beppe Gril­lo.

When 38-year-old Vir­ginia Rag­gi, a lawyer and rel­a­tive new­com­er to pol­i­tics, was elect­ed may­or of Rome in June, it was a stun­ning vic­to­ry for her par­ty, the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle (M5S), or Five Star Move­ment. Rag­gi beat her Par­ti­to Demo­c­ra­ti­co (PD) rival in the runoff vote by a crush­ing mar­gin of 67 per­cent to 33 per­cent, sym­bol­i­cal­ly slay­ing the gov­ern­ing PD, also the incum­bent in the city of Rome.

Though the M5S had pre­vi­ous­ly gained pow­er local­ly in a few places, Rome was much big­ger polit­i­cal prize, an inter­na­tion­al­ly vis­i­ble are­na where the three main post­war pow­er groups, the neo-Fas­cist far right, the Catholic cen­ter, and the Com­mu­nist left, had each fought for its piece of ground for decades. Now the M5S, dis­tin­guished main­ly for its fero­cious attacks on the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment, was to have its place in the sun. In Turin, too, the M5S tri­umphed, when Chiara Appendi­no, 32, with a back­ground in busi­ness man­age­ment, won a sur­prise vic­to­ry over the incum­bent may­or Piero Fassi­no, a PD vet­er­an whose polit­i­cal career goes back to the Ital­ian Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

So the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle had final­ly stormed the Win­ter Palace… or should we say, car­ried out its March on Rome?

There­in lies the prob­lem. If only we knew what they stand for.

For the M5S is far more mys­te­ri­ous than it has appeared to some observers, to whom it seemed to resem­ble Spain’s Podemos or Syriza in Greece. The move­ment took off in 2007 with stand-up come­di­an Beppe Grillo’s suc­cess­ful Vaf­fa ral­lies, where crowds turned out to shout “Vaf­fan­cu­lo!” (“Get Screwed!”) at Italy’s cor­rupt politi­cians. Grillo’s huge­ly suc­cess­ful blog soon became a ral­ly­ing point for the dis­af­fect­ed. In 2009 he and the late Gian­rober­to Casa­leg­gio, an eccen­tric, sci-fi lov­ing web-mar­ket­ing guru in favor of both enlight­ened despo­tism and direct democ­ra­cy, found­ed the M5S­­. Today only a few acolytes seem to remem­ber what those five stars in the name and on the par­ty sym­bol sig­ni­fy.

The five stars were born, one jour­nal­ist mused recent­ly, because the pam­pered Gril­lo and Casa­leg­gio mea­sured well-being by hotel stan­dards. “We could have a five-star life!” the come­di­an used to scream at his ral­lies. That is, if those thiev­ing politi­cians didn’t steal all the mon­ey.

No, the five stars stand for “water, envi­ron­ment, trans­port, con­nec­tiv­i­ty, devel­op­ment” shot back one ardent Grilli­no in a tart com­ment. It’s true, those were the watch­words in the very ear­ly days, just after “vaf­fan­cu­lo” was dis­card­ed, although you do have to won­der what “five-star water” might be (mere­ly uncon­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, or pos­i­tive­ly deli­cious?), and why a rank­ing sys­tem for resource-guz­zling lux­u­ry hotels would make sense for the envi­ron­ment, which flour­ish­es where the hand of man is absent. A guar­an­teed “citizen’s income” for all whose earn­ings fall below a cer­tain lev­el is anoth­er long­time M5S pro­pos­al, warm­ly backed today by Turin’s Appendi­no.

Accord­ing to the most recent nation­al pro­gram, the M5S’s projects today are “state and cit­i­zen, ener­gy, infor­ma­tion, econ­o­my, trans­port, health, edu­ca­tion.” A look at the spe­cif­ic pol­i­cy promis­es turns up a hodge­podge of the pet­ty and the grand, a long wish list that seems to have been com­piled from the kind of web sur­vey dear to par­ty strate­gist Casa­leg­gio (he died in April this year, aged 61, of a brain tumor). Thus under “econ­o­my” the pro­gram calls both for “vig­or­ous debt reduc­tion” and “ceil­ings on exec­u­tive pay in pub­licly trad­ed and state-con­trolled com­pa­nies” and favors “local pro­duc­tion” and “non­prof­its” as well as guar­an­teed unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. Along­side all these good inten­tions, how­ev­er, there is no trace of the hard choic­es about how to stim­u­late a depressed econ­o­my that any gov­ern­ing par­ty would have to make. No men­tion of employ­ment, inequal­i­ty, or EU-imposed aus­ter­i­ty. Under “trans­port,” the pro­gram calls for more bike paths and an improved rail sys­tem to dis­cour­age auto­mo­bile use, but there is no men­tion of spend­ing on infra­struc­ture under “econ­o­my,” or of how to accom­plish all these good deeds and pay a min­i­mum income while slash­ing the debt. Nor does the pro­gram have any indi­ca­tions on for­eign pol­i­cy. The M5S is anti-Europe, and its Euro MPs are aligned with the far-right xeno­phobes of Britain’s UKIP in the EU par­lia­ment, at least until Britain final­ly leaves the union. It’s a pro­gram rich in mag­i­cal think­ing, in short.

Like many a charis­mat­ic leader who rides the wave of pub­lic dis­gust with estab­lished pol­i­tics today (Don­ald Trump and Sil­vio Berlus­coni come to mind, and so does UKIP’s Nigel Farage, who claimed vic­to­ry with Brex­it), Casa­leg­gio was a kind of businessman/aspiring wheel­er-deal­er. Grillo’s suc­cess­ful blog was one of his ven­tures, and Casa­leg­gio expert­ly milked the adver­tis­ing on it. And Gril­lo, a wealthy show­man, shares much of his out­look. They are men who believe that pol­i­tics is intrin­si­cal­ly sil­ly and cor­rupt and that any entre­pre­neur can do it bet­ter. Their pro­found scorn for the polit­i­cal class springs from a per­son­al dis­like of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and tax­es they con­sid­er pun­ish­ing, and not sur­pris­ing­ly, they are firm­ly pro-cap­i­tal.

In recent years, prod­ded by Casa­leg­gio, the M5S has embraced anti-immi­grant and anti-reg­u­la­to­ry posi­tions dear to the small-busi­ness own­ers they hope to draw into the move­ment. When the gov­ern­ment of Mat­teo Ren­zi was final­ly poised to pass a law on civ­il unions, giv­ing gays long-need­ed rights (a mea­sure hot­ly con­test­ed in a coun­try occu­pied by the Vat­i­can), the M5S sud­den­ly with­drew sup­port and mem­bers were told to vote their con­sciences, thus doom­ing the most con­tro­ver­sial plank, the one allow­ing gay cou­ples to adopt. The promised “direct democ­ra­cy” of online voting—candidates and major M5S deci­sions are decid­ed by a vote on the Gril­lo blog site—has time and again brought accu­sa­tions of fraud­u­lent vote-count­ing. By many accounts, the par­ty is frag­ment­ed, held togeth­er by dra­con­ian mea­sures from the top, like the penal­ty of 150,000 euros that local rep­re­sen­ta­tives, includ­ing May­or Rag­gi, are con­trac­tu­al­ly oblig­ed to pay the par­ty should they stray from the agreed-upon pol­i­cy line. Nei­ther of the two young MPs spo­ken of as suc­ces­sors to Gril­lo is any­where near as pre­pos­sess­ing as the leader.

Accu­sa­tions of fas­cism are quick to fly here, in the coun­try that invent­ed the phe­nom­e­non; Prime Min­is­ter Ren­zi is rou­tine­ly called a fas­cist by the dis­si­dent left of his par­ty. But in truth, if any par­ty resem­bles the one Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni was build­ing with the sup­port of bit­ter World War I vet­er­ans in 1919–20, it is the M5S. There is the same mes­sian­ic theme of redemp­tion for the betrayed—in today’s case, cit­i­zens betrayed by their cor­rupt and spend­thrift gov­er­nors. The same mix­ture of ideas hasti­ly bor­rowed from right and left (lest we for­get, Mus­soli­ni was a Social­ist before he was a Fas­cist). The same dic­ta­to­r­i­al grip at the top, applied to keep a sprawl­ing move­ment togeth­er.

For the only issue that real­ly unites the M5S is scorn for pol­i­tics and politi­cians. That whole­sale “plague on all their hous­es” con­dem­na­tion of the polit­i­cal class is rather dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile with pub­lic office, as some M5S mem­bers elect­ed to local gov­ern­ment or to par­lia­ment in Rome have learned to their dis­may. Sev­er­al have been expelled from the par­ty for mak­ing alliances or not obey­ing orders. Anoth­er became embroiled in an orga­nized-crime scan­dal when a fel­low M5S city coun­cilor was inves­ti­gat­ed for con­nec­tions with the Camor­ra, Campania’s local mafia.

The first moves of both new­ly elect­ed may­ors Rag­gi of Rome and Appendi­no of Turin have met with intense scruti­ny and a bar­rage of crit­i­cism. Rag­gi, who is up against a hos­tile pub­lic bureau­cra­cy in a city where basic ser­vices like garbage col­lec­tion and bus and metro ser­vice are con­stant­ly on the verge of col­lapse, a city in which wide­spread cor­rup­tion was unveiled in 2014–15 in the Mafia Cap­i­tale scan­dal, does seem to lack the need­ed polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence. Mul­ti­ple urban brush­fires burned across Rome this hot, dry August, and she seemed unable to react. The city utter­ly defeat­ed her pre­de­ces­sor, Ignazio Mari­no, a sur­geon who was elect­ed with the PD but was even­tu­al­ly forced out by his own par­ty. Raggi’s can­di­dates to super­vise the envi­ron­ment and san­i­ta­tion have been hot­ly con­test­ed on the basis of their past expe­ri­ence, for if expe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary, it is also taint­ing in the mind of M5S purists. In Turin, oppo­nents of a much-con­test­ed high-speed rail line through the Val di Susa to the west lashed out at May­or Appendi­no for express­ing her sup­port for the police guard­ing the build­ing site; the M5S has strong­ly defend­ed the pro­test­ers.

Still, one doesn’t need to be a fan of the M5S to think two months in office is too lit­tle to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance of their new may­ors. In Raggi’s case, the attacks are con­stant. Beppe Gril­lo, who last year was report­ed to have drift­ed away from his cre­ation, fatigued and bored, has appar­ent­ly decid­ed to occu­py him­self with mak­ing Raggi’s gov­ern­ment a suc­cess as a show­case for the next elec­tions.

Just what the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle would do if elect­ed to nation­al gov­ern­ment remains a mys­tery. The mes­sian­ic “throw the bums out” ral­ly­ing cry wins votes but offers no pro­gram. It’s been called pop­ulism, but it’s not even clear that Gril­lo is speak­ing to the “lit­tle man”; his is a howl of pure rage. We need to ask our­selves why it is so attrac­tive today.

One rea­son is that the estab­lished par­ties are dis­cred­it­ed every­where. They are in Britain, which vot­ed for Brex­it despite Con­ser­v­a­tive and (weak) Labour sup­port for EU mem­ber­ship. And in Spain, where two elec­tions in a six-month peri­od still have not pro­duced a gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Not to men­tion France, where the Front Nation­al of Marine Le Pen threat­ens to over­whelm the Social­ists and the right. The estab­lished par­ties strug­gle to con­vince nation­al vot­ers they are look­ing after their inter­ests because the pow­ers they need to do so are sim­ply not avail­able at the nation­al lev­el. Neolib­er­al cap­i­tal­ism, tru­ly glob­al in scope, can no longer be reg­u­lat­ed by nation­al gov­ern­ments; it can only be con­trolled at a supra­na­tion­al lev­el. If Italy wants more jobs and growth, it can only get them through Euro­pean eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, although cer­tain­ly not the hege­mon­ic pol­i­cy of the moment, the aus­ter­i­ty imposed by Ger­man finan­cial author­i­ties. What­ev­er Mat­teo Renzi’s defects, he has cer­tain­ly tried to push Ger­many and France toward a more Key­ne­sian Euro­pean con­sen­sus.

Does the M5S under­stand these mat­ters? Does Beppe Gril­lo, who has made no polit­i­cal alliances in Italy and no inter­na­tion­al alliances except with Nigel Farage, even care? Like Mus­soli­ni, he seems to believe Italy can live in autarky, by impos­ing nation­al eco­nom­ic self-suf­fi­cien­cy. It’s not just a crazy idea (where will he get his new iPhone?) but reveals a pro­found naïveté about prob­lems that don’t real­ly inter­est him.

You would think that Italy, after almost twen­ty years of a soi-dis­ant anti-estab­lish­ment fig­ure like Sil­vio Berlus­coni, would have learned the les­son. In 1994 the rogue TV tycoon’s Forza Italia par­ty was that era’s equiv­a­lent: an upstart “anti-polit­i­cal” polit­i­cal move­ment that swept away the rul­ing par­ties after the Mani Pulite (“Clean Hands”) cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions of 1992.

But per­haps cyn­i­cism breeds more of the same. It was the Berlus­coni government’s hun­gry, light-fin­gered approach to pub­lic office that opened a space for Gril­lo and his Vaf­fa ral­lies in 2007. Now Gril­lo hopes that same anger will bring down a cen­ter-left only mar­gin­al­ly impli­cat­ed in cor­rup­tion, but deeply divid­ed and defeat­ed.

5. In Slo­va­kia, the heirs to fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Nazi quis­ling Rev­erend Josef Tiso are com­ing back above ground.

“Once in the Shad­ows, Europe’s Neo-Fas­cists Are Re-Emerg­ing” by Rick Lyman; The New York Times; 3/19/2017.

Head bowed in rev­er­ence, Robert Svec gen­tly placed a bou­quet of blood-red flow­ers at the foot of the only known stat­ue of Jozef Tiso, Slo­va­kia’s wartime fas­cist leader, in a weedy mon­u­ment park known as the Pan­theon of Slo­vak His­tor­i­cal Fig­ures.

For years, Mr. Svec’s neo-fas­cist cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tion, the Slo­vak Revival Move­ment, was a tiny fringe group. But now his crowds are grow­ing, as 200 peo­ple recent­ly gath­ered with him to cel­e­brate the country’s fas­cist past and call fas­cist-era greet­ings — “Na Straz!” or “On the guard!” Mr. Svec is so embold­ened that he is trans­form­ing his move­ment into a polit­i­cal par­ty, with plans to run for Par­lia­ment.

“You are ours, and we will for­ev­er be yours,” Mr. Svec said at the foot of the stat­ue, hav­ing declared this as the Year of Jozef Tiso, ded­i­cat­ed to reha­bil­i­tat­ing the image of the for­mer priest and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, who was hanged as a war crim­i­nal in 1947.

Once in the shad­ows, Europe’s neo-fas­cists are step­ping back out, more than three-quar­ters of a cen­tu­ry after Nazi boots stormed through Cen­tral Europe, and two decades since a neo-Nazi resur­gence of skin­heads and white suprema­cists unset­tled the tran­si­tion to democ­ra­cy. In Slo­va­kia, neo-fas­cists are win­ning region­al offices and tak­ing seats in the mul­ti­par­ty Par­lia­ment they hope to replace with strong­man rule. . . .

. . . . “Before, pro-fas­cist sen­ti­ments were kept hid­den,” said Gabriel Sipos, direc­tor of Trans­paren­cy Inter­na­tion­al Slo­va­kia. “Par­ents would tell their chil­dren, ‘You can­not say this at school.’ Now, you can say things in the pub­lic space that you couldn’t say before.” . . . .

. . . . “Now, extrem­ists and fas­cists are part of the sys­tem,” said Grig­orij Meseznikov, pres­i­dent of the Insti­tute for Pub­lic Affairs, a lib­er­al research group. . . .

. . . . Mr. Kotle­ba, 39, who recent­ly renamed his par­ty Kotle­ba — People’s Par­ty Our Slo­va­kia, used to appear in uni­forms rem­i­nis­cent of those worn dur­ing the wartime Slo­vak State. Once he and his par­ty got into Par­lia­ment, the uni­forms dis­ap­peared and he shift­ed his attacks from Jews to immi­grants and the country’s Roma minor­i­ty.

. . . . But the under­ly­ing mes­sage of groups like Mr. Kotleba’s and Mr. Svec’s has not shift­ed — Slo­va­kia was bet­ter off under a fas­cist gov­ern­ment.

“Some­thing very dark and very trou­bling from the past is com­ing back,” Mr. Havran said. “They feel they are fight­ing for some­thing very pure, some­thing very old and sacred. A few years ago, they were ashamed to talk about it. Now, they are proud.” . . .

. . . . Mr. Kotleba’s par­ty has been espe­cial­ly effec­tive on social media, with more than 140 inter­con­nect­ed Face­book pages. When a local retiree, Jan Ben­cik, 68, began blog­ging to expose the country’s neo-fas­cists, his name appeared on a list of “oppo­nents of the state.”

“They called me a Jew, said that I should die, die, die,” Mr. Ben­cik said. “They said that peo­ple like me would be dealt with in the future.” . . .

6a. Trump backer and “Alt-Right” main­stay Richard Spencer has launched a new web­site with Daniel Friberg, part of the Swedish fas­cist milieu to which Carl Lund­strom belongs.

“Richard Spencer and His Alt-Right Bud­dies Launch a New Web­site” by Osi­ta Nwavenu; Slate; 1/17/2017.

On Mon­day, Richard Spencer, New Jer­sey Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy lec­tur­er Jason Jor­jani, and Swedish New Right fig­ure Daniel Friberg launched altright.com, a site aimed at bring­ing togeth­er “the best writ­ers and ana­lysts from Alt Right, in North Amer­i­ca, Europe, and around the world.” . . .

. . . . As of now, most of the site’s con­tent is recy­cled mate­r­i­al from Friberg’s Ark­tos pub­lish­ing house, Spencer’s oth­er pub­li­ca­tion, Radix Jour­nal, the alt-right online media net­work Red Ice, and Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, a white nation­al­ist blog run by altright.com’s news edi­tor Hunter Wal­lace. . . .

…. Still, Spencer’s intel­lec­tu­al­ism does lit­tle to hide the cen­tral­i­ty of big­otry to his own world­view and the views of those he pub­lish­es. His pre­vi­ous site, Alter­na­tive Right, once ran an essay called, ‘Is Black Geno­cide Right?’” “Instead of ask­ing how we can make repa­ra­tions for slav­ery, colo­nial­ism, and Apartheid or how we can equal­ize aca­d­e­m­ic scores and incomes,” Col­in Lid­dell wrote, “we should instead be ask­ing ques­tions like, ‘Does human civ­i­liza­tion actu­al­ly need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black geno­cide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and eas­i­est way to dis­pose of them?’” It remains to be seen whether altright.com will employ sim­i­lar­ly can­did writ­ers. . . .

6b. Pirate Bay sug­ar dad­dy Lund­strom has dis­cussed his polit­i­cal sym­pa­thies. [The excerpt below is from Google trans­la­tions. The Swedish sen­tence is fol­lowed by the Eng­lish trans­la­tion.] Note that he appears on the user/subscriber list for Nordic Pub­lish­ers, the Nazi pub­lish­ing out­fit that han­dles the efforts pro­duced by one of Jer­mas’s [aka “Shamir’s”] pub­lish­ers.

“The Goal: Take over all Pira­cy” by Peter Karls­son; realtid.se; 3/10/2006.

. . . Lund­ström har inte gjort någon hem­lighet av sina sym­pa­ti­er för främ­lings­fientli­ga grup­per, och för­ra året fanns hans namn med på kun­dreg­istret hos det nazis­tiska bok­för­laget Nordiska För­laget. Lund­strom has made no secret of his sym­pa­thy for the xeno­pho­bic groups, and last year was his name with the cus­tomer code of the Nazi pub­lish­ing house Nordic Pub­lish­ers.

– Jag stöder dem genom att köpa böck­er och musik. — I sup­port them by buy­ing books and music. Ni i media vill bara spri­da mis­sak­t­ning om oli­ka per­son­er. You in the media just want to spread con­tempt for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Ni i media är fyll­da av hat till Pirate Bay, avs­lu­tar en myck­et upprörd Carl Lund­ström. You in the media is full of hatred to the Pirate Bay, fin­ish­ing a very upset Carl Lund­ström.

Nordiska För­laget säl­jer vit makt musik och böck­er som hyl­lar rasis­tiska våld­shan­dlin­gar. Nordic pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny sells white pow­er music and books that cel­e­brates the racist vio­lence. För­laget stöder nazis­ter­nas demon­stra­tion i Salem och bjöd in Ku Klux Klan ledaren till en före­drag­turné i Sverige. Pub­lish­er sup­ports the Nazi demon­stra­tion in Salem and invit­ed the Ku Klux Klan leader [David Duke] for a lec­ture tour in Swe­den. . . .

6c. Expo–found­ed by the late Stieg Larsson–revealed that Friberg’s Nordic Pub­lish­ers has mor­phed into Ark­tos, one of the out­fits asso­ci­at­ed with Spencer, et al.

Right Wing Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion” by Maria-Pia Cabero [Google Trans­la­tion]; Expo; Jan­u­ary of 2014.

. . . . When NF were dis­con­tin­ued in 2010 found­ed the pub­lish­er Ark­tos by basi­cal­ly the same peo­ple. Ark­tos pub­lish­es New Right-inspired lit­er­a­ture and CEO Daniel Friberg, who was dri­ving in the NF, has played a key role in the estab­lish­ment of ideas. . . .

The Yamato Dynasty7. Turn­ing our atten­tion to Japan, we note the rise of fas­cism in a “process guid­ed from above.”

“Part­ners at the Pacif­ic;” german-foreign-policy.com; 3/20/2017.

“Right-Wing Pop­ulism from Above”

. . . . Japan, with which Ger­many is seek­ing clos­er eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion, has tak­en a sharp nation­al­ist course. This course is gen­er­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Abe becom­ing Prime Min­is­ter. Abe, who arrived in Hanover yes­ter­day, “is antic­i­pat­ing in Japan, (…) what right-wing pop­ulists dream of in Europe,”[6] a lead­ing Ger­man dai­ly recent­ly not­ed. With his vis­it at the Yasaku­ni Shrine, which is also hon­or­ing some WW II war crim­i­nals, he is pro­mot­ing a nation­al­ist trans­for­ma­tion of the state, he is per­mit­ting the grow­ing fal­si­fi­ca­tion of his­to­ry and he is respon­si­ble for the increased patron­iz­ing of the media. As a result, Japan slipped from 22nd down to 72nd on the world press free­dom index issued by “Reporters With­out Bor­ders.” Observers note that with the Nip­pon Kai­gi (“Japan Con­fer­ence”), a nation­al­ist lob­by orga­ni­za­tion has gained sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence. Of the 722 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, 289 are mem­bers and 13 of the 19 min­is­ters and the Prime Min­ster Abe are in close con­tact with Nip­pon Kai­gi. Nip­pon Kai­gi says of itself that it is striv­ing to strength­en the empire, loosen the sep­a­ra­tion of state and reli­gion, upgrade the tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly and gen­der roles, pro­mote the coun­try’s mil­i­ta­riza­tion and end crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of Japan’s crimes dur­ing WW II. “Right-Wing pop­ulism in Japan” is a “process guid­ed from above,” par­tic­u­lar­ly pushed by the coun­try’s elite, accord­ing to Gabriele Vogt, japa­nol­o­gist at the Ham­burg University.[7] The new nation­al­ism is push­ing the coun­try ever deep­er into a con­fronta­tion with Chi­na. . . .

8. Abe is turn­ing back the Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal clock. Japan­ese gov­ern­ment offi­cials are open­ly sanc­tion­ing anti-Kore­an racism and net­work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote that doc­trine. Sev­er­al mem­bers of Abe’s gov­ern­ment net­work with Japan­ese neo-Nazis, some of whom advo­cate using the Nazi method for seiz­ing pow­er in Japan. Is Abe’s gov­ern­ment doing just that?

 “For Top Pols In Japan Crime Doesn’t Pay, But Hate Crime Does” by Jake Adel­stein and Angela Eri­ka Kubo; The Dai­ly Beast; 9/26/2014.

 . . . . Accord­ing to the mag­a­zine Sun­day Mainichi, Ms. Tomo­mi Ina­da, Min­is­ter Of The “Cool Japan” Strat­egy, also received dona­tions from Masa­ki and oth­er Zaitokukai asso­ciates.

Appar­ently, racism is cool in Japan.

Ina­da made news ear­lier this month after pho­tos cir­cu­lated of her and anoth­er female in the new cab­i­net pos­ing with a neo-Nazi par­ty leader. Both denied know­ing the neo-Nazi well but lat­er were revealed to have con­tributed blurbs for an adver­tise­ment prais­ing the out-of-print book Hitler’s Elec­tion Strategy. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Minister,Taro Aso, is also a long-time admir­er of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­egy, and has sug­gested Japan fol­low the Nazi Par­ty tem­plate to sneak con­sti­tu­tional change past the pub­lic. . . .

. . . In August, Japan’s rul­ing par­ty, which put Abe into pow­er orga­nized a work­ing group to dis­cuss laws that would restrict hate-crimealthough the new laws will prob­a­bly also be used to clamp down on anti-nuclear protests out­side the Diet build­ing.

Of course, it is a lit­tle wor­ri­some that Sanae Takaichi, who was sup­posed to over­see the project, is the oth­er female min­is­ter who was pho­tographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler. . .

9. Devo­tee of Hitler’s polit­i­cal strat­e­gy Tomo­mi Ina­da is now the defense min­is­ter of Japan.

“Japan’s PM Picks Hawk­ish Defense Min­is­ter for New Cab­i­net, Vows Eco­nom­ic Recov­ery” by Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi Tak­e­na­ka; Reuters; 8/3/2016. 

Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe appoint­ed a con­ser­v­a­tive ally as defense min­is­ter in a cab­i­net reshuf­fle on Wednes­day that left most key posts unchanged, and he promised to has­ten the economy’s escape from defla­tion and boost region­al ties.

New defense min­is­ter Tomo­mi Ina­da, pre­vi­ous­ly the rul­ing par­ty pol­i­cy chief, shares Abe’s goal of revis­ing the post-war, paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion, which some con­ser­v­a­tives con­sid­er a humil­i­at­ing sym­bol of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

She also reg­u­lar­ly vis­its Tokyo’s Yasuku­ni Shrine for war dead, which Chi­na and South Korea see as a sym­bol of Japan’s past mil­i­tarism. Japan’s ties with Chi­na and South Korea have been frayed by the lega­cy of its mil­i­tary aggres­sion before and dur­ing World War Two. . . .

10. We have spo­ken of Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP, a cat’s paw for the Hin­du nationalist/fascist RSS. Mod­i’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da is now com­ing into the open.

Steve Ban­non is a fan of Modi and his BJP par­ty.

“Mr. Mod­i’s Embrace of Hin­du Extrem­ists;” The New York Times; 3/23/2017.

Since he was elect­ed in 2014, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi of India has played a cagey game, appeas­ing his party’s hard-line Hin­du base while pro­mot­ing sec­u­lar goals of devel­op­ment and eco­nom­ic growth. Despite wor­ry­ing signs that he was will­ing to humor Hin­du extrem­ists, Mr. Modi refrained from overt­ly approv­ing vio­lence against the nation’s Mus­lim minor­i­ty.

On Sun­day, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Embold­ened by a land­slide vic­to­ry in recent elec­tions in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his par­ty named a fire­brand Hin­du cler­ic, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shock­ing rebuke to reli­gious minori­ties, and a sign that cold polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions ahead of nation­al elec­tions in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty to believe that noth­ing stands in the way of real­iz­ing its long-held dream of trans­form­ing a sec­u­lar repub­lic into a Hin­du state.

Mr. Adityanath has made a polit­i­cal career of demo­niz­ing Mus­lims, thun­der­ing against such imag­i­nary plots as “love jihad”: the notion that Mus­lim men con­nive to water down the over­whelm­ing Hin­du major­i­ty by seduc­ing Hin­du women. He defend­ed a Hin­du mob that mur­dered a Mus­lim man in 2015 on the sus­pi­cion that his fam­i­ly was eat­ing beef, and said Mus­lims who balked at per­form­ing a yoga salu­ta­tion to the sun should “drown them­selves in the sea.”

Uttar Pradesh, home to more than 200 mil­lion peo­ple, bad­ly needs devel­op­ment, not ide­o­log­i­cal show­man­ship. The state has the high­est infant mor­tal­i­ty rate in the coun­try. Near­ly half of its chil­dren are stunt­ed. Edu­ca­tion­al out­comes are dis­mal. Youth unem­ploy­ment is high. . . .

. . . . India needs to gen­er­ate a mil­lion new jobs every month to meet employ­ment demand. Should Mr. Adityanath fail to deliv­er, there is every fear that he — and Mr. Modi’s par­ty — will resort to dead­ly Mus­lim-bait­ing to stay in pow­er, turn­ing Mr. Modi’s dream­land into a night­mare for India’s minori­ties . . . .

 

 

 

Discussion

11 comments for “FTR #951 Fascism: 2017 World Tour”

  1. Ctrl-rigt, Alt-right, Del-right. I think “alt-nazis” is a much more ade­quate and polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect term.
    A new wave of sym­pa­thy towards the extreme right is surg­ing through­out East-Euro­pean coun­tries such as Roma­nia and Bul­gar­ia. I leave in Roma­nia for the time being, and I can sense a grow­ing pas­sion for fas­cism ris­ing here and there. Most­ly polit­i­cal­ly indif­fer­ent and eco­nom­i­cal­ly poor peo­ple who are so eas­i­ly manip­u­lat­ed towards the far right, even if only for cer­tain moments and actions. They are not devout nation­al­ists, they don’t care much for what is going on and are with­out a polit­i­cal opin­ion of their own most of the time. A lot of “oppor­tunis­tic fas­cism” more than con­vic­tion. The nation­al ortho­dox church has stepped in with its own agen­da (pow­er and mon­ey accu­mu­la­tion main­ly), and with­out being open­ly for the nation­al­is­tic move­ments is using them and the pas­sions they stir for its own pur­pos­es (one being the erec­tion of the tallest, most expen­sive ortho­dox cathe­dral in the world). The (crim­i­nal­ly con­vict­ed) lead­ers of the main social­ist par­ty went to the US to kiss the runes encrust­ed ring of Trump on his coro­na­tion day. No one left to blow the whis­tle.

    Posted by malvin | March 27, 2017, 12:50 am
  2. Check out Nigel Farage’s lat­est ‘Exit’-ish project: It’s not quite ‘CalEx­it’. More like ‘Cal­Divorce’. And, or course, it’s being fin­canced by a pair of Repub­li­can oper­a­tives:

    Salon

    Brex­it engi­neer Nigel Farage hired to pro­mote effort to break Cal­i­for­nia in two
    For­mer leader of UK’s pro-Brex­it par­ty joins cam­paign to split Cal­i­for­nia, cre­at­ing new GOP strong­hold

    Matthew Sheffield
    Mon­day, Mar 27, 2017 08:25 PM CST

    Nigel Farage, the British politi­cian known for his suc­cess­ful cam­paign to get the Unit­ed King­dom to leave the Euro­pean Union, has teamed up with the back­ers of a cam­paign to split Cal­i­for­nia into two sep­a­rate states: a coastal state that would be dom­i­nat­ed by lib­er­al-dom­i­nat­ed por­tion and an inland state that would be far more con­ser­v­a­tive.

    This effort is one of sev­er­al “CalEx­it” pro­pos­als that have been float­ed since the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, in which Demo­c­rat Hillary Clin­ton won the nation­al pop­u­lar vote by near­ly 3 mil­lion votes but still man­aged to lose by a lop­sided mar­gin in the Elec­toral Col­lege.

    Farage and his finance part­ner Arron Banks have report­ed­ly been recruit­ed by Repub­li­can oper­a­tives Scott Baugh and Ger­ry Gun­ster to help raise mon­ey to fund the dri­ve to get more than 500,000 sig­na­tures from around the state in order to put the pro­pos­al before vot­ers on California’s 2018 bal­lot.

    Accord­ing to UK Dai­ly Mail, the British duo raised around $1 mil­lion on a recent trip to Cal­i­for­nia, pri­mar­i­ly from tech­nol­o­gy entre­pre­neurs and agri­cul­ture.

    Banks told the paper the cam­paign would use the same impulse that pro­pelled the Brex­it cam­paign to vic­to­ry: “It would be por­trayed as the Hol­ly­wood elites ver­sus the peo­ple, break­ing up the bad gov­ern­ment. Sev­en­ty-eight per cent of peo­ple in Cal­i­for­nia are unhap­py with their gov­ern­ment. It’s the world’s sixth-largest econ­o­my and it’s very bad­ly run.”

    There have been sev­er­al unsuc­cess­ful efforts to sub­di­vide Cal­i­for­nia into dif­fer­ent states. Anoth­er one, which is actu­al­ly backed by the gov­ern­ment of Rus­sia, is try­ing to appeal to lib­er­al Gold­en Staters to get them to secede from the Unit­ed States entire­ly.

    “This has been done before with West Vir­ginia and Vir­ginia and North and South Dako­ta, so it can work,” a Farage spokesman told the Dai­ly Mail.

    ...

    Full state­hood for D.C. would almost cer­tain­ly mean two new Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors, but those could hypo­thet­i­cal­ly be bal­anced out by two new Repub­li­cans from the con­ser­v­a­tive-lean­ing state carved out of inland Cal­i­for­nia.

    “Banks told the paper the cam­paign would use the same impulse that pro­pelled the Brex­it cam­paign to vic­to­ry: “It would be por­trayed as the Hol­ly­wood elites ver­sus the peo­ple, break­ing up the bad gov­ern­ment. Sev­en­ty-eight per cent of peo­ple in Cal­i­for­nia are unhap­py with their gov­ern­ment. It’s the world’s sixth-largest econ­o­my and it’s very bad­ly run.””

    That cer­tain­ly sounds like some­thing Farage has expe­ri­ence with. And, again, note the financiers for this project:

    ...
    Farage and his finance part­ner Arron Banks have report­ed­ly been recruit­ed by Repub­li­can oper­a­tives Scott Baugh and Ger­ry Gun­ster to help raise mon­ey to fund the dri­ve to get more than 500,000 sig­na­tures from around the state in order to put the pro­pos­al before vot­ers on California’s 2018 bal­lot.
    ...

    You have to won­der if this is anoth­er Tim Drap­er project. If so, it’s not going to end with a sin­gle split.

    So that’s kind of dis­turb­ing. But at least Farage isn’t get­ting hired to push a full on ‘Calex­it’ cam­paign to get Cal­i­for­nia to secede for the US entire­ly, although it seems like this cam­paign to split Cal­i­for­nia could eas­i­ly morph into an ‘Exit’ cam­paign. And if this does turn into a ‘Calex­it’ move­ment it sounds like the move­ment could get some unex­pect­ed help from else­where in Europe: the EU Com­mis­sion:

    CNN

    I’ll back Texas inde­pen­dence, EU’s Junck­er warns Trump

    By Donie O’Sul­li­van,

    Updat­ed 3:33 PM ET, Thu March 30, 2017

    (CNN)The pres­i­dent of the exec­u­tive arm of the Euro­pean Union had a mes­sage for US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day: mind your own busi­ness.

    “The new­ly elect­ed US pres­i­dent was hap­py that the Brex­it was tak­ing place and has asked oth­er coun­tries to do the same,” Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Junck­er said. How­ev­er, he warned, “if he goes on like that I am going to pro­mote the inde­pen­dence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.”

    Junck­er, a Lux­em­bourg politi­cian who has been pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion since 2014, was speak­ing at the con­fer­ence of the cen­ter-right Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Par­ty (EPP) in Mal­ta.

    In Feb­ru­ary, Junck­er said he was under the impres­sion that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion did not know the Euro­pean Union “in detail,” adding, “But in Europe, details mat­ter.”

    .@JunckerEU “We must con­tin­ue, we must forge ahead” #EPP­Mal­ta #WeAre­Fam­i­ly pic.twitter.com/AXkldl6woM— EPP (@EPP) March 30, 2017

    On Brex­it, the UK’s plan to leave the Euro­pean Union, Junck­er said it should not be con­sid­ered the end of every­thing but “a new begin­ning.”

    “It’s busi­ness as usu­al in Europe,” he said.

    ...

    ““The new­ly elect­ed US pres­i­dent was hap­py that the Brex­it was tak­ing place and has asked oth­er coun­tries to do the same,” Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Junck­er said. How­ev­er, he warned, “if he goes on like that I am going to pro­mote the inde­pen­dence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.”

    Is talk of the glo­ries of the Unit­ed State of Ohio going to start ema­nat­ing from EU lead­ers? The Sov­er­eign Weird State of Austin? And will the EU hire Farage to pro­mote it? He’s appar­ent­ly avail­able for such projects so you nev­er know.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 30, 2017, 3:00 pm
  3. Malvin- they say “alt-right” but I hear ALT-REICH.

    Posted by Aunti_jen | April 5, 2017, 12:43 am
  4. Here’s a sto­ry about one of the under­ly­ing dynam­ics fuels the rise of Marine Le Pen and the Nation­al Front that does­n’t bode well for France. Both in the short-run since this dynam­ic could pro­pel Le Pen to the pres­i­den­cy. But also in the long-run since that under­ly­ing dynam­ic is the shock­ing amount of Nation­al Front sup­port from French youths:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    A youth revolt in France boosts the far right
    Marine Le Pen’s hopes of win­ning the pres­i­den­cy may rest on her appeal among the young

    Sto­ry by Griff Witte, James McAuley
    Pub­lished on April 19, 2017

    LA BAZOCHE-GOUET, France

    Song­birds flit­ted among the red­bud trees. The wind tick­led yel­low flow­ers in fields of rape­seed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.

    Oth­er­wise all was still in this one-boulan­gerie town in the French coun­try­side when Marine Le Pen strode to the lectern and, with the unwa­ver­ing force of a freight train, vowed to save the coun­try on behalf of its for­got­ten young.

    “Our youth are in despair,” the 48-year-old thun­dered. “I will be the voice of the voice­less.”

    Two-thirds of the way back in an over­flow crowd, Adrien Vergnaud knew instant­ly that the leader of France’s far-right Nation­al Front was speak­ing for him. The job­less­ness, the migrants, the ter­ror­ism. She was the only one who cared.

    With­out her, said the taut­ly mus­cled 25-year-old con­struc­tion work­er, his trou­bled coun­try has “no future.”

    But with the back­ing of young vot­ers like Vergnaud, Le Pen may become the next pres­i­dent of France.

    As the coun­try hur­tles toward the elec­tion this spring that could alter the course of Euro­pean his­to­ry — the first round is Sun­day — Le Pen’s once-long­shot and now unde­ni­ably viable bid to lead France rests heav­i­ly on an unlike­ly source of sup­port.

    Pop­ulist tri­umphs in Britain and the Unit­ed States came last year despite young vot­ers, not because of them. Mil­len­ni­als — gen­er­al­ly at ease with immi­gra­tion, trade and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism — lined up against both Brex­it and Don­ald Trump. It was old­er vot­ers who sought to over­turn the exist­ing order with nation­al­ist answers to the prob­lems of a glob­al­ized world.

    But France is a land of youth­ful revolts, from the 18th cen­tu­ry bar­ri­cades to the fevered uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus­es of May 1968. And with youth unem­ploy­ment stuck at 25 per­cent, Le Pen’s reac­tionary call to return the coun­try to an era of lost glo­ry by clos­ing bor­ders, exit­ing the Euro­pean Union and restor­ing the nation­al cur­ren­cy has fired the pas­sions of young vot­ers crav­ing rad­i­cal change.

    “We’ve been told our whole lives that every­thing is set. Free trade. For­get­ting our bor­ders. One cur­ren­cy for all of Europe. Noth­ing can change,” said Gaë­tan Dus­sausaye, the mild-man­nered 23-year-old leader of the Nation­al Front’s youth wing. “But young peo­ple don’t like this sys­tem. This sys­tem is a fail­ure.”

    The Nation­al Front’s strength among mil­len­ni­als sug­gests the pop­ulist wave that’s unset­tled the West may be more durable than many may assume. Far from the last gasp of closed-soci­ety old­er vot­ers who are demo­graph­i­cal­ly des­tined to be out­num­bered by a ris­ing tide of cos­mopoli­tan youth, the pop­ulist insur­gency could con­tin­ue to build over years and decades if enough dis­en­chant­ed young vot­ers can be lured by the promise of some­thing new.

    And across Europe, that’s exact­ly what far-right move­ments are attempt­ing. In Ger­many — a coun­try where the two main par­ties are led by polit­i­cal vet­er­ans in their 60s — the anti-Mus­lim Alter­na­tive for Ger­many par­ty is run by a fresh-faced 41-year-old. Scan­di­na­vian par­lia­ments, mean­while, are stocked with politi­cians in their 20s hail­ing from par­ties that just a decade ago were con­signed to the extrem­ist fringe.

    The Nation­al Front was, until rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly, a fringe move­ment itself, seen by crit­ics as a neo-fas­cist front filled with racists, anti-Semi­tes and xeno­phobes and led by the con­vict­ed Holo­caust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen.

    To many old­er or mid­dle-aged vot­ers, the party’s essen­tial DNA remains unal­tered, even as it has furi­ous­ly tried to refash­ion its image.

    “The Nation­al Front is try­ing to make us think they’ve changed,” said Marie-Thérèse Forten­bach, a 50-year-old who said her half-Con­golese her­itage has made her a vic­tim of the sort of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices the par­ty long preached. “I don’t believe it.”

    But the young — who have only known the par­ty since Jean-Marie Le Pen’s gen­er­al­ly more cal­cu­lat­ing and cau­tious daugh­ter Marine took over in 2011 — have been eas­i­er to con­vince that the Nation­al Front’s rep­u­ta­tion for extrem­ism is overblown.

    The par­ty now boasts the youngest mem­ber in both the Nation­al Assem­bly and the Sen­ate. Its stu­dent activists can be seen on posh Paris street cor­ners, hand­ing out fliers, and Le Pen has sur­round­ed her­self with a coterie of 20- and 30-some­thing advis­ers. This month she deliv­ered a speech in Bor­deaux focused exclu­sive­ly on youth issues, com­plete with a plea to her cheer­ing young sup­port­ers to “go against the cur­rents of his­to­ry.”

    There are signs they are doing just that.

    If Le Pen wins, Euro­pean lead­ers fear the dis­in­te­gra­tion of the E.U. after decades spent try­ing to bind the con­ti­nent more close­ly togeth­er. And although she’s down in hypo­thet­i­cal sec­ond-round con­tests, Le Pen enjoys a com­mand­ing lead among France’s youngest vot­ers in the 11-can­di­date first round, polls show. One sur­vey has her win­ning near­ly 40 per­cent of the vote among those 18 to 24, near­ly dou­ble the total of her near­est com­peti­tor, Emmanuel Macron.

    That’s all the more sur­pris­ing because Macron, at 39, is vying to become the youngest pres­i­dent in French his­to­ry.

    But it’s con­sis­tent with recent results: The last two times vot­ers across France went to the polls — in Euro­pean elec­tions in 2014, and in region­al vot­ing a year lat­er — the Nation­al Front tri­umphed among the young.

    “It’s a para­dox,” said Rémy Oudghiri, a soci­ol­o­gist with Socio­vi­sion, a firm that con­ducts major sur­veys of French atti­tudes. “The young over­all are open to cul­tur­al diver­si­ty, open to immi­gra­tion. But among the youth, there’s a por­tion that is rad­i­cal­ized, that believes the more we open to the out­side world, the more we decline.”

    The dif­fer­ence between the two groups, Oudghiri said, is that one hasn’t both­ered late­ly to cast bal­lots.

    “Since only the rad­i­cal­ized youth goes to vote, the FN wins,” he said.

    That dynam­ic could be espe­cial­ly pro­nounced this year. Polls show that sup­port for Macron is shal­low, with even those who say they back him unsure whether they will actu­al­ly turn out for a can­di­date with no for­mal par­ty affil­i­a­tion and a plat­form that seeks to please both the left and right.

    As a for­mer econ­o­my min­is­ter and invest­ment banker, the pro‑E.U. Macron also strug­gles with young vot­ers who don’t fit the pro­file of the suc­cess­ful urban cos­mopoli­tan.

    “In France, you have a lot of young peo­ple who don’t live in the big cities, who didn’t go to col­lege, who left the edu­ca­tion sys­tem,” said Jérémie Patri­er-Lei­tus, the 28-year-old leader of one of Macron’s sev­er­al youth fac­tions. “You have young peo­ple who are unem­ployed, and it’s easy to tell them that’s because an immi­grant took their job.”

    Macron has tak­en the oppo­site tack, try­ing to con­vince France’s dis­grun­tled youth that immi­gra­tion is good for the coun­try and that the E.U. is worth sav­ing. It’s a pitch, Patri­er-Lei­tus acknowl­edged, that doesn’t always bring crowds to their feet — or vot­ers to the polls.

    “Europe has strong oppo­nents, but very weak sup­port­ers,” said Patri­er-Lei­tus, who reg­u­lar­ly trav­els between Paris and his job at a French cul­tur­al cen­ter in New York. “We didn’t real­ize how frag­ile Europe real­ly was.”

    If Europe’s young defend­ers have been tough to rouse, its oppo­nents are filled with pas­sion­ate inten­si­ty.

    ...

    After Marine Le Pen — a husky-voiced, twice-divorced Gen­er­a­tion Xer — the party’s most promi­nent face is that of a mil­len­ni­al — the leader’s niece, 27-year-old Mar­i­on Maréchal-Le Pen.

    To crit­ics, she is the unbri­dled id to her aunt’s dis­ci­plined ego. To sup­port­ers, she is a mod­ern-day Joan of Arc, defend­ing a coun­try yet again in the midst of a for­eign inva­sion.

    Hav­ing become in 2012 the youngest per­son ever elect­ed to the French par­lia­ment, her unapolo­get­i­cal­ly hard-line stances have earned her a cer­tain celebri­ty sta­tus in right-wing cir­cles the world over: Sarah Palin con­fessed a “polit­i­cal crush” on Maréchal-Le Pen, while Trump advis­er Stephen K. Ban­non anoint­ed her a “ris­ing star.”

    In an inter­view at her Paris office, Maréchal-Le Pen dis­missed the notion that younger French vot­ers — suf­fer­ing from an unem­ploy­ment rate more than twice the nation­al aver­age — are grav­i­tat­ing to the par­ty her grand­fa­ther found­ed pri­mar­i­ly because of its eco­nom­ic pro­tec­tion­ism. Their motives, she insist­ed, were more cul­tur­al than pock­et­book.

    “The main con­cern for the youth is the ques­tion of immi­gra­tion,” she said. “They have the feel­ing that they are being deprived of their own iden­ti­ty. The mul­ti­cul­tur­al mod­el defend­ed by our elite is a mod­el that doesn’t work.”

    The Nation­al Front’s solu­tion — a dra­mat­ic cut in immi­gra­tion and an end to French par­tic­i­pa­tion in Europe’s bor­der-free trav­el area — has found some unlike­ly adher­ents.

    Davy Rodriguez, 23, is deputy leader of the party’s youth wing and a stu­dent at Paris’s Sci­ences Po, one of the most pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties in France.

    He’s also the son of immi­grants. His moth­er is Por­tuguese, his father is Span­ish.

    Davy Rodriguez — whose Twit­ter page fea­tures a tableau of sol­diers charg­ing into bat­tle behind a tat­tered French tri-col­or — now spends his days and nights cam­paign­ing to dra­mat­i­cal­ly tight­en, if not close, the bor­ders his par­ents crossed decades ago to begin their lives in France.

    To Rodriguez, there’s no con­tra­dic­tion between his life sto­ry and his pol­i­tics: When his par­ents came to France, the coun­try need­ed more work­ers. Today, he said, it doesn’t, but it’s being inun­dat­ed nonethe­less.

    “We can’t accept what [Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela] Merkel is doing to our coun­try — to our nation­al iden­ti­ty — by putting migrants all over the coun­try­side,” he said while sit­ting at an out­door cafe in St. Ger­main, the famous­ly book­ish quar­ter of Paris’s Left Bank. “The E.U. is destroy­ing Europe with mass immi­gra­tion.”

    In fact, France has received far few­er migrants per capi­ta in recent years than many Euro­pean nations. The for­eign-born share of France’s over­all pop­u­la­tion has risen rel­a­tive­ly slow­ly, amount­ing to about 12 per­cent of the coun­try last year — com­pared with 10 per­cent in 2000.

    Econ­o­mists also cast doubt on the idea that immi­grants under­cut the abil­i­ty of the French to find work, not­ing that new arrivals often do the jobs that native-born work­ers refuse.

    But the per­cep­tion of an influx that is harm­ing French work­ers — espe­cial­ly the young as they try to get their foot­ing in an econ­o­my still bad­ly bruised from the Great Reces­sion — has per­sist­ed and is a key com­po­nent of the Nation­al Front’s rhetoric.

    At her ral­ly in the French coun­try­side town of La Bazoche-Gou­et, Le Pen denounced the E.U. for man­dat­ing that every coun­try do its part to reset­tle refugees.

    “Where will we put them all?” she asked, prompt­ing a furi­ous round of boos from the 600-strong crowd that had gath­ered in the town’s wood­en-beam, open-air cen­tral hall.

    Vergnaud, the 25-year-old con­struc­tion work­er, joined in lusti­ly.

    “France’s prob­lem is that it’s too gen­er­ous,” he said after Le Pen had sent her faith­ful off with an emphat­ic ren­di­tion of “La Mar­seil­laise,” the French nation­al anthem. “We give to the peo­ple who are com­ing into the coun­try, but not to the French.”

    His arms swathed in elab­o­rate tat­toos, Vergnaud said he’s not nor­mal­ly the type to attend polit­i­cal ral­lies. But he and four friends, all in their 20s, had dri­ven a half-hour from their own small town because they see Le Pen as the last hope for a coun­try at risk of col­lapse.

    The prob­lems are every­where Vergnaud looks: The com­pa­nies that are leav­ing. The farms that are fail­ing. The peo­ple who are dying in mass-casu­al­ty ter­ror­ist attacks. The mosque that’s gone up in his town, right next to the church.

    “I live near the Mus­lims. They don’t work. They just take what they’re giv­en by the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

    But they’re also tak­ing French jobs, he argued min­utes lat­er. “I work most­ly with for­eign­ers — peo­ple from Turkey,” he said.

    Among the five friends, there was no doubt that Le Pen is their sav­ior — the only one who would both­er com­ing to their pic­turesque but decay­ing slice of coun­try­side, the only one will­ing to fight back against the immi­grants who they say are jeop­ar­diz­ing France’s future — and their own.

    The old folks may not under­stand. But to the young, it was all very clear.

    “My grand­par­ents are afraid of Le Pen. They say she’s extreme, and that if she’s elect­ed, we might have a war,” said Manon Coudray, a 23-year-old sec­re­tary. “I say maybe that’s a good thing.”

    “The Nation­al Front’s strength among mil­len­ni­als sug­gests the pop­ulist wave that’s unset­tled the West may be more durable than many may assume. Far from the last gasp of closed-soci­ety old­er vot­ers who are demo­graph­i­cal­ly des­tined to be out­num­bered by a ris­ing tide of cos­mopoli­tan youth, the pop­ulist insur­gency could con­tin­ue to build over years and decades if enough dis­en­chant­ed young vot­ers can be lured by the promise of some­thing new.”

    Yep, as bad is the rise of the Nation­al Front seems now, it’s not incon­ceiv­able that this is mere­ly the begin­ning of a decades-long French love affair with the far-right. Thanks in part to the effec­tive scape­goat­ing of immi­grants as the pri­ma­ry source of France’s woes, but let’s not for­get the years of aus­ter­i­ty EU-imposed poli­cies that pre­dictably led to a sus­tained spike in youth unem­ploy­ment and a sense of despair. And sure, giv­en the real issue of extrem­ist ide­olo­gies with­in Mus­lim immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties it is like­ly that par­ties like the Nation­al Front even with­out a 25 per­cent youth unem­ploy­ment rate. But when you con­sid­er this:

    ...
    In fact, France has received far few­er migrants per capi­ta in recent years than many Euro­pean nations. The for­eign-born share of France’s over­all pop­u­la­tion has risen rel­a­tive­ly slow­ly, amount­ing to about 12 per­cent of the coun­try last year — com­pared with 10 per­cent in 2000.
    ...

    it’s pret­ty clear that the aus­ter­i­ty-induced mass youth unem­ploy­ment has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in these grow­ing anti-immi­grant atti­tudes. So it looks like we can add “the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of France’s youth” to the list of aus­ter­i­ty’s accom­plish­ments. Thanks aus­ter­i­ty.

    But let’s also not for­get that France’s aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies haven’t just con­tributed to the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of France’s white Chris­t­ian youths. Aus­ter­i­ty has been play­ing a big role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of France’s Mus­lim youth’s too. The de fac­to aus­ter­i­ty that comes from grow­ing up in a mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ty with lim­it­ed job prospects and a per­sis­tent social stig­ma sim­ply from being part of that mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ty:

    Time

    Mus­lims in Neglect­ed Paris Sub­urbs Wor­ry Con­di­tions Could Pro­duce More Ter­ror­ists

    Vivi­enne Walt and Naina Bajekal/Paris
    Jan 10, 2015

    Just past the grandeur of post­card Paris, with its boule­vards and old palaces, lies what seems like a dif­fer­ent world: The ban­lieues, or sub­urbs, vast stretch­es of small brick shops and mosques, and crum­bling high-rise apart­ment blocks, which were thrown up hur­ried­ly 50 years to house the huge influx of immi­grants from the French-speak­ing coun­tries of North and West Africa, and now are home to hun­dreds of thou­sands of French-born Mus­lims.

    Five decades on – and not for the first time – vio­lent events are forc­ing the French and their gov­ern­ment to grap­ple with the seem­ing­ly intractable prob­lem of how to bridge the divide between two very dif­fer­ent stra­ta of French soci­ety: The pow­er­ful and the periph­er­al. France has about five mil­lion Mus­lims, Europe’s biggest Islam­ic popou­la­tion. And it is with­in these low-income cités, or hous­ing projects, out­side Paris, where youth unem­ploy­ment rates hov­er around 25%, that the Char­lie Heb­do attack­ers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32 respec­tive­ly, spent years of their young adult lives before dying in a blaze of police gun­fire on Fri­day. Ame­dy Coulibaly, 32, the gun­man who fatal­ly shot a police­woman on Wednes­day and then seized con­trol of a kosher super­mar­ket on Fri­day before police killed him at sun­down, also most recent­ly lived in a Paris ban­lieue. In all, 17 peo­ple died at the hands of these three attack­ers, includ­ing eight jour­nal­ists and three police offi­cers.

    As Parisians absorb the enor­mi­ty of this week’s killings, res­i­dents in some of these ban­lieues say their areas need urgent changes – bet­ter edu­ca­tion and more job oppor­tu­ni­ties – to reverse the grow­ing drift of young Mus­lims like the Kouachi broth­ers toward rad­i­cal groups bent on advanc­ing their beliefs through vio­lence. “These ter­ror­ists car­ry­ing out such attacks in the name of Islam tend to have lives marked by frus­tra­tion and fail­ure,” says Dje­moui Ben­naceur, 53, an Alger­ian-born res­i­dent in the sub­urb of La Courneuve, a low-income dis­trict sit­u­at­ed just five miles from afflu­ent cen­tral Paris.

    With French youth now wired and online, says Ben­naceur, who emi­grat­ed to France in 1989 and is active in local pol­i­tics, there are now plen­ty more oppor­tu­ni­ties for ter­ror­ist groups to recruit those stuck in dead-end sub­ur­ban lives. “They are eas­i­ly manip­u­lat­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in a world where ter­ror­ists are experts in social media,” says Ben­naceur, who runs a small shut­tle ser­vice. That might part­ly explain the Kouachi broth­ers’ path to rad­i­cal jihad, from a life of rel­a­tive aim­less­ness. After the two became the prime sus­pects in last Wednes­day’s mas­sacre, dur­ing which they killed 12 peo­ple, Chérif’s for­mer lawyer Vin­cent Ollivi­er described him to a French reporter as “part of a group of young peo­ple who were a lit­tle lost, con­fused, not real­ly fanat­ics in the prop­er sense of the word.”

    Both broth­ers worked occa­sion­al menial jobs and strug­gled to find steady work dur­ing their years liv­ing in low-income areas around Paris and else­where, accord­ing to French media reports this week. Chérif, who spent 18 months in jail in 2008 and 2009 for his jihadist activies, worked for a while deliv­er­ing piz­zas and in a super­mar­ket in a Paris sub­urb. Orphaned at a young age, the broth­ers grew up part­ly in an orphan­age in the west­ern city of Rennes.

    Old­er immi­grants say they have wit­nessed a steady dwin­dling in young peo­ple’s prospects. “Things were not this way when I first came here 25 years ago,” Ben­naceur says. “There were more oppor­tu­ni­ties to work and study. Since the finan­cial cri­sis, that has changed and ten­sions have risen.”

    When the Paris sub­urbs explod­ed in weeks of vio­lent protests in Novem­ber 2005, then-pres­i­dent Jacques Chirac vowed to pour bil­lions into the ban­lieues with new hous­ing, infra­struc­ture and jobs. While there are some signs of that, invest­ment has dried up since the reces­sion hit in 2008, and as France has strug­gled with a bal­loon­ing pub­lic deficit. “After the riots the state did noth­ing,” says Farid Rebaa Jaa­far, 52, vice pres­i­dent of the Mosque of Dran­cy, a sub­urb adjoin­ing La Courneuve. “It became worse and worse.”

    At least as urgent is anti-Mus­lim racism and what res­i­dents say is the per­sis­tent stigma­ti­za­tion of their neigh­bor­hoods. “The ban­lieues are still seen as shad­ow zones in France,” says stu­dent Sofi­ane Bouarif, 18, who was born and raised in La Courneuve, of Alger­ian immi­grant par­ents.

    Sev­er­al French sur­veys have shown that many ban­lieue youth strug­gle to land job inter­views — let alone jobs — sole­ly because they have Mus­lim or African names, or because their address­es have zip codes sig­nal­ing that they live in the poor­er sub­urbs of Paris. Anti-racism orga­ni­za­tions such as France’s SOS Racisme have long argued that job appli­ca­tions should be anony­mous as a way of redress­ing the racial imbal­ances, and that the com­mon French prac­tice of includ­ing pho­tographs on resumés rein­forces racial stereo­typ­ing with­in com­pa­nies look­ing to hire staff.

    Many sec­ond and third-gen­er­a­tion French from North or West African par­ents feel social­ly exclud­ed from main­stream French soci­ety, despite being born with­in a half-hour’s train ride from the cen­ter of Paris. “They feel nei­ther North African nor French,” says Jaa­far, who arrived in Paris from Tunisia in 1979.

    ...

    “Old­er immi­grants say they have wit­nessed a steady dwin­dling in young peo­ple’s prospects. “Things were not this way when I first came here 25 years ago,” Ben­naceur says. “There were more oppor­tu­ni­ties to work and study. Since the finan­cial cri­sis, that has changed and ten­sions have risen.””

    While the rad­i­cal strains of Islam export­ed from places like the Sau­di King­dom is obvi­ous­ly a major fac­tor in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of France’s Mus­lim youths (and across the world), you clear­ly can’t sep­a­rate that sit­u­a­tion from the socioe­co­nom­ic dis­lo­ca­tion France’s Mus­lims expe­ri­ence on a dai­ly basis. And it’s sim­ply got­ten much, much worse since the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis and the EU’s trag­ic embrace of aus­ter­i­ty eco­nom­ics.

    So France’s non-Mus­lim youth who are flock­ing to Marine Le Pen are doing so over fears about the Mus­lim youths tak­ing their jobs. And the Mus­lim youths flock­ing to rad­i­cal Islam are doing so, in part, do to a lack a jobs and any mean­ing­ful prospects for eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty. With xeno­pho­bic ide­olo­gies fuel­ing the fire on both side.

    So, yeah, thanks aus­ter­i­ty. And hate. Way to go.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 19, 2017, 2:57 pm
  5. Ger­many’s far-right AfD par­ty just held elec­tions and select­ed a new pair of co-lead­ers. And in what is seen as a major blow to Frauke Petry, who was appar­ent­ly try­ing to push the par­ty towards a more prag­mat­ic polit­i­cal path (e.g. not defend­ing the par­ty’s open Holo­caust deniers like Björn Höcke as much), one of the new co-lead­ers is a vocal defend­er Höcke. So, yeah, sur­prise, far-right AfD is now the even-fur­ther-to-the-right AfD:

    The Inde­pen­dent

    Ger­many’s AfD par­ty elects Alexan­der Gauland and Alice Wei­del as gen­er­al elec­tion can­di­dates

    The elec­tion fol­lows the party’s co-leader step­ping aside last week

    KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
    Sun­day 23 April, 2017 17:15 BST

    Berlin

    Germany’s nation­al­ist par­ty, Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land, has elect­ed two new top can­di­dates for the Sep­tem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion after the party’s best-known politi­cian, Frauke Petry, said last week she would no longer be avail­able.

    Mem­bers of the far-right par­ty, known by its acronym AfD, elect­ed Alexan­der Gauland and Alice Wei­del at their week­end par­ty con­ven­tion in Cologne.

    Divi­sions erupt­ed among the dif­fer­ent fac­tions of the Ger­man nation­al­ists as del­e­gates from the AfD reject­ed an appeal on Sat­ur­day by Ms Petry to seek a more prag­mat­ic polit­i­cal path instead of turn­ing into a “fun­da­men­tal oppo­si­tion” par­ty. The defeat was a sig­nif­i­cant blow for AfD co-leader Ms Petry, whose posi­tion in the par­ty is now sub­stan­tial­ly weak­ened.

    Mr Gauland, 76, is one of the party’s most promi­nent mem­bers and one of Ms Petry’s main rivals.

    “We want to keep our home coun­try, keep our iden­ti­ty, and we are proud to be Ger­man,” he said in his accep­tance speech.

    Ms Wei­del, 38, is a con­sul­tant from south­west­ern Ger­many who has not stood in the spot­light of the four-year-old par­ty so far.

    “If we now stick togeth­er and fight togeth­er, then final­ly a true oppo­si­tion par­ty will be get­ting into Ger­man Par­lia­ment,” she told cheer­ing del­e­gates.

    The par­ty mem­bers also vot­ed for an elec­tion man­i­festo that is harsh on immi­gra­tion and Mus­lims and reit­er­ates calls for leav­ing the Euro­pean Union’s euro cur­ren­cy.

    The head of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many con­demned the AfD’s fur­ther move to the far right, say­ing the par­ty is try­ing to make “a chau­vin­ist-nation­al­ist way of think­ing social­ly accept­able in Ger­many again”.

    Josef Schus­ter warned that the par­ty is “threat­en­ing Jew­ish and Mus­lim life in Ger­many.”

    The con­fer­ence in Cologne was over­shad­owed by mas­sive protests on Sat­ur­day, when tens of thou­sands ral­lied against the pop­ulist par­ty and blocked access to the hotel where the con­ven­tion took place. The city remained rel­a­tive­ly calm on Sun­day and police report­ed only a few small demon­stra­tions.

    About 68 per cent vot­ed for the duo, with 28 per cent vot­ing against, the Ger­man news agency DPA report­ed.

    AfD’s poll rat­ings soared amid the influx of migrants to Ger­many in late 2015 and ear­ly 2016. How­ev­er, they have sagged in recent months as the issue fad­ed from head­lines and the par­ty became increas­ing­ly mired in infight­ing, with Ms Petry and her hus­band Mar­cus Pret­zell against oth­er senior fig­ures like Mr Gauland even fur­ther on the right.

    Ms Petry, 41, announced on Wednes­day that she would no longer be her party’s top can­di­date. She also irked some rivals by lead­ing an effort to expel Björn Höcke, AfD’s region­al leader in the east­ern Thuringia state, after he sug­gest­ed that Ger­many stops acknowl­edg­ing and aton­ing for its Nazi past. Mr Gauland has repeat­ed­ly pro­tect­ed Mr Höcke, even after his remarks cre­at­ed an out­rage in Ger­many.

    Ger­man polit­i­cal par­ties choose lead can­di­dates for elec­tions who gen­er­al­ly dom­i­nate their cam­paigns and, in the case of big­ger par­ties, com­pete to become chan­cel­lor.

    ...

    “Ms Petry, 41, announced on Wednes­day that she would no longer be her party’s top can­di­date. She also irked some rivals by lead­ing an effort to expel Björn Höcke, AfD’s region­al leader in the east­ern Thuringia state, after he sug­gest­ed that Ger­many stops acknowl­edg­ing and aton­ing for its Nazi past. Mr Gauland has repeat­ed­ly pro­tect­ed Mr Höcke, even after his remarks cre­at­ed an out­rage in Ger­many.”

    Frauke Petry is the face of mod­er­ate far-right eth­no-nation­al­ism is seems. Mod­er­ate in the sense that she thought the par­ty should hide its true stripes more effec­tive­ly. So now we’ll get to see if tak­ing a more open­ly Hitler-cod­dling pub­lic face helps or hurts the AfD in the upcom­ing elec­tions. It seems like this is over­all great news for Angela Merkel and the CDU, assum­ing going fur­ther-right ends up hurt­ing the AfD at the bal­lot box. Of course, if this actu­al­ly helps the AfD that’s clear­ly not good news for the AfD. Or any­one else. But odds are this is prob­a­bly good news for the Ger­many’s con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties since it does­n’t sound like the AfD’s inter­nal bick­er­ing over whether or not to clamp down on its Holo­caust deniers was help­ing the par­ty’s image. Yes, that bick­er­ing is resolved now, but in the worst way it could have been resolved.

    At the same time, it’s worth not­ing one rather sig­nif­i­cant, and bizarre, new pub­lic face of mod­er­a­tion that emerged from the AfD’s elec­tion of these new co-lead­ers: Alice Wei­del is an open les­bian. In a par­ty that gen­er­al­ly demo­nizes gays. So how does Ms Wei­del explain her lead­er­ship post in a par­ty that appears to hate peo­ple like her? She just responds that she keeps her per­son­al life and her pub­lic life sep­a­rate. As if that’s a coher­ent expla­na­tion.

    So while Wei­del may not be a strong pub­lic backer as her new co-leader Alexan­der Gauland is of Holo­caust deniers like Björn Höcke, she’s still clear­ly a fan of absur­dist pub­lic denials:

    LGBTQ Nation

    Les­bian named leader of Germany’s fas­cist par­ty

    By Alex Bollinger
    Tues­day, April 25, 2017

    In elec­tions held over the week­end, Alexan­der Gauland and Alice Wei­del were named co-lead­ers of the Ger­man Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (AfD) par­ty.

    The AfD was found­ed in 2013 and is known for its euro-skep­ti­cism, extreme xeno­pho­bia, and oppo­si­tion to women’s and LGBTQ rights.

    Alice Wei­del, 38, lives with her part­ner and their two kids and is open­ly gay. A for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker, she seems an unlike­ly leader for a par­ty found­ed on a rejec­tion of glob­al­ism and tol­er­ance.

    But her pol­i­tics appear in-line with the AfD’s.

    In her accep­tance speech, Wei­del called for the AfD to “stick togeth­er and fight togeth­er,” and specif­i­cal­ly named “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” a prob­lem. “We don’t want any import­ed civ­il wars on Ger­man streets. Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness belongs on the garbage heap of his­to­ry.”

    When inter­view­ers inevitably ask her how she could be part of a par­ty that oppos­es same-sex mar­riage, com­pares LGBTQ peo­ple adopt­ing to mak­ing a child a “play­thing for the sex­u­al incli­na­tions of a loud minor­i­ty,” oppos­es sex edu­ca­tion in schools, and advo­cates for “tra­di­tion­al gen­der roles” for women, she just responds that she keeps her per­son­al life and her pub­lic life sep­a­rate.

    The elec­tions for a new leader were held because the for­mer leader, Frauke Petry, stepped down. Petry pre­vi­ous­ly called for bor­der patrol agents to shoot refugees and oth­er migrants attempt­ing to cross into Ger­many and com­pared eth­nic minori­ties to garbage. “What should we make of the cam­paign ‘Ger­many is Col­or­ful’? A com­post heap is col­or­ful, too.”

    Two months ago, Petry was instru­men­tal in remov­ing a racist even more extreme than her­self from the AfD. Björn Uwe Höcke, the speak­er of the AfD’s par­lia­men­tary group, said in a speech that Berlin’s Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al was a “memo­r­i­al of shame” and that Ger­mans should “make a 180 degree change in their pol­i­tics of com­mem­o­ra­tion.”

    While Wei­del has avoid­ed mak­ing many of the more extreme state­ments that mem­bers of her par­ty have made, her co-leader has open­ly defend­ed them. Gauland pre­vi­ous­ly defend­ed Höcke’s com­ments by say­ing that Ger­many has a “cult of guilt” around the Holo­caust. “We want our home­land, our iden­ti­ty and we are proud to be Ger­mans,” Gauland said in his accep­tance speech.

    ...

    “When inter­view­ers inevitably ask her how she could be part of a par­ty that oppos­es same-sex mar­riage, com­pares LGBTQ peo­ple adopt­ing to mak­ing a child a “play­thing for the sex­u­al incli­na­tions of a loud minor­i­ty,” oppos­es sex edu­ca­tion in schools, and advo­cates for “tra­di­tion­al gen­der roles” for women, she just responds that she keeps her per­son­al life and her pub­lic life sep­a­rate.”

    Yes, the anti-LGBTQ AfD par­ty man­aged to score itself an open­ly gay co-leader. An open­ly gay co-leader who thinks “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” is a big prob­lem and who tries to resolve this con­tra­dic­tion by ‘keep­ing her per­son­al life and pub­lic life sep­a­rate.’ So she’s in ‘the clos­et’ and out of ‘the clos­et’. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

    So that’s the new face of the AfD: a guy who thinks the par­ty is too hard on its Holo­caust deniers and an open­ly gay woman who has some­how achieved a state of quan­tum super­po­si­tion with ‘the clos­et’, which is a pret­ty apt anal­o­gy for what the AfD in gen­er­al: a par­ty that’s in the ‘Nazi clos­et’ and out of the ‘Nazi clos­et’ simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. At least, that’s what the par­ty appeared to be try­ing to do before it elect­ed its new lead­er­ship. It’s pret­ty clear­ly out of the ‘Nazi clos­et’ at this point.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 26, 2017, 7:59 pm
  6. Here’s the kind of sto­ry that must put a big smile on the face of Steve Ban­non and oth­er The Camp of the Saints/Charles Mau­r­ras fans: a group of “Iden­ti­tar­i­ans” (basi­cal­ly the Euro­pean ver­sion of the ‘Alt-Right’ neo-Nazis) has suc­cess­ful­ly crowd fund­ed enough mon­ey to pur­chase a boat and crew. For what pur­pose? To stop search-and-res­cue oper­a­tions of NGOs look­ing for refugees head­ing towards Europe:

    The Guardian
    The Observ­er

    Far right rais­es £50,000 to tar­get boats on refugee res­cue mis­sions in Med
    Aid char­i­ties have saved more than 6,000 from drown­ing this year. Now anti-Islam ‘Iden­ti­tar­i­ans’ are crowd­fund­ing to pay for ves­sels to chase them down

    Mark Townsend

    Sat­ur­day 3 June 2017 19.01 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Sun­day 4 June 2017 10.21 EDT

    Far-right activists are plan­ning a sea cam­paign this sum­mer to dis­rupt ves­sels sav­ing refugees in the Mediter­ranean, after suc­cess­ful­ly inter­cept­ing a res­cue mis­sion last month.

    Mem­bers of the anti-Islam and anti-immi­grant “Iden­ti­tar­i­an” move­ment – large­ly twen­tysome­things often described as Europe’s answer to the Amer­i­can alt-right – have raised £56,489 in less than three weeks to enable them to tar­get boats run by aid char­i­ties help­ing to res­cue refugees.

    The mon­ey was raised through an anony­mous crowd­fund­ing cam­paign with an ini­tial goal of €50,000 (about £44,000) to pay for ships, trav­el costs and film equip­ment. On Sat­ur­day the group con­firmed they had reached their tar­get but were still accept­ing dona­tions. A French far-right group hired a boat for a tri­al run last month, dis­rupt­ing a search-and-res­cue ves­sel as it left the Sicil­ian port of Cata­nia. They claimed they had slowed the NGO ship until the Ital­ian coast­guard inter­vened.

    Fig­ures from the UN’s migra­tion agency, the IOM, reveal that 1,650 refugees have died cross­ing the Mediter­ranean so far this year with a fur­ther 6,453 migrants res­cued off Libya and 228 bod­ies pulled from the waters. Human­i­tar­i­an char­i­ties oper­at­ing in the Mediter­ranean have helped save the lives of thou­sands of refugees, with women and chil­dren mak­ing up almost half of those mak­ing the cross­ing.

    The threat from the far right infu­ri­ates char­i­ties oper­at­ing in the Mediter­ranean. One senior offi­cial, who request­ed anonymi­ty, said politi­cians had helped cre­ate a cli­mate where sup­port­ers of the far right felt embold­ened to act in such a way. “When the British gov­ern­ment and its Euro­pean coun­ter­parts talk about ‘swarms’ of migrants, or per­pet­u­ate the myth that res­cue oper­a­tions are a ‘pull fac­tor’ or a ‘taxi ser­vice’, that gives fuel to extreme groups such as this. The sim­ple real­i­ty is that with­out res­cue oper­a­tions many more would drown, but peo­ple would still attempt the cross­ing,” the offi­cial said.

    Simon Mur­doch, a researcher at the Lon­don-based anti-racist organ­i­sa­tion Hope not Hate, which is mon­i­tor­ing the Iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ment, said: “While these actions are appalling, unfor­tu­nate­ly they don’t shock us. The fact that these far-right activists are seek­ing to pre­vent a human­i­tar­i­an mis­sion, help­ing some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the world today – includ­ing women and chil­dren at risk of drown­ing – speaks vol­umes about them and where their com­pas­sion lies.”

    The crowd­fund­ing cam­paign began in the mid­dle of last month when a French fac­tion, Généra­tion Iden­ti­taire, set up a “defend Europe” web­site to tar­get refugee res­cue boats, mim­ic­k­ing the direct action tac­tics of groups such as Green­peace. Its mis­sion state­ment says: “Ships packed with ille­gal immi­grants are flood­ing the Euro­pean bor­ders. An inva­sion is tak­ing place. This mas­sive immi­gra­tion is chang­ing the face of our con­ti­nent. We are los­ing our safe­ty, our way of life, and there is a dan­ger we Euro­peans will become a minor­i­ty in our own Euro­pean home­lands.”

    An accom­pa­ny­ing video, filmed on the Sicil­ian coast­line, fea­tures a far-right activist say­ing: “We want to get a crew, equip a boat and set sail to the Mediter­ranean ocean to chase down the ene­mies of Europe.”

    Along­side rais­ing funds for ships, it also requests funds for “research” above the logo of the favourite alt-right mes­sage board, 4chan. One recent 4chan thread encour­ages users to track NGO ships in the Mediter­ranean, then report them to the navy and police to inves­ti­gate, par­tic­u­lar­ly “ships idling near the coast of north Africa”. Although not spec­i­fied, the oper­a­tion will almost cer­tain­ly be based in Sici­ly, most like­ly oper­at­ing from the island’s ports of Poz­za­l­lo or Cata­nia.

    Pow­er­ful rigid inflat­able boats able to trav­el faster than 20 knots can sell for less than £10,000 and would be suf­fi­cient to slow down and obstruct ships leav­ing port. An Ital­ian far-right group claims it has been offered ships and sup­port from peo­ple with boat dri­ving licences.

    Last month three young mem­bers of a French Iden­ti­tar­i­an group tar­get­ed a search-and-res­cue ves­sel belong­ing to the char­i­ty SOS Méditer­ranée as it left Cata­nia. Ital­ian coast­guards inter­cept­ed the far-right sup­port­ers and briefly detained them. The SOS Méditer­ranée web­site says that the char­i­ty was cre­at­ed because of the “dra­mat­ic increase of boats in dis­tress and the insuf­fi­cien­cy of exist­ing mea­sures” to the Mediter­ranean cri­sis.

    The efforts of human­i­tar­i­an organ­i­sa­tions have been cred­it­ed with sav­ing huge num­bers of refugees. Médecins Sans Fron­tières began oper­a­tions in the Med in May 2015 and res­cued more than 22,500 peo­ple, many off the Libyan coast, over the next sev­en months.

    Dur­ing the first five months of 2015, no Euro­pean or NGO search-and-res­cue oper­a­tions took place with 1,800 peo­ple drown­ing try­ing to make the cross­ing. In April alone 1,000 lives were lost. All search-and-res­cue oper­a­tions in the Mediter­ranean are coor­di­nat­ed by the offi­cial Mar­itime Res­cue Coor­di­na­tion Cen­tre in Rome in accor­dance with inter­na­tion­al mar­itime law.

    Yet the Euro­pean far-right groups have accused NGOs of work­ing with traf­fick­ers to bring migrants to Europe and claim that search-and-res­cue boats are not car­ry­ing out a human­i­tar­i­an inter­ven­tion. The cen­tral aim of the new wave of far-right groups is pre­serv­ing nation­al dif­fer­ences in the belief that white Euro­peans will be replaced by immi­grants, a stance that is artic­u­lat­ed with anti-migrant, anti-Mus­lim, anti-media sen­ti­ments but repack­aged for a younger audi­ence.

    The num­ber of far-right groups is dif­fi­cult to estab­lish, but Généra­tion Iden­ti­taire has held demon­stra­tions in France that drew around 500 peo­ple, while its Face­book page has 122,662 likes. Its Aus­tri­an coun­ter­part, Iden­titäre Bewe­gung Öster­re­ich, has 37,628 likes on Face­book, although crit­ics warn of increas­ing links with the US alt-right which helped to pro­pel Don­ald Trump to the White House.

    Also on the boat that attempt­ed to obstruct SOS Méditerranée’s ves­sel last month was the Cana­di­an alt-right jour­nal­ist Lau­ren South­ern, who has 278,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers and whose pres­ence con­firms a transat­lantic con­ver­gence. Bre­it­bart, the favourite web­site of the US alt-right, fre­quent­ly prais­es Europe’s pro-Trump Iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ment.

    “The whole project is emblem­at­ic of an increas­ing­ly con­fi­dent inter­na­tion­al far right which is will­ing to hin­der life­sav­ing efforts to advance their xeno­pho­bic pol­i­tics,” said Mur­doch.

    ...

    ———-

    “Far right rais­es £50,000 to tar­get boats on refugee res­cue mis­sions in Med” by Mark Townsend; The Guardian; 06/03/2017

    “The mon­ey was raised through an anony­mous crowd­fund­ing cam­paign with an ini­tial goal of €50,000 (about £44,000) to pay for ships, trav­el costs and film equip­ment. On Sat­ur­day the group con­firmed they had reached their tar­get but were still accept­ing dona­tions. A French far-right group hired a boat for a tri­al run last month, dis­rupt­ing a search-and-res­cue ves­sel as it left the Sicil­ian port of Cata­nia. They claimed they had slowed the NGO ship until the Ital­ian coast­guard inter­vened.

    That’s the Iden­ti­tar­i­an move­ment for you: pro­tect­ing far-right ‘us vs them’ total­i­tar­i­an iden­ti­ties (that peo­ple with iden­ti­ty issues tend to grav­i­tate towards) by doing things like dis­rupt­ing search-and-res­cue mis­sions so more of ‘them’ drown at sea. Yes, Steve Ban­non must be oh so pleased.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 6, 2017, 2:45 pm
  7. With Angela Merkel’s CDU on track to trounce the SPD in the upcom­ing Ger­man fed­er­al elec­tions, it’s unfor­tu­nate­ly impor­tant to note the oth­er big win­ner as Ger­many con­tin­ues its right­ward shift: the AfD, set to be the third most pop­u­lar par­ty in Ger­many:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Germany’s far right will soon join Par­lia­ment, and Par­lia­ment is angry

    By Bethany Allen-Ebrahimi­an
    Sep­tem­ber 16, 2017

    BERLIN — For the first time since the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, a far-right par­ty will soon have del­e­gates in the Ger­man Par­lia­ment.

    Found­ed in 2013, the Alter­na­tive for Ger­many par­ty, or AfD, rode a wave of anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment to become the third-high­est-polling par­ty in the coun­try. Poll­sters say the par­ty should get more than enough votes in Germany’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tions this month to pass the 5 per­cent thresh­old required to send rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the Bun­destag, Germany’s low­er house.

    That has caused tremen­dous hand-wring­ing in a coun­try that takes the bur­den of its Nazi his­to­ry seri­ous­ly. Stick­ers that read “FCK AFD” are plas­tered to street signs and apart­ment build­ings across Berlin, and media cov­er­age hails cit­i­zens who take it upon them­selves to remove swastikas etched onto grimy walls.

    In the Bun­destag itself, the mood is much the same. There’s a strong feel­ing among law­mak­ers that peo­ple with even ten­u­ous ties to the Nazi Par­ty that gut­ted democ­ra­cy 85 years ago sim­ply don’t belong there.

    “I don’t know any­one in the Bun­destag among the staffers and the MPs who does not feel angry,” said one staff mem­ber from Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union, or CDU, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because he was not autho­rized to speak to the press. The sen­ti­ment was unan­i­mous among the half-dozen staff mem­bers who spoke to The Wash­ing­ton Post, rep­re­sent­ing every par­ty cur­rent­ly seat­ed in Par­lia­ment.

    Law­mak­ers and their staffs have spent the past few months fig­ur­ing out how they might side­line the AfD once its mem­bers arrive, but doing so will be dif­fi­cult. Ger­man gov­er­nance is far too for­mal­ized — and rule-fol­low­ing per­haps far too ingrained — for such an effort to make much of a dent. But the search for even mar­gin­al ways to lim­it the AfD’s influ­ence shows the extent to which Par­lia­ment sees the new par­ty as a wor­ry, and even a poten­tial threat to Germany’s democ­ra­cy itself.

    “Nazis were elect­ed to the Reich­stag, too,” said the CDU staffer, refer­ring to the par­lia­ment of the Weimar Repub­lic. “They were treat­ed like a nor­mal par­ty until they under­mined any demo­c­ra­t­ic ideas in Ger­many.”

    Timo Lochoc­ki, an expert on right-wing pop­ulism at the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, a Berlin-based think tank, believes those con­cerns are jus­ti­fied. Win­ning seats in Par­lia­ment will give the AfD an enor­mous plat­form to pro­mote and nor­mal­ize its mes­sage, along with access to mas­sive new resources and staff, which should help beef up its orga­ni­za­tion.

    “Europe should be con­cerned,” said Lochoc­ki. “The world should be con­cerned.”

    The most sig­nif­i­cant attempt so far to pre­emp­tive­ly block the AfD took place months ago. Par­lia­men­tary tra­di­tion grants the body’s old­est mem­ber the right to give the first speech of a new ses­sion. After the Sept. 24 elec­tions, that hon­or could fall to Wil­helm von Got­tberg, a 77-year-old AfD can­di­date who has pre­vi­ous­ly described the Holo­caust as an “effec­tive instru­ment for the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Ger­mans and their his­to­ry.”

    The thought of von Got­tberg giv­ing one of the most-watched speech­es of the year sent a col­lec­tive shud­der through the Bun­destag, and Merkel’s gov­ern­ment pro­posed offer­ing the first speech to the longest-serv­ing mem­ber rather than the old­est. While she nev­er explic­it­ly stat­ed that the AfD was the tar­get of the rule change, the pur­pose was clear to AfD co-founder Alexan­der Gauland, who denounced the move as “trick­ery.”

    Oth­er strug­gles are tak­ing place fur­ther out of pub­lic view. The chair­man­ship of the Bundestag’s bud­get com­mit­tee, the most pow­er­ful in the cham­ber, tra­di­tion­al­ly goes to the leader of the oppo­si­tion — which could be the AfD this year. Accord­ing to Bild, the Ger­man tabloid, com­mit­tee mem­bers are con­tem­plat­ing reject­ing any AfD mem­ber for the chair­man­ship.

    And even the ques­tion of the party’s phys­i­cal loca­tion in Par­lia­ment has been con­tro­ver­sial. Par­ties sit in the Bun­destag cham­ber ordered from left to right accord­ing to where they fall on the polit­i­cal spec­trum. Fol­low­ing that tra­di­tion would place the AfD next to the ris­ers where Merkel’s min­is­ters sit, a promi­nent posi­tion in the cham­ber that cur­rent mem­bers don’t want the par­ty to occu­py. And, as child­ish as it may seem, no cur­rent sit­ting par­ty wants to sit next to the AfD, accord­ing to Bild.

    Ger­man think tanks, too, are won­der­ing how to respond to an influx of per­haps dozens of AfD politi­cians. “It is a tough ques­tion. We some­how have to find a way to deal with them and include them in our work,” said an employ­ee at the lead­ing think tank in Berlin, sigh­ing and look­ing weary. “But we wor­ry that that would legit­imize their plat­form even fur­ther.”

    ...
    ———-

    “Germany’s far right will soon join Par­lia­ment, and Par­lia­ment is angry” by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimi­an; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 09/16/2017

    “Timo Lochoc­ki, an expert on right-wing pop­ulism at the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, a Berlin-based think tank, believes those con­cerns are jus­ti­fied. Win­ning seats in Par­lia­ment will give the AfD an enor­mous plat­form to pro­mote and nor­mal­ize its mes­sage, along with access to mas­sive new resources and staff, which should help beef up its orga­ni­za­tion.”

    But note how it’s not sim­ply seats in the Par­lia­ment that the AfD might win. If the CDU and SPD form a coali­tion gov­ern­ment that would make the AfD the lead­ing oppo­si­tion par­ty, with all sorts of perks:

    ...
    Oth­er strug­gles are tak­ing place fur­ther out of pub­lic view. The chair­man­ship of the Bundestag’s bud­get com­mit­tee, the most pow­er­ful in the cham­ber, tra­di­tion­al­ly goes to the leader of the oppo­si­tion — which could be the AfD this year. Accord­ing to Bild, the Ger­man tabloid, com­mit­tee mem­bers are con­tem­plat­ing reject­ing any AfD mem­ber for the chair­man­ship.
    ...

    And that’s not all. Thanks to a Par­lia­men­tary tra­di­tion that grants the body’s old­est mem­ber the right to give the first speech of a new ses­sion, that hon­or could go to a 77-year-old AfD can­di­date.

    ...
    The most sig­nif­i­cant attempt so far to pre­emp­tive­ly block the AfD took place months ago. Par­lia­men­tary tra­di­tion grants the body’s old­est mem­ber the right to give the first speech of a new ses­sion. After the Sept. 24 elec­tions, that hon­or could fall to Wil­helm von Got­tberg, a 77-year-old AfD can­di­date who has pre­vi­ous­ly described the Holo­caust as an “effec­tive instru­ment for the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Ger­mans and their his­to­ry.”

    The thought of von Got­tberg giv­ing one of the most-watched speech­es of the year sent a col­lec­tive shud­der through the Bun­destag, and Merkel’s gov­ern­ment pro­posed offer­ing the first speech to the longest-serv­ing mem­ber rather than the old­est. While she nev­er explic­it­ly stat­ed that the AfD was the tar­get of the rule change, the pur­pose was clear to AfD co-founder Alexan­der Gauland, who denounced the move as “trick­ery.”
    ...

    And keep in mind that when AfD co-founder Alexan­der Gauland denounced the Par­lia­men­tary move to deny 77-year old AfD can­di­date Wil­helm von Got­tberg his right to the first speech, Gauland, at 76 years old, is pret­ty close to earn­ing that prize too. So Gauland is prob­a­bly extra sen­si­tive about the mat­ter. If von Got­tberg does­n’t win it’ll be Gouland the Par­lia­ment refus­es to allow to speak first, thanks to Gauland pub­licly say­ing things like how Ger­many should stop being ashamed of WWII and instead be proud of the Nazis’ mil­i­tary accom­plish­ments:

    Reuters

    Far-right par­ty likened to Nazis to shake up Ger­man par­lia­ment

    Michelle Mar­tin
    Sep­tem­ber 17, 2017 / 7:50 AM / Updat­ed

    FRANKFURT AN DER ODER, Ger­many (Reuters) — The first far-right par­ty set to enter Germany’s par­lia­ment for more than a half a cen­tu­ry says it will press for Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel to be “severe­ly pun­ished” for open­ing the door to refugees and migrants.

    The Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD), which has also called for Germany’s immi­gra­tion min­is­ter to be “dis­posed of” in Turkey where her par­ents come from, could become the third largest par­ty with up to 12 per­cent of the vote on Sept. 24, polls show.

    That is far less than sim­i­lar move­ments in oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries — in France far-right leader Marine Le Pen won 34 per­cent of the vote in May and in the Nether­lands far-right­ist Geert Wilders scored 13 per­cent in a March elec­tion.

    But the prospect of a par­ty that the for­eign min­is­ter has com­pared with the Nazis enter­ing the heart of Ger­man democ­ra­cy is unnerv­ing the oth­er par­ties. They all refuse to work with the AfD and no one wants to sit next to them in par­lia­ment.

    Lead­ing AfD can­di­date Alexan­der Gauland denies they are Nazis, say­ing oth­ers only use the term because of the party’s pop­u­lar­i­ty. It has won sup­port with calls for Ger­many to shut its bor­ders imme­di­ate­ly, intro­duce a min­i­mum quo­ta for depor­ta­tions and stop refugees bring­ing their fam­i­lies here.

    “We’re grad­u­al­ly becom­ing for­eign­ers in our own coun­try,” Gauland told an elec­tion ral­ly in the Pol­ish bor­der city of Frank­furt an der Oder.

    A song with the lyrics “we’ll bring hap­pi­ness back to your home­land” blared out of a blue cam­paign bus and the 76-year-old lawyer said Ger­many belonged to the Ger­mans, Islam had no place here and the migrant influx would make every­one worse off.

    Gauland pro­voked out­rage for say­ing at anoth­er event that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past and they should take pride in what their sol­diers achieved dur­ing World War One and Two.

    The Nazis ruled Ger­many from 1933 to 1945, dur­ing which time they killed 6 mil­lion Jews in the Holo­caust and invad­ed coun­tries across Europe.

    The AfD could end up as the biggest oppo­si­tion force in the nation­al assem­bly if there is a re-run of the cur­rent coali­tion of Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives and Social Democ­rats (SPD) — one of the most like­ly sce­nar­ios.

    That would mean it would chair the pow­er­ful bud­get com­mit­tee and open the gen­er­al debate dur­ing bud­get con­sul­ta­tions, giv­ing promi­nence to its alter­na­tives to gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

    Georg Pazder­s­ki, a mem­ber of the AfD’s exec­u­tive board, told Reuters his par­ty would use par­lia­men­tary speech­es to draw atten­tion to the cost of the migrant cri­sis, trou­bles in the euro zone — which the AfD wants Ger­many to leave — and prob­lems relat­ed to the Euro­pean Union.

    “We’ll have a voice when we’re in par­lia­ment,” he said. “We won’t be an easy oppo­si­tion.”

    He expects oth­er par­ties will shun the AfD for a year or two but ulti­mate­ly work with it, point­ing to the region­al assem­bly in the east­ern state of Sax­ony-Anhalt, where the AfD and Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats vot­ed to set up a com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate left-wing extrem­ism.

    Gauland told Reuters the AfD would call for a com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate the chan­cel­lor after enter­ing par­lia­ment: “We want Ms Merkel’s pol­i­cy of bring­ing 1 mil­lion peo­ple into this coun­try to be inves­ti­gat­ed and we want her to be severe­ly pun­ished for that.”

    (For an inter­ac­tive graph­ic on Ger­man elec­tions, click tmsnrt.rs/2h0NqCT)

    SUITS, NOT SKINHEADS

    MPs have already changed the qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the cer­e­mo­ni­al post of doyen of par­lia­ment to the longest-serv­ing MP rather than the old­est, like­ly to have been an AfD mem­ber.

    Sahra Wagenknecht, top can­di­date of the rad­i­cal Left par­ty, told Reuters it was impor­tant to look at indi­vid­u­als for com­mit­tees but added: “I won’t elect any AfD mem­ber who belongs to Bjo­ern Hoecke’s wing and who real­ly rep­re­sents Nazi views into any posi­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ty.”

    Hoecke has denied that Adolf Hitler was “absolute­ly evil”, described Berlin’s Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al as a “mon­u­ment of shame” and demand­ed a “180 degree turn­around” in the way Ger­many seeks to atone for Nazi crimes.

    The jus­tice min­is­ter said some of the AfD’s pro­gram like its demand to ban minarets is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

    Alexan­der Hensel, who stud­ied the AfD’s role in region­al par­lia­ments for the Otto Bren­ner Foun­da­tion, said debates in state assem­blies had become more polar­ized since the AfD arrived and some oth­er MPs would not shake hands with the new­com­ers.

    “The AfD’s aggres­sive right-wing posi­tions have inten­si­fied the debates while the tone and way peo­ple deal with each oth­er in par­lia­ment has become notice­ably rougher due to the AfD’s tough rhetoric and tar­get­ed provo­ca­tions,” he said.

    Unlike pre­vi­ous right-wing move­ments in Ger­many the AfD — found­ed in 2013 by an anti-euro group of aca­d­e­mics — has become social­ly accept­able so rad­i­cal­ized peo­ple from the mid­dle class feel able to vote for it along­side clas­sic rad­i­cal right-wing vot­ers, said Man­fred Guell­ner, head of For­sa polling insti­tute.

    “You don’t vote for skin­heads but you can vote for pro­fes­sors in suits,” said Guell­ner, refer­ring to the likes of Gauland, who tends to wear tweed jack­ets.

    ...

    ———-

    “Far-right par­ty likened to Nazis to shake up Ger­man par­lia­ment” by Michelle Mar­tin; Reuters; 09/17/2017

    “Gauland pro­voked out­rage for say­ing at anoth­er event that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past and they should take pride in what their sol­diers achieved dur­ing World War One and Two.”

    Less shame and more pride in the Nazi war machine and its mil­i­tary con­quests. Those are the views of the 76 year old AfD co-founder Alexan­der Gauland who denounced the move to pre­vent 77 year old AfD can­di­date, Wil­helm von Got­tberg, from giv­ing the hon­orary first speech. So it’s look­ing like those hon­orary first speech­es are going to be an issue in the Bun­destag for the forsee­able future.

    But that does­n’t mean the ten­sions won’t even­tu­al­ly recede, accord­ing to AfD exec­u­tive board mem­ber Georg Pazder­s­ki. Just look as Sax­ony-Anhalt, where the AfD and CDU found some com­mon ground: inves­ti­gat­ing left-wing extrem­ism:

    ...
    Georg Pazder­s­ki, a mem­ber of the AfD’s exec­u­tive board, told Reuters his par­ty would use par­lia­men­tary speech­es to draw atten­tion to the cost of the migrant cri­sis, trou­bles in the euro zone — which the AfD wants Ger­many to leave — and prob­lems relat­ed to the Euro­pean Union.

    “We’ll have a voice when we’re in par­lia­ment,” he said. “We won’t be an easy oppo­si­tion.”

    He expects oth­er par­ties will shun the AfD for a year or two but ulti­mate­ly work with it, point­ing to the region­al assem­bly in the east­ern state of Sax­ony-Anhalt, where the AfD and Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats vot­ed to set up a com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate left-wing extrem­ism.
    ...

    So there we go: inves­ti­gat­ing mutu­al polit­i­cal ene­mies. That can be the com­mon ground that unites Germany...or at least unites the right. Although there’s at least one inves­ti­ga­tion the CDU isn’t going to be very inter­est­ed in

    ...
    Gauland told Reuters the AfD would call for a com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate the chan­cel­lor after enter­ing par­lia­ment: “We want Ms Merkel’s pol­i­cy of bring­ing 1 mil­lion peo­ple into this coun­try to be inves­ti­gat­ed and we want her to be severe­ly pun­ished for that
    ...

    Yep, the AfD wants to inves­ti­gate and “severe­ly pun­ish” Angela Merkel for let­ting the Syr­i­an refugees in. Because dilut­ing the per­cent­age of eth­nic Ger­mans a bit in response to a human­i­tar­i­an emer­gency is the worst thing that you could do in the views of the AfD and irre­versibly dooms Ger­many to ‘white geno­cide’ or some­thing. But don’t call them Nazis. Even if one of their lead­ers referred to the gov­ern­ment as “pigs” who are “noth­ing oth­er than mar­i­onettes of the vic­to­ri­ous pow­ers of the sec­ond world war, whose task it is to keep down the Ger­man peo­ple”:

    The Guardian

    Ger­many’s rightwing AfD par­ty could lead oppo­si­tion after elec­tion

    Scan­dals have failed to dent pop­u­lar­i­ty of anti-immi­gra­tion AfD, which lat­est polls put in third place on 11% of the votes

    Philip Olter­mann in Berlin

    Sun­day 17 Sep­tem­ber 2017 12.07 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Sun­day 17 Sep­tem­ber 2017 17.00 EDT

    Rightwing pop­ulists could make up the biggest oppo­si­tion force in the next Ger­man par­lia­ment after a series of scan­dals appear to have gal­vanised rather than weak­ened the chances of the far-right in next Sunday’s elec­tion.

    The Euroscep­tic, anti-immi­gra­tion Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (AfD) par­ty has pulled up to third place in four of the last five polls con­duct­ed. A sur­vey pub­lished on Sun­day by the polling insti­tute Emnid in Bild am Son­ntag news­pa­per has the AfD on 11%, behind Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union on 36% and the cen­tre-left SPD on 22%.

    Should Merkel and her main chal­lenger, Mar­tin Schulz, agree to con­tin­ue gov­ern­ing in a “grand coali­tion” between the two strongest par­ties, the AfD could lead the oppo­si­tion in the Bun­destag, a role that tra­di­tion­al­ly car­ries addi­tion­al priv­i­leges, such as the pres­i­den­cy of the parliament’s bud­get com­mit­tee.

    Accord­ing to a pro­jec­tion pub­lished last week by Berlin’s Tagesspiegel news­pa­per, the far-right par­ty could end up with as many of 89 out of 703 mem­bers in the Bun­destag.

    Found­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2013 by a group of econ­o­mists opposed to bailout pack­ages for ail­ing euro­zone mem­bers, the par­ty has tacked to the right after nar­row­ly fail­ing to clear the 5% hur­dle for par­lia­men­tary seats at the last elec­tion.

    The party’s prospects have looked promis­ing ahead of next Sunday’s fed­er­al elec­tions, in spite of its lead­er­ship duo hav­ing dom­i­nat­ed the head­lines in a series of scan­dals.

    ...

    A leaked email writ­ten by AfD’s co-leader, Alice Wei­del, mean­while, echoed the rhetoric of the rightwing extrem­ist Reichs­bürg­er move­ment, describ­ing the cur­rent gov­ern­ment as “pigs” who are “noth­ing oth­er than mar­i­onettes of the vic­to­ri­ous pow­ers of the sec­ond world war, whose task it is to keep down the Ger­man peo­ple”. Ini­tial­ly dis­missed as a fake by the AfD press team, Weidel’s lawyer no longer rejects the author­ship of the email.

    Wei­del, who rep­re­sents the AfD’s eco­nom­i­cal­ly lib­er­al wing and lives in a same-sex rela­tion­ship with a Sri Lankan-born part­ner in Switzer­land, was also accused last week by week­ly Die Zeit of pay­ing a Syr­i­an refugee under the table to work as a house­keep­er. Wei­del, whose par­ty wants to seal EU bor­ders and set up hold­ing camps for asy­lum seek­ers abroad, has reject­ed the accu­sa­tion.

    ———-

    “Ger­many’s rightwing AfD par­ty could lead oppo­si­tion after elec­tion” by Philip Olter­mann; The Guardian; 09/17/2017

    A leaked email writ­ten by AfD’s co-leader, Alice Wei­del, mean­while, echoed the rhetoric of the rightwing extrem­ist Reichs­bürg­er move­ment, describ­ing the cur­rent gov­ern­ment as “pigs” who are “noth­ing oth­er than mar­i­onettes of the vic­to­ri­ous pow­ers of the sec­ond world war, whose task it is to keep down the Ger­man peo­ple”. Ini­tial­ly dis­missed as a fake by the AfD press team, Weidel’s lawyer no longer rejects the author­ship of the email.”

    And the par­ty led by some­one who views the Ger­man gov­ern­ment as mar­i­onettes of the vic­to­ri­ous pow­ers of the sec­ond world war is poised to become the lead­ing oppo­si­tion par­ty in Ger­many.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 18, 2017, 1:00 pm
  8. Inter­est­ing, although not unpre­dictable:
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/20/meddling-germany-election-not-russia-but-u-s-right-wing/676142001/

    Less than a week before Sun­day’s vote that is like­ly to hand Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel a fourth term, evi­dence of antic­i­pat­ed Russ­ian med­dling has yet to mate­ri­al­ize, but U.S. right-wing groups have inter­fered, accord­ing to Ger­man researchers.

    Posted by Uncle Grody | September 20, 2017, 8:11 am
  9. Fol­low­ing the AfD’s cap­ture of 13 per­cent of the vote in Ger­many’s fed­er­al elec­tions on Sun­day (enough to get 93 seats in the Bun­destag), Alexan­der Gauland, the AfD leader who recent­ly pro­voked out­rage after sug­gest­ing that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past and instead should take pride in what Ger­man sol­diers achieved dur­ing World War One and Two, appar­ent­ly decid­ed to troll Ger­many’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty: Ger­many’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty has noth­ing to fear, Gauland troll­ish­ly reas­sured the pub­lic the day after the AfD’s shock show­ing. It’s the kind of cru­el trolling one should expect from the far-right, both in terms of con­tent and mes­sen­ger.

    It was also the kind of trolling made more cru­el by the fact that AfD leader Frauke Petry left the AfD just hours after the elec­tion over its extrem­ism. Yep, the AfD is too extreme for one of its main pub­lic lead­ers, Frauke Petry (who is pret­ty damn extreme), after the par­ty refused to heed her calls for the AfD to reject the extrem­ist voic­es that cre­at­ed one “OMG, these guys are actu­al Nazis” con­tro­ver­sy after anoth­er for the par­ty in recent months. And right after the vote, when the AfD did far bet­ter than ini­tial­ly expect­ed, Petry announced that she would not be join­ing par­lia­ment as an AfD mem­ber. This was a day before Alexan­der “let’s be proud of the Nazis’ accom­plish­ments” Gauland told Ger­many’s Jews there was noth­ing to wor­ry about:

    Quartz

    The leader of Germany’s far-right par­ty quit hours after its elec­tion success—because it’s too rad­i­cal

    Jill Pet­zinger
    Sep­tem­ber 25, 2017

    Just hours after the hard-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) won its first-ever round of seats in the Ger­man par­lia­ment, its co-leader Frauke Petry told a press con­fer­ence in Berlin—with her new­ly-elect­ed col­leagues next to her—that she had decid­ed not to go into par­lia­ment with the par­ty. Then she got up and stormed out of the press con­fer­ence.

    “I think we should be open today that there is a dis­agree­ment over con­tent in the AfD and I think we shouldn’t hush this up,” said Petry.

    She said she want­ed to posi­tion her­self as an inde­pen­dent politi­cian and have a “con­ser­v­a­tive new start” but didn’t say whether she was found­ing a new par­ty. Lat­er, on her Face­book, she slammed the par­ty for the “shrill and far-out state­ments of sin­gle mem­bers” which dom­i­nate the view the pub­lic has of them.

    This doesn’t mean Petry is a mod­er­ate, she’s far from it. A mem­ber of the AfD since 2013, it was she who put the for­mer euroscep­tic par­ty on its new anti-immi­gra­tion plat­form dur­ing the height of the refugee cri­sis in 2015. She’s made numer­ous con­tro­ver­sial state­ments about refugees too, includ­ing that “Islam does not belong in Ger­many,” and say­ing that Ger­man bor­der police should be allowed to fire on migrants along the Aus­tria-Ger­man bor­der.

    Petry, who for some has been accept­able face of xeno­pho­bia, has been crit­i­cal of rad­i­cal state­ments made by oth­ers in the par­ty as she believed it made it less attrac­tive to mod­er­ate vot­ers as well as for poten­tial coali­tion part­ners when it would enter the Bun­destag for the first time.

    In a par­ty rid­dled with infight­ing, she was slammed by some mem­bers for not sup­port­ing com­ments made by an AfD leader in Thuringia state, who said Berlin’s holo­caust memo­r­i­al made the coun­try “laugh­able.” She also pub­licly crit­i­cized Gauland for say­ing Ger­many should be proud of what Ger­man sol­diers had achieved in two world wars.

    What now AfD?

    It is unlike­ly that Petry’s sud­den depar­ture will mean much for the par­ty, which many expect will strug­gle not only as a pari­ah in par­lia­ment, but also because it real­ly only has one core pol­i­cy issue—being against immi­gra­tion.

    “It is part of a pow­er strug­gle, in which she may hope that her steps will cre­ate more fric­tion in the par­ty,” Josef Jan­ning of the Euro­pean Coun­cil of For­eign Rela­tions told Quartz. “She may also hope to split the fac­tion and pull over some oth­er deputies.”

    ...

    While the now-93 new AfD mem­bers of par­lia­ment can raise a stink in oppo­si­tion, some polit­i­cal experts believe they won’t real­ly make much dif­fer­ence in Ger­man pol­i­tics. “No one will form a coali­tion with them. They’ll be exclud­ed. Their motions will be shot down,” said Oskar Nie­der­may­er, a pol­i­tics pro­fes­sor at the Free Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin. “If they put for­ward rea­son­able motions that oth­er par­ties might agree with, they will be vot­ed down, and the oth­er par­ties will put for­ward slight­ly mod­i­fied motions.”

    No change in tone

    Alexan­der Gauland stuck to his inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric at the party’s first post-elec­tion press con­fer­ence on Mon­day morn­ing. “One mil­lion peo­ple, for­eign­ers, being brought into this coun­try are tak­ing away a piece of this coun­try and we as AfD don’t want that,” Gauland said. “We don’t want to lose Ger­many to an inva­sion of for­eign­ers from a dif­fer­ent cul­ture.”

    It intends, Gauland said last night, to “hunt” Merkel, and “take back our coun­try and our peo­ple.”

    That xeno­pho­bic mes­sage res­onat­ed with 13% of those who vot­ed yes­ter­day: An ARD/ Infrat­est Dimap poll on why Ger­mans vot­ed for the AfD found that near­ly 70% of them were con­cerned about the fight against ter­ror­ism, and 60% were wor­ried about both crime and the influx of refugees.

    The AfD’s nation­al­is­tic mes­sage pro­pelled it to big wins in some for­mer East­ern Ger­man states—it was the biggest par­ty in Sax­ony. In for­mer GDR states, the AfD is in sec­ond place over­all, behind Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats.
    ———–

    “The leader of Germany’s far-right par­ty quit hours after its elec­tion success—because it’s too rad­i­cal” by Jill Pet­zinger;
    Quartz; 09/25/2017

    “Petry, who for some has been accept­able face of xeno­pho­bia, has been crit­i­cal of rad­i­cal state­ments made by oth­ers in the par­ty as she believed it made it less attrac­tive to mod­er­ate vot­ers as well as for poten­tial coali­tion part­ners when it would enter the Bun­destag for the first time.”

    Too extreme for its for­mer extrem­ist leader. That’s the lat­est twist to the AfDs rise. It’s also worth not­ing that the seat in the Bun­destag that Petry is giv­ing up is in Sax­ony where the AfD won the vote with 27 per­cent.

    But it’s also worth not­ing that Petry had been falling out with the rest of her par­ty for much of this year so this res­ig­na­tion is to be expect­ed to a large extent: She was hint­ing at resign­ing at the end March after the AfD dipped in the polls. Then she stepped aside as the AfD’s top can­di­date a few weeks lat­er after express­ing frus­tra­tion with a lack of coher­ent strat­e­gy and the par­ty’s fur­ther lurch­ing to the right. Alex Gauland got that slot instead. Petry sur­vived an coup attempt to kick her off the bal­lot in Sax­ony in July by AfD mem­bers accus­ing her of split­ting par­ty ranks (At the same con­fer­ence, the AfD’s leader in the east­ern Ger­man state of Thuringia, Björn Höcke, called for an end to Ger­many’s nation­al Holo­caust memo­r­i­al and the coun­try’s devo­tion to teach­ing its cit­i­zens about Nazi geno­cide). And to add insult to injury, back in August the Sax­ony branch of the AfD did­n’t even offi­cial­ly com­plain when Petry’s immu­ni­ty was lift­ed over charges she lied under oath about the AfD’s cam­paign financ­ing.

    So as we can see, the AfD grew too extrem­ist for Frauke Petry. The par­ty she used to lead ignored her warn­ings about turn­ing off mod­er­ate vot­ers and get­ting too extrem­ist, it side­lined her, and then the AfD exceed­ed expec­ta­tions with 13 per­cent of the in the final vote and win­ning Sax­ony out­right with 27 per­cent. It’s a rather wor­ri­some out­come.

    But don’t wor­ry. Alexan­der “Be proud of the Nazis accom­plish­ments” Gauland says there’s noth­ing to wor­ry about.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 25, 2017, 9:15 pm
  10. Kotle­ba is head of a Slo­va­kian Nazi Par­ty that is cam­paign­ing by tap­ping into the pub­lic anger. Although, not stat­ed in this sto­ry, the anger is fueled by right wing media out­lets spurring the anger with fas­cist pro­pa­gan­da. The best quote from the arti­cle is:

    “The par­ties like that are not look­ing for solu­tions, it’s all about protests,” Chme­lar said. “You can see it glob­al­ly. It’s the same with Don­ald Trump, it’s the same with (Marine) Le Pen in France. What’s impor­tant is to be against the sys­tem. They’re all rid­ing on a wave of pub­lic dis­sat­is­fac­tion that has been grow­ing.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/slovakia-far-right-peoples-party-embraces-nazi-past/

    AP Novem­ber 18, 2016, 9:52 AM
    Rise of proud­ly-neo-Nazi par­ty unnerves a Euro­pean nation

    The leader of the right wing LS-Nase Sloven­sko (Our Slo­va­kia) par­ty Mar­i­an Kotle­ba takes the oath of office on the Slo­vak Con­sti­tu­tion on March 23, 2016 in Bratisla­va dur­ing the first ses­sion of the par­lia­ment since the March 5 elec­tions.
    l
    BRATISLAVA, Slo­va­kia — The wave of far-right par­ties across Europe has been gath­er­ing steam from Greece to France, Aus­tria and Ger­many. While most of the continent’s extreme forces have tak­en pains to steer clear of Nazi imagery, Slovakia’s answer to the trend cel­e­brates it.

    Kotle­ba — The People’s Par­ty Our Slo­va­kia — won almost 10 per­cent of the seats in Par­lia­ment in March. It open­ly admires the Nazi pup­pet state which the coun­try was dur­ing the World War II.

    Par­ty mem­bers use Nazi salutes, blame Roma for crime in deprived areas, con­sid­er NATO a ter­ror group and want the coun­try out of the alliance and the Euro­pean Union.

    Euro­pean nations that could fol­low U.S. swing to the right
    The par­ty takes its name from its leader, Mar­i­an Kotle­ba, pre­vi­ous­ly chair­man of the banned neo-Nazi Slo­vak Togeth­er­ness-Nation­al Par­ty, which orga­nized anti-Roma ral­lies and admired Nazi rule in Slo­va­kia.

    Thou­sands have signed a peti­tion demand­ing that the par­ty be banned. Ana­lysts say the party’s pop­u­lar­i­ty could grow even fur­ther.

    Its sim­ple slo­gan — “With courage against the sys­tem!” — attracts young peo­ple fed up with cor­rup­tion and the inabil­i­ty of main­stream par­ties to deal effec­tive­ly with the post-com­mu­nist country’s prob­lems.

    In con­trast to most of Europe’s far-right groups, “it’s tru­ly neo-Nazi, it advo­cates the lega­cy of the Nazi war state,” says Eduard Chme­lar, a Slo­vak polit­i­cal ana­lyst.

    Miroslav Mares, an expert on extrem­ism from the Masaryk Uni­ver­si­ty in the Czech city of Brno, said the par­ty belongs to the “hard core of right-wing extrem­ism” in Europe. He said it has only some fea­tures sim­i­lar to Greece’s Gold­en Dawn par­ty and to Hungary’s Job­bik at its begin­ning.

    What they have in com­mon is tar­get­ing the main­stream pol­i­tics.

    “The par­ties like that are not look­ing for solu­tions, it’s all about protests,” Chme­lar said. “You can see it glob­al­ly. It’s the same with Don­ald Trump, it’s the same with (Marine) Le Pen in France. What’s impor­tant is to be against the sys­tem. They’re all rid­ing on a wave of pub­lic dis­sat­is­fac­tion that has been grow­ing.”

    These par­ties “com­mu­ni­cate and coop­er­ate with each oth­er, and that dra­mat­i­cal­ly changes the sit­u­a­tion in Europe, and that’s dan­ger­ous,” Chme­lar said. “So far, there’s no recipe to stop them.”

    Kotleba’s new par­ty made news by launch­ing patrols on trains in April in a reac­tion to a rob­bery blamed on a mem­ber of the Roma minor­i­ty. Par­lia­ment banned such activ­i­ties in Octo­ber.

    The par­ty has pro­posed leg­is­la­tion to label non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions that receive fund­ing from abroad as for­eign agents, and is try­ing to get the 350,000 sig­na­tures need­ed to force nation­wide ref­er­en­dums on the country’s mem­ber­ship in NATO and the Euro­pean Union.

    “Among our major goals is above all a cre­ation of an inde­pen­dent and self-suf­fi­cient Slo­va­kia, that is Slo­va­kia which has an autonomous for­eign pol­i­cy that is not dic­tat­ed by any for­eign struc­ture, such as the Euro­pean Union,” Milan Uhrik, a deputy chair­man of the par­ty, told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in a rare inter­view. Kotle­ba refus­es to talk to for­eign media, The AP was told.

    Speak­ing in the Par­lia­ment build­ing, Uhrik said the EU has been turn­ing into a super state with Brus­sels in pow­er. “What’s the worst is that EU leg­is­la­tion is above Slo­vak law,” he said.

    NATO is anoth­er tar­get.

    “It’s impor­tant for Slo­va­kia to leave NATO because we con­sid­er NATO a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. It doesn’t bring peace to the world, quite the con­trary,” Uhrik said.

    “NATO is in fact a mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion of the Unit­ed States and we are mil­i­tar­i­ly sub­or­di­nat­ed to the Unit­ed States.”

    A cel­e­bra­tion of wartime Slo­va­kia remains par­tic­u­lar­ly con­tro­ver­sial, but Uhrik says it is not about fas­cism.

    “As nation­al­ists, we can­not reject the first inde­pen­dent Slo­vak state,” he argued. “We rec­og­nize the Slo­vak (war) state because it was the first Slo­vak state, not because it was a fas­cist state.”

    On Oct. 13, par­ty mem­bers cel­e­brat­ed the 129th anniver­sary of the birth of Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest and politi­cian who was Slovakia’s war pres­i­dent. Dur­ing his rule, some 60,000 Slo­vak Jews were trans­port­ed to Nazi death camps. He was sen­tenced to death and hanged in 1947.

    Rights activists have sub­mit­ted a peti­tion with 20,000 sig­na­tures call­ing for the par­ty to be banned. Pros­e­cu­tors are review­ing that request.

    “Racism, xeno­pho­bia, anti-Semi­tism, Holo­caust denials and oth­er such things have no place in democ­ra­cy,” said Peter Weisen­bach­er from Bratislava’s Human Rights Insti­tute.

    Kotle­ba is not a new­com­er on Slovakia’s polit­i­cal scene.

    In 2013, he was elect­ed the head of a region­al gov­ern­ment, cam­paign­ing on a strong anti-Roma tick­et. He promised to have a recipe to solve prob­lems with the embat­tled minor­i­ty, call­ing its mem­bers “Gyp­sy par­a­sites.”

    He defeat­ed a can­di­date of the rul­ing left­ist Smer-Social Democ­ra­cy par­ty in a runoff vote despite that party’s chair­man, Prime Min­is­ter Robert Fico, claim­ing that “a bag of pota­toes” would beat Kotle­ba.

    “It was a shock for me when (Kotle­ba) won the region­al elec­tion,” said Ingrid Koso­va, a Roma activist. “I remem­ber peo­ple were call­ing me every day say­ing that they were ridiculed on the streets, they were not allowed to board bus­es, they were real­ly afraid. Lat­er on the sit­u­a­tion calmed down but until now they live with wor­ries and fears.”

    In a region hit by unem­ploy­ment around 15 per­cent, and over 25 per­cent in one coun­ty, Koso­va said Kotle­ba suc­ceed­ed in poor areas where the prob­lems with the Roma minor­i­ty are felt, and “which he mis­used to get to pow­er.”

    When the par­ty won seats in Par­lia­ment, “I was abroad in the Czech Repub­lic and I was con­sid­er­ing stay­ing there for good,” Koso­va said.

    Dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of the 70th anniver­sary of the Slo­vak Nation­al Upris­ing against the Nazi rule in 2014, with for­eign pres­i­dents and oth­er dig­ni­taries in the cen­tral city of Ban­s­ka Bystri­ca, the seat of Kotleba’s region, Kotle­ba was fly­ing a black flag from his office and unveiled ban­ners say­ing “Yan­kees go home!” and “Stop NATO!”

    The Upris­ing is con­sid­ered a defin­ing moment of the Slo­vak his­to­ry, and for most Slo­vaks a source of nation­al pride because they stood against the Nazi rule.

    Peter Gogo­la was may­or there at the time.

    “I can’t for­give him that,” Gogo­la said. “My grand­pa was forced to fight in the Hun­gar­i­an fas­cist army and died at Stal­in­grad. I can’t stand fas­cism.”

    Mar­tin Slosiarik, the head of Bratisla­va-based poll­ster Focus, said 70 per­cent of those who vot­ed for Kotle­ba are under 40. He said most of them vot­ed for him not because they would share his extrem­ist views but because he promised “to deal with the Roma and get rid of cor­rup­tion.”

    “They’ve learned how to work with the pub­lic opin­ion to cre­ate a pic­ture that they’re the only force ready to chal­lenge the cur­rent cor­rupt sys­tem,” Chme­lar said. He pre­dict­ed the par­ty could reach more than 10 per­cent of the pop­u­lar vote at the next elec­tion.

    Posted by Annonomous | January 5, 2018, 8:27 pm
  11. Well this should be inter­est­ing: the win­ners of Italy’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in March have had a hard time form­ing a coali­tion gov­ern­ment. So hard that Italy’s pres­i­dent was plan­ning on appoint­ing a tem­po­rary neu­tral gov­ern­ment and rehold­ing elec­tions lat­er this year. But it sounds like the top two par­ties in par­lia­ment might be on the verge of form­ing a gov­ern­ment.

    And while the poten­tial end to this kind of dead­lock might nor­mal­ly sound like rel­a­tive­ly good news for Italy, it becomes far less pos­i­tive when you learn which two par­ties are about to form Italy’s next gov­ern­ment: the ‘populist’-leaning, but still pro­to-fas­cist, 5‑Star Move­ment and the intense­ly xeno­pho­bic pro­to-fas­cist North­ern League (which now sim­ply goes by the “League”):

    Reuters

    Italy’s 5‑Star, League head for anti-sys­tem coali­tion after nine-week stale­mate

    Gavin Jones, Crispi­an Balmer
    May 9, 2018 / 7:30 AM

    Pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mattarel­la said he would hold off on plans to name a non-par­ti­san prime min­is­ter for 24 hours after the two par­ties told him they were hold­ing last-minute nego­ti­a­tions to try to clinch an elu­sive coali­tion deal.

    A cru­cial obsta­cle was removed late in the day when for­mer prime min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni, the League’s main ally, gave his green light to the talks, accept­ing a demand from 5‑Star that his Forza Italia par­ty take no part in the next gov­ern­ment.

    “It cer­tain­ly won’t be us who impos­es vetoes,” Berlus­coni said in a state­ment, adding that although he would not sup­port such a coali­tion in par­lia­ment, his part­ner­ship with the League would still con­tin­ue at a local lev­el.

    News that 5‑Star and the League were seek­ing a deal pushed the spread between Ital­ian bench­mark bond yields and the safer Ger­man equiv­a­lent to their widest lev­el in near­ly six weeks. Ital­ian shares were lit­tle changed.

    A March 4 vote end­ed in a hung par­lia­ment and repeat­ed efforts to end the impasse have failed. Frus­trat­ed by the stale­mate, Mattarel­la was set to nom­i­nate some­one from out­side the world of pol­i­tics to head a “neu­tral gov­ern­ment” and pre­pare the coun­try for ear­ly elec­tions, per­haps as soon as July.

    With the clock tick­ing, the lead­ers of 5‑Star and the League — the two largest groups in par­lia­ment — unex­pect­ed­ly met once more and indi­cat­ed they had made progress, but need­ed more time.

    “We are doing all we can,” said League leader Mat­teo Salvi­ni. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from both par­ties expressed opti­mism that the out­line of a pact would be in place by Thurs­day.

    5‑Star has repeat­ed­ly offered to form a gov­ern­ment with the League but on con­di­tion it broke free from Berlus­coni.

    Salvi­ni had refused to do this in the name of loy­al­ty to the cen­ter-right bloc, but he put grow­ing pres­sure on Berlus­coni to vol­un­tar­i­ly stand aside to allow him to forge ahead alone.

    5‑Star views the 81-year-old Berlus­coni, who has a con­vic­tion for tax fraud and is on tri­al for alleged­ly brib­ing wit­ness­es, as a sym­bol of polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion.

    ELECTION THREAT

    Loren­zo Codog­no, head of LC Macro Advi­sors and for­mer chief econ­o­mist at the Ital­ian trea­sury, warned that a 5‑Star and League gov­ern­ment would prob­a­bly trig­ger a mar­ket back­lash.

    “An anti-estab­lish­ment, anti-euro (though some­what watered down) and anti-aus­ter­i­ty gov­ern­ment would not bode well for Ital­ian finan­cial assets,” he said.

    Both par­ties want to rene­go­ti­ate the EU’s fis­cal rules to allow Italy to spend more. 5‑Star has rowed back on a pre­vi­ous pledge to hold a ref­er­en­dum on Italy’s mem­ber­ship of the euro zone, but the League still calls the euro a “flawed cur­ren­cy” and wants to exit it as soon as is polit­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble.

    5‑Star’s flag­ship pol­i­cy is uni­ver­sal income sup­port for the poor, while the League’s main cam­paign promise was a “flat tax” of 15 per­cent for indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies. Both poli­cies would be cost­ly for Italy’s strained pub­lic finances.

    A polit­i­cal source said Berlus­coni faced huge pres­sure from with­in his own par­ty to step back after polls sug­gest­ed sup­port for Forza Italia would crum­ble if there was an imme­di­ate re-vote.

    Even after Berlusconi’s retreat, gov­ern­ment talks between 5‑Star leader Lui­gi Di Maio and Salvi­ni will not be sim­ple.

    “We still need to talk about pro­grams, things to do, tax­es, labor, pen­sions, immi­gra­tion, school­ing,” Salvi­ni told reporters after meet­ing Di Maio.

    On Sun­day, the 31-year-old Di Maio with­drew his pre­vi­ous insis­tence that he should be prime min­is­ter, say­ing instead that he and Salvi­ni should pick a mutu­al­ly accept­able fig­ure.

    ...

    ———-

    “Italy’s 5‑Star, League head for anti-sys­tem coali­tion after nine-week stale­mate” by Gavin Jones, Crispi­an Balmer; Reuters; 05/09/2018

    “A March 4 vote end­ed in a hung par­lia­ment and repeat­ed efforts to end the impasse have failed. Frus­trat­ed by the stale­mate, Mattarel­la was set to nom­i­nate some­one from out­side the world of pol­i­tics to head a “neu­tral gov­ern­ment” and pre­pare the coun­try for ear­ly elec­tions, per­haps as soon as July.”

    A tem­po­rary “neu­tral gov­ern­ment” appeared to be what was in store for Italy due to the fact that the two largest groups in par­lia­ment — 5‑Star and the North­ern League — could­n’t come to an agree­ment on the terms of form­ing a new gov­ern­ment. It sounds like the inclu­sion of Sil­vio Belus­coni’s par­ty was the main stick­ing point. But then progress was unex­pect­ed­ly made, at least accord­ing to recent announce­ments:

    ...
    With the clock tick­ing, the lead­ers of 5‑Star and the League — the two largest groups in par­lia­ment — unex­pect­ed­ly met once more and indi­cat­ed they had made progress, but need­ed more time.

    “We are doing all we can,” said League leader Mat­teo Salvi­ni. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from both par­ties expressed opti­mism that the out­line of a pact would be in place by Thurs­day.

    5‑Star has repeat­ed­ly offered to form a gov­ern­ment with the League but on con­di­tion it broke free from Berlus­coni.

    Salvi­ni had refused to do this in the name of loy­al­ty to the cen­ter-right bloc, but he put grow­ing pres­sure on Berlus­coni to vol­un­tar­i­ly stand aside to allow him to forge ahead alone.

    5‑Star views the 81-year-old Berlus­coni, who has a con­vic­tion for tax fraud and is on tri­al for alleged­ly brib­ing wit­ness­es, as a sym­bol of polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion.
    ...

    So what should we expect if they do suc­ceed in form­ing a gov­ern­ment? Well, both par­ties want to rene­go­ti­ate the EU’s fis­cal rules, which would actu­al­ly be a great thing for the EU in gen­er­al if they suc­ceed­ed. And both par­ties have expressed inter­est in pulling Italy out of the euro­zone, which is unlike­ly to hap­pen but cer­tain­ly an under­stand­able sen­ti­ment giv­en the deep flaws in how the euro­zone is designed (a shared cur­ren­cy with­out a shar­ing of the bur­dens that come with shar­ing a cur­ren­cy and seem­ing­ly design to ben­e­fit the export-ori­ent­ed economies). And both par­ties have embrace the anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ments that have gripped Italy’s elec­torate, so we should prob­a­bly expect a num­ber of laws tar­get­ing immi­grants.

    But beyond that, it sounds like 5‑Star and the Norther League have deeply con­flict­ed pol­i­cy agen­das. Where 5‑Star wants uni­ver­sal income sup­port for the poor, the Norther League wants a flat tax:

    ...
    Loren­zo Codog­no, head of LC Macro Advi­sors and for­mer chief econ­o­mist at the Ital­ian trea­sury, warned that a 5‑Star and League gov­ern­ment would prob­a­bly trig­ger a mar­ket back­lash.

    “An anti-estab­lish­ment, anti-euro (though some­what watered down) and anti-aus­ter­i­ty gov­ern­ment would not bode well for Ital­ian finan­cial assets,” he said.

    Both par­ties want to rene­go­ti­ate the EU’s fis­cal rules to allow Italy to spend more. 5‑Star has rowed back on a pre­vi­ous pledge to hold a ref­er­en­dum on Italy’s mem­ber­ship of the euro zone, but the League still calls the euro a “flawed cur­ren­cy” and wants to exit it as soon as is polit­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble.

    5‑Star’s flag­ship pol­i­cy is uni­ver­sal income sup­port for the poor, while the League’s main cam­paign promise was a “flat tax” of 15 per­cent for indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies. Both poli­cies would be cost­ly for Italy’s strained pub­lic finances.

    A polit­i­cal source said Berlus­coni faced huge pres­sure from with­in his own par­ty to step back after polls sug­gest­ed sup­port for Forza Italia would crum­ble if there was an imme­di­ate re-vote.

    Even after Berlusconi’s retreat, gov­ern­ment talks between 5‑Star leader Lui­gi Di Maio and Salvi­ni will not be sim­ple.

    “We still need to talk about pro­grams, things to do, tax­es, labor, pen­sions, immi­gra­tion, school­ing,” Salvi­ni told reporters after meet­ing Di Maio.

    On Sun­day, the 31-year-old Di Maio with­drew his pre­vi­ous insis­tence that he should be prime min­is­ter, say­ing instead that he and Salvi­ni should pick a mutu­al­ly accept­able fig­ure.
    ...

    We’ll see if they do indeed suc­ceed in form­ing a gov­ern­ment over the next few days. But if they do, keep in mind that, of all the areas where 5 Star and the North­ern League agree (on the EU poli­cies, the euro­zone, and anti-immi­gra­tion), the anti-immi­grant poli­cies will prob­a­bly be the eas­i­est for them to imple­ment since that’s some­thing Italy can poten­tial­ly do on its own. In oth­er words, if they do form this gov­ern­ment, it’s going to be a dark time for Italy’s immi­grants. Or, rather, a dark­er time for Italy’s immi­grants.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 10, 2018, 1:58 pm

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