Tuesday 3 January 2012

Will Fascism win out?

In all the hundreds of thoroughly depressing New Year views written in the media at the moment, there are frequent refrains to the trouble on the streets of Europe to come. One of the most frequently sited examples is that of Hungary.

Last year an extreme right-wing party managed to get 68% of the vote - it did this by promising a million jobs. Once in power it has made some dark constitutional changes and these have been picked up by the media and people everywhere. And this has included May writer and commentators comparing the ruling Hungarian Government to the new Nazi's etc.

Well this maybe, but their popularity has collapsed and their policies failed. There are protests everyday against the Government - from 68% in the election to under 20% today - they make the Lib Dems look successful.

Now, of course, with the EU project in danger thanks to the Euro we have already seen Germany and France impose new non-democratic Governments in Italy and Greece - this will only lead to future problems.

Nonetheless, when you next read someone writing that that Hungary is the new Nazi Germany and casually assuming that Europe is about to collapse into a new terror filled dark age - note that the author probably has as much grasp on the politics of small European countries as the man in the street - i.e. none.


Anonymous said...

Well even the BBC said they were center-right rather than far-right. And of course it bears repeating yet again that the Nazis were far-left nationalists rebranded as far-right by leftwing commentators and historians.

Anonymous said...

Err isn't call me Dave at one in the European Parliament with them?

andrew said...

hard to say if a fascist is left or right wing.

to me the leader takes any part of any worldview that fits with his (usually a he) prejudices.

hitler/mussolini got into power because a lot of people - as well as the whole middle class- were reduced to penury and in many cases went hungry.

there were french and english fascists but they never got much traction (apologies to the descendants of any veteran of the battle of cable st). possibly because neither country had such problems.

when your next door neibhour is swapping her wedding ring for a sack of potatoes you need to be concerned about democracy being in trouble- but if it gets to that i think it might not be at the top of your list.

Anonymous said...

"Last year an extreme right-wing party managed to get 68% of the vote "

Yea, that nasty democracy. We just gotta stamp it out man.

Andrew: "hard to say if a fascist is left or right wing."

Quite so.

From an individualist (Libertarian) point of view, both 'far right' and 'far left' are pretty much identical. Both hate individual liberty and free speech.

Budgie said...

I don't know whether the eurozone crisis will encourage extremists, but it has certainly not helped the UK with that fool Cameron.

You know Cameron, the fool who is happy to be painted as a eurosceptic with a non-veto of a non-treaty (esoteric I know), whilst dishing out £50 billion of money we haven't got, to prop up the eurozone via the IMF and directly to Eire; all the while declaiming the euro is in our interests.

The euro could have been killed off, to everyone's satisfaction apart from a few EU oligarchs, but instead the UK, the IMF and the USA have propped it up. And that folks is why the euro won't collapse but will inflict yet more misery and mayhem and political extremism.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a misunderstanding here of what the terms "left-wing" and "right-wing" actually mean. Left-wing refers to the days of the French parliament when members of the left side of the house supported the poor whilst members on the right side of the house supported the aristocracy.

Hitler was a Nazi (abbreviation of National SOCIALIST) having previously been a member of the Communist Party (not happy there, presumably because the German communist party was run by Jews at that time). The Nazis appealled to working class Germans. They were not supported by the rich but tolerated by them in preference to the communists. Hitler was focussed on providing better conditions for the working class - holiday camps, cheap cars etc. The Nazis became considered "far-right" due to their supposed opposition to Communism although often espousing the same views and forming alliances with Communists. The Nazis were also closely connected to Swedish socialists. The reality is that the Nazis were far-left, but not quite as far-left as the Communists, and with nationalism and racism thrown in.

Facism is not the same as Nazism. Fascism is considered to be anti-left AND anti-right. Its guiding principle is to bind an entire nation into one classless unit usually by military force and an appeal to patriotism. It is a favourite of military juntas everywhere.

Please read some basic politics before commenting.

Phil said...

@Anon. The thing about fascism is that everyone knows it when they see it, but no-one can agree on exactly what it is.

Personally, I regard fascism as being the extreme end of the authoritarian axis of politics, where left/right distinctions become pretty much irrelevant. As such, fascism can arise from both the left or the right but in its full flower pushes both out in an orgy of nationalistic madness.

Of course you can carefully define one end or the other of the left/right axis so as to eliminate the potentially fascist elements, but personally I think that's dishonest: If we fail to recognise the potential for fascism to rise up in our own political groupings, then we risk turning round & discovering that it has happened to us unawares...

Phil said...

NB. "The Anatomy of Fascism" is a good read on the topic.

Anonymous said...

There was and is no left and right wings. The term was made up by the British, (MI6), in order to create devisions between socialist groups in German/France and Russia.
All were were anti-democratic.
Therefore anti British, American and Commonwealth.
Check for youselves.
Ask Max Mosley or the Milibands they will tell you all about it.

Phil said...

Doesn't really matter what you call them: if you go out and ask people a pile of questions about their politics when you do the SVD you'll find they fall predominantly along one major axis (which looks an awful lot like the traditional left/right one) and one minor axis (roughly liberty vs authoritarianism).