'This is just the beginning'
In an interview he gave Haaretz newspaper, Steve Bannon, the architect of Trump’s electoral victory, said, “The left is in total meltdown. And they know why. Because this is just the beginning.” And in recent years an extreme right/fascist wave has indeed been rising with increased vigour in the central countries.
Fascism on the rise
The anger of the masses, suffocating in capitalism’s structural crisis, towards the ruling elites of established regimes is steadily increasing. Fascist parties are directing this anger and latent politicization of the masses towards Muslim refugees, the immigrant population and gradually also Jews, and preventing them from targeting capitalism. Thus, racism, nationalism, “identitism” (white Christian identity) and nativism, in short religious reactionism and fascism, is on the rise.
The USA is losing its hegemony and the economic, political or even cultural influence of the Western-centred world which supports it is declining. This decline is fostering a nostalgia for the past, insecurity over the future, a sense of impotence and the fear of loss of identity.
Meanwhile, with the Western block dispersing, the USA is acting out of a protective reflex without even refraining from targeting its closest allies. By way of reaction, Germany’s influence has begun to extend beyond the borders of Europe to reach the Far East, Latin America and even South Africa. China and Russia are stepping up their economic and political influence and military ventures in the international arena. A climate of imperialist redistribution is shaping up.
The economic crisis, declining hegemony and imperialist competition is fostering a suitable environment for the development of fascism in the central countries of the USA and Germany and in the EU periphery (Hungary, Italy, etc.).
Firstly, the marshalling of state resources in the economic crisis to support large capital and especially financial capital is corroding workers’ and the middle classes’ living standards and the productivity and quality of social services. Secondly, the economic crisis and wars that imperialist competition has created and, more indirectly, the global climate are giving rise to food crises and large population flows from African and Middle Eastern lands towards Western countries (relatively wealthy countries). When this wave of migrants and refugees meets up with the population whose living standards are lowering, there is an increased cultural (racist, religious) reaction against the incoming predominantly Muslim population.
In a study in the Electoral Studies journal encompassing 28 countries, 40 political parties and 266 regions (August 2018), the rise of far-right parties is related to such factors.
The dynamics of imperialist competition also play an important role. The financial, racist and homophobic support given so as to break up the EU alliance to fascist parties in EU countries by the US extreme right and the Trump administration on the one hand and Putin’s Russia on the other is nurturing the ascent of fascism.
The most important “fuel” in this process was until recently Islamophobia. Sections of the Zionist intelligentsia lent their support to this phobia. A comprehensive study published recently in Der Spiegel, stressing that anti-Semitism was once more on the rise in Germany, continued to point to Middle Eastern and Turkish immigrants. However, a Police Crime Statistics Report published in 2017 showed that 94% of anti-Semitic attacks were attributable to far-right militants.
On the other hand, as reported in the Jerusalem Post last week, alongside Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, at least in so far this is expressed with code words like “globalist”, continues unabated among the US evangelical right. Trump used the word “globalist” in a tweet attacking the Jewish Koch brothers, conservative and wealthy supporters of the party. Trump also accused a Jewish advisor who resigned of being a “globalist”. Bannon has used the same term for Trump’s Jewish son-in-law. J. Post recalls how writers of the far right attacked Jews, who have historically been associated with finance and entrepreneurship, using such notions as “cosmopolitan” and “globalist” in the sense of being stateless.
Finally, rounding off this picture is the LGBTphobia with an eye on stirring religious sensitivities which is beginning to unite fascist parties from Russia to the USA and Poland to Brazil.
Looking at these ascendant fascist movements, one cannot help compare the situation to a slow-motion screening of the film of a train wreck that took place in the 1930’s. With one difference in that there was a strong left movement in Europe at that time. This time that does not yet (come on, let us be optimistic) exist.
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