Europe’s Far-Right is Attempting to Seize the anti-Austerity Banner

2011 was marked by mass anti-capitalist demonstrations across Europe, but the first month of 2012 is taking a turn to the far-right.

In Portugal some 1,500 people were marching against the austerity policies of the government when fascists attempted to subvert the march and ultimately attacked the marchers who chanted against fascism:

The number of fascists were small, at most estimated at two dozen, but the protests wouldn’t be happening if there wasn’t already a fanatically right-wing government in power with a commitment to austerity. However, backlash to austerity doesn’t always break in favor of the left. In Germany in the early 1930s, a center-right government imposed austerity only to be followed by the Nazis promising to dismantle austerity with the banner of racist nationalism and military aggression.

Today in Hungary, there were no small numbers in the right-wing demonstration to offer a measure of comfort. Media estimates put the crowds rallying behind an authoritarian & right-wing government at 100,000. Alarmingly, a number of the demonstrators were ethnic Hungarians from neighboring countries, showing Hungary’s authoritarian right-wing is mobilizing not just within Hungary’s borders, but among Hungarians outside the country, a longstanding issue of tension with Romania and Slovakia.

Back to the enormous rally, a fairly ominous banner reads: “Stand by us or you’ll be next”:

This banner can be taken two ways.  It could be directed domestically to opponents of the right-wing government who are being removed from media and judicial positions.  Or, it could be directed across Europe to other right-wing nationalist movements, challenging them to take on the right-wing caricature of a leftist political elite in Europe. It’s ominous either way.

It should all serve as a warning to the left in Europe. Take on the European Union and its neo-liberal infrastructure or risk the far-right dismantling the Europe Union and the Euro and replacing them with fascist political infrastructure.


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