After Years of “War on Terror” Paranoia, the Far Right Remains the Primary Threat to Europe
We still live in a time when the media, the police state, and vicious politicians wish to portray immigration from largely Muslim countries as the primary threat to Western civilization. It takes a determined effort of self-convincing or a hateful heart to subscribe to this fear.
There’s a great deal of ignorance involved in this hatred and perception of Europe’s Muslims as a population waiting for some convenient opportunity to overthrow Europe and establish undemocratic and Islamic states in its place. It isn’t just a matter of this perception being debunked, which polls show Muslims in Europe hold allegedly European values tighter than “indigenous” Europeans themselves. Rather, the problem is this anecdotal populism of the right, an anecdotal populism that sparks fear and hatred amongst Europeans unfamiliar with their Muslim neighbors and have their whole perception of Muslims shaped by a news media playing up the siege mentality of the “War on Terror.”
But from this suspicion and hatred of European Muslims, the far-right has successfully managed to create a smoke scream behind which they are striking at European democracy. Every threat they’ve suggested immigrants pose, they themselves pose. After years of attempting to portray themselves as the vanguards of democracy and free thought, the right readies itself as the guard of democracy turned assassin of democracy.
This assassination being carried out by the right-wing is only building. From the atrocities last year in Norway by a right-wing fanatic seething with hatred for multiculturalism, to the rise of anti-Roma paramilitaries in Hungary displacing the Roma minority with intimidating militia drills, the threat is already upon us. Marine le Pen of France has a chance to take her French nationalism and xenophobia to the second round of the presidential elections while fascists rally en masse in Athens and as a government in Hungary implements authoritarian right-wing policies in the name of purging communism. The right is the force in Europe combining both political violence with an electoral program designed to institutionalize xenophobia and authoritarianism.
The economic crisis presents the far-right with an opportunity we can’t count on them to ignore. With widespread suffering from European Union mandated austerity, the right is out to whip up frustration behind nationalist banners, nationalist banners to be wielded against the Europe Union, long seen by the right as a left-wing project rather than the neo-liberal project it is.
After years spent by mainstream politics debating new anti-terrorism measures, Burqa bans and whether to further limit immigration, the continent finds itself broken with the far-right eager to break it up further along national borders. Mainstream politics enabled this ascent of the right and it can’t be looked to to stop it. Instead, it’ll take the left moving beyond just opposing austerity legislation, a left creating a rival process instead of just revolting against the existing process of governance.