Call out: Alternatives to Right wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Friday, April 9th, 2010

At the last European Preparatory Assembly in Berlin in January the alleuropean mobilization committee for the ESF in Istanbul was created.
The committee is organizing together with the Czech  Social Forum  the conference in Prague 27./28. March: ” Alternatives to right extremism in times of social and ecological crisis “.

Moldau and the Charles bridge in Prague, view from the conference venue

Here is the call out:

There is an urgent need for a constructive program in all parts of Europe that can provide hope and solutions to the present social and ecological crisis. Such solutions can only become a reality through collective efforts”  from below( like the Alternative Climate Summit in Copenhagen with 50 000 participants and the demonstration of 100 000 people). We need cooperation across all borders to strengthen practical initiatives at both local, national and international level. Initiatives addressing both social, democratic and ecological concerns. Solutions that sees rural and urban life and professions as equally important in society and gives special emphasis public services and to direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry. A break with neoliberal politics is necessary. We need another society which is no longer based on the principle of „ profit „ but on the principle of solidarity.

What we have today are growing tendencies towards more authoritarian regimes in both Western and Eastern Europe. Instead of addressing the concerns raised by growing unemployment and social inequalities and environmental degradation these authoritarian regimes tries to solve the present problems by imposing more burdens on the majority of people while giving privileges to a few or by exporting the problems to other countries.

Under these circumstances we see how the right wing extremism in different versions on the rise in all parts of Europe. On the one hand, neo-Nazi movements are to be observed; on the other, these times also witness the spread of more electorally viable, and therefore perhaps more virulent, forces of so-called Haiderization, which tries to disguise the face of extremism under a mask of populist respectability. The results of the European Parliamentary elections (mainly in Hungary – the JOBBIK and Austria – the FPÖ and partly in the UK- the BNP) illustrate this claim well: the shift to the far right across almost all EU member states can be explained only very partially through global social and economic developments. We should not forget  the negative conseqences of the politics of the traditional left and many trade unions . More and more they adopted neoliberal, procapitalist positions and paved so the ground for far right demagogy when capitalism showed open  his crisis tendencies.  Right wing violence is growing in many countries in Europe, e.g. in central Moscow a lawyer and a human rights activists were murdered last year. In Sweden right wing extremist have killed first homosexuals than immigrants, than trade unionist and policemen since the 1980s. In Denmark the population are according to international studies the happiest in the world and at the same time they are very scared not only of Muslims but also of environmental activism during the Climate Summit in December last year. In Italy the military are ordered to march on the streets to give people the feeling of security while Romani settlements in the outskirts of Rome are erased. In Central Eastern Europe (CEE), hatred of the Roma is rampant and sometimes violent. In Hungary attacks against Roma population are increasing in the last two years. While the former serial killer group is behind the bars (nine attacks, six victims), in November 2009 a village was besieged by the militant right-wing group ‘Hungarian Guard’ (formed against the so-called ‘Gypsy criminality’). The common denominator of all right wing extremism in whole Europe lies in xenophobia, i.e. hate of  foreigners (i.e. the migrants, the minorities, like Roma and the Jews).

For the last two decades, extreme and populist right-wing parties have been highly successful in many European countries. In some countries, they were even able to come to power through coalition governments, such as in Austria or Italy, or, as in Denmark, to gain influence by supporting a minority government. These political trends have triggered debates about the reasons for the rise of the populist and extreme right.

When people start to perceive their daily lives as a competition there is no understanding or space given to diversity and intercultural dialogue anymore. The public discourse gradually becomes absorbed by the argumentation of xenophobic and extremist groups who consider equal rights for everybody as danger for the nation and its natives.

As a result social inequalities has been growing and whole sectors of society both urban and rural has become precarious. Even whole national economies, so far in the periphery of Europe have gone or are at the brink of going bankrupt while core sectors in Europe are wealthier than ever. Privatization, making consumerism more and more central in our society and the attacks on direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry have caused more power to corporations and ever growing environmental destruction. Together with these developments a new Berlin wall was erected along the borders of EU. A wall that also has been erected around a fragmented Palestine and along the Mexican-US border. This time to keep people out instead of keeping them inside but with a lot more dying along the wall than along the old division in Europe.

These main stream tendencies in our societies has fostered the growth of right wing extremism from explicit anti-semitism rigth wing extremist organizations to xenophobian anti-muslim an anti-Gypsy political parties.

We call for an All-European common response to meet this threat by both addressing organzied right wing extremsim as well as the causes by calling for social and ecological constructiev solutions.

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