sabato 6 marzo 2010

Vote for Hope - combating the political right…

The political right in Europe is on the rise. In the Netherlands, the anti-Islamic and bitterly anti-EU Party for Freedom with its infamous leader Geert Wilders, grabbed 17% of the vote in the European Parliament election and catapulted itself into the position of the country’s second strongest party. Also in other countries - like in Great Britain, Denmark, Italy or Hungary - the political extreme right
made further gains in the European Parliament Elections.

Across Europe the far right is involved in the national parliaments, or even in the governments. In Russia, the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia founded and led by the neo-fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky sits comfortably in the Duma. In Austria, the block of the two far-right parties BZÖ and FPÖ together earned almost 30% of the votes in the last general elections 2008. In the last elections to the Serbian Parliament in 2008 the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party came in second with 29% of the votes. In Bulgaria the extreme-right party Attack has been represented in the Parliament since 2005, and following the recent elections for the European Parliament the party is represented there as well.

Unfortunately, stories like these exist from most parts of Europe as right wing movements are trying to infiltrate every part of society with the political arena as their ideal target for pushing forward their agenda. In the working group ‘Vote for HOPE – combating the political right’ participants discussed the ongoing rise of the extreme right, its agendas and strategies as well as strategies and best practices for combating this development. It was concluded, that the extreme right across Europe is pursuing its objectives primarily through four common agendas:

1) antiimmigration,
2) anti-Islam,
3) strengthening the nation state and
4) historical revisionism.

Any of the four can often come together in one common agenda, emphasising, especially one or more of the abovementioned, depending upon the national context.

Furthermore, a distinction was made between the sub-cultures of the far right movements, which exist in the shadows, and the far rights movements that seek to establish themselves on a parliamentary basis.
Again, the need for monitoring these developments was emphasised by the participants. An example of best practice was given, on the monitoring the extreme right in Poland, which had led to the publication of books (such as ‘The Brown Book’) and other materials. Furthermore, the diverse legal systems of Europe have encouraged the extreme right to cross borders, and thus Croatian right wing extremists have held rallies in Austria and nazis in Denmark are producing and distributing nazi materials to right wing
movements across entire northern Europe. Therefore, cross-country collaboration between civil society organisations is absolutely crucial in combating this movement that in many senses is already regionalised.

The far right is a complex unity of different organisations. Combating the movement and achieving sustainable changes can therefore only be made possible if a comprehensive strategy is pursued. The discussion of this strategy was primarily focused on issues of education and monitoring the movement, with special emphasis on the need for awareness of historical revisionism. It must not become possible for the far right to rewrite history and thereby hide the many crimes against humanity the movement has caused.

Source: UNITED Conference ‘UNITED WE CAN DO IT!: Civil Society Against Right Wing Extremism’ • 2-7 June 2009 in Sheffield, UK

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