Contrary to popular belief, fascism was not eliminated in the Second World War; it was merely defeated and went underground only to rear its ugly head again, with great ferocity. Neo-Nazis are marching in ever-larger numbers not only across Europe but also North America. Even in Sweden, a supposed bastion of tolerance and fairness, the neo-Nazis masquerading under the label “Sweden Democrats,” won a large percentage of the vote in the September 9 general elections (17.6%).
The story is little different in the rest of Europe comprising some 550 million people. Even if we overlook the raw racism on display in Hungary and Poland — countries that emerged from the bowels of the erstwhile Soviet Union — the picture is hardly better elsewhere. Neo-Nazis euphemistically referred to as the “far-right” or “populist parties,” are garnering growing public support in elections. This is as true in Germany as it is in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Britain.
In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, the police arrested 15 neo-Nazis after they went on a rampage against “foreigners” on September 14. The German vigilantes had held a noisy rally attended by some 3,500 people — an alarming number — before they went on a rampage attacking and injuring several people. They attacked anyone that did not look German!
The story is little different in other European countries. Norway, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Britain all have political parties that extol fascism. What is truly troubling is that such racist views find resonance in the highest echelons of the land. While police and intelligence agencies are the principal culprits — they have selfish reasons to play up the “threat” from immigrants in order to garner larger state resources — there are hardcore racists among them as well. The other bunch of undesirables resides among the politicians.
It is politicians and their enabling media that set trends for the ignorant masses. We can point to many factors: the market crash of 2008 or the even earlier attacks of 9/11. Without going into great detail about these events, racism and xenophobia have always been part of the European and North American genes. In times of financial difficulties, immigrants or people that look different can easily be scapegoated.
The latest upsurge in violence and racism centres around people not wanting immigrants; however the real reasons for the economic crises afflicting the West have less to do with immigration than with the geostrategic objectives of the elite. It was neither the fault of the immigrants nor the downtrodden people in these societies that the market crashed in 2008. It was the direct result of Ponzi schemes such as derivatives by greedy speculators that were given free rein by politicians and banksters. Just as they became billionaires, they also lost billions in the crash. Instead of holding these hoodlums to account, ordinary people were made to pay the price.
Mass poverty followed unemployment. Governments shoveled hundreds of billions of dollars from the future earnings of taxpayers to shore up failing enterprises and banks. “They are too big to fail” was the official mantra until the crash occurred. No such handouts were given to ordinary people. Welfare for the rich, nothing for the poor has been the policy.
While people’s anger has been directed against “refugees,” lost in this mass hysteria is the fact that the West’s criminal wars are directly responsible for turning people into refugees. Why would people want to abandon their homes and towns unless there are compelling reasons? When their homes are destroyed, and their children and loved ones killed in wars with which they have nothing to do, they have to escape to safer places. Survival is a powerful human instinct; indeed of all living creatures.
Further, Western governments took in these refugees not because of any humanitarian considerations; most of these countries need young, able-bodied people to build their economies. Both Europe and North America face the crisis of a quickly aging population and with declining birth rates, they cannot replenish their populations.
True, newcomers would need help to acquire the language and other skills to become productive members of society but this goes on all the time in most societies. It is unconscionable to blame refugees for the plight of people that are victims of neoliberal policies.
Lest we forget, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s infamous “rivers of blood” speech that he delivered in Birmingham, England warning about non-white immigrants taking over “fair” Britain. Nothing of the sort has happened but Powell made overt racism respectable. Britain allowed non-white immigrants from colonies when its own male population was decimated in the Second World War. Further, after the war, many able-bodied men migrated to greener pastures: North America, Australia, New Zealand, and even parts of Africa, areas not directly affected by the war.
British industries would have collapsed had it not been for the hard work of non-white immigrants but do not expect gratitude from the racists, bigots, and neo-Nazis. These ignorant people can only be pitied!