Thursday 2nd May 2024

Photo: Alisdare Hickson, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed

1 The far right continues to advance globally. Javier Milei, the new ‘libertarian’ President of Argentina, doesn’t just advocate hard-line neoliberal economics but is an apologist for the murderous military dictatorship that held power between 1976 and 1983. Another far-right leader, Narendra Modi, is running for re-election in India. Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s fascist prime minister, is trying to change the constitution and centralise power in her hands. Geert Wilders may have been blocked from becoming prime minister of the Netherlands, but his ‘Party for Freedom’ (PVV), came top in last November’s parliamentary elections, with nearly 24 per cent of the vote. The big fascist parties in Germany and France – respectively the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the National Rally (RN) – hope to gain comparably strong results in the European parliamentary elections and build on their successes in past on national and local elections.

2 Within mainstream right-wing parties, the likes of the British Tory Suella Braverman and Friedrich Merz of the German CDU who spout far-right rhetoric, are increasingly making the running. In Europe, the centre-right may be seeking increasingly to rely on far-right parliamentary votes. Meanwhile in the US presidential election, Donald Trump, thanks to his very strong Republican popular base, is running ahead of Joe Biden in most opinion polls.

3 The advance of the far right is a direct result of the failure of the mainstream neoliberal parties of the centre-right and centre-left. They reacted to the global financial crisis of 2007-9 by forcing ordinary working people to pay through austerity. For example, in Greece GDP per capita, $22,314 in 2023, is still well below its peak of $31,902 in 2008. Wages have been further hit by the inflationary surge caused by the pandemic and the Ukraine War. This has made it easy for the far right demagogically to denounce the ‘elites’ or the ‘caste’. They are also helped by the fact that, shamefully, they are often the only parties to criticise NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

4 The far right seek to displace the justified popular anger at the ways working people’s lives have got worse since the outbreak of the global financial crisis by targeting migrants and refugees, even though they are among the greatest victims of the multidimensional crisis in which the system is now caught up. It is estimated, for example, that the imperialist wars waged by the United States and its allies to maintain their domination of the Greater Middle East have displaced at least 38 million people. The genocidal Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to drive out the Palestinians of Gaza. If those displaced want to take refuge in Europe, they are pushed back and harassed. 600 refugees were drowned in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean near Greece, when their boat capsized during a pushback by the Greek coast guard.

5 The far right have been hugely strengthened by the way in which the mainstream governing parties have sought to appease them by tightening migration controls and attacking civil liberties through increased repression. Rishi Sunak’s failing Tory government in Britain desperately strives to ‘stop the boats’ crossing the Channel, while the European Parliament is voting through new anti-migrant laws, thus making the EU policy of ‘Fortress Europe’ even worse. Islamophobia started off as a way of justifying Western imperialism’s interventions in the Middle East but has been developed ‘from below’ by the far right. The vicious anti-Muslim racism they preach has been brought into the mainstream by the governing parties. The far right’s Islamophobia leads them strongly to support Israel, while they simultaneously play on antisemitic themes. Governments reinforce them by branding critics of Israel as antisemitic and targeting especially Muslims and anti-Zionist Jews campaigning against the genocide.

6 The far right and the broader racist offensive must be combated unrelentingly and on the largest possible scale. Since their greatest advances have taken place in elections, they must be challenged there too. But this does not mean supporting centre-left parties who have simultaneously pursued neoliberal policies and appeased the far right and their use of anti-migrant racism demagogically to challenge these policies. In forthcoming elections, for example to the European Parliament, we call for votes for slates or candidates who oppose austerity, racism, and war and build solidarity with the people of Palestine.

7 But much more important than this electoral arena is the struggle on the streets and in the workplaces. We work to mobilise mass opposition to organised fascists, seeking to unite with our fellow trade unionists, with political organisations of the left, and with community organisations to block fascist attacks and marches. We seek to build the broadest possible mass movements uniting all those who oppose racism and support solidarity with migrants and refugees.

8 The roots of racism and fascism lie deep in the capitalist system whose crisis is feeding the rise of the far right. As a tendency we work for the international socialist revolution required to rid the world of capitalism and all the evils it brings, and to achieve justice for all on the basis of real democracy from below. The Palestinian solidarity movement – represented by the inspiring student protests in the United States – points the way to the kind of anti-imperialist and anti-racist left we need to build.

The Coordination of the International Socialist Tendency          2 May 2024