Austrian elections - far-right threat

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lagatta
Austrian elections - far-right threat

We have a topic on the Italian referendum, but nothing about its northeastern neighbour Austria, where the far-right is a threat for the first time since ... well, the last time, whether Austrofascism or the Anchluss.

This Jewish-Viennese lady, an 89 year old pensioner, expresses her fears and recalls frightening childhood memories https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVR2QaMjVRs She is the only member of her immediate family to have survived deportation to the camps.

 

Issues Pages: 
6079_Smith_W

Hofer lost. Just broke.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38202669

At least RT didn't jump the gun and praise his victory, as they did back in the spring.

http://www.interpretermag.com/russia-today-has-its-dewey-defeats-truman-...

The election was a re-run of that contest back in the spring.

 

 

lagatta

Yes, check out iyraste's comment against me in the Italy thread. As if I was some kind of neoliberal Blairite type. Frankly...

I know that the left has to rebuild. But far-right xenophobic populism is VERY dangerous, whether in the mighty US or formerly fascist countries such as Italy and Austria. I've lived in Italy and know how much nostalgia for Mussolini remains.

swallow

Nice to see the Green candidate win - with an increased majority. 

All the centrist and "left-leaning" and "right-leaning" parties were knocked out in the first round - so much for having to vote for a right-winger to defeat the far right. It's like seeing Melanchon face off against Le Pen in the French elections....

swallow

[url=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/05/liberals-can-reclaim-patri... can reclaim patriotism, says Austrian president-elect's camp[/url]

An interesting case for anti-fascists outside Austria to learn from? 

NDPP

FM Kurz's Party  Leads in Austrian Parliamentary Election, Right Wing FPO Second (and vid)

https://on.rt.com/8puk

"Two anti-migrant parties are leading in the Austrian parliamentary election, with the Conservative People's Party (OVP), headed by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in first place according to preliminary results. The right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) is second. At just 31 years old, Kurz is set to become the world's youngest national leader."

NDPP

Embroiled Israeli Spin Doctor Rocks Austria With 'Anti-Semitic' Campaign Against Chancellor Candidate

https://www.haaretz.com/amp/world-news/europe/.premium-1.815885

"Ta Silberstein, who is linked to billionaire Beny Steinmetz and battling money-laundering allegations in Israel, allegedly used anti-Semitism in a bid to keep the chancellorship with the Social Democrats."

NDPP

Far Right Poised To Enter Government Following Austrian Election

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/16/aust-o16.html

"Sunday's election in Austria has produced a sharp shift to the right..."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Can someone explain what happened with the Austrin Greens on Sunday?  The official Greens-the same party whose candidate won the presidential election there only months ago-were wiped out, but a newly-formed grouping, the Pilz led by former Green leader Peter Pilz won eight seats.  There was obviously a deep split in the Green vote...but what caused it?

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Like with communists and fascists, there are deep divisions in the Green Party over ideological purity, and harsh personal criticism of leaders. We see this in the Canadian Green Party. It seems that divisions like these caused the split in the Austrian Green Party. Apparantly a Green MP Peter Pilz left the Party and took several members with him. Around the same time the whole youth wing was expelled. As a result the Green Party lost credibility with Austrian electorate.

NDPP

 

"Context is missing here: Center-left govts fueled a refugee crisis with their wars to set the stage for their demise."

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/920114492800892928

eg Canada in Libya

 

In Latest Victory For The Far Right, Neo-Fascists Gain in Austrian Election

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/17/pers-o17.html

"The ability of far-right parties to obtain a broader hearing for anti-immigrant and racist policies is the result of the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent within the political establishment. The far right is gaining strength by default, as the entire bourgeois political spectrum - including the organizations of the pseudo-left - lurches to the right."

 

Photo: Neo-Nazi Leader of Austria's Freedom Party with Israeli Likud Lawmaker and 'Temple activist' Yehuda Glick

https://twitter.com/AliAbunimah/status/919994702723735557

"EI: Austria's neo-nazis find friends in Israel."

Pondering

NDPP wrote:

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/17/pers-o17.html

"The ability of far-right parties to obtain a broader hearing for anti-immigrant and racist policies is the result of the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent within the political establishment. The far right is gaining strength by default, as the entire bourgeois political spectrum - including the organizations of the pseudo-left - lurches to the right."

Here is a larger clip from the same article:

It is not that the mass of workers support racist and fascistic policies. On the contrary, there are many signs of political radicalization to the left, a growth of anti-capitalist sentiment and a revival of class struggle. In the US, 13 million people, mainly youth and workers, voted last year in the Democratic primary elections for a candidate they believed to be a socialist, Bernie Sanders, only to see this long-time functionary for the Democrats throw his support to the candidate of Wall Street and the CIA, Hillary Clinton.

And in May, a majority of people between the ages of 18 and 35 polled by the Union of European Broadcasters said they would participate in a “large-scale uprising” against the status quo. Nine out of 10 young people in the survey said they agreed that “banks and money rule the world” and the same margin said the “gap between the rich and the poor” is widening.

I was pointing out in another thread that the energy of Occupy still exists it just isn't being tapped and that is not the fault of the mainstream media.

The electoral victories of the right wing are largely the result of the mass desertion of workers from the “labor” and social democratic parties that have for decades dissociated themselves from any opposition to capitalism and abandoned any orientation to the working class or concern with the issues working people confront. Instead, they have promoted the politics of racial and gender identity, which are used to enrich a thin, privileged elite among ethnic minorities and women, while the masses of workers of all races face unrelenting attacks on their living standards.

I am not a writer nor an activist so I can't be as eloquent as the above but this too is something I have tried to say but been shot down for. Here in Canada the focus is on gender and indigenous peoples and environmentalists etc. The general impression I get is that the left tries to collect people from all the isms and movements together to form a coalition. It doesn't work because they aren't united. They don't all believe in each other's causes and even if they do they are focused on their own cause. That was my issue with the Leap Manifesto starting off with indigenous rights. It's not that indigenous rights aren't important it's that it only addressed the concerns of less than 5% of the Canadian population. You don't win elections by telling 95% of the population that they are an afterthought. In any case there is no room for the concerns of indigenous peoples in a neoliberal system. Same goes for feminism and environmentalism.

The ability of far-right parties to obtain a broader hearing for anti-immigrant and racist policies is the result of the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent within the political establishment. The far right is gaining strength by default, as the entire bourgeois political spectrum—including the organizations of the pseudo-left—lurches furiously to the right.

Unrestrained immigration is great for the wealthy and crappy for the poor. It keeps wages down and workers powerless. People trying to get into social housing in Montreal are having years added to their wait times because of all the refugees coming in. They are ripe to be picked up by the far right.

The only way I can see for genuinely progressive people to fight back is to focus firepower on neoliberalism not as a system but on the methods and policies used to transfer wealth to the .oo1%. Some doctors are greedy but the upper middle class isn't the problem. They too are part of the 99% and they are used as a buffer to keep the spotlight off themselves. Same goes for corporations for that matter. They are used to take the fall for the people behind them. It wasn't me that did it, it was the corporation. Punish the corporation not me.

Rationing of resources and suppression of wages is in large part responsible for rising racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Philosophical arguments don't work when a refugee is the reason you can't get into social housing. It's all very well for people who don't need social housing to be generous on the topic of refugees because they aren't losing apartments to them.  People who can afford houses are upset about wealthy immigrants buying up the properties they want for themselves. The situation for people who need social housing is much more dire.

bekayne

What's not being mentioned is that both the Jorg Haider-splinter party and Frank Stronach's party didn't run this time. That's 10% of the electorate that voted for right-leaning parties up for grabs.

SeekingAPolitic...

Let me propose a theory on why the populist rigth and left are gaining ground.  After the 2008 economic beatings that many contries took, there is a view that usual polictics is a failure.  If your a party is of left, centre, or right and decide to back the status quo in the countries has been through the economic ringer then watch out your begging to lose.  

Frankly the reason the leftist and rightist have not destroyed current system is the status quo control the media and what largely gets out. Imagine if the media put the spotlight on poverty, instead showings the lives of the rich and famous.  We on the left we tougher job, because the rigth wants "save capitialism through a nationalist project".  On the left is much more difficult job because first you have got rid of captialism and bring in  a new system. The nationalist don't question capitialism rather they reform it rather to banish it.  

This a very simple model but I think brings some value to the debate.

SeekingAPolitic...

As for immigration I watched this interview when it orginally broadcast cbc.  The economist involved is careful with his wording.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/overcoming-barriers-1.4317749

They are talking about need for 450,000 rather than 300,000 immigrates we have now.  But the as go along things get less rosy and candid.  

-if your a new comer the wage gap 21% with the same education(univ)compared to someone born here.

-in the 1980 the wage gap was closed in the 10 years time.

-Today the wage gap exist for the whole life of the newcomer.

And then we should increase immigration by 50%, even if we are having a real hard time with 300,000.  Are we going to invest 50% more resources to new comer economic intergration.  Either we go all in and funding of immigration increases by a significant measure or face the political reaction to very unfunded system. 

Cody87

Pondering wrote:

I am not a writer nor an activist so I can't be as eloquent as the above but this too is something I have tried to say but been shot down for. Here in Canada the focus is on gender and indigenous peoples and environmentalists etc. The general impression I get is that the left tries to collect people from all the isms and movements together to form a coalition. It doesn't work because they aren't united. They don't all believe in each other's causes and even if they do they are focused on their own cause.

I agree and I would go even further: In many cases the various "ism" movements not only don't believe in each other's causes, they are ideologically at odds. The alt-right loves to poke fun at how cozy various movements are with a certain major religion that, in places where it is the dominant religion, is extremely oppressive against virtually all minority groups. But even beyond that, as just one non-religious example, some of the core beliefs of traditional feminism are at odds with the core advocacy of trans persons, and it seems that as one cause advances their beliefs they harm the other's. For example, feminist belief is that boys should be able to play with dolls and wear dresses and girls should be able to play with chess, or lego, or whatever it is that boys do that girls aren't "supposed" to be interested in, and that the general differences in play preferences are caused by societal influences given that young children are extremely perceptive about gender norms (as they are about everything else). Conversely, the transgender belief is that if a boy wants to play with dolls and wear dresses that is an indicator they may be a girl born into a boy's body and that if such preferences continue action may be required on the individual's part to correct the difference via HRT and surgery - These outlooks differ in both what causes the behaviour (respectively: society or biology) and who should conform the alleviate the tension (respectively: society or the individual).

Quote:
Rationing of resources and suppression of wages is in large part responsible for rising racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.

Racism is a cultural issue, it has almost nothing to do with economics. Take Brexit - everyone knows it was really just about immigration. Politicians and pundits danced around the topic and made economic arguments so people could pretend it wasn't about immigration, but of course we all know was. That is why everyone was so upset when Brexit succeeded - because it was obvious that racism won. Nobody assumes Brexit won because of a superior economic argument, because of course it didn't.

Racism is the cause of rising racism.

Sean in Ottawa

I would not say that racism is entirely a self-driving force. To view the world in racist terms is a constant among many people and many systems. It is difficult to escape and requires effort to contain. Privilege is provided and sometimes recognized and sometimes not. Perhaps it is like pilot light waiting for ignition. But what is the gasoline that in some times and places seems to be reduced and in others is poured on?

This gasoline seems to be a combination of things -- and I cannot presume to be able to list them all:

1) racists who want to increase it to their own personal ends

2) inequality creating scarcity for much of the population -- when a small group take most of the resources the remaining people fight over what is left. Racism is not caused by this but it is enflamed by it.

3) divisions in perceptions of economic class (some suggest that this is a cause of racism but I think it is not -- it is one fuel that fans it and not even the only one). Economic classism, however, is a system that is racist. You cannot separate racism from economic classism.

4) fear -- particularly fear of losing a privilege that is not earned. Where one has an advantage (delivered by racism) and that advantage is threatened -- either due to loss, inequality or economic change -- or due to an attempt at reducing racism, racism will be enflamed. We saw this with Trump voters: they tend to be white, have lower education and higher incomes than average -- signs of privilege. When this privilege is threatened they recognize their whiteness and demand to keep that privilege.

5) change -- any negative change on a population – pressure -- seems to create an increase in visible racism

6) Identity. Frequently racists say they are just proud of being what they are. I think this is not all excuse. Some of it is in fact a source of fuel for racism. Nationalism is not benign. It is not a long leap to be proud of one's country (or any association)  and then applying this pride (which has nothing to do with the person) to superficial visible differences of a person -- racism. Pride means thinking you are better than. Pride of group is applying this better than illogically because it is not earned. Any pride of group that is not personally earned, can be a fuel to racism. This is why I have come to reject nationalism, even what seems to be the less harmful aspects. I consider it a slippery slope. I am not proud to be Canadian because I see that as an accident of my birth. The only people who can be proud to be Canadian are those who made that happen – who came here. I believe that if you recognize pride of belonging as human rather than national, you will be less likely to make racist divisions. When you consider things logically, national identity is much more difficult to support than many realize and once you go there, getting to other divisions is not that difficult.

I am sure I could come up with more fuel.

We cannot consider the fuel as excuse but we ought to be each responsible for reducing that fuel as much as we can.

To blame racism on itself may be accurate insofar as roots but it is not a great mitigation strategy and we need that as well. We need not only to combat racism but also to clear away the fuel as much as we can, recognizing the difference between fuel and excuse.

All in my opinion.

 

Cody87

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

6) Identity. Frequently racists say they are just proud of being what they are. I think this is not all excuse. Some of it is in fact a source of fuel for racism. Nationalism is not benign. It is not a long leap to be proud of one's country (or any association)  and then applying this pride (which has nothing to do with the person) to superficial visible differences of a person -- racism. Pride means thinking you are better than. Pride of group is applying this better than illogically because it is not earned. Any pride of group that is not personally earned, can be a fuel to racism. This is why I have come to reject nationalism, even what seems to be the less harmful aspects. I consider it a slippery slope. I am not proud to be Canadian because I see that as an accident of my birth. The only people who can be proud to be Canadian are those who made that happen – who came here. I believe that if you recognize pride of belonging as human rather than national, you will be less likely to make racist divisions. When you consider things logically, national identity is much more difficult to support than many realize and once you go there, getting to other divisions is not that difficult.

I think you missed my meaning. But, for what it's worth, I think you're on to something here.

Mobo2000

 "I am not proud to be Canadian because I see that as an accident of my birth."

I have always felt this way, too.   I do feel fortunate to be a Canadian, because of our weath and standard of living, and political stability.   I've never in my life, personally, seen someone shooting a gun at someone else.   I've never heard a bomb go off.    That is quite the privilege.

Nationalism can of course be a liberating or positive thing in places or times where there are struggles for self -determination by oppressed minorities, but modern times have been dominated by the nationalism on steroids that is American Exceptionalism.

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mobo2000 wrote:

 "I am not proud to be Canadian because I see that as an accident of my birth."

I have always felt this way, too.   I do feel fortunate to be a Canadian, because of our weath and standard of living, and political stability.   I've never in my life, personally, seen someone shooting a gun at someone else.   I've never heard a bomb go off.    That is quite the privilege.

Nationalism can of course be a liberating or positive thing in places or times where there are struggles for self -determination by oppressed minorities, but modern times have been dominated by the nationalism on steroids that is American Exceptionalism.

 

 

Well put --

I would include all the other kinds of nationalism with concern. I am torn but the Us vs Them story never ends well.

BTW - It has been a very sad week in Somalia and many people in North America do not give a crap -- becuase these victims are considered over there, a "them" rather than fellow humans whose lives are not worth any less than our own. Identities exclude more than they include.

I admit I did not think this way years ago. It took a long time to get me to this point.

Pondering

Cody87 wrote:
Racism is a cultural issue, it has almost nothing to do with economics. Take Brexit - everyone knows it was really just about immigration. Politicians and pundits danced around the topic and made economic arguments so people could pretend it wasn't about immigration, but of course we all know was. That is why everyone was so upset when Brexit succeeded - because it was obvious that racism won. Nobody assumes Brexit won because of a superior economic argument, because of course it didn't.

Racism is the cause of rising racism.

Slavery was rooted in economics and the civil war was over economics but that wasn't where I was going. People are hurting economically. The obvious culprit is immigrants taking "our" jobs or any identifiable group like "the poor" to justify cutting social supports. The middle class has been under stress for decades so they too are looking for someone to blame because if there is someone to blame the situation can be reversed. They look at social housing full of refugees. The right encourages them to feel economically and culturally threatened. This provides a target to stop people from looking up where the actual culprits are. Are we looking for a post-racist world in which their will be an equal number of poor white disenfrancised people? Is that when we will say "problem solved"? Racism isn't caused by poverty it is caused by ignorance and powerful people for whom it serves a useful purpose. Divide and conquer is trite but true. If the 99% united, or even 80%, things would change fast because even within capitalism there are solutions. Brexit is not a result of racism. It is a result of the hollowing of the social net since Thatcher. The rise of racism and nationalism in Europe is a result of economic stresses. Even here in Canada many are saying take care of our own first. People don't realize that we caused the migrants because we are responsible for the turmoil they are fleeing. Many migrants, even those not fleeing war, would have much rather stayed home. They come here because trade deals have impoverished their home countries.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I do feel fortunate to be a Canadian, because of our weath and standard of living, and political stability.   I've never in my life, personally, seen someone shooting a gun at someone else.   I've never heard a bomb go off.    That is quite the privilege.

At the same time, much of what you're happy about is stuff we can, IMHO, be proud of.  You and me being born in Canada may be an accident, but our low rate of gun and bomb violence and our standard of living and our political stability aren't accidents.  It's not like when the settlers came to Canada they found vast forests of socialized medicine and streams filled with clean, pure public education.

And I'm not suggesting we should all go buy the biggest Canadian flag we can find.  But the reasons why things are so different on the other side of an imaginary line aren't random.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I do feel fortunate to be a Canadian, because of our weath and standard of living, and political stability.   I've never in my life, personally, seen someone shooting a gun at someone else.   I've never heard a bomb go off.    That is quite the privilege.

At the same time, much of what you're happy about is stuff we can, IMHO, be proud of.  You and me being born in Canada may be an accident, but our low rate of gun and bomb violence and our standard of living and our political stability aren't accidents.  It's not like when the settlers came to Canada they found vast forests of socialized medicine and streams filled with clean, pure public education.

And I'm not suggesting we should all go buy the biggest Canadian flag we can find.  But the reasons why things are so different on the other side of an imaginary line aren't random.

I appreciate these things but I am not responsible for them. I feel fortunate rather than pride.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I appreciate these things but I am not responsible for them.

No individual Canadian is responsible for them; we're all responsible for them.

We're not responsible for Canada having lots of fresh water, or softwood lumber.  But if we're not responsible for our health care system and our education system and our gun laws and our governments then who is?

And similarly, who's responsible for the very different (and some would say inferior) health care system and education system and gun laws and governments in that other country that's so close, and yet so far?

Aside:  when I was a kid, growing up in Sarnia, it fascinated me to look across the St. Clair river and know that I was looking at houses and buildings and roads in a different country, with different laws, different currency, different attitudes, a different accent, etc.  I had more in common with someone in Sudbury than with someone in Port Huron, and yet I could literally see Port Huron with the naked eye.