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13 Nov 2018

Why we must all challenge the Resurgence of the Far Right and fascism

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16 Oct 2018
We are currently witnessing a chilling rise in far right and fascist forces on both sides of the Atlantic, and within this context, the release of a film (being show in Parliament this week) about the awful massacre at Utoya, in which 80 young activists from Labour’s sister party in Norway were murdered by the fascist Anders Breivik, is a particularly significant reminder of the importance of tackling the far-right.

It’s important to remember that Breivik took inspiration from the English Defence League and was emboldened by hate against Muslims and Migrants yet his targets were young social democrats who he saw as responsible for the modern, diverse Europe that we all inhabit. That is a Europe we should be proud of. 

In contrast to the far-right’s message of hate, the most effective way out of the economic crisis is working together.  Challenging hatred and division is essential to this.  Hate crimes in post EU referendum UK have increased along with a rise in anti-immigration rhetoric.  The growth of the violent Pro Tommy Robinson movement, the Ku Klux Klan and the electoral success of the likes of Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, whose party promotes anti-Semitism, illustrate a more emboldened far right than we have seen for generations.  The Conservatives have quite rightly been criticised by Jewish and Muslim groups for opposing measures to censure him in European Parliament.   

The arguments of the anti-migrant, Islamophobic far right are often being legitimised in sections of the media, and in politics across Europe we are increasingly seeing a mirror of the Trump effect in the US. Trump's notorious wall proposals and ban on Muslim countries are designed to energise a base that responds with reaction not reason.  This strategy reached new depths this year with migrant children being separated from their families and locked in cages.

The Government of the US and some governments across Europe have contributed to a hostile climate on migration, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and racism.

Racism is finding an insidious cutting edge in the treatment of migrants, refugees and Muslims, and at the same time communities who traditionally face racism are subsequently feeling the brunt of the resulting emboldened far right.  

We must also never forget the lessons of history when it comes to the far-right.

The horrors of the Holocaust which saw 6 million Jewish people murdered and their annihilation together with millions of others should act as a permanent reminder for why we must challenge the rise of the far right and fascism. The Nazis rose out of a climate of hatred and division which saw Jewish people targeted, attacked and blamed for the economic crisis of the time which of course was not of their making. 

We must be wary therefore, of allowing any minority or disadvantaged community to be targeted today for the fall in living standards, in attempts to divert the blame away from those who caused it in the first place. Far right and fascist forces will exploit such toxic politics to their advantage. 

We must also never forget what our tragically murdered colleague Jo Cox said “we are far more united and have far more in common than which divides us”.

The words ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ could not be more relevant than in the campaign against the far-right.  In this hostile climate the far right targets Jewish, Black, LGBT, disabled people and others. They increasingly target the organised labour movement.  It has never been more important to have a broad, strong and unified movement which opposes racism and fascism in all forms.  We must challenge every incidence of dog-whistle politics - because we know the dangers of the far right’s answers. 

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