Monday, 22 October 2007

Rise and fall of the European far right

As Latin America has largely taken a turn to the left recently, Europe's right-wing has been on the rise, fueled in part by xenophobia and fear of the "Islomofascism" — a politically-charged, misleading, and ambiguous term which I personally avoid — descending upon their continent.

Good and bad political news came out of Europe over the past few days. The good is that Poland's far-right, nationalist Kaczynski brothers were defeated in the Polish polls by the center-right Civic Platform party. These rightists exploited fears of the EU among other things.

Meanwhile, the racist (xenophobic at the least), far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) won a plurality in a parliamentary election. Running on an anti-foreigner platform...

the populist campaign was dominated by the single issue of immigration.

His party's election posters featured three white sheep standing on a red and white Swiss national flag kicking a black sheep out of the country. Alongside ran the slogan "More Security!"

How could these maniacs be in control of one-third of Switzerland's federal legislature? Still wondering whether they're anti-everyone-but-white-native-Swiss-people?
The party also wants to enforce a ban on the building of minarets.

Interestingly enough, over one in five Swiss people are foreigners, making this electoral victory even more sad.


Anonymous said...

Lets see, I thought I just read something about intelligent thought and "clear.." something or other and pleasantly thought I was going to read something clear and intelligent, and less than a minunte later, I usual....lied to. For the author was not clear, rational, or intelligent, unless we are talking about thoes terms the way they would be attributed to Hitler or Stalin, or Mao... So now the Swiss are racist manaics because they woke up one day and found numbers of people who have refused to as-sim-u-late into their culture, treat them with common deciency and respect their culture......hummm. Your words were a waste of my time to read, and writing this pushback is a waste of my time, I won't bother spelling correctly nor correct my inprecise wording...just so you can continue to tink u smarter dan everbody else. Good day angry loser, do us all a favor and dont vote for Klinton with a bush.

clearthought said...

First of all, I can barely understand your comment.

Second of all, I did not call the Swiss people "racist mainacs", I called ONE particular political party which is obviously racist that. I have great respect for the Swiss and their system of government. If you had been paying attention at all you would know that.

And somehow you found a way to connect me to the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Clever.

When you're willing to present a clear argument, and actually point out my flaws instead of attempting to turn my arguments into straw men for you just to topple over, please do come back so we can discuss issues like the rise of the Swiss far-right. Even until then I am open enough (imagine that, an "angry loser" being open to something!) to be part of the free and open debate I welcome on this blog.

Good day, anonymous.

cwilcox said...

Ya have to love the bravado of the anonymous commentors. I didn't expect to see your comments so taken out of context but then that seems to be the M.O. these days. I don't know, if you ask me a poster that shows "three white sheep standing on a red and white Swiss national flag kicking a black sheep out of the country" seems pretty racist to me.
People tire of the politics of fear. Witness the 2006 election here and I can't wait for 08! Here in Iowa Mitt Romney is running anti-Muslim ads in compensation for his being "somewhat other than mainstream Christian" The entire ad is military bravado about how he will help protect God fearing Americans from having to fear the Islamofacists. It is really sick.

Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am not the same anonymous.

Just a few observations here... firstly there is a well known expression about 'black sheep' of the family. This is not a racial slur but a reference to someone who doesn't fit in - I believe it is likely to be an older expression than many people would realise. Perhaps the imagery of the SVP can be construed racially - but it is not explicit in their poster. How else should one have represented someone who refuses to fit in with society? I fail to accept that it is in itself racist. Has the author clearthought been to Switzerland? Has the author reviewed in detail the manifesto of the SVP party or is he relying on the interpretation of the mainstream media?

NurseCathy said...

Sadly, I find myself not agreeing with, but certainly understanding, the Swiss election results. Muslims are immigrating to Europe in large numbers. And in spite of my determined Christian love for each human being on earth, I am frightened.

The Swiss don't want more minarets built. Of course, you can have a mosque without a minaret, but that's another matter. Often I have driven past a large mosque in Dallas, Texas. It worries me. What is being taught in that mosque and the school attached to it? It has been well-documented that some Muslim schools here in the U.S. teach hatred and violence toward non-Muslims. Not only is violence to infidels allowed, it is encouraged.

I also wonder: If living under Islamic governance is best, why are so many Muslims moving to non-Islamic governed countries? Why wouldn't they stay where Sharia law is practiced?

So there is the sad, illogical truth. In my heart of hearts, I don't want any more of them to come here, either. This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and traditions. We have survived and prospered because of it. I want it to stay that way.

Ray said...

Is it too optimistic to believe that Islamic communities and "Western society" can live together peacefully? Or should we accept that we will destroy each other just to prove whose ideology is more "right"? Or should we just stick our separate corners of the globe and never cross paths again?

Intolerant attitudes from both the middle east and western countries are simply symptomatic of globalisation and the post 9-11 political climate.

clearthought said...

Wow, the debate has grown.

"This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and traditions."
I hardly think freedom and liberty are specific to the teachings of Christianity; indeed I disagree with those who say America was founded as a Judeo-Christian state.

And don't you think alienating and marginalizing Muslims will make extremism worse? It will drive out the moderates! In fact, it is one of the reasons Islam has so many radicals right now. While I respect your opinion nursecathy, Islamophobia isn't the answer; reasoning and understanding is. In addition, there is a large amount of extremism in Judaism (e.g. the radical Zionists), Christianity (e.g. fundamentalists), and Islam (e.g. the radicals we see advocating jihad). Radicalism is a sad byproduct of these religions.

I don't want to live in a country that follows one specific mindset of faith. I want to live where I am free to express my opinions, and where I am not likely to be blown up when I'm walking around downtown.

Even though I am not religious per se, I respect the right of religious people to believe what they want to believe. That means I believe that the government has NO BUSINESS whatsoever in banning things like minarets, just as it should not ban stars of David on synagogues or large crosses on the top of churches for religious reasons. Any free and democratic state would offer freedom of religion; a ban on minarets or whatever would illustrate a turn against freedom. I may have not visited Switzerland, and I may not fully understand their politics, but I do not want any country to turn that way.

Even if one does not think the SVP's flag is racist, its policies have shown to be so. The party has been denounced by respectable international organizations as openly racist, and its views are Islamophobic and xenophobic at the least. If Americans, Swiss, and others want freedom of religion, and freedom in general, defending the SVP is a show of hypocrisy considering its views on, say, minarets.

nursecathy said...

No, clearthought, we weren't established as a JudeoChristian state. I said we were built on JudeoChristian principles. Our legal structure is a direct descendent of Old Testament/Mosaic laws. Our constitution established this country on the premise that a Higher Power, whom they called God, gives every man certain rights. One of them is freedom of religion, which I am grateful for.

It is that same tolerance of religious diversity that has allowed immigrating Muslims to establish madrasas in our own country which teach students to violently take away the freedoms we are all enjoying.

In my hometown of Austin, we have mosques, Buddhists temples, synagogues, and even the home base of an atheist group. They all exist in peace.

How many crosses or Stars of David do you think can safely be displayed in, say, Iran? Afghanistan? How about Austin's metropolitan church which is mostly comprised of homosexuals? We already know what Iran thinks of gays--would their congregation be allowed to worship in peace? I think not.

So this is what I am 'afraid' of. And remember, when you accuse someone of Islamo- or any other phobia, the definition of a 'phobia' is an unreasonable fear. Sometimes reasonable, fact-based fear can save you if you are smart enough to heed it.

clearthought said...

You make some good points, nursecathy. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying, to an extent.

However, should people — Muslims — in America or any other country be punished for the actions fellow Muslims take?

nursecathy said...

"...should punished for the actions fellow Muslims take?"

Well, of course not. You could substitute any race/religion for the word 'Muslims' and it isn't right.

But caution is not punishment. Scrutinizing known sources of violence and treason in our own country is just common sense security. If Middle Eastern Muslims feel that is racial/religious stereotyping, so be it.

I would remind you that the 9/11 perpetrators were all youngish Middle Eastern Muslim men. Other than the odd Muslim convert from America or Britain, the original typing has proven true. It just doesn't make sense to spend much time investigating 60-year-old Lutheran grandmothers of Scottish background.

We can screen would-be immigrants without insulting their dignity. We can infiltrate hate-speech madrasas in our own country without breaking any laws or injuring any person. And if the majority of Muslims ARE peaceful, as we have been repeatedly told, they will be fully cooperative. Won't they?

That brings up another topic: Where is the giant "Muslims for Peace" movement here? I don't see anyone putting up signs, parading in front of mosques, sending letters of protest to Middle Eastern embassies. You know, the letters from peace-loving Muslims which could be printed in the newspapers, decrying violence and castigating suicide bombers. Haven't seen any such demonstrations? Hmmm...neither have I.

So I'm not saying declare war on Muslims. I'm saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."