Politics

Rising new fascism aims to push the lower-class lower

“The deep contradiction is that populist leaders in the West or authoritarian leaders in the East always come to power with the support of working people. I think this is what makes the rise of neo-fascism really dangerous.”

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose party raised as the first in the exit polls of the snap parliamentary elections in Netherlands on November 22, said even he could not believe his victory by saying “I pinched my arm,” adding “no party can ignore us any longer.”

Wilders, whose political line has been softened as “far-right”, is racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic; a typical representative of the new fascism rising in Europe and the world.

For a while after the ballots opened, the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) led by Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the daughter of a Kurdish leftist trade unionist who settled in the Netherlands after the September 12, 1980 coup in Türkiye, seemed to push Wilders, but in the end she finished third in the elections.

The Greens-Labor Party alliance came second.

Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), which increased its number in the 150-seat parliament from 17 to 35, has already started coalition talks.

The slogans that brought votes for Wilders are very similar to the slogans that once brought votes for Donald Trump in the US: “The Netherlands will be No. 1 again” and “The people must take back their country.” His election promises included leaving the European Union and “de-Islamization” of the Netherlands.

The Associated Press said the result would “send shockwaves through Europe”, but the danger is not limited to the Netherlands or Europe.

The Netherlands, Argentina, what next?

Three days before the Netherlands, on November 19, Javier Milei, head of the Libertarian Party, won the second round of presidential elections in Argentina by a clear margin with 56 percent of the vote. Milei, who is politically labeled a “right-wing libertarian populist” to avoid calling him a fascist, is an exemplary representative of the new fascism on the rise globally.

He is against any kind of rules and restrictions in the economy, in favor of the complete privatization of education and health care and the withdrawal of the state from these areas. He also opposed many welfare state measures, from unemployment benefits to the insurance system, and during the election campaign he posed with a chainsaw, promising to cut government spending.

He also promised to abolish the Central Bank and abolish the Argentine peso, the national currency, in favor of the US dollar.

During the campaign, he also made his foreign policy stance as clear as possible by waving the Israeli flag.

Millei does not hide that he is pro-Trump, who has become the natural leader of the new fascism.

Let’s not only talk about the newcomers to power. In Germany, the Alternatives are in the minority, but their presence is pushing all other parties to the right through voting pressure.

Hollywood and the new McCarthy era

Another sign of the new fascism comes from Hollywood, the center of the world film industry, and the American media.

We read news that Hollywood stars and media workers such as Susan Sarandon and Melissa Barrera, who sent or shared messages of solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel during the Gaza Crisis, are under pressure to set an example for others and silence them. There are signs of an era in which any criticism of Israel is labeled as anti-Semitism and punished, similar to the campaign of slander and repression in Hollywood and the media during the anti-communist hysteria launched by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1950s.

The Holocaust guilt complex, which President Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned at a joint press conference with the German Chancellor in Berlin, is manifesting itself in Europe and in the Americas (e.g. Canada and Argentina).

A century ago, before the Second World War, the object of hatred of the rising fascism in Western Europe was Jews and Judaism. Anti-Semitism was one of the food sources of the Fascist movement in Italy and the Nazi movement in Germany; it resulted in the inhumane murder of 6 million European Jews.

Islamophobia in the West Despotism in the East

A century ago, the axis of fascism, which deceived the masses and drew them to its side, was to turn Jews, whom they marginalized with religious and ethnic bigotry, into objects of hatred for causes such as unemployment, inflation and the cost of living in countries.

Today, the object of hatred of the new fascism rising in the West is Muslims.

The brutality of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, which regards terrorism as the very essence of its politics, played a big role in this. In the hands of right-wing populist politicians in the West, this situation has evolved into Islamophobia in general.

The factors behind the rise of new fascism in the East are slightly different. What the rise of neo-fascism in the East has in common is a kind of new despotism in which opposition political movements and media are suppressed by force whenever possible and necessary, the strong are considered right, women’s rights are relegated to the background, and anti-Western and, for example, anti-LGBTi rhetoric is emphasized.

In the West, from Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, from Tayyip Erdoğan in Türkiye to Viktor Orban in Hungary and Narendra Modi in India, there is a group of so-called “authoritarian populists”. This is a classification in which the judiciary, parliament and the media are under executive pressure.

The goal of the new fascism

The goal of the new fascism rising in the West and the East is to push the lower classes to the bottom.

The objects of hatred are changing, some of those who were previously considered bottom are moving to the top and new ones are being added to those at the bottom, but the picture is much the same as it was a century ago.

The justification of “elected office” is not really valid. The Fascist Party in Italy in the 1920s and the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1930s were also elected. The recent elections in the Netherlands and Argentina were free elections.

So were the elections in Türkiye and Hungary; the Council of Europe considers elections free, even though its reports emphasize the injustices of the election campaign.

What matters is the ideological orientation of the masses in their political choices.

It is always the working classes who are pushed to the bottom for more political and financial gain for those at the top. The deep contradiction is that populist leaders in the West or authoritarian leaders in the East always come to power with the support of working people.

I think this is what makes the rise of neo-fascism really dangerous.

Murat Yetkin

Journalist-Writer

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