Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.
–– Bertolt Brecht
We are witnessing a dramatic and frightening rise of fascist and racist populist parties across most of Europe. We haven’t seen anything on this scale since the 1930s.
This rise is expressed in large electoral votes and, in some countries, by the growth of paramilitary and street movements.
In France, the fascist Front National leads the polls in the run-up to the presidential election of 2017. In Austria, the far right racist FPÖ won the first round of the presidential election last month with the second round to come this month.
Hungary’s government is controlled by the increasingly authoritarian far right racist Fidesz party, with fascist Jobbik – strong electorally and with a huge paramilitary force – pushing it further rightwards.
In a slew of eastern European countries, fascist paramilitary organisations are recruiting in numbers. The situation across the continent presents a grave danger.
In parts one and two of this series of articles, we produced a table showing the latest results gained by fascist and far right parties in national and European Parliament elections, and a country by country guide looking at the strength of far right and fascist movements both electorally and in the streets.
Our survey focused on the countries where fascist and racist parties have made significant electoral and/or organisational breakthroughs. There are little fascist groups operating in several other countries, but with very small numbers and little impact.
We should remember, however, that just because fascism has not taken root in a country does not mean that it is harmless. Anders Behring Breivik’s murderous attacks in Norway – where the racist populist Freedom Party is strong but fascist organisations are tiny and marginal – show the terrorist violence that fascism can instil in its supporters, and the terrible price its victims pay.
We intend to look separately at the situation in Russia at a later date and have not included it here.
In this analysis – part three of our series – we look at why fascism and the far right are on the rise, offer definitions of fascist and far right racist populist parties, and examine the sometimes volatile state of flux on the far right as organisations are formed and transformed.