“The normality of Neo-Fascism has nowadays become visible” observes the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, in her article entitled “The ‘Spanish retreat’ into Fascism and the establishment of an odious normality in Europe”, published in the newspaper “Nea Selida” on Sunday 9 December 2018.
The full-text article by Rena Dourou is available here:
The news spread worldwide, thus confirming a fact that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. The far right, the antisemitism, the ostracism of the others, the foreigners, and the intolerance to tolerance are returned to Spain (as well). In Andalusia, the 12 newly elected Members of the far-Right Vox party brought an end to the Spanish ‘exception’: for the first time since the passing of Franco in 1975, a far-Right party enters the Council of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía). Spain is henceforth entering an era that represents the ‘gloomy’ normality of the Old Continent.
This odious normality wins the ‘minds and hearts’ of citizens thanks to the use of new, digital technologies, social media and the spread of fake news. The normality of Neo-Fascism has nowadays become visible. From Greece and Italy to Austria and Hungary, with a strong presence in France and Germany, it spreads like gangrene all over Europe.
In the wake of the 21st century we are experiencing the revival of far-right extremism with a… ‘human face’, most of the times invoking the migration/refugee phenomenon whilst ignoring the lessons (and tragedies) of history. The very kind that is represented at government level in many European countries; the very kind that leads to political and social regression through rejection of the fundamental principles of the Enlightenment as well as of the centuries-old social acquis; the very kind that exculpates New Conservatism - this being the most extreme and dangerous trend for social cohesion, not as a philosophical concept but as a tangible reality.
There are, unfortunately, too many examples, a daily occurrence at multiple levels.
Nationalist reflexes are intensified in our societies, patriarchal and ‘backward looking’ stereotypes reappear, phenomena of brutal violence against vulnerable social groups are growing, poverty becomes an ‘individual problem’, public goods are ‘under persecution’, whilst arts and sciences are ‘obscured’ by backward approaches on the allegedly non-existence of other planets in the universe, except for the Earth! Governments are closing the borders of their countries; the UN multilateral diplomacy — the most significant achievement on the international stage in the aftermath of the Second World War — is being devalued. In addition, a number of countries such as the USA, Israel, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy or Australia declare scornfully their unwillingness to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, as they put forward clearly racist arguments on the rejection of heterogeneity, which indeed are reminiscent of anachronistic and anti-scientific racial theories.
These are different aspects of the same phenomenon, rather than individual, unrelated events.
Using a fast-rising populism and Manichaeisticapproaches towards complex issues, far-right parties and movements, which were once on the political and social fringes, are on the rise again, claiming not just legitimacy through the ballot box but also trying to shape the political and social agenda. They even try to raise into power, while, at the same time, the values of the French Revolution and Enlightenment seem to retreat before the New Right narratives of “law and order” and “national homogeneity.” A modern far-right which found ample ground in the policies of austerity and fiscal discipline that are being implemented in the name of a new economic orthodoxy associated with the authoritarian and violent nature of neoliberal capitalism and the concurrent retreat of Democracy. This is not something new in the European history of the 20th century. All things being equal, the WeimarRepublic is a classic example demonstrating the consequences of the deconstruction of Democracy and the tragedy that followed.
Today, 70 years later, a new class approach should be employed in order to deal with the neo-fascist threat. This new class approach should be shaped by new collectivities which shall be able to function as the new subjects protecting Democracy, Equality and Freedom and thwarting the rise of fascism in nations and states. These collectivities will be the new embankments against the modern humiliation of Humanism.
It is no coincidence that, today, Holocaust deniers raise their voices. It is no coincidence that there several cases of desecration of Jewish monuments-symbols of European memory. Also, it is no coincidence that there is an attempt to relativise Evil – this had already been confirmed by Hannah Arendt back in 1945, when she had pointed out that: “the problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe—as death became the fundamental problem after the last war.”
From this perspective, the upcoming European elections are not just another election process, but a conflict between two different worldviews. “Today, as in the 1930s, there are two approaches to Europe – the approach of the democratic people and that of the dictators,” pointed out last June the French philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy. For the first time since the 1950s, when politicians, such as Monnet, De Gasperi,Schuman and Adenauer, invested in the common European project as a tool against fascism and for social cohesion and solidarity, the core values of this European project and all those who refuse to compromise with the fascist monster are being threatened so openly. The people who fight fascism refuse to forget and return to the age of fear. They choose sides. And they support Democracy.