Mozart, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Conchita. All people we associate with Austria. There is an Austrian more famous than these people. Adolf Hitler. His name still brings back painful memories of Austrian and world history. Austria and Germany have taken steps to make sure all school children are aware of this part of their history and this is done in the hope that they never have to endure this type of extremist behaviour ever again. It so nearly backfired.
The Austrian presidential elections took place just over a week ago. Norbert Hofer won the first round and was backed by many to become the next president. He very nearly did. Alexander Van der Bellen won by the slimmest of margins and needed the postal votes to get him over the line. He was actually behind up to that point. In the end, there were 30,000 votes separating the two contenders.
Hofer is a member of a party called Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ or Freedom Party of Austria as it translates to English. The FPÖ’s first leader was a former Nazi, so you can kind of sense what type of party it is. The party takes a tough line on immigration and many of its members have made anti-Islamic statements in the past. Hofer himself has expressed a wish to be reunited with Germany. All this seems eerily familiar, doesn’t it?
Austria is not alone in this move towards far right-wing politics. Neighbouring Hungary and Slovakia-along with Poland and Germany have all seen a dramatic rise in far-right politics. It’s not just Central Europe following this trend. UKIP and Marine Le Pen’s National Front both made big gains in the last European elections. Even Ireland had a brief flirtation with the founding of Identity Ireland and setting up of an Irish chapter of Pegida. Luckily, neither seemed to catch on. So, why the big change?
There probably is no straightforward answer to this. I think parallels can be drawn with the rise of Naziism and a host of other political ideologies that came to life in the last century. Germany was brutally punished after WW I and it left the people of that country feeling betrayed by those that signed the treaty and frustrated that they could do nothing about it. The Germans were cruelly hammered in the treaty.There is a similar feeling now in Europe after the economic collapse. Unemployment increased amongst ordinary citizens and yet the rich prospered more than ever. People are angry and justifiably so.
Donald Trump’s election campaign has been interesting, to say the least. While the mainstream media focus on the soap opera elements of his campaign, there a number of important issues he touches upon. Firstly, there is a total distrust amongst ordinary Americans of the powers that be that borders on extreme paranoia. Twitter is probably the best place to gauge the public’s reaction to Trump as it is unfiltered by the mainstream media’s prejudices. A number of his supporters mention a white genocide.
When I read this first I thought these people are clearly mental. But, they are not as far from reality as I initially thought. There is no genocide of course, but the mortality rate amongst sections of the white community has risen, despite America’s vast riches. This more down to apathy from the political classes, however, for those suffering through this, whether it’s a planned white genocide or the result of greed from the establishment really doesn’t matter, the outcome is the same. An establishment Trump is a part of I might add. Trump has tapped into this anger and more than that, he has given these people a scapegoat to blame too. The fact the people they are blaming had nothing to do with the collapse of a social order is irrelevant. Their anger now has a target.
Europe is much the same. Although nobody is talking about a white genocide, there are fears of Europe being overrun and European cultural being replaced by an Islamic one. Simple maths would tell you this is impossible. Millions of refugees enter Europe every year and by and large it has not disrupted European culture that much. In fact, it usually benefits the EU financially and other ways. If you want somebody to blame for the instability in the world it would be better to look at white westerners first. The biggest threat to European culture is the dominance of American music and television etc.
There are so many reasons to be angry and scared right now. The economic collapse, the greed that caused it and the apathetic response to it. The looming threat of nuclear war. The nonchalant reaction to climate change. The list could go on. Blaming immigrants on the run from a dreadful civil war isn’t going to change any of that. It surprises me how quickly people detect when there is a problem and yet, for the most part, come up with the wrong solution as to how to fix it. Looking to those that espouse hatred will not work. Picking on minorities is cowardly and weak. All openly far-right wing societies have ended in failure, it’s surprising to see countries nearly destroyed by this form of politics trying to return to it. It’s truly bizarre.
It can be explained slightly by the EU and how it is run. There is a lack of transparency and nearly an entire continent is run by bureaucrats behind closed doors. Hence, issues arising like Britain leaving the EU. This has made most Europeans frustrated. Then there is the looming fear of ISIS attacks. Unemployment has become an issue too. However, Norbert Hofer, UKIP, and Donald Trump are the not answers and will make a bad situation even worse.