The Rise of Fascism in Europe

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16/02/2020 by socialistfight

By Dov Winter

Protestors holding a sign with crossed out faces of Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache during a protest against the coalition government between Austrian Peoples Party (OeVP) and the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) in Vienna, Austria, 15 December 2018. [Michael Gruber/EPA/EFE]

Fascist parties are growing fast in Europe: in the fastest rate since Second-World-War. When the Austrian Proto-fascist Freedom Party joined a government coalition in the year 2000, it was a shock for the “moderate” capitalist parties throughout Europe; they were not prepared to endorse an open fascist formation. Twenty years later, the situation has changed and the same “moderate” parties are more ready to accept fascism:

“But in 2017, when Mr. Haider’s Freedom Party successor, Heinz-Christian Strache, scored a similar general election result and the party was once again invited into a ruling alliance, there was little attempt to ostracize the country. President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany moved quickly to welcome the new Austrian government, led by the 31-year-old conservative Sebastian Kurz, who sought success by adopting much of the Freedom Party’s anti-migrant stance. The youngest leader in the expanded European Union’s 28 nations, Mr. Kurz had called for Muslim-run kindergartens to be shut down and refugees relocated to outside Europe’s borders.” (

Yes, you read it correctly, Angela Merkel and the rest of capitalist leaders “welcome” the Austrian proto-fascist government.

So, what has changed since the year 2000? Climate Change is creating havoc throughout Europe. It is not just that 2019-20 winter is the hottest ever, and that 2020 is expected to be worse than 2019. Climate Change is forcing millions of people to migrate from Climate Changed stricken semi-colonies to Europe. And the bourgeoisie in Europe is moving fast to the right, using whatever it can to stop the immigration. So far there are no signs that unions, and social democratic and Stalinist parties are preparing to defend the immigrants by massive class actions. As a result, a chunk of the privileged workers and backward workers in Europe are susceptible to anti-immigrant demagogy.

The English and the European capitalists and their governments fight each other about how to maximize the profit or control the damage from Brexit. But the bourgeoisie in Europe and Johnson in England have no problems forming a “united front” against poor immigrants throughout Europe, and they discreetly give the fascists the green light to lead the attacks against immigrants. As a result, many immigrants are deported; and with such a boast, fascist parties are growing. As time progresses, more conservative and “moderate” parties support openly anti-immigrant politics:

We have seen this before. The European bourgeoise did nothing after Hitler came to power. And with no resistance, Hitler and his army march into Europe like a knife cutting through a soft butter. The European bourgeoisie does nothing again as fascist-sympathetic parties and proto-fascist parties are growing fast:

“Ms. Le Pen’s far-right party successfully displaced the traditional conservatives (and dwarfed the incumbent Socialists) to make the presidential runoff in 2017. Though ultimately defeated by Mr. Macron, she still attracted over 10 million votes. Her rebranded National Rally party now finds itself neck-and-neck with Mr. Macron’s En Marche in the polls, cautiously optimistic of victory in 2022.” (Ibid)

This is not a fluke. Right-wing and open fascists are invited into coalitions with “moderate” capitalist parties:

“The taboo on the far right in government has been comprehensively broken: Mainstream parties appear happy to cooperate with those once considered ‘toxic.’ Nativist representatives have been invited into ruling coalitions in Denmark, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands to act as support partners for traditional conservatives unable to win parliamentary majorities. No longer derided or dismissed by their mainstream rivals, far-right parties now show themselves capable of winning nationwide elections. Last year France’s National Rally, Italy’s League and Britain’s Brexit Party won the most votes in their countries’ elections to the European Parliament.” (Ibid)

This is a frightening classic phenomenon. When capitalism enters a severe economic and political crisis, as it is today with a growing competition among the imperialist countries, capitalism tolerates fascism and is ready to unleash the fascists against the workers. This is true in particular when the class struggle reaches a point, in which the traditional Stalinist and Social Democratic parties cannot stop a rising working class militancy such as the growing general strikes in France. Also, Climate Change will not allow the crisis to go away as it is worsening the economic crisis and imperialist competition.

The defeat of the Labor Party in England was a signal for big capitalists in Europe to deepen the attacks against the workers. One of the tactics of doing that is to wipe hysteria against immigrants from Africa and Asia. The CP and Social Democracy once again remain incapacitated. In Europe the social democratic parties are a fragmented and weaker than what they used be, and the communist parties are a shadow from the days when the CP had massive amount of members. So, the petty bourgeoisie and the backward workers shift toward fascism, and fascism in Europe grow like mushrooms.

We must warn the working class of the extreme dangers from the rise of fascism. Massive united front actions against fascism must take place. We cannot allow the repeat of the betrayal in Germany the 1930th by the Stalinists, that refuse to form a united front with Social Democracy (they call the SD social fascists). The result was Hitler and the fascists taking control of Germany. Only a massive working class actions to smash fascism can stop the fascists. We should not expect the liberal bourgeoisie to lift a finger against the fascists. Ultimately, fascism can only be stopped by smashing them on the road of working class power.

It was a scandal when a far-right party entered government two decades ago. Now it’s just routine. What happened?


Opinion | How the Far Right Became Europe’s New Normal

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