The Rise of the Right–and the Left–in Europe

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

In France, Marine Le Pen—the leader of an openly Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, party—the National Front—made the second round of the presidential elections. Le Pen’s father once called the Holocaust a “detail” of history and has herself called for an end to dual citizenship for all countries outside of Europe, including all Muslim-majority countries and applicable to French Jews who also hold Israeli citizenship. In Hungary, the “antiglobalist” Jobbick party, a party with neo-fascist roots and a reputation for hatred of Jews, Roma, and immigrants, is the country’s third largest party. All around Europe, mass discontent with the political and economic status quo is producing polarization, one of whose products is an invigorated far right—including some parties with openly fascist roots that are now trying to rebrand themselves as “detoxified” opposition parties. These parties are attempting to fill the political vacuum with racist and nationalist appeals. The mainstream parties have in large part offered the status quo of economic inequality and insecurity. Where are these parties headed, and what can the left do to create a political alternative that can successfully challenge and defeat the right?

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