Eurojolt: Fascists win when the left embraces Bloomberg-style austerity
by David Atkins
I've long been predicting a shift to the far right in Europe, largely because there has never been a time in history when terrible economic conditions were combined with high immigration that didn't result in a far-right xenophobic backlash.
It looks like my predictions are starting to come true:
European politics were jolted as seldom before on Sunday when France's extreme nationalists triumphed in the European parliament elections, which across the continent returned an unprecedented number of MEPs hostile or sceptical about the European Union in a huge vote of no confidence in Europe's political elite.The only possible way that a party of social tolerance survives for long in this sort of economic environment is if it goes hard after the plutocrats truly responsible for the economic malaise. The social liberal/economic conservative mold of Bloomberg is a recipe for political disaster.
France's Front National won the election there with a projected 25% of the vote, while the governing socialists of President François Hollande collapsed to 14%, according to exit polls.
In Britain the Nigel Farage-led insurrection against Westminster was also expected by all three main parties to deliver a victory for Ukip in the election, albeit with a lower lead than some opinion polls had been predicting in recent weeks. Turnout in Britain was 36%, higher than at the last European elections in 2009.
Four days of elections across 28 countries returned a record number of MEPs opposed to the EU project. Voters delivered a string of sensational outcomes, according to exit polls, with radical and nationalist anti-EU forces scoring major victories both on the far right and the hard left.
In Greece, Alexis Tsipras led the Syriza movement to a watershed victory for the left over the country's two traditional ruling parties – currently governing in coalition – the New Democracy conservatives and the Pasok social democrats. The neo-fascists of Golden Dawn took about 10%.
Exit polls suggest the nationalist anti-immigrant Danish People's party won by a similar margin in Denmark.
In Austria the far-right Freedom party was projected to take a fifth of the vote. In Hungary, the neo-fascist Jobbik movement took around 15%.
On the hard left, Sinn Féin did well in Ireland, and Die Linke took about 8% in Germany. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) scored an expected easy victory, but the EU's most powerful state, also returned its first Eurosceptics in the form of the Alternative for Germany as well as its first neo-Nazi MEP from the Hitler apologists of the National Democratic party of Germany, according to German TV projections.
Merkel's party dropped several points while the Social Democrats (SPD) made significant gains, narrowing the gap between the two big parties to about eight percentage points.
It is notable that the only places where the far right was brought to heel were places where a strong leftist economic argument was made. The big, big loser was cautious, austerity centrism.
When the social left throws the economic left under the bus in a time of rising inequality, they sow the seeds of their own destruction. The forces of intolerance and fascism are only a couple of hard-knocks elections away at any given time.