Europe on the verge of repeating the disaster thirties

Europe on the verge of a nervous breakdown

At last count, in the Member States of the European Union, almost 25 million unemployed, two million more than a year ago. We are talking about more than 10 percent of the labor force, and in some countries the situation is much worse. Topping the list is Spain, where 25 percent of the unemployed, followed by Greece (almost 23 percent). Particularly affecting the young. In Greece and Spain, more than half of working-age citizens under 25 are unemployed. Across the EU youth unemployment rate is 22 percent. And there is no indication that this trend will slow down to a deepening of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the growing influence of neo-Nazi parties. In Greece, the movement appeared out of nowhere "Golden Dawn" received in the May election to Parliament 21 seats, and the re-election, held a few weeks later — 18 seats, or nearly 7 percent of the vote.

Flag Party — black, white and red, like the Nazi Party, with svastikopodobnoy emblem in the center ("Golden Dawn" denies any similarities and calls it a symbol of the "Greek meander"). The party is not only threatened violence MPs who oppose its policies, but also is involved in numerous violent incidents throughout Greece. During the campaign, viewers regaled stage attacks press secretary of the party on two female politicians during the debate live. "We will clear the country of dirt" — this was the slogan of the campaign in 2012.

"Golden Dawn" — is not the only openly neo-fascist party, which received support in recent years. Founded in 2003, the party "For a Better Hungary" uses the flag, reminiscent of the flag of the movement "Arrow Cross", which was brought to power by the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, and massacred thousands of Jews, so that even the police, engaged in raids on Jews to send them to Auschwitz, complained of the number of dead bodies on the streets of Budapest. In the general election in 2010 the party appeared out of nowhere, which was conducting a campaign under the slogan "Hungary belongs to the Hungarians", won third place with 16.67 percent of the vote. She has a close relationship with the paramilitary "Hungarian Guard", banned in 2009 by order of the court, which continues to be ignored. One of the items on the political agenda is the revision of the Trianon peace treaty signed after World War II, in which Hungary has selected two-thirds of the territory, in order to create a viable state on the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. "For a Better Hungary" wants to return a significant part of the territory, and condemns the mainstream parties for the fact that they did not use the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of Czechoslovakia and the Balkan wars and did not do it in the 1990s.

One of the most obvious distinguishing features of leading members of the party is anti-Semitism. Recently, one of its members mentioned in Parliament the murder of Christian girl on the eve of Passover in 1882, in which 15 Jews took place. In the end, they were acquitted, but the MP still claimed, "in this case were seriously involved Jewry and the leadership of the country."

Argued that female lawyer, subsequently elected to the European Parliament on the party list "For a Better Hungary", said the criticism following diatribe: "I would be extremely pleased if those who call themselves" proud Hungarian Jews ", will be engaged to visit his tiny circumcised penis instead of slandering me. So as you are used to, such as we stand at attention every time you mess up the air. Deign to admit that now it's over. We raised his head and will not accept your terror. We will regain the country. "

Disturbing parallels

Although the "Golden Dawn" and "For a Better Hungary" are probably the most extreme examples of games that have become part of the mainstream, there are many other signs that the economic crisis has contributed to the rising popularity of far-right across Europe. In France, the National Front got 18 percent of the vote in the presidential election this year. Its platform at various times included such provisions as the restoration of the death penalty, the repatriation of immigrants and the introduction of customs barriers, which means that it stands for France's withdrawal from the EU. His long-time leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, father of the current party leader Marine Le Pen, has repeatedly called the Holocaust "only episode of" History of the Second World War. In 2008 he was elected mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, who welcomed the crowd shouting "Duce! Duce! "And fascist gesture.

All this is alarmingly reminiscent of the last depression that struck Europe in the early 1930s and brought Hitler to power. Commentators were quick to draw parallels. National humiliation like that which, according to the figures of the party "For a Better Hungary" Hungary has experienced after the Treaty of Trianon, have undergone and the Nazis — by the severe restrictions imposed at the same time, the Treaty of Versailles on Germany. Mass unemployment was a feature of German society in the early 1930s, and the support of the Nazis in the elections has grown in parallel with the level of unemployment. Nazism was also laid on the mainstream political parties blame for the disastrous state of the economy, and its dynamic nature has been particularly attractive to young people — a significant portion of his supporters were voted for the first time.

Territorial expansionism, economic protectionism, attacks on minority rights, anti-Semitism, violence by paramilitary groups and incendiary rhetoric — it was all the distinctive features of the Nazi party, as well as many other fascist parties that emerged across Europe in the interwar period. It seems that in the beginning of XXI century, when the economic crisis hit the continent, they were revived with alarming rapidity.

It is necessary to be wary of hasty historical parallels. First of all, despite superficial similarities, the situation in Germany in the early 1930s was very different from the present. The unemployment rate was much higher, representing at least 35 percent of the working population, and although such figures meant that among the supporters of the Nazis simply could not be many unemployed people and their real political voice was the Communist Party, which in the second half of 1932, continued to use increasing voter support, while the Nazis began to lose her (their weakness was one of the most important reasons why conservative politicians thought they could control them, and therefore agreed to the appointment of the head of Hitler's coalition government in January 1933, which was one of the greatest political blunders in history).

Unemployment is not the direct cause of political extremism. Usually, it entails apathy. Observe the life of Berlin in the early 1930s, noted that young people aimlessly ride on the city circle line train, spend days playing football in the park or sitting dully at home. For the minority has access to political activity, combined with violence, but it could be both right and left. In Greece, many of today's unemployed supports dynamic new radical left coalition SYRIZA forces. Unemployment and economic crisis eroding the base of the centrist parties, as in the Weimar Republic, but, as in those days, they contribute to the growth of radical parties on both flanks, not only on the right.

Where is thriving extremism, political violence do not have to wait long, and the desire to restore public order can often play into the hands of right-wing politicians who, like Hitler, promising to end the chaos in the streets, although initially they, like Hitler, were behind them. It is not surprising, and that the election on May 6 for the "Golden Dawn" voted significant part of the Athens police force — possibly up to 50 percent.

However, if you look at the countries in which the far-right parties are supported, it quickly becomes clear that the correlation between the high unemployment rate is not always obvious. Where, say, a neo-fascist movement in Spain, a country with the highest unemployment and, most importantly, one of the two countries with the highest in Europe, youth unemployment? Despite the fact that some still try to maintain the memory of Francisco Franco, the bloody dictator, who ruled Spain for several decades after the Civil War of the 1930s, neo-fascist parties are negligible, and in the general election in 2011 nearly three-fourths of the votes received two leading mainstream parties representing the right and left flank.

On the other hand, in France, where the right to seek a remarkable success in the elections, the relatively low and fairly stable unemployment rate of about 10 percent. Moreover, the success of the National Front in the elections began before the current crisis, and the same can be said of the post-fascist Italian politics. In other countries, as unemployment rises far-right parties began to experience decline, which shows an example of the BNP here in Britain.

A lot depends on what kind of a place in the political culture is the past. History never repeats itself — first of all, because people know what happened last time. Thus, they have amended their behavior to avoid a repeat of what had in the past not to their liking. The most obvious form of this is in Germany, where neo-Nazi parties are banned, and the denial of the Holocaust outlawed. The unemployment rate in Germany — one of the lowest in Europe, but even if it were not so, gain openly neo-fascist parties and their electoral success would cause the resistance of the majority and, most likely, the official ban.

There, where the memory of the bloody conflict relatively fresh, as in Spain, the desire to prevent its recurrence is very strong. Apparently, the vast majority of Greeks — including supporters of SYRIZA — wants to stay in the euro zone, so at the last election they voted for the creation of a viable mainstream government and not turned in the direction of the extreme right. The really important to people are not questions that raise the neo-fascists, and the pressing challenges of wage cuts, tax increases and job cuts as part of austerity measures.

Surface Level

Far-right versed in the history of the Joneses, and perhaps even better. They know how easy it can be to deprive their rivals of political legitimacy, having hung a label on them Nazis. All of the modern right-wing movement, or at least those who are interested in purchasing supporters reject such labels as "neo-Nazis" and "fascists" and adapt to the conditions of modern democracy — at least on a superficial level.

Often they give voters a double beep, on the one hand, distancing himself in his speeches and programs of the Nazi past, and the other — hinting at it in the symbolism and public rituals. An important element of neo-fascism is a rejection of the political system to which its leaders blamed for the current crisis, so its appeal is largely due to the mood of protest. Is it possible to better express their protest against parliamentary democracy and the mainstream political parties than with a flag with a symbol reminiscent of the political organization, known in history by his denial of all this?

On the other hand, violence by paramilitary groups, characterized the mass fascist movements during the interwar years, has not yet manifested itself on a large scale, and the far-right parties do not consider daily street marches attack aircraft in the form of a major political tactics. Compared with the period after the First World War, when it seemed that every other form is on the streets of most European countries, we live in a predominantly civilian society and neo-fascism had to adapt.

In most European countries, neo-fascism was able to adapt by switching to other issues and abandoning the traditional topics such as anti-Semitism, territorial expansion, militarism and corporate organization of the economy. From time to time they are viewed in the background, but not for the neo-fascist political parties of the main points of the program. Almost each of them plays a central role immigration that sometimes mixed with the assertion of Christian values as opposed to Islamic (as it is far from Nazi Germany with their hostility to the church) and homophobia (this issue to the right is much more important than in the 1920s and 1930, and possibly a reaction to the undertaken since the legalization of homosexuality).

At the same time, sometimes — as in the case of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands — the far-right party, accused of all mortal sins of Muslims — whether immigrants or not — claim to represent the key democratic values such as freedom of speech, thereby drawing the principles of democracy against those same values. Where the Islamists may require censorship of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Islamophobic able to win the support of the people, saying that in favor of Western values of tolerance and openness. Therefore an ulterior motive Wilders' party called the Freedom Party. At the same time, Wilders shows his true nature, calling to ban the Koran in the Netherlands, to stop the construction of new mosques and halt all immigration from Muslim countries.

In the words of Hitler's chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels after the fall of the Weimar Republic, "One of the best jokes of democracy will always remain what it has given to its sworn enemies the means by which has been destroyed." It is important to democracy in the early XXI century has not allowed himself to weaken those who do not share its values, but cynically enjoys her rhetoric.

Islamophobia, according to the political program of the Freedom Party, which is closely related to, among other things, the hostility against immigrants. However, the issue of immigration is not in Hungary, where its level is minimal, so the "For a Better Hungary" directed their anger on living in the country, ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, which is a party to blame rising crime. In municipalities where the party's position strong, established teams of volunteers to fight "Gypsy crime", the consequences of which are obvious. "For a Better Hungary" required to put Roma in "camps to protect public order" — in other words, the concentration camps. Yet for far-right Hungarian nationalists of the country's woes result primarily from the intrigues of the international liberal Jewry. All of these outpourings of anger are not the result of some extremely high unemployment rate (in Hungary the level of 11% — that the current European standards modestly). Moreover, in general, young activists and supporters of the "For a Better Hungary" — is not the unemployed who have lost their livelihoods, and representatives of the educated middle class.

Strengthening of the Hungarian far-right is more a consequence of the suddenness and depth of the economic depression in which the country was from 2008. Before her, there was almost no unemployment and there was an atmosphere of post-communist optimism. But when the economic collapse — a sudden and painful than any other country except Iceland — the majority of citizens has accused the then left-wing government, quickly began searching for scapegoats.

Day of Mourning

To date, the mainstream conservative parties managed to sharply limit the electoral potential of the extreme right, adopt many of their ideas. In Hungary, the right-wing government party Fidesz has selected the bread from "For a Better Hungary", announcing the non-recognition of the Treaty of Trianon and proclaiming the anniversary of his signing of a national day of mourning. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is promoting the idea of a "European strategy for Roma," and his new, authoritarian constitution, which came into force on January 1, Hungary proclaims a Christian nation, and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In addition, he angrily criticized the intervention of the EU in the Hungarian case. All this as a balm for the soul of voters who might otherwise have to stand under the banner of ultra-right.

In other European countries where the central issue for the far-right is immigration, the government and the mainstream opposition parties have climbed out of their way to introduce new restrictions and boast of their patriotism. Stealthily curtailed civil liberties in the name of the war on terror, which cuts the ground from under the feet of the extreme right parties, who see democracy as too weak and tolerant. The story is taken into service as a tool to create a closed, aggressive sense of national identity that is too easily degenerate into xenophobia and more than meets the requirements of radical nationalists. The biggest threat to democratic values is not so much neo-fascists gain by itself, no matter how dangerous it is, how much of the impact that it has on the party's mainstream, pushing them in the same direction.

All of these disturbing trends fueled by excessively heavy and unnecessary austerity measures introduced into one European country after another, whether within the euro zone, or — as in the case of the UK — outside. It seems that very few people aware that cuts in public spending reduces demand and enters the economy in a tailspin, reducing tax revenues and pushing the government to further cuts in spending.

In general terms, this is what happened in Germany in the years 1930-33. Today there is something similar, but different: it is a new threat for the new era. You can not say that unemployment leads directly to increased fascism. The social crisis that led to the current austerity measures, has much wider implications. Companies go bankrupt, banks burst, state employees are laid off, wages and benefits are reduced, weakening public sector services. Suffer not only the young and unemployed. Society as a whole suffers. Not surprisingly, the stronger the position of political extremism. When people are deprived of hope for the future, they start looking for scapegoats — in the country or abroad. And the hatred generated by this very easily could become a threat to the grounds of a tolerant and democratic political culture.

Richard Evans — professor of history at Cambridge University and author of the book "Under the rule of the Third Reich 1933-39" 

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See also the specter of fascism is haunting Europe

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