Dominance of Far-right Parties Threatens the European Community

 By Victoria P. Sorensen

 

Anti-EU banner / RT

After four days of elections in each of the 28 European countries, election results for the European Parliament have come in. Euro-sceptics and far-right parties have won a substantial number of seats and have greatly increased their influence. It’s looking dire for the European collaborative.

The European Union was founded as a project for greater economic integration between Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and has expanded since 1945 to include 28 countries. With a rocky start during the Cold War years and the changing face of European power structures after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the European project has been under constant development since its founding.  The primary goal, however, has always been to promote stability and remove national barriers to commerce. The European Union is by no means an ideal democratic institution, but a positive development has been the opening of borders and the growth of a multicultural, pan-European community.

However, this European sense of community has faced great challenges since the beginning of the 2008 Financial Crisis. Consequently, issues such as high unemployment and increasing migration have led to far-right populist parties gaining popularity amongst the European electorate. These right-wing parties aim to halt European integration, presenting the most serious threat to the European project in decades.

Most striking was the change in party preferences in France, where the eurosceptic Front Nationale gained 25% of the vote, and in the United Kingdom, where the much-debated xenophobic UK Independence Party emerged as the victor of the elections, having received 27% of the vote. As such, UKIP became the biggest party to represent the United Kingdom in the European parliament. Additionally, in Denmark, yet another far-right party received the majority of the vote.  Believe it or not, this party’s re-elected MEP was seen in a family amusement park hailing and singing Nazi songs on Hitler’s Birthday in 2007. Still, The Danish People’s Party received no less than 26.6% of the vote.

These election results are a cause for concern, not just in Europe, but all over the world. A return to xenophobia, anti-immigration policies, racism and Nazism is unquestionably a massive step in the wrong direction for achieving a tolerant and inclusive democratic structure in Europe.

Fortunately, as much as the right’s victories are a troubling development for European politics, the far-right parties still do not constitute a majority in parliament. And there were important victories for the radical left. In Sweden, for example, a feminist candidate Soroya Post was elected for the first time ever, and in Spain a new party, Podemos, rising out of the Indignados protests of 2009, made huge progress. There are many problems with the EU – not the least of which is its lack of democratic institutions – but the best hope for change comes from these radical left parties. They alone can carry forward the fight for democracy and socialism in Europe, while maintaining the important gains that have been made for opening borders and building a multicultural Europe.

The battle for a positive and inclusionary democratic project is not yet lost; we need to keep on fighting and remind people that anti-migration policy, discrimination and racism have never led to prosperity and never will.

 

Victoria Pihl Sorensen is a political activist from Denmark who's interning with YDS this Summer.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)