The trial against the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is currently underway in Greece. A case that is testing the ability of the Greek society to reject the drive of intolerance and hatred grown in the shadow of the economic crisis. At the dawn of September 18th, 2013, Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-Nazi party, in line […]
Far right parties and groups have been enjoying increasing support across Europe. Such parties have performed well in recent domestic elections, often occupying second or third place – and in some cases joining governing coalitions. Examples include the French Front National (FN, now Rassemblement National), the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Austrian Party for Freedom (FPÖ), the […]
In our global slide toward despotic unaccountability, three words act as the primary signifiers of the changes in governing and political norms at work around the globe. The words are fascist, illiberal and authoritarian.
Let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of each.
Fascist:A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Illiberal:Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behavior.
Authoritarian:Favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. Showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; dictatorial.
Whether we’re talking about Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Jair Bolsonaro, Benjamin Netanyahu, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin or Daniel Ortega you see aspects of each these dangerous modes of social control being normalized and, in many instances, enacted through executive or legislative means.
While it is natural to be most alarmed by the rise of neo-fascist political parties in Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, and the UK, perhaps a more dangerous trend is the emerging religious authoritarianism infecting Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. In India, Modi’s BJP has actively encouraged ethnic cleansing campaigns by Hindus against Muslims in northern states. In Israel, Netanyahu successfully passed a new law elevating the citizenship rights of Jewish Israelis over those of Muslims. In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has given tacit approval to Buddhist death squads attacking Muslim Rohingya villages. Across the Middle East, leaders leverage the Sunni/Shia divide to redraw national boundaries resulting in the refugee crisis in Europe. In the United States, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are rushing the decisive Christianist candidate onto the nation’s Supreme Court. In Brazil, the leading candidate in October’s presidential election is an open supporter of military dictatorship is supported by 90% of white Catholic and Evangelical voters.
Any of these political-religious movements could result in illiberal, authoritarian or fascist governing regimes. Adding the accelerant of religious dogma any of these are much more likely to spread across national boundaries and endanger regional or even global peace.
The Hungary-Serbia border runs through a wilderness, tall grass flatlands ringed by imposing clusters of trees and thickets. When I visited a stretch of the Serbian side on a sunny day in June, the landscape would have been lovely — had it not been for the gigantic barbed-wire fence running straight through the middle of […]
An estimated ten thousand people turned out in Hamburg for an anti-fascist rally last night. The gathering was to counter a Far Right demonstration in the city – which was overwhelmingly outnumbered. One anti-fascist protester, Dr. Martin Buchwald said: “Fascism is getting a grip on this country and the civil society needs to act now […]
Tens of thousands of people attended an anti-racism concert held to counter far-right protests and violence in the German city of Chemnitz. Well-known punk and hip-hop bands performed in front of a banner reading #WirSindMehr (“we are more”), a hashtag which has been used in response to the neo-nazi slogan “we are the people”. Organisers had […]
Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban, has boasted of his intention to create an “illiberal” state, and this week took two major steps toward wiping out liberal arts education. The Budapest-based Central European University has announced that it will suspend its pioneering Open Learning Initiative, a program that offered free non-degree courses to refugees and asylum-seekers. It will be the […]
In Greece, a mob assault on a liberal mayor offers a disturbing view of where the current uptick in right-wing extremism can lead. Yiannis Boutaris stared back at a sea of angry faces on May 20—a few muttered insults. Boos erupted from pockets of the crowd. “Leave,” they demanded. The 76-year-old winemaker-turned-mayor’s body tensed: “I […]
Immediately after the news of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, social media feeds exploded with advice for those suffering from depression, for those who have family or friends who may need help but are unable to ask for it. “Reach out,” posts read. “Ask someone who may need help, how they’re doing.” “Observe those around […]
Our two nations can feel solidarity in how our revolutions turned into authoritarianism. Is there hope for us? Of course. “A true patriot of her country and Europe.” This is how I was described during the Ambassador of New Europe award ceremony speech at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk, Poland. My book, Turkey: The Insane and the […]
No leader, no matter how talented and visionary, effectively defies power without a disciplined organizational foundation. The civil rights movement was no more embodied in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than the socialist movement was embodied in Eugene V. Debs. As the civil rights leader Ella Baker understood, the civil rights movement made King; King did not […]
There were tensions on the French-Italian border at the weekend, after anti-fascist groups responded on Sunday to a “wall” along the border that had been created by the far-right group, “Generation Identitaire,” on Saturday. Tense moments were experienced with the French gendarme at one point but violent incidents were avoided. Activists from the small far-right […]