The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Rise of Far Right Parties

Jun 23, 2014

The following article appeared in Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Several far right parties were strengthened by high scores in the European elections. All of them use nationalist language, but there are many differences between them and they won’t be a united bloc in the European Parliament. In most cases they are right-wing parliamentary parties, competing with the classical conservative parties.

In France, the National Front was founded by activists of the far right. These include Jean-Marie Le Pen, who fled independent Algeria, and people who collaborated with the Nazi occupation of France. They were willing to use strong arm methods until, more recently, they tried to get integrated into the classical political game so they could get access to the money that comes with being in power.

In Greece, Golden Dawn openly proclaims its affinity to Hitler. Its symbol resembles a swastika and its militants have shaved heads and make the Nazi salute, with a raised arm, when they aren’t beating up immigrants.

In Hungary, the Jobbik Party also has the appearance of a fascist party: a militia which parades in uniform and whose armed members regularly take part in brutal intimidation against the Roma minority.

All these parties based their election campaigns on propaganda against immigrants and minorities. In Holland, Wilders promised to “deal with the Moroccans.” Farage in Britain rails against Romanians. The Northern League of Italy, the Austrian FPO, the Danish Popular Party and the French National Front all make scapegoats of immigrants. The progress of these parties contributes to divisions in the working class. And the parties in power in each of these countries, not to be outdone, harden their language and policies toward immigrants by demanding tighter borders, for example.

The success of these far right parties certainly has to be put in perspective. On the one hand, a great many voters abstained from voting in the election for the European Parliament, especially in workers’ neighborhoods. On average in the European countries, 57% of registered voters abstained, 64% in Great Britain, 71% in Hungary, 87% in Slovakia, etc. On the other hand, those parties that insist on national sovereignty usually do well in European elections.

Although the results of the far right were limited, and different in the various countries, this similar development in so many countries is nonetheless a danger for workers, especially when these parties attract working class voters.

The advance of these parties is one of the political consequences of the economic crisis which has continued in Europe since 2008. It comes from the absence of parties which fight against the capitalist system on the grounds of the working class struggle. A broad upheaval of the working class would undermine the base of the far right, while showing that workers can fight for their own interests—the complete opposite of the hatred of foreigners of the far right. Today, no important political force raises this banner. Nevertheless, it is the only perspective which can put an end to the progress of reaction.