Are You Scared Yet?


By Jason Michael


Right wing politics is frightening. It is bullying and violent, and that now it is packaged in an expensive suit and about to take up residence in the White House makes it all the more terrifying. In the West we are at the cliff edge of a drop into a nightmare.

The return of right-wing populist politics to Europe is no longer anecdotal. No longer are racist and xenophobic fascist, neo-Nazi thugs a spectacle from the fringes of European street politics. Fascism in Europe is on the march, and it is growing at a truly terrifying rate. Globalisation, a widening income gap, a fearmongering right-wing media, and a rejection of the social and political élite are all contributing factors to this growing nightmare, but the long predicted lurch to the right has become a reality and we have every reason to be frightened.


Fifteen years of neo-conservative terror scare fantasies have cemented in the popular Western imagination the idea that radical Islam poses an existential threat to American and European – read: “white” – civilisation. Islamic terrorism is real. We have all now witnessed it in action, but that every Muslim is a potential terrorist and that “Islamism” is a well-funded and organised, global network of radicalised killers are fictions dreamt up in Washington to legitimise the expansion of the neoliberal shock doctrine into the Middle East.

A decade and a half of continual US-led warfare in a so-called War on Terror has fragmented Middle Eastern society and destabilised its state structures to the point of ruin. It has brought the world’s most powerful nations back into a nuclear stand-off. Rather than winning the war against terrorism, it has unified disparate groups under the banner of resisting Western domination. It has created Daesh – a violent Jihadist proto-state the US and European media continues to weaponise against innocent Muslims by referring to it as the “Islamic State.”

Europe’s far-right movements are not reacting to terrorism, as terrorism remains a significantly smaller risk to life and well-being than the manifold state driven austerity programmes that are hurting everyone. They are reacting to the fiction being presented to them by their governments and in the media. What comes from this is that the refugees presently fleeing war-zones are being identified as a potential threat in an imagined plot they have labelled the “Islamisation of Europe.”

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It matters nothing that this is a work of popular, state, and media fiction. What matters is that it is true to the growing number of people who are being radicalised by this narrative. Islamophobia was a key ingredient in the success of the Brexit campaign, as it was in the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful political office in the world. Anti-Islamic racism has come to be a unifying force for far-right groups and political parties across Europe and North America, and Brexit and the election of Trump have sent them the message that they are winning.

Right-wing extremism is now at a level unseen in Europe since the 1930s and we have seen it enter so far into the mainstream that now even the centre and left media is being forced to normalise it. It would be economic suicide for heads of state to call Trump out on his racism. It just won’t do to call the president of the United States politically incorrect names. By extension, then, right-wing parties and groups that share his ideas on foreigners will be handed an effective free pass by the media and the state. Rightist politics becomes the new paradigm.


Rise of the Right: Marching in Europe’s Largest Nationalist Event


Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

 

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