The trinidad Guardian / A week ago today Germany put a far right party, Alternative for Germany (AFD), into its Parliament, the Bundestag. The last time that happened was more than 50 years ago. The AFD, which relentlessly attacked the decision of Chancellor Angela Merkel to allow over a million (mainly Muslim) refugees into Germany, got the third largest number of votes in the election, came second in what used to be East Germany, and took away over a million votes from the ruling coalition.
It will be recalled that in the 2017 French Presidential Election, the candidate of the far right National Front (NF) Marie Le Pen actually advanced to the second round of voting where she was eventually defeated by Emmanuel Macron. Earlier this week, neither of the conventional parties won a sufficient majority in the New Zealand General Elections to form a government, and the far right party New Zealand First (NZF) holds the balance of power.
The AFD, NF and NZF are described as “nationalistic” parties, assuming of course that “nationalistic” means being virulently anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and racist. The rise of these parties is thought to be a reaction in those countries to the rise of multi-culturalism, political correctness, and economic stagnation among the white working class. Analysts have shown that these parties have support, not only among white working class men, but also among white women and the white privileged and wealthy.
Of course over a year ago Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU) (the so-called Brexit vote), and last November Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. The Brexit campaign as championed by, principally, Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), and the Trump campaign both appealed to the same demographic of white working class, white women and the white wealthy, warned against immigration, used coded messages to warn against foreigners, Muslims and Islam generally, and won.
Something is happening globally that we should all pay attention to. In the Western World the very notion of a multi-ethnic, cultural and religious society is being challenged as unsupportable, undesirable and unwanted.
Economic statistics are bandied about to support the idea that foreigners take jobs away from nationals, or idly live on the welfare financed by the overtaxed nationals. These statistics are usually incorrect, and deliberately so. In the same way that, as in the 1960s and 70s, hard-working West Indian and Indian immigrants were subjected to abuse as they performed the same low paying jobs that the British eschewed, the equally hard-working Eastern Europeans and Mexicans, in the UK and the USA respectively, are being targeted unfairly for criticism.
Of course the stupidity of the terrorists who, using the name of a religion, attack innocent civilians of all religions on city streets plays straight into the hands of the fear mongers, who exploit such stupidity to further their own agenda by creating stereotypes and making generalisations.
While it cannot be denied that there are aspects of multi-culturalism and political correctness which confront and even deliberately defy the very idea of assimilation and integration, and naturally create resentment, the fact of the matter is that pure unadulterated racism is the principal player in this recent rise of “nationalism”.
In the Western World certain elements of the dominant majority groups, motivated by race, keep trying to create a false feeling that the majority groups to which they belong are under some kind of threat, and to manufacture a response to it. The fact that the existing well-established global order destroys their argument is kept hidden away.
The irony of course, as the British are discovering as they withdraw from the EU, is that any nation which embraces this “nationalism” will likely face a decline in economic power and in the quality of lives of its people. Recognition of this will more likely than not prevent the rise of this recent movement. Let us hope so.