Last week, a New York court charged white supremacist and army veteran, James Jackson, with second-degree murder for fatally stabbing a black man, Timothy Caughman, to death. Jackson later revealed that his frequent usage of neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, informed his hate views confirming the violent rise in far-right activities.
Like other hate-fueled crimes committed in the last few months across Europe and the U.S., an unrestrained progression in far-right attitudes, especially those ignorantly propagated by political leaders, might trigger more racial intolerance, negatively affect economies and serve a victory for religious extremism and communist states.
Most of these violent opinions have reversed racial and religious tolerance, triggering attacks on minority groups, and, if unchecked, might brook more violence with threat on social diversity. It could also re-institutionalize racism, leaving a negative backdrop on the prolific tourist industry in Europe and the U.S. since one in ten enterprises in the non-financial business economy of European states are linked to tourism.
These over 2.2 million enterprises employ 12 million persons. In fact, Germany and France are top beneficiaries, with an average of over €38 billion in revenue between them. Likewise in the U.S., tourism supports over 7 million jobs and produces an economic output of over $1.6 million.
Continue reading at Outset Magazine
With the recent rise to prominence of right-wing populist parties across Europe, it’s refreshing that Iceland has remained largely immune to such nationalistic rhetoric. On the continent, figures like Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands are capitalizing on what political scientists are calling a third wave of European populism that began after the international financial crisis of 2008. These parties are characterized by their anti-immigrant, and specifically, anti-Muslim sentiments. They fashion themselves the “protectors” of their homelands’ traditional culture against cosmopolitan globalism.
Yet, tiny Iceland has resisted this dirty brand of politics because of the rise of social movements that challenged the power structure of the Icelandic political establishment after the financial crisis of 2008. Unlike in other European countries, these social movements transformed themselves into a political movements, filling the vacuum of traditional center-right and center-left political parties, while also preventing far-right political projects from succeeding.
For starters, Iceland is a relatively young country that only became independent in 1944. It is a parliamentary democracy, based on coalitions because the Althing (parliament) has 63 members but a single party rarely has a clear majority. Unlike other Nordic countries, Iceland has been governed by the right for most of its history, either from the liberal conservative Independence Party or the center-right agrarian Progressive Party.
Continue reading at FEE.
On 15 March, the Dutch voted in their parliamentary elections in favour of the ruling Liberal party and against their own version of the alt-right. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) won 33 seats compared to insurgent candidate Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party’s (PVV) 20 seats. Although this triumph will act as a speed-bump for ethnic and economic nationalism, it is a temporary effect. The election was mostly about immigration, particularly of Muslims, and how to integrate them into Dutch society.
Now that they have won, centrist parties must learn that without incorporating some of the more legitimate and palatable concerns of voters concerned with immigration, they will be unable to maintain power. During the lead up to the election, Rutte warned of the need to integrate ethnic non-Dutch people to ensure every citizen shared the same basic secular and liberal values.
Rutte said everyone needed to know that the Netherlands wasn’t for people who “litter,” “spit,” “attack gay people”, or “shout at women in short skirts.” All of this was declared in a full-page advertisement which said people should “act normal or go away.”
By doing this, the VVD was able to steal some of the PVV’s rhetoric and, in turn, some of their voters. While such language from an establishment leader rattled the liberal and centrist press, it worked well and was copied by other parties. Finally, Rutte benefited from taking a firm stance on a visceral row with the Muslim-majority country, Turkey. The problem facing centrists is how to stop nativist parties that thrive on marginalising others without alienating increasing numbers of nativist voters.
Continue reading at EUobserver.