What time is it? Look at the European elections

A World to Win News Service for 9 June 2019 contains one article. It may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as it is credited.

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What time is it? Look at the European elections

The elections for the European Union Parliament in late May reflected powerful currents ripping through the global capitalist imperialist order. These elections normally are low key compared to national elections around Europe. This year was different. In most countries turnout was markedly higher, and around the continent fascist forces gained or kept ground in the European Parliament.

The global crisis boiling up within the capitalist-imperialist system has led growing sections of ruling classes in Europe, as around the world, to turn to desperate measures – to shift their allegiance away from the traditional liberal, multicultural forms of bourgeois-democratic rule that have prevailed since World War 2 and towards fascism. Throughout Europe, the “left-wing” parliamentary parties – among them Britain’s Labour, Germany’s Social Democrats and Greens, Denmark’s Social Democrats, France’s Socialists – resist the rise of the fascists, even as they adopt ever larger parts of their programme. Both ends of this traditional bourgeois spectrum, fascist and social democratic alike, are, ultimately, representatives of the same capitalist-imperialist system.

The EU Parliamentary elections took on unusual importance in this turbulent landscape. In Europe so far fascists “only” hold power in Hungary, Poland and Italy. But everywhere they are increasingly setting the terms for the way society is governed. In Hungary, immigrants are locked up in near-starvation conditions in barbed-wire camps while Jews are blamed for their presence. In Poland, abortion is banned amid strident calls for a religious crusade to make Europe Catholic. “Dark” faces in Italy’s streets are regularly hunted and beaten, while Mussolini (the father of modern fascism and Hitler’s Italian ally before and during World War 2) is rehabilitated. It had long been assumed by progressive people in Europe that the continent had been immunized against the return of fascism by the horrors experienced in the 1930s and 1940s. Reality is starkly demonstrating otherwise.

In France, the fascist party of Marine LePen came first in the EU elections, amid the near collapse of the “left” and “right” parties that have taken turns governing for generations. Le Pen crowed that this strengthened her claim for legitimacy as head of state, a “representative of the people”.

In the UK, the two political parties, Tory and Labour, that have taken turns crushing the people and their minds for a century were hit hard by the rise of the Brexit Party of Nigel Farage – the openly fascist father of the “leave the EU” movement – with his slogan, “Put the great back in Great Britain”. Farage is the personification of the racism and unabashed xenophobia and nationalism that was always at the heart of Brexit. The current Tory Prime Minister Theresa May has resigned in disgrace. The leading candidate for her replacement is Boris Johnson, who has Trump’s open support. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party are out to prove that they too can “get back control of our borders and our country”, deciding everything on the basis of what appears good for “the British worker” – “our people”. This is all the more disgusting in countries whose wealth was amassed through imperialist looting and slavery, and whose immigrants largely come from former colonies and other oppressed countries, crushed – then and now – to produce this wealth.

In Germany, the mainstream media expressed relief that, “after all”, the fascist AfD didn’t do as well as feared. Yet this is a country where not only has the AfD become normalized, with over 90 representatives in the Bundestag, but so has the outlook that party represents. The ruling coalition led by Angela Merkel, which effectively justified mob attacks against immigrants, has now declared that religious Jews should not expect to be protected if they are seen wearing a yarmulke (skull cap) – an ominous sign in the land that gave the world Aushchwitz.

All this has implications beyond Europe’s borders. In a Paris interview, the American fascist ideologue Steve Bannon emphasized the relationship between the world fascist movement’s component parts and its overall momentum: “Trump would not have been elected without Brexit. It gave him a push. If populists [here meaning fascists… (do well in these elections)], that will give him another push that will help him in 2020 [the next U.S. presidential elections].” (Le Parisien, 17 May)

The economies and states that emerged after the unprecedented disasters of World War 2 – old and new representatives of the same ruling classes as before – were supposed to prove that capitalism-imperialism had fundamentally changed, that now it was a force for good. Since then, bourgeois democracy has meant, as a poet wrote, “ballot boxes stuffed with corpses”. An honest look at what’s going on right now shows this: For years now thousands of immigrants have been drowning in the Mediterranean every year while “civilised” Europe has erected ever greater barriers to their entry. Now it’s been made illegal to rescue refugees in distress – by the fascist government of Italy and the “centrist” government of France, with full-out support from the EU and UN. Tens of thousands of children have starved to death, and hospitals and homes are constantly bombed in Yemen – with the UK and France, along with the fascist Trump regime in the US, giving the military and logistics backing to Saudi Arabia that makes this invasion possible. Syria, Libya and so many other countries have been torn apart in wars fuelled by imperialist rivalries and a religious fundamentalism that came out of the womb of the imperialist system itself – which is one key reason immigrants are fleeing to Europe in the first place! And everywhere the onslaught on the environment continues unabated, even as scientists report with increasing frequency that the ecological crisis facing the planet is accelerating.

In this situation of great turmoil, there is an urgent need for the emergence of a core of revolutionary forces that are clear on the need to unite broadly with the seething anger and disgust at the rising fascist forces, while pointing out how they grow from the soil of capitalism itself. A force that understands that parties like UK Labour and the rest of the parliamentary “left” around Europe are more afraid of rousing the masses from below to fight the rise of the fascists than they are of the fascists themselves – that they seek to resolve the crisis facing this system on the terms of the system – and that their main role is to corral and domesticate dissent, keeping it within the proven established channels of that system.

One vital step in this effort is for people in Europe to check out the writings and videos of Bob Avakian, the architect of the new communism, who has extensively and deeply analyzed the rise of the fascist Trump-Pence regime in the US within the context of the history and dynamics of capitalist-imperialism. Go to revcom.us and check out in particular the video: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go/ In the name of humanity, we REFUSE to accept a fascist America”. There are also numerous film clips of the Q&A with BA following the film that are of key relevance to young revolutionaries in Europe, such as “The Democrats are supposed to be the lesser of two evils, but I don’t want to vote for them. I know the system sucks, but what are we supposed to do in the interim?”, or “What’s the relationship between driving out the Trump/Pence fascist regime and making revolution?” and many more.

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“Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as ‘enemies’, ‘undesirables’, or ‘dangers to society’.
“At the same time – and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini – while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its programme overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors – if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, ‘conversion’, prison or execution.” – www.revcom.us

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