European Race Bulletin no. 53
‘Fighting fascism, preserving democracy’ examines the growth of racist and far-Right parties in seventeen EU countries, and Norway and Switzerland.
Building on recent research from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, Fighting fascism, preserving democracy critiques government-led anti-fascist programmes, examines official responses to racist crimes and documents the ways in which the electoral campaigns of political parties are pandering to racism and extremism.
The briefing paper, based on case studies, falls into three sections:
- Section I provides examples of how poorly thought-out governmental strategies against the far-Right end up being counter- productive. Banning neo-nazi parties, for instance, increases their popularity (particularly among young people) and/or displaces the problem of far-Right activity onto neighbouring countries. And the failure to use existing public order and incitement laws and the ordinary criminal law against neo-Nazi and racist extremists allows these groups to grow in confidence.
- Section II provides case studies and NGO reports of how racial violence and neo-Nazi-inspired hate crimes are becoming more brutal. In particular, Muslim communities, especially Muslim places of worship, are increasingly being targeted by the far -right which is, in many countries, organising street protests and disturbances and engaging in systematic street violence. While young people are often the victims of racist crimes, they are also now one of the main instigators of racist crimes. And yet insufficient attention has been given to educational strategies for children and young people to combat racism.
- Section III provides country reports on elections in which xenophobic slogans and, propaganda have been used – to the extent that parties’ language has bordered on incitement to racism. Politicians are increasing the climate of hate through their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim or anti-Roma rhetoric in parliaments and governments, which are failing to speak out against racist crimes, are developing a culture of ‘blaming the victim’.
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Section i: Eliminating electoral racism – The failure of states to protect minority communities from racial violence is compounded by the opportunistic way in which race, religion and immigration are discussed in local, regional and federal elections.
Section ii: Protecting ethnic minorities – Many politicians, far from supporting minority rights, are fanning the flames of prejudice by accusing ethnic minorities of aiding the far-Right by failing to integrate.
Section iii: Fighting fascism – How can governments combat the activities of racist and far-Right parties that undermine democracy while, at the same time, preserving civil rights and democratic values such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly?
40pp. This briefing paper is issue No 53 of the IRR European Race Bulletin. Subscribe now to the European Race Bulletin (four issues a year) and we will send you Fighting fascism, preserving democracy free of charge.