By Charlie Kimber
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Far right and fascist parties gain in EU elections

The anti-migrant rhetoric of neoliberal and social democratic politicians has encouraged wider racism and fuels the far right
Issue 2809
Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron illustrating an article about the Euro elections

France’s neoliberal president Emmanuel Macron (right) and Germany’s Labour-type chancellor Olaf Scholz have fuelled the rise of the far right in the EU elections (Picture: Olaf Scholz on Twitter/X)

Voting for the European parliament showed a surge in support for the far right and fascists. In much of Europe conservative parties did well too.

In France the fascist RN party, led by Marine Le Pen, took  32 percent of the vote, twice the score of neoliberal Emmanuel Macron’s alliance. In 2019 the RN grabbed 23.3 percent of the vote and their advance this time was so big that the humiliated Macron called emergency parliamentary elections. The first round of voting is in just three weeks on 30 June, with a second round on 7 July.

Macron’s gamble is that the shock of Le Pen’s advance—and another fascist party took 5.3 percent of the vote—could panic voters into backing him. But his alliance could be crushed, which would force him to appoint a prime minister from another party, such as the conservative Les Republicains or even the RN.

In a positive sign, thousands of anti-racists gathered spontaneously at Place de la République in Paris on Sunday night in response to the European election results and the announcement of a general election.

Other parties in France trailed behind the fascists.

The alliance led by the Labour-type Socialist Party was on 14 percent and Jean-Luc Melenchon’s LFI on 10 percent. There is now talk of a “Republican front” where parties outside the fascists all agree to support one another. But it is these compromising politics that blunted the left and partially created the conditions for the fascist rise. 

There needs to be broad anti-fascist campaigning and a strong and militant left.

The 720-member European parliament has little real power. It can’t start a law-making process and can’t decide the budget. These are the preserve of the unelected European Commission. 

So there’s not much interest in the results and overall turnout is only around 50 percent.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t dire warnings here. The elections come in an atmosphere poisoned with pro-war and racist policies from nearly all the mainstream forces. 

The anti-migrant rhetoric of neoliberal Emmanuel Macron in France or the Labour-type Olaf Scholz in Germany encourages wider racism.

Under EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen from the German conservatives, the European Union has imposed a policy of deterring migrants by letting them perish. In the last decade, almost 30,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean alone while trying to reach Europe. 

In Germany, the far right AfD took 16 percent—second to the conservative CDU-CSU on 30 percent. 

The Labour-type Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Liberal Democrats (FDP)—who form the national government—together accounted for less than a third of all votes.

Sahra Wagenknecht’s BSW party—a variant of the “for the workers not the wokers” mix of economic leftism and anti-migrant social conservatism—is on 5.7 percent. It would enter the parliament for the first time. The Die Linke party that Wagenknecht broke from was on an all-time low.

In Austria, the fascist FPO was the leading party with 29 percent of the vote, 12 percentage points higher than in 2019. At the same time the conservative  OVP was down 13 points.

The Austrian general election is scheduled for September. This result confirms the fascists could be the biggest party and should be a spur to anti-fascist campaigning. 

In Italy, fascist Giorgia Meloni’s dominance of official politics continued. Her Brothers of Italy polled 29 percent of the vote.

Most governments of all hues across Europe back the Israeli genocide in Gaza and urge escalation by Ukraine against Russia.

In the absence of a fighting left, the far right profit from the crisis of the mainstream.

That does not mean the rise of the fascists is inevitable. The movement for Palestine, engaging many millions across Europe and Britain shows the potential for an anti-imperialist force that also raises sharp questions about capitalism and the limitations of what passes for democracy.

Constructing mass unity against racism and war, while building a revolutionary socialist core, is more urgent than ever. 


Macron’s compromises fed into right wing gain

The French result is the clearest example of how peddling racism feeds the far right rather than shutting it out. As one leading French political analyst said last Sunday night, “Emmanuel Macron promised to be a wall against the RN, instead he has been a causeway toward power for them.”

At the end of last year interior minister Gerald Darmanin pushed through a vicious anti-migrant law—with the support of the fascists. That only made the fascists seem more credible, and predictably led them to call for even harsher measures.

And Macron’s government has also strengthened police powers, banned some Palestine demonstrations and pushed through rounds of Islamophobic measures. Macron’s militarism—calls for Nato to send troops to Ukraine—has also given a boost to the imperialism and nationalism that the fascists gain from.

Fascism is defeated by confronting it, not compromising with it. The Marche des Solidarites anti-racist group said on Monday, “Macron and Darmanin opened the way to fascism. “There is urgency—unity in the struggle, French youth, immigrant youth, workers with and without papers against racism, colonialism and fascism!”


Why did Macron call a shock election?

President Emmanuel Macron’s gamble is that the shock of Marine Le Pen’s advance—and another fascist party took 5.3 percent of the vote—could panic voters into backing him or other neoliberal forces. But his alliance could be crushed, which would force him to appoint a prime minister from another party, such as the conservative Les Republicains or even Le Pen’s RN party.

Macron may calculate that if they head the government the RN will be judged incompetent and seriously discredit themselves. This is to play with the real danger to tens of millions of people if the RN wins. It would be a threat to migrants, Muslims and the whole working class.

An RN prime minister would encourage every rancid racist in the cops and the army. It would encourage the extra-parliamentary fascist gangs that, although small at the moment, will grow.

There is now talk of a “Republican front” where parties outside the fascists all agree to support one another. But it is these compromising politics that blunted the left and partially created the conditions for the fascist rise.

There will now be intense discussion on the left about electoral unity between the Labour-type Socialist Party (PS), Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Insoumise, the Greens and the Communists.

It’s likely everyone will say they are in favour of this—but on what basis? The PS will demand that it gives ground to the right and, for example, breaks from support for the Palestinians.

There needs to be broad anti-fascist campaigning and a strong and militant left. In a positive sign, thousands of anti-racists gathered spontaneously at Place de la République in Paris last Sunday night.

They were out in response to the European election results and the announcement of a general election. They chanted, “The youth hate the RN” and many called for a united left.

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