The far right in Britain has the wind in its sails in a way that it hasn’t since the 1930s, writes Phil Hearse.
The rise of the far right around the world, with fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil close to joining the growing ranks of authoritarian far right leaders, many on the left are wondering how to respond.
The parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century are clear.
In July, Canadian Marxist academic and activist John Riddell gave a speech, abridged below, at a York University seminar entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right”.
The relationship between Italians and fascism has always been ambivalent in the aftermath of World War II. This is mainly because Italians have never come to terms with its fascist past.
As a result, neo-fascist groups are flourishing today amid increasing social and political hatred, and receiving considerable media coverage. This includes groups such as CasaPound (named after the fascist poet Ezra Pound) and Forza Nuova (New Force).
After 60 days of discussions, negotiations for a new governing coalition have failed in Germany, leaving the country without a government.
Last September’s general election – in which the far-right obtained an unprecedented and alarming result – left no party with an absolute majority, forcing incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel to look for partners to form a new government.
A new wave of neo-fascist sentiment has been emerging in recent years in Europe, endangering the basis of Western democracy.
Just think of the Ukraine, where the Communist Party has been banned, or Hungary, where the President Viktor Orban built an anti-migrant wall along the Serbian border (and is about to build a new one). Or Poland, where the parliament recently approved an illiberal law designed to limit the autonomy of the judiciary, subordinating it to the diktats of the justice minister.
April 26 marked the 80th anniversary of the infamous aerial bombing of Gernika by the forces of General Francisco Franco in the fascists’ war against the Spanish Republic. The war began when Franco led a military rebellion against the legitimate, elected republican government in 1936, with the fascists eventually triumphing in 1939.
The Basque Country is a historically oppressed nation divided between the Spanish and French states. It was the scene of some of the worst fascist violence.
On April 25, 1945, the National Liberation Committee of Northern Italy (CLNAI), called for an insurrection against the Nazi-Fascist occupation of Italy.
Based in Milan, the Committee was led by (among others) Sandro Pertini, a key figure of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) who later became Italian president in 1978.
Pertini made the announcement to the “Italian citizens and workers”, declaring: “Nazi-Fascist occupation must be ended and Italy has to be liberated, so the invaders have to surrender or perish.”
Jock Palfreeman is a 30-year-old Australian man wrongly jailed for the murder of a neo-Nazi in Bulgaria in 2007. Palfreeman came to the assistance of a Roma man being assaulted by a gang of fascist football hooligans. During the ensuing fight, one of the attackers was fatally stabbed.
The dead youth came from a family with powerful political connections. Despite serious weaknesses in the case against him, Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years in jail.