Saturday, 01 October 2011 02:48

The European face of the far right

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The Eurozone crisis is being heralded as the downfall of the European Union. But the far more dangerous influences lie on the fringes of mainstream politics. The far right are back from oblivion, they've got a new mainstream face, and it's European.


On the 22nd July 2011 Anders Breivik walked into a summer youth camp in Utøya, Norway and killed 69 young left-wing activists. It was a politically motivated killing spree that shook Europe and refocused attention to the extreme right of the political spectrum. Yet it is the far right political movements, often seen as the acceptable face of fascism, rather than the spontaneous outbursts of violence that hold the real threat to Europe.

Photo: Moony (BY-NC)
Same ideas in a new and different form?

Having given up on extreme violence and donned the suit of a politician, a wide range of far right politicians issued condemnations of Breivik's act. These included prominent Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who described Breivik as 'violent and sick'. Yet those same politicians who publicly denounced his violent means would also find a lot in common with the central ideas of Breivik's 1,467 page manifesto 'A European declaration of Independence'.

Acting as the call to a European civil war, Breivik's manifesto displays a familiar brand of anti-immigration, anti-Islamic populism that has taken root in many rightist movements across Europe. Based upon the claim that Islamic culture is not compatible with Western European civilisation, it argues for a long term campaign to remove it from European countries. Whilst Breivik's invocation of defensive war may be more violently extreme than anything the far right would suggest, it is the essence of what Wilders argued for when he called for the expulsion of Muslims who 'cause problems, and their whole family' and an immediate halt to immigration into the Netherlands from Muslim countries. 


A broad consensus exists among far right parties that emphasises Islam as a dangerous and alien culture that is fundamentally incompatible with the West. In particular they emphasise that the implementation of sharia law is a natural consequence of Islam's presence in Europe - Islam often being conflated with a radical Islamist variation. Futhermore, they argue that the state policy of multiculturalism is, instead of promoting cultures living together, leading to 'the ongoing Islamic colonisation of Europe', in which western culture is being placed under threat.

Key tropes of cultural annihilation are being harnessed by the far right to provoke people's fear of the relatively new complexity in their societies brought on by a rapidly globalising world. In response, parties such as the British National Party and Front Nationale posit a wave of direct, seemingly simple measures to reverse the consequences of immigration into European countries. These include policies against the building of mosques, bans on importing halal meat, and the promise to end a perceived tide of foreign immigration.

Increasingly even the most ardent proponents of national values are adopting a wider understanding of what they are fighting for.
Friday, 23 September 2011 01:45

The deadline is approaching!

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Want to meet the E&M team, have fun and discover your personal Europe? Now you have a chance to do so: in December, we'll be running a workshop in Berlin. But you need to apply in the next few days: the deadline is the 26th of September. For more details or to apply, click here. We're especially still looking for applicants from the UK, Poland and Spain!

The title of the workshop is "Do you speak European?", and we'll be spending a week answering that question. Each day will have a theme, like European literature or European cooking. We hope that by the end of the week, we will have put together a treasury of videos, photos and statements - not to mention recipes! - which will explore different ways of understanding everyday life in our various corners of the continent.

After our last workshop, many of the articles created were published, and some of the participants went on to become writers or even editors at E&M magazine. So apply now, and make E&M your project!

In cooperation with: Kulturstiftung.Compressed
youth_in_action Jugend_fuer_Europa

This project is financed with support from the European Union through the program YOUTH IN ACTION. The content of this project does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the national agency JUGEND für Europa and they cannot be held responsible for them.

Thursday, 08 September 2011 00:11

Wired in #22: Gandhi's Gunn

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Now here's a band for all the hard rock fans out there! Ghandi's Gunn is a stoner rock band from Genoa, Italy that just got their first album out with an independent record label last year. They have a truly developed, dark sound and play some powerful riffs. Their stage experience combined with their singer's extraordinary voice definitely makes this band special and definitely worth checking out! Read E&M's interview with  all the band members and find out what they think about Genoa's music scene, stoner rock, and EU politics.


E&M: So, what's the lifestyle of an Italian stoner rock band like?

Hobo: It's the lifestyle of someone who is somewhere between living for the music and struggling to survive for all the rest.

E&M: Is there a big rock scene in Genoa?

Maso: We are in good company, but it’s not easy to gain visibility and in our town there are bands who deserve something more, like Vanessa van Basten, Stalker, 2Novembre, PEK …. Unfortunately in Italy there is not a strong rock culture and commercial, melodic pop is what people like the most.

E&M: I saw that you've already been playing with bands from all over the world. What was that like, how did you meet them?

Sunday, 04 September 2011 09:23

Join E&M in winning a bet for young Europeans!

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How well did they handle the Libya crisis? Who really has power in the EU? Do young Europeans even care about European foreign policy? Answer these questions and join E&M in this amazing opportunity to make your voice heard!

The German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) is hosting a conference: "Berliner Forum Außenpolitik" on November 29th, to celebrate its 60th anniversary. They have asked E&M and the Körber Foundation to help them involve young Europeans in this celebration.

We have made a bet with a prominent European politician that we can find 10,000 young European to fill in a survey on European Foreign Policy. To win, we need 10,000 people to fill in an online survey, just 17 questions, about European foreign policy, which is now online at E&M at www.europeandme.eu/survey

If we achieve our goal by November 1st, we will have won the bet and the politician must specifically make your views heard through a speech about the results of the survey and meet representatives from Young Europeans across the continent. In other words, this is a great opportunity for you to raise your voice and be heard! By the end of this bet, we will hopefully have shown that young Europeans care about European foreign policy and that we are a force to be reckoned with. With your help, we're sure we can succeed!


Love E&M Editors xx 

IN -1773 DAYS