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Kosovo


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Let Us Come out
of Our Circles of Blue and
Become Informed!

MADRID (Reuters 17/10/98) - Spainish Judge, Baltasar Garzon broadened
 his arrest warrant for Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet  Monday 
to charges of genocide, torture and terrorism involving 94 people of different 
nationalities. Garzon, who has created diplomatic waves with his successful 
request for Pinochet's arrest in London, made the addendum to his previous 
arrest warrant as he worked on a formal argument for the ex-strongman's 
extradition to Spain.
"This widens the request for provisional, unconditional imprisonment of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte for the reasons described in this resolution...on crimes of genocide, terrorism and torture,'' said the document, which was sent to British authorities who detained Pinochet last Friday night. Garzon had previously accused Pinochet of being involved in the torture and murder of 79 people. The broader warrant clarified that the victims were not only Spanish citizens but were also fromArgentina, Chile, the United States and Britain.
SUGGESTED MORAL: LIKE THE CAR IN THE PICTURE; WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND--
OR DOES IT?
PREPARE AN ORAL REPORT FOR CREDIT


REMEMBER BOSNIA, KOSOVO, RUANDA, ZAIRE,....REMEMBER.

or, LEST WE FORGET...

Thought    Provocation:    for    the    Day::



The Following text has been used in class for a reading comprehension exercise, and to stimulate discussion and writing. The book discussed below is available in the library.
What do you think?

		

SOCIAL CRISIS, POLITICAL STALEMATE

Europe's new fascist order _________________________________________________________________ The far right has never entirely disappeared from the scene in Europe, witness current developments in Austria (see article by Paul Pasteur). Some movements, excluded from the electoral system as in Scandinavia or the United Kingdom for example, turn to terrorism, others exploit the blurring of distinctions between right and left which makes a nonsense of political representation. Thus the problem is not so much the resurgence of 'fascism' as the numbing effect on democracy of political and economic consensus. by JEAN-YVES CAMUS * _________________________________________________________________ The collapse of the far right parties in the European elections on 13 June 1999 and the split in the French Front National suggested that they might be going into decline but the results of more recent ballots belie this prediction. On 3 October 1999 the Freedom Party under Jörg Haider came second in the Austrian elections, with 26.91% of the vote, and on 24 October the Swiss People's Party led by Christoph Blocher shared first place with the socialists, with 22.5% of the vote. In Germany, the German People's Union made its debut in various Land assemblies in the East, and in Norway the Progress Party made further gains in the municipal elections on 14 September 1999, with 13.4% of the vote (up by 1.4%). The persistence and electoral success of xenophobic parties in Western Europe are associated with the increasing prevalence of ultraliberal economic and social ideas and a distinct tendency among political leaders and captains of industry to regard the nation-state as a thing of the past. Thus the far right in Europe has acquired a base in society and now relies on the ballot box rather than militant activism to make its voice heard. Militant activism still gives cause for concern, however, in countries where there is no electoral outlet for extreme ideas, either because the voting system is antipathetic to minority parties - as with the ferocious first-past-the-post system in the United Kingdom - or because the social pressure against unconventional views is very strong - as in Sweden. Divisions in the organisation and a lack of charismatic leadership may also prevent movements from crystallising. In the past few years, various small, violent and overtly neo-nazi and racist groups have emerged, alongside or even within the mainstream parties (some militants belong to both). As political observers Jeffrey Kaplan and Leonard Weinberg explain (1), these groups have adopted the modus operandi of American terrorist groups such as The Order and Aryan Nations. They operate in the same way and have acquired a certain flair for action on the grand scale, witness the campaign of violence in Sweden. These dangerous movements, like some skinheads, have not however had any political or social repercussions - except among young people in the East German Länder. In countries where they are active, they explicitly claim affinity with national socialist or fascist ideology, with all the symbolic paraphernalia, even if means breaking the law. This far right family is in the minority at the moment. Far right parties with a genuine constituency were confined to Italy and the southern European dictatorships between 1945 and the 1980s. Now, with widespread and increasing poverty and the advent of multi-culturalism, they are active in most Western democracies. Immigration has brought waves of naturalisation and regularisation, accompanied in many countries by the granting of political rights and citizenship, and a policy of according legal recognition to the rights of minority languages and cultures. The far right's centre of gravity, located in the industrialising countries in the sixties and seventies, has now shifted to central and northern Europe. The Italian Socialist Movement, beacon of the far right in those early days, was superseded in the 1980s and 1990s by the French Front National. It in turn was a model for many movements in other countries which had varying degrees of success, at least in Western Europe: real but short-lived (Belgian Front National under Daniel Féret); considerable but not quite enough to get any members elected (Swedish Democrats); completely marginal in most cases (National Democracy in Spain, Italian National Front). But Jean-Marie Le Pen's party, split and doing badly in the polls, is no longer the perfect paradigm it once was. A third wave There is now a more promising third wave, represented by the populist movements north and south of the Alps (Jörg Haider's and Christoph Blocher's parties, Umberto Bossi's Northern League, and the Union of Ticino) and in Scandinavia (Carl Hagen's Progress Party in Norway and Pia Kjaersgaard's Danish People's Party) (2). These parties (except in the person of Jörg Haider himself) have no links with fascism or nazism. They believe in minimum state intervention, they are xenophobic but - at least in their official pronouncements - reject racial discrimination and anti-Semitism, they will not consider cooperating with bodies such as the Front National and the Flemish Bloc, which they regard as extremist, but they are willing to form coalition governments with parties of the right. These parties are not fascist in the traditional sense and their success cannot really be explained in essentialist terms (failure to denazify in Austria; deep-rooted xenophobia in Switzerland. Such factors do not even explain the success of hybrids such as the Front National in France or the Flemish Bloc in Belgium, far right parties that pick up on the protest vote. The Flemish Bloc is often described as the natural heir to the pro-nazi fringe of the Flemish movement before the war. But political commentator Marc Swyngedouw has pointed out that only 4% to 5% of its supporters are Flemish nationalists, compared with 17% of those who vote for the People's Union. So, as in the Front National, there appears to be a basic split between the leadership, which is still very much in line with the traditional far right in its convictions and its militant mindset, and the rank and file, which have no such political affiliations and may even once have had left-wing leanings. In Flanders 21% of the young people who voted socialist in 1991 later switched to the Flemish Bloc. In Austria the Freedom Party captured 213,000 votes from the Social Democrats in the 1999 general election. In Denmark 10% of those who supported the People's Party in 1998 had previously voted for the Social Democrats. It is also worth noting that the leaders of these parties often showed no sign of extremism in the past. Mogens Camre of the Danish People's Party was a member of parliament for the Social Democrats; Thomas Prinzhorn, a rising star in the Austrian Freedom Party, like Christoph Blocher, was a perfectly ordinary industrialist with nothing extreme about him. They are very different in this respect from Bruno Mégret and his republican Front National-Mouvement National and this may partly explain his failure to gain more support among members of the traditional right. Thus there are two conflicting concepts of the political struggle: backward-looking, generally in a counter-revolutionary, fundamentalist or nostalgic frame of mind, and looking to the future, accepting modernisation in order to gain power. Parties that have not redefined their position are shrinking and becoming marginalised. In Italy, the Social Movement of the Tricolour Flame, consisting largely of those who refused to accept the reforms imposed by Gianfranco Fini in 1995, now has only 1.6% of the vote. Parties whose only programme was to represent and defend authoritarian regimes (Spain, Portugal and Greece) have more or less disappeared (3). Xenophobic populist movements are making particularly spectacular gains among sections of the population where social status and jobs are most at risk. The situation in France is no exception: the Front National took 30% of the vote in some constituencies in the 1997 elections. There is also very marked support for these movements among young people (35% of the under-30s in Austria), people with no religious affiliation and non-voters. Various explanations have been advanced. According to some theories, economic or symbolic interests are the key. Sections of the population affected by the economic crisis see foreign labour as a threat and tend to vote for xenophobic parties. Thus, in Belgium the Flemish Bloc draws most of its support from unskilled labour and in the 1999 elections in Austria 48% of blue-collar workers voted for the Freedom Party putting it ahead of all other parties as the representative of that section of the electorate. In Germany, political commentator Patrick Moreau puts working class support for the Republican Party at 17% in the 1996 regional elections. He suggests that there is a close correlation between support for extremist movements and low levels of trade union membership, experience of unemployment, large families, dependence on social security and poor education. However, in Denmark and Norway, where the far right has 9.8% and 15.3% of the vote respectively, there is no discernible link with unemployment. Support for the far right in these countries comes from self-employed businessmen and, increasingly, from workers. In both countries, the Progress Parties are the leading workers' parties, ahead of the Social Democrats. A possible explanation is that in countries where the welfare state has done equally well under bourgeois or Social Democrat governments, working class loyalty to the left tends to be eroded. The authoritarian element that is part of the labour tradition takes over and turns to the new right as the only possible outlet. So we have a paradox. An electorate that is essentially of the people is voting for post-industrial far right parties, which have all to a greater or lesser extent adopted national and neoliberal programmes. They are, in short, free traders. Thus the Austrian Freedom Party's economic programme calls for complete deregulation of the Austrian economy to guarantee competitiveness and prosperity, and create jobs. The Swiss People's Party programme condemns social security fraud and calls for flexible wages and working hours and an end to various state benefits, to be accompanied naturally by tax arrangements that will be good for business. The Scandinavian parties grew out of protests against taxation and a desire to curb the powers of the welfare state, themes that find an echo in Belgium in the programme of the minority liberal wing of the Flemish Bloc led by MP Alexandra Colen. The Northern League in Italy is a more complicated case. It can be read as the response of the rising middle classes and small businessmen in northern Italy to a situation where modernisation of capitalism and a veritable explosion of micro-business undertakings has not been accompanied by an equally rapid modernisation of the institutional and political framework. This is the situation - this and the gap on the right caused by the collapse of the Christian Democrats - that allowed the Northern League to emerge, with its hatred of foreigners and southern Italians, protests against taxation, and claims to independence based on a fictitious identity and history (there never was an Independent Republic of Padania or a Padanian people). Herbert Kitschelt (4) thinks the reason for this popular support for neoliberalism is to be found in globalisation. In his view, globalisation prevents the introduction of egalitarian policies based on state intervention and leads the poorest voters to believe that social justice can be achieved by giving the market free play - or, as the populists and ultraliberals would have it, helping people to climb the social ladder by releasing creative energy, encouraging individual initiative, and keeping state intervention to a minimum. Parochial liberalism This may even partly explain the xenophobic element in the populist vote. Those who feel threatened by foreign competition in the labour market accept the populist parties' liberal programme simply because it proposes to bar immigrants from social security benefits and even jobs. Ultraliberalism seems to them to be tolerable if it is tempered with national preference. In France, however, the Front National - to a much greater extent than other parties of the far right - turned its back on liberalism after the social turning-point in the autumn of 1995. It is now inclined to admit that there should be some public services and social security provisions as well, though only for French citizens. The thesis is that politicians and civil servants are corrupt and inefficient, symbols of the failure of the system of state handouts - hence the insistent calls for security and order - the crushing burden of taxation caused by the dead weight of useless unproductive people as compared with the wealth creators (small businessmen, professionals, craftsmen, farmers and even workers). There may be no automatic correlation between the presence of foreigners and the far right vote but opposition to immigration is undoubtedly a major factor. It is clear from a 1997 Eurobaromčtre survey that French Front National, Belgian Flemish Bloc and German Republican Party voters are absolutely against immigration and reject any form of multi-culturalism - these parties' racial discrimination is based on the spectre of interbreeding. Adherents of other movements, such as the populist groups in Scandinavia, the National Alliance and the Northern League in Italy and the Freedom Party in Austria, are not so racist. Their opposition to immigration is based on a sense of cultural differences clearly expressed in Jörg Haider's programme. This holds that awareness of the special qualities of one's own people is inseparable from the desire to respect those of others, a formula largely borrowed from the ethnic differentialism of the new right. There is further evidence of the correlation between ultraliberal globalisation and the rise of the far right. According to the same survey, 87.5% of Republican Party supporters, 68.4% of Front National voters and 45.7% of those who support the Freedom Party think European union is a bad idea. Fewer Flemish Bloc supporters take that view - 40.8%, barely more than the socialists at 38.9%. This is probably because the idea of a multi-ethnic Europe is popular in the Flemish movement as offering the best antidote to the nation-state beloved of German, Austrian and French populists. This anti-European streak is also detectable in Scandinavia and Switzerland. The parties of the far right appear in fact to favour a kind of parochial liberalism, liberalism without free trade, confined within national borders and accompanied by a dismantling of social security provisions and state control. There has nevertheless been some movement. Thus the French Front National and several other like-minded bodies campaigned against the World Trade Organisation, though Christoph Blocher has nothing against it, while Jörg Haider supported Austria's bid to join Nato. Finally, the dead hand of the old party systems has undoubtedly played a decisive role in the emergence of the far right in Europe. In Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria - before the 1999 elections - and Belgium, the political scene was marked either by a permanent coalition (the Social-Democratic Party and the People's Party in Austria, Social Democrats and Conservatives, the magic Swiss formula ensuring stable distribution of seats in the Federal Council between the main parties) or by the regular alternation of social-democrat and right-wing liberal regimes, distinguishable only by the recipes they recommended for regulating or deregulating the market. The cronyism of the main parties and their incestuous relations with the state prevented any fundamental reform of the institutions and froze the electoral system. So wholesale rejection of politicians as a class was decisive in swinging votes to the Front National in France, the Flemish Bloc, in Belgium, the Freedom Party in Austria and the Northern League in Italy. Supporters of the Italian National Alliance were exceptional in accepting the rules of the democratic game and the power structures, which it joined. The only real exceptions were Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where there was a very strong consensus but even there the National Movement and the Centre Democrats failed. Apart from their undeniably authoritarian and xenophobic character, the radical parties of the right have undoubtedly benefited enormously from the blurring of the distinction between left and right and the very broad consensus in favour of bringing the social democrats into the new centre. In this sense, the fact that they represent the main dissenting voice - in societies where the clash of ideas is reduced to a debate on ways and means of managing the liberal model - brings the left face to face with its inadequacies and betrayals and the conservative right with its blindness and cowardice. It is difficult to predict what these parties could or would offer, once in power. The example of Italy suggests that the extreme right may be open to influence, up to a point. The opportunism of some leaders such as Jörg Haider supports this conjecture. When they get off their soap-boxes, they may fall into the shifting mould of liberal democracy. For the time being at any rate, we have to reckon with parties that will exert authoritarian pressure on the public authorities and bring back into public life values that are alien to democracy and that may be used to justify a degree of xenophobic violence. _________________________________________________________________ * Political commentator, author of "Les Extrémistes en Europe", the annual report of the Centre européen de recherche et d'action sur le racisme et l'antisémitisme (CERA), Editions de l'Aube, Paris, 1998, and "Front National: eine Gefahr für die französische Demokratie?", Bouvier Verlag, Bonn, 1998. (1)Jeffrey Kaplan and Leonard Weinberg, Fade to black: the Emergence of a Euro-American Radical Right, Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, New Jersey, 1998. (2) On neo-nazism in Sweden, see Démokratins förgörare (collected essays), Statens Offentliga Utredningar, Stockholm, 1999; on the new right in Denmark, see Johannes Andersen and others, Valelgere med omtanke. En analyse af folketingsvalget 1998, Forlaget Systime, Arhus, 1999. (3) The five phalangist or radical parties that ran in the European elections in June 1999 won 61,522 votes. In Portugal the neo-Salazarist National Alliance did not put up any candidates; in Greece two anti-Semitic parties, Front Line and Centre Union, together won 1.57% of the vote (101,044 votes). (4) Herbert Kitschelt, The Radical Right in Western Europe, University of Michigan Press, 1995. Glossary of parties referred to in the text Austria Freedom Party - Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs FPÖ Social-Democratic Party of Austria - Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs SPÖ Belgium and Luxembourg Front National FN Flemish Bloc - Vlaams Bloc VB National Movement - Nationalbewegong Denmark Danish People's Party - Dansk Folkeparti Progress Party - Fremskridtspartiet France National Front - Front National FN National Front-National Movement - Front National-Mouvement National FN-MN Germany German People's Union - Deutsche Volksunion DVU Republican Party - Die Republikaner Greece Front Line - Proti Grammi Centre Union - Enosis Kentrou Italy National Alliance - Alleanza Nazionale AN National Front - Fronte Nazionale Northern League - Lega Nord Social Movement of the Tricolour Flame - Movimento Sociale Fiamma Tricolore Italian Socialist Movement - Movimento Sociale Italiano MSI Netherlands Centre Democrats - Centrumdemokraten CD Norway Progress Party - Fremskrittspartiet FP Portugal National Alliance - Aliança Nacional Spain National Democracy - Democracia nacional Sweden Swedish Democrats - Sverigedemokraterna Switzerland Swiss People's Party - Union démocratique du centre UDC Union of Ticino - Lega dei Ticinesi Translated by Barbara Wilson _________________________________________________________________ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 1997-2000 Le Monde diplomatique


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