• Leanna Christina

The rise of the far right (again & again)

Not even 24 hours passed between Raphael Warnock becoming Georgia’s first Black senator and a mob of angry white people storming the US Capitol, in what seems a pathetic attempt at a coup d’etat. Queue collective eye-roll. As ‘the new south’ emerged and the Democrats were delivered majority control of the Senate, a group of Republican congressman challenged Joe Biden’s election victory (again) and a pro-Trump mob “organised” itself outside of the Capitol to “Stop the Steal” - which means too many "non-white" people voted in this election. Luckily for them, they didn’t need to be organised, because as previously mentioned, they’re white and instead of saying ‘storming the US Capitol’ as I previously stated, let’s just say that they walked in and petulantly messed the place up a bit. Basically, all they actually achieved in this was to show the world that everything the BLM protests have been saying about US law enforcement is in fact true. In reality though, the US is edging scarily closer to falling under fascist rule.

The whole situation is ridiculous, and terrifying. It would be easy to say that this is down to Trump and Trumpism alone, and of course he contributed in MANY ways, but really he is just a catalyst, not the initiator. The Trump hangover is not going to disappear once he is kicked out of the Oval office, or off of Twitter. The truly disturbing fact is that far right movement’s are growing emboldened throughout the US and Europe, and its been a steady rise over the past few decades that has escalated rapidly within the last 10 years. Just last year we saw the far-right anti-vaxxers attempt to breach German parliament, and the far-right Farmers Defence Force has been continuously destroying government offices and threatening politicians in the Netherlands since 2019. Nationalist and populist parties gain support using different tactics in each country. In Hungary, France and Italy we've seen a focus primarily on the perceived threat of Islam. However, in the UK and US, that isn't enough, so we see it played out alongside propaganda relating to the perceived threat to ‘national identity’ from ‘ethnic minorities’. Within these slightly varying tactics there is the underlying unifier: the ambivalent relationship with Nazi and fascist ideology. And there are similar icky outcomes, including but not limited to: Brexit, Trump, Orbán & Morawiecki. And then there are the less overt signifiers of far-right sympathising, in the UK the Conservative Party are currently waging a cultural war against anti-capitalist discourse, while the PM refuses to sever his links to European extremist parties.

How the hell did we get here? As always it is a nuanced and complicated topic, one that includes not only echo chambers and conspiracy theories, but also straightforward vote grabbing and popularity contests. Let us commence a slow clap for the cowardice and shortsighted opportunism of the mainstream right - politicians, journalists and pundits all included. In the past few decades these right-wingers have pandered to the far-right electorate by defining them as “the real people” and misrepresenting this loud minority as the silent majority. In the UK, we have watched this play out in our own conservative media, but it is amplified in the US by Fox News and the still formidable infrastructure of the white evangelicals (who genuinely believe that they are more discriminated against than Muslims in the US). When politicians refuse to shut down these false claims of “white victimhood” by denouncing these baseless claims, and instead choose to defend them as “the left behind” or exalt them as “the people", we see this minority emboldened to the point where they no longer feel the need to hide behind masking narratives such as “economic anxiety”. And these mainstream right-wing politicians who initially sought the far-right’s political support, end up becoming afraid to speak out against an increasingly violent insurgence of their own making.

This open political violence of a right-wing mob that played out at the US Capitol should serve as a stark warning to current and future journalists, pundits, politicians, and to the actual silent majority of liberal democracy, who are fast becoming the ignored and unprotected as their representatives play Russian Roulette with opportunistic coalitions. The warning is that supporting far-right groups leads to a very real threat to liberal democracy - it paves the way to fascism. It is no longer just the right thing to do, it is now essential that our representatives call out racism, reject the toxic narrative of white-victimhood, and openly stand against the far-right. This is not saying that white struggles should not be acknowledged, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the BIPOC population. It's about time that the so-called "left behind" accept that shit rolls down hill, and no matter how much conservative media distributors would like us to believe that it's people in worse off positions than us who are making our lives more difficult - it is not.