The Dutch elections and the danger of fascism
15 March 2017
The Dutch national elections, which are being held today, have been dominated by an outpouring of xenophobia, nationalism and racism on a scale unseen since the days when Adolf Hitler railed against the “Jewish conspiracy” in Berlin’s Sportpalast and Benito Mussolini whipped up crowds from the balcony of Rome’s Piazza Venezia.
Geert Wilders and his fascistic Party for Freedom have called for a ban on immigration from Muslim countries, the closure of mosques and a ban on the Koran. But Wilders, far from being the exception, has set the tone for the entire spectrum of Dutch politics, from the conservative government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte to the ex-Maoist Socialist Party.
“If you don’t like it here, you can leave,” Rutte told immigrants earlier this month. The Wall Street Journal commented that, coming from a “multilingual classical-music lover, long known for pro-globalization and socially liberal policies,” this rhetoric “epitomizes a European establishment” that is ever more openly embracing the right-wing populism embodied by Wilders.
The Journal noted, “In France, the presidential candidate for conservative party Les Républicains, François Fillon, has heavily focused on defending French cultural identity,” while “German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeking a fourth term in September, has stepped back from her open-door immigration policy.” The newspaper added, “In the U.K., Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May has made stronger immigration controls a priority for the country’s future relations with the EU.”
The seemingly magnetic appeal of Wilders’ right-wing populism to bourgeois politicians on both sides of the Atlantic was expressed in an outburst by US…