Why is the far-right benefiting from the crisis of capitalism?
28 September 2017
Sunday’s election in Germany saw the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and collapse of the official left party, the Social Democratic Party. With more than 90 deputies in the incoming parliament, the entry of the AfD will mark the first time since the end of the Third Reich that outright fascists and racists participate in the national legislature.
Far from an exception, the electoral triumph of the neo-fascist party in Germany is part of a pattern being repeated again and again throughout Europe and internationally.
In Britain, the far-right, anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP) emerged as the leading political force in last year’s referendum vote to exit the European Union. In France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen made it to the runoff in this year’s presidential election and captured 34 percent of the vote, doubling the result obtained by her father in 2002. The neo-fascist Freedom Party is expected to enter the national government following next month’s elections in Austria.
In the United States, the fascistic billionaire real estate speculator and TV personality Donald Trump won the 2016 election, bringing to power the most right-wing government in American history.
These developments raise a critical question: Why has the decade following the greatest crisis of world capitalism since the 1930s, which nearly brought down the entire financial system and ushered in policies of brutal austerity and militarism internationally, seen a steady strengthening of far-right parties? Why have the social democratic and labor parties and the Democratic Party in the US not only failed to win support as a result of the gutting of social programs and impoverishment of…