Europe: Growing Fascism in EU Countries

By Geraldina Colotti on January 25, 2024

Matteo Salvini, of Italy’s right-wing Lega party

Last December, in Germany, a plan to overthrow not only the government but the entire institutional system was foiled. A European reedition (in an ultra-reduced form) of what Trump tried in the United States or Bolsonaro in Brazil, and which ended with a score of arrests, and two others carried out in Austria and Italy. And, in recent days, in Rome, a military exhibition of some 300 fascists in uniform, who commemorated with an outstretched hand one of their “fallen” in the social conflict of the seventies, has aroused controversy.

In Europe, extreme right-wing groups openly vindicate fascism and Nazism during rallies, demonstrations and international conferences, thanks to the undoubted increase in power registered at the institutional level by parties and formations coming from that tradition, and favored by the cultural hegemony that is being imposed and that interprets a general tendency. Also complicit is the complete ideological demobilization of the traditional left, partisan of the thesis of the “two totalitarianisms” (fascism and communism): more disposed to repress social protests (which renew the great fear felt by the bourgeoisie in the seventies), than to an analysis of the vacuum left in the popular masses by their policies of adherence to the interests of big international capital.

Some of these conferences count on the presence of figures that have burst onto the international scene in recent years, starting with Trump, and continuing with the clones that arrived later in Latin America, such as Bolsonaro or Milei. And without forgetting the contribution of other historical reservoirs of Latin American subversion: the gusanos in Cuba, the fujimoristas in Peru, the uribistas in Colombia, or the more recently formed puppets such as the pro-Atlantic coup plotters in Venezuela.

Acting as catalysts are, first of all, the two countries that symbolize Nazi-fascism (that stipulated alliance between the fascism of Benito Mussolini, born in Italy in 1919, and the Nazism of Adolf Hitler, born in Germany in 1920, and which ruined the world until 1945), but also the nostalgic Spain of Francoism (1939-1975), and France where the extreme right of Marine Le Pen has grown. Side by side, but with more and more weight and specificity, the extreme right of Eastern Europe, which has been able to capitalize on the imbalances produced by European unification, proclaiming a grandiloquent “sovereignism” for the full benefit of local elites, who are in any case obliged to moderate extremism if they come to govern.

The first question, in fact, is here, and it tests the ability to change skin, typical of fascism, in the face of the general interests that the right wing must represent – those of big international capital and the military-industrial complex – if it wants to come to power and keep it. Therefore, when this right wing governs, it will give a little more free rein to its most extreme fringes, it will increase the repression of popular movements and historical revisionism; but above all it will pay attention to remaking its composition in order to appear presentable before the big international institutions, and take over the cake (for example, the war industry in Italy).

We saw it with the president of the Italian Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni, who, in a few months, went from shouting against the EU at the congress of the Spanish far-right Vox, to being in tune with Ursula von Der Leyen, president of the European Commission; and went from enthusiastic chants for Trump, to the lapdog model at the meeting with Biden. Meloni has chosen a concrete path: Atlanticist position, support for Ukraine and “Israel” (even more than Biden’s), conservative alliances in Europe. Moreover, in this year of mega-elections, in which more than half of the world’s population will participate, there will also be the European elections in June and, for Italy, the important test of the administrative elections.

And precisely in a historic Italian city, Florence, in December 2023 an international “sovereigntist” conference took place, entitled “Free Europe!”. Florence, capital of a former “red region”, now governed by the left only in some provincial capitals, is considered strategic for the administrative elections, but also an important test for the regional elections of 2025.

The conference was convened by Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega party, a right-wing party, which first governed in coalition with the 5 Stars, and now also governs, in Italy, in the alliance formed by Fratelli d’Italia (Meloni’s party, majority result in the 2022 political elections), and by Forza Italia, the party founded by Berlusconi, and now led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, who is also vice-president of the Council.

The League is a governing party, the others invited to the conference are not yet, but they aspire to be one with the slogan “Jobs, security, common sense”. Like Trump, they say they are against deindustrialization, against the push for electric cars that the European Commission wants from 2035 (a rule strongly defended by the center-left Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni), which – say the sovereignists – is an aid to China; and they cry out against technocracy, against immigration, against bureaucracy.

This type of extreme right will try to put pressure on the European elections, to influence the project of a great conservative center to which Meloni’s team aspires, and to compete for the leadership. Also announcing his membership in the conservative group was a far-right figure like the Romanian George Simion, leader of the Union of Romanians (AUR), who sent a congratulatory video to Salvini’s conference. A video was also sent by the Portuguese André Ventura, who could emulate Meloni’s victory in the March 2024 elections.

A “black international” that is anything but united. This can be verified by analyzing the different positions existing in the extreme right regarding the support to Ukraine; or to Palestine, which before has received support from the fascists, by virtue of the anti-Semitism that characterizes them. In Florence, for example, there was the Austrian Harald Vilimsky, head of the FPÖ delegation in the European Parliament, who went so far as to say that “it is a mistake to support Ukraine and it is also a mistake to support Israel’s war against Palestine”. Vilimsky is pro-Russian, like the Germans of AfD, a party founded in 2013 that currently has 30,000 members.

A galaxy that, however, grows and strengthens, in the face of the ideological and symbolic short-circuit existing after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the complexity of the geopolitical context; and favored by the ambiguity of the traditional left, progressively veered towards the defense of the capitalist and imperialist interests of the Western camp.

“Extreme right-wing terrorism is a growing danger in Europe. Violent right-wing extremists raise funds, organize rock concerts and sell commercial products openly. It is difficult to know where the far right ends and terrorism begins. Terrorists are increasingly using cryptocurrencies and hiding behind fake charities.” With these words, Ylva Johansson, member of the European Union Commission, introduced the first edition of the “Forum on Combating the Financing of Terrorism”, organized in Brussels last year.

Geraldina Colotti is a journalist, writer, international analyst and a member of the Network in Defense of Humanity
Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – Buenos Aires