Deutschlandfunkkultur: Antifascism does not belong in the left corner


At the end of May, the European elections will be: After that, it must be clear whether the parties in the center have a concept against nationalists and right-wing extremists in the European Parliament, according to political scientist Daphne Büllesbach – or give in to the fascination of the authoritarian.

If we want to keep European democracy alive, we must not ask ourselves how to talk about rights. Instead, it is important to reverse this idle perspective just before the European elections – and to critically examine the center of society: what role do the so-called liberal elites and defenders of liberal democracy play in the rise of right-wing, nationalist forces? And: What has Germany’s politics to do with the rise of nationalist forces throughout Europe?

Much has been written about Steve Bannon, who spreads his networks and money across Europe, and is building right-wing forces behind the scenes. Much has been written about the internationalization of nationalists, who have long since strategically united across national borders and are attempting to turn that Europe into an authoritarian one. The President warned during his inauguration trip to Paris 2017 before the “fascination of the authoritarian”.

The extremism of the middle

What is almost always missing in this debate, however, is the view of the fascination of the established political and social forces for authoritarianism and the readiness to cooperate with the far right. In Germany, as in many other countries, conservative to liberal forces right-wing open the door to the center of society.

In Spain, where new elections are due in April, conservatives and liberals are seeking a coalition with the newly founded right-wing party Vox. In Austria, such a coalition is in government. Anyone who looks only at the edges fails to recognize the danger of extremism in the middle. Here a normalization of right-wing thought takes place.

What must not be overlooked: the established, pro-European middle-class parties are not really planning the future of the nationalist concept. While nationalists call for a Europe without common social standards, environmental or climate restrictions, and a pro-business Europe, pro-European parties maintain a status quo that obviously does not work because it produces political, social and economic crises.

The Europe of Human Rights

If we want to be active and see it as an opportunity for us to be able to do anything until the election is over, then it’s worth taking a look where another Europe is already emerging. There are them, the others, the many who make themselves strong, for what is at stake in Europe, when the fascination of the authoritarian takes center stage in society: the women’s strikes, the climate strikes, alliances, actions such as “Indivisible “,” Wellcomeunited “,” pier “or the Solidarity Cities. They all live the Europe of human rights: a Europe based on equality, peace and brotherhood.

After the European elections, it will not only be clear how strongly right-wing extremist parties are represented in the European Parliament. At least as important: it will be reflected in the parliamentary votes of the next few years, which applications from the AfD, the Fidesz Party, the Front National, the Italian Lega, and so on, are supported by members of the European Parliament in the eternal ruling Grand Coalition.

Make anti-fascism bourgeois again

Will we accept that, or will we simply accept the crushing of democracy through the self-confident new-old right as democratically legitimated events? I learned that in history lessons, fascism was elected to power in 1933.

The value consensus that Schuman and Monnet laid after the Second World War as the cornerstone of European integration is breaking. Where are they today the conservatives who make anti-fascism the basis of their democratic action? Let’s make anti-fascism bourgeois again, it does not belong in the left corner.


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