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Is the world swerving extreme right?

By Ad astra

Are you as alarmed as I am when you see on our TV screens, or hear on the radio, or read in our disappearing newspapers about the deteriorating state of democracy in Europe, Asia, the United States of America, Africa, the Middle East, even in our own country?

Do you see, as I do, the rise of extreme right wing politics: nationalism, rampant patriotism, populism, nativism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, even white supremacy, as well as the re-emergence of fascist, racist and reactionary ideologies?

Look at Europe. Recent elections have brought right wing parties to the fore in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, and even Switzerland. Take a look at a recent article published by Bloomberg: How the Populist Right is Redrawing the Map of Europe by Andre Tartar. Here is an extract:

A Bloomberg analysis of decades of election results across 22 European countries reveals that support for populist radical-right parties is higher than it’s been at any time over the past 30 years. These parties won 16 percent of the overall vote on average in the most recent parliamentary election in each country, up from 11 percent a decade earlier and 5 percent in 1997.

While some parties evolved along the way, they are all now seen as anti-elite, nativist, and having a strong law and order focus, as defined by academics who helped shape this analysis.

We ought to be startled by this account.

Day after day we see from the news reports that opposition to the flood of immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries has given rise to these anti-immigration sentiments. War, terrorism, and civil strife leading to persecution are usually the root causes of the migration. Several European nations are now turning away immigrants, even those who arrive in boatloads with nowhere to go. Some countries have relented, while others have put up the shutters. The human misery that has resulted is heart-rending. With nowhere to go, and return to the country from which they are fleeing impossible, they are being herded into camps where they exist in appalling conditions where overcrowding, poverty, inadequate nutrition, disease, poor medical resources, and violence is the norm. Hopelessness compounds their plight.

Despite the desperate needs of these refugees, more and more Europeans are shouting ‘enough is enough’ and ‘go back to where you came from’. Angela Merkel’s past policy of allowing, even encouraging immigrants to settle in Germany has brought her undone. With the emergence of the extreme right wing, anti-immigrant party, the ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD), support for Merkel has eroded; she is now permanently wounded.

In the Middle East, the authoritarian, oppressive regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria has waged fierce war against rebel forces since 2011, reducing his country to rubble and forcing its people into refugee camps. In 2016, from an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria, the vast majority of which are hosted by countries adjoining Syria.

Further south there is war-torn Yemen. While it is structured as a democratic nation, it is dominated on its northern border by authoritarian Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, where the king must comply with Sharia (Islamic) law and the Quran. Saudi Arabia’s support for rebel forces in Yemen has resulted in starvation, lack of drinking water, rampant disease and death, particularly among children, and displacement of millions of Yemenis, who are not welcome elsewhere.

Reflect now on the Asian subcontinent where hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have made perilous journeys out of Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape communal violence and abuses perpetrated by the security forces that have burned their villages, raped their women, and killed their men. The escapees live in overcrowded camps that Bangladesh cannot sustain. Their misery is compounded by the hopelessness of their situation. Xenophobia makes their plight bleak and seemingly irreversible. The world’s leaders look on unsympathetically. A handful of charitable organizations are on the ground helping where they can, but struggle against overwhelming odds.

To gain a perspective on the extent of the world’s refugee crisis, read these extracts from a June 2017 paper by the World Economic Forum.

One in every 113 people on the planet is now a refugee. Around the world, someone is displaced every three seconds, forced from their homes by violence, war and persecution.

By the end of 2016, the number of displaced people had risen to 65.6 million – more than the population of the United Kingdom. The number is an increase of 300,000 on the year before, and the largest number ever recorded, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Within this figure are different types of refugee. Most – 40.3 million – are people displaced within their own country. This is a slight dip on the year before, but the figure still makes up almost two thirds of the total global refugee count. Most of these people are based in war-torn Syria and Iraq, alongside those uprooted by conflict in Colombia.

Refugees who have fled to another country make up the next biggest group, which at 22.5 million people is the highest number ever recorded. Predictably, Syria, now in its seventh year of conflict, is generating the highest number of refugees. Five and a half million fled the country last year. But over the course of 2016, South Sudan became a major new source of refugees after the breakdown of peace efforts in July contributed to 739,900 people crossing the border by the end of the year. Since then, the number of people who have left has climbed to 1.87 million people.

We don’t need to look far from our own shores to see the same problem. We have our own quota of displaced persons seeking asylum in our country, languishing on Manus Island and Nauru, being held at bay by a mean government and a mean minister that gives them no hope.

When we look across the Pacific to the ‘land of the brave and the free’ we see a punitive policy towards immigrants where those who cross the border to the US are sent back, or housed in military camps, or separated from their children, many of whom appear ‘lost’, where the President of that wealthy nation sends message of rejection day after day, and by Executive Order pushes them further away. Laudably, many thousands of his own citizens protested in the streets of US cities against his moves, angered by his callousness and repressive behaviour. Similarly, the people of Britain have demonstrated angrily against him and have mocked him with Trump Baby effigy during his recent UK visit. We know though that his fervent supporters applaud his actions. They will likely vote for him next time around. They see a reflection of themselves in his attitude and behaviour – they too harbour nationalistic, anti-immigration, even white supremacist feelings – America only for Americans.

With the US Supreme Court upholding by five to four (the court has a five/four majority of conservatives) Trump’s travel ban on Muslims that prohibits entry into the United States of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, these people are now legally excluded from US residence and citizenship. This is xenophobia run riot, but Trump is triumphant, especially as the court agreed that the government “had set forth a sufficient national security justification”; in other words these Muslims constitute a national security risk. His supporters agree. This move will enhance his popularity among his supporters, as is already showing up in the polls.

There is no point in expressing righteous indignation at Trump’s actions, as this is what his own followers want. The people themselves are complicit, as is the Supreme Court, which could swerve even more to the conservative right if Trump’s nomination of an ultra-conservative replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, namely Justice Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed. Kavanaugh’s radial views are disquieting. Read what publisher Phillip Frazer has to say about him, and Trump’s reason for nominating him. It’s alarming. Trump is determined to entrench his ideology in the Court and perhaps set the scene for the revocation of some liberal laws: to give just two examples, laws relating to abortion and gay rights.

Image from act.credoaction.com

South of the Mexican border, it will be intriguing to see how Trump’s anti-immigration policy, especially where it is directed against Mexicans, will play out with the recent election of left-wing populist, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known by his initials AMLO, to replace the unpopular, right wing Enrique Peña Nieto as President of Mexico. AMLO heads the National Regeneration Movement, which fosters a sense of nationalism and nostalgia for a long past. Trump’s nationalistic ideology is similar. AMLO campaigned against violence, corruption, inequality – and US President Donald Trump, whom he detests. It will be fascinating to see how these two egocentric characters bump their heads together!

Thinking back, how has this anti-immigration sentiment arisen throughout Europe and the world? For a clue, reflect on the Brexit campaign that culminated in June 2016 when a bare 51.9% of Britons voted to ‘Leave’. The most powerful ‘Leave’ slogan perpetrated by UKIP’s Michael Farage, Boris Johnson, and their ilk was ‘Take back control’.

It carried the not-too-subtle message that the UK had lost control of its borders and that those seeking to enter from foreign countries were taking over. Some Britons said they could hardly recognize their own streets, now filled with those of different colour, religion, and habits, where food outlets reflected a cuisine different from traditional British, where they felt they were strangers in their own country. The ‘Leave’ campaign was so potent, appealing as it did to nationalism and even xenophobia, that it carried the day, leaving the UK wallowing in a monumental mess, still trying to work out how to extricate itself from Europe by 2019. Having created the mess, Boris Johnson then made the mess even messier when he decided to resign as Foreign Secretary, just hours after Brexit minister David Davis also pulled the plug. His reason: Theresa May’s Brexit plan could see Britain turned into a colony!

Reflect now on other powerful nations where extreme right policies and authoritarianism prevail. Russia springs to mind. Vladimir Putin exercises complete control, crushes dissent, jails opponents, kills dissidents, and shamelessly annexes neighbouring countries such as the Crimea and Ukraine despite the protests of their people, claiming all the time that his actions reflect the wish of the people of these countries. Several European nations support Putin’s moves, and Donald Trump admires him as a ‘strong man’!

North Korea is a repressive regime where opponents are murdered, sent to penal camps, where its people are oppressed by a ruthless hereditary dictator, where military spending takes precedence over feeding its people so that Kim Jung-un can threaten his neighbours and the rest of the world with nuclear catastrophe. And Donald Trump admires him! Kim fosters, indeed insists on unswerving loyalty to the ‘dear leader’, promotes rampant nationalism manifest by military parades and wildly clapping subjects, just as Trump desires!

If you think right wing extremism is an overseas phenomenon, reflect on the behaviour of our own government. Peter Dutton promotes nationalist attitudes with his border protection policies and his imprisonment of boat arrivals on Manus Island and Nauru. In pursuit of the Coalition’s authoritarian ‘law and order’ ideology, he paints boat arrivals as an invasion force, to be repelled, to be given no encouragement whatsoever ‘lest it encourage people smugglers to resume their trade’. His leader enthusiastically echoes his anti-immigration sentiments.

On another front, further evidence of the Coalition’s extreme right wing leanings is its attitude to the ABC. As is the case with all authoritarian regimes, the Coalition finds dissent unacceptable and therefore to be suppressed. The enthusiasm with which the Young Liberals passed without dissent a motion to privatise the ABC, long held as policy by the IPA, shows how easily we could slip into an Orwellian state in our own country. The instant denials by Coalition members that this would never happen should be set against the repeated complaints about the ABC voiced by Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield. Anyone who believes the Coalition’s ‘reassurances’ is a fool. If you think it’s an exaggeration that Australia is edging towards an Orwellian ‘police state’, read this article: An incomplete list of evidence that Australia is becoming a police state by Crikey’s Bernard Keane.

Now, as icing on the radical right wing cake, we have turncoat Mark Latham sidling up to Pauline Hanson mouthing anti-Labor right wing slogans, raving about how the country’s gone crazy with its political correctness, identity politics, and anti-white racism! For her part, Hanson insists she would love to have him beside her in Parliament. Imagine that! Moreover, she has preferenced Dr Jim Saleam of the Australia First Party at No.8, two spots ahead of Labor in the Longman by-election. Saleam is a convicted criminal and former neo-Nazi who formerly led National Action, a militant white supremacist group.

So where does that leave us? Surrounded by authoritarian, nationalistic, anti-immigration, even xenophobic governments all around the world, and governed here by a Coalition that harbours similar sentiments, what future can we expect?

We should be very fearful that this global wave of extreme right wing behaviour will overwhelm us in our own country, and thereby destroy the democratic rights and freedoms we have enjoyed for so long.

Remember Nineteen Eighty-Four.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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31 comments

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  1. townsvilleblog

    The only heartening thing that I have heard recently is that according to a poll taken 60% of under 35s are socialist and believing that capitalism has ripped the young off something chronic

  2. Andrew Smith

    One would suggest if you can look beyond one’s own national borders, there is much resonance and linkage amongst the resurgence of nativist conservatism under various guises including banging on about ‘immigration’ and ‘population growth’ which are key tenets of the eugenics movement or class system for the top people, even some contributors to the AIMN https://theaimn.com/population-policy-found-in-a-filing-cabinet-in-secondhand-shop-in-deakin/

    What they have learnt is to mask their intentions and distort language, key player described as the ‘most influential unknown person in the US’ and the ‘….. architect of the modern anti-immigration movement’ (with support of the usual suspect oilgarchs etc. who were also active in Nazi Germany), admirer of the white Australia policy, protagonist of ‘passive eugenics’, also has long standing strong links in the WASP world especially US, UK and Australia, plus Central Europe and Bannon et al.

    https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/john-tanton

    The same types have gone global, facing changing demographics, while telling anyone who will listen that globalisation is bad (an old anti-semitic trope too)

    Journalist Martin Lee joins a lot of dots together in https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/959744.The_Beast_Reawakens

    ‘If you thought Nazism died with Hitler, think again. In The Beast Reawakens, journalist Martin A. Lee documents the revival of fascist ideals from the wake of the Second World War to recent violent incidents in Europe and America.’

  3. Babyjewels

    Tragedies and disasters all man made. I long for justice for the millions of victims and punishment for those who inflict this misery. But I know I’m dreaming.

  4. John the Pipers Son

    Remember how someone once said that when fascism inevitably comes to Amerika it will be wrapped in a flag and clutching a bible and or crucifix.
    Some recent books have described this phenomenon:
    American Fascists by Chris Hedges
    American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
    The End of America by Naomi Wolf
    Between Jesus and the Market – The EMOTIONS That Matter In Right-Wing America by Linda Kintz
    Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg

    Michelle Goldberg recently wrote an essay titled Donald Trump The Religious Right’s Trojan Horse – quite so.

    This project to re-christianise Amerika compromises a vast right-wing conspiracy. Two outfits involved in this project are Project Blitz, and The Alliance Defending Freedom.
    Once upon a time, and not so long ago Tony Abbott gave at least one talk to the Alliance Defending Freedom outfit. It was also defending a couple of years ago in a Quadrant essay, claiming that liberalism has no tolerance for such back-to-the-past right wing religiosity. The author of the essay is also associated with a website titled Calvinist International.

  5. StephenGB

    I fear, not for me, but my children and their children. Me, well my ‘use by’date is in sight.

    No wonder our current government behaves with such crass hypocrisy, totally lacking empathy, mean spirited and with that bully boy cruelty.

    It’s taken nearly 40 years, but here we back in 1933.

    Sigh!

    S G B

  6. wam

    ‘it’s alright to say no’ got 40% of Australia. How does that fit with our culture is/was/never was. ‘give everyone a fair go’??

    The media can sell on minorities, murders, controversy, c…s, lies, faked photography and disingenuous omissions. With social media sharing from far right sources is unbelievable. Even when an American patriot site retracts a 2016 fake story of a veteran strangling syrian refugees it was re-shared from a rabbottian when facebook chose it as ‘shared 2 years ago.
    Terror, muslim culture, borders economy is assessed and publicised as the lnp domain and labor weakness. In the face of such bias labor can wait till a ‘charismatic’ leader is lucky enough to overcome the pack and get the little billies and torpid tanyas moving,

  7. Kyran

    It’s a funny thing, perception. On this site (and on ‘The Political Sword’) there have been literally dozens of articles on the role of the media and how it is used to manipulate or misrepresent facts, how preponderance can be given to one ‘side’ over another, and how totally out of touch one ‘reality’ is to another.
    The funny part is that we have never been more aware of this not so subliminal narrative, let alone the dangers of ignoring it or those of giving it too much credence.
    The disparity of the realities of those ‘at the top’ and those ‘at the bottom’ is as old as ‘western civilisation’. As is the resultant dissonance.
    The offering of the entitled to ‘let them eat cake’ when there wasn’t enough to make bread, was an early indicator of the disparity of these two worlds, with dire consequence. ‘Mob rule’ was the intermediary between pre and post revolution France and Britain. In the prelude to the second world war, disinformation and propaganda became the vehicle to allow ideologue’s to manipulate the mobs. There would be few who haven’t heard Niemöller’s caution, which warned of the ‘mobs’ as much as the ideologues. Later manifestations of the world that apparently alarms you include the ‘football hooligans’, crowds of inebriated, angry, frustrated fools who are easily manipulated to ‘mob’ status, with barely enough intelligence to slur ‘We wuz robbed’ as they embark on their pointless pursuits.
    It is this perception that is paraded on your news. Buffoons such as T-Rump speak to a rally of thousands and democracy is declared dead, the mob and its mindless ‘leader’ are insinuated into the new world order.
    Isn’t that buying the crap they are peddling? We look at the garbage peddled on free to air tv, gameshows, competitions and the omnipresent, never ending ‘reality tv’, and declare we are being dumbed down. We ignore the fact that free to air tv is being watched less and less.
    We decry the pay tv model and ignore that there is only one substantial player in the Australian market, Faux, which has been undersubscribed almost since its debut.
    The screaming reality is that there is little thoughtful analysis in ‘traditional’ media, only commentators commenting on other commentators comments on some buffoon’s behaviour or idiotic comments, either here or overseas. That scenario is depressing, but it also doesn’t sell. The constant discussion about Murdoch’s minions and their undue influence completely ignores that he has been restructuring and refinancing his decaying empire for nearly fifteen years. It has been in decline since he dispensed with the ‘page three girls’, which is as informative about him as it is his ‘readers’.
    Just because there are constant reports of the thousands who rally in support of destructive, ignorant and self-defeating ideologies presented in tired old jaundiced mediums does not give ascendancy to their ‘causes’, particularly when they can’t articulate them beyond a grunt and a slogan. Seriously, these are people who can’t distinguish between vitriolic abuse and reasoned argument.
    We are in the most privileged of times in that there are sufficient people of intelligence, of genuine good will, and extraordinary means to circulate their thoughts. You may have noticed a few people gathered in London to protest T-Rump. A few more gathered in Scotland. Women across America have been demonstrating for more than a year now in substantial numbers and with the support of many of their brothers. The ‘mid-terms’ in November have seen revolutionary enrollments in terms of both female participation (in both parties) and of genuine independents. The young across America are demonstrating about gun violence and racial discrimination in extraordinary numbers.
    Even here, we have crowds of 100k about changing rules, 60k about racial equality, 10k about our treatment of refugees. Whilst participation in ‘traditional’ political parties is now all but terminal, participation in social justice and environmental groups is increasing at an impressive rate.
    We are certainly at a cross road and issues such as the climate and inequality have now become urgent if we are to have any future, let alone a future of more egalitarian ambition. None of this is new. It was March, 1975, that a band called Skyhooks issued ‘Horror Movie’.
    “You think it’s just a movie on a silver screen
    And they’re all actors and fake old scenes
    Maybe you don’t care who’s gonna lose or win
    Listen to this and I’ll tell you somethin’
    The public’s waitin’
    For the killin’ and the hatin’
    Switch on the station, oh yeah
    They do a lotta sellin’
    Between the firin’ and the yellin’
    And you believe in what they’re tellin’, oh yeah
    It’s a horror movie right there on my TV
    Horror movie right there on my TV
    Horror movie and it’s blown a fuse
    Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
    Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
    And it’s shockin’ me right outta my brain”
    What’s different today is it has never been easier to call bullshit on these fools. Even if they refuse to listen. It is interesting to note that in the 60’s and 70’s, ‘trust’ in governments rated over 60%. These days, trust in government is sitting below 30%, and politicians are heading for single digits. That decline is indicative of the extent of the problem. Where we may end up agreeing to disagree is that I don’t see that as a threat to democracy. It is a challenge to establish a genuinely democratic facility. These buffoons and their MSM minions have rendered themselves irrelevant and their contributions unwelcome.
    So where does that leave us?
    Interesting times, Huh?
    Thank you Ad astra and commenters. Take care

  8. Andrew Smith

    Join the Piper’s Son:

    Agree, and further there is too much symmetry and resonance of influence ‘architecture’ between seemingly different groups and movements in addition to the WASP Christians are, the NRA, defence/security industries or complex, fossil fuels or big oil and the white nativist movement.

    All use junk science, ‘media assembly lines’, PR techniques and astro turfing to nudge electorates or society in ‘their’ direction…

  9. John Lord

    A Bloomberg analysis of decades of election results across 22 European countries reveals that support for populist radical-right parties is higher than it’s been at any time over the past 30 years.

    I think there is enough evidence to suggest that the tide is turning.

  10. Zathras

    History and physics have shown us the further the political pendulum is pushed to the right, the harder it will swing back to the left when the time comes and most revolutions have been the inevitable reaction to extreme right wing ideologies.

    I think it’s not so much an urge to move to the right but the result of populations who feel increasingly helpless and disenfranchised and want to lash out against the status quo, whether it ends in Brexit or Trump. It’s just that the right have predominant use of the media and are making the most noise.

    Also, refugees are not the problem.
    They are the symptom of another problem that is not being addressed.

    If the hard move to the right fails or (typically) makes things worse, things may change drastically and quickly.

  11. Andreas Bimba

    Yes the Conservative and right wing political forces are rubbish but so are the progressive establishment social democratic and Labour parties throughout the world that also offer more of the neoliberal disaster that has led to massive unemployment, underemployment, wage stagnation, record inequality, sociopathic government services, a feudal exploitative corporate sector, the undermining of democracy and de-industrialisation in the developed world over the last 30 to 40 years.

    Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are closer to traditional social democratic values that should be again popular with those that have gone backwards in the neoliberal era (most of us) but even Corbyn has a neoliberal fiscal policy (aim of national government surpluses) so will not in the end be able to deliver very much.

    Currently the left side of politics remains the other side of the same neoliberal coin.

    Bill Mitchell and Thomas Fazi’s 2017 book “Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World” details where and when the progressive establishment also became the problem.

    Book

  12. Kaye Lee

    “So where does that leave us? ”

    New Zealand sounds nice.

  13. diannaart

    How does one keep up, let alone discern truth and actual facts from rhetoric or sly twisting of said truth and facts.

    For example, I found myself listening to Tom Switzer on RN – this was not my intention, but sometimes these things happen and once heard it is difficult to un-hear.

    Tom (IPA) Switzer was interviewing John Howard in the final 30 seconds of his ABC radio propaganda show. Howard claimed Jeremy Corbyn was “anti-Semitic”. I do know the leader of Britain’s Opposition is for a two state solution to Israel and Palestine, and is outraged at the Zionist expansion into the Middle East under the excuse of old religious texts. Many Jewish people agree with Jeremy.

    Of course, such details are not convenient to Howard – will never forget “children overboard” – start with a truth and turn into political expedience – modus operandi by Howard.

    Yes, I agree the world is looking waaay fascist. In spite of the end of WW2 fascism never really went away. It was there hand in hand with capitalism when the Middle East was invaded for profit.

    When such exploitation resulted in people fleeing for their lives, fascism was there under the guise of patriotism – Australia wound up with indefinite detention and Europe is now “protecting its borders” from people who (if given a real choice) would rather have stayed in their homelands – but war, terrorism and paternal control by Western “Democracies” meant many homes were no longer safe.

    Imagine if we reduce our need for oil – this can happen.

    Imagine if, instead of cutting aid programs, we helped the victims of war and exploitation.

    Dutton and his ilk would need to find other things for us to fear – that is if many Duttons could’ve emerged in a world where we helped each other.

  14. johno

    Only on planet Earth. (maybe)

  15. Karen Ingold

    Here’s a fact, Diannart. Tom Switzer does not work at the IPA.

  16. Andrew Smith

    Tom Switzer has been described as an adjunct of the IPA and his journalism is often included on the IPA website.

    Further, one imagines influence flowing the other way from IPA (research and ideology) to eg. Switzer’s ABC programs…it’s a good example of political media ‘architecture’, hollowing out and consolidation of Australian media.

  17. diannaart

    Andrew Smith

    You stole my thunder, Tom Switzer is indeed an Adjunct Fellow on the Board of Directors of the IPA

    Tom Switzer Adjunct Fellow Historian; Executive Director of the Centre for Independent Studies; former Senior Adviser to then Liberal Leader Brendan Nelson

    Source: http://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2018/07/institute-of-public-affairs/

    Here is a link to some IPA Tom Switzer related stuff:

    The International Crackdown On Lemonade Stands

    IPA Staff Pick:

    Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: John Roskam

    This podcast a fortnight ago of Tom Switzer’s Radio National Between the Lines episode featuring his interview with Richard Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan is brilliant.

    Karen Ingold, too much fact for you?

  18. Ad Astra

    Folks
    May I thank you all for your magnificent response to this piece. I have enjoyed reading your comments and the links. Not only are they are interesting; they broaden the discussion of the worrying lurch towards the extreme right that we are witnessing the world over.

    I noticed in yesterday’s Crikey that Bernard Keane too thinks that the world is swerving extreme right. This is what he had to say about Trump’s obsequious public acquiescence to Putin in Helsinki: “He is implementing the same agenda as Putin: encouraging the far right in Europe, encouraging the break-up of the European Union, looking to undermine European governments…”

  19. Karen Ingold

    Switzer resigned from his adjunct position at the IPA quite some time ago. And I doubt that Roskam choosing his ABC episode as a staff pick actually means he would be classified as staff.

  20. paul walter

    Karen Ingold.

    You understand their mentality.

  21. Karen Ingold

    Paul Walter: well… I try to.

  22. diannaart

    @ Karen Ingold

    Switzer was still listed at IPA as adjunct fellow in 2017. As well as his ABC placement, he became Executive Director, for the Centre for Independent Studies in 2018 – another right-wing, “libertarian”, “think”-tank. He did have to relinquish his position as presenter on Sunday mornings, for which many ABC listeners remain grateful.

    I have no doubt John Roskham will highlight any of Switzer’s “Between the Lines” interviews on RN, when opportunity arises.

    Given that Switzer may well not be an active member of the IPA – his absence on the list is not conclusive proof BTW – Switzer has not in anyway way lessened his far-right neo-libertarian ideology, connections and mindset.

    Therefore, what exactly is your point, with regard to this discussion?

  23. Andreas

    Although agreeing with the core theme that fascism is rising in the world (in AUS also), there are some distortions of the political situation in this article which cannot be left unchallenged.

    #In the Middle East, the authoritarian, oppressive regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria has waged fierce war against rebel forces since 2011, reducing his country to rubble and forcing its people into refugee camps.#

    This fierce war was forced upon the Syrian government by the long-term plan of regime change, hatched by the US Neocons. Remember Hillary’s special envoy Victoria Nuland having invested $5 bill. on this exercise, culminating in the Maidan upheaval and consequent mass killings. The responsibility lies in Washington!

    #Saudi Arabia’s support for rebel forces in Yemen has resulted in starvation, lack of drinking water, rampant disease
    and death, particularly among children, and displacement of millions of Yemenis, who are not welcome elsewhere.#

    I don’t know where the author has picked this up, but fact is that the Saudis are the ones waging war on Yemen with no regard to any casualties. The western press continues to ignore this atrocity.

    #Vladimir Putin exercises complete control, crushes dissent, jails opponents, kills dissidents, and shamelessly annexes neighbouring countries such as the Crimea and Ukraine despite the protests of their people, claiming all the time that his actions reflect the wish of the people of these countries. #

    Again, the reality is different. The Maidan upheaval with the neo-fascists gaining power in Kiew with US backing is the key to the developments in Eastern UKR.
    And Crimea being re-united with Russia, with vast majority approval, after the US grab for Sevastopol turned into an existential threat for Russia.

    Where are the protests of the people you refer to, in Donbass or Crimea?

  24. Karen Ingold

    My point, diannaart was to present the facts. However, you claim that his not being listed as a member of IPA staff is “not conclusive proof” that he is not a member of staff. Presumably you think that your inability to see curvature of the earth means there is “not conclusive proof” it is round. My other point — which perhaps I should have raised earlier — is that you are simply imposing an ad hominem attack.

  25. Godwin Rules

    Newsflash ! Newsflash !

    Trump has just has given another new Press Conference and he came up with this statement.

    How much wood could a wood Chuck Chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    A woodchuck could chuck as much wood as a wood chuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

    Now that makes sense doesn’t it.

    Speaking of wood some do seem to have a chip on their shoulders.

  26. Godwin Rules

    And thanks Karen for “my new word of the day”. That one has gone straight in my book in pool room.

  27. Adrianne Haddow

    This post may be slightly off-topic, but the reference to the Longman by-election and one of the candidates Jim Saleam, does give it some relevance.

    I am a member of GetUp, and donate monthly, not much, as I am retired.

    Today I received an email from Eric Abetz, as follows

    “As has been revealed in the media today, your donations to GetUp have been used to endorse a criminal and a white supremacist over the Liberal candidate in the Longman by-election.
    This new low which uses your funds to support these kinds of unsavoury people over the Liberal candidate exposes GetUp’s truly ugly underbelly and their real reason for existence – to defeat the Coalition at any cost with any lie and and any excuse for its gross dishonesty.
    All balanced people would reject a white supremacist and convicted criminal. But not GetUp. GetUp have now shown that if supporting such a person helps them to defeat the mainstream LNP they will not think twice.
    I have demanded that GetUp explain the use of supporters money for this nefarious purpose and as a donor to GetUp I ask that you raise concerns with the organisation.
    I am hopeful that all sides of politics, including Labor and the Greens will condemn these disgusting actions by GetUp.”

    The media, he refers to is the Australian, who are his partners in the attempt to destroy GetUp.

    My first reaction was to laugh, pot- kettle -black.
    My second reaction was outrage that this right-wing excrescence should be emailing me at all. He is the antithesis of all the values I hold.
    I was also annoyed that he had accessed my information without my permission…. and without GetUp’s supplying that information, according to their Privacy policy.

    I have phoned GetUp for an explanation, and also to advise them of this latest attempt to undermine their work.

    I thought I would post this to warn other GetUp supporters that we are on the radar of the right.

  28. Kyran

    Every so often there is a glimpse of a person on the international stage whose absence can only be measured by what has replaced them. The transcript of Obama’s Mandela address touches on nearly every point you have made, Ad astra. It is a reason for cautious optimism, in that T-Rump and his ilk are an aberration to be endured, not a philosophy or ideology to be adopted, let alone encouraged. It’s a long read, but so, so, so worth it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/18/barack-obamas-johannesburg-speech-in-full

    Thanks again. Take care

  29. helvityni

    Wonderful speech by a wonderful man with a wonderful sense of humour…

    God I miss him: wearing long johns,having grey hair, failing eyesight; none of it will diminish his charisma….

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