The Global Far Right (I)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
It is very difficult to explain the spectacular rise of the far right globally, both in forms of government and in political parties that are not yet in power but have a very broad electoral base and are influencing the political life of countries such as France, Holland , Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark to mention only the best known in Europe. Nor is it easy to explain the origin of this social phenomenon, but since it’s a global trend, it’s useful to consider some hypotheses.
One possible explanation attributes the rise of the radical right to large waves of immigration, particularly in the United States and in Europe, since immigrants are a convenient pretext for breeding the trade of xenophobic and racist forces. But this is not the cause of its success because the far right is also flourishing in many countries where there is no immigration, like Brazil, India and the Philippines.
One obvious explanation could be that capitalist globalization is a process of brutal cultural homogenization that reproduces forms of 'identity panic' on a global scale leading to nationalist or religious demonstrations and promoting ethnic or faith-based conflicts. As nations lose economic power they proclaim the glory of the Nation above all else.
Another hypothesis is that the financial crisis of capitalism that has caused economic depression, unemployment and social marginalization since 2008 is a factor that can lead to political victory for Trump or Bolsonaro in 2020. But that is not happening in Europe because the far right is very powerful in the rich countries that were least affected by the 2008 crisis, such as Austria or Switzerland, while in the most affected countries such as Spain and Portugal, the left and the center-left are powerful and the far right is marginal.
These processes occur in capitalist societies where neoliberalism has dominated since the 1980s and has been destroying social connections and solidarity, and deepening social inequality, injustice and the concentration of wealth.
In addition, one has to take into account the weakening of the communist left after the collapse of the USSR, with no other radical forces on the left coming to occupy a political space that is now empty.
Addendum: In Part 2, I will analyze the growth of far-right parties in the last decade, starting with those that have their roots in Nazism and those based on inclusive nationalism which have found in Trump a transatlantic ally to cultivate their very particular pseudo-' patriotism'.