Fascist Internationalism is not altruistic and very dangerous

Aleksander Bracken

Authors from this week suggest that far-fright movements, in particular interwar and WWII European Fascism, are much more international than ethno-nationalist ideologies might suggest. Motadel argues in his essay that Nazi Germany actively forged transitional military ties and anti-colonial solidarity with radical nationalist groups in colonized countries, a pretty significant incongruity considering that the Nazi regime was murdering peoples deemed “racially inferior” across Europe. As he argues in his article, far-right internationalism does not advocate for multiculturalism and pluralism, but rather for cooperation among “supposedly homogenous, organically grown, closed national communities.” While these groups may cooperate with foreign radical nationalists, they are not advocating for a “friendship of the peoples” like the Soviet Union did.

It is important to nevertheless stress that European fascists were not embracing international cooperation altruistically. As Motadel stresses in his essay, Nazi solidarity with nationalist movements abroad was a way to undermine their liberal European imperial rivals, who presented significant geopolitical obstacles to their own imperial projects, as well as the “Versailles system” imposed by these European powers post-WWI. Moreover, the Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy invented by Fascist and far-right nationalists was another international threat perceived to be subordinating many European nations and even Western civilization itself. Thus, radical nationalist movements and leaders sought mutual support from international partners in order to combat international threats both real and invented.

What strikes me is how far-right movements are becoming increasingly international in our present moment. In addition to racist and antisemitic chants echoing from far-right demonstrations from Charlottesville to Warsaw, organizations like the American Conservative Union hosted a 2022 Conservative Political Action Convention in Budapest, Hungary this year. Perhaps this is a contemporary iteration of the Geneva International Convention of Interwar Europe discussed in Motadel’s article.

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