By Lauren McCoy
While our previous classes have highlighted the importance of inter-European relationships between fascist parties, this week’s material re-emphasized the importance of inequalities within and among European states as a contributor to fascist movements. While our class discussion has always maintained fascist movements as distinctly nationalistic, I think it can be easy to equate a post-war European Union as having reconciled tensions that existed in the first half of the 20th century and focus on a pan-European identity against immigration from the Global South. While the Molnar reading reaffirms the important role that fears of the “non-European immigrant” play in far-right movements, the Kalb and Mamonova et. al readings have helped reveal resistance to the cosmopolitan European Union that I hadn’t considered previously. This was most visible in how the Mamonova et. al reading emphasized that East Germans joined fascist movements despite Islamophobic attitudes – revealing other tensions at play beyond racialized fears.
This left me with a question that perhaps I would be interested in discussing next class – has globalization and European integration made fears of “international conspiracies” seem more legitimate? I am not suggesting that radical anti-Semitic theories have any basis in reality, nor proposing that they should be taken as anything beyond hateful. Yet comparing global interconnections in 2022 from the mid-twentieth “classic” era of fascism, the advents of a European economy and neo-liberal capitalism have heightened international connections. The Kalb reading showcases this twofold: where national economies become increasingly dependent on global finance and where feelings of abandonment increase as cosmopolitan considerations replace labour/welfare/rural need. Reading about the relationship between neo-liberalism and East-European workers, I can see why disempowered populations may feel as though international forces have stripped their control over their livelihoods or how their considerations become sidelined by government agendas.
Does modern globalization serve to bolster long-standing capitalist conspiracy theories in a way that wasn’t present in the past? Or am I simply diminishing the international connections that existed previously among European states?