Putin and Europe’s Far Right

Liam McCrorie

The far right and Russia have always had a strange relationship. After the cold war many nations and citizens were still wary of Russia but things have gotten a bit better, but with their recent international actions its hard to want to trust Russia or support them. If you think to a few years ago the far right were probably the most against Russia, especially the far right conservatives in the States, but now if you go down to the states it wouldn’t be strange to see Russian flags and people supporting Putin even while he’s invading Ukraine. It’s weird to see far right Americans supporting a Russian leader even more than their current President Biden, but you see people like this all the time nowadays in the States.

            Putin also has a lot of friends in Europe and they are making themselves heard. Lately the far right leadership in Europe has been aligning themselves closely with Putin. Politicians like Viktor Orban are clear supporters of Russia and he and his government have not been quiet about criticizing the U.S. and NATO for their involvement with the Russo-Ukrainian War. Even though Hungary is a part of NATO it stands closer with Russia than to its Western allies, which signals big problems if NATO can be divided like this. Orban and his government are now planning on not giving and aid to Ukraine, and to try and block NATO from giving aid. If NATO stays divided like this with dissenters like Hungary how can it act effectively against nations like Russia.

The Normalization of the Far Right

Liam McCrorie

Fascists are bad right? That’s something I’ve known all my whole life. We should always avoid hate speech and try to be inclusive of everyone. Seems pretty simple, right? But then why has it become more common to see people overtly push far right hate fueled rhetoric with little to no consequence. And we aren’t just seeing this kind of far right speech on fringe internet chatrooms, we now see high profile politicians and influential figures in society openly pushing hateful ideas on the population.

            The far right and their ideas have always been somewhat taboo topics which were only seriously discussed in more fringe groups or at least not so much in the mainstream. But lately the far right has become part of mainstream society just like any other political group. And with society becoming more polarized this poses a big problem. Politicians on the right are no longer just conservative they embody many fascist traits, focusing on race and religion as major issues. People like Giorgia Meloni and Vikotr Orban, two far right politicians who pride themselves on defending Europe’s borders from immigrants. They are both Christian as well and want to protect Christian values in their respective nations, which means anti-LGBT, and stricter control over womens rights. And in the states of course there is Donald Trump who was extremely anti-immigrant and used a lot of fascist rhetoric. It’s becoming clear that all over the world the biggest and most popular right leaders are the ones who are the most extreme such as the ones I’ve mentioned.

            This normalization of extremist hate speech is a huge problem for society as it makes it seem normal in society to speak like this. We have been seeing a growing number of hate crimes all over the world which corelates with the hate speeches people are hearing on TV from politicians. And its not just politicians, celebrities such as Kanye West, Andrew Tate, and Kyrie Irving have all been publicly spreading hate. If this normalization continues it will make people think its okay to talk like this which needs to stop.

Is the Right Falling Apart

Liam McCrorie

Lately everyone has been worried about the rise of the political right, we’ve seen many right leaders take control over the past few years such as Giorgia Meloni who was recently elected Prime Minister of Italy, and she is the furthest right politician elected in Italy since the father of fascism himself, Mussolini. But since then, not much has happened with the right, they have been losing elections and seem to be losing some of their base, something that seemed impossible only a few weeks ago.

            But now all over the world far right and populist leaders are beginning to lose support in their countries. In France Marine Le Pen was beaten again by Emmanuel Marcon in the most recent Presidential election. And the same thing is happening in Brazil where Jair Bolsonaro the far-right leader of Brazil has lost the Presidential election and will be giving that position to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will take office in January 2023. Even in Britain, the conservative leadership is falling apart, Brexit is a clear failure in the eyes of British people and the world, and Liz Truss showed the world the incompetence of the conservative party.

            But probably most indictive of the right beginning to fall off was the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, in which predictions where stating that a red wave would take over America, but when it came to voting day the red wave amounted to little more then a splash. The republicans were able to take control of the House but were not able to take the Senate from the Democrats. This election had a massive turnout from young voters and maybe this is the trend that will continue especially with the Republican party being torn apart by Trump. Almost everyone he supported failed miserably like Dr. Oz for example. And with Trump announcing his bid for the 2024 presidential candidacy, republicans have never been more divided, with Trump supporters on one side and Republicans who want to distance themselves from him and his craziness on the other. Either way Trump is not looking as threatening as he did back in 2020, he and the rest of the Right have begun to fail.

Putins Foreign Policy

Liam McCrorie

Over the past few decades Russia has been going through a phase of reinvention. The dissolution of the Soviet Union changed the way international politics and foreign policies play out all over the world. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia was left weakened and not the international powerhouse it once was. Once the Cold War ended the U.S. had thought they had won the war, which in a way they did, but it gave them the freedom to undertake more foreign missions without the worry of angering the Soviet Union, essentially the States were free to do whatever they wanted internationally, and they did. Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the EU emerged and rapidly expanded, pushing Western ideals further East and closer to Russia’s borders. Following this the U.S. led a coalition of Western allies to engage in the Gulf War. Without needing to worry about Russia, the U.S. and the West have been able to push their new world order on any nation that resists, which has continued over the past 30 years in many nations, especially in the Middle East, where the U.S. many times has left a nation in a state of total destruction.

            But as time has gone on Russia under Putin has begun to become a player on the international stage once again. And there is clearly one goal in mind for Russia and Putin, to push back against the West encroaching on their borders. With NATO continuously pushing nations to become more Western oriented Russia has been pushed to the brink and when in 2014 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office by pro-Western forces, Russia had had enough and Russia has felt it needed to respond with an Iron Fist. This prompted the Russian annexation of Crimea, and since then Russia has backed opponents of Western allies in places such as Syria.

            Putin wishes place Russia back into its place of power it held for a majority of the 20th century and he is doing that by his military campaigns and proxy wars to install pro-Russian leadership, the same way the U.S. has been doing for the past 30 years. But unlike the Soviet Union, Putin is much more proud and less willing to back off from his goals when it angers the West. With the current war raging in Ukraine, Putin is clearly showing he is ready to push back against the West and recreate a buffer zone around Russia.

Anti-Genderism and it’s intersection with Right-Wing Populism

By: Cyrus Hutnyk

This week’s content looked at Anti-Genderism and largely how Right-Wing Populism ties into the conversation on the issues. Notably, the reading from Paternotte and Kuhar go into detail outlining the differences between these topics and makes clear that these are not the same, despite might what be the expected association. At first glance, even before doing any reading I make the connection straight away seeing only the words “anti-genderism” next to “right-wing”. As a rule of thumb I understand the further right leaning a person is the more they might subscribe to ideologies like anti-genderism, alongside a whole host of other hateful thought patterns. I associate right-wing ideologies and stereotypical thought to be largely associated with hate and enforcing often religious beliefs on to others, which is often a key point in the discussion on anti-genderism. The discussion concerning the divergence of the two topics is interesting because of how often associated aspects of each are associated with the other. Anti-genderism is understood to have grown from Catholic and Evangelical origins; religious origins, with the parallel being that right-wing arguments and ideologies often hold religion close the heart of them. Obvious examples being that of arguments against abortion or in homophobic or trans-phobic thought.


This subject matter is very important and very topical, understanding anti-genderism alongside many other right leaning ideas about gender and sex are unfathomably harmful and serve only to hurt innocent individuals who don’t fall within the worldview of those who subscribe to these ideas of right-wing populism. Despite the arguments that these are separate issues present in the readings it is important to identify and understand the intersection of these topics to best comprehend and work to abolish issues of hate and bigotry.

The Deal with Overt and Subvert

By: Hannah Long

Melania and Chris. Credits for Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

The role that anti-gender populism plays is either an overt game or is subvert, all of which heavily depends on the social and political factors of a given nation. The two best examples from this week’s readings to prove this are the analysis of Poland, Hungary, and the UK’s struggle with anti-gender populism. All have the similar struggle of overt opposition towards members of LGBTQ+ communities but it is only the latter where this growing problem is seldom seen as a major issue both nationally and internationally. The fact that some countries are under more scrutiny than others over anti-genderism comes down to their international reputation and their further relationship with the Western World, as both Poland and Hungary are two countries in Europe who are constantly discussed as being one of the most dangerous places for LGBTQ+ members to live, with the homophobic rhetortic being much more inforced than other countries such as the UK. Both Hungary and Poland have had difficulty transitioning into a democratic society Post Cold War, with having no direct sense of where and how each government wants to direct national politics this can provide some clarity as to why both are leaning in to the far-right agenda more than the UK, as they both were countries in a constant state of transition due to two World Wars and the resulting aftermath of the Cold War. 

Participant of counter demo tries to block Equality Parade in Plock, Poland on 10 August, 2019. (Photo by Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now all of this is definitely not to excuse the behaviours of those who continue to play into anti-gender populism and the growing intolerance towards LGBTQ+ communities, it does provide a basis to understand how these issues are allowed in their own countries to continue to grow without any direct consequences. In the Vice mini documentary it introduces Aleks Bach-Gapinski, a member of the LGBTQ+ community who lives in a constant uncertainty over the direction Poland will go during the 2020 elections, there is one part of his interview where he discusses being the victim of homophobic related attack. The video does not provide any sense that this attack was taken into just action by the police, seemingly being ignored with Aleks being left with no real justice. The Guardian article highlights a similar issue that took place with two women being targeted and assaulted in another homophobic attack, the only difference being that the attack here became blasted across national media, condemning the attack, the growing far-right, and the attackers themselves. Two completely different responses to two attacks that stem from the same problem, and while it may be easy to champion the national response in the UK over Poland’s, the problem still doesn’t go away, in fact it only provides a façade that populism isn’t as much of a concern in comparison to countries like Poland. Which is part of the problem itself, a condemning reaction can only provide so much protection towards political ideologies.

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g2IQoALZUA&t=2s

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/07/two-women-left-bloodied-in-homophobic-attack-on-london-bus

Sarah Marsh, Aamna Mohdin and Niamh McIntyre, “Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes Surge in England and Wales” The Guardian, 14 June 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/14/homophobic-and-transphobic-hate-crimes-surge-in-england-and-wales

Trans teens in today’s Hungary https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/03/24/colors-of-tobi-bfi-flare-alexa-bakony-hungary-transgender/

Fratelli D’Italia- Party like it’s 1922? [BLOG POST 5]

The Plague of Populism

By Jacob Braun

Giorgia Meloni and the center-right coalition at the Quirinal Palace, Quirinale, via WikiMedia Commons

On October 22, 2022, Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Fratelli D’Italia party, became Prime Minister of the Italian Republic. Based on a platform of anti-establishment rhetoric and populist nativism, Meloni’s coalition would take 44% of the vote— a resounding majority compared to her leftist opponents. As of yet, it is too early to determine Italy’s future under the new PM, but it will certainly be a blast to the past. As the phase of full populist transition ends, the battle for a new Italian identity begins.

FdI ORIGINS

Fratelli D’Italia (or Brothers of Italy) emerged primarily from two neo-fascist Italian political parties: the Movimento Sociale Italiano and the Alleanza Nazionale. The party itself is relatively new having been founded in 2012, touted by Meloni as a “new party for old…

View original post 254 more words

War in Syria- What Does This Mean For Italy? [BLOG POST 4]

The Plague of Populism

By Jacob Braun

Italian Customs boat enters port in southern Italy with Syrian Refugees, UNHCR/F.Noy, Copyright

Spurred on by widespread unrest within the Arab world caused by the 2011 Arab Spring protests, the Syrian Arab Republic was flung into a brutal civil war in early March of the same year. Until the breakout of the Russo-Ukrainian War, the Syrian Civil War would be the source of the largest refugee crisis in human history since the Second World War. With large amounts of majority Arabic, Muslim immigrants crossing the Mediterranean into Italy and Greece, a chain of events would unfold leading to an explosion in populist rhetoric within the EU.

A DECADE OF CRISIS

On entering the new millennium, the geopolitical landscape of the Mediterranean would change dramatically. Dictatorial regimes like Ben Ali’s in Tunisia and Qaddafi’s in Libya would be overthrown with the Arab Spring— with Al Assad’s regime seemingly…

View original post 226 more words

Italy Swings Populist- The Beginning of the Second Republic

The Plague of Populism

By Jacob Braun

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian House of Representatives 1994, via WikiMedia Commons Public Domain

Coming out of the major scandals that rocked the Christian Democrats and Italian Socialists, an unlikely political outsider takes the reins of Italy in the 1994 election: Silvio Berlusconi. Poised on bringing populist politics into the spotlight, Berlusconi and his centre-right coalition Forza Italia would prime the Second Republic to be a conservative European stronghold. Along with the official formation of the European Union in 1993, Berlusconi’s populism would prove to be beneficial to fellow conservatives later down the line…

POST-FASCISTS BACK IN FASHION

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party was the main point of a three-party alliance which also included Lega Nord and the Alleanza Nazionale. These radical right-wing parties were strongly associated with the new Prime Minister’s anti-elitist and anti-corruption platform. Most notably, Alleanza Nazionale is the direct successor of the old postwar…

View original post 170 more words

Fuel for the Fire- Corruption and the End of the First Republic [BLOG POST 2]

The Plague of Populism

By Jacob Braun

Former Italian Prime Minister Benedetto Craxi, Unknown Author, via WikiMedia Commons Public Domain

For the first time since the Second World War, a Socialist Party in Italy came to power with Benedetto “Bettino” Craxi as its Prime Minister in 1983. With promises of reform and continued efforts to improve the economy from a devastating recession, the situation in Italy seemed to be getting better as the Years of Lead came to a close. Corruption and scandal would rock the Craxi government, putting an end to the First Republic and giving rise to a new, populist type of politician.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL

Under the Craxi government, Italian inflation rates would drastically be reduced in tandem with the reduction of the indexation of wages. However, the growth of the economy spurred on by this change would incur unsustainable fiscal deficits, plunging Italy into a long-lasting cycle of debt…

View original post 231 more words