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One of the great joys of the modern European Union was being able to circulate freely through 26 countries without continual control,; today the extreme right nationalistic parties scored a victory

EU interior ministers embarked on a radical revision of the passport-free travel regime known as the Schengen system to allow the 26 participating governments to restore border controls.

Then the zinger

They also agreed to combat immigration by pressing for "readmission accords" with countries in the Middle East and north Africa to send refugees back to where they came from.

The extreme right wing in Europe has been making steady progress over the last decade or so notably in those countries once labelled as socially liberal The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. In France we have a poisonous dwarf desperately trying to win the extremists in his futile bid [I hope] for reelection as president.

The move to curb freedom of travel came as the extreme nationalist right, which is increasingly influencing policy across Europe, chalked up a notable victory in Denmark, which announced it would unilaterally re-erect controls on its borders with Germany and Sweden.

This all stems from the revolutionary movements in N.Africa trying to free themselves from decades/centuries of tyranny and colonialism. Rather than trying to help, the right seem determined to isolate Europe and close their eyes to the real problems; that our governments helped cause the situation in the first place. All this because a very few Arab and black Africans have tried to become refugees from the violence. The attitude here from the right is we wont help you at home and you can't come here.

Italy's anti-immigrant campaign is headed by the interior minister Robert Maroni, of the xenophobic Northern League in the Berlusconi coalition. The campaign in France is seen as an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to dilute the growing appeal of Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the extreme Front National.

The extreme right groups here in Europe are slightly different than those in the US.

1] Religion [Christianity] is not used as a good practice guide.

2] Creationism is not an issue.

Where they are similar.

1] Xenophobia coupled with a good dose of racism

2] Islamophobia is rampant.

3] Anti LGBT is very evident.

Funnily enough Germany [possibly due to its history or its relatively buoyant economy] is resisting these xenophobic moves the best they are fighting to keep the borders open.

Current major parties on both the left and right are seen as failures across much of Europe due to the economic decline. The extreme right have found a scapegoat and it is based on skin tone and religion, and horribly this vile message is gaining a great deal of populist traction.  The way they do it is to wrap themselves in the nearest flag and wail about cultural heritage and try and make it all sound so reasonable.

Then there is the fear tactic

The policy shift has also been triggered by acute nervousness about the impact of the Arab spring. "There are hundreds of thousands on the shores of north Africa. Something extraordinary could happen any day," said a senior EU diplomat. "If Gaddafi uses this weapon, he can create a lot of problems for Europe."

So rather than trying to help N. Africa for decades by reducing the crushing poverty and not supporting tyrants we have decided that the cure to past policies is to bottle them up and watch the slaughter? I'm ashamed.

The power of fear of the other is very easy to use; and the rise of the extreme right here is very easy to understand. However the extreme right once the external fears are removed  will turn inwards and begin [as history shows clearly] to target minorities within, it must be stopped.

Europe and the US must cease this increasingly isolationist and unilateral foreign policy. We must stop supporting oppressive governments and hording our wealth because ultimately we will rot from within. It is also time to combat climate change as this will only increase the migratory pressures.

We live on a small and increasingly interdependent planet we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from its problems.

Originally posted to LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by Global Expats and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar we are facing a social tipping point and (43+ / 0-)

    xenophobia, racism and isolationism are not the way forward.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:58:19 PM PDT

  •  I saw that story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, JekyllnHyde, Dauphin

    but so far it's in the talking stages, yes? Not implemented, and perhaps it can be headed off.

    Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Mnemosyne on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:01:54 PM PDT

  •  It's the economy!! (6+ / 0-)

    Yeah, and racism too.

    These issues are real, and they really need to be resisted.

    But they are always brought into much sharper focus when the economy tanks.

    Despite Germany having issues with it's Turkish population, they are probably better positioned to resist the fascist elements due to their own history, and their relatively strong economy.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:02:55 PM PDT

  •  All that, but to tell you the truth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KVoimakas, Andhakari

    ...we're going to have to kill off about 3 billion people in the next 25 years -- due to lack of clean water, climate change, and a massive scaricity of resource -- coupled with the fact that women just won't stop breeding and dropping litters everywhere.

    It's really the bigger geopolitical issues that are driving these sweeping policies throughout the world.

    •  I dont know who the "we" is, and who the three (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tim woods, luckydog, gerald 1969

      billion targeted for such a measure are. If looked at efficiency and impact basing it on a low cost solution the order would be


      African countries would be way down the list.

      Unfortunately you will also have to get religion out of the way and its go forth and multiply attitude.

      Nature will take her course but we could try and do something in the meantime.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:23:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Coastal areas, drought regions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...poor nations with skimpy emports, and nations with uneducated women nailed into compounds behind screens or living in tent cities.

        It will rapidly sort itself out. It's also easy to look on a map and see where to take your family and put down roots immediately to survive over the long haul.

        Not much rocket science involved when scraping ourt a safe, furtile, water-rich region on earth where you won't be deported.

        •  Or you take out those that consume (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckydog, Pluto, gerald 1969

          disproportionately first...but I know that will be unacceptable..sigh..snark

          It's an argument that leads one way if you don't talk about religion and education. War, genocide, mass migration and chaos if you do nothing.

          It easy to say but but there are too many people...where do you start... euthanasia?

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:39:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know where you start (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...but if you have money and fresh water, you close your borders down.

            And, close your eyes.

            •  No, I don't. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LaFeminista, Pluto

              Close my eyes, that is.

              Closing borders? Some folks try. Tho' some folks are sans frontieres by nature.


            •  Sorry I dont have the isolationist I'm alright (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pluto, luckydog

              bunker mentality because it is a losing strategy in the long term

              You always know which way the clearances will go, from the bottom up...yet the top consume thousands of times more than the top.

              Start with the billionaires and work down?

              Education and get the religious on track with birth control.

              The evangelical right in the US want to start a population boom.

              "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

              by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:54:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I sympathize with your point of view (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but I just saw here at DK a couple days ago that the UN has recently revised its population projections for this century. One example that was cited to me was that of Nigeria: expected population by the end of the century to be in excess of 700 million folks. That's just one country. The EU's total population today is less than 500 million.
                We can bitch all we want about injustice and colonial crimes, but there is no way Europe will allow a population explosion of that magnitude to inundate it. Not without a major war in any event.

                "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

                by Andhakari on Fri May 13, 2011 at 05:14:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Unfortunately, what should be done (0+ / 0-)

                and what will be done are not the same thing.  At least that's the way it appears right now.

                I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                by AoT on Fri May 13, 2011 at 05:46:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Always the cheery one. ;) n/t (6+ / 0-)

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:58:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Wilders political party in the Netherlands, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, Meteor Blades

    Is the only political party that does not recive government funding. Liz Cheney has helped with fundraising and the Ronald Regan Library had sponsored fundraising events.....then there are some very far right religious groups.

    •  The Dutch Reform Church for one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tim woods

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:27:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  PS however in general christianity is not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita, tim woods

        the driving force as it is in the US....not by a long chalk

        "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

        by LaFeminista on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:28:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can't swear to this... (0+ / 0-)

          don't believe in organized religion.  But from what I've been reading over the past six years or so, the younger Evangelical Christians are more and more concerned about stewardship (this is a dog-whistle for environmental protection and fears of global warming) and much less concerned about gays, sex outside of wedlock, abortion, etc.

          IOW, they see the elephant in the shrub, and know that all the other things are merely distractions.

          Again: I do not write this from personal experience.  I don't go to church at all, unless it's a particularly beautiful and historic one I'm interested in for architectural reasons.  But that's the impression I've been getting over the past few years from my online reading: The Kids Are Alright (most of them) and they get it.

          Over the past 30-odd years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital. --Bill Maher

          by Youffraita on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:42:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Last Year..... (6+ / 0-)

    It's not only African immigrants & refugees.

    Last year, there was a big war of words after some officials within the European Union likened France's deportation of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) to Vichy France's collaboration with Nazi Germany to expel Jews.

    One of the key sticking points was the Schengen system. Many of the Roma being deported by France are citizens of the European Union entitled to move freely through E.U. countries.

  •  there's another similarity (8+ / 0-)

    between the US and EU right wing: pushing hard for austerity in a recession, and then playing up the xenophobia as people freak out as the pain their economic policy exacerbated hits society.

  •  There is a problem with Eastern European (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, Andhakari

    criminals gangs here in Scandinavia. This is what lies behind the Danish action. Denmark has not closed the border or started passport controls again, but they have reenforced the ordinary custom control which is within their rights according to the Schengen agreement.

    The Norwegian police also recently called for a change in the Schengen agreement. According to them people from the Baltic states are now behind 80% of organized crime in Norway and 30% of all prisoners here are now foreign citizens, to a large degree Eastern Europeans.

    I donĀ“t think the free movement in Europe will be abolished, but I think Scandinavian authorities want to send a strong signal to some Eastern European countries that they need to get better control over their criminals.

  •  Didn't white men come from Europe?? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Poor white men-they're afraid here and there..They are out numbered..BWAAAHa Ha  -White men health is on the decline so I wouldn't worry too much- they'll destroy everything including themselves sooner rather than later..

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    by roseeriter on Fri May 13, 2011 at 12:53:02 AM PDT

  •  Your poisonous dwarf seems to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, unspeakable, LaFeminista

    channeling Napoleon III, particularly in his attitudes toward the Middle East and North Africa.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri May 13, 2011 at 06:37:39 AM PDT

  •  Comment (3+ / 0-)

    Reinstating border controls is logistically ridiculous.

    If you look on Google Satellite at many Western European borders, the borders go down residential streets.  Then we have the motorways, autoroutes, autostrada, and autobahnen of Europe (the only ones I've ever driven on are in England, France, and Germany but I assume other countries are similar -- they're like US Interstates, but better maintained and in Germany a lot better engineered as well).  There is simply too much cross border traffic on these roads.  And away from the motorways, there are residental areas that straddle national borders; are they going to put up checkpoints in people's back yards?

    Oh yes, then we have the airports.  The domestic hubs in European airports cover EU flights because there are no border controls.  Rejiggering this would create chaos in these airports.

    So this is all ridiculous and rather tragic.  The Schenegen zone is a huge accomplishment, something that always gave me an inferiority complex as an American.  And now they want to shut it down all because a few Tunisian immigrants went into France from Italy.  This is really a sad thing to watch.  I'd hoped for better from Europe.

    •  Try the Belgian/Dutch border (3+ / 0-)

      The Treaty of Maastricht in 1843 left a number of tiny exclaves of Belgium within the Netherlands. In turn, the Netherlands has exclaves within those Belgian exclaves!

      BTW, the other factor that has brought the issue to a head this month is the expiration of the exceptions that France and Germany had that prevented the free movement of labour from Bulgaria and Romania.

      "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Fri May 13, 2011 at 10:14:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This trend in Europe massively predates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross

    the Arab Spring.

    That may have been the final push, but the British government at the time fought hard for - and won - a special exemption from Schengen allowing them to maintain border controls.

    The xenophobes in Europe have for years been moaning and groaning about pesky brown people crossing the Mediterranian either to Gilbraltar or to islands that form part of EU member nations and "takin' our jobs".

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