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Editor's note: At the request of readers, this diary has been updated and republished from earlier today. Thank you for your support.

Written by an American expat living in the E.U.

The alpine nation of Switzerland has declared WAR on the European Union's freedom of movement treaty, along with open borders negotiated throughout the European Union which the Swiss originally over a decade ago through years of negotiations voluntarily joined (though technically not as an EU member state). This new law has just passed on Sunday and was done through a referendum vote sponsored by a far right political  party the so called SVP (people's party) which is a party built largely on a class based anti-foreigner xenophobic platform which seeks to promulgate hatred, intolerance and the expulsion of foreigners and the closing off of Switzerland to the outside world as an island fortress with migration quotas. As such, this promulgates new laws of intolerance that are a huge step backwards in the heart of the progressive minded European Union.

Having regard to the poster depicting foreign hands grabbing Swiss passports, it should be said that immigrant couples must fulfill a 12 year waiting period of residence before being able to even apply for Swiss citizenship. Which is the longest waiting period  for citizenship anywhere in Europe. Also it should be noted that 23% of the Swiss population being foreign is exaggerated by the fact that approximately a quarter of these people were actually born in Switzerland and have lived there for their whole lives but were unable to obtain citizenship due to strict naturalization laws and are therefore considered to be foreigners. (This is something that is inconceivable to Americans as being born on U.S. soil confers citizenship automatically on all native born populations without having regard to who their parents are. Therefore the Swiss claim of being overrun by foreigners seems clearly exaggerated, so as to profit from such exaggeration by beating anti-immigrant drums, so as to stoke a class based xenophobia directed against the European Union's working class masses).  
This isn't an old story about greedy Swiss bankers enriching themselves by hording Nazi gold stolen from Holocaust survivors and this isn't the same old story about Switzerland promulgating laws to deport poor foreigners who are cheating on unemployment or welfare benefits. This is instead a story of Switzerland's new class based xenophobia, directed not at rich foreigners but at working class foreign immigration to Switzerland which is promulgated by the populous far right SVP People's Party. As such this has frighten the day lights out of progressive EU politicians from across the entire EU block (which is over 500 million strong), of the rise again of far right wing populism, hatred and class based xenophobia taking hold in Europe once again, leading us back to the disastrous history that plagued Europe in the last century and broke out two world wars. This is from a tiny alpine nation of 8 million people punching far above its weight (as it is less than the population size of London, England). It is sad as well as a frightening spectacle to behold because it marks the rise in Europe to the old ghosts of hatred and class based xenophobia.

From the German mainstream magazine DER SPIEGEL
 Quote:  A Land of Money and Fear: The Swiss Vote Against 'Mass Migration'

A Contradictory Self-Image

How is this possible? One important reason is the contradictory self-image of the Swiss. Switzerland views itself as a nation forged by the will of the people -- a community that decided to come together and create a state. The truth is precisely the opposite -- the Swiss state wasn't forged by will. Switzerland's regions haven't come together because it is their inner-most wish to do so. The reasoning is more profane. The German-language areas don't want to belong to Germany, the Suisse romande don't want to be a part of France and the Ticinesi don't want to become part of Italy. Instead, they are Swiss.

But an identity built on the rejection of an alternative has its weaknesses. Ever since the charisma associated with William Tell and the Old Swiss Confederacy faded, the mythological underpinnings of oft-evoked Swiss exceptionalism have vanished. The only thing remaining to substitute for a national identify is prosperity. Being richer than those surrounding you -- it's still something. But there's a flipside: Those who have a lot also have a lot to lose. And the prospect of having to share the francs that have piled up with immigrants can quickly spiral into existential angst. To exaggerate just a little: There wouldn't be much left in being Swiss if the country's standard of living were to regress to that of the Germans or, God forbid, the French or the Italians.

As the EU in order to avoid a Swiss originated avalanche of similar referendum being held in European Union member countries, it is quite conceivable that the EU will have to consider strong sanctions against Switzerland, so as to make an example of them. Under the pressure of such even threatened EU sanctions, it is quite conceivable that the French Swiss Romande may well themselves have to threaten to leave the Swiss Confederation in the matter of the anti-immigration vote, that they did not support.

It must be asked how much longer can the French Swiss Romande allow the German Swiss rural rube descendants of William Tell to take pot shots and attempts to shoot the apples off the Romande children's heads, so as to keep the apples from falling into the hands of cartoon EU vermin before someone concludes that the assumption of risk of the next generation of French Swiss Romande have become untenably high, to the point when someone says it's in the interests of the French Romande to go their own way and leave the Swiss Confederation.

In fact as Switzerland is only a nation of 8 million souls, 6 million of whom are Swiss citizens, it isn't inconceivable at all that this population substantially less than the population of the city of London could well vote to disband the present Swiss Confederation. Switzerland itself as a country as we presently know it will no longer exist. While we may speculate on this point and others, one thing is absolutely clear no one knows exactly what the future will hold. No one knows what will happen to the Swiss aviation industry if landing rights from the EU are restricted by quota in concert with the Swiss immigration quota. No one will know what will happen to the Swiss pharmaceutical industry whose majority export is the European Union. Precisely the same can be said of the Swiss manufacturing industry etc.

The primary target market of Swiss rural rube voters in German speaking Switzerland who voted for the immigration quota system may find themselves isolated and discover they may have bitten off more than they can chew, because they've succeeded in unleashing Europe wide anger against Switzerland, who has been resented for generations for being too rich and in your face xenophobic. This is a carefully nurtured multi-generational bias against the Swiss that these Germanic rural Swiss voters have now succeeded in  waking. In the clear case where they have woken that sleeping dog, it becomes impossible to predict the consequences that this may now unleash in a Europe which has been weary for generations of Swiss xenophobia.  

LET THE HATE FLOW This important story has absolutely dominated headlines in the European Union, Asia and around the world, yet it seems to be under-reported in the plutocrat owned US media, which is always reticent to impose Wall Street jitters.  This Sunday by what is described as the narrowest of margins 50.3% amounting to a little more than a few thousand votes, a Swiss far right party SVP (The people party) led a successful rebellion against the European Union freedom of movement, and therein declared figurative war on Brussels' right to dictate freedom of movement policies within the European Union and EEC states in association with the E.U. Where immigration quotas over the next 36 months will be phased in, therein restricting primarily the EU nationals of Germany, France and Italy, most of whom are highly qualified professionals from living and working in Switzerland.

The wound from the first World War is alive and well!!

Bloomberg News
EU’s Anti-Immigrant Parties Take Heart in Swiss Vote for Curbs
By James G. Neuger February 10, 2014

"Anti-immigration politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands said that while Switzerland is outside the EU, yesterday’s Swiss vote against open borders will resonate inside it."

“You can decide who comes into your apartment,” Le Pen said on Europe 1 radio today. “The country is our house. We the people have the right to decide who comes in.”

It seems the populous haters in the European Union have been woken up by the Swiss vote. Therefore this is now in danger of changing the European Union and believe it or not has also endangered America from populous hatred, racism and intolerance, because they too will point to the victory of the Swiss populous haters from the far right SVP party, this should also be our goal in America. As such this sets a dangerous precedent that we must all resist as progressives who value justice and tolerance.

Why should we as Americans care you might ask. The reason is simple the American economy is tied substantially to the economy of the European Union, and any Swiss led rebellion in what amounts to a political declaration of war, so as to assert Swiss sovereignty will create financial earthquakes on Wall Street effecting everything from your pension fund to the dollar exchange rate to the interest you pay. So how is it one might ask that Switzerland a nation of 8 million people, that is to say less than the population of London, England could have such influence. The answer is simple, populous parties in the European Union, most notably France, the Netherlands, Austria and elsewhere all have platforms that want to prevent migration of Eastern European EU states to their respective countries. It therefore sets a populous far right wing agenda in the news that other such far right wing parties who promulgate racism, xenophobia, discrimination and hatred want to grab a hold of. It is therefore ironic in the extreme that the Swiss are visiting upon them the very type of discrimination that they would visit upon other financially weaker EU states in Eastern Europe. They will tell you that they are not racists, that they are not haters, that they are not xenophobic. What they are is scared to death about being run over by foreigners, who will suppress their wages and overrun their social safety nets. That immigration must be restricted as a very article of survival itself, and that what is at stake here is nothing short of their sovereignty, the maintenance of their language and culture and their very economic survival.

Swiss vote on curbing EU immigration LET THE HATE FLOW

By Jonathan Fowler February 8, 2014 9:47 PM
Geneva (AFP) - Swiss voters will on Sunday decide whether to curb immigration by European Union citizens, in a referendum that risks igniting a row with Brussels.
Related Stories

    Swiss voters back limit on immigration Associated Press
    By razor-thin margin, Swiss voters back tighter curbs on immigration Christian Science Monitor  Neutral Switzerland is not in the EU but is ringed by countries that are members and does most of its trade with the 28-nation bloc. Since 2007, the EU's 500 million residents have enjoyed an equal footing with locals on the job market of Switzerland, a country of eight million.

That is part of a raft of deals signed with the EU in 1999 after five years of talks, approved by Swiss voters in a 2000 referendum and then phased in.

But a referendum coalition helmed by the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party -- the largest in Switzerland's parliament -- says that opening the door fully to EU citizens was a huge mistake."

So what comes into being is a complex picture, a picture which upon first glance to most Americans seems confusing, as the residence of all these nations are primarily Caucasian, and in terms of appearance cannot be distinguished, and often as in the case of Switzerland even speak the same language, that is to say French, German and Italian. So it is distinctly foreign to the American mentality that such deep seated ill will,hatred and xenophobia in Europe today are still alive and well. A Europe that now commemorates in numerous memorials and newspaper and journal articles the history which led to the outbreak of what was once called the Great War that is to say WW1, which at the conclusion led to the Versaille Treaty said to be responsible for the outbreak of WW2.

Europe feels Switzerland has wiped its feet on their good attitude of egalitarian inclusion for bringing the Swiss into having many of the benefits ordinarily only accorded to EU states, only to find the Swiss vote has wiped its feet on what might only be expressed as the good attitude of inclusion that Europe has shown them.

The Guardian, Febr 10th, 2014

"Freedom of movement is one of the four keystones of the single market. Switzerland's access to the market – the EU takes 60% of Swiss exports – is based on seven bilateral agreements from 1999, including the free movement pact. The package of seven agreements are interlinked, including guillotine clauses, which means that if one agreement is ditched, the whole package collapses.

For Brussels, said a European commission spokeswoman, free movement is a "sacred liberty. The ball is in the Swiss court. They have to decide what consequences to draw."


To be perfectly clear, rich foreigners and their money will of course continue to be welcomed in Switzerland, instead the class based xenophobia and hatred is after all only focusing on working class foreigners. That is say people whose primary income is derived from work rather than from capital. It is said that all that has to happen for evil to prevail is for good people to sit back and say and do nothing. Therefore this is your opportunity to stand up and speak out and be heard. To that end, I invite you to please consider posting your thoughts below. Thank you for your support of this important issue...

UPDATE: Please note the mainstream German magazine, Der Spiegel in interviewing SVP's founder the Swiss billionaire Mr. Christoph Blocher published the interview and this may be read in full at the link below.

Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:47 AM PST.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  You know what happens... (5+ / 0-)

    ...when a wealthy, high-wage country lets in unlimited numbers of people from much poorer countries who will gladly work for a lot less?  I know, but it's a secret.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 04:47:06 AM PST

  •  this is more hyperbolic and worse than (15+ / 0-)

    yesterday's diary.

    Switzerland is not part of the EU. There's no war declared here. Residents of the EU can move to any number (what is it, 30 at last count?) nations.

    Sure, there's probably racism in there, but I can chat with any number of Europeans of colour who live in the actual EU who will tell me there's lots of racism within the EU's nations.

    These shrill, hyperbolic diaries are not helping with getting the complete story. And you live in Germany anyway!

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

    by terrypinder on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 04:56:45 AM PST

  •  There are aspects (20+ / 0-)

    worth noting and unfortunately they are not mentioned often.

    Switzerland has currently one of the highest immigration rates in Europe, somewhere between 23 and 24%. When we voted yes to open the borders we were told the additional immigration would be about 0.1% but it is now over 1%.

    The other thing is, space is scarce in Switzerland as it is a small country and a lot if land is not usable, being mountenous. There has been lots of construction, almost every empty spot near cities has been constructed on and still rents have risen enormously since the opening of the borders some years ago. An appartment that cost maybe 800-1000 CHF goes now for 1700-2000 CHF, thats hard for Swiss to keep up with, even with relatively high salaries.
    In Switzerland it is difficult to find spots with out houses or at night lights. It is an amazing experience to drive over the border to Germany or France and just drive  for 5 or more Minutes without buildings or light.

    Btw. I voted no, but this huge immigration is creating problems that need to be adressed. I think because Switzerland is so small the problems show faster, but my guess is, they already show or will soon show also in other European countries and will need to be adressed. Not necessarily by shoting the borders - but solutions have to be found.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 05:00:03 AM PST

    •  There is some controversy naturally. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fran1, bronte17, FG, unfangus, Odysseus

      High immigration levels can cause problems. What this referendum does though is it threatens to blow up every single treaty with the EU. And that could be a huge step backwards, leading to the re-imposition of border controls, lack of free trade, foreign investment etc. Not to mention that the Swiss themselves could lose the right to live and work in Europe.

  •  The money quote is: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, greenbell, Sinan

    "To exaggerate just a little: There wouldn't be much left in being Swiss if the country's standard of living were to regress to that of the Germans or, God forbid, the French or the Italians."
       If people believe that failure to restrict immigration wll lower their own living standards, why on earth would they vote not to restrict immigration?
       Denouncing the vote as "class based" is silly. Apparently, a narrow majority of Swiss voters fear that their prosperity is endangered. The vote is class based in the sense that voters would prefer not to move into a poorer class.
       Switzerland is not an EU member and need not abide by EU regulations re freedom of movement.

  •  Any party that has "Volkspartei" in its name (7+ / 0-)

    should give one pause in the wake of Nazism.  We shouldn't forget that there are still strong fascist and ultra right-wing groups in various European nations.  They've been active for decades.  But "Volks-" makes the hair on the back of my neck raise, always.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 06:36:16 AM PST

    •  I can't believe that some are defending this (9+ / 0-)

      Think about the average German person in 1937, 1939.  Bombarded with propaganda (similar posters, nasty depictions of "those not like us") to make their Immigrant and Jewish population look like greedy monsters who steal your jobs, who commit all the crimes, who need to be tossed out, rounded up, to preserve the "serene way of life Germany used to know" before the Foreigners.  What was the average German's response?  Looking the other way when foreigners and Jews were rounded up, treated like animals.  

      They justified it to themselves and their friends by citing crime stats, unemployment stats, comments that "those people aren't really like us," smell, practice different religions, are dirty, etc.   Now, mind you, back in those days constant droning propaganda was of one single voice, was easily controlled by the state.  In this day and age of the Internet and 24/7 news/commentary on TV and radio of all viewpoints, and being able to get almost all information one wants, what is the average Swiss person's excuse for going down a similar path here?    

      •  To floridageorge - Very true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

        by Democrats Ramshield on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 07:33:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with ya (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Swiss are a bunch of f$^&& racists. They wanna close up their borders because they're xenophobic.

      •  Why the surprise? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Whatithink, Victor Ward, Visceral

        Immigration causes social problems and always has.  It depends on the relative numbers and the relative cultural differences but it always causes friction.  

        That's why I wonder at Democrats over selling it here.  

        •  Democrats are selling it here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          because it's the right thing to do.  There are millions living in the shadows and their statuses should be normalized.  Are we just to kick them all out of the country?  Or simply maintain the status quo in which these undocumented workers are a subclass that has no rights, are susceptible to exploitation, and who work off the books for below market wages this driving down everyone's wages?

          Besides, not only is it the right thing to do, it's the politically smart thing to do since Asians and Latinos are the fastest growing voting blocs in the country.  Not to mention it's good for business - immigrants start businesses at a far greater rate than the population at large.  And lastly, anyone with any interest at all in the solvency of Social Security should be all for immigration since the immigrant population is younger and will provide the tax-paying workers needed to pay into Social Security, something direly needed for a native population that is getting older.

          And this stuff about "social problems" and "cultural differences" is code for "let's not make white folks angry" which is about the dumbest excuse for not tackling immigration given that our biggest social problems have more to do with greed and corruption, and secondly the cultural differences thing sounds like more excuse-making for bigotry.  Besides from a political standpoint, most white folks don't vote Democratic anyway, so what's the point of pandering to them while kissing off your fastest growing constituency?  

          "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

          by puakev on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:40:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You did a fine job of making my point (0+ / 0-)

            So you don't want to pander to white voters, huh?  Most whites don't vote for Democrats?  What percentage would "most" be?  Just keep saying that out loud and you're going to find out just how many states have a non-white majority.  Sheesh, in my state nearly 80% of the voters are still German, Norwegian, Irish and Swedish and we haven't voted for a Republican President since I think 1972.  

            Oh, my, are there a lot of white voters for you to alienate and there's a lesson there for you in what's happening in Europe.  It's called BACKLASH and Democrats don't seem to be able to see it coming.  

            •  Baloney. Plenty of whites abhorr what you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              peddle here.   We, as a group, aren't of the same mind about how we assess Immigrants and their contributions and value to society.  You obviously believe that they are a drag on society, I happen to believe the exact opposite, they enrich our society.  I am white, so (apparently, correct me if I am wrong) are you.  

              As for the nation as a whole, you could not be more wrong.  Whites are now more than ever before likely to favor Comprehensive Immigration Reform that allows undocumented Immigrants to come out of the shadows and eventually earn a path to citizenship.  Polls show that 74%, 75% of Whites want to see that happen.  10, 15 years ago?  No way.  So, that BACKLASH you foresee amongst Whites in America against Immigrants?   Not going to happen.  Quite the opposite, more and more whites are accepting of Immigrants, legal or undocumented, than ever before.  

            •  Here's data from the 2012 elections: (0+ / 0-)


              59% of whites voted for Romney to 39% for Obama.

              Here in liberal California where Obama won 59-38 over Romney, but Obama actually lost among whites - 53% went to Romney, 45% to Obama.

              Or let's look at a close state like Ohio.  Obama won 50-48 - but he lost big among whites, with 57 to Romney and 41 to Obama.

              And lest you think that this racial gap was limited to the presidential race, look at the exit polls for the House and the results were identical - 59% of whites voted Republican, 39% voted Democrat.

              The point isn't to tell whites to fuck off.  The point is that Democrats owe their political successes to the growing nonwhite vote.  It is the nonwhite that put them over the top in 2012 (Dems would've taken the House were it not for gerrymandering).

              You argue that Dems should tell this most crucial and fastest-growing part of their coalition to fuck off in order to cater to a group that is making up less and less of their coalition, and indeed less and less of the voting population at large.  That simply does not make sense from a political perspective.

              The argument you make is similar to those who argue that Dems should abandon advocacy of rights for LGBTs, women, and minorities, or that they should avoid calling for liberal economic policies, in order to avoid antagonizing white voters.  Dems in red districts have been trying that approach for many years and it has gotten them nowhere.

              Instead Dems should try being true to themselves and fight for what they believe in rather than constantly trying to pander to white voters as they have these last 30 years, which has only resulted in white voters becoming more Republican, not less.

              "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

              by puakev on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 12:14:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Democrats are just recognizing the truth of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants already in this country who are living in a shadow world - incapable of being certain they're going to be in the US next week, or that their family will be able to remain intact, or that they won't be sent to a country they barely know and don't speak the language of, being kept to poorly paying jobs, being prevented from the protections of labor law, minimal health care and they're here and not going away voluntarily.

          Democrats are trying to find a way that those people can come out of the shadows and start living productive lives contributing taxes and their labor and intellect to the benefit of their adopted country.  Republicans are trying to simultaneously benefit from being able to be cruel to those people by threatening them with deportation while also getting labor jobs like farming accomplished for low wages and dangerous living conditions.

          If Republicans want to get rid of these 12 million, let them come up with plans to do so.  They don't, because they want cheap, threatened labor that they can abuse.  Democrats at least want to try and come up with a solution.  Is there friction?  Yes.  Is it better to solve the problem than to perpetuate it or ignore it?  IMO, yes.

        •  There doesnt need to be friction. (0+ / 0-)

          Societies can be inclusive and fair.

          •  The Swiss and their ability to treat people.... (0+ / 0-)

            like sh!t with impunity is finished. In a way its actually laughable that they think they can still get away with this stuff. Their actions have really hurt their image and markets abroad. This mistake of theirs will cost them dearly.

            Their dirty tricks have always worked for them in the past and will continue to try to use them for as long as they think Europe will let them profit from them. The only way the Swiss will ever stop is when Europe takes the decision to stop them from being closed and intolerant or face economic sanctions for their apartheid.

      •  But immigratin is not always a good thing... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Visceral, greenbell, FG, fran1

        ...for the residents of the place where immigrants are migrating to.  and stating that that's a problem is not necessarily the province of Nazism.

        "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

        by TheOrchid on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:43:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  they remembered money being worth more as firewood (0+ / 0-)

        Absent the kind of systemic crisis that followed defeat in WWI - starvation, hyperinflation, rival gangs fighting to the death in the streets, etc. - racism and anti-semitism would likely not have advanced beyond what was commonplace in the US and the UK.  Same with dictatorship.

        The Nazis rode to power on New Deal-style jobs programs, infrastructure projects, a restoration of law and order, and re-building Germany into a world power: they took the Left's standard of living thunder away from them Bismarck-style but promised no over-educated 20-somethings turning society upside-down because they were frustrated and bored.  War and genocide was always their goal, but it's not what they ran for office on.  And the only reason they got into power in the first place was that the conservative old guard didn't want to make a parliamentary majority with the other two choices: classical liberals (center-left by the standards of the time) and card-carrying Communists.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:05:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  To concernedamerican - Well said (2+ / 0-)

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 07:32:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Misleading diary (5+ / 0-)

    Last I checked, the SVP had about a 25% share of the Swiss legislature. They are the largest single party by a slim margin, but it also means they are outnumbered 3:1 by the other parties. The Swiss left has its own take on one of the SVP posters.

    If the national referendum does goes through in the final vote count it will be because a majority of the Swiss people voted in favor of it. The SVP is the face of it (and anyone that Stormfront approves of probably qualifies as dicks), but is a clear minority of the government as a whole.

    As the diarist lives in Europe, I'm sure they have seen similar sentiment in other countries. The open border policies have caused a large amount of immigration from places in the former Eastern Bloc, and there is a growing resentment about those who are "not pulling their weight". I've seen Romanian panhandlers on the streets of Oslo and heard the complaints about them, and seen anti-Estonian sentiment in Helsinki. An anti-immigration party gained seats in the Swedish parliament, the anti-immigrant stance of the Cameron government in the UK is clear, France has its own anti-immigration posters, and similar things are going on in every other country of the EU (plus the Nordic countries and Switzerland).

    A diary title making this out to be a "Swiss thing" is misleading, mere headline-chasing, and ignores the larger structural issues. The problem has been building for a while. The Swiss, having the fewest binding ties to the EU, are simply the spot that revealed the stress first.

    •  NOT the Cameron GOVERNMENT (0+ / 0-)

      The views expressed by right-wing Tories and their panderers in Parliament, including ministers, are not the policies of the government which is two party.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 02:34:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember the last line of an old play (0+ / 0-)

    "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui", "The bitch is in heat again".

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:51:19 AM PST

  •  So? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, TheOrchid, fran1

    Having been there many times and with friends in Bern, I can understand why the Swiss are reluctant to turn their country into a melting pot. Swiss culture both on the German and French sides is very rigid. Why would they want to change it? Articles like this paint a very broad brush which ignores the cultural cohesion of societies that are ancient. If the Swiss want to keep themselves apart from the rest of Europe, it is their right to do so.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:52:07 AM PST

    •  True (0+ / 0-)
      If the Swiss want to keep themselves apart from the rest of Europe, it is their right to do so.
      However the treaties they have signed with the EU allow for the free movement of people, goods and services. If they choose to withdraw from one provision, they are withdrawing from them all. Switzerland would have its goods and services subject to full import duties. Neither of course would Swiss citizens be able to travel outside their fatherland without obtaining a visa.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 02:44:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So? (0+ / 0-)

        if that is the price they have to pay to keep the Swiss culture intact, who are we to object? Personally, I fully understand why they don't want Zurich to turn into Budapest or Istanbul or even Athens. What happened to the idea that culture is an important asset of any nation? Of course, someone will start talking about racism or bigotry or something else but if the Swiss wanted to live in another country, they would move there. For instance, I love Mexico but I hardly want California to turn into Mexico. There has to be some sanity here or nations mean nothing at all.

        Do facts matter anymore?

        by Sinan on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 03:43:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's not like Switzerland has always been open... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, Wordsinthewind

    ...and only now has decided to close up.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:00:39 AM PST

  •  interresting diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sedro, ProgressiveBubba

    the swiss certainly are an interesting bunch.  the last article i read about them, a left wingish bunch were trying to pass a national guaranteed annual income.

    do i miss my guess that this wave of anti-immigrant sentiment is the sort of thing that happens when economic troubles threaten?  it's my sense that the anti-immigrant sentiment is generally highest when economic cycles bottom out.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:32:59 AM PST

    •  The EU will deal with the Swiss. Don't worry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yea I agree but i think the Swiss are greedy and they're xenophobic. They are famous for being both but I think the EU this time will punish them for their evil.

      •  Swiss will have to change their evil old ways (0+ / 0-)

        Definitely the Swiss are famous for being xenophobic haters and being famous for being greedy. But in the new Europe the EU commissioners will force the Swiss to change their evil old ways as you say, or the Swiss will have to deal with the EU's consequences. The old business as usual Swiss modus operandi won't work anymore because times are changing.

        Or as we say down South that old dog don't hunt.

  •  Much food for thought here, D.R. (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the diary. I'd heard of the rise of the Le Pen faction in France but hadn't realized that the far right is taking hold in Switzerland as well. Not good news.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:55:21 AM PST

  •  Posting & reposting repeatedly will not help (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    make your posts more popular. However, your approach does seem to have gamed the most shared list. Congrats.

    “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

    by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:10:46 AM PST

  •  In your haste to repost, you neglected to fix (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    numerous errors in spelling & grammar.

    Most glaringly, please stop using "populous" (an adjective meaning "containing many people") when you clearly mean populist ("of, relating to or advocating Populism [a political movement purporting to represent the rank & file of the population]"). I presume most of us figured out what you meant to say, but appearing not to know the difference tends to detract from any authority the diary asserts.

    The greatest trick the GOP ever played was convincing the devil they had a soul to sell.

    by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 11:09:03 AM PST

  •  The Swiss are not alone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If such a referendum were held in Germany today, the result would be much the same.

    Witness the rise of the AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) which narrowly missed exceeding the 5% hurdle in the last election.  They would surely get in the Bundestag today.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 11:24:53 AM PST

    •  All I know is the Swiss (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      have a real problem here. They are clearly by majority vote xenophobic.

      •  Maybe they are just clearly by majority vote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        •  For sure (0+ / 0-)

          It's socially acceptable and even profitable for the Swiss to be xenophobia and greedy to the max since basically FOREVER. The only problem is in an integrated Europe I agree that for the first time in their history they are going to be faced with consequences that will be costly enough they will be forced to change their ways or they will have to pay the piper until they do because the EU will end their free access to the European Union's market, unless they provide for the free movement of people.

          The EU will put the Swiss between a rock and a hard place. My guess is the Swiss will blink first because they are a lot smaller than the EU.

          •  It's still tough to have an integrated US (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's no easy thing to fully integrate so many nations with very old cultures and traditions.  It's not surprising people fear a loss of identity.  Imagine trying to get something like this to work with the Japanese.  Many nations are ethnocentric.  It's not necessarily wrong but of course it works against the unity of Europe.  

            •  Hmm...the Swiss are already multicultural (0+ / 0-)

              As you know they have a German speaking part, a french speaking, Italian speaking part etc. Plus they have a lot of multinational companies like the united nations headquarters in Geneva. The problem with the Swiss isn't the lack of cultural diversity. The problem is the Swiss are mean people for whom being mean has been a really profitable enterprise. It looks like they're going to continue trying to profit from being mean unless the EU Commission reins them in.

              Given the low Swiss birth rate, they simply don't have enough skilled workers domestically. That is why they need to have immigration. The Swiss only have about 2 million immigrants in the whole country!

          •  hmmm yes between a rock and a hard place! (0+ / 0-)

            sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

            by Democrats Ramshield on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:03:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  A Quick word of Thanks to our readers (0+ / 0-)

    for your support and for your thoughtful comments. Your contribution is much appreciated in the furtherance of our discussion on this important issue. Thank you!

    sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

    by Democrats Ramshield on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:34:21 AM PST

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