Written by Knofear
Greetings and welcome!
I have made this post on Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. day, not because it necessarily relates to his cause, but because it is a Monday holiday. This week I tackle the growing global movement towards nationalism and right-wing extremism that the USA and other countries seem to be taking. A horrifying event to me, it is something that needs to be addressed.
Moving on, rightist extremism is a fairly visible trend, at home and abroad. Here in America, it can be seen with the increasingly conservative Republican Party, which continually distances itself from its past leaders claiming that they were too “liberal”. In the rest of the world, it can be seen in right-winged leaders taking power in many countries in order to cut spending and alleviate economic hardships. In more extreme forms, it can be in political activists or groups making very strong displays of what they believe, sometimes violently. No matter where or under what circumstances, this is a serious omen. While conservatives may not feel any problem, increasing rightism in the world is not something new. We have experienced something like this before.
During the 1920s and 1930s, to be specific. Under eerily similar conditions, the power of the right-wing became swelled on a global scale. And don’t think I’m joking here, either. The rise of these leaders and movements was primarily due to harsh economic troubles and fear for the safety of nations. Back then, military leaders and extreme rightists took power by taking advantage of this fear. Hitler, Mussolini, and eventually Franco all took hold of incredibly vulnerable countries, with devastating results. Most of us are familiar with World War 2 and the Holocaust, I presume. Fascism was the main concern; the rise of absolute autocrats in Europe and Latin America became very apparent once Germany invaded Poland. The US didn’t even make real attempts towards helping the world until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. But the fact of the matter was that humanity began to realize just how dark the souls of humans become. We saw for the first time just how terrible things got when we turned our backs on each other. We saw how easily we could be manipulated, and what the consequences were when it happened. I don’t consider fascism truly “defeated” until Franco’s Spain was toppled at his death, although some say it ended when the war did. We thought it was all over.
It may not be. Look at what is going on. The world is experiencing an economic slump greater than it has felt in decades. Money is tight, and people are scared. They fear for their families, friends, and selves. But few fear for those other than their compatriots. Right-winged leaders are taking hold once more in Europe, and Latin America may be soon to follow. They are numerous, and control some powerful countries; Cameron in the UK, Sarkozy in France, Rajoy in Spain, Monti in Italy, Merkel in Germany, the list goes on and on. The point is that we may be headed in a direction we have already been on, one which we all know where it leads to. While fascism may be away down the road, it is not impossible. We know for certain that people have an incredible capacity for cruelty and so called “justice” in the name of their movements, like Anders Breivik of Norway, who fired on many people in the hopes of seizing right-winged power in Europe and starting a movement (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8657141/Norway-killer-Anders-Behring-Breiviks-plan-to-seize-power-in-Europe-after-London-visit.html). It is also obvious that we are turning to the right more and more as we become more desperate for solutions.
This is an atrocity. We can’t let this happen. We know how bad things become when the extreme right takes power, and we can’t allow it again. Even when it’s not fascism, the right wing can cause serious problems for our country and the world. In America, Reagan ran a huge deficit and allowed lots of job losses for lower class workers due to trickle-down economics. Bush had us involved in two wars, only one of which was fully justified. Along with beginning drone strikes in other countries as well, he began making huge tax cuts, thereby defunding expensive wars. No matter what way we look at it, while life under right-wing leaders may seem fun, it isn’t for everyone, and they have left behind messes time and again. Europe has it no better. Their experiences with the right are often worse, especially in the cases of Germany and Spain. Yet Europeans are once again turning to the right to solve their problems, generally by austerity measures this time around. It’s not hard to see that the people have a problem with this; protesters in places like Greece sometimes turn violent in a fight against austerity. While this is a good sign, presidents and prime ministers generally hold power longer than people can keep protesting. As such, I fear for our world.
For those of you wondering at home, the Tea Party does not have your best interests at heart (unless you are rich and/or own a corporation, of course). Global conservatives do not have the world’s interests at heart. Most are focused on improving their own country at the expense of others, a problem of the past. If we wish to pull through our hard times, we must be willing to help each other out, despite our reluctance to hand over cash when we feel that we are in tough times. No matter how bad it becomes, consider this: a 10-year-old boy in Somalia has just stolen food from the black market in order to feed his many siblings. He goes without food, because he could not steal enough. He may have malaria, and most likely has no parents, or even a house. Yet you sit there reading this on your computer (or phone, or whatever). We can’t forget what happens when we ignore the world to focus on ourselves. When we turn our backs, the worst is soon to follow.