Europe versus the far right: Five minutes to midnight

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Traditional political parties are out of ideas, while the radical right have free reign. The time has come for resistance and intellectual rearmament, argues Bernard Guetta. See more.


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At the pan-European picnic organised by EuropaNow! in Ferrara (Italy) on 6 October 2018.

At the pan-European picnic organised by EuropaNow! in Ferrara (Italy) on 6 October 2018.

Traditional political parties are out of ideas, while the radical right have free reign. The time has come for resistance and intellectual rearmament, argues Bernard Guetta.

This text has been aired during the pan-European picnic, organised by the EuropaNow! association in Ferrara (Italy) on 6 October 2018, during Internazionale’s annual festival.

Friends, it’s five minutes to midnight. Within five years, in the European and national elections of the near future, movements to the right of the right could very well take control of the European Union, or become, in any case, major players.

They could, because neither of the two main political currents which have dominated the European stage since Liberation – neither the Christian-democrats nor the social-democrats – have any more force of attraction. Both seem intellectually exhausted, while movements of the new right at least have their novelty, and the simplicity of their proposals.

The balance of power between capital and labour has been overturned? Close the borders.

The archaism of Islam is disturbing, and not just for the right? Let’s abandon secularism and make our states christian again.

The electorate is sick of immigration? Then let the refugee boats sink.

Economic globalisation is disrupting our societies? Let’s leave the European Union.

This is all patently absurd, shameful, or both, but it works because it’s simple, to-the-point, and more satisfying than a lack of answers or the perennial “it’s more complicated than that”.

Today, democrats on both the left and the right are in need of intellectual and moral rearmament, but that of course takes time, too much time. So, while ideas are exchanged and we await the emergence of new strength, new parties of order and movement, it is in a position of resistance that we must place ourselves. Stated otherwise, we must systematically take a stand for the common cause of all democrats against the forces of obscurantism.

Not a thrilling prospect, admittedly. No, certainly not. But before the clock strikes midnight, it’s not the newly forming political identities that must be defended.

It’s freedom.

Translated by Ciaran Lawless

Factual or translation error? Tell us.

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