Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The far right’s narrow defeat in Austria should be a wake-up call for Europe

The economic frustrations, insecurities and fears that are fuelling the radical right and the new left are set to increase. Social democracy has become a spent political force Europe’s far right was supposed to be dead and buried, but its coffin has been opened and its proponents stalk the continent once again. This weekend, nearly half the population of Austria voted for a far-right candidate. If it wasn’t for the votes of 31,000 Austrians – out of a 4.64 million-strong electorate – the country’s figurehead would now be Norbert Hofer, a man who wears the blue cornflower, a symbol associated with the Nazis. And here’s a statistic that should terrify anyone who leans to the left: nearly nine out of 10 Austrian manual workers plumped for the far-right. Austria is no blip. Not since 1945 have movements of the far right and xenophobic right had such support across the continent. In France, the Front National – a far-right party which has exploited the crisis of French socialism by stealing the left’s economic rhetoric – won the most votes in the first round of regional elections last December. In Germany, polls show the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany creeping up on the beleaguered Social Democrats. Hungary is ruled by an authoritarian rightwing government, and polls show around a fifth of Hungarians support the far-right, antisemitic Jobbik party. From Poland to Italy, from Switzerland to Greece, from Sweden to the Netherlands, the radical right is flourishing. It’s not a phenomenon confined to Europe, of course: across the Atlantic, a racist, Muslim-hating “alternative right” is mobilising behind Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Continue reading...