Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Racism and Immigration

The right-wing nationalists appear to be gaining the hearts and minds of many around the world, winning a number of crucial elections. Despite their extremism they have acquired a large degree of mainstream legitimacy. The far right have developed an ideology that is uniting racist neo-nazis, conservatives and populist politicians going well beyond their previous fringe existence. Over and over again in different languages they are telling us it is “Us” (whites, Christians) or “Them” ( black and brown, Muslims), that immigrants are storming the battlements of “Fortress Europe”, breaking through the southern border walls of America and invading the island nation of Australia, in other words what they call the “civilized world”. It is what’s called the “great replacement” to oust the native-born inhabitants. Its tactics are infiltrating institutions from the inside, spreading their “insidious” culture, and producing a lots of babies to out-populate the local people.

Between 2012 and 2019, for instance, 1.5 million tweets in English, French, and German referenced this warped theory of the “great replacement”. Its origins was from a gay radical poet, Renaud Camus, who had been a student demonstrator in Paris in 1968 and who in 1981 voted for Francois Mitterrand for president of France. In 2010, he published a book entitled Le Grand Remplacement depicting a France and a Europe transformed by immigration. His work became the foundational text for a growing movement called Generation Identity, a version of white nationalism. The “identitarians” embraced Renaud Camus' ideas and spread conspiracy theories. It was not just only explicit racists and Islamophobes who are pushing these views but also mainstream conservatives such as Republicans fearing demographic change such as increased Hispanic voters will undermine their political power.

Our entire civilization is now at risk, they keep saying. European christian culture and civilization is being undermined and must be preserved. The American way of life is endangered.

Putin said, “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected.”

Africa wants to kick down our door and Brussels is not defending us,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in 2018. “Europe is under invasion already and they are watching with their hands in the air.”

In the context of great insecurity among the “middle class” and the working poor, believing themselves abandoned by the elite and their political parties multiculturalism and immigrants became easy targets for the mounting anger of the nationalists and white supremacists. Subject themselves to austerity policies, the funds being spent on caring for migrants and refugees has led to a growing resentment against them among workers. Those on the right have taken full advantage of this latent xenophobia. No more is the talk about keeping immigrants out but ethnic cleansing (or as they euphemistically call it “remigration”) is being voiced. The platform of the German far-right party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), for instance, reads: “Germany and Europe must put in place remigration programs on the largest possible scale.” In America, they now demand the deportation of the “undocumented”. No more is the discussion about absorption and assimiliation. The EU slogan “unity in diversity” and the Statue of Liberty's Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” are being challenged by those who do not accept humane immigration and refugee policies or believe in an inclusive vision of society. It is “Us” versus “Them”. They work hard to use the social media to dehumanize the “Other”, the “Undesirables.”

The real tragedy is that a “Great Replacement” is imminent and looming on the horizon. Millions of desperate families will be fleeing the environmental destruction of climate change. Some argue that civilization will disappear and humanity itself will be replaced.

Adapted from here

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