Europe’s Fault Lines
Racism and the rise of the right
Liz fekete
Verso Books

One thing we all know is that we live in dangerous times. Are these times more dangerous than previously deemed ones? It’s hard to tell but those generations didn’t have social media or the exposure that we now have. Feteke tries to remind us through these pages that “humanitarian, anti fascist and socialist values are far more rooted in European Culture than authoritarianism. The author has a good pedigree as director of institute of Race Relations. She has first hand knowledge and experience of the rise of extreme right wing parties throughout Europe.

It starts off with a very stark reflection on the growing violent far right groupings operating throughout Europe. No country seems immune though ireland’s rising and worrying number have been less clinical in their advances.

And the threat doesn’t solely come from the streets, the numbers of people putting their x on the ballot papers for openly far right candidates are growing. Everywhere, it would seem. In much the same way that hitler used democracy in a battle to defeat democracy there’s parties sprinkled through Europe ready to overthrow democracy and ready to align across borders.

Italian Philosopher, Giorgio Agamemnon, has argued that “Government no longer attempt to prevent problems, but merely to steer through them” can be seen in the context of migration. Governments are dealing with the “effects” rather than the cause of migration which leads to hysteria and an exaggerated sense of issue. Most of these pages are spent explaining the rise of the far right and the sensationalism that goes with it. At the end we get a small sense of what can be done. Returning to the rallying cry of anti fascists in Spain in 1936 “They Shall Not Pass” this slogan is not an example of left extremism but one of a measure of how much we value democracy. “Our values based on community and solidarity must come to the fore, as should a recognition that unity in diversity makes a community stronger”. What a better way to finish a book and start building bridges once more.

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