Forget Dale Carnegie. Nazis like Austria’s Heinz Christian Strache know exactly how to win friends and votes. You don’t have to be a nice person – all you have to do is hate and threaten the right people:*
Last September, Austria’s far right gained massive political influence in an election that saw the FPO along with another far right party – Alliance For The Future (BZO) – gain 29 per cent of the vote, the same share as Austria’s main party, the Social Democrats. The election stirred up terrifying memories of the rise of the Nazi Party in the Thirties.
And just as the Nazis gained power on the back of extreme nationalism and virulent anti-Semitism, the recent unprecedented gains in Austria were made on a platform of fear about immigration and the perceived threat of Islam. FPO leader Heinz Christian Strache, for example, described women in Islamic dress as ‘female ninjas’.
Emboldened by the new power in parliament, neo-Nazi thugs have desecrated Muslim graves. Recently, in Hitler’s home town of Braunau, a swastika flag was publicly unveiled.
After the FPO’s election victory, Nick Griffin, leader of the British Nationalist Party (BNP), sent a personal message to Strache.
‘We in Britain are impressed to see that you have been able to combine principled nationalism with electoral success. We are sure that this gives you a good springboard for the European elections and we hope very much that we will be able to join you in a successful nationalist block in Brussels next year.’
The message followed on from a secret meeting last May in which a high-ranking FPO politician paid a visit to London for a meeting with Griffin.
The relationship between the FPO and the BNP becomes more worrying as I learn of the strong links between Austria’s political party and hard-line Nazis….
…There are no ‘sieg heils’ and no swastikas for the cameras, but it’s clear that Fascism is back. These are not thugs merely intent on racial violence, who are easily locked up. These are intellectuals and politicians whose move to the forefront of society is far more insidious.
Through the political influence of the FPO it is entirely possible that the Verbotsgesetz could be revoked – and if that happens swastikas could once again be seen on Austria’s streets.
The ideas and racial hatred that I have heard over my two weeks in Austria are just as threatening and just as sickening as any I have ever heard. And they are a lot more sinister because they are spoken with the veneer of respectability.
The open defiance of these men honouring their Nazi ‘war hero’, and the support they are gaining in these troubled economic times, should be setting off alarm bells in Europe and the rest of the world.
I wrote about the rise of Nazism in Austria last October, in the article titled “Austrian Party That Wants to Bring Back Nazi Imagery Wins Big”.
To my surprise, many readers defended the newly elected Austrian anti-immigrant leaders, with comments like:
“The success of these parties is the natural result of the unrestricted immigration and forced multiculturalism that you, Mary, see as a necessary corrollary to the doctrine that “all men are created equal.”… ”
“There seem to be a few euros out there, who will risk being called nazis, by an islam-appeasing,siucidally pc”maisteram”,than live and die under Islamic terror.Good for them !I say.”
…the Nazis are coming back has been a left-wing theme since the 1950s in European politics. And it has always been wrong. The Nazi movement was born of unique circumstances (hyper-inflation, broad anti-Semitism etc). The economic conditions in Austria in no way resemble the 1920s and 30s and anti-Semitism in no longer widely accepted, outside of immigrant communities. A Nazi takeover is no more plausible than a communist takeover–yes a few people believe odious things, but outside the fringes, no one agrees.
“Oh dear, that article is quite some spin, I don’t know where to start. Perhaps it’s better to just leave it, as a work of art and confusion by someone who appears to be completely clueless.
Hint: Nazis as we know them have died out by now or are very very old. Most of us are not interested in it either anymore…”
And it was before “The Alliance for Austria’s Future”, Haider’s party, won a “posthumous triumph” for its founder, winning 45.6 percent of the vote on Sunday in the southern Austrian state of Carinthia.
Everyone loves a winner. Like a stopped clock, Osama bin Laden was right once – people from all cultures/religions will tend to support any political group that’s willing to threaten the defenseless in an effort to show that they can intimidate “the enemy” and be the “strong horse.”
In an effort to befriend the enemy of their enemy, some Muslims rallied behind their Nazis. The anti American Left saw an opportunity to befriend a the friend of their enemy and they spun concern about Islamofascism as racist “Islamophobia.” Now the Austrians support their anti-immigrant Nazis.
With all these Nazis running around, Israel is justifiably concerned:
Israel severed diplomatic ties with Austria in 1989 and 2000 because of neo-fascist developments. “The terrible thing is not so much the success of extremists, but the way they are courted by conservatives and Social Democrats,” said Grigat.
The shift to radical far-right politics in Austria has alarmed many observers in Israel and Austria. The mainstream parties – the Social Democrats and Conservatives – praised Haider at his funeral in October.
In an effort to preserve their careers, some moderate political types ally with one Nazi group or another. The extremists win, and a formerly fringe group becomes mainstream.
We’re seeing, in real time, how an extreme, psychotic, obviously self-destructive ideology can gain support from millions of apparently rational people. The question is, have we learned from history or will we choose to repeat it?
[* Link thanks to Atlas Shrugs]