The far-right is on the offensive across Europe: the biggest upsurge since the 1930s. From street attacks and mobilisations to government office, they use Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism to spread hate and fear. They attack trade unionists and the left, and the rights and liberties of us all. Gaining succour from the Trump White House, they are increasingly internationalised, well-funded and well-organised.
On 2 March 2019, the ¡No Pasaran! Conference met in London to discuss and plan how the left and progressive forces can confront this rise of the far-right.
The conference was organised by Transform journal and supported by over 40 organisations, including the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Confederation (eTUC), European Left Party, and Transform Europe Network.
Among over the 400 participants were 50 delegates from across Europe, with 14 countries represented.
The conference was opened with a welcome address by 95-year-old Walter Wolfgang, a refugee from Nazi Germany, who has been a socialist and peace campaigner throughout his adult life.
Other speakers included:
Diane Abbott shadow Home Secretary, Ken Loach filmmaker, Professor Tamas Krausz Hungary, Cornelia Hildebrandt Germany, Walter Baier Austria, Danièle Obono MP France Insoumise, Laura Parker Momentum, Mohammed Kozbar MAB , Ann Pettifor Prime Economics, Lowkey, Salma Yaqoob, Verveine Angeli Union Syndicale Solidaires France, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Sabby Dhalu Stand up to Racism, Myriam Kane NUS NEC, Hilary Wainwright Red Pepper, Asad Rehman War on Want, Liz Fekete Institute of Race Relations, Senator Paul Gavan Sinn Féin, Francisco Dominguez Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Esther Lynch eTUC, Czesław Kulesza Naprzód Poland, Chiara Mariotti Italians United against Fascism, Gertru Vargas Izquierda Unida Andalucia, Luk Vandenhoeck Platform 2103/Hart Boven Hard Belgium, Rayah Feldman Maternity Action, Maria Spiliotopoulou Greece Solidarity for All Greece, Richard Barbrook Digital Liberties
“The focus of the racist attacks on Diane Abbott MP is not just because she’s a black MP, not just a black woman MP, she’s also a black left woman MP. From all of us, solidarity to our sister.”
“Austerity has led to a sense of hopelessness for millions of people. The media does everything it can to place the blame for all of society’s problems on the poorest and most vulnerable. It’s within this context that the far right can flourish.”
“When I read Ann Frank’s diary as a young person, I never thought we would be moving towards this situation today.”
“Racism always seems to come back. It’s because we live in a rotten system that is not only about competition between capital but competition between workers. The far right won’t go away until we’ve built a different sort of society.”
“If we don’t demand an end to the far-right in Europe – like Viktor Orbán in Hungary – then we are as complicit as everyone else.”
“The global south has been sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberalism. All they are offered is white-saviourism and charity. There was a time when we took on the WTO and international capital. We desperately need an internationalism again.”
“The biggest party in France is the working class abstention party. Those people who don’t feel engaged by the existing parties. These are the people we need to address in order to confront the far right.”
“There are three attacks on Muslims per day. Money from the 1% is funding right-wing think tanks that produce studies to demonise Muslims. They’re reported on uncritically by the media. Scapegoating Muslims was an essential part of the state’s war on terror.”
“The election of Trump has emboldened the National Front in France, Five Star in Italy, AFD in Germany, Orban in Hungry, and an increase in racist attacks in Britain.”
“The ban on the veil is yet another way of demonising Muslim women. We must confront the scourge of Islamophobia across Europe. United we stand, divided we fall.”
““Hungary’s Orban is the embodiment of a new populist far right. His followers have been instrumental in an anti-semitic campaign against George Soros, constructed as a dangerous foreign influence.”His followers have been instrumental in an anti-semitic campaign against George Soros, constructed as a dangerous foreign influence.”