Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Border Walls and the Rise of the Right
by Dawit Wolde Giorgis
A wave of right wing nationalism is sweeping across Europe and the US. A decade ago it was not so visible but in the last two years the phenomenon has gripped the world and created a tension that could lead into global turmoil. From UK to France, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Slovakia, and the United States, the slogan of WE FIRST has been resonating with fury and passion. It is far from certain that the hard right will prevail in all these contests in the near future but they are gaining ground. They may not have identical visions but they all share a WE FIRST, a sign of hard-core nationalism.
“From UPIK’s Farage “we want our country back” to the Austrian Freedom Party’s guiding principle, “Austria First”, to Trump’s promise to ‘Make America Great Again’ they all share a “put us first!” 1 The battle line has been drawn. The cornerstone of this new phenomenon both in Europe and USA is opposition to immigrants and immigration with the hard-right parties in Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands explicitly anti Muslims and the USA anti Mexicans and anti Muslims.
In a speech on March 9, 2017, at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C, former President Bill Clinton warned against the rising popularity of nationalism across the world, such as Trump’s “American First” policy. “People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world...And it always comes down to two things — are we going to live in an us and them world, or a world that we live in together? If you got that, in every age and time, the challenges we face can be resolved in a way to keep us going forward instead of taking us to the edge of destruction.” Some vocal segments of rights in Europe and America want to be acknowledged as a homogeneous society based on common cultural, color and ethnic identity, essentially as a white society, which owns the nation states. Africans, Muslims, Minorities are portrayed as immigrants who don’t belong there. The greatest
contributing factor to this emerging ideology of exclusion and separation is the increasing wealth gap between the haves and have-nots both in Europe and America. The world today is far more divided between rich and poor than it was a quarter of a century ago. Successive governments both in Europe and America have failed to address this wealth gap, which has lead to increasing social economic instability and to a very narrow and dangerous worldview and selfdefinition, which is anti immigrant and anti establishment......-