Is Europe on the “right” path?Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe
Imagine a pamphlet announcing that the “Muslim Fifth Column is taking over Europe. We will soon be living in Eurabia under sharia law.” Or imagine a pamphlet saying that the “world conspiracy of Jews, this dirty vermin that keeps on returning to pollute our societies, has taken control of the banks and industry again.” In the Netherlands, both pamphlets would provoke public outcry against the authors, since the year is 1989 and we have just stepped out of our time machine to witness the ensuing protest marches and the imminent arrest of the neo-Nazis who distributed these pamphlets. Those were the good old days when the extreme right was small, when mainstream racism and anti-Semitism did not openly exist, and any word or sign of discrimination was immediately attacked by anti-racists, anti-fascist groups and all loyal democrats. In those days, support for the rights of economic immigrants, or guest workers, as they were called back then, was the norm and not the exception. In Western Europe everybody on the left side of the political spectrum had faith in a future of equality and freedom from discrimination, while those on the right who kept silent were branded as racists, or at least apologists. During the 1980s, anti-racist and anti-fascist groups built up considerable popular support, to the extent that anti-racism in the Netherlands became the norm and any dissenting voice was immediately labelled racist or fascist.