The New Danish Government and the Far Right

by Steen Sohn

The Len Pen surprise in the recent French presidential election has made European leaders and pundits comment on and condemn the success of the rightist The National Front and its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have expressed their disgust, as has Danish Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Rasmussen’s reaction was especially interesting, not to say hypocritical, as his government bases itself solely on votes from the Danish equivalent of the Le Pen party.

Last November Rasmussen took office as head of a new government consisting of his own right liberal party, Venstre (which ironically means The Left, which it was 130 years ago), and the junior partner–Konservative. But as is often the case in Denmark they needed a third party to gain a majority in our Parliament– Folketinget. Venstre campaigned to get the traditional center votes from the social democratic party and to appeal to voters expected to back the xenophobic Danish Peoples Party, DPP, headed by Pia Kjaersgaard. This party had successfully made foreigners–immigrants, fugitives and their crimes–a main issue in the campaign leading up to the election.

So Rasmussen’s party despicably placed ads showing young Palestinians leaving a courtroom spitting in contempt and displaying their longest finger on their right hands–just to show what a menace aliens are to a western society and to capture votes otherwise meant for DPP. And it paid off to some extent, but not enough to stop our ultra rights in gaining 12 percent of the Danish vote.

And that was plenty to form a majority with Rasmussen and today the xenophobic party is the parliamentary safety net to Danish government, which has now for four months run the country without even looking to the left side of the Parliament. Social-liberals and socialists are more or less in the gutter, wondering what hit them and licking their wounds..

The conservative policies of the Rasmussen government (and the fact that it relies on parliamentarians from the far right) has raised some eyebrows from sister parties in countries such as Norway and Sweden. Rasmussen has been asked to explain to them what was going on in the state of Denmark.

With the general European outburst of condemnations against the rise of Le Pen, Rasmussen saw a chance to explain to the rest of Europe that his parliamentary partner, The Danish Peoples Party, is not at all the same as Le Pen’s National Front. That’s why he was so very demonstrative in his statements. He thundered "that Le Pen’s proclamations and whole politics were abhorrent." He took special note of some remarks by Le Pen on concentrations camps and Jews.

It is well known that Le Pen some time ago expressed horrible views that gave the impression that he regarded Hitler’s extermination of the Jews and the concentrations camps as events that merely deserved a parenthesis in the history books.

No Danish politicians have said things quite like this, so Rasmussen seems in the clear. But several members of the DPP have come close to explicit anti-Semitism. In several instances the party has proclaimed statements that are more or less same or, in some cases, even more chilling than we hear from the rest of the European far right.

Leading members of the party even resort to language that was common in Germany in the thirties. High ranking DPP parliamentary leader, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, on the eve of the last election, used the exact same words on Muslims as German right wingers in 1932 used on Jews: The Muslims should be sent out of the country on a one way ticket. On the issues of stopping immigration and sending the foreigners–i.e. Muslims–out of the country today in order to save our wonderful society and the social welfare system, there is absolutely no difference between the Danish, the French and other European rightist parties.

Hence Prime Minister Rasmussen’s focus on Le Pen’s remarks on the Jews. But it’s a hard sell. Rasmussens efforts to make partner look nice, house trained and therefore fit to do parliamentary business with collide almost daily with their neo-fascist nature. Just the other day, right-winger Jörg Haider of Austria invited The Danish Peoples Party to become member of a common rightwing European party running for the European Parliament in 2004.

Rasmussen can’t talk away the smell. Something definitely is rotten here.

Steen Sohn is a freelance writer specializing in German and American politics, including a book on McCarthyism. He lives in Aarhus, Denmark. He can be reached at: steen@sohn.dk

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone
Laura Finley
Adjunct Professors and Worker’s Rights
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”
Weekend Edition
July 24-26, 2015
Mike Whitney
Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die
Henry Giroux
America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland
Rob Urie
Capitalism, Engineered Dependencies and the Eurozone
Michael Lanigan
Lynn’s Story: an Irish Woman in Search of an Abortion
Paul Street
Deleting Crimes at the New York Times: Airbrushing History at the Paper of Record
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
Andrew Levine
After the Iran Deal: Israel is Down But Far From Out
Uri Avnery
Sheldon’s Stooges: Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
David Swanson
George Clooney Paid by War Profiteers
ANDRE VLTCHEK
They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror
Horace G. Campbell
Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?
Michael Welton
Surviving Together: Canadian Public Tradition Under Threat
Rev. William Alberts
American Imperialism’s Military Chaplains
Yorgos Mitralias
Black Days: August 4th,1914 Germany and July 13th, 2015 Greece