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European Extremism: Sourced in Germany

“The problem is that [the burkini is] not a bathing suit. It’s an Islamist uniform.”

— Marine Le Pen

“We show our faces….[the burqa] is not appropriate with us – it should be banned.”

— Angela Merkel

It’s almost impossible to spot the difference between Europe’s extreme right and Europe’s extreme centre. Europe’s extreme mainstream (the Guardian newspaper for example) would have you believe otherwise – it’s scaremongering ahead of key elections next year in Germany , France and Holland.

The liberals fear a “right wing” Europe. But that ship has sailed. Europe is so far right these days – it’s falling down. And doesn’t realise it. The centre paved the way. And the right is ready to pounce. Whether it’s Merkel or Le Pen doesn’t really matter. The damage has already been done. The “New Old World” – as it is – is profoundly anti-labor and profoundly anti-Semitic (a Semite being Jew and Arab). Hitler would feel right at home.

English may be the official language of Europe, but German is the official logic. Whatever Germany decides, the rest of Europe swallows. And the key German decision in the 21st century has been, in a word: austerity. Or in other words: wage depression. Or in old words: class war. And in the absence of working class resistance (working class consciousness) everything else neatly follows. Namely the scapegoating – primarily the antisemitism – in particular the (anti-Arab) islamophobia.

This is the German way. And Germany is proud of it. Germany admitted as much earlier this month when die führerin spoke in Essen at a Christian Democrat conference. Indeed die führerin declared indirectly that German “austerity” and German “antisemitism” are now the pillars that hold the whole European project together. Without German leadership, die führerin argued, Europe (the EU) would disappear. The message was that Europe (and in fact the world) needs German guidance. And the mainstream agrees! Now that Trump is in power in the USA – liberals are desperately clinging onto the German führerin. History indeed is ironic.

History is rational. There’s a reason for everything. And the reason for the liberal love of die führerin is Germany’s unconditional commitment to neoliberalism. The rewriting of the German social contract in the early 2000s (Agenda 2010 and the Hartz Plan) for the sake of German capital – crucified German labor. German labor was cheapened and made more precarious so that German capital could compete and profit more. This German embrace of aggressive neoliberalism set the stage for Europe’s extreme turn to the right.

It was Germany’s “Reagan” moment or “Thatcher” moment. And Europe was screwed. The introduction of the Euro currency at the same time – with Germany at the wheel – put Europe on the path to self destruction. Having depressed wages and weakened demand in Germany – German capital had no choice but to flood Europe in search of consumers (suckers). The Euro facilitated this. And the subsequent European bubbles and the bursting of those bubbles in 2008-10 unleashed the Berlin beast across the continent: austerity. From then on the path was clear for the new führerin. Germany über alles. And fuck Europe! And fuck Muslims too!

Before Obama fucked Europe in Ukraine, Germany fucked Europe in Greece. And while everyone was being fucked in Europe – the Arabs were being pulverised. This pulverisation of Europe’s closest neighbours has been the great distraction. As well as being the greatest crime. Germany’s utter contempt for European labor needed a smokescreen. NATO’s destruction of the Arab lands, and the ideology that accompanied it, provided it. Islamophobia became Europe’s convenient safety valve.

Is it a coincidence that Europe’s “refugee crisis” dramatically hit the headlines just days after Germany broke the legs of Greek resistance in the summer of 2015? Since then the media in Europe haven’t been talking about anything else but this “Arab invasion”. As if German austerity throughout Europe didn’t exist.

Instead of German neoliberalism being Europe’s problem, the Arabs were presented as being Europe’s problem. To make this “believable” the facts had to be turned upside down. NATO’s wars in the Arab lands disappeared from rational thought and the Arab refugees were to blame for their own predicament. The same way that German neoliberalism vanished from the scene of the Greek crime – Western imperialism and the prejudice and racism that makes it possible and responsible were hidden from view. A fake reality solidified. A decontextualised austerity and islamophobia took a grip of European life. Europe locked itself into a hellish dance without end. Hiding the causes has only perpetuated the consequences. And to hell with the victims.

Austerity and Islamophobia are now inseparable. One reinforces the other. More wage depression in Europe, equals more European stagnation, equals more European militarism, equals more European War for geopolitical advantage in the strategic Arab lands, equals more Arab refugees, equals more convenient scapegoats in Europe, equals more cover for even more wage depression in Europe. Or something like that. It looks like a never ending vicious downward spiral.

Is there a way to stop what Germany began in the 21st century? The good news is that there isn’t. There’s no way out for die führerin and her liberal minions. They are fucked. The right are swallowing them up. But that’s because they (the liberals) have already swallowed right wing policies. Which came first in Europe’s 21st century: the extreme centre or the extreme right? Answer: the extreme centre. And by swallowing neoliberalism it has morphed into the extreme right.

Today’s liberal fear of the right is therefore laughable. Nothing really distinguishes the liberals from the right. So instead of supporting them we should let them drown in their own contradictions. Russophobia being the latest contradiction. In search of more profit German capital is lashing out at everyone: European labor, the Arabs and now the Russians. By imposing austerity upon Europe, Germany has fanned the flames of antisemitism and irrationalism. And the fire today is raging! The Semites are being destroyed. And the Slavs are being targeted. Hitler indeed would feel right at home.

Some, like Varoufakis (the ex-finance minister of Greece), think we should save liberal Europe (the EU). They think we should reform it. But reform what? Is neoliberalism and it’s progeny, neofascism, reformable? Varoufakis & Co. have zero faith in people like us from the lower classes. They think that underneath we’re really fascists rather than communists. And so, they argue, we have to be saved from ourselves! And how do we do that? By saving German capital (the EU). They insult us. We say let the capitalists behind Merkel swing on the rope they themselves have made. Let the shit hit the fan in Europe. And let’s have a final reckoning with our class enemies. Let Europe as it is fall. And let a new Europe pick itself up again – a new Europe with multiple sources of inspiration – not just one monolithic right wing source. The Arabs would appreciate it. And so would the Germans. The left, too.


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Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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