Speaking of collusion…
CommonDreams recently reported on evidence of “explosive” and “extraordinary” coordination between a controversial Madrid campaign group and far-right parties across Europe.
A controversial Madrid-based campaign group, supported by American and Russian ultra-conservatives, is working across Europe to drive voters towards far-right parties in next month’s European Parliament elections and in Spain’s national elections this Sunday, openDemocracy can reveal today.
Our findings have caused alarm among lawmakers who fear that Trump-linked conservatives are working with European allies to import a controversial US-style ‘Super PAC’ model of political campaigning to Europe – opening the door to large amounts of ‘dark money’ flowing unchecked into elections and referenda.
The Madrid-based campaign group CitizenGo is best known for its online petitions against same-sex marriage, sex educationand abortion– and for driving buses across cities with slogans against LGBT rights and “feminazis”.
But now openDemocracy can reveal new evidence of “extraordinary coordination” between this group and far-right parties across Europe – from Spain to Italy, Germany and Hungary.
Former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who worked with John McCain to reform political finance in the U.S., described the report’s findings as “frightening” and called on European leaders to protect the democratic process.
“Europe has an opportunity to get ahead of this and not make the same mistakes that were made here in the United States.”
During the past few years, there has been explosive growth of far-right–essentially fascist–parties here in the U.S. and in Europe. Spain is just one example:
The Spanish far-right party Vox has pledged to build walls around Spanish enclaves in North Africa, jail Catalan independence leaders, loosen gun control laws and “make Spain great again”. The party also opposes “political correctness”, marriage equality for gay people and laws against gender-based violence.
The cited article goes into considerable detail about the global links among far right groups and the sources of their financing, but what is truly chilling is the extent of this movement and the fears that motivate its supporters.
We’ve been here before. Change can be terrifying to those who believe that their positions are being threatened. And societies today–especially western, democratic societies–are facing enormous changes.
Technology is rapidly transforming economies, and automation is threatening millions of jobs. Previously marginalized populations–women, LGBTQ citizens, African-Americans, immigrants–are demanding an equal place at the civic table. Longstanding traditions are under assault from a variety of directions–from the arts, from globalization, from liberal religions, and from growing secularization.
People–okay, mostly straight white Christian males– fear the loss of their traditional dominance ; they experience these changes as existentially threatening. That isn’t new. What is new is the ability–courtesy of the Internet– to connect with others around the world who share their fears.
Meanwhile, the rhetoric coming from Trump and his white nationalist ilk gives them permission to be far more candid about their bigotries. (You might even say that the bigots are leaving their closets and “coming out.”)
White nationalism appeals to people who are fundamentally insecure–who believe, deep down, that they can’t compete in the world that is dawning, that shorn of their traditional privilege they will be insignificant.
The problem is, that fear is powerfully motivating.
People of good will who are willing–even eager– to live in our evolving world cannot afford complacency. There’s a quote by someone whose name I’ve long forgotten, to the effect that a rattlesnake, if cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. That, of course, is exactly what happens to these people who are consumed with hate and resentment against the Other — they are biting themselves.
But the rest of us are collateral damage.