A shocking new report documents patterns of far-right violence across Europe
As concerns mount about the violence of elected far-right politicians in Greece, and Sol Campbell warns black and Asian football fans against travelling to Poland and the Ukraine for Euro 2012, the Institute of Race Relations reveals that the problem of far-right violence is not confined to a few European countries. On the contrary, a new geography of racism is fast developing as extremists set up shop in rural areas, towns and city neighbourhoods in every country of Europe.
Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the far Right brings together over 100 cases, mostly from EU countries, but also Switzerland and Norway, which documents patterns of violence, from the peddling of hate online and the drawing up of lists of ‘national traitors’, to violence, arson and murder on the streets, and the stockpiling of weapons in preparation for ‘race war’.
While the principal targets of far-Right violence are Muslims in western Europe and the Roma in eastern Europe, anti-black racism and antisemitism are also very much on the increase. And in a trend that is in danger of rapidly escalating as the economic crisis deepens, attacks on Social Democrats, Left politicians, academics and journalists that report on the far Right around Europe are intensifying too.
Amongst the 100 cases documented in this report:
- Experts on extremism in the Czech Republic choose no longer to appear as court witnesses because of constant abuse and threats from the far Right.
- Academics in Finland studying immigration and integration issues withdraw from public discussion rather than face intimidation and threats to their families.
- A former leader of the Social Democrats grouping in the Bundesrat is beaten senseless in Vienna on the official Auschwitz memorial day as the police reportedly, look on.
- A Roma woman gives birth prematurely after far-right militia dressed in black uniforms stage provocative marches in villages across north-eastern Hungary.
Other cases documented in Pedlars of Hate reveal that the state services which should protect the public are failing, and in some of the most disturbing cases, colluding with the far Right. For instance:
- A Danish police officer is investigated after it was alleged that he was the principal organiser of a secretive far-right network that had established an extensive ‘traitor archive’ entitled ‘The Great Memory’.
- An undercover officer from the German intelligence services is present as a young Turkish man is murdered by the terrorist National Socialist Underground.
- One estimate suggests that up to half of all police officers in Greece voted for the Golden Dawn in the May elections. A Hungarian police trades union newsletter declares anti-Semitism the ‘duty of every Hungarian homeland lover’.
- A serving British soldier writes on Facebook about bashing the skulls of ‘dirty, rotten rodents’ only to be found guilty of firebombing a mosque in the UK.
- A former French soldier describes his act of vandalising Muslim graves as act of resistance to the ‘Arabic and Islamic invasion’.
‘We hope those politicians who respond to the economic crisis by offering nationalism or ultra-patriotism as a palliative will think again,’ said Liz Fekete, the author of the report. ‘In the 1930s, Jews were accused of having a “decadent culture” which was unpatriotic and cosmopolitan. Today, those nostalgic for a racially pure society use “multiculturalism” as a synonym or shorthand for cosmopolitanism, and this is another reason why those politicians who find a scapegoat for society’s ills in the multicultural society should think before they speak.’