2019/05/25

The pattern of right wing radicals ...

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 ... and their route to authoritarian government with oligarch-dominated economies:


I like to comment on the recent scandal that crashed the radical right's leadership in Austria:

This is the modus operandi of many radical right wing parties in Europe. They mix neoliberalism (which garners support by the very rich) with politics of aversion, solve no real problems for 90+% of the people and since they solve almost no real problems they need to exploit hate if not cheat to stay in power. The voters might otherwise try some political alternative in hope for better results.

The tendency to get in bed with the super rich leads to the rise of oligarchs who get unfair competitive advantages by their connections to law-disrespecting politicians.

The threat of losing elections leads to aggressive attacks on the non-aligned news media by right wingers (this already begun in Austria and is a well-known story in Hungary, Poland, Russia, Turkey, U.S.) while oligarchs provide a radical pro right wing "news" media alternative (Rupert et al/Sinclair, also Media control established in Russia, Hungary, Turkey) to support their political allies.

Later, the judicial branch begins to prosecute the corruption or at least to get in the way of unconstitutional laws and governance. This leads to radical right wing  attacks on the independence of the judicial branch and the radical right attempts to politicise the judiciary branch in its own favour (see U.S., Turkey, Poland, Russia etc.).

A terminal stage for democracy strangled by right wing radicals is features that political opponents are getting jailed (usual excuses are corruption or terrorism), gerrymandering, vote suppression, election fraud and sometimes when they misjudged how much they would achieve by cheating, they refuse to recognise election defeats and deny the orderly and peaceful transition of power to the political opponents.

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Some of those right wing radical governments benefited from rapid economic growth as their well-educated populations caught up in GDP per capita by modernising and enjoying capital influx. This was particularly true of Turkey, to a lesser extent Poland. Russia recovered economically by mere export commodity price luck. These largely unearned or unsustainable economic successes sometimes stabilise such far right governments long enough to enable them to dismantle the rule of law and establish an oligarchy with an unhealthy marriage of right wing radical politicians and billionaires.

The problem with this is that without the protective rule of law and political attention on developing the middle class and lower class (education, health, opportunities, security of  businesses against the oligarchs' foul play) the nation's future economic growth potential suffers badly. The nations eventually begin to stagnate economically (just look at Russia's inability to build competitive industries outside of arms and gas turbines). Additionally, economic successes that were partially bubbles (such as in Turkey's debt-dependent development) threaten to collapse, which leads to frantic efforts by the right wing radicals to subjugate the remnants of democracy in order to stay in power.

The pattern is astonishingly universal. What differs between countries is merely the order of events and whether and how the right wing politicians achieve economic policy success for a couple years. 

The variety in regard to economics shouldn't surprise, as neoliberalism isn't really a growth-inducing ideology unless the previous economic policy was truly awful in terms of making markets rigid and access to capital for investment scarce. Most cases for neoliberal policies depend on incomplete (kind of naive) analysis of the consequences (example; privatisation of postal services) if not on outright wishful thinking (voodoo economics). The U.S. government these days use simple fiscal expansionism becuase its voodoo economics never work, and that's despite the very same politicians vilifying fiscal expansionism a few years ago when macroeconomics actually offered a good case for it due to the then depressed private demand.

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Well, it appears this cup passed away from Austria this time.
The Austrian right wing radicals got caught by some sting op (and it really doesn't matter by whom - what matters is their behaviour on the undisputed tape) at the "cuddling with oligarchs and plotting illegal favouritism (tilting the playing field in favour of oligarchs instead of rule of law)" stage.

Similarly, the judicial branches in Italy (Berlusconi), Spain (Correa), Israel (Netanyahu) and the U.S. (Trump) were or are being challenged very much by corrupt right wing politicians and those countries have not fallen completely to authoritarian radical right wing political systems with oligarch-controlled economies yet.

S O

P.S.: It should be noted that neither CDU nor CSU are right wing radical parties as described in this article. (The AfD is such a party, though. It already employs neoliberalism ideology and began with the cuddling with rich people, illegal party financing and most of all attacks on non-aligned news media outlets.)
I still think of both CDU and CSU as awful. The CSU is awful because of the kind of politicians it brings to power (too many very poor character individuals) and the CDU is awful because it's a true conservative "reform nothing, only administrate" party, and we've had too much of that in the past 40 years. Merkel herself is not a true conservative; she does occasionally reform in order to vent problem pressure that built up and could become a risk to continued political dominance of the CDU. Her refugee policy was a most untypical attempt to make actual policy (and a poorly-devised one at that).
Both CDU and CSU fiddled with rigging the government in their favour together with industry captains a long time ago, but the young Western German democracy resisted this seemingly for good more than fifty years ago already. The CDU has since adopted neoliberalism, passes laws that benefit most of all a reliably right wing publishing house and had its party financing/corruption scandals, has always an ear for billionaires and industry captains, but it does nothing really in regard to straight march into authoritarianism.

About Czech Republic:
I don't know enough about its politics to put ANO into the radical right wing category. It does partially fit my description of those, and there are similarities between Babiš and Berlusconi.

added next day: This BoingBoing article is related.
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16 comments:

  1. And the coalition against this? None existent. Those with political power are operating under the delusion that everything can go back to 1995 when everyone is wonderful, the future is bright, the Soviet empire has been vanquished and the end of politics, the end of history, has been reached. Capitalism has won, for all eternity. We just need to get through this Trump 'phase'. If we demonstrate to the population the facile hollow promises of the new right their thought leaders will admit defeat and retire from the public square.

    The right have been cornered somewhat by their recent history. Their opponents wrongly think this signals the start of the third act. Wrong. The new right will just escalate again, the other lot will be caught flat footed.

    The cycle will repeat.

    (off topic question if I may)
    How accurate are this guys needles against the CDU/CSU (or just call it the CDU as he says) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y1lZQsyuSQ
    How widespread is this level of understanding, and can this narrative be used by the new right, in the coming years, in a similar manner to the attacks on Clinton in the US. Divide the left against itself, disengage left voters by holding leaders to a standard that obviously isn't applied by those making the argument to those on the right.

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    1. I didn't watch his video and won't, but I have observed for quite some time that the CDU is the political epicentre of our national problems.

      The CDU is a true conservative party; it's content with the status quo and thus does almost nothing when in power. Even the CSU is more reform-oriented.
      The CDU is true to its 1950's slogan "Keine Experimente!" (no experiments).

      Merkel does from time to time a u-turn and forces a reform on her party, but the entire party lacks the people with the mindset required to make reform work. They bungled the deactivation of conscription, they bungled the turnaround in energy policy etc..

      I think the youtubers are right; CDU and SPD are useless to what majorities think needs to be addressed, and the CDU is actively doing policy against liberties and against the younger generations. LGBTwhatever people have their own additional grievances against the "C" parties.

      The AfD isn't taken very seriously by much of Germany because it's bound to remain limited in a similar way as is Die Linke. Large far left and far right wings are annoying, for the reduce the coalition options of the policy-relevant parties (since those need to find 50+% from a pool of only about 85%), but there's a widespread understanding that the AfD will be stuck at the lying, hysterical loudmouth stage. They won't make it to 20% on the national level.

      Meanwhile, the greens appear to replace the social democrats as the leading rival of the CDU on its left side.

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    2. Reminder that the Tories in the UK were forced into making the stupid decision to hold the Brexit referendum by their fear of a split to their right. The same analysis you are giving for the current disposition in Germany was given during that time, "Don't over-react". They obviously didn't listen.

      Not saying that the same is possible in Germany, I am in no position to make that assessment. Just a reminder that the strength of your opponent does not set the bounds for future outcomes.

      Macro, micro. I say there are macro risks, but what's the value in that? Just another screaming banshee portending apocalyptic doom. The debt, the bond markets, corporate debt, oh my!!

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  2. IMO the main problem in germany today is the question of sustaining the middle class. Much is done for the rich and wealthy, much is done for the lower classes but against all rethoric from the politicans the german middle class is not developing, to the contrary it is destroyed between the rich and the lower class. If the actual trend goes on like that, this will inevitable lead to an strengthening of the right wing populists, as the dissolving middle class will give them the power over the state simply because the will not longer support feeding the lower class in such an way as it is today.

    So protecting the interests of the middle class should be in the core of the politics, but the opposite is the case. On one hand, we develope more and more into an nanny-state with quasi-socialism and more and more moeny is transfered from everyone to the lower class. On the other side more and more wealth is redistributed to the wealthy.

    This will inevitable lead to an right-wing-populist gouvernment as soon as the next true economy crisis occurs. The same moment, the german economy will even only lessen in comparision to the status quo and a serious crisis occurs from that, the germans will vote for the AfD and this party will get more than 20 % or even will capture the gouvernment, should the right circumstances occur (for example an real economy-crisis in combination with an high illegal immigration event like 2015 at the same time).

    That this will use again mainly the rich (oligarchs) as an sideeffect will be understood by the people of the disintegretaing middle class, but it will not care them as long as the back-breaking welfare state will end and also no more immigration will happen. They will then trade democracy as we knew it today against right wing authoritism, simply because in the actual democracy such at it is the middle class is the biggest looser and therefore they will vote for an political alternative in hope for better results.

    So think the Afd will perhaps make it over 20 % on the national level as soon as the right circumstances occure, especially in the case of an economic crisis in which the welfare state then can not be not longer financed in the way as it is today.

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    1. You wrote under the assumption that middle class economic distress leads to right wing radicals getting votes.

      As far as I know this has been revealed to be a misinterpretation a while ago. Right wing radicals gain votes from people with authoritarian tendencies who are easily scared or easily led to hatred.

      IMO Economic distress is merely what journalists obsess about when interpreting some right wing radicals party's rise.

      Political science brings up more reasons for radical right wing votes:
      https://www.kai-arzheimer.com/explanations-radical-right-voting (quickly googled example link)

      The media gets an important distinction wrong. Right wing radicals are NOT populists. They are demagogues.

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  3. One particularly scary thing about this trend, at least in the US, is that right-wing voters seem to be completely incapable of taking into account new information. If what happened in Austria happened here, barely anything would change and instead Republicans would claim Trump was someone justified (some might even say the video is fake.) The insanity that has gone on in my country for the past two years appears to have had no affect on the average Trump voter. This is scary because it implies that Trump isn't just a fluke but something that will continue to happen. I would be a lot more optimistic about America if Trump got elected but then people realized their mistake afterwards and we went back to normal candidates, but the fact that Trump voters seem totally unconcerned by all the crazy stuff he's done indicates that were gonna keep getting insane leaders.

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    1. The Strache scandal appears to have had more effect in Germany than Austria itself (because many AfD voters in Germany are protest voters, not true believers of radical right fantasies or ideology).
      The real followers of the far right wing tend to be utterly unimpressed by the ineptitude and crookery of their leaders. They are programmed to hate others.

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    2. Yep, the core of the FPÖ voters wasn't affected by this at all. And it is still the most popular party for the blue collar guys.

      The FPÖ got booted because it was a junior partner and damaged the reputation of the conservative center-right party, the ÖVP.

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  4. Thank you for an interesting post!


    About ANO (currently Czech leading party):

    1. They are not radical right at all, but they are for sure "oligarchic" party. Everything is about Babiš, if he for whatever reason stops being interested, ANO is done instantly. Babiš himself is a former STB (communist secret police) collaborator, after Velvet revolution got rich basicaly overnight in a shady way. His way of doing business corresponds to his background.

    2. Similarities between Babiš and Berlusconi are real imo. Their parties are one-man parties, populism (not pure demagogy) is their MO, corrupt practicies, tendency to govern like "doing business" etc.

    3. If I had to describe ANO somehow, I would probably go for "populistisc oligarchic kind of social democratic party". On Czech political scene ANO (Babiš) is typical in completely outspending others on PR and campains + their policy is not guided by any sort of ideas, but purely by what their marketers advices are (works pretty well to be honest). And because Czech society is mostly of conservative social democratic thinking (no religion, huge emphasis on equality, lots of older people who have spent all their lives in communism etc.) his policies reflect that.

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  6. I think the issue is that in general far right people want to have people accepting low wages (i.e. immigrants) but at the same time not to have to see them in their neighbourhood, using the same public services or in the same class that his children. Moreover if that immigrants are so poor because low wages that have even to be homeless.

    This applies the same to poor people in general, not only immigrants. Well off immigrants are acceptable for that rule.

    I think is the reason because sometimes immigrants with long time in a country despise newcomers or even vote right wing.

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    1. I once read an anecdote from the United States. A man recounted how he and his father watched a Ku Klux Klan march through their town in the 60's. His father told him to look at the shoes. The shoes looked shabby. The marching men wanted to make sure there's at least some other group below them in the society's hierarchy.

      This is the problem with the radical right wing; it's directed AGAINST others or what they do, not FOR some improvements (except for the already rich).

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    2. I would say the supposed "centrists to left" leaning people seem to me to have the same attitude.

      Personally i think the use of the terms, left, right, centrists and moderates are starting to lose any real meaning and are used by people simply to assert their superiorty and as a easy way to dismiss others as wrong without even looking at their point of view or arguements. I dont mean this SO as a critique of your view on the methods of the current rise of non-established political parties/persons.

      I don't know much of German politics SO but in the UK, i think part of the problem is all 3 major parties are pretty much aligned in their thinking. While Corbyn has changed this slightly, i think the vast majority of the parties MPs and candidates are very much of similiar vein and the problem with this is that therefore a vast proportion of the population is not being represented or havings its view being put forward by people who genuinely believe in those views.

      R.F

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    3. There is the issue that too many parties are neoliberal and don't really offer alternatives to each other in economic and fiscal policy. That's also an issue in Germany.

      I still think it makes much sense to distinguish between left and right even if it's a simplification. This should explain much of why:

      https://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/10/conservatives-vs-progressives.html
      https://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2017/12/cooperation-solidarity-vs-politics-of.html

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  7. Well i am afraid after reading both of them that i dont seem to be any clearer. On both articles you do rather jump around from talking about different places and topics. I get the impression that we hold rather different views as well although some of that may be my misinterpretation of what you wrote/meant. Or perhaps i am coming at it from a differnt tangent. I have rather struggled to articulate my points and the reasons why both pieces don't sit well with me, so please bear with me.

    I find it interesting that you mention economic and fiscal rather than social and culturally which has become significantly more important of late. I don't think even established politicans know what a conservative economic policy would look like, let alone the general public. Or how fiscal policy can be divided along lines of conservative or progressive.

    On your piece on Conveservatives and Progressives, i would presume you then would match that with right and left respectively. Its hard not to take the view from the opening definitions that conservatives are bad, although necessary, and progressives are good, as long as they can bring the public along with them. Where in the West has any of the implemented progressive ideas been rolled back? At one point you even use the word progress instead of progressive when refering to shaping opinion. Just because an idea is new doesnt mean it equals progress. I would point out that most people who work in areas that shape public opinion are all Progressives. From education to artists, writers, those working in T.V and Cinema to think tanks and institutions such as the civil service and even in the media, BBC, The Times, the Guardian.

    There seems no acknowledgement that just because an idea, or change to an instition/culture is new does not mean it is better than what it is replacing let alone good. There was no mention that progressives can have the tendency to want to destroy the past and what has come before without any clear idea of what they are replacing it with.

    I find it interesting how you mention swearing and exposed nipples. Do you not think part of the coarsening of dialoge in politics is because of the acceptance of foul language in common parlance? Coupled with a denigration of authority, a very progressive attitude, although not completely unwarranted. Or what of the widespread of availablity of hardcore pornography and its pernicous effects especially among the young? Again you mention clothing fashion what about having even pre-teen girls wear clothing with writing stamped across the backside or chest which deliberately draws the eye?

    Your last line about adding 250 years of advances to Afghanistan. I think if you went back 250 years the culture and society of the west would still be totally alien to Afghanistan of then as much as today. It seems a very linear view to me that these countries are simply further back along the same line as us and we simply need to speed up the clock on which they are travelling, for them to catch us.

    RF

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  8. On your article on co-operation vs adverse politics i dont think you have accounted for the split between Nationalists and Internationalists/Globalists. Which explains to me the fragmention of the Us and Me. I think a lot of globalists have come to think no longer of Us, the country, but Us people of the world though in practice this turns out to be very me, me, me. Your paragraph about the me, me, me doesnt fit with those people winning power if they are only 5-15% of the population as you assert. You also mention in that paragraph about helping brown people. I think there is now a massive gap on what or how would help the poorer nations of the world. In the UK all Established parties think it is perfectly acceptable even good for us to go and take the talented, educated and trained of poor countries. They also like to have plenty of unskilled labour to do jobs they would never do or want their children doing, for money, work and living conditions that they also at the same time condemn.

    You say in your piece that politics of aversions was revived in the 80's where did it come from in your view/start?

    I find it interesting when you say there is a sytem competition, do you believe then there is only one right system for all mankind, all societies, nations etc?

    RF

    I hope my points make sense to you.

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