Hannan on the “Right-Wing” Label
From “Watch out Eurocrats, here come the Pirates!”, by Daniel Hannan in The Spectator:
The trouble with labelling everyone you dislike a fascist is that, when you’re confronted with the real article, you have no adequate vocabulary. Greece’s Golden Dawn is an authentic Nazi party if ever there was one: anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and nostalgic for the Metaxas dictatorship, when political parties and trade unions were banned. Like all properly fascist parties, Golden Dawn loathes the free market and yearns for an authoritarian, corporatist state. Having bumbled along with less than 2 per cent support since the 1980s, it was turned by the euro crisis into Greece’s third party.
To lump together fascist parties (Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, Jobbik in Hungary, the BNP) with bellicose but essentially constitutional anti-immigration movements (FN in France, PVV in the Netherlands, Freedom Party in Austria) is clumsy. To add in eurosceptic parties of the democratic right (AfD in Germany, Mouvement pour la France, Danish People’s Party, Ukip) is deliberately tendentious.
When someone groups all these parties together under the label ‘extreme right’, he is telling you more about himself than about them. Parties like Golden Dawn are not right-wing in any recognisable sense. They favour workers’ councils, higher spending, state-controlled industries; they march on May Day under red flags. They could just as easily sit at either end of the European Parliament’s hemicycle (our closest equivalent, in its combination of mystical nationalism and loathing for capitalism, is Sinn Féin). Calling such parties right-wing isn’t intended to make anyone think less of them; it’s intended to damage mainstream conservatives by implying that the difference between them and the Nazis is one of degree.
The Golden Dawn party, I’d argue, is better represented on the political spectrum as very dark purple—a purple so dark that it’s almost indiscernable from the extremely dark red or dark blue parties.