• World-Wide Fascism

    Reports that protesters intend to block Auckland harbour bridge as part of a “national campaign” suggest that – unbelievable as it may seem – this country is now on the brink of civil war. Violent and lawless forces are apparently intent on using force to remove the country’s elected government.

    We now need to understand who these people are, what motivates them and who is financing them.

    What is clear is that they represent and include a number of disparate groups – white supremacists, anti-semites, anti-islamists, conspiracy theorists, “libertarians”, Uncle Tom Cobley and all – all elements in what is now emerging as a world-wide resurgence of far-right, not to say fascist, movements.

    In New Zealand, the unifying factor seems to be a hostility to our Prime Minister. It is becoming increasingly clear that the real focus of their anger is Jacinda Ardern, and equally apparent that the reason for this is that she is seen as the standard-bearer and central figure in the advancement of a socially aware approach to public policy that is true to this country’s history of democracy and social responsibility but which is the antithesis of the distorted goals of the far right. She is seen as the main obstacle to the triumph of those extreme views. There is no victory for anti-democratic forces until she is brought down.

    Jacinda Ardern has had to confront a range of immediate and dramatic challenges beyond the experience of any of her predecessors. Instead of being recognised for the sterling job she has done, and despite the fact that her record has meant that she is seen, both at home and overseas, as the exemplar of what good government can achieve, she is seen by the far right as public enemy number one.

    What is becoming further apparent is that the hostile reaction to her has come not only from fascistic opinion at home but also from similarly extreme opinion overseas. It is no exaggeration to say that our Prime Minister’s glowing reputation in other democracies is seen as a major obstacle to the advancement of right-wing causes across the globe. Would-be fascists cannot tolerate the notion that a government of the moderate left, wherever it may be, could merit support and commendation.

    The parallel between our situation and that in Canada is too obvious to be missed. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, may not be in Jacinda’s class as an emblem of socially responsible government, but he is a prominent enough standard-bearer of the left to have attracted a similar degree of violent protest to what we have seen here.

    These parallels suggest an obvious question. Is it purely coincidence that similar forces have emerged in both Canada and New Zealand to confront similarly moderate governments in the two countries? If not, what is the factor that unifies them?

    That in turn raises a further question. How have these geographically disparate movements been funded (and funded they have surely been) and what has been the role of a handful of known right-wing and wealthy figures with ties to Donald Trump and a close interest in promoting extreme and anti-democratic causes?

    It is virtually certain that the truth about these issues will eventually emerge. We cannot afford to wait until it does. Until it does, we had best be on our guard. The “protest” is almost certainly not just a domestic issue but is part of a world-wide resurgence of far-right opinion; whether or not the majority of protesters know it, it is more sinister than we may realise.

Leave a reply.