Letter from Islamophobistan

Pepe Escobar writes:

Austrian-American psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, in his Mass Psychology of Fascism, stressed that racial theory is not a creation of fascism. On the contrary; fascism is a creation of racial hatred and its politically organized expression.
In the extremely well-argued book [Why the West is not leaning to the Left], [Italian linguist and essayist Raffaele] Simone proves that the European Left is intellectually dead; it simply has not understood the drive of hardcore capitalism (which he defines as “arch-capitalism”, or “the political and economic manifestation of the New Right”); it has not understood the correlated primacy of individualism and consumerism; and it has refused to discuss the phenomenon of mass immigration.

From France to Denmark, from Italy to Sweden, it’s easy to see how savvy populists skillfully deploy those European values of free speech, feminism and secularism – oversimplifying issues to the point that their take seems logical – as ammunition against mosques, minarets, headscarves and, of course, “sub-intelligent beings”.

And then there are local realities. The majority of those voting SD were protesting against overwhelmingly Muslim immigrants, a great deal of them jobless, who come to Sweden, get fat government benefits and remain idle. Sweden is nowhere as tough on immigration as Denmark, Norway or Holland.

In Malmo, a mere 20-minute train ride via the stunning Oresund bridge from Copenhagen, about 80,000 (60,000 of them Muslims) of the overall population of 300,000 are immigrants. There are certified losers in Malmo’s carefully calibrated transition from old industrial city to a post-mod consumer haven; the old, the poor, and most of all, immigrants. So Sweden seems to have posed the European-wide question of the necessity for the European welfare state to concentrate less on health care and pensions and more on “including” immigrants. But is this really the real question?

Talk about an European summer of hate – from minarets banned in Switzerland to burqas banned in Belgium.

The populist extreme right has been part of coalition governments in Italy and Switzerland for many years now. And they are represented in the parliaments of Austria, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The National Front in France had 9% of the vote in last spring’s French regional elections.

But now everywhere it feels like a Lamborghini let loose. Geert Wilders’ Freedom party in Holland has turbo-charged Islamophobia to the point of almost paralyzing Dutch governance. The elegant, eloquent, peroxide-blonde populist Wilders wants to ban the Koran – which he has compared to Hitler’s Mein Kampf – and impose a “headscarf tax” (how come no government thought about this in the Middle East or in Pakistan?)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy – now facing his own, self-provoked May ’68 remix in the streets over his pension reform – tried to seduce (once again) the National Front by expelling planeloads of Romanian gypsies.

Austrian extreme right stalwart Heinz-Christian Strache, running for mayor of Vienna less than two weeks ago, took no less than 27% of the vote. And Barbara Rosenkranz, who insists anti-Nazi laws should be abolished, came second in Austria’s presidential race.

The Islamophobic, anti-immigrant Northern League of Umberto Bossi in Italy is part of the government in Rome and not accidentally the country’s fastest-growing party, now controlling the ultra-wealthy provinces of Veneto and Piemonte. During the latest election campaign, La Lega supporters handed out bars of soap to be used “after touching an immigrant”.

In Spain, the movement Preventive Reconquista is gaining ground – a perhaps George W Bush-inspired preventive war against the 1 million Muslim immigrants and their allegedly “evil” plans to re-attach Spain to Islam. A “headscarf controversy” already erupted in Madrid last April. Local town councils have been prohibiting the burqa and niqab – French-style (although a national ban was only narrowly defeated in the Spanish Congress last July).

It comes as no surprise that the extreme right is more turbocharged than ever in scores of European post-industrial cities which used to be center-left; that’s certainly the case of Wilders in Rotterdam, Le Pen in Marseille, Strache in Vienna and Akesson in Malmo. Simone’s assessment is being proven right.

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7 thoughts on “Letter from Islamophobistan

  1. Renfro

    The Right is too right and the left is too Left.
    That is why we have these pendulum extremes.
    No politicians, because of thier cravenness and/or ignorance, will appeal to 100% of the population on the basis of Fairness, they get elected by exploiting the niches.

  2. Philip Munger

    Wilhelm Reich’s “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” is an under-rated book. The author is widely disregarded for ideas expressed in other books, and even this one has its weak points. But his chapters on the deep involvement of Christian institutions in the rise of Fascism in Germany have as much validity today as when Reich penned them.

  3. Norman

    One has to wonder why the immigrants that go to those countries, don’t want to assimilate into the European cultures? Is it because they only bring their labor, but don’t bring anything else? Hasn’t it always been the case that migrant workers who contribute labor, are usually exploited for such, but also are usually low on the totem pole in the education dept? When the influx is greater than the need, that’s when problems arise. Almost seems that the countries with the problems, just might see fit to export the means for these immigrants to return home & cultivate their own country. Might cost a whole lot less than what the costs are today.

  4. Christopher Hoare

    It’s sad how the general public, that has been manipulated and impoverished by ultra-capitalism and its libertarian propaganda, have been deluded enough to blame the immigrants (more taken advantage of than themselves) instead of the real causes of their insecurity. The ultra-right have been purveyors of expert propaganda for more than a generation. It has now culminated in this, and the few remaining remnants of the Left are reduced to talking about centrism and fair play.
    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves …” Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 2.

  5. Lou Stouch

    I am going to do all of you readers a big favor. You do me a big favor and learn something. There is an excellent post on the subject of European Islamophobia at http://www.opendemocracy.net/cas-mudde/intolerance-of-tolerant.

    It seems that there is in fact a very good reason for the surge in islaomophobia – CRIME. Violent crime, perpetrated by muslims, on their European hosts. You have to read down to the 3d or 4th comment to see the facts. I will quote a very short note here:

    “Like most discussions in left-leaning Western media I’ve seen, this article overlooks the single most important factor in the growing resentment against Muslim immigration and the Muslim community in northern Europe……..Sweden is now the rape capital of Europe, with more than 5,000 rapes reported every year. It is estimated that only 10-15% of all rapes are reported, so the true figure is much higher. A few studies that have leaked out despite the Swedish government’s attempt to suppress such material show that in one year in Stockholm, for example, 85% of all rapes were committed by non-Western immigrants or their offspring.”

    Despite the governments efforts to suppress such material. Well, the PEOPLE have awakened.
    It is generally not reported by the mainstream sources in Western countries, but a large and growing body of documentation in Denmark, Norway, and Finland (the Swedish government continues to censor such material) shows that several decades of high levels of third-world immigration, and of muslims in particular, are directly responsible for the greatest epidemic of violent crime in known Scandinavian history.

  6. Paul Woodward

    OK Lou Stouch, I’m going to do you a big favor since I took the trouble to research an issue instead of relying on comments in a comment thread as a reliable source of information. But before getting into the facts, anyone who know something about racism in America will know that one of the favorite claims of white racists was/is that blacks pose a threat to “our women.” It’s a common strategy: if you can’t win an argument based on reason, then appeal to testosterone and claim that the division lies between men who are real men and those who aren’t. As a man who does not accept the idea that manliness consists in being all dick and no brain, I don’t find this means of persuasion very compelling.

    So, on to the facts. Islamophobia in Scandania derives from the ‘fact’ that Muslims are on the rampage raping undefended women. This claim comes from Sweden’s ultra-nationalist Sweden Democrats party. They base it on a “study” which claimed that in 2009, 48% of rapists were born outside Sweden. There are a number of problems with this claim. Firstly, it is based on 114 convictions out of 6,000 reported rapes. Secondly, over the last decade, the number of rape attacks by a stranger has actually diminished. Thirdly, in 2005, Sweden changed the law so that criminal actions once classified as sexual assault or sexual abuse are now defined as rape. It is thus reasonable to infer that the statistical rise in rape in Sweden has less or nothing to do with Muslim rapists than it has to do with a more thorough legal accounting of incest.

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