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From Daily Kos – A weblog with political analysis from a liberal perspective.
14 Nov 2015
The far right has been on the rise in Europe ever since it became obvious that the neoliberal, center-left had no idea how to fix the economy after the 2008 crash. With the center-left already discredited, the far-right was slowly rising in popularity based on an anti-immigrant platform.
While still scary, the situation was still under control as long as nothing dramatic happened which would completely up-end the entire social structure of Europe, and what were the odds of that, right? Something like that only happens once every couple centuries.
Sweden long prided itself on its generous asylum policy, welcoming twice as many refugees per capita as any other Western country. In 2014, for example, the country of 9.5 million took in more than 85,000 people, mostly Muslims from Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. But the new arrivals’ failure to assimilate has sent voters stampeding to the right. The Sweden Democrats, a once-reviled party with roots in neo-Nazism, took 13 percent of the vote in last year’s election to become the third-biggest party in Parliament, mostly on a campaign to halt immigration. Over the summer, as the flood of refugees pouring into Europe dominated headlines, the popularity of the Sweden Democrats soared, and now they are the most popular party in Sweden, with more than 25 percent support.
The Swedish Democrats are not the most popular party in Sweden, and they do not have 25 percent of the vote. This is bogus. I am also unsure of the constant, “Neo Nazi” tag adversaries constantly throw at them. It seems to me, as soon as someone has any negative comment about immigration, the Nazi word is thrown at them by those who disagree.
When I left the States a couple years ago some haters stood on corners, downtown Seattle, holding posters that proclaimed Obama a Nazi. Name calling is an easy to do. It doesn’t mean much.
This is where some mainstream liberals often fail to get it. It’s unrealistic to expect regular people of Europe to just suck it up. A political backlash of some sort is a reasonable response.
Personally I find the obsession with race, ethnicity, and nationality, both on the left wing and the right wing, to be what Sigmund Freud termed the “narcissism of small differences”. I think people that obsess on these things are disconnected from reality and issues that actually matter.
That being said, I recognize that the world we live in is full of people who do think these things are important, and that makes these things important. Thus asking people to just ignore or accept a huge flood of strangers changing the very culture of their communities in a flash is not a realistic attitude.
A backlash to the flood of immigrants isn’t always based on hate, or even fear. Sometimes it is simply about fighting back against the chaos. It only appears xenophobic.
In my opinion:
I cannot imagine how any country could make a more honest and heartfelt effort to support and grant asylum to those who need it. Are there racists here? Of course. No country is without them. Incoming immigrants are not without them, but I think one will find fewer here than elsewhere. Both the Swedish people and their government are doing the best they can, as much as they can. It’s been a heroic effort, and I don’t see any other country doing more, or better. I just hope it works.
My greatest fear is that an underclass will be created. Some say there already is one. This could make for painful problems in the future.