The collapse of the Dutch Government as far-right politician Geert Wilders withdrew his support and the strength of the vote for extreme right-wing Marine Le Pen’s National Front in the French presidential election are indicative of some interesting developments in the European political landscape. Both parties have been making anti-capitalist and anti-EU noises in an attempt to secure disaffected working class votes.
There’s now an opening in the forthcoming Dutch elections for the eurosceptic and anti-cuts Socialist party to increase its vote; while Francois Hollande is in with a chance of winning the second presidential voting round in France. Of course, it’s well understood on the left that, for all his rhetoric, Hollande is no radical and his conversion to a more progressive politics has been driven by pressure from Jean-Luc Melenchon’s Left Front.
But these developments beg some interesting questions. Not least, is Germany going to find itself increasingly isolated in its blind support for the new EU fiscal pact, which will inevitably force Europe into an economic death spiral if allowed to continue unchecked; and how are parties of the left across Europe going to face up to the challenge presented by the far-right as it seeks to exploit the economic crisis for its own ends?
At a local level, this underlines the need to continue to tackle ignorance about the causes of the current economic crisis; challenge politics based on hate, racism and fear; and promote the socialist alternative to the Con-Dems.