Tea Party Goes Global

March 8th, 2011 at 7:01 am | 10 Comments |

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Heinz Christian Strache, the poster-boy of the Austrian right recently declared that he has received an official invitation from the Tea Party in the U.S and that he would tour several local chapters this upcoming summer. Given that the FPÖ (Freedom Party Austria) has lashed out against “American imperialism” in the past this upcoming visit comes as a surprise.

Nevertheless it makes sense to a point: Both groups are known for their anti-establishment rhetoric which fuels their base. Both share a burning passion for highlighting the radical elements of Islam which they believe are infiltrating European and American societies. And both are on the rise with the Tea Party booking its success with the midterm elections while the FPÖ recently won 27% in the regional Viennese parliamentary elections.

Could a transatlantic organization based on populist political organizations be realized? Could populist U.S. and EU-based parties join forces in their anti-establishment rants?

There are certainly enough candidates on the market. Keeping in mind Geert Wilders visit to ground zero in New York on the anniversary of 9/11 and the media frenzy that ignited, the Tea Party “franchise” could attract like-minded European parties. Potential collaborators could include the Swiss People’s Party, the Swedish “Sweden Democrats”, Belgian Vlaams Belang, Italian Lega Nord, the English Defence League or the British Nationalist Party just to name a few.

The question however remains what kind of synergy such a collaboration would release. Would the transatlantic tea party bolster or rather harm the reputation of the respective political parties? And could such an alliance of populist and like-minded parties even be realized considering the nationalist inspired foreign policy agendas most of these parties run on?


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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Smargalicious

    This is good. It’s actually a war against worldwide socialist freeloading that is destroying nations.

  • Gypsum Fantastic

    Good post, but I spotted a typo; you say “populist” when you clearly mean”fascist”.

    No, I’m not indulging in name-calling. I can’t speak for the rest of Europe, but in the UK, the BNP only stopped being openly racist less than 20 years ago, and still stand for “voluntary” repatriation of ethnic minorities. The mask still slips from time to time; their leader Nick Griffin has been caught on film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04QolIvfQEw) sharing a platform with David Duke, explaining to an audience of American sympathisers his use of “saleable words” like “freedom, security, identity, democracy” in order to conceal the BNP’s real agenda. “Instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity”, is one example.

    Griffin also has a long, sordid history of Holocaust denial and close links to bona fide neo-fascists like Roberto Fiore. The full list of evidence of his party’s true nature is far, far too long to go into here; I recommend a perusal of his and their Wikipedia page. The BNP was once known as the openly neo-Nazi National Front, so unless you really believe all its members experienced a Damascene conversion away from race-hatred at the same time, I think that’s case closed.

    The EDL, incidentally, is a movement for people too scary and illiterate even for the BNP. Go search for them on YouTube, then tell me if you think this is a legitimate political party.

    I’m fairly sure a similarly damning case could be made against any one of the other parties mentioned. I’m not saying you shouldn’t report on emerging links between the Tea Party and such groups – you should, it’s deeply worrying – but please call this what it is: a new global dawn for the same forces that laid waste to Europe almost seventy years ago and never went away. It’s worrying that a site as resistant to extremism as this one can manage to write about this subject as some dry exercise in political science, while completely failing to mention the long, ugly history these parties embody. For shame.

    • rtw

      Dear Gypsum Fantastic,

      The fact that the BNP and its leader Nick Griffin have had a “fascist” past is no secret. The reason why I refer to these parties as populist is the fact that as they try to gain ground and momentum they are trying hard to shrug of their “old” identities and pose as a new and fresh political movement, fighting against the elitist political cadre. See also the example of the Front National (I refer to it in one of my earlier posts: http://www.frumforum.com/france’s-far-right-gets-a-new-face), Marine Le Pen working hard to position the Front National back into French mainstream politics.

  • TerryF98

    The comfy get together of Fascists from the USA and Europe should be no cause for celebration.

  • Gypsum Fantastic

    @rtw

    I can see that’s what they’re trying to do. That was the whole point of my post. I was objecting to the fact that you didn’t even mention the dubious history of such parties, or any of the copious evidence, some of which I referred to, suggesting that the change is largely cosmetic. Anyone who didn’t know the history would come away from this post thinking that the likes of the BNP and Vlaams Belang have no baggage whatsoever, which is actively misleading. The angle of your piece would have survived completely intact if you’d only put in a paragraph or two of context.

    Put another way: if Moveon.org were seeking ties with left-wing European parties who historically supported the Soviet Union, I don’t think FrumForum’s post on the subject would fail to mention that detail, do you?

  • rtw

    @ Gypsum Fantastic

    I take your point for granted. Thank you for your feedback.

  • LauraNo

    A match made in Heaven. Let’s see, we have terrible economies the world over, a rightwing that has lost any sense it once had and people like Palin and Barbour being taken (at least somewhat) seriously as presidential candidates. And where did Hitler come from, again?

  • valkayec

    This collusion is indeed seriously disturbing, indicating a rise of right wing fascism. It’s dangerous and a threat to all democracies.

  • WookieInHeat

    if mainstream politicians were a little less determined to ignore the concerns of the people they are elected to serve, their constituents would not be forced to vote for right wing extremist parties to get a point across.

    it is somewhat ironic that the very people who vitriolically oppose the rise of the right wing are the same people most responsible for feeding its growth. then again, they are also the same people who are willing to trade away liberal western values to appease right wing religious folks (as long as they aren’t christian or jewish, sharia courts in the UK is a perfect example of this) so it isn’t exactly surprising. i’ve heard of shooting yourself in the foot, but never both at the same time.

    in another touch of irony. those trying to demonize the legitimate concerns of people who criticize islam like to throw around terms such as “fascist” and “nazi” a great deal. meanwhile, in turkey, mein kampf topped best sellers list in 2005.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2002229499_meinkampf03.html

    turkey was afterall a staunch german ally in WWI. their armenian genocide was the inspiration for hitler’s holocaust only a couple short decades later. and of course the turks were responsible for numerous pogroms throughout the 20th century.

    in WWII, the muslims were hitler’s greatest ally. here we see the grand mufti of jerusalem (a.k.a the furher of the arab world), haj amin al-husayni, meeting with hitler. in the second picture, we see al-husayni saluting the 13th waffen ss division, the muslim nazi division he helped organize in the 1940s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1987-004-09A,_Amin_al_Husseini_und_Adolf_Hitler.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1980-036-05,_Amin_al_Husseini_bei_bosnischen_SS-Freiwilligen.jpg

    and indeed today, many islamist groups in the middle east, and their offshoots in western nations, can trace their roots back to the arab nationalist movement of the 1920s, which was closely linked to the rise of nazism in germany; al-husayni was one of its greatest proponents and leaders. he was one of the driving forces behind the 1929 arab riots, the 1936 arab revolt and many other smaller massacres of jewish civilians.

    so careful who you defend, there are most definetly nazis among us today, but they probably aren’t who you’d think (or maybe wish) they were.