Electoral extremists meet in Antwerp

Searchlight, January 2005

Michiel Smit, the boss of the Dutch fascist NieuwRechts, has found some new friends outside the Netherlands after taking part in a meeting, on 1 December in Antwerp, together with Filip Dewinter of the new Vlaams Belang, Mario Borghezio of the Italian Lega Nord, Andreas Mslzer of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Bruno Gollnisch of the French Front National.

The meeting, it appears, was staged to discuss the future of the radical right in Europe and to develop a joint strategy for future transnational election campaigns.

One of the topics under review was the formation of a joint list for the European elections of 2009 and a commitment to try to keep all conflicts internal.

As recently as last summer, the issue of the South Tyrol was a point of bitter wrangling between the FPÖ and the Lega Nord and similar territorial issues shattered relations between Vlaams Belang (then the Vlaams Blok) and the Front National. The most predictable common campaign issue will be fighting to keep Turkey out of the European Union (EU). The meeting also opted to change the vocabulary used in future propaganda. "Identity" and "patriotism" apparently will be used instead of "race" and "nationalism".

Much anger was vented about the Vlaams Blok's recent conviction for racism and it was agreed to educate its successor, Vlaams Belang, about the ins and outs of the governmental experience of the Lega Nord and FPÖ, which are both still in the governments - as junior coalition partners - of Italy and Austria respectively.

For Andreas Mslzer, chief editor of the extreme right-wing weekly Zur Zeit and a member of the European Parliament, pan-European co-operation of extreme right-wing parties is something he has worked on for years.

In November 2001, he organised a meeting attended by, among others, Dewinter, Heinrich Lummer, ex-senator for Internal Affairs in Berlin and a spokesman for the rightist wing of the conservative CDU, Bruno Mégret, leader of the Mouvement National Républicain (MNR), Istvan Csurka of the Hungarian Party for Justice and Life (MIEP), Hela Susi from the Estonian Fatherland Party and the German ultra rightist Alfred Mechtersheimer. The latter, a former MP for the Grünen, is active in the 'Deutschland Bewegung' and now one of the most important connections between 'old and new right'.

Most interestingly, the man in charge of security at that meeting was Gerhard Endres, a hardcore NSDAP-AO enthusiast and former vice-chairman of the nazi group VAPO which, in the 1990s, was banned in Austria because of its "national socialist activities". Endres was also responsible for security at annual Rudolf Hess memorial marches in the early 1990s.

The Antwerp meeting was inspired by recent events in the Netherlands or, as Mslzer put it: "The results in Holland are only the first signs of the collapse of the left-wing multicultural society". Mslzer sees possible future partners in the Danish People's Party and, maybe in some of the parties, invited in 2001. Needless to say, if the four most successful European extreme rightist parties - VB, FN, FPÖ and LN - can cooperate and even strengthen their alliance with some potential big parties joining, anti-fascists in Europe will have to try to do the same.

The latest unity moves will not be all plain sailing because competition is looming on the horizon from the so-called European National Front (ENF). The ENF's member organisations are less shamelessly fascist and include, among others, the following parties: the Nationale Alliantie (Netherlands), Forza Nuova (Italy), Noua Dreapta (Romania), Nacionala Speka Savieniba (Latvia), the NOP (Poland), Slovenska Pospolitost (Slovakia), Narodni Sjednoceni (Czech Republic), La Falange (Spain), England First (England) and last but not least, the German Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands.

The Nationale Alliantie entered this extremist pact at the end of October at a meeting in Poland and the ENF will, besides taking up all the obvious fascist issues, campaign against Israel entering the EU (!) and the "dictatorship of the USA".

By Jeroen Bosch of Alert! and Antifa-Net in utrecht