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Sugar Ape

Rise of the far right in Europe.

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The Greek government has hinted that it will seek to ban Golden Dawn after the far-right party was linked to the murder of a leading leftwing musician in Athens.


As violence erupted on the streets and demonstrators protested after the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a prominent anti-fascist, the public order minister, Nikos Dendias, cancelled a trip abroad saying the government would table emergency legislation that would seek to outlaw the group.


Amid renewed political tensions between the extreme left and right, the new law would re-evaluate what constituted a criminal gang, he said.


"Neither the state will tolerate, nor society accept, acts and practices that undermine the legal system," the minister told reporters, adding that the attack showed "in the clearest way the [party's] intentions".


Earlier in the day, police raided Golden Dawn offices across the country, with media reporting running street battles outside branches in Crete, Thessaloniki and Patras.


Voted into the Greek parliament for the first time last June, the neo-fascist Golden Dawn has been widely accused of employing violence to further its ratings in the polls.


The socialist Pasok party, the junior member of Antonis Samaras's two-party coalition, has campaigned openly for it to be banned, saying it should be considered a criminal gang.


The 34-year-old rapper died within minutes of being stabbed in the chest when he and a group of seven friends were set upon by around 30 black-clad supporters of Golden Dawn in the working-class district of Keratsini.


Eyewitnesses said the singer was stabbed several times by a man who suddenly appeared in a car after being phoned by members of the mob. The attack bore all the hallmarks of a premeditated assault, they said.


The alleged perpetrator, a 45-year-old man who was arrested when police rushed to the scene, later confessed to being a member of Golden Dawn. His wife, who was also detained, admitted having attempted to hide incriminating evidence, including party credentials linking her husband to the extremist organisation, when he called her, panic stricken, after the murder. Greek media cited police as saying the man was not only a sympathiser of Golden Dawn but visited its offices in Keratsini "five or six times" a week.


With parties across Greece's entire political spectrum condemning the killing, the far-right group vehemently denied it had any connection with the crime or the alleged culprit. In a rare intervention, the president, Karolos Papoulias, warned: "It is our duty not to allow any space whatsoever to fascism – not even an inch."


Fyssas, who performed under the stage name Killah P, would be the first Greek to have died at the hands of Golden Dawn, which until recently reserved its venom exclusively for migrants. Within hours of his death sending shockwaves through Greek society, the killing was being described as an "assassination."


Greece's third largest party and fastest growing political force, Golden Dawn currently controls 18 seats in the 300-member parliament. It appears to have been emboldened by its soaring popularity on the back of economic desperation.


In an atmosphere brittle with anger, uncertainty and fear, politically motivated violence has escalated, with the ultra-nationalists being blamed for attacks on communist activists last week and on a rightwing mayor in the south over the weekend.


Speculation is rife that the leadership of Golden Dawn may have lost control over a party whose grassroots supporters view themselves as soldiers in an armed struggle aimed at overthrowing a political establishment they blame for the country's woes.


"It is up to the government now to deal with Golden Dawn once and for all," said Giorgos Kyrtsos, a prominent political commentator. "We know very little about the inner workings of Golden Dawn, and whether its leadership has lost control [over its members]. But what we do know is that, for the first time, the government has them in a corner."

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Sorry, we invade other countries filled with 'little brown people' and murder them there instead of on our own green and (un) pleasant land.

UKIP are basically the more palatable arm of a hybrid from NF/BNP/Tories. They're all right wingers and the only difference between their policies depends on how much spin and PR they can put on it. The tories have some Oxbridge educated PR guru while the BNP have somebody with a GCE in woodwork.

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You really do spout some bizaare garbage. You've got an opinion on fucking everything. Your average UKIP supporter looks like Roy Cropper and sits in the pub moaning about how he's been stripped of his right to smoke where he wants.


You're also obsessed with linking everything to the Iraq/Afghanistan invasions. You did it on the Gibraltar thread not long ago and now here. It's not a catch all for every topic.


UKIP and Golden Dawn may have similar aims on some issues but nothing we've seen so far suggests UKIP will end up anything remotely like them.

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You really do spout some bizaare garbage. You've got an opinion on fucking everything. Your average UKIP supporter looks like Roy Cropper and sits in the pub moaning about how he's been stripped of his right to smoke where he wants.


You're also obsessed with linking everything to the Iraq/Afghanistan invasions. You did it on the Gibraltar thread not long ago and now here. It's not a catch all for every topic.


UKIP and Golden Dawn may have similar aims on some issues but nothing we've seen so far suggests UKIP will end up anything remotely like them.

Fuck me,a little bit of sarcasm mixed with personal opinions based on historical behaviour really bypasses your lighter side doesnt it?

The thread is about the rise of the far right in Europe and we have a right wing government in power(not far right but still right wing) and UKIP,BNP and the NF are all pretty much extremes and unpalatable versions of Tory party views. Remember this is the party who openly uses the word 'n*gger' in 70s political campaigns.

Its not that big a jump from one to the other.

If you dont agree then fine but I dont generally buy in to very much of the spoon fed shite dished out in our predominantly right wing owned media.

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Hungarian election yesterday. No surprises that centre right Fidesz have won and will probably get the 66% of seats that allows them to effectively run a dictatorship - this is due to them being able to rewrite the constitution, redesign the electoral system and redraw the constituencies in the past 4 years.


However Jobbik have polled 21% and are looking likely to become the second biggest parliamentary party. Jobbik's leader has asked Parliament for a register of Jews so that Jewish interest can be tracked in the country. They have a banned paramilitary organisation that wear uniforms based on Second World War Nazi designs. Their MEPs have turned up to Brussels in thinly disguised Nazi uniforms.


I am fucking embarrassed for this country today

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Of course this does not make major news. Nazi's likely to be second party in Parliament, Orban changing constitution to create dictatorship but not as sexy as Ukraine. Red Phoenix has a great deal to learn

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When is someone going to tell me how it's all the fault of the CIA?

Whats the Culinary Institute of America got to do with anything?.


Has the tension slowedbsupplies of caviar

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Cookie Monster puts down the cookie jar and picks up the neo-Nazi propaganda
Just as the Pied Piper was used to tempt rats out of Hamelin, German neo-Nazis are now using the Cookie Monster to tempt children over to the far-right. But why?

In 1990, Richard Darman, director of the US Office of Management and Budget, described the Cookie Monster as the "quintessential consumer", and in the past he has been forced to adjust his "more is more" approach to snacking as part of a campaign to curb childhood obesity. But now the Sesame Street character has suffered serious damage to his reputation: as the Mail Online reports, he is being used as a neo-Nazi recruiting tool.


The "how" is clear from recent German news reports: at the end of March a known far-right activist, 31-year-old Steffen Lange, was arrested for walking into a Brandenburg school dressed as the Cookie Monster and distributing neo-Nazi leaflets to children. Police subsequently searched his home and that of an accomplice, and found more Cookie Monster-themed propaganda.


The "why" is much less obvious. The Cookie Monster is not known to hold far-right views. He possesses no Aryan traits (his fur may be blue, but his eyes are googly, and he lives in the friendly, multicultural environs of Sesamstrasse). It's also unclear what use a bunch of Cookie Monster-loving schoolkids would be to the far-right movement. Among the propaganda referred to in the Mail article is an image of the Cookie Monster standing with Adolf Hitler, with the caption, "Who ate my biscuit?" Presumably the answer is meant to be "immigrants", but this juxtaposition is poorly thought-through and has no logic at all. Setting aside the fact that Hitler and the Cookie Monster never met, I think we've all seen enough episodes of Sesame Street to know exactly who ate the cookie.


A police spokesman described the use of the Cookie Monster's image as an attempt to make neo-Nazism seem "harmless and everyday and perhaps something a bit fun and a bit rebellious". It's more likely that the neo-Nazi in question just happened to have the costume lying around already.


There is no easier way to damage someone's public reputation than by dressing up as him and being objectionable. Times Square in New York recently suffered a spate of people dressed as the Cookie Monster, Elmo and other characters harassing tourists, pandering for cash and assaulting children.


Remember, kids: if he's doing anything other than shouting and eating cookies, it's probably not the real Cookie Monster.

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When is someone going to tell me how it's all the fault of the CIA?


Ha ha this is the funniest comment ever. Because the CIA never are at fault for anything so that makes it so funny.


Someone start a thread on the latest CIA Washington scandal unfolding and I will use the same hilarious phrase but with KGB instead and we will have double the fun!!

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Not even sure if it's far right as we traditionally define it. But it is an announced destruction of liberal democracy and, for all real purposes, a dictatorship. The media is now fully controlled, the judiciary have been replaced, the parliament has been completely re-organised with new electoral boundaries and officially-registered religions have been reduced from over 100 to just 12 (nearly all Christian, no Hindus, Muslems or Buddhists are included as official)




Budapest autumn: hollowing out democracy on the edge of Europe


Rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán is using his huge electoral majority to rewrite the rules, and not just for Hungary



On the Hungarian plain south-west of Budapest, the rich, dark soil of Kishantos presents the saddest of sights. As far as the eye can see, a cornucopia of organic wheat, cereals, sunflowers, pulses and legumes has been turned into a vista of emptiness.


In what appears to be an extraordinary act of vindictive destruction, a lifetime’s work in Hungary has been destroyed in only a few months.


Eva Acs, an agronomist who has run the thriving organic farm for 22 years, is at her wits’ end. “The state just took the farm away. We were absolutely punished and rubbed out. Then the private security firms came in and closed down the roads and blocked the tractors. The new owners destroyed all our plants and crops. Just to bankrupt us and hurt us.”


Since the 90s, Acs has overseen one of Europe’s biggest organic farms, earning international plaudits and coveted Swiss “bio-certificates” for pioneering work on a vast scale, covering 452 hectares (1,116 acres) of rolling fields, land that was leased from the Hungarian state. Last year, the government cancelled the contracts and sold all but nine hectares to oligarchs and businessmen, who ordered the destruction of the organic bounty.


Three weeks ago, they dealt the final blow, spraying the area with glyphosate weedkiller and instantly terminating the farm’s organic status.


In the handsome 19th-century manor house at the centre of the estate, surrounded by sacks of drying red peppers, Acs has no doubt about who to blame for her heartbreak: the all-powerful conservative government in Budapest under Viktor Orbán, the prime minister.


“You can’t imagine how high the pressure is now. We’re living in fear. We have to protect one another. This couldn’t happen in a normal country. It’s incredible the things that are happening in this country.”


For the liberal middle classes of Budapest, the latest outrage in Orbán’s Hungary is the world’s first internet tax, a gigabyte levy denounced at home and abroad as an assault on free speech while shoring up the budget.


On Tuesday tens of thousands of protesters commanded bridges over the Danube in central Budapest in the biggest challenge to the prime minister since he returned to power in 2010. The demonstrators likened Orbán to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and flew the EU flag, which Orban regularly denounces.


Bernadett Szél, MP and co-leader of a small Green liberal party, cites the events in Kishantos and Budapest as a prime example of the “endless cynicism” of the prime minister and his party, Fidesz, whose actions and policies set him apart in the European Union, and are setting off alarm bells in Brussels and Washington. “Kishantos is a symbol of what Orbán is doing. It’s pure power and pure destruction. Fidesz is the state. The party is the state. We don’t know how to end that.”



Tens of thousands of protesters march against the introduction of an internet tax in Budapest. Photograph: PuzzlePix/Rex

In a time of collapsing public confidence in the political classes across Europe, Orbán can claim to be unique – a gifted, popular strongman with the most formidable electoral mandate in the EU. Untroubled by a fragmented and morally bankrupt centre-left opposition, Orbán led his rightwing Fidesz to a landslide victory in 2010. He coasted to a second term last April, won the European elections in May and in October took control of virtually every town and city in Hungary in local elections.


Highly unusually, he has a two-thirds parliamentary majority, meaning that the vast Westminster lookalike on the banks of the Danube in Budapest is a rubber stamp. After his election hat-trick this year, he need not face the voters again until 2018. He shows every sign of using that time to reshape Hungary.


The only organised opposition are the neo-fascists of the Jobbik party on the far right, suggesting that the opposition on the streets this week might challenge Orbán but not really threaten him.


“Orbán divides and rules. All decisions are taken by him,” says a senior western diplomat in Budapest. “He’s very skilled. He has a political vision. You might not like it, but he has it. Control is the key word here.”


Zsuzsanna Szelényi, a liberal left MP and psychologist who has studied Orbán at close quarters as a colleague in the 1990s, describes him as restless and combative with leanings towards megalomania. “He’s a very strong character, he’s always talking of revolution. And a very polarising person. He needs enemies and is always creating them. That’s how he sees the world. He was always a destructive person.”


The number one item on Orbán’s destroy list appears to be the western democratic model. In an infamous speech to supporters in Romania in July, he declared the western model dead and cited the authoritarian regimes of Russia, China, Turkey and Singapore as the templates to follow. “We are parting ways with western European dogmas, making ourselves independent from them,” he declared. “We have to abandon liberal methods and principles of organising a society. The new state that we are building is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state.”



Protesters don masks during demonstrations against the proposed internet tax. Photograph: PuzzlePix/Rex

To his many critics in Budapest, this means hollowing out democracy, retaining a semblance of pluralism while controlling all the key levers. Orbán has used his power to rewrite the constitution and has appointed 11 of the 15 supreme court justices to guarantee himself a two-thirds majority on the constitutional court.


“The vast majority of the justices are not only politically loyal, but very strongly connected to the Fidesz party,” says Csaba Tordai, a constitutional lawyer.


Orbán has used new media laws to turn public television into a mouthpiece for his government, and used tax inspectors and advertising money to intimidate, impoverish and weaken critical media.


“Journalists don’t go to jail here. But he controls the media and there’s a lot of self-censorship,” said the senior diplomat. “When they want to intimidate they send in the tax inspectors. And you can always find something.”


He has launched a crackdown on opposition non-governmental organisations, accusing some of them, Putin-style, of being foreign agents. “During the day these guys are civil activists and during the night they’re political activists,” says a senior government official.


According to western and Hungarian diplomats in Budapest, Orbán is planning to purge the diplomatic service, culling up to three-quarters of Hungary’s ambassadors.


He wants the banking sector, which is dominated by Austrians and Italians, partly renationalised so that 50% is in Hungarian hands. He has also ordered land leased by foreigners over the past 20 years to be returned to its Hungarian owners, arguing that the natives have been swindled by wealthy westerners. Brussels is threatening legal action.


“China says it’s a democracy,” says the government spokesman, Zsoltan Kovacs, explaining the new policy. “By liberal, the prime minister means a rejection of everything before 2010.”


The radicalism of Orbán’s vision for Hungary has put him on a collision course with Brussels, although the EU is crucial to his plans as Hungary is to receive €34bn (£26.8bn) in European funds over the next four years. Defying EU policy, Orbán has cuddled up to Putin in Moscow at a time of the greatest tensions between Russia and the west since the 1980s. The result has been the strongest criticism from Washington of an EU member state.


In January, Orbán secretly went to Moscow, met Putin, and secured a $10bn (£6.2bn) credit in return for awarding nuclear power contracts to the Russians. In September, he met the boss of Gazprom, the giant Russian gas monopoly, and ditched EU policy on Russia and Ukraine by refusing to repump gas supplies back to Ukraine from Hungary, sabotaging EU attempts to safeguard Kiev’s energy requirements.


Barack Obama unusually bracketed Hungary, a Nato ally and EU member state, recently with Azerbaijan, Russia, Venezuela and Egypt in attacking Orbán’s attitude to fundamental freedoms.


Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state for European affairs, then went further in a clear reference to Orban: “How can you sleep under your Nato blanket at night while pushing ‘illiberal democracy’ by day, whipping up nationalism, restricting free press, or demonising civil society?” The Americans then blacklisted 10 Hungarian officials, some of them said to be close to the prime minister, banning them from entering the US on the grounds of corruption and complaining about “kleptocracy”.


The Orbán government, prone to fanning paranoia and regularly conjuring conspiracy theories about foreign plots to undermine Hungary, insinuated the White House had been bribed. “We know the amount of money it cost to put Hungary’s name alongside Egypt’s,” said the senior government official. “It’s quite a lot of money. We know who’s funding it. It’s not easy with the Americans most of the time. It’s quite unfriendly.”


In April, around the same time as Acs’s organic crops were being pulverised, Budapest police raided the home of Vera Mora and took away her laptop. Mora runs the environmentalist non-governmental organisation Őkotárs in Budapest, which acts as the intermediary distributor of money from Norway’s generous aid programme for civil society projects in central and eastern Europe.


Norway is providing €153m to Hungary over five years, 10% of it to “independent” NGOs. Orbán’s government demanded control over how the money is spent. Oslo refused and suspended payments of €140m, while still distributing €13m through Őkotárs.


The government then raided the NGO’s offices and launched a corruption investigation. The investigators have said they are pressing charges “on suspicion of mismanagement, budget fraud, forgery of private documents and unauthorised financial activity.” Reviewing the police evidence, the news website index.hu said: “This is how a show trial looks in a history book.”



Viktor Orban takes his oath of office in parliament in 2010. He need not face the voters again until 2018. Photograph: Karoly Arvai /Reuters

The Norwegians are furious, demanding that Brussels take action. “We have this programme in 16 countries. The only place we have problems is Hungary,” said Tove Skarstein, the Norwegian ambassador in Budapest. “The fact that something like this is happening in the EU is quite shocking,” said Mora.


In his drive to create a new political system in Hungary, Orbán appears to view politics as a zero-sum game where the winner takes all in a fight between good and evil. In July, Orbán thanked the opposition for his landslide victories – “those who turned against us and provided the chance for good to win. Because if there is no bad, how could good get mastery over the bad?”


It is a binary, polarising outlook that recalls the tactics of another strongman leader, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. Both appear to believe democracy ends at the ballot box.


“Democracy does not mean the dictatorship of the majority,” said Martin Gulyas, director of the agitprop theatre group Krétakőr, which also lost its Norwegian funding. “People were tired of the endless fighting and in 2010 they said we need one leader to put the country in order, to take it in one direction. We were in no-man’s land. Since then they’ve changed everything."


In a detailed analysis of the clampdown on civil society, Heather Grabbe, director of EU affairs in Brussels for George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, concluded Orbán was rolling back the democratic gains achieved in central Europe since the revolutions of 1989, which brought Orbán to national prominence as a student leader telling the Russians to go home.


“Hungary is quickly losing the defining features of a democracy under the rule of law,” Grabbe wrote. “Independent civil society organisations are the last remaining check on government power in Hungary. Since 2010 the government has enjoyed a parliamentary super-majority which it has used to undermine the independence of the judiciary, the power of the constitutional court and media freedom and pluralism, as well as to gain control over state institutions.”


But while Orbán has amassed formidable power, he is not omnipotent as the current wave of internet-fuelled protest shows. His vote is down considerably since 2010. He does not command a simple voters’ majority either in Budapest or nationwide. But he has used his powers to change laws and gerrymander constituencies to tilt the system, making it much harder to defeat Fidesz at the ballot box.


“Hungary is not an illiberal democracy yet,” said Szelényi. “But it’s obviously in danger.”

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You need to get out of there mate before they come knocking on the door with a brown shirt for you to try on.


They still need a foreign skills base to keep inward investment moving but it's getting worrying

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