Austria capturing the far-right zeitgeist
For a myriad of reasons the only video-news I consume tends to be German-language news out of Germany. Local or national American news is usually lower quality, setting aside the abhorrent monopolies, it always trends towards an insular world view, missing many major international events. One such event skirting under radar of American media has been the disintegration of the Austrian parliament after the deputy chancellor, a member of a far-right party, was caught on video soliciting bribes from a woman posing as a relative to a Russian oligarch.
The FPÖ, the Austrian far-right party whose ministers have resigned, are not “practically nazis” as far as I am concerned, founded by nazis, acting like nazis, they are nazis. Similar to their AfD brethren in Germany, I find them to be nothing more than neo-nazis is suits, so they can pretend not to be actual nazis. In both countries these nazis have been softening their message both to gain power and to pull other parties more towards the right, as has happened with the CDU/CSU coalition in Germany.
The interesting thread that binds all these other far-right parties across Europe together, seems to be their corruption and Russian government influence. Looking further west to the United States, where Russian interference in our 2016 elections has still gone unchecked, there is that same common thread.
I think it is quite obvious that every far-right party in any democracy right now, is under Russian influence or being supported by the Russian government in some way. While I don’t expect any of these parties to disavow their intentional or unintentional bedfellows, it would be a striking and improbable display of integrity.
The next few months in Austria will be an interesting small-scale experiment in attempting to remedy the ailment that is afflicting much of the western world. I wish them good luck!
None of the countries whose politics are being manipulated will benefit from a more predominant far-right. So make no mistake, there is only one country that benefits from Brexit, weakening the EU, and undermining democracies. Our job is to rebuff their advance and maintain strong liberal democratic ideals.