After the recent events in Paris, the French fascist political party National Front and its leader Marine le Pen are capitalizing on this sudden gift to their electoral health (which is how they are cynically viewing it) by taking to the airwaves in a new appeal for supporters, among other things by advocating for the death penalty. (Which, as Mother Jones notes, seems utterly pointless against an enemy that welcomes the chance to die for martyrdom, but never mind.)
National Front has been steadily gaining in power over the past 10-15 years despite its openly fascist stances. This is not because the French voters are rapidly becoming fascist, not when 1940-1944 is still in living memory. Marine Le Pen is more media-savvy than her old man, but she isn’t why her party is surging either. They are doing well because National Front is quite literally the only relevant political party in France that opposes unlimited immigration, and populists who are sick of the status quo therefore have quite literally nobody else to vote for.
This is the same as with most European fascist parties, most of whom are gaining in support. The Swedish Democrats, Jobbik, and True Finns are also the sole voices of opposition to open borders, which is why they too seem to make gains with every election. While there is no relevant German fascist party for obvious reasons, there is, worryingly, one in Austria. These various parties sometimes even meet up to congratulate each other about their racism.
In Britain, however, things are slightly different. There is a fascist party there too, you see. It is called the BNP. Never heard of them? That’s because they have faded to irrelevance. And the reason why is because people sick of endless immigration have a non-fascist option to vote for instead: UKIP.
Now, it is true that the British establishment endlessly paints UKIP as racist purely because they oppose unlimited immigration from the Muslim world. In Europe as in here, opposition to immigration automatically makes one a racist, and there endeth the lesson. But UKIP isn’t — with the exceptions of this heterodox policy stance and being anti-EU, they are hard to distinguish from the Tories. Nigel Farage has spurned invitations to join Marine Le Pen’s confederation of European fascist parties, calling them “prejudiced and anti-Semitic.” And since most people really aren’t awful, they would gladly vote for UKIP instead of voting for a bunch goosestepping openly racist assholes, which is why BNP is nothing more than a punchline these days. In France, on the other hand, their counterparts have a serious shot at winning the presidency of the whole country in 2017.
If Europeans want to stop the rise of neo-fascism, then they need to finally admit that not every voter is ok with their current mass immigration policies — and that opposition to immigration does not, in fact, automatically equate a person with Hitler. Telling Jean Q. Frenchman that he’s a racist if he even considers voicing concern about immigration after the Parisian massacres will eventually force him to throw in with the racists. But not because he particularly wants to. Give me a French UKIP today, and tomorrow Le Pen will be filing for unemployment.