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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 December 2016

Austria: Far right temporarily halted

Sozialistische Linkspartei, the Socialist Party's sister party in Austria, marching to defend refugees, photo by Sozialistische Linkspartei

Sozialistische Linkspartei, the Socialist Party's sister party in Austria, marching to defend refugees, photo by Sozialistische Linkspartei   (Click to enlarge)

Austria's far-right Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer failed to win the re-run election against former Green leader Alexander Van der Bellen. The election result in May, which Van der Bellen won by less than one percentage point, had been cancelled due to declared technical irregularities.

This time he comfortably won (53% of the vote) in a polarised election, but the size of Hofer's vote (46%) means that the Freedom Party (currently the third largest party in parliament) looks likely to make substantial gains in the next general election.

This is because of the failure of the establishment parties' "grand coalition" to resolve the major economic and social fears and questions facing many Austrians.

International picture

Like Trump in the US, or Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front in France, or Farage and Ukip in Britain, right-wing populist politicians and parties have been able to exploit an increasingly politically disenfranchised working class electorate by playing on economic uncertainties and by scapegoating refugees along with religious and ethnic minorities.

Moreover, traditional parties, in particular former workers' parties, have been unable to target society's real parasites - the capitalist class and the profit system.

Instead they have simply gone along with the austerity cuts demanded by the ruling classes while bending the knee to the anti-migrant propaganda of the far right. The situation means the building of an independent working class-based anti-capitalist party as an alternative to right-wing populism is urgent.

One factor widely quoted in Hofer's defeat was his association with other European far-right parties' anti-EU stance. However, it appears that many in Austria, at this stage, do not wish to leave the EU.

However, no sooner had the liberal establishment in Europe breathed a sigh of relief over Austria's presidential result then it was left proverbially holding its head in its hands with the trouncing of pro-EU prime minister Matteo Renzi in Italy's constitutional referendum.

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In The Socialist 7 December 2016:


What we think

No more concessions to Labour right!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight for a socialist Brexit

Conservatives humiliated in Richmond

Newham council to sack up to 1,300

Slump in unfair dismissal cases - scrap tribunal fees!

Workers can fight Uber-style care

Compensation disabled

Them & Us


Food banks feature

Food banks and the real Daniel Blakes


NHS crisis and fightback

NHS: Stop the Tory vandals

Hundreds protest the decimation of Devon NHS

Massive support in Stoke for action to save the NHS

Health campaigners in Yorkshire protest "slash and trash plans"


International socialist news and analysis

Victory at Standing Rock: US authorities agree to re-route oil pipeline

Spain: Government forced back by Student Union mobilisations

Italy: Establishment routed - workers alternative needed

Portugal: No to witch-hunts - fight the capitalists not socialists

Austria: Far right temporarily halted

Sudan: General strike in defiance of regime


Socialist Party workplace news

Durham TAs force Labour to suspend pay cuts

Protest against Glasgow Labour's scab workforce plan to defeat Unison strike

Crossrail action in defence of victimised union rep

Unison members barely earning the living wage in some universities

Sacked bakers' union rep Kumaran Bose calls for living wage 'protection'

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bolton council gives 300k to solicitors while making swingeing cuts

Reading TUSC writes to Labour councillors to demand cuts fight


John Sharpe: 1953-2016

Obituary: John Sharpe: 1953-2016


 

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Austria:

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