Oppose Far Right Menace

THE ANGRY scenes in Austria this past week have shown that the entry of Jorg Haider’s Freedom Party into the Austrian government will not go unchallenged.

Day after day, sometimes up to 14 hours a day, workers and young people mobilised the huge and growing opposition to Haider’s racist and anti-working class party.

Haider’s party today is not a fascist party in the sense that the Nazis were in Germany. But Haider’s repetition of Nazi propaganda and the racism of his far-right views have alarmed workers and youth worldwide.

Protests are ebing held in major cities throughout the world and huge demonstrations are being planned in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Haider has been downplaying his praise of Nazi policies and Hitler’s SS and trying to appear more ‘respectable’. He even says how much he admires Tony Blair – not only because Britain is not joining the EU boycott of Austria but also because he admires Blair’s policies!

Haider also claims he is a moderate because he realises there is limited potential for his far-right views to gain mass support at this stage. During the recent elections, 63% of voters said they voted for the Freedom Party because they wanted to show the ruling parties that change was needed.

Haider’s party has got this far because he has not been challenged by the workers’ movement in Austria. Decades of rule by social democratic and coalition governments have ended in privatisation, cuts and carrying out attacks on the working which have nurtured the discontent in which Haider’s far right have grown.

But although Haider doesn’t currently represent a return to the fascism of the 1930s, his party’s rise must serve as a warning to the workers’ movement and socialists everywhere.

Hitler made the not entirely true boast that he came to power without a pane of glass being broken in opposition. Even if Haider does not at this stage represent the same threat as Hitler, our generation must not allow this to happen again.