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Old 05-21-2011   #1
davidbfpo
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Default Europe under strain: political extremism aspects

With mounting youth unemployment (21%) and the opportunity provided by local elections on Sunday - a protest has started in Madrid, small numbers yes (25k) and spread across the country.

BBC Report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13481592

Note the decisions by the constitutional court and the police declining to act.

The Daily Telegraph has a series of photos and an introductory text:
Quote:
With tents, mattresses, a kitchen, a workshop and even a pharmacy, a protest camp in Madrid has grown into a real 'urban village' for thousands of young people. Under blue plastic tarpaulins, demonstrators have gathered in the landmark Puerta del Sol square in the centre of the Spanish capital,. Many of them have spent several days and nights there, to decry politicians who left Spain with a 21 per cent unemployment rate. Calling for "Real Democracy Now," the protests popularly known as M-15 began on May 15, lamenting Spain's economic crisis, politicians in general, and corruption.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/pict...in-Madrid.html

Popular, public demonstrations and protests have a strong, recent tradition in Spain; for example the massive protests denouncing ETA violence and after the Madrid terrorist attacks.

Will be interesting to watch how this develops.
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Old 05-21-2011   #2
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Default Beyond Spain: one point of view

The protests continues:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13481592 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13466977

A commentary that IMHO deserves reading, if perplexing:
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It is perhaps surprising that Spain's youth has taken quite so long to come out onto the streets. Unemployment among 16 to 29-year-olds is estimated to be around 45%.

The jobless rate for the whole population is over 20% - the highest in Europe. And not only are they fed up with their economic situation, they are also calling for an end to domination of the political system by the two main parties.

There is something inevitable about economic crisis leading to protest.

The student demonstrations in Britain, the riots in Greece, and the union protests in France, Italy, and Belgium were all born of the same frustration.

Europe's leaders have chosen, to a greater or lesser extent, to ignore the voices on the streets. Believing instead that austerity is the way out of the economic crisis.

And, so far, the protests across Europe have not grown into anything big enough to force them to change tack.
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Old 05-22-2011   #3
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Well, this 'may' sound being driven by prejudice, but among Germans, Southern European countries have a reputation for a large grey sector, to say the least.

Unemployment statistics are furthermore not comparable internationally, nor are they meaningful without much detail on the methodology and legal situation.


I'd say cut the figures by half and the impression is likely more accurate.
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Old 05-16-2012   #4
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Default Europe under strain: political extremism aspects

There is a long running thread on the economic aspects of the EU 'EUCOM Economic Analysis - Part I' on:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...archid=3507454

Elsewhere we have debated the possibilities for a revolution in the USA and touched upon extremism too, nowhere is there a thread for the much heralded re-emergence of political extremism - mainly from the right - in Europe. So here is a new thread.

Not to overlook the post-Oslo killings thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=13830 and the murders in Germany:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14532
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Old 05-16-2012   #5
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Default Europe under strain: Greece’s new fascists?

Hat tip to ICSR's Insight article 'Who are Greece’s new fascists?' after the electoral success by Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn):
Quote:
which gained 7% of the popular vote and 21 seats in parliament.

Golden Dawn is a fascist political party and a street movement with an occasionally violent history....Golden Dawn, therefore, is ingraining itself into the social fabric of the country and its success must not be written off as a temporary protest vote. Though its share of the vote remains small, its infrastructure and presence on the street is extensive.
This passage struck me as rather odd, particularly that such information was gained in exit polling:
Quote:
Most disturbingly, exit polling shows that more than half of the country’s police officers voted for the party.
Link:http://icsr.info/publications/newsle...ewfascists.pdf

Surprisingly there is no mention of an active extreme left-wing, violent minority, who are not averse to attacking the centre left-led trade unions and of course the police - as seen in newsreel for months. IIRC the Greek Communist Party polled more votes than Golden Dawn.
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Old 05-16-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Hat tip to ICSR's Insight article 'Who are Greece’s new fascists?' after the electoral success by Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn):

This passage struck me as rather odd, particularly that such information was gained in exit polling:

Link:http://icsr.info/publications/newsle...ewfascists.pdf

Surprisingly there is no mention of an active extreme left-wing, violent minority, who are not averse to attacking the centre left-led trade unions and of course the police - as seen in newsreel for months. IIRC the Greek Communist Party polled more votes than Golden Dawn.
It may be mostly just votes of protest, however such angry votes did quite often no good for a couple of European countries in the not so distant past. Political sanctions by the EU are not expected in this case after the blunders of the one try against Austria with his right-center government and the dire need to get to an solutions.

Personally I would rate the political situation in Hungary as the most critical, with a Viktor Orban and Fidesz trying the hold power by many means.
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Old 05-16-2012   #7
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Hungary's government has definitely learned too much from Putin. I doubt that the spook will end soon.


The situation is very different in most other European countries. There are extremists only powerful (to some degree) thanks to a mix of mobilising the 5-10% dangerous assholes that every country has and addressing some at least somewhat legitimate concerns.

The former is rather unavoidable (best case is if said assholes split up between left and right), while the latter is evidence of a failure of established parties.
Don't be surprised by extremists if you allow some outrageous problems to linger for long while claiming that any complaints about them are either politically incorrect or otherwise illegitimate.
The failure of the established parties can be compensated much better than with a rise of stupid extremists, of course: Simply allow for the rise of a new party.
I'm really thankful for not living in an entrenched two-party system.
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Old 05-17-2012   #8
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Posted by Fuchs

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I'm really thankful for not living in an entrenched two-party system.
As compared to the successful multiparty system in Italy? The reality is democracy is hard to make work regardless of whether it is a two party or mulitiparty system, especially in times like this. Normally our two party system functions fairly well, but admittedly your word "entrenched" is currently correct. However, over the years we had different parties and it is possible a new party will rise and displace one of the current parties, or more parties will rise and displace both of them. We're not restricted to a two party system by law.
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Old 05-17-2012   #9
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Of historic note, I believe many countries turned toward more 1-partyish extremes of socialism or fascism to get the unity of effort necessary to work out of the financial messes between WWI and WWII. To include the US. Wouldn't be surprising to see a re-emergence of such trends
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Old 05-17-2012   #10
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Well, the threshold for establishing a new party is much, much higher than in proportional vote systems. Germany is about to establish its second new party since 1980 in order to address shortcomings of geriatric established parties which are increasingly uninterested in concerns of large parts of the population.
This doesn't even count the formation and establishment of an actual left wing party from parts of the social democrats and from the remainder of the East German communists.

A U.S. left winger in a right-leaning U.S. state sounds like a U.S. right winger in a U.S. left-leaning state, right?

Meanwhile a German gets to choose from an actual left winger in every state and an actual right winger in every state. Moreover, they're likely going to have a voice in parliament (and do their oversight job on the administration) as part of a minority caucus.

The system doesn't force them to adapt to the state's political culture; they rather remain quite true to their political orientation and the people get to choose.

This makes it easier for extremists to enter parliaments and get a forum for their noises, but said noises also allow to recognize their (lack of) qualities.
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Old 05-17-2012   #11
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The success of a party like the pirates is certainly just possible in a "continental" system.

In Italy I would love to have a bit higher barriers for small parties. The landscape is too fractured. By the way Beppo Grillos movement Cinque stelle had already very recently an Italian "pirate moment" at the local level.
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Old 05-17-2012   #12
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Default Voting in Greece

Having found a diagram showing the results of the last Greek election I was surprised to see how many voted for parties that failed to get past the 3% barrier for being allocated parliamentary seats. It was 19.03%, that is a big minority who are disenfranchised. Even more stunning when you learn the leading party is allocated an additional fifty seats.

Quote:
Votes cast from Left to Right:

KKE (Communist) 8.48%
Syriza 16.8%
Democratic Left 6.11%
Pasok 13.8%
New Democracy 18.8%
Independent Greeks 10.6%
Golden Dawn 6.9%
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17993894

It is remarkable IMO that the two extreme left and right parties polled so closely together. Not to overlook the KKE are reported to be an unreconstructed, if not Stalinist communist party. Extremes need each other.
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Old 07-24-2012   #13
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Default Failing to take far right violence seriously

A timely review of the situation in Europe, just after the first anniversary of the lone wolf Anders Breivik's murderous attacks in Norway:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...ence-seriously

The opening sub-paragraph:
Quote:
The threat of far right terrorism and political violence ought to be taken at least as seriously as the radical Islamic one. Obstacles include the false belief that far right violence is local and not globally connected.
Citing Arun Kundnani’s report 'Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe' for the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) in The Hague and looking at the German neo‐Nazi group – the Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (NSU, National Socialist Underground) – which operated:
Quote:
for thirteen years without arrest, during which time eight people of Turkish origin, a Greek man, and a policewoman had been killed, despite federal and regional intelligence services reportedly having infiltrated the group’. .. it remains unclear why the NSU was not intercepted earlier.....appears that part of the problem was that efforts to counter right‐wing violence rested with regional states, which did not consider it a priority, in contrast to initiatives to counter the threat of jihadist violence, which were well‐resourced and centrally co‐ordinated at the federal level.
This passage makes the argument far better:
Quote:
since 1990, at least 249 persons have died in incidents of far right violence in Europe, compared to 263 who have been killed by jihadist violence, indicating that both threats are of the same order of magnitude
I have seen Europol reports on acts of terrorism which show nationalist attacks far outnumber Jihadist attacks; nationalist cannot always be equated with far right IMO.

There is more detail on the issue on:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...d-to-far-right
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Old 07-24-2012   #14
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I'm more concerned by authoritarians who are not openly extremist (gun-toting, tattooed, bald head and stuff), but manager to get government powers.

I'm thinking about Hungary and Romania here.
These countries are about to become political untouchables in the EU because of their deviation from democracy and hard turn towards right wing authoritarian governments with controlled media etc.
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Old 03-07-2013   #15
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Default The Roots of Extremism: The EDL and the Counter-Jihad

The full title of this paper is 'The Roots of Extremism: The English Defence League and the Counter-Jihad Challenge', which uses polling data from October 2012 and one point is:
Quote:
The data indicate that supporters of such groups are not just young, uneducated, economically insecure or politically apathetic. They are not simply anti-Muslim or overtly racist, but xenophobic and profoundly hostile towards immigration. They expect inter-communal conflict and believe violence is justifiable. And their beliefs about the threatening nature of Islam have wider public support.
Link:http://www.chathamhouse.org/publicat...rs/view/189767

There is data on whether institutions are trusted which indicate politicians and parliament have shrinking credibility.
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Old 03-07-2013   #16
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
There is data on whether institutions are trusted which indicate politicians and parliament have shrinking credibility.
I would add Chatham House as one of the institutions on that list. I've only skimmed it so far, and owe you a better response after I read it again and think a bit about it, but ...

The author's assumption seems to that people should sit passively while watching their culture dismantled by those same politicians, parliaments and institutions, all of whom cheerfully explain that the culture was irredeemably evil. Those who aren't passive about it are "extremists."

As the saying goes "Well, there's yer problem."

(This one jumped out: "... groups like the defence leagues have essentially outflanked mainstream elites, developing successful narratives around a perceived ‘threat’ that is not being addressed, namely Islam ..." That the author thinks this extremism can be explained, even partially, in terms of dueling narratives is an example of what's causing that "shrinking credibility.")
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Old 03-08-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
I'm more concerned by authoritarians who are not openly extremist (gun-toting, tattooed, bald head and stuff), but manager to get government powers.

I'm thinking about Hungary and Romania here.
These countries are about to become political untouchables in the EU because of their deviation from democracy and hard turn towards right wing authoritarian governments with controlled media etc.
This is a big concern indeed. In Italy we have a terrible record of governance and it is absolutely correct to talk about a political caste, especially in some regions. We also had laws made for a single person and attempts to modify the constitution to get the president more power - designed by the same person - but so far there has been no stark turn towards an authoritarian state.

Now Grillo does behave like a little dictator in the M5S and is the face and the voice of the movement but I do think that a lot of it has to do with the understandable fear that other politcal forces - especially on the right - might once again to buy votes and undermine the M5S. While it may sound wild the richest man in politics faces two unrelated trial for doing just that...

---

Democracy is an ongoing process and no final, steady state. Sadly looking east towards Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Belorussia and Russia we have plenty of such examples...
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Old 04-02-2014   #18
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Default Europe straining under the pressure

Not the current Crimean crisis, but the far wider issues of political disengagement, primarily by the young, although also seen with nationalism / regionalism and the socio-economic factors.

There is an older thread 'Europe under strain: political extremism aspects' into which this could fit, but these factors are not unique to Europe and SWC has touched upon the domestic US application too - now awhile ago.

This thread is prompted by two new articles, one on Europe and another on the UK (after all I am British). Plus thanks to a "lurker" a series of displays of socio-economic factors.

Disengagement and this is the headline:
Quote:
Why aren't Europe's young people rioting any more? Denied their dreams of education and jobs, young people have been sapped of rebellious energy. But their anger is growing
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...MCNEWEML6619I2

The displays /maps come under a headline:
Quote:
Interactive map: Europe’s social polarisation and the generational struggle - what do indicators measuring poverty and inequality actually show?
It ends with:
Quote:
Social pain has already undermined the citizens’ trust in the EU and their own governments. This could devitalize the acceptability of painful structural reforms and fiscal consolidation measures and, in turn, diminish the reform momentum or even lead to political instability.
Link:http://www.bruegel.org/nc/blog/detai...onal-struggle/

The British economic and fiscal problem, one that has suddenly caught attention:
Quote:
Selling UK Plc is the only way we can avoid a full-blown crisis. Overseas buyers should be thanked: they are bailing us out and financing our lifestyle
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/e...wn-crisis.html
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Old 04-02-2014   #19
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Moderately.
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/unit...lance-of-trade


Deficits of about GBP 40 billion per year are only about half of the United States' trade balance deficit (in per capita).

The UK has rather a domestic economic structure problem; it still thinks that he leeching City of London special economic zone is more of a benefit than a drag as long as it leeches mostly on foreign economies.

And the tunnel was apparently not enough to help the UK in the markets for 'just in time' deliverable intermediate goods.

_____________
By the way; there's a major rally and protest march in my vicinity in but a few days. The topic is a civil rights topic.
We even have two new parties of note (below 5% nationally, though): Piratenpartei for the young people; copyright, anti-censorship et cetera and AfD for the rather conservative older people; anti-Euro currency zone

The political grassroots and protest movements aren't necessarily about the old topics (in 80's West Germany: anti-nuclear power, anti-Cold War and ultimately anti-DDR), but there's some activism.
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Old 09-10-2014   #20
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Scottish independence: Cameron, Clegg and Miliband make Scotland 'No' vote plea

It is quite possible the great recession is having a big impact on the Scottish referendum. Much of the economic policies of the current government have been terrible and of counter-productive austerity but this is, if painful and still relevant, old news. Simon Wren-Lewis offers an interesting perspective:



Quote:
As far as I know there has been no compelling new evidence that has emerged between these two dates, so the obvious inference is that as people have become more exposed to the economic arguments, they have found the pro-independence side more convincing.

At one level this seems odd, because for me the evidence that Scotland will be worse off for at least the first decade of independence seems pretty clear. The fiscal position of an independent Scotland also looks worse, as the highly respected and impartial IFS explain. These views seem to be shared by a large majority of UK economists: here is the CFM survey of mainly academic economists selected for their macroeconomic expertise. Now this survey is more equivocal about whether the UK is right to rule out currency union, but again the general view is that in such a monetary union Scotland would face severe fiscal constraints.
I'm convinced by those arguments, but as Simon puts it a large share of the public doesn't seem to be or doesn't know those. For many the future seems to look brighter as nation. I mentioned during the discussion about the Crimean economy that severing the deep, intricate ties to Ukraine and attaching new ones will be painful for both Russian and the annexed territory. Now we won't seen anything that extreme for obvious reasons but at least in the short run a 'yes' would mean considerable economic stress and friction.
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