Hate, this not new for the right-wing. But hate against refugees from Syria is growing in all parts of the world. From Europe to America, right-wing governments play on the fear of Islamic terrorism. Populists claim that refugees are potential terrorists and even leftist populists cry out in terror for these ”cheap” Syrians, who would steal jobs from European workers. Few political parties dare to stand up for the refugees, few dare to offer solidarity. Some social democratic parties in Eastern Europe such as Slovakia, even claim that their Christian people cannot live with these Islamic refugees in one nation!
Direction – Social Democracy is a political party in the Slovak Republic. It can be seen as a successor party to the Communist Party of Slovakia, who ruled the Socialist Republic of Slovakia under the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic until 1990. Direction – Social Democracy was created by a fusion of three social democratic parties. However the party moved to the right-wing and embraced Slovak nationalism by making coalition governments with the far-right!
Robert Fico is the party leader, a former Stalinist who became a supporter of capitalism and Slovak nationalism. As a young man he joined the Communist Party of Slovakia, just before the collapse of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In the 1990’s he was a member of the Party of the Democratic Left, one of the three post-Stalinist successor parties. Fico managed to unite all social democratic parties into one party called Direction – Social Democracy. Still no genuine changes were made to the capitalist nature of Slovakia. Direction – Social Democracy embraced neoliberalism, keeping the nation inline with the demands of the European Union!
The economy of Slovakia is totally under capitalist control. Foreign capitalists from Germany also own many means of production. The banking sector is completely unregulated as are most sectors of the Slovak economy. Direction – Social Democracy has done nothing to protect workers against capitalist exploitation by multinational enterprises. Robert Fico used to be in opposition to the previous right-wing government. He was a critic of the corrupt capitalist governments who ruled Slovakia after the collapse of stalinism. But like most social democrats he never dared to challenge major capitalist institutions like the IMF or the European Union. Workers who voted on Robert Fico were left in the dark as their prime minister remained loyal to capitalist law and order!
It is hard to believe that Slovakia once had a economy not based on greed and exploitation. Although bureaucratic deformed because of stalinism, the economy of Stalinist Slovakia was not based on capitalist greed. Today the dogma’s of neoliberalism rule supreme. There are many political parties in the nation, but none offer a socialist alternative. All social democrats are supportive of the capitalist class and many are ethnic nationalist like Robert Fico, who claims that Christians and Muslims cannot live together!
As the Syrian civil war went on, many Arab refugees tried to flee towards Europe. Fico and his pseudo-social democratic party, feared a wave of immigrants. Playing on the fear of islam among his people, the nationalists of Direction – Social Democracy openly said that Slovakia must not accept Syrian refugees. Why? Because according to Robert Fico, the Christians cannot cope with Muslims. This racist attack on Syrian refugees is typical for right-wing parties, but Robert Fico claims to be leftist!
In other European nations, the hatred against Syrian refugees is fueled by right-wing populists. In Germany, the right-wing populists of Alternative for Germany, are winning votes from the traditional conservative Christian Democratic Union. Dutch populist leader Geert Wilders is scoring very high in the polls and in Austria, the anti-immigrant Freedom Party has won the first round of the presidential elections. Right-wing populists win because the left-wing is weak and unable to offer alternatives. 26 years after the collapse of stalinism, the political left is still parlayed by their inability to brake with TINA – There Is No Alternative to neoliberal capitalism!
Donald Trump is the American populist who’s presidential campaign is centred around fear and hate. He rejects Mexican workers and Syrian refugees. Although the USA is far away from the middle east, Donald Trump plays on the same fear as Robert Fico. Since 911 the capitalist media has vilified the Islamic religion, making it seem as if all moslims are supportive of fundamentalism and reactionary terrorism. Totally ignoring the fact western imperialism played in the middle east. Islamic terrorism is a reaction by angry Arabs, a reaction against the interventions of western powers. Terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would never have won the support of so many, if the middle east was a stable region with no imperialist interventions and no corrupt regimes supported by western nations!
Refugees are the victims of both Islamic terrorism and western imperialism. Syrians who flee their nation because of terrorist groups like the Islamic State. But they also flee the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad and other rebel forces like the Al-Nusra Front. The Syrian civil war is no longer a conflict between a people and a brutal government. Syria today is divided between the Ba’ath government and its Shia-Islamic allies, Sunni-Islamic rebels, terrorists of the Islamic State and a secular alliance led by Kurdish Syrians. More then 250.000 Syrians have been killed according to the United Nations and 7.000.000 have fled the nation!
Because western imperialism arms the Syrian opposition the war keeps on going. Many American and European weapons end up in the arms of radical Islamic groups like the Al-Nusra Front. Although governments claim not to arm these fundamentalists, it is clear that because moderate rebels work with the Al-Nusra Front, western guns end up in their hands also. The secular alliance led by Kurds in Rojava, would be a far better ally against the Islamic State and Bashar Al-Assad. But western imperialism does not wish to support Rojava, because the main fighting force of the Kurdish people is allied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). NATO nations do wish to infuriate Turkey, who has called the Syrian Kurds to be on equal grounds with the terrorists they fight. Soon-to-be-dictator; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has restarted the war with the PKK and has murdered over 5000 Kurdish freedom fighters. Because Turkey does not like Rojava, NATO keeps silent!
In Europe, most governments don’t know what to do with refugees. They fear that if they offer help, they will lose elections. Because there is a growing idea that refugees are given preferential treatment. After years of austerity and cuts to social welfare, many Europeans find it unfair that these refugees are given ”free stuff” while they have to pay for it. It is true that capitalist barbarism has led to rising prices, lower wages and austerity politics. But Syrian refugees cannot be blamed, they are victims of a brutal war and not responsible for austerity in European countries. Again, right-wing populists fuel the hate. Because major left-wing parties are unable (or unwilling) to stand up for refugees, many workers have this misguided feeling that only the populists serve their interests!
What must be done? Revolutionary socialists call for mass solidarity with Syrian refugees. We rejection the hatred of right-wing populists and nationalists. We say no to austerity politicus of capitalist governments. We reject bourgeois ideologies like liberalism, social democracy and conservatism, who do not care to fight the capitalist establishment. The right-wing wants workers to fight among themselves for the scraps capitalism is leaving behind. At the same time it tries to divide us with nationalist propaganda and hate against immigrants. Workers must reject this and unite against all political forces of capitalism. The old social democratic parties and new ones, cannot be trusted. Even the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain is not a force for workers and the poor. Labour remains a capitalist party and has not abandoned the dogmatic neoliberal road Tony Blair introduced!
Hatred of refugees is not new. In the USA it was used against socialists and communists. Back in the 1920’s, the antisocialist establishment banned members from the Socialist Party of America to participate in the New York assemble, because the socialist party was called a ”party of dangerous foreigners”. American imperialism has always looked down on immigrants, today the conservatives are the main opponents of (Islamic) immigrants. The far-right Republican Party has no problems with white immigrants from Europe, but they hate Mexican immigrants and Syrian refugees. Still, their hatred may cost them the 2016 presidential election, as Donald Trump is only loved by a brainwashed conservative electorate. It is possible that the Democrats keep the White House, Hilary Clinton may become the next president although we revolutionary socialists rather seen Bernie Sanders!
In Greece, the fear of islam led to a rise of support for the Golden Dawn. This neo-nazi party used to concentrate its hatred on (Muslim) Albanian workers in the past. Many Albanians work in Greece and the neo-nazi’s always targeted them. But with the Syrian refugee crisis, the Golden Dawn now attacks refugees from Syria. Its members are violent, criminal and racist. They are typical fascists who would love to establish a Greek nationalist state. Because both the social democrats of PASOK and the class traitors of SYRIZA betrayed the Greek workers to capitalist barbarism and European blackmailing. It allows the Golden Dawn to recruit disillusioned youth. These young people have been brainwashed to hate Albanians and Syrians because Golden Dawn claims they are ”criminal” and ”steal” Greek jobs!
Support for the far-right is also growing in Sweden. This nation used to be very tolerant, until capitalist austerity created a split in attitude. Mant Arab immigrants were the first victims of growing poverty and rising criminality. Youth crime in Sweden rose and the capitalist media blamed the Arab culture, totally ignoring the fact that poverty among immigrant families in Sweden is higher. The rise in crime among immigrants led to a rise in support for the far-right: Swedish Democrats. The party only won 162,463 votes in the 2006 election, but nine years later over 801,178 people vote for them. The fear of islam and the general idea that young Muslims are more criminal, led to a rise in support for the Swedish Democrats. Also the party has moved away from its classic racism and now hides its intolerance behind a good public profiel!
With the Syrian refugee crisis, the Swedish Democrats play on the same fears as other far-right forces do. The fear of losing freedom to Islamic thinking, the fear of Sharia law. All this is nonsense as 95% of all people in Sweden are not Islamic. Muslims make up only 5% of the population. Still because of the growing fear of Islam, many uneducated Europeans think that the immigrant population is far higher then they actually are. For example, in the Netherlands many (none-Muslim) teens think that Dutch Muslims make up 10% to 20% of the total population. This complete bullshit as out of 17 million Dutch only 825.000 are Muslim (4% of the Dutch population)
Revolutionary socialists understand the frustration and anger. But Syrian refugees are not the reasons for austerity and growing poverty. Capitalism is the problem and the far-right is tying to put the blame on refugees and immigrants. We also understand that the betrayal of social democratic and moderate socialists led to a feeling to betrayal and disillusioned in politics among many workers. Social democrats and moderate socialists have worked together in capitalist governments that enforce austerity. This is why so many workers see no difference between the traditional right-wing (liberals & conservatives) and what is still called the left-wing (social democrats). This is why new workers parties must be build. In Sweden, the Socialist Justice Party has fought against deportation plans by liberal governments and social democratic ones. Since the Swedish Democrats won more public support, the government is growing more intolerant of refugees!
We call for mass solidarity with refugees. Revolutionary socialists blame the capitalist system and the imperialist interventions in the middle east for the crisis. Since 2003, the capitalist world has created death and destruction there. Iraq, Libya and Syria are on fire, because western leaders choose to intervene. Dictators like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar Al-Assad were/are tyrants, but it is not up to America and Europe to play world police. Western imperialism was even allied to most of these dictators. Hussein was supported until he invaded Kuwait in 1991. Gaddafi was once terrorist leaders number one, until he reformed in 2003 and embraced the western world. Bashar Al-Assad carried out privatizations and deregulation of the Syrian economy which western capitalists loved.
Europe should welcome refugees and integrate them into their societies. It is foolish to think that these people do not wish to participate. Many who fled Syria are educated, willing to work and become part of Europe. But because of the deep inequality, it is possible that many immigrants end up in the same poverty they left. This can become a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism as young immigrants with a Islamic background realize they face discrimination and open rejection by European societies. It fuels crime and hatred of western values. This is why revolutionary socialists stand for a society not run on capitalist greed and xenophobia!