Editorial – Continued neoliberalism will further pave the way for far-right extremists

Are Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael starting to wake up to the reality that racism is thriving in Ireland? A recent interview with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin makes it appear that way. Apparently Martin has noticed that in some areas he’s canvassed where housing lists are long, migrants tend to be blamed for the problem. Of course anybody who believes this is misinformed. But there has been a push by members of the far right in Ireland to link migration to the housing and homelessness crisis. 

This is a tactical manoeuvre on their part. Blaming a country’s economic woes on people who look different is nothing new. In Germany after the First World War it was Jewish people who were targeted. Today, in Ireland, it’s anybody who is believed not to have been born here that is targeted. It’s dishonest but clearly working if even our mainstream right-wing politicians are starting to pick up on it.  

Neoliberalism should be everyone’s target. It’s the economists and politicians dedicated to this ideology that inflicted austerity on Ireland and which has resulted in the mess we’re currently in. But the far right doesn’t care about neoliberalism; at least not in the way that those from the centre over to the left do. Neoliberalism is the scourge of our country and not asylum seekers fleeing war in Syria. 

But it’s the latter that must be attacked. After all, capitalism and fascism go hand in hand. The role of major corporations in aiding the Nazis in the Second World War is well known. IBM is particularly notorious in this regard. Why criticise or attack something which will  be of benefit further down the line? 

But other parts of the far right show an intellectual inability to understand and critique neoliberalism. These people revel in their ignorance. Picking up soundbites of information from YouTube channels and Twitter feeds which they then regurgitate without a deeper understanding of what they’re talking about, they speak about their own awakening and the “sheeple” around them. With a surface-level understanding of neoliberalism an economic revolution will never come from these people. And, given this, the current economic status quo remains safe. 

So, while the far right and so-called nationalists promise housing and a fairer society for a select few, it is something they would never deliver on. How could they when the fundamentals of economics escapes them? While they attack mainstream politicians for lying and making promises that they can never keep, they themselves are guilty of the same. And they are twice as ignorant. 

What they are actually doing is playing a long con. Promise the world in the hopes of getting into power. Why not? It’s worked on more than once occasion for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Once that’s achieved all bets are off. The Justin Barretts of the world have a clear agenda and it doesn’t involve ending neoliberalism. The real aim is to depopulate the country. It doesn’t really matter how this is carried out as long as it gets done. And the authority that comes from holding political power will give them the ability to do just this. 

False promises from politicians are nothing new. Of course the far right is not special in this regard. But it is nonetheless troubling that after over a decade of austerity — and the effects of austerity  — we find voters blaming asylum seekers and migrants for Ireland’s housing crisis. Whether or not these views are popular is not the point. The fact that establishment politicians have noticed the rhetoric while out canvassing is. 

And with neoliberalism not going anywhere soon, these same establishment politicians, along with their parties, will be giving succour to the far right. So while the extremism we’ve seen emerge in the last two years is bad now, consider how much worse it will be get between now and when the next general elections are called. With another few years of economic destruction to help in its propaganda and recruitment efforts the far right’s political hopes might very well turn into political reality. 

Featured image via Wikipedia – Pwl234