A new group has been launched to combat and track the growing influence of the far right across Europe. Activists and academics officially unveiled the European Network of Antifascist Monitoring (ENAM) and its related website Antifascist-Europe.org during a livestream yesterday, Wednesday 19 January. In a press release published in advance of the launch, ENAM said its work will be “focused on the inter- and transnational networks, cooperation and interaction of far-right players all over Europe”.
Tracking the relationships
The new research project is a partnership between Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS), Khalifa Ihler Institute, as well individuals across Europe. The website has a number of tools available to those researching the far right. This includes monthly roundups of far-right related news in various European countries as well as a Data Explorer. In the case of the latter it’s a visualisation tool which allows people to clearly see the various relationships between far-right individuals, groups, and parties across Europe.
In launching the new group and website Johanna Bussemer, the head of the European Unit of the RLS, said “We all need protection from Nazis”. Highlighting neo-Nazi threats against the migrant community in Germany in recent years, she also drew comparisons to the storming of the Capitol in Washington DC last year. But one of the main issues is that “Human anti-fascist resistance seems to be paralysed”. And to counter this the hope is that there’ll be a wide network of anti-fascists across Europe working together.
Bjørn Ihler, co-founder of the Khalifa Ihler Institute, argued that when it comes to white supremacists it’s “self-evident that it’s about the elimination of diversity in our continent”. Given this, he said it’s “important to keep up the fight for plurality in Europe”. Ihler also pointed to the value of ENAM and the Data Explorer tool, with the expectation that “it’ll be useful for prosecutors” trying to understand the wider connections between the far right across Europe. Summing it up, he said “There is no such thing as a lone wolf. They’re part of a wider network”.
The Polish “blueprint”
Following this there was a panel discussion regarding the far right in Europe and what inroads it’s made in various countries.
Eliza Rutynowska, a lawyer and human rights activist from Warsaw, discussed the current situation in Poland. The country has been rocked by protests in the last two years against the increasingly far-right-leaning government and its policies. Rutynowska stated that given Poland’s history as a victim of fascism, it’s disappointing to see “the rise of the alt-right as we are seeing today” in the country. However, the lawyer was quick to underscore the importance of what’s going on in Poland for the rest of Europe, saying “What is going on in Poland is just a blueprint for every other country where populists are on the rise”.
Ioanna Meitani, from the trial-monitoring project GoldenDawnWatch in Athens spoke of Greece’s experience with the far right, especially in the context of an economic crisis. When austerity was inflicted on the country the far right, she argued, became “the spokesperson for discontent in Greece” and “presented themselves as guardians” of the country and its culture. It was helped in this by being mainstreamed by the media. And while “Golden Dawn was presenting itself as a legitimate political party at the same time it was becoming more violent on the streets”.
The director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) in London, Liz Fekete, noted that some anti-extremism activism in the last ten years hasn’t looked at the role of the state and plutocrats in sponsoring and supporting extremism. Fekete hopes that ENAM will be able to illuminate these links between the political, intellectual, and societal. The Beacon has previously revealed some links between the National Party and extremists in the US.
Ireland’s Christy Moore, who is one of ENAM’s patrons, closed the launch with a performance of his song “Yellow Triangle”.
Featured image via Facebook – Antifascist Europe