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Austrian Levee Holds
The Tides of the Far Right
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  • dawnsblood

    I don’t get it. How is this fellow ‘far right’ but the Green isn’t ‘far left’? There seems to be a vocabulary deficiency here. Please don’t tell me it is because Europeans are farther left than Americans. If someone gets close to 50% in a general election, then half the population doesn’t consider them far anything. Either both are well within the mainstream or neither are.

    • I don’t see how you’d have me work that language in. Der Bellen was nobody’s favorite, he was just the last not-FPO candidate left standing—and he eked it out just barely. He’s certainly not symbolic of some sort of Greens’ resurgence.

      • Andrew Allison

        For shame Damir, you ducked the issue. Van der Bellen is as far Left as Hofer is Right. You could have simply written right-wing/left-wing. Others and I have commented in the past that anything right of center is far-right to TAI.

        • “Far-Left triumphant in Austria” isn’t at all what happened, though. It’s that pretty much everyone else banded together to support this guy and he barely pulled it out. And anyway, the polar opposite of FPO on the spectrum is Spain’s Podemos, not the Greens. For whatever reason, European countries seem to have either competitive far-Left or far-Right parties, but not both.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Nonsense…Van der Bellen is far-left, and he is the guy who won. That means that the far left won, however you choose to dance around that. The far left might have won with help from other voters (which seems to be the case here), but the place to describe that is the body of the story, not the headline. More to the point, do you honestly believe that the far right was the only group supporting Hofer? The vote was split pretty much 50/50….if Van der Bellen’s victory isn’t one for the far left, Hofer’s wouldn’t have been one for the far right, unless you seriously believe that Austria’s voters are 50% far right.

            Dude, you have been caught….just admit it, learn from it, and move on.

          • Andrew Allison

            Thanks for saving me the trouble of responding to his evasion.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I find it amusing that he has suddenly disappeared, but I shouldn’t be surprised…

          • rheddles

            You identified you post and responded reasonably to reasoned criticism. I may not see things the same way but enjoy the debate.Thank you.

          • Beauceron

            I think it’s great you climb down into the comment sections to respond to reasonable questions, by the way. It shows intellectual integrity on your part and engenders good will on ours (at least mine).

            I am not familiar enough with Austria’s green party or van der Bellen himself to make a call on whether or not he crosses the movable line on what is far left or just left.

            But I think part of the reaction here comes from the press, at least in America, but also certainly in the UK, using the “far” and “extreme” label as a not-so-subtle weapon to scaremonger and give their preferred leftist candidate an advantage, while often giving far left groups a pass on the “far” or “extreme” label.

      • dawnsblood

        I’m not particularly peeved TAI and certainly not with you personally. This is probably more of a general media issue with me. I hear ‘far right’ this and ‘far right’ that. The only time I have heard ‘far left’ anywhere was when the EU was bickering with Greece. I just bothered to voice it here because the comment section seems more intelligent than most. I guess I just don’t get the vocabulary people use when reporting on European politics.

      • gabrielsyme

        On the contrary, Van der Bellen was 21% of the electorate’s first choice in the first round, and it is pretty fair to say that was the left-most fifth of the Austrian electorate. Yes, Van der Bellen isn’t as far left as Podemos, but neither is the FPÖ as far right as Jobbik or Golden Dawn. It is misleading and inequitable to restrict “far-left” to the two or three relevant Euro-communist parties in the EU while applying “far right” to far more variable parties, to everyone from UKIP and Law & Justice to the NPD in Germany.

    • Pete

      “How is this fellow ‘far right’ but the Green isn’t ‘far left’?

      It’s just one of Mead’s kiddies toeing the politically correct line. He/she probably doesn’t know any better.

  • Anthony

    For related analysis see “Vexed in Vienna, and Across Europe” – The Economist.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Austrians are still waking up to the fact that their National Inheritance is being stolen and degraded by the Muslims and their backward Islamic Culture.

  • Pete

    Tear that wall (levee) down, Mr. Bureaucrat!

  • johngbarker

    In the 1930’s a European alliance with Russia (USSR) was politically unpalatable, at least among most citizens and most of the elites. Some prominent people believed Stalin was the real enemy and sided with Hitler. How things changed after 1940. Don’t be surprised if Russia is viewed as the savior of the West; it happened once and can happen again.

    • Comrade Pootie

      Soviet called for global revolution. No wonder they were seen as a threat. Which they were, And still are, as Russia,

      Fascism was in part a response to communism

  • qet

    To everyone’s comments about the leftism of the Green party winner, I would also add that the so-called “mainstream parties” in most European nations have been dragged leftward over the years so that the “far-ness” of the Right, its being now on an “extremity,” is rather a function of the mainstream parties’ own movement.

    • f1b0nacc1

      The Overton window moves leftward in Europe, and rightward (sometimes) int he US

  • Comrade Pootie

    They love democracy all the way until people start to vote for someone else. Instead of acnowledging their failures, they turn hostile towards the voters.

    It is not a good idea to be hostile towards tens of millions of europeans. Especially not when they have themselves to blame. They can’t be the only alternative when they fail so miserably.

    Respect democracy or become legitimate terror targets.

  • mbermangorvine

    “If it keep on rainin’, then the levee gonna break.”–Bob Dylan

    • Bob Dylan? I was going to write “Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones” but it turns out a blues song from 1929, by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie.

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