European Union accused of ‘fascist rhetoric’


This 28 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Right-Wing Eastern European States Honor Nazi-Collaborating Fascists as ‘Heroes’ (Pt 1/2)

Far-right governments in Eastern Europe are rehabilitating past Nazi collaborators as national heroes, rewriting the history of the Holocaust to turn the Soviet Union into the villain. Historian Dovid Katz explains to TRNN’s Ben Norton how the fascist-apologist “double genocide” myth is spreading.

This video is the sequel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

EU accused of adopting ‘fascist rhetoric’ with new Commissioner For Protecting Our European Way of Life to oversee immigration policy

Ursula von der Leyen said new Commission, which is all-white, was ‘as diverse as Europe is’

By Jon Stone in Brussels

10 September 2019

The EU commission has been accused of adopting “grotesque” and “fascist” rhetoric after it created a new “Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life” role to oversee immigration policy.

Incoming president Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the new job along with the rest of her cabinet at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, explaining that it would cover migration issues.

But critics said the new job’s Orwellian-sounding name suggested that immigrants were a threat to the European way of life.

Ms Von der Leyen said the new Commission cabinet was “as diverse as Europe is” – though critics also pointed out that all of its members are white.

Many of the posts in Ms Von der Leyen’s new cabinet, which will serve for five years, have avoided traditional ministerial titles for more goal-orientated names like Commissioner for “A Stronger Europe in the World” and “An Economy that Works for People”.

But it is the migration commission[er]’s rebrand that has raised the most eyebrows. Labour MEP Claude Moraes said that “calling the European Commission migration portfolio ‘protecting our way of life’ is deeply insulting”, adding that the “weird and odd titles’ of the Commission would create “confusion”.

Molly Scott Cato, a British Green MEP, told The Independent: “This looks like the portfolio to fight back against the rise of the fascists, but only by adopting their divisive rhetoric around ‘strong borders’.

“What Greens value about our European way of life is our role as a beacon of compassion and diversity. We will continue our work to ensure that Europe remains a safe harbour for those fleeing persecution and to champion global human rights.”

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told The Independent: “The very point about the European way of life, is the freedom for individuals to chose their own way of life. We do not need a Commissioner for that, thank you very much.”

“The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected.

“The only threat to “our way of life” is autocrats … like Orbán, [Poland‘s] Kaczinsky or Johnson trampling all over the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy. Instead of creating fake portfolios, the Commission should show some more guts in upholding the values we have laid down in our treaties, laws and case law.”

NGOs also criticised the mode. Eve Geddie, director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said: “Linking migration with security, in the portfolio of the Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life, risks sending a worrying message.

People who have migrated have contributed to the way of life in Europe throughout its history. We trust that Commissioner-designate Margaritis Schinas will work hard for an EU in which safe and legal routes allow migrants to continue to contribute to the future of Europe.” …

The role was given to Greece’s EU commissioner, Margaritis Schinas,

Margaritis Schinas is a member of the New Democracy Party (ND). A ‘centre-right’ party which sometimes cooperated with the Greek Golden Dawn nazis when ND was in a previous Greek government. And which recently, when they returned to the Greek goverment, made anti-refugee policies even harsher.

Greece: With helicopters hovering above, hundreds of police in full riot gear raided four buildings in Athen’s Exarcheia neighborhood on August 26. After blocking all entryways, the police detained 143 migrants and refugees, 35 of whom were children and babies. Many lived in a building known as Spirou Trikoupi 17: here.

who previously served as the Commission’s chief spokesperson under Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mr Schinas said in a statement: “I am trilled to be nominated for the position of Vice-President for Protecting Our European Way of Life.

“From better protecting our citizens and borders and modernising our asylum system, to investing in Europeans’ skills and creating brighter future for our youth, I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans.”

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Refugees betrayed, from Hitler till today


This video says about itself:

Voyage of the Damned (1976)

This movie is based on the 1974 book about the voyage of the SS St. Louis in 1939. Over 900 Jews were on board hoping to find sanctuary in Cuba.

By Bill Van Auken:

”Voyage of the Damned:” Hundreds of refugees stranded in the Mediterranean

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the infamous voyage of the German cruise liner the MS St. Louis from Hamburg to the Americas with 937 passengers aboard, nearly all of them German-Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

Even though the Cuban government had sold them visas, when they entered Havana’s harbor on May 27, 1939, the authorities stopped the refugees from disembarking. After waiting for a week in the vain hope that Cuban officials would reverse their decision, the St. Louis sailed to the coast of Florida hoping that the United States would offer refuge. However, the Democratic administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt also turned away the refugees. Attempts to enter Canada and the Dominican Republic were similarly rebuffed.

Left with no option but to return to Europe, the St. Louis docked at the Belgian port of Antwerp on June 17. Within less than a year, Belgium would be occupied by the German Wehrmacht. By the end of the Second World War, 256 of the St. Louis passengers would be murdered in the Holocaust.

Chronicled in the book Voyage of the Damned as well as a film by the same name, the fate of the St. Louis was a symbol and harbinger of the unprecedented barbarism, including Hitler’s “Final Solution”, that would engulf humanity in the course of a global war that claimed the lives of some 85 million people.

It was undoubtedly the tragic and criminal saga of the St. Louis that Leon Trotsky, the great Russian revolutionary and founder of the Fourth International, had in mind when he wrote in a May 1940 manifesto on “The Imperialist War and the Proletarian World Revolution”:

“The world of decaying capitalism is overcrowded. The question of admitting a hundred extra refugees becomes a major problem for such a world power as the United States. In an era of aviation, telegraph, telephone, radio, and television, travel from country to country is paralyzed by passports and visas. The period of the wasting away of foreign trade and the decline of domestic trade is at the same time the period of the monstrous intensification of chauvinism and especially of anti-Semitism. … Amid the vast expanses of land and the marvels of technology, which has also conquered the skies for man as well as the earth, the bourgeoisie has managed to convert our planet into a foul prison.”

These words retain all of their burning actuality under conditions in which “Voyages of the Damned” are being repeated on a daily basis in the central Mediterranean, a watery grave for tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, some 14,000 of them over the last three years alone.

The plight of two rescue vessels stranded off the coast of Europe, the Ocean Viking and the Open Arms, recalls nothing so much as the St. Louis, with the continent’s governments refusing to admit the more than 500 refugees aboard the ships.

A boat carrying refugees in the Mediterranean [Photo: UNHCR/L.Boldrini]

The migrants, most of them from Africa, were rescued off the coast of Libya from which they had fled, some them literally plucked out of the water. The 151 passengers—including 31minors—of the Open Arms, a vessel operated by a Spanish rescue group, have been at sea for nearly two weeks off the coast of Italy. They have been denied entry by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has imposed fines of up to €1 million along with imprisonment for captains entering Italian waters with refugees, together with the confiscation of their ships.

Salvini, who is in the midst of a campaign to form a new, openly fascist government in Italy, has railed against the rescue ships, touting his policy of “absolute prohibition” against their landing and seeking to use the plight of the stranded refugees to whip up anti-immigrant chauvinism in advance of an election.

The Ocean Viking, which has 356 refugees rescued at sea—nearly a third of them minors—crammed into a space meant for 200, has been denied refueling in Malta as well as entry to Italy. The passengers are enduring conditions of suffocating heat and humidity and facing the threat of huge sea swells forecast for Wednesday.

The fascistic rants of Salvini are only the most blatant expression of a policy that has been put in place throughout Europe to bar the entry of refugees. A minister of the social democratic government of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Spain rejected an appeal from the captain of the Open Arms to admit the 31 minors aboard the ship as refugees, asserting that the captain had no “juridical standing” or parental authority to make such a request. He further charged that those aboard the Open Arms rescuing refugees were “compromising the reputation of Spain.”

The immigration minister of Norway, whose flag is flown by the Ocean Viking, said that the refugees should be “transported back to Africa” in order to avoid any “extension of the refugee route”.

The European Commission, which issued a call to European Union (EU) member states to coordinate a solution to the plight of the stranded refugees and show solidarity, reported that not a single government had responded. Every European government, with Germany and France in the lead, has collaborated in erecting a “Fortress Europe” with barbed wire and machine guns defending the EU’s borders and a ruthless campaign to end the rescue missions in the Mediterranean.

A key part of this vicious anti-refugee campaign has been contracted out to Libyan militias, which have been recruited and trained as a coast guard dedicated to hunting down refugees trying to reach Europe. They run concentration camps in Libya where those fleeing for their lives from other parts of Africa and the Middle East are subjected to torture, rape, summary execution and being sold into slavery. A civil war that has devastated the country since the 2011 US-NATO war destroyed its government and infrastructure has further placed migrants’ lives at risk. The bombing of a detention center last month killed some 50 refugees.

The campaign against refugees in Europe is mirrored across the Atlantic, where the Trump administration has added to its mass incarceration of children, its turning away of refugees on the Mexican border and its round-up of undocumented workers in factory raids, the imposition of new regulations aimed at barring legal immigration by those without financial resources. Immigrants already in the US are to be targeted for deportation for the “crime” of using social services such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing subsidies.

Asked by a reporter Tuesday whether the poem of Emma Lazarus inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…” still applied, Ken Cuccinelli, Trump’s acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, responded with his own amended version: “Give me your tired and your poor, who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” While hardly poetry, the meaning is clear enough: working class immigrants and refugees need not apply.

TRUMPER: LADY LIBERTY ABOUT ‘PEOPLE FROM EUROPE’ Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reinforced his controversial interpretation of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty ― this time giving it a racist twist. [HuffPost]

The Bill Van Auken article continues:

The war against refugees and the scapegoating of immigrants for deteriorating living standards, unemployment and the destruction of social services under capitalism is a global phenomenon. It is employed by governments and ruling oligarchies the world over as a means of dividing the working class and cultivating neo-fascist elements that can be used to counter the growing wave of social struggles and strikes by the working class in country after country.

These policies are rooted not merely in the criminal and twisted mind of a Donald Trump or the fascistic ideology of a Matteo Salvini, but rather in the crisis of the capitalist system and the irreconcilable contradiction between the global integration of production and the capitalist nation-state system. The sealing of borders with razor wire barricades, the building of concentration camps for refugees and the whipping up of xenophobic and fascist forces echo the darkest days of the 1930s, just as the ships stranded in the Mediterranean recall the fate of the St. Louis.

The turn toward these methods is a sign not of strength, but of weakness and deepening crisis, as capitalist governments in the US, Europe and internationally face mounting opposition from working people that threatens revolutionary social and political explosions.

There are powerful sentiments of solidarity and support for refugees and immigrants within the working class that must be mobilized and armed with a socialist and internationalist program, including the right of all workers to live and work in whatever country they choose with full citizenship rights.

Britain: 3,000+ refugees have been on hunger strike in detention centres since 2015: here.

Greek refugee camps, hell on earth


This Dutch 27 July 2019 video is by Dutch NOS TV correspondent Saskia Dekkers, who filmed secretly the horrible conditions for refugees from NATO ‘humanitarian’ wars on the Greek island Samos.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Refugee camps on Samos a hell: “I have not seen it like this before”

The refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos is intended for 650 migrants, but in the containers alone two thousand asylum seekers are jampacked on top of each other. In addition to the official camp there are makeshift tent camps. A further 2500 migrants live there. About ten boats with refugees arrive on Samos every week.

Abibulaye is from Togo. “When you arrive at the asylum service, they say the next day: ‘go there and find out’. And you don’t know anyone, you have no money, that’s bad.”

Rats

The situation is serious, says Europe correspondent Saskia Dekkers, who visited Samos. “I have not seen a situation like this anywhere else … People sit on top of each other. There is no running water, there are no showers or toilets. It stinks and we have seen rats among the tents.”

There is far too little room for all people, says Dekkers. “In places where people defecate, new tents have been set up. Many Afghans, Syrians and Congolese people are waiting here for their asylum application.”

Refugees in Italy have received much attention in recent months. In the meantime, the number of refugees in Greece is increasing again. Almost twenty thousand asylum seekers are now stuck on the islands. Almost all people who have arrived in the past year. Europe correspondent Saskia Dekkers secretly filmed on the island of Samos. “It seems that the refugee camps are deliberately kept unlivable by the European Union and Greece.”

… The Samos MP [Christodoulos Stefanadis, of the right-wing Nea Demokratia party] is in favour of a tough migration policy by his
[Nea Demokratia] government. …

Dekkers: “The camp is very hot and there is not enough water. But the biggest problem people tell us is the uncertainty. Nobody knows what their situation is.”

“You don’t know who you are anymore. I have been waiting for 7, 8 months now and my first date for an asylum interview is in 2021. I don’t know where I stand”, says an African asylum seeker.

French Macron endangers curlews, godwits, turtle doves


This 2016 video is called:

Birds of Ireland: The Curlew & its haunting song

Status: Winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland, as well as breeding in small numbers in floodplains and boglands.

Conservation Concern: Red-listed in Ireland due to its small and declining breeding population. The European population is experiencing similar problems and has been evaluated as Declining.

A sad situation in France, since the minister for the environment in the Macron administration, Nicolas Hulot, resigned in despair, as he found out that the rest of that administration did not care about the environment, only about billionaires’ profits.

Even right-wing politicians like Annie Schreijer-Pierik of the Dutch CDA party are now worried.

Translated from Dutch CDA member of the European Union parliament Annie Schreijer-Pierik, 26 July 2019:

BRUSSELS – MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik (CDA) sounds the alarm again about the French hunting of protected meadow birds. “The European Commission is now launching an infringement procedure against France for the use of glue traps and standing bird nets in violation of the Birds Directive. But Brussels remains silent about the premature lifting by the French Council of State of a moratorium on the hunting of curlews and black-tailed godwits earlier this month. A few days ago, the French Ministry of the Environment made things even worse by suddenly approving rights to kill six thousand curlews (and thirty thousand turtle doves). “Unacceptable and unheard of in this Year of the Curlew“, says the CDA politician, who therefore asks emergency questions to European Union Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Environment) just before the summer break. She wants to know how the Commission will prevent a possible reopening of the black-tailed godwit hunt and will stop the re-admitted French curlew hunting.

“The French shooting of curlews is in no way justifiable and is contrary to all guidelines,” says Schreijer. “Although the European curlew population is still half a million birds, the numbers of nesting curlews in our country have already fallen by forty percent between 1990 and 2015. It is not for nothing that the bird is on the red list. ”The European Commission stated earlier that hunting for a species of bird should not be reopened if the species in question decreases in number. That is the case with curlew and black-tailed godwit.

Schreijer-Pierik emphasizes that there are no legitimate reasons like combating damage or a credible bird recovery plan in the case of France. That is why the CDA politician is once again asking for sanctions by the European Commission against the French curlew hunting. Infringement proceedings may force France to comply with EU bird legislation.

Schreijer wants the European Commissioner to make clear which side he is on: “Or can big France as the only country in the EU continue to get away with this type of practice?”. Destroying what Dutch, Belgian and other European farmers, agricultural nature associations, bird protectors and governments do for the curlew, warns the MEP. “It involves millions of euros in national and European subsidies for meadow bird management. Or will the European Commission again claim that the decline of the European curlew is the fault of agriculture?”

Part of the reason of decline of farmland birds, along with hunting, is indeed unsustainable Big Business industrial agriculture. Ever since the 1950s, the European Union and its predecessors have stimulated replacing small scale sustainable farming with unsustainable Big Business farming.

The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers. While the EU has committed to greater sustainability, this is not reflected in the CAP reform proposal: here.