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October 16, 2018
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Opinion: Running a nationalist party in Europe is a very good business plan

21.12.2017 9:43
Anna Dumont
Anna Dumont

According to the director of the Consortium of Non-Governmental Organizations Working with Migrants, Anna Dumont, running nationalist parties in the Czech Republic is a very good business plan for those in charge of them. "As a result of their gains in the recent elections, the SPD has been given from the state budget CZK 54 million [EUR 2 million] plus another CZK 20 million [EUR 777 700] annually per elected MP. This is a business. This is a machine for producing money that functions effectively, and not just in our country. This is a perfect way to cheat the voters. All of these party leaders have known, from the beginning, that they will be unable to fulfill any of their promises," Dumont said in her speech at last weekend's demonstration against the Prague conference of the anti-immigration, hateful, xenophobic parties in the ENF group at the European Parliament, which news server Romea.cz is publishing here in full translation.

Speech by Anna Dumont, 16 December 2017, Prague, Czech Republic

Thank you very much for inviting me and for the opportunity to speak here, I appreciate it very much. While each of the political parties here for their conference today is different from the others, they do all have something in common.

Each party is reacting to a domestic public with specific demands in each of their countries. The French voters, for example, certainly do not love the Czech ones.

In France, Czechs are considered immigrants from the east who "take French jobs and lower French wages". Nationalism, in principle, can never be international.

It is inherent to nationalisms that they clash. Despite this, today these parties are collaborating and have a common faction at the European Parliament.

The danger they pose is increasing exponentially. Why are they succeeding?

Their politics is that of easy solutions. They react to people's justified concerns, ones people do not know the answer to.

Simple solutions do not exist for complex problems, though. Parties of the type of Okamura's SPD, the Front National of Marine Le Pen, or the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders are offering an answer to all problems that bother us by connecting such problems directly to a culprit so it will be easier for us to take our frustrations out on the designated target.

In the nationalists' ideal scenario, those designated as such a target will not be able to defend themselves. That is why it is easier to cut money for development aid, for example, than it is to attempt fairer taxation.

It is also easier to call people "leeches" and "terrorists" than it is to investigate the big tax evasions that are underway. The nationalist parties, in this respect, function like a very good business plan.

As a result of their gains in the recent elections, the SPD has been given from the state budget CZK 54 million [EUR 2 million] plus another CZK 20 million [EUR 777 700] annually per elected MP. This is a business.

This is a machine for producing money that functions effectively, and not just in our country. This is a perfect way to cheat the voters.

All of these party leaders have known, from the beginning, that they will be unable to fulfill any of their promises. What is the main reason they manage to get elected

FEAR. Fear of a complex world that has lost the clear enemies of the Cold War era, fear of the future, fear about job stability, about the standard of living, about one's children.

Those who vote for nationalists are bothered by low wages, expensive housing, lack of law enforcement, and the feeling that they have been forgotten. How are the nationalists managing to disseminate their poisonous ideas?

That is thanks to  the online social networking sites, which have become an uncontrollable, dangerous megaphone for disseminating hate and fake news. It is easy to release a lie into the world, it is much harder to disseminate truth, and the truth never reaches everybody's ears.

However, this is also happening thanks to the traditional politicians. On the one hand, such politicians are corrupt and narrow-minded, while on the other they lower themselves to the level of nationalist, populist rhetoric.

If the traditional politicians are just parroting the nationalists, then why not directly vote for the original sources of such ideas? Mainstream politicians should not sell themselves out, they should not just tell people what they want to hear.

The traditional politicians should have the ambition, on the contrary, of offering their ideas to the people and having enough courage to advocate for them. Back in the days of the French Revolution, after all, what the people said they wanted was the guillotine.

Are we actually prepared to start building guillotines on the town squares if that is the demand? How can we prevent this?

We must build bridges to each other, not close ourselves off from one another. We must argue with each other, discuss with each other, explain our views to each other.

We must constantly bear in mind that the world is not black and white. We must learn, beginning in nursery school, to think critically, and we must know how to defend our opinions.

In primary school we must learn how to discover what the sources of our information are, to verify them, to make our way through the media, which is the equivalent of the primeval forest in today's world. We must catch up to the online social networks and force them to bear responsibility for their content.

Dialogue, justice, social reconciliation, tolerance. These are not just empty phrases.

This is the way to avoid impaling ourselves on the spikes of nationalism, which always leads to cruel conflicts. For that reason, we say: We are for a common Europe without fear and hatred!

Anna Dumont, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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