The election of a neo-fascist in Austria

Michael Hoover wrote:

any listers have info on last Thursday's election of neo-fascist Joerg Haider as governor of Austrian southern province of Carinthia?...he apparently resigned from this same position earlier in decade after praising Hitler's labor policies...Haider, leader of far-right, anti-immigration Freedom Party, opposes European Union enlargement because (he says) it will result in torrent of central and eastern European immigrants looking for work...the guy has indicated that he has national political ambitions

Yes - Jörg Haider was elected Landeshauptmann (regional governor) of Carinthia, after his landslide-victory in the last regional elections. His party polled 42% of the votes, clearly outnumbering Socialdemocrats and Popular Party. (more informations and details will be posted tomorrow). Nevertheless, I would warn to call Haider simply a "neo-fascist". That´s an erroneous classification which, in my opinion, was one of the reasons for Haider´s ascent.

The FPOe is the successor of the 1949-founded "Elections Union of the Independents", a front-movement for former Nazis. On the other hand, former Austrian German-nationalists (which had reservations towards Nazism) and right-wing liberals joined the party. Of course, the party was from its start an extreme right-wing-party, but it was not "fascist" (due to its social composition it was, of course, the recruiting area for the genuine Neo-Nazi-groups in Austria). The labeling of "neo-fascist" to the FPOe prevented for decades a real political struggle against this party - it was "outcasted" or ignored, and therefore could push political themes to the agenda, which first were ignored but then became virulent (like, for instance, "privileges" of politicians, bureaucrats and so on).

As a clear rightist, populist party, the FPOe "stole" a good deal of "left-wing themes" and answered them in a wrong, racist and xenophobic way.

Haider is at present seeking at one hand the alliance with the conservative Austrian clergy, on the other hand he presented himself yesterday in an interview with the news-magazine "profil" as the legitimate successor of the Austrian social-democracy, which "betrays the workers" (Listen!!!!).

The "neo-fascist" labeling hat strange repercussions, so far. For instant, a good deal of the "left-wing-intellectuals" declare in interviews and articles, that, in the case of Haider becoming chancellor some day, they would "emigrate"! You can die from fear... In spite of fighting the FPOe by demasking the populist demagogy of Haider and giving a genuine socialist answer to the questions at stake (lay-offs, jobs for young workers, education), they are merely defensive and larmoyant.

I know, that's rather elliptic, but I need some time to formulate my thoughts in a readable English. I just want to remember the error of the Comintern in its ultraleft phase, when it characterized subsequent German right-wing govenments as fascists. So it was impossible to mobilize any more, when fascism really knocked at the door.

Kurt Lhotzky

(Vienna/Austria)


Haider is the so-called "yuppie fascist". His father was a Nazi paratrooper and his mother was a member of the Nazi women's league. He has run for national office before, receiving around 25% of the vote. It was revealed he was behind the beating of Austrian anti-fascist journalist Wolfgang Puschneller, who had exposed Nazism in the ranks of the Viennese police force. Regarding the incident, Haider said "it is time we brought these tiresome leftists to their senses". Hitchens had an article on Haider in Salon some time ago. An excellent book is _The Beast Reawakens_ by Martin A. Lee. Some links on Haider and the European Nazi scene:

http://germanyalert.com/index.htm
http://www.s-light.demon.co.uk/
http://www.fmdc.calpoly.edu/libarts/mriedlsp/Publications/publications.html

Sam Pawlett


This could become more significant. Carinthia is not the region around Vienna (Lower Autria). But Vienna is once again forming its socio-economic role of being the urban centre of a much larger geographical area, which it did before the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is a natural focal point not only for Slovaks but for others who are more distant. Many names in the Vienna telephone directory are of non-German origin.

It will only take an economic downturn for fascist tendencies to rise demanding the re-purification of Vienna. Jobs for Austrians first. Haider's resistance to the project of a wider European superstate is consistent with this.

Chris Burford