Magazine article New Internationalist

Time to Retoxify the Far Right

Magazine article New Internationalist

Time to Retoxify the Far Right

Article excerpt

Nearly 20 years ago, I moved to Vienna. The city, on the fringes of 'Western Europe', had suddenly found itself dealing with an influx of refugees from the civil war raging in nearby Yugoslavia. On my arrival in the Austrian capital, I had to go to the local police station to register. I - a white, English, 20 year old on a work visa - was graciously led by the police officer past queues of tired and confused asylum seekers. What shocked me even more was the swastikas daubed on Vienna's walls, and the fact that Austrians would come up to me - a foreigner - in the street and moan about the Yugoslavs and how they were taking the locals' jobs.

Fast forward two decades, and, as K Biswas and Rowenna Davis report in this issue, the situation has worsened. What was once the domain of the far reaches of rightwing politics - racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and the obsessive fear and hatred of 'the other' - has edged into the mainstream, almost under our noses. …

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