I wanted to write about education, but I’m so bummed out with Uni that I’m not in the mood. With the elections in Austria coming up, I thought I’d share my thoughts on politics.
Most countries have around five parties, of which two usually dominate parliament. I’ll start with the right-wing parties. Let’s first remind ourselves where “right” and “left” came from. During the French revolution, the politicians on the right side of parliament were largely in favour of monarchy and the “Ancien Régime”. On the left side were those who favoured the working class.
The big clash between left and right emerged during the first and second World Wars. Russia had fallen to communist Bolsheviks and after the first World War more nationalist thought began to emerge in Germany and Austria. These ideologies were directly opposed: One was based on hierarchy and structure, the other on working together. One favoured an approach that would guarantee equity to all, the other one was proud of its achievements, even if those were only done by a select few.
Now those attitudes have hardly changed. I’ll single out the “Freedom Party of Austria” (FPÖ), look at their program and make some rather sweeping generalizations about other right-wing parties in Europe. One thing that must be pointed out right at the beginning is the incongruence between what is written and what is done.
Right at the beginning of the program, you can find the following: (point 2)
Wir sind dem Schutz unserer Heimat Österreich, unserer nationalen Identität und
Eigenständigkeit sowie unserer natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen verpflichtet.
Basically: We have to uphold our national identity and protect Austria.
This is a very nationalist (Note: NOT national-socialist!) view. Generally, the more right-wing the party is the more obsessed it is with security, defence and defence-budgets.
Rather unusually for right-wing rhetoric, the FPÖ then lists the minority groups in Austria and states that they’re an enrichment. Notice that that’s not the way they present themselves on the outside.
Rather more characteristic for them is the following:
“Austria is no country for immigration.” Therefore family.
What the FPÖ, and also other right-wing parties, have missed is the steady decline of births. Immigration is an essential part of our economy, without which we would collapse in mere decades.
A last point addressed is a strong favouring of Christianity and, even though they state otherwise in their manifesto, siding with Churches to oppose other religions.
A common red thread through almost all right-wing parties is the non-acceptance of other religions, especially Islam. If you want to find people opposing Islam, you’ll usually have some luck with the more right-wing parties instead of the left-wingers.
Point four reads:
Die Familie als Gemeinschaft von Mann und Frau mit gemeinsamen Kindern ist die
natürliche Keimzelle und Klammer für eine funktionierende Gesellschaft und
garantiert zusammen mit der Solidarität der Generationen unsere Zukunftsfähigkeit.
Basically: A Family consists of a man and a wife along with children.
Right-wing parties tend to be against same-sex marriage.
Wir fördern Leistung in einer Marktwirtschaft mit sozialer Verantwortung, schützen
das Privateigentum und stehen für eine gerechte Aufteilung von Beiträgen und
Leistungen für die Allgemeinheit.
Basically: The protection of property and pushing markets.
Right-wing parties are usually fairly obsessed with the economy, protecting it, making it grow. This usually means a purely capitalistic market.
Point ten, incidentally the last one:
Ein Verbund freier Völker und selbstbestimmter Vaterländer ist Grundlage unserer
Europapolitik und unserer internationalen Kontakte.
Basically: Free countries and self-governing fatherlands are important.
Leaving aside the non-gender-conformist writing, this once again reinforces the nationalist concept. Where you come from is important.
These are the main headings, of which I’ve picked out the most characteristic ones. Each point is then elaborated on, as I’ve pointed out above.
I think that many of these examples will be true for other right-wing parties as well. The next four posts will be about centre-right parties (including the republicans), centre-left parties (including democrats), far-left parties and finally the greens. I will then either talk about upcoming parties, about politics in general or about anything you’re curious about. Heck, I might even put up some tools to make quick fact-checks of politicians.