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The rise of the far right- building a trade union response

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Research and reports
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Conclusion: A resistable threat
The threat of the far right today is potent, not least because of its electoral and extra-parliamentary strength.

Far-right electoral parties have gained ground in parallel with the mobilisation of right-wing extremists on the streets. They are in parliament and have taken power, not just at a local or regional level but at a national level. We have seen how authoritarianism and far-right ideologies are not incompatible with neoliberalism; instead, these regimes sit at the extreme end of a continuum, a continuum that itself is moving in a more authoritarian and radical right-wing direction. The political mainstream has increasingly adopted far-right discourses and practices, while far-right parties, movements and regimes themselves have also shown radicalising tendencies under certain conditions. It is this spread of far-right ideas, discourses and practices that presents such a challenge. Today’s far right is also transnational, which has a catalysing effect on its ability to grow and radicalise. The contemporary far right has also displayed tactical flexibility, ideological pragmatism and a degree of sophistication in its preferred methods of organising and communication. Added to this is the complex ecosystem of transnational far-right media outlets, networks and groups, which have drawn large numbers of people down dangerous ‘rabbit holes’ and inserted far-right narratives into the public discourse.

And yet, the far right does not have the answers to the multiple crises we face. Examples of successful resistance across the globe contain useful lessons for us all. Trade unions, the biggest social movement on the planet, are best placed to meet this challenge head on by articulating and organise around a hopeful vision of the future.

If the left fails to provide rational, progressive solutions to the growing social and economic crises, the right will seize the occasion with irrational and reactionary ‘solutions’ to these crises. 

Daniel Singer
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