It is often said by American conservatives that Europe is riddled with Islamic No-Go Zones, including London. But while these have been repeatedly proven to be a myth, the United Kingdom is seeing a rise in what are claimed to be “Nazi-controlled zones” according to stickers appearing on lampposts and walls.
In fact, reports The Daily Mirror,
“An MP has highlighted the growth in far-right extremism in the UK, saying young neo-Nazis are becoming a bigger problem than Islamist extremists.”
You won’t hear or see America’s right-wing media warning of right-wing extremism, however. And that is exactly what neo-Nazis are pushing, a form of right-wing extremism that originated in the 1920s as a right-wing nationalist response to Russian Bolshevism.
According to the Mirror,
The worrying figures show almost 300 children being referred to the UK anti-radicalisation Prevent taskforce, which works to de-radicalise youngsters.
And 16 of those 300 referrals were under the age of 10, sparking fears of a rise in a modern day ‘Hitler youth’.
The rise in extremism is particularly strong in the Midlands and the North.
A senior fellow in extremism at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue Rashad Ali told The Times that some parts of Wales have seen figures over 50% for far-right referrals to the the Prevent programme.
While most extremists flagged are Muslim, the Mirror reports that “Figures from the National Police Chiefs Council show far right referrals went from 323 in 2014-15 to 561 in 2015-2016.”
In fact, right-wing extremism is a danger far more real than many people realize, and it is also widespread. As David Clay Large noted at Foreign Policy magazine recently, “In the West, the Nazi Führer is thought of as a genocidal maniac — everywhere else, he’s considered a political inspiration.”
While Hitler might be shocked to learn he is an inspiration to those he thought racial inferiors, the specter of the Third Reich remains. Even Slovakia, a country conquered by the Nazis, is unnerved by the rise of a “proudly-neo-Nazi party.”
And the stickers are a symptom of a wider problem. As British historian Richard Evans has observed (The Third Reich in History and Memory, 2015),
“Over the past decade and a half, Nazi Germany has come to appear to growing numbers of historians as a political system that rested not on police terror and coercion but on popular approval and consent.”
The success of right-wing demagogues in Europe and wide appeal of Donald Trump’s fascist populism in the United States has taught us how true this is.
Photo: Liverpool Echo
Update: 11.22.16. A previous version of this article omitted reference to the rise of a neo-Nazi party in Slovakia.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.