Speech by Yiorgos Loucaides, Parliamentary Representative of the Parliamentary Group of AKEL-Left-New Forces, in the plenary session of the House of Representatives on the Resolution on the rise of ultra-right, neo-Nazi and nationalist parties in various states
Friday, 10th November 2017
At an international, regional and national level, for several years now, an ongoing reflection is underway, decisions and resolutions have been formulated, and from time to time measures against the rise of the extreme-right are taken. As AKEL, we believe that it is also imperative that the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus discusses and states its position on its Resolution concerning the issue of the growth of the extreme-right and neo-fascism in Europe.
Such a Resolution, as the one AKEL has indeed tabled today at the plenary, is necessary because in a number of EU member states, Nazi and fascist parties – of different shades – are becoming stronger or even entering parliaments where they attain a podium to spread hatred, racism, fear and intolerance. This propaganda is toxic, dangerous and vicious.
Such a Resolution is necessary, because if Europe and the whole of humanity continues to exist today, it is because in the historic confrontation in World War Two the peoples of the world crushed Nazism and Hitler-Fascism. The peoples have vowed not to allow humanity to live through again an equivalent monster that leads to Holocausts, crematoria and concentration camps. The peoples made an oath not to permit the ideology based on the classification of nations, peoples and peoples, into superior and inferior to take root again.
Such a Resolution is necessary, because in the country that gave birth to democracy, namely Greece, there is today in the Greek Parliament an openly National Socialist party, which unapologetically praises the Nazis who butchered the Greek people during the Occupation; a party which unashamedly raises the flag with the symbol of the fascist Junta which oppressed the Greek people and shed the blood of the Cypriot people.
It is necessary for the House of Representatives to take a position, because we live in a country that every day sees illuminated on the occupied Pentadactylos mountain range the results of fascism; because we are still burying our dead of the crime committed against Cyprus in 1974, in which the EOKA B (Note: fascist armed illegal organization) of Grivas collaborated with the Greek Junta and the Turkish militarists; because our mothers are passing away, still waiting to learn the fate of their betrayed beloved ones victims of the betrayal of 1974; because generations of Cypriots are growing older in refugee settlements yearning to return to their homes and properties; because, despite all that has happened, there are political forces in our country who are still insisting today on honouring and paying tribute to all the rabble that brought the betrayal, from Grivas to Nicos Sampson; because democratic consciousness, above all, is based on democratic historical memory.
This Resolution is necessary, dear colleagues, because the modern history of our homeland and continent has demonstrated that any underestimation of the extreme-right and fascist danger is bitterly paid, paid in blood and is paid by all – even those who try to appease, give cover, reinforce or engage with the extreme-right and its formations because they also exist, both in Europe and in our country.
Besides, as the Resolution itself points out “the sharpening of social inequalities does not necessarily and automatically mean the rise of the extreme-right and fascism.” These formations need tolerance and/or support for the extreme-right’s actions and rhetoric by state institutions, economic interests, political forces and the mass media for their ideals to grow and take root.
One of the main problems in combating the ultra-right and neo-fascism is the fact that their agencies are, as a rule, ashamed and hide their real character, true ideology and their real aspirations. Besides we all know that these type of formations usually have a dual identity and structure, namely an internal one addressed to the recruited members, which is blatantly reactionary and fascist, and a public one, with a more careful phraseology and more “institutional” practices pursued aiming at gaining votes from society’s most desperate and lumpen strata.
We as the Left are fully aware that the ultra-right and its parties in each country are – first and foremost – targeting the popular strata suffering from the crisis and the government policies of Member State and of course of the EU itself.
From this podium and on this opportunity, we repeat that the far-right parties that propagate that immigrants, but not the system itself, can never represent an alternative solution to the system.
A party and an ideology that divides working people and cultivates racist hatred between them cannot be in the interests of the people and workers.
The xenophobic populist extreme-right that doesn’t want refugees to be given shelter in Europe, but supports the imperialist wars that create refugees, cannot be an alternative.
The ultra-right and its parties, in all their forms, represent all that is most rotten society generates, the most backward and sinister which History leaves behind.
This is precisely why a timely, constant and unwavering confrontation with the far-right is needed.
The Resolution we have before us, provided that it is adopted, may end up being another voted text without any practical value, which will be forgotten after a few days. However, it may – provided that we all mean what is recorded in the Resolution which we will shortly approve – become a guiding compass for implementing concrete measures and actions by all those forces who consider the rise of the far-right as dangerous and who believe that vigilance and a response is needed.
It needs an education system that teaches the truth about the history of Europe and Cyprus. We need a National Action Plan to combat racism, xenophobia and hate rhetoric/crimes so that we can timely get rid of the poison they are spreading. The political forces need to refuse to legitimize these parties as potential partners or even as some people with whom they can even share common concerns. It is necessary, as the relevant Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution (2011/2014) points out, that politicians at a national and European level “should publicly expose neo-Nazis, rejecting and condemning clearly and unambiguously neo-Nazi ideology and rhetoric and of the far right.”
In our view, above all else, it is necessary to have a strong workers movement that unites working people on the basis of their interests, rather than dividing them on the basis of their language or ethnicity.
This Resolution does not attempt to make an ideological analysis of the phenomenon, nor to achieve an identity of views on just about everything of the forces that will vote for it. In any case, it will be supported by political forces that have different starting points and different perceptions of the issue. The Resolution, however, contains the common denominator that a parliament of a democratic country is duty bound to clarify.
The Resolution conveys the message to society that, despite the small and big differences between us, we agree that the ideals and practices of racism, xenophobia, chauvinism, discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, religion, language, sex, sexual orientation and disability are morally, value-wise and legally condemnable; that fascism and the ultra-right are not some other voice in democracy that we must tolerate, but that its existence is an insult to our culture, our history, our morals, the values and interests of our people.
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