Death of a fascistOctober 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Posted in International | 1 Comment
Since their policies are often threadbare and their arguments don’t easily stand up to scrutiny, the success or failure of far-right parties is heavily dependent on the communication skills of their leaders. The fact that almost every obituary of Joerg Haider has described him as ‘charismatic’ is a testament to how well he succeeded in that regard, as is the 10% of the vote that his new AFA party received in Austria’s most recent elections.
But there’s another part to the Joerg Haider story that reminds us of their most fatal flaw; the unremitting, unresolved conflict between the lust for power and the desire for ideological purity. The very thing that makes the far-right successful – hate, racism and the manipulation of fears & grievances – is also what restrains them from achieving real power. I suspect Haider was smart enough to know this, and so in a bid to refashion himself as a more moderate, electorally-appealing politician, he left the more hardline Freedom Party to form the trojan horse he led until his death.
Whilst the the Austrian legislative system no doubt ensures that these two make a formidable coalition, the factionalism, defection & infighting between fundamentalists who won’t allow any dilution of their poisonous principles and those who’ll set them aside for electoral expediency is what almost always condemns them to obscurity. This, rather than the random death of one more fascist, is the true cause for satisfaction.