Friday, 12 November 2010

Cold Winds

As seen in the 1930's in the shockwaves of the depression, xenophobic wave are yet again hitting Europe. We all know how it all turned out in the 1930's and the following World War II. A clear parallell that can be found is the economic depression, but claiming this as the sole reason is a very simplified conclusion. A closer look on the current xenophobic wave with right wing parties gaining influence in many European countries shows a development that started before the current financial crisis, when the economy was in a period of growth and prosperity. Although it was to a large extent made on a not so steady ground, it was still perceived as a good economy, thus the depression can hardly be the only reason, or not even the main one. However the depression seem to have worsened the situation, but it did not start it.

So that brings us to the obvious question, what started it? This is obviously a very complex question and the best I can do is some loose speculation.

In the 1930's immigration to Europe was very low by today's standards, in this time period it was more a matter of finding a scape goat for the economic hardship and its consequences. Whereas today mobility over borders has greatly increased and many immigrants come to Europe for various reasons, hopefully making it the dynamic melting pot that once made the USA what it was and what it still is. This also brings new cultures and religions, to me it seems rather obvious that before you can fear something you need to experience it. Thus introducing new cultures will often be seen as a threat to what already exists. Furthermore, an decreased confidence in politicians and a general discontent turns voters to those building their image on being outsiders and against the current establishment, as these kind of right-wing parties often do.

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