Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch racist populist Party for Freedom (PVV), is seeking an alliance with France’s Front National (FN). He wants to ensure “an enormous advance” for the far right at next year’s European elections.
Wilders met FN president Marine Le Pen to discuss the plan in Paris last month. He also wants to draw in Belgium’s Vlaams Belang and other far right groups.
The PVV is viciously racist, particularly targeting Muslims and immigrants. But its lash-up with the FN breaks new ground. The FN is a fascist organisation, whose founder and honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen— Marine’s father—has described the Holocaust as a “mere detail” of history.
Wilders has previously distanced the PVV from fascist groups, including the FN and the English Defence League’s street thugs. He has said, “We’ll never join up with the fascists.”
But after meeting Le Pen he declared, “We think the same about 90% of things, perhaps more. We also have a lot of points of agreement in terms of immigration.”
Le Pen, who took a record 17.9 percent in last year’s French presidential election, aims to hide the FN’s fascism behind a slick public image. A tie-up with the populist PVV offers more mainstream credibility.
The far right across Europe is in a state of flux, producing new formations, shifting alliances and a cross-fertilisation of ideas, as racist and fascist parties try to build in the climate of austerity.
Wilders threatened, “Next year we can make an enormous advance.” Anti-fascists and anti-racists across Europe should be on their guard.
This story was first published in Socialist Worker on 22 May 2013