International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism
9 November 2014
United against fascism & anti-semitism
More than 220 coordinated actions have been organised by grass-roots organisations and different local groups in 45 European countries for the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism. This year's variety in actions ranged from commemorations, lectures, debates, demonstrations and symposiums over radio programmes and online-campaigns, up to concerts and film festivals. On www.DayAgainstFascism.eu you can find many local activities that took place in Europe. These local actions were united under the common slogan: "REMEMBER".
We do not accept hate!
Though in numbers there are not many fascists throughout Europe, however, the constant voicing of xenophobic messages in media and politics causes 'normalisation' and leads to 'acceptance' of hate. Society keeps silent. People become bystanders to their own fate and to the fate of the whole European society.
Around 9 November this year people all over Europe stopped being a bystander. They Thought. Saw. Listened. Spoke. Protested. Resisted. And Remembered.
In our times, we have witnessed the results of racism being incorporated into political movements and parties. It has led to the gravest and darkest of pages of the recent human history. To prevent this happening again has long been amongst the priorities of many organisations and societies. Now these old risks emerge in a new form, as societies are rapidly changing. It forces us to give this priority once more. It forces us to rethink our methods of combatting racism, xenophobia and intolerance. The influence of fascist, antisemitic and neo-nazi ideals, policies and methods is still present and strong in Europe. The danger of this influence is in the negative and populist rhetoric creating a fruitful soil in which the seed of extremism, hatred and irrationality can grow.
People are looking for someone to blame - comparable to the 1930s the dangerous "us" and "them" rhetoric is again commonplace. The 'Kristallnacht' pogrom or 'Night of Broken Glass', was a series of attacks against Jews carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians in nazi-Germany and Austria, 9-10 November 1938. It was the first step to the extermination of the Jewish Europeans by the nazis. Today 9 November is seen as the symbolic beginning of the Holocaust, the policy of the systematic murdering of millions of people. It reminds us that such terrible things did not start with deportations and concentration camps, but developed step by step. Hate not only leads to violence, discrimination and exclusion, but is a dangerous threat to democracy and peace as well. Europe has been here before: it ended in the Holocaust.
A comparison of famous fascist and nazi rhetoric with today's far right shows us that its influence on European policies, ideals and public opinion is far from absent. The rhetoric is now more obscured, but the message is still similar. All over Europe, right-wing political leaders find numerous threats against their respective societies, and these threats are almost always 'foreign', from outside the dominant social group; According to these far-right politicians and leaders, they are the only ones that are capable of finding appropriate 'solutions' to the problems in society; And they offer a solution which rejects all that is different.
100.000s of people in Europe remembered that all that is really needed for fascism, nationalism, antisemitism and xenophobia to grow is a fertile soil from where it can spread its' hate and irrationality. People in Europe are clear: we do not want a repetition of the holocaust, and we do not want any group raising above all others. We must step out from being a bystander, learn from the past and take a common stand for our future.
Quotes from policy makers supporting this campaign:Erik Ullenhag - Swedish Minister for Integration, Leader of the Liberal People's Party in the Swedish Riksdag:
"Fight against fascism and anti-semitism is more important today than ever. Everyone has a responsibility to say no to intolerance and hate. As a politician I will never let the xenophobic forces set the agenda in Sweden."
Rüdiger Eisenbrand, Mayor of Apolda, Germany
"What can we do against it?
Think! - Support our projects and get involved for more respect, equality and tolerance in our city Apolda and in society!
See! - Look out when others are attacked racist!
Listen! - Children need role models, because they imitate other lifestyles.
Speak! - Racism affects us all! Tell It On!
Protest! - Only through our unity, we have the strength and stamina to defend ourselves against racism, fascism and misanthropy!
Resist! - Confrontation instead of denial!
and Remember! - From the past, we learn for the future!"
Isabella Conti, Mayor of Municipality of San Lazzaro di Savena
"I am a daughter of the Resistance, and of women and men who fought in Italy 70 years ago, against fascism and totalitarianism. Today, more than remembering and hoping this will not happen anymore, I committed myself to act, day by day, against all forms of fascism and discrimination in our society."