Europe's Fault Lines by Liz Fekete

First published by Morning Star on Friday 5th January 2018

Liz Fekete’s Europe’s Fault Lines is a timely and much needed warning

In Europe’s Fault Lines, Liz Fekete has not only written an excellent study of how racism is once again being normalised in the world we now find ourselves in, but how in turn this is acting as cloak under which fascism is resurgent. Liz Fekete has worked at the Institute of Race Relations for over thirty years and is now its Director and Head of it’s European Research Program. There can’t be many people in Europe with the same level of expertise that Ms Fekete has on this issue, and her extensive knowledge and informed insights on this growing trend demand closer attention.

More aware than most of the criticisms that will be levelled at this work, Fekete has been very careful to clarify every term and phrase from the outset. It is this level of surgical analysis and academic rigour that makes what is a very complex subject, and in more clumsy hands a subject prone to knee-jerk oversimplifications, an educating, engaging and thought provoking read. That being said, this is neither an easy or pleasant subject. But it is a very real problem that we need to treat seriously.

For me, one of the most ominous trends in this study is the normalisation of the politics of the extreme Right into our everyday lives. A lot of the people trying to draw attention away from the failed neoliberal experiment today, are the same cheerleaders who were so desperately banging the drums as the wheels were coming off it. Attention-seeking sycophants from the cultural, political, economic and academic elites are clearly willing to throw the rest of us under the bus for the validation of an audience,and the good graces of their masters. And in their role as magician’s assistant they demand we blame anyone other than their paymasters.

As history has shown us, and with apologies for paraphrasing Burke; for prejudice to prosper, it not only takes good people to do nothing; it takes demagogues to nurture it; legislators to protect it; law-enforcement to collude with it; and cultural institutions to rationalise it. But perhaps most importantly, it takes the rest of us to refuse to learn from our shared past and the sacrifices those that have gone before us made. Europe’s Fault Lines is a timely and much needed warning. ¡No pasarán!

Europe’s Fault Lines by Liz Fekete is published by Verso, price £14.99. Nicolas Lalaguna is the author of A Most Uncivil War.

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