Monday, November 05, 2007

Pim Fortuyn: “Then and now, are two incomparable realities.”

Christine posted this at the CVF blog earlier today. I’ve revised it slightly for the Gates of Vienna context.


In the ongoing and robust debate over whether European right-wing political parties who oppose Islamisation have a right to meet with writers and activists who also oppose Islamisation, a well-read U.S. blog has suggested that the assassinated anti-Islamist Dutch political leader Pim Fortuyn disapproved of the anti-Islamist Flemish Vlaams Belang leader Filip Dewinter.

The translated quote from Fortuyn:

“Those men say unacceptable things. Dewinter is a fascist. I’m a civilized man. You won’t hear me say: ‘own people first.’ And am I not much more sympathetic than Dewinter?”

The reference to “own people first” refers to the motto of the predecessor political party of the current Vlaams Belang, known as the Vlaams Blok, which was active in the movement for Flemish independence from Belgium. The “people” referred to there are the Flemish. The motto also has some reference to the ongoing debate in Belgium about its completely open immigration policies, a debate that occurs across Europe. In Denmark, France, and in the last week, Italy, policies similar to those proposed by Vlaams Belang on immigration are now mainstream policy.

Fortuyn’s positions on Dewinter may have been that he was a fascist — we would recommend reading Dewinter’s interviews and publications here, to make up your own mind. But he clearly had other views as well about Dewinter’s political party, which provide some context (as supplied by the commenter Cincinnatus here, who also provided the translation):

As an aside (not trying to detract from this article), there is currently some debate about Pim Fortuyn’s view of the Vlaams Blok. The following excerpt of his own words show that he did not liken Vlaams Blok to any fascist legacy:

Excerpt:
- - - - - - - - -
Q: Aren’t you glad that Wallage (a politician) is addressing your theme?
 
A: Listen, it’s much too late. For years he denounced Bolkenstein (a Dutch party leader who first raised concerns about immigration in the 1990’s), when Bolkenstein was trying to put these matters into discussion. And his method was quite vile. He’d go on and on about the Second World War. Also, Kok (a politician) does the same. Always telling us about yet another new monument, a stone monument, that he has opened. And on it is inscribed the counts of the murdered Jews and the murdered Gypsies. So, yet another monument. Holland has gone mad.
 
Q: Why do you say Holland has gone mad?
 
A: That everything has to be meticulously detailed out. Give us a break! Holland is full of monuments to the Second World War. And then Kok endlessly goes from today back to then, and the checkered past, and Nazism. I find it entirely invalid to liken these (i.e., the past and present). It just poisons the whole topic (of immigrant issues). I also think the way that Kok describes Haider’s (Austrian politician) views is scandalous. Haider is not a Nazi. And if he is, then he’s no different than many in the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties. Sure, (Haider’s party) have a problem with their checkered past, but all the parties do. And who gave shelter to all the “war criminals” after the war? That was the Allied coalition, and not Haider. So what is Kok on about? Also, it’s not valid to talk about the Vlaams Blok in that way, either. It is senseless to be endlessly milking this Hitler thing. Then and now, are two incomparable realities.

5 comments:

Homophobic said...

Comparing immigration restriction to Nazism is a form of holocaust denial.

Also, "Dewinter is a fascist. I’m a civilized man. You won’t hear me say: ‘own people first.’"

Which just goes to show that people don't think too deeply about what they actually mean or say. They just recklessly toss about fuzzy concepts and emotional symbols for the purposes of gaining other peoples agreement, not in establishing what may be true of false.

"own people first"

Why is that fascist anyway? Lets say: In the Belgium state, Belgiums come first.. We don't want immigration, we pay for it in social security, we pay for it in the decline of quality of life. We don't want them here. We don't need them, they don't need us. Why is that such a big deal? It really isn't that important in the great cosmic scheme of things. And why is that somehow comparable to a program of genocide? Which brings me back to my original point: people don't think too deeply about what they actually mean or say. They just recklessly toss about fuzzy concepts and emotional symbols for the purposes of gaining other peoples agreement, not in establishing what may be true of false.

Darrin Hodges said...

“Those men say unacceptable things. Dewinter is a fascist. I’m a civilized man. You won’t hear me say: ‘own people first.’ And am I not much more sympathetic than Dewinter?

No disrespect intended, but this is just political speak, which I would translate as "vote for me, I'm not as bad as the other guy!".

Nyog of the Bog said...

Fascism -that bogus political theory, born of the irrational, upon which, after the fact, was grafted, a flimsy rationale of pseudo-science, Hegelian philosophy, and Spencerian Social Darwinism, a kind of 19th Century "New Age" mysticism if you will, dreamed up by Continental Victorian crack-pots obsessed with orientalism. At its root, was the quintessentially romantic notion that a collective will of some select and magical race might be manifest in one cosmic leader to whom an absolute and mindless obedience by that collective, would be implicit in a quest for Empire.

Well, thats my definition. Whats yours?

The word itself, as we've been told, derives from the Latin "fasces", for the power symbols to be waved by big-wigs of Rome in the "good ole days". This later becomes "fascio" in Italian signifying some kind of union.

Here's a quote from Orwell I've purloined from Wikipedia:

"...the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’."

No doubt this quote has already been visited in the broader discourse of this unfortunate and sadly, unnecessary controversy and will be, before its all over, more than one time, again.

Henrik said...

""own people first""

"Why is that fascist anyway?"

It isn't. It's nationalist.

People framing that as 'fascism' I'd suspect of having a hidden demagogical agenda. Noone brings heavy charges like that without a reason.

Pim was a great man, but not everything he said was Pure Revealed Truth.

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

@nyogoftheblog,

I love that Orwell quote...I've heard that term used applied as liberally as he has, apparently!

What many don't realize is that when they think Fascism, they think Hitler (vs. say, Mussolini). But Hitler was predominately Socialist in his governmental actions.

So why does the term Socialist not result in the same fear?

Because of the view of Hitler as a purely far-right phenomenon.

Intentional? I think so.