There is a political crisis in Israel—particularly for Palestinians, minorities and anyone who believes in secular democracy. But US press coverage has had trouble recognizing that the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu is anything other than business as usual. The recent Israeli elections thrust Netanyahu back into power and the prime ministry (Reuters, 12/28/22), prompting major protests that called his new government a “coup d’etat” and urged a “preventative strike against dictatorship” (Jerusalem Post, 1/7/23; i24, 1/8/23). Middle East observers are alarmed, not just at Netanyahu’s own military hawkishness, but the fact that his ruling coalition includes religious and nationalist fringe elements, including followers of the late Meir Kahane, who advocated for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel (New York Times, 11/6/90). While Israeli politics have been on a rightward trajectory for two decades, the most recent election has put the country into a dark zone of outright illiberalism that almost seems irreversible.
Right wing extremism
Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in her first public appearance after her conviction earlier this month, spoke at the inauguration of the Diego Armando Maradona multi-sport gymnasium in the municipality of Avellaneda, a suburb of Buenos Aires, on Tuesday, December 27. Speaking alongside her main allies within the ruling coalition, the Frente de Todos (Front of All, FdT), Kirchner criticized the press, the economic elite, and the Argentine judiciary for promoting a “parallel state.” Kirchner was sentenced to six years in prison and barred from contesting for life on December 6. The so-called ‘Causa Vialidad’ case against her and 12 others is considered to be another case of political-judicial persecution against progressive leaders in Latin America.
Argentina’s notoriously corrupt and deeply politicized judicial system set off an international scandal on December 6, sentencing left-wing former President and current Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to six years in prison and banning her from future office based on highly dubious charges. Prominent leaders across Latin America denounced the ruling as a “judicial coup.” It is eerily similar to the fraudulent case that led to the imprisonment of Brazil’s left-wing former President Lula da Silva in the lead-up to the 2018 elections, which the United Nations Human Rights Committee later denounced as an illegal show trial that lacked due process and violated his rights. Leaked messages, photos, and videos show that corrupt Argentine prosecutors involved in the case conspired with right-wing opposition politicians, conservative media corporations, and former intelligence officers to wage lawfare (judicial warfare) against Kirchner and her progressive movement.
Since October 20, the conservative opposition sectors in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department have been organizing different protest actions against progressive President Luis Arce and the government of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party. Their primary demand is that the Population and Housing Census be carried out in the first semester of 2023 and not in 2024. Since their protests began, the national government has been repeatedly calling on them to engage in dialogue. Nevertheless, the sectors have been rejecting all attempts of negotiation and insisting that the national government submit to their technically impossible demand. The far-right opposition leader and governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, the president of the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee, Rómulo Calvo, and the rector of the Autonomous University Gabriel René Moreno (UAGRM), Vicente Cuéllar, called for an indefinite strike in the department to force the government to give in to their demand.
As millions of Brazilians celebrated the return of Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva to the presidency on Sunday, October 30, supporters of outgoing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro began blocking roads across the country in the latest attempt to undermine the historic election. The actions caused major disruptions throughout Monday, ultimately forcing the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to intervene. Lula, of the Workers’ Party (PT), emerged victorious securing 50.9% of the votes against Bolsonaro’s 49.1% share. However, the far-right incumbent refused to officially concede defeat, canceled a press statement and isolated himself in the presidential palace, even as major allies accepted the election result.
The president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Minister Edson Fachin, declared that during this year’s presidential election, Brazil may have a more serious attack than the January 6, 2021, invasion of the Capitol in the United States. “We may have an even more aggressive episode than January 6 from here on Capitol Hill. We understand that there are six fundamental conditions to prevent this from happening in Brazil,” said Fachin, during a discussion at the Wilson Center in Washington DC on Wednesday, July 6.
The celebration of Pride month in June is in tribute to the Stonewall Rebellion which went on for three days, beginning on the night of June 28, 1969. This rebellion took place at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York City, which was and still is a gathering spot for LGBTQ people. At the time of Stonewall, being a member of working-class LGBTQ community in NYC was an act of courage; same-sex love was illegal in every state except Illinois, and police enforced laws mandating three pieces of “gender-appropriate” clothing. NYC Police raided LGBTQ bars constantly. In June 1969 alone, the NYPD raided 5 popular gay bars, 3 were shut down for good. It was during such a raid that the LGBTQ patrons of Stonewall began to physically fight back against police, sparking a nationwide LGBTQ liberation movement and a day of rebellion that is still celebrated today.
Boulder, Colorado – On June 4, 2022, an evangelical event series called Let Us Worship kicked off their summer tour in the plains of Northern Colorado along the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. As their worshiping began outside of Vinelife Church, dozens of protesters marched along the west side of a barbed wire fence separating the church’s property from public land. They got as close to the stage as possible where Sean Feucht, the organization’s founder, was performing music and stirring up his audience, to disrupt the event and the organization’s agenda of spreading Christian Nationalist ideologies. For two hours, the queer, antifascist, and pro-abortion activists used silly string, pots and pans, bucket drums, whistles, megaphones, chants, banners and signs, and a sound system.
On social media, Richard Whitehead is a warrior for the American right. He has praised extremist groups. He has called for public executions of government officials he sees as disloyal to former President Donald Trump. In a post in 2020, he urged law enforcement officers to disobey COVID-19 public-health orders from “tyrannical governors,” adding: “We are on the brink of civil war.” Whitehead also has a day job. He trains police officers around the United States. The Idaho-based law enforcement consultant has taught at least 560 police officers and other public safety workers in 85 sessions in 12 states over the past four years, according to a Reuters analysis of public records from the departments that hired him.
It is apparent from this that there is recognition at the level of the UN and US official sources that neo-Nazi trends are increasing worldwide and more specifically in the USA and Europe. Secondly, that these forces have also succeeded in some countries to increase their impact (and capacity for harm) by infiltrating police and intelligence/security agencies. Thirdly, these neo-Nazi trends are now also seen in mainstream political debates. In addition these forces are establishing wider linkages cutting across national boundaries. Lastly, there is clear need for international cooperation for countering this increasing danger and its increasing capacity to infiltrate national security as well as cut across national boundaries.
Rittenhouse, 17 at the time of the shootings, had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois to join a far-right “patriot” vigilante militia calling itself the “Kenosha Guard,” which had been mobilized to “defend property” and assist the police with crushing the protests that had erupted two days earlier following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range in front of his children, leaving him paralyzed. The Kenosha shootings occurred in the midst of the reverberations of the largest demonstrations in American history, during which an estimated 15 to 26 million people took to the streets following the murder of George Floyd to protest the epidemic of police killings and official cover-ups.
On Wednesday, 8 September, party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s ruling political party, attacked three buildings in the Melarmath area of Agartala (Tripura). These attacks targeted the offices of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the communist newspaper Daily Deshar Katha, and two private media houses Pratibadi Kalam and PN-24. The violence took place in broad daylight as the police stood by and watched. Across Tripura, fifty-four other offices of the communists were attacked. The Communist Party – CPI(M) – and the media houses had been critical of the BJP-led state government. The CPI(M) and other organisations took to the streets to protest a range of policies; these protests have drawn considerable support from the population.
The far-right leader did not achieve the tide in his favor that he himself expected to gather to commemorate Independence Day. However, the center of Brasilia, and especially Sao Paulo (125,000 demonstrators), were filled with fervent followers dressed in green and yellow, the national colors. "Despite his isolation, the president has shown that he is still capable of mobilizing a noisy minority," wrote journalist Bernardo Mello Franco in the daily O Globo. The marches saw a heterogeneous mix of far-right activists, pro-gun supporters, evangelicals, bikers, conspiracy and anti-vaccine activists. The fact that the protesters were non-violent and did not invade the Supreme Court or Congress as feared, in a Brazilian version of the January assault on the Capitol in Washington, came as a relief.
Since the rise of the internet, and especially since the diffusion of the internet through all parts of everyday life, the far right has scattered, diversified and stuck itself back together. The internet has facilitated these tendencies, filtering and contorting familiar forms of activity and ideology, and pushed far-right groups to adapt, causing the decline of some formations and the break-up of others. Despite the lack of formal mass organizations, the far right has not gone away — instead it has produced new configurations of tactics, priorities and goals.