REVIEWSrnColonizing Europernby Michael WashburnrnRadical Right-Wing Populism inrnWestern Europernby Hans-Georg BetzrnNew York: St. Martin’s Press;rn226 pp., $18.95rnOver the past two decades, WesternrnEurope’s populist right has steadil’rnconsolidated its power. According tornProfessor Bctz, the issue that gahanizesrnsupporters of the populist parties isrnThird World immigration. Whether thernright-wing parties will ever muster thernpopular support thev need to win parliamentaryrnmajorities depends on how successfullyrnthe gocrnments of WesternrnEurope contend v’ith the deepening immigrationrncrisis.rnThese same governments deserve atrnleast some of the blame for the crisis.rnEacing a severe labor shortage, thevrnneglected to prosecute businessmen whornillegallv recruited workers in the ThirdrnWorld. Germany’s Federal Bureau ofrnLabor and France’s Office of NationalrnImmigration actixely recruited laborersrnin Morocco, Algeria, Korea, Turkey, andrnother Third Wodd countries, assistingrnthe workers in their journey to Europe.rnHundreds of thousands of poor non-rnWesterners poured into France, Germany,rnAustria, Ital-, Belgium, and otherrnEuropean countries in the late 1960’srnand early 70’s. Confronted with a suddenrnrise in the rates of violent crime andrnwelfare dependency, many Western Europeansrnbegan to question the soundnessrnof their governments’ policies.rnIhrncrved by rising popular resentmentrnover the unchecked influx of foreigners,rnthese governments tried tornsoothe voters and preserve the consensusrnthat kept them in power by sharply curbingrnthe recruitment of foreign labor byrnbusinesses based in Western Europe.rnBut it was too late. Thousands of thernAsians and Africans who had escaped tornEurope had left behind families eagerrnto find ways to rejoin their relatives.rnMany of them simply traveled to Spain,rnwhich had not bothered to reform itsrnimmigration laws, and then slipped intornthe countries where their relatives lived.rnThis, together with a burgeoning nonwhiternbirthrate and a surge in the numberrnof rapes and murders, led not surprisinglyrnto a right-wing backlash. Manyrnpolitical parties that had formedy beenrndevoted to a traditional conservativernagenda—lower taxes, fewer go’ernmentrnregulations, less fiscal incompetence—rnsought now to gain the support of disgruntledrnvoters by staking out an antiimmigrationrnposition.rnIn the 1970’s and eady 80’s, only somernparties ran regulady in national elections,rnand the performance of those partiesrnwas mixed. But in the late 80’s and earlyrn90’s, the populist right started to enjoyrnbroader support. The Freedom Party ofrnAustria won an astonishing 16.6 percentrnof the vote in Austria’s 1990 nationalrnelections. In Germany, 12 percent of allrnvoters in the 1992 Baden-Wurtembcrgrnelections cast their ballots for the Republicans.rnIn France, the National Frontrnwon an astonishing 12.3 percent of allrnvotes in the March 1993 elections to thernNational Assembly. Nead} one out ofrnten voters in Italy’s 1992 padiamentaryrnelections voted for the Lega Nord.rnWhile only the Lega Nord received lessrnthan 2 percent of all votes in the 1989rnEuropean elections, the National F’rontrnwon 11.8 percent, one of its greatestrnelectoral victories to date.rnIn response to the threat posed by thernfar right, Germany started rejecting largerrnnumbers of applications for asylum.rnItaly expelled masses of Albanians whornhad crossed the Adriatic on small boats.rnIn France, the government selectedrnGharles Pasqua, a man with staunchlvrnanti-immigrant views, for the post ofrnminister of the interior. Austria placedrnsoldiers along its border with Hungary,rnseeking to reduce the flow of refugeesrnfrom that eountr)-.rnThe populist parties would probablyrnenjoy even greater influence if journalistsrnand politicians refrained from smearingrnthem as racist and demagogic. Betz concedesrnthat apart from an occasional illadvisedrnremark—Jean-Marie Le Pen’srncomment that the gas chambers were arn”footnote to the history of Wodd WarrnTwo,” for example—the right wing hasrngenerally spurned hard-core bigotry. Despiternhis hostility to populist leaders likernJorg Haider and Le Pen, Betz admitsrnthat they are an altogether differentrnbreed from the skinheads who murderrnTurkish immigrants.rnIn spite of the left’s defense of immigrantsrnand attacks on populist leaders asrnracist and xenophobic, the populistrnmovement is gathering force in somerneountnes. In the Austrian padiamentarvrnelections last October, the FPO receivedrn23 percent of all votes, thereby gainingrn42 seats in padiament. Even the NewrnYork ‘limes conceded that the FPO isrnnow “the main opposition” to the People’srnParty-Social Democratic Partrncoalition that has dominated Austria’srnpadiament for the last eight years. In thernsame week a Vdaams Blok candidate wonrnan iirrpressive victory in Antwerp’s municipalrnelections, while several otherrnpartv candidates were elected to padiament.rnLast December, an overwhelmingrnmajority of voters in Switzedand approvedrna plan to grant vast powers to thernauthorities combatting illegal immigration.rnVoters in other countries are scarcelvrnless resolute in their hostility to the foreignrnpopulation or in their oppositionrnto liberal immigration policies. Accordingrnto an ISPES poll conducted in 1991,rnno fewer than 46 percent of French citizensrndesire a sharp reduction in thernnumber of immigrants in their eountr.rnApproximateK- one-fourth of Italiansrnblame foreigners for the increase in seriousrncrime—particulady drug-dealing. Inrnthe E.G., roughly 40 percent of all citizensrnoppose the extension of new rightsrnto foreigners, and almost 20 percent actuallyrnfavor stripping them of man- ofrnthe rights they alreadv possess.rnDespite the rising tide of antiforeignerrnsentiment, the immigrants have nornintention of going home when economicrnconditions in their countries start tornimproe. For nian-, returning homernwould be little short of suicidal. ThernTamil refugees in Germany, for instance,rnnarrowly escaped the mass slaughtersrnconducted by the Sri Lankan government.rnWhile the regime continues itsrnwar of extermination, the Tamils willrnquite understandably refuse to return tornSri Lanka. Although many of the immigrantsrnin Western Europe would notrnface any sort of persecution if they returnedrnto their nati’e lands, the generousrnhandouts proided by their hostrnFEBRUARY 1995/33rnrnrn