Pim Fortuyn, the late leader of the opposition to mass immigration in the Netherlands, is dead from an assassin's bullets, but his soul has suddenly started marching through Europe's corridors of power.
All over the continent, after anti-immigration and anti-establishment political parties performed well in elections last month, actual governments, never noted for wanting to limit immigration at all, are slamming doors and sending unwanted aliens home.
The most notable reversal comes in Great Britain, where Tony Blair, who loudly brayed denunciations of French anti-immigration leader Jean Marie Le Pen this spring, is quietly considering the use of massive military force to reduce immigration into his own country.
As a document prepared by the Home Office for the prime minister and promptly leaked to the Guardian newspaper says, in order to reduce the number of immigrants coming to Britain, monitor those already there and rid the country of those denied refugee status. And, "the full resources of the Royal Navy and the RAF [Royal Air Force] may be deployed alongside immigration officers and the police," the Washington Times reports.
Mr. Blair, who has always been militantly pro-immigration, couldn't possibly be influenced by politics, could he? The fact is that not only did Mr. Le Pen smash apart the socialist-conservative coalition that governed France last April, but Mr. Fortuyn's party, even after his murder, won some 26 seats in the Dutch legislature. More to the point for Mr. Blair, the British National Party, a small party of the far right that is strongly anti-immigration, for the first time won three local council seats. That, to coin a phrase, has rather set the cat amongst the Labor (and indeed Tory) pigeons in Westminster.
Mr. Blair's government claims the leaked document is merely "an options paper" and not settled policy, but the fact that the left-wing Laborites are actually considering such "options" as drastically reducing immigration and using the armed forces to do it is almost revolutionary. Nor are they the only government to do so.
In Denmark, which, as the London Daily Telegraph reports, "prided itself as an immigrants' haven ... [the government] dumped its liberal asylum policies in favour of a law designed to prevent all but a few foreigners from settling there." What is called the "new policy for foreigners" was worked out between the ruling establishment conservative party and the rebel anti-immigration Danish People's Party.
And in the higher circles of power in the European Union, the grand munchkins and poobahs themselves are starting to sweat. "All over Europe," one EU official whined to the Washington Times, "there is a danger that populist movements in European countries will exploit the enlargement [of the Union] as an attractive target to attack European integration in coming elections."
As citizens of prospective EU member-states see European jobs going to cheaper non-European immigrant labor, they may decide that "integration" is not such a utopia after all.
Sept. 11 may have frightened many Europeans into pulling back the welcome mat for immigrants they've laid out in recent years, but it's the grassroots political forces that are really pushing the change. Anti-immigration populism continues to swell all over the continent—in Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Switzerland, Austria, Italy and the Scandinavian countries.
What is happening in Europe is, quite simply, a radical redrawing of the political map, a realignment of political forces.
On one side stand the old, exhausted parties of "left" and "right," representing virtually no one save special interests in bureaucracies and corporations and pushing "European integration" and massive immigration that destroys Europe itself.
On the other side are the new parties that often combine elements of the left and right and stand brazenly for the rights, independence and security of their own nations and peoples.
"Socially I am to the left," Mr. Le Pen said during the recent campaign. "Economically I am to the right. Nationally, more than ever, I am for France."
Mr. Fortuyn, an open homosexual and a former Marxist intellectual, made similar remarks in an interview with Newsweek shortly before his death—"In my program there are elements of left or right," and to the question, "Where does your political support come from," he replied, "Everywhere. Upper class, middle class, lower class. People want change and they are not getting it from the political establishment. They love their country and they don't want to lose it."
What's happening in European politics shows what grassroots activism can accomplish, and American critics of mass immigration need to study it closely.
The "options" for immigration control the Eurocrats are considering may only undercut their populist rivals, but if some of them are really adopted, they might still preserve the real Europe from the Third World flood that threatens it.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
June 06, 2002