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Book review Timely warning of the growing far-right danger in Europe

Europe's Fault Lines: Racism and the Far Right
by Liz Fekete
(Verso, £14.99)

IN EUROPE'S Fault Lines, Liz Fekete has not only written an excellent study of how racism is once again being normalised but how, in turn, it is acting as cloak under which fascism is resurgent.

There can't be many with the same level of expertise Fekete has on this issue. Director of the Institute of Race Relations, where she's worked for three decades, she's head of its European research programme and her extensive knowledge and informed insights on this growing threat demand close 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, one prone to knee-jerk oversimplifications, an educative, engaging and thought-provoking read.

One of the most ominous trends the author identifies is the normalisation of the politics of the extreme right in our everyday lives. Many of those who try 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.

In their role as magician's assistant, they demand we blame anyone other than their paymasters.

As history has shown us, to paraphrase Burke, 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 also takes the rest of us to refuse to learn from our shared past and the sacrifices of those that have gone before us. That’s what makes this book such a timely and much-needed warning.

Nicolas Lalaguna is the author of A Most Uncivil War.


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