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“Solidarity is in the air”: Meet the bold, young women challenging Europe’s far right across borders

Saturday 25 May 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://mailchi.mp/opendemocracy/solidarity-is-in-the-air-meet-the-bold-young-women-challenging-europes-far-right-across-borders?e=955b1076cc

“Solidarity is in the air”:
Meet the bold, young women challenging Europe’s far right
across borders

Watch the film ’Solidarity is in the air’ on YouTube

“We must open our eyes and act before we find ourselves living in a fascist Europe”, Croatian feminist activist Marinella Matejčić told me.

We met in late March in front of an old, local church in Verona, Italy – the day after Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right Lega party, spoke at the World Congress of Families (WCF): an elite gathering of US, Russian and other ultra-conservative activists, aristocrats, and their political allies.

Nandini Archer travelled from London to Verona, to join a historic protest for women’s and LGBTIQ rights to counter the WCF. Claudia Torrisi describes how women crossed borders from Poland, Germany, Spain and elsewhere following a call for solidarity from the Italian feminist movement. Italiano.

An incubator for extremism

New openDemocracy research by Claire Provost and Nandini Archer released just before the WCF summit revealed an increasing number of attendees from several far-right parties looking to win big in the European Parliament elections. Italiano.

Italian neo-fascists Forza Nuova ‘seized the opportunity’ of the WCF to raise their profile in Verona, a city already welcoming to the most extreme right-wing groups, explains local feminist activist Giulia Siviero.

Meanwhile, Claire Provost went undercover inside the WCF meeting where she heard about their strategies to “out-breed the left” to help “make Europe great again”.

Adam Ramsay and Claire Provost revealed a Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right. They uncovered the ’extraordinary coordination’ between an anti-LGBT rights campaign group and far-right parties across Europe. Español.

Is your prosecco funding the far right? asks Adam Ramsay. Resistance to the WCF has come in other forms too. British restaurant critic and LGBT campaigners have slammed a Prosecco firm for sponsoring the WCF summit.

’Tracking the backlash’ ahead of the European elections

We recently revealed how Trump-linked US Christian ‘fundamentalists’ poured $50 million of ‘dark money’ into Europe, boosting the far right. MEPs have called for action as our analysis revealed ‘shocking’ flows of cash crossing the Atlantic to push ultra-conservative agendas. Italiano.

“Nobody should be in any doubt as to the insidious nature of these fundamentalist groups”
- MEP Alyn Smith in response to our findings.

We also reported on leaked proposals from a senior Irish politician, revealing a controversial plan to boost the religious lobby in Brussels, raising the stakes in European elections, as the far right pledges to fight for ‘Christian Europe’.

Both Steve Bannon and Matteo Salvini have been at the helm of grand plans to unite the right across Europe ahead of the European Parliament’s elections. We show how Pope Francis became a hate figure for the far right, as Bannon’s anti-immigrant populism joins forces with Catholic extremists who say a “gay plague” has infected the Vatican.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Europeans have been ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants in basic ways. Elderly women, priests and firefighters among those arrested, charged or ‘harassed’ by police for supporting migrants, with numbers soaring in the past 18 months. These numbers are likely to rise further if the far right makes the big European election wins that they want.