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Re: <nettime> alex van der bellen wins austrian presidentials!!!
Felix Stalder on Tue, 24 May 2016 17:46:33 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> alex van der bellen wins austrian presidentials!!!

On 2016-05-23 16:35, Alex Foti wrote:
>    european xenophobia defeated again after fn was beaten in france
>    plus the winner's a green;)

It was an amazing moment, yesterday afternoon. Public life screeched to
halt, everyone was glued to their TV sets, computers, mobile phones. All
major newspaper websites were down due to traffic overload while the
public broadcaster was showing a Bavarian soap opera from the 1980s as
the announcement of the final results was delayed, and delayed again,
for close to an hour. The situation veered between comically grotesque
and conspiratorial, until the tension was released into many spontaneous

It was once again a collective effort lead by civil society to defeat
the far-right. Political parties, other than the directly-involved
Greens and the FPÖ, were notably absent, and the main effort of
mobilization and carried out by lots of local initiatives, social media
campaigns and so on.

So, the post-war, anti-fascist consensus still holds, but barely, and
seen as a historical tendency, the picture is not pretty. The far-fight
in Austria is openly far-right, very close to Orban with everything you
can imagine, including questioning borders established after World War
One (South Tyrolia) or not supporting the celebration of May 8, as the
end of World War Two (for the far-right, the "tragic events" ended only
in 1955, when allied forces withdrew from Austria).

The demographics of the elections where also very interesting. Cities
voted center-left, country-side voted far-right, even though all the
problems that the far-right is feeding on, are city-centered. Men
without a high-school degree (Matura) voted overwhelmingly far-right,
while women the same educational level were about evenly split. Men and
women with higher education voted overwhelmingly center-left.

I think there are multiple developments coming together. First, there
are entire groups that see themselves as losers of an ongoing, historic
transformation. Mainly male, white lower middle class, who see both
their economic and their social status slip, vis-a-vis, in particular,

Then, there is a second, more amorphous group which is probably not
far-right, per se, but so disaffected by the current state of
politics that they becoming increasingly willing to take the
sledge-hammer to the political institutions. And only one willing to
swing this hammer is the far-right. It was really sad to see how the
far-right came out against TTIP, while the center-left, not only had to
abandon its previous tactic agreement, but was dragging its feet to do
so, even though it was clear that this would be a popular position.

This, it seems, is a very similar mixture of what is fueling Donald
Trump in the US.

So, the vote, in my view, was one last vote of confidence for the
political institutions's ability to reform themselves. This was helped
by the fact that the previous chancellor, widely seen as the
personification of stasis, had resigned the previous week. The Green
candidate was very adamant that the refugee crises (and many others)
needed an "European solutions" and the majority still agrees, even
though none is forthcoming and nobody can even sketch a credible plan
for one.

If the European level cannot get their act together, then the rise of
the far-right will continue. And in Austria, they stand at 49,7%.



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