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Author Topic: Does being for less immigration mean a party is inherently right-wing?  (Read 2040 times)
rob in cal
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« on: October 12, 2012, 05:22:25 pm »
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   The politics of immigration, both in the US and elsewhere is, for me anyway, endlessly fascinating.  I love how big business and the left are united on this one issue.  What I've noticed is that whenever a candidate or a party proposes a big reduction in existing legal immigration that party or candidate is usually identified as right wing, even if the rest of the politics about that party or candidate isn't inherently right wing.
    I think Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands and his party is a great case.  He was against immigration of Moslems into the Netherlands because he felt they were a threat to the continued existence of a socially liberal society, IIRC. 
    Bill Clinton tapped liberal Democrat Barbara Jordan to chair a study on the overall impact of immigration into the US, back in the 90's, and the commission ended up calling for less immigration, though in that case I don't believe Jordan was labeled right wing.
    If an otherwise liberal Democrat came out for less immigration would they still be a liberal Democrat?
    In Europe it seems like a lot of the less immigration parties, like the Progress and Peoples parties in Norway and Denmark are called right-wing, even though the rest of their platforms don't seem very right wing.  Perhaps it is a matter of style, in that the British Conservatives have called for very significant immigration reductions (not sure that its happened since Cameron has become PM though), without the Tories being labelled an imminent threat to freedom and democracy.
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Leftbehind
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 10:09:36 pm »
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Sorry, but they're some of the worst examples to make the point imaginable. The Progress & People's parties are blatantly right-wing, with opposition to immigration just one facet of that platform, and the idea that Fortuyn or his predecessors are serious about protecting social liberalism from an influx of reactionary muslims is pretty laughable, and evidently just a smoke-screen to allow them to cloak their bigotry in a more palatable/respectable concern.

For my part, I don't regard those arguing for less immigration as inherently right-wing; it all depends on the context and the reasoning  - overstretched services, flooding labour market causing downward pressure on wages/workers' power are something we've seen in Britain, and the free movement of labour helps the capitalists enormously. Although, I'd want to be convinced they were internationalists before supporting them.
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2012, 02:58:17 am »
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The Progress Party in Norway is clearly a right-wing party, no question about it. The Peoples' Party in Denmark, on the other hand, is not on issues other than immigration.

Since Fortuyn ran around with his black boyfriend I'd say his liberal stance was probably pretty genuine. Since his death that's probably not the case though.
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politicus
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2012, 06:39:38 am »
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In Denmark the Progress Party is clearly a Libertarian party, whereas the Danish Peoples Party (not the Peoples Party..) is a centrist party on economics and welfare. But conservative on law and order issues, church/state relationship and environmental issues.
I think all European anti-immigration parties are conservative on law and order issues, euro-sceptics and pro the "established order"on cultural issues. In that sense they are conservative. But not necessarily on economics, since they often have a working class constituency.
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freefair
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 11:46:54 am »
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Nope. Most working class UK Labour voters I know from the urban West Midlands are for tough immigration rules, againts the EU, and harsh ponishment for violent crime, but socialist on economic policy and not racist or homphobic. It could best be described as "sovereign socialism" or in the US "National Liberalism".
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2012, 02:08:02 pm »
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The answer is no, through the parties you mention shot over the table. But an example of a left-wing xenophobic party was the Danish party "Fælles Kurs/Common Course", a socialist party which was in the Danish parliament in the 80ties, which embraced hostility toward immigration and immigrants.

But xenophobic parties do tend to be conservative (in the real ideological meaning of the word), a important reason for this, is that it's much harder for socialists and liberals to be ideological coherent and embrace anti-immigration policies. Conservatives on the other hand can easily embrace many of the more left policies of populists and be ideology coherent. Conservatism has always had a communitaristic streak, which easily can be expanded into economic policies.

As for the idea that Danish People Party not being right wing, it's a common theory among embarassed right wingers, but they have supported neoliberal policies, tax cuts and removal of labour rights, so yes they are right wing. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 04:21:15 pm »
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As for the idea that Danish People Party not being right wing, it's a common theory among embarassed right wingers, but they have supported neoliberal policies, tax cuts and removal of labour rights, so yes they are right wing. 

To call DPP a right winged economic party only really makes sense if you think that all other parties, except the Red-Green Alliance, are right winged as well. And while that's a legitimate view it does make little room for looking at the differences in economic policies that exist between those parties.

DPP's economic policies are broadly social democratic. They will support more liberal economic policies when they are in power due to the parliamentary situation in much the same way as the SD and SPP now support more liberal economic policies due to the parliamentary situation. The tax reforms are good examples; when the DPP was in power and agreed on fairly liberal tax reforms, the SD and SPP criticised them for being unfair and favouring the rich, and now when the SD and SPP are in power and makes a fairly liberal tax reform, the DPP criticised it for being unfair and favouring the rich.
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2012, 11:12:47 pm »
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No. There are plenty of racist/xenophobic parties on the Left - the best example being the Bloc Quebecois/Parti Quebecoise. One could also make the argument that the PVV is a left-leaning party, though that's a little iffy. But one could make that argument.

The DPP is also the leftist party in Taiwan and by far, the most xenophobic/chauvinistic as well as dismissive of even the native aboriginals. And the Korean Left has historically always been much more racist/xenophobic than the Korean Right. If anything, the Korean left is probably the most xenophobic left-wing movement in the developed world.

Though it is true that most anti-immigration parties are on the right, at least in the West.
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2012, 04:28:54 pm »
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In Australia, the ALP were arguably more racist than the Liberals before the 60's. So no.
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Armand Duval
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2012, 04:44:59 pm »
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I'm sorry but xenophobia is one of the things that kind of dismisses you as left-wing. Left-wing is not just on economy, left-wing is a package on all topics. As for reducing immigration, it can be advocated without xenophobic stances, so it's a bit so-so. But if you're willing to apply the exact same law on all issues to immigrants as well as national citizens, there is no argument to reduce immigration. I mean when you say it causes downward pressure on wages, you just have to apply the same wage-laws to every one and that's not an issue anymore.

Those who want less immigration are typically those who fear for their "identity" whatever the hell that can be. So broadly speaking, yes they are right-wing.
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2012, 05:47:24 pm »
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I'm sorry but xenophobia is one of the things that kind of dismisses you as left-wing. Left-wing is not just on economy, left-wing is a package on all topics. As for reducing immigration, it can be advocated without xenophobic stances, so it's a bit so-so. But if you're willing to apply the exact same law on all issues to immigrants as well as national citizens, there is no argument to reduce immigration. I mean when you say it causes downward pressure on wages, you just have to apply the same wage-laws to every one and that's not an issue anymore.

Those who want less immigration are typically those who fear for their "identity" whatever the hell that can be. So broadly speaking, yes they are right-wing.

Bullsh**t, the supporters of parties like the BNP are lefties to to the core. They are anti market, pro union, and pro welfare state and arguably better social democrats than labour. Furthermore, the economic spectrum is accepted almost everywhere as the divider between "right" and "left". Unless you are willing to call libertarians "left" your argument falls short.
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2012, 07:01:10 pm »
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If for instance the PVV in the Netherlands support some left-wing policies on economy, that doesn't make them left-wing because they are a fkcing pre-fascist far-right wing party on virtually any other issue. Nothing else. Economy doesn't make it all.
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2012, 07:13:48 pm »
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Precisely my point. Many sources in the 1930's sources viewed the National Socialists and Fascists as members of the left. Anti communist members of the left, but leftists nonetheless. As opposed to "far-right" parties like the DNVP which were monarchist, hierarchical.

To put it in terms of Dutch politics, it appears that PVV has more in common with Labour or SP than they do with right wing parties like the CDA, VVD, or Christian Union. I'd certainly grant that there are a lot of right wing, anti-immigrant parties out there like UKIP or some Republicans, but it is certainly not a left/right issue in the sense that taxes or universal health care is.

I'd compare immigration to foreign policy where both left and right are split. There are old right republicans and libertarians that are doves and hawkish neocons. Likewise pacifists and Joe Lieberman both vote democrat. In each case the issue is split, unlike most social and economic issues that divide left and right more cleanly.
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 08:09:13 pm »
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Not this sh!t again. One of these days this kind of drivel will actually drive me to commit a violent act. But not tonight. Instead...

Urgh, not this sh!t again. I can't be bothered to write anything new, so I'll just use a search function to find some old posts on the subject:

Given what happend to actual Socialists under the Nazi regime (here's a random example), I do find the interwebs-tendency to scream that Hitler-Was-A-Socialist to be in astonishingly bad taste.

Oh for God's sake. No.

This issue seems to be raised on the forum a couple of times every year and I'm now tired of bothering to refute it in any detail, so I'll just note a couple of points:

1. No credible historian of the twentieth century believes that the Nazi regime in general or Hitler in particular were 'left-wing' in any respect. This includes some rather right-wing economic historians who specialise in aspects of Nazi economic policy, so this is not an example of a notoriously lefty profession closing ranks.

2. Nazi economic policy was geared entirely towards rearmament (which was achieved via an extraordinarily complicated form of fraud) and not towards any remotely left-wing (however defined) objective. Contrary to what is frequently asserted, the standard of living for the working class in Germany actually declined during the pre-war Nazi period as wages were kept under tight control by means of... well... authoritarian rule.

3. German industrialists (most of them) did remarkably well out of the Nazi regime and this was intentional (more so, in some ways, than in contemporary economies). The examples of Krupp and IG Farben are well known, but they were merely extreme examples of a more general pattern. The close relationship between capital and the regime was good for both of them; as profits soared, so did corporate contributions to the Nazi Party (why, yes. This was a rather corrupt regime).

4. A Trade Union controlled by the government is not a Trade Union.

Fundamentally, you can only argue that 'Hitler was economically left wing' if you define 'economically left wing' as 'prepared to intervene in the economy in order to make it grow'. Which is absurd.

Nazi underlying ideology = virulent nationalism/militarism, an especially nasty take on popular racial theories, anti-semitism (part of the former but enough of an issue, obviously, to deserve a mention on its own) and anti-socialism, combined with weird fetishes regarding leaders, action, and so on. Everything else was window dressing or a cynical attempt to win support (both electorally and in terms of powerful individuals and interest groups). If you think Hitler or any other leading Nazi gave a sh!t about whatever drivel the party adopted as its platform in its early years, then you should probably avoid further comment on the issue. Because there is just a little bit of a consensus over this.

Arguing that state intervention in the economy = Socialism isn't very clever. It means that you have to (for example) count all mainstream political parties and institutions in Europe between about 1945 (1940 or so in the case of Britain) and about 1973 or so as Socialist. Even more absurdly, it means that you have to count all European states before the rise of laissez faire as Socialist. And I think that would be a step into lunacy too far even for you.

Now, the sad thing about the internets is that these arguments are so common that you can just...

And it's worth noting how pro-business the Nazi regime was in reality. Somewhere, deep within my pile of box files, I've a little chart comparing donations to the NSDAP from IG Farben (a company critical to the implementation of the Final Solution, as it happens) with IG Farben's profits. I will eventually find it and post it here - makes for interesting reading.

Because the Nazis = Socialist canard isn't worth wasting much time dismissing. No one (no one honest anyway) with a basic knowledge of early 20th century German history takes it seriously.

(for the record, IG Farben was a German chemical giant, the largest company in Europe (some of the time), a major financial donor to the Nazi regime (and as the companies profits went up, so did donations), a major user of slave labour and the manufacturer of Zyklon B. It was broken up (more or less) by the Allies at the end of the War. Krupp is another well-known example of a big company doing well out of the Nazis).

I mean, there's more but I can't be bothered to dig it up right now.

But I repeat my comment about bad taste.

Conclusion: fyck off and read a few books on the subject.

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If you don't understand that 'the Left' in Weimar Germany meant 'the two 'Marxist' parties (the SPD and the KPD), their subcultures (which were, especially in the case of the SPD, astonishingly well-developed. During the early years of the Depression the SPD actually ran alternative welfare systems in some of their strongholds such as Leipzig, to say nothing of all the clubs and societies. Even funerals, at least early on) and the 'Marxist' trade unions, and that the Nazi party explicitly defined itself against these parties, subcultures and trade unions, then you have no business expecting your opinions on Nazism to be taken at all seriously by anyone with more than a basic grasp of the subject.

This deep hostility to the Left was also reflected in Nazi policies when they took power. The SPD, the KPD and the unions were persecuted relentlessly, many of their leading members were imprisoned in camps and many were eventually murdered. Meanwhile, Nazi economic policies actually resulted in a decline in working class wages and living standards, workers had effectively no rights, and various large industrial concerns did extremely well out of the Nazis. IG Farben is the poster boy of the mutually beneficial relationship between Party and Business (literally; as their profits swelled, so to did donations to the NSDAP... and government contracts), but there were others.

Arguing that the Nazis were 'left-wing' is about as wrong as you can be about German history during the period once Holocaust denial is ruled out of bounds.

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The thing is, and this is why I hate these threads, no credible historian of this period thinks that the Nazis were anything other than on the extreme right. Not one. Hardly anyone at the time thought the Nazis were anything other than on the extreme right.

http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=125566.0
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DC Al Fine
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2012, 08:47:14 pm »
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Comrade Sibboleth, would you mind posting or PM'ing me some of those right wing economic historians who think the Nazi's were economic right wingers? A quick google search just garnered me the von Mises institute talking about how much of a raging socialist Hitler was.

The issue of whether the Nazis were left or right is irrelevant to my original point; immigration does not produce a clean left-right split like other issues.
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2012, 08:48:13 pm »
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Not necessarily.
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2012, 09:23:14 pm »
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Comrade Sibboleth, would you mind posting or PM'ing me some of those right wing economic historians who think the Nazi's were economic right wingers? A quick google search just garnered me the von Mises institute talking about how much of a raging socialist Hitler was.


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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2012, 11:07:11 pm »
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A certain moron in this thread makes me ashamed to be Canadian, again.
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Armand Duval
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2012, 08:48:55 am »
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What Sibboleth said. Xenophobia is a right-wing value. Openness and internationalism are left-wing values. Period.
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2012, 09:58:21 am »
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one thing that has yet to be mentioned is the historical position of trade unions -- very xenophobic verging into outright racism, for obvious and even defensible reasons.
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politicus
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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2012, 11:02:30 am »
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What Sibboleth said. Xenophobia is a right-wing value. Openness and internationalism are left-wing values. Period.

1. Openness and internationalism are liberal/libertarian values as well, and socialists can be nationalist (most third world/ex colony socialists are).

2. You don't have to be xenophobic to be anti-immigration. There are plenty of economic and environmental reasons to be against mass immigration.

3. It doesn't make much sense to define right and left in other terms than socioeconomic ones.
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2012, 05:52:35 pm »
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What Sibboleth said. Xenophobia is a right-wing value. Openness and internationalism are left-wing values. Period.

1. Openness and internationalism are liberal/libertarian values as well, and socialists can be nationalist (most third world/ex colony socialists are).

2. You don't have to be xenophobic to be anti-immigration. There are plenty of economic and environmental reasons to be against mass immigration.

3. It doesn't make much sense to define right and left in other terms than socioeconomic ones.

#2 is especially relevant. You should hear what members of the Parti Quebecois think of anglophone migrants to "their" province.
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2012, 12:29:31 pm »
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What Sibboleth said. Xenophobia is a right-wing value. Openness and internationalism are left-wing values. Period.
What a pratty thing to say. I suppose David Laws, Ken Clarke and Gary Johnson are ultra nationalist freaks by your definition. I'd also guess Stalin was a soppy peacenik.
There are millions of patriotic, eurosceptic, ant-imigration people in this nation who are socially liberal, atheists and socialists who loathe the Tory party, and it is fundamentally illegitimate to describe them as right wing.
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2012, 12:37:17 pm »
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Not this sh!t again. One of these days this kind of drivel will actually drive me to commit a violent act. But not tonight. Instead...
Since nobody was calling the Nazi's left wing, we'd rather you dealth with the Idea that maybe fully fledged economic collectivism and democratic socialism can co-exist with racial prejudice, national patriotism and xenophobia.
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2012, 12:42:19 pm »
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Not this sh!t again. One of these days this kind of drivel will actually drive me to commit a violent act. But not tonight. Instead...
Since nobody was calling the Nazi's left wing, we'd rather you dealth with the Idea that maybe fully fledged economic collectivism and democratic socialism can co-exist with racial prejudice, national patriotism and xenophobia.

It can and it has with astonishing regularity, especially in Europe.
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