August 25, 2017

No Far Right: Reporting Back

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York

Report from the Strategies Against the Far Right Retreat

From June 15-18, 2017, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office held a retreat in Stony Point, New York. The goal of the retreat was to identify the array of rising far right formations across North America and Europe, and to discuss tactics and strategies to counter their increasing influence on both sides of the Atlantic and indeed globally. To do this, we gathered leading progressive voices ranging from the state of California to the country of Turkey, from the American South to Quebec, from Germany to Greece, and beyond. Among our participants were journalists, movement activists, trade unionists, political party members, and, of course, academics and experts working in NGOs and watch-dog organizations.

Over two full days and two half days, we discussed a wide range of issues. We traced out explanations for the recent rise of the far right, including: economic crisis and the threatened middle classes; the draw of authoritarian personalities; racism and anti-Semitism; the failure of the liberal model of neoliberal governance; and the enduring grip of heteropatriarchy. We also analyzed a number of comparative case studies: Trump, Brexit, and the electoral upset; Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the far right in government; France’s Front National versus Germany’s AfD; and views from Greece and Spain on how to fight the right with left populism.

We also mapped out right-wing organizations and their international networks; discussed how to fight the right through education; and analyzed how to connect frontline strategies to long-term transformation, including through the use of media strategies. Throughout, we had both formal and informal spaces for smaller groups to break into discussion. More broadly, the retreat gave our approximately 55 participants plenty of chances to get to know each other, strengthen their own networks, and also to unwind.

RLS—NYC has compiled and summarized the presentations and discussions from the gathering in this report we are presenting today. This document, complied by James P. Hare, reflects only one interpretation of several days that were rich in conversation about complex and highly debated topics, and in no way seeks to be an exhaustive or authoritative account of this retreat. Rather, we hope that it will be read as another piece in the ongoing discussions about how progressive forces may strengthen strategies against the rise of the far right.