Yesterday was this year’s “Akademikerball” in Vienna. This is a continuation of the former WKR ball – which is used for right-wing networking across Europe and organized by the Austrian Freedom Party. This party in turn is a right-wing party: populist, xenophobic, haven of people with a far-right history. Opposed to this party were protests mostly organized by the left-ish social party and the green-alternative party. Police forces were using this event as a show-of-strength. Traditionally the executive is seen as the long arm of the people’s party (OeVP) – a party with historic roots in the christ-fascist party of the ‘30s, the last decades it is more of a liberal-economic party. True to it roots freedom-of-press and the right-to-assemble were severely limited during the event.
There were clashes between a left-ish black block and police which destroyed a dozen of police cars, there were 20 people harmed (on both sides) and damages around one million euro done on non-related property. Not a large riot in comparison, but rather unexpected for Austria. Now the blame-shifting starts.
But that’s just the preamble to my problem: there seems to be no balanced middle anymore. The media loves to hate the right-wing freedom party: they are just too good at constantly producing scandals. Police seems biased to the right-side people’s (OeVP) and freedom party. The greens did good at fighting corruption, but are currently having bad publicity problems due to some rushed city planing decisions. So trenches are dug and combat lines made.
People forget that not every freedom party voter is a Nazi – albeit most Nazis will be members of the freedom party. Also not every protester is an aggressive black block member while black block members will naturally go to protests. This reminds me of the green party vs. rest-of-the-world discussion about cyclist: the greens kinda claim that all bikers are “better” people and most “people party” people claim them to be heedless rowdies.
While this attitude seems to childish it is really in people’s heads right now. That there might be more than black-and-white thinking seems to be wide behind most politicians – or even everyday people.
People forget, that we’re in this together.
You can listen to a right-wing party’s propositions, normally they are so economically unsound that you cannot take them seriously anyways. The far-right stuff as easily visible as the green’s far-left ones. It shouldn’t be a sign of weakness to actually listen to your opponent, maybe there’s some truth in the things they are saying.
Just never give up temporary safety for your freedom.
Author Andreas Happe
License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0