The email below was sent out by an Austrian academic in response to the controversy over the recent Swiss referendum on immigration from the EU. A copy was forwarded to Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, and has been kindly translated by JLH.
ESW includes this note:
Prompted by the Swiss referendum a few weeks ago and an interview conducted with the candidates for the European Parliament elections, Christian Zeitz, a member of the Wiener Akademikerbund, felt the need to vent his feelings.
The translated email (which is really two emails — an introduction from Christian Zeitz, followed by an enclosed email from Herbert Vytiska).
On February 16, 2014, Christian Zeitz wrote:
We owe Herbert Vytiska profound thanks for the care taken in the conducting of the interview and the notable and enlightening synopsis of the mode of thinking of the system’s force-fed, synchronized puppets on the subject of the “Swiss Plebiscite on the Immigration Question.” This presentation of political opinion is a teachable moment on the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the ruling class, whose members no longer have even the suggestion of a feeling for the problems and concerns of the people they pretend to represent.
The statements of Blümel, Leichtfried and Mlinar demonstrate the following indisputably:
|1.||The statements of those concerned are completely and randomly interchangeable. Not one of these functionaries is able to express an independent or original thought. Instead, they offer nothing more than (slightly) diverse variations of a unified EU superstate ideology, for which they act as ventriloquist’s dummies, incapable of reflection or criticism. Circumstance dictates that members of SPÖVP [combination of the acronyms for the Social Democratic Party of Austria and the Austrian People’s Party], the Greens and the Pinks [the Neos — “party of the young,” pink is their color] are all a part of the same nomenklatura network whose only concern is maintaining the domination of the political caste.|
|2.||The almost cabaret-like surrender to the regulation and control of language leaves out none of the 24-hour mantras of EU propagandists and multiculti ideologues. The SVP (Swiss People’s Party) is “populist” and has succeeded in “causing diffuse fears in the populace” (Leichtfried). This was a “populist agitation by the right wing” (Mlinar). “Fearmongering and populism” (Blümel). “Seclusion and xenophobia” (Leichtfried).|
|3.||The customary, unquestioning, mystified talking points in service of the rudderless EU project being unavoidable and without alternative are zealously applied. “It is not possible to cherry-pick…” (Blümel) Why not? Precisely that should be the task of a pro-active foreign policy. The Americans express it that something is for or against “the interests of the USA.” “It is well-known that we need incoming foreigners to counteract a lack of personnel in different branches.” (Leichtfried) Who has ever supported this claim with anything except the constant demands of industry for cheaper labor than is available here and now? And why is this myth — preserved over the years — not met with the contempt of the educational policy wonks who have provided this “lack” for such a long time? “Without free movement of people, there is no freedom of capital and goods trade.” (Lunkcek) In what primer of national economics or social science is this enlightened legal insight? At any rate, numerous states and/or economies have maintained foreign trade relations for centuries without also exchanging or exporting their populations.|
|4.||Without being even slightly versed in economics, intellectually lightweight apparatchiks presume to make incontrovertible claims about fundamental economic causal relationships. “Certainly since EU membership 14,000 new jobs have been created and an additional annual growth stimulus of .6% in the GDP generated.” (Leichtfried) Offering an absolute number for workplace openings while simultaneously ignoring the far greater growth of the population (ultimately determined by immigration, not fewer than 40,000/year in the same time span) which certainly led to the highest unemployment rates since WWII, is no more than cheap propaganda. And the claim of an EU-induced economic growth of a certain magnitude lacks any scientific basis. No serious study on the basis of recognized economic theorems, utilizing valid data and in the context of verifiable model calculations would envision such relationships. The most important decision-makers in Europe — finance ministers, federal reserve chiefs, and commission members — have been weighing us down for many months with information and prognoses (whose half-life rarely exceeds fourteen days) on the preparation of aid packages for ailing EU states and banks as well as the implementation of the “EU bailout funds.” They have either been lying to us or have no clue. How can it be that we have allowed ourselves to be beaten over the head in the face of claims by these economic illiterates that they are knowledgeable in the most complicated transmission mechanisms?|
|5.||And nowhere among all the propagandistic sayings, gobbledygook and drop-dead statements is a single clause or phrase to indicate that the representatives of the system presented here have an inkling of understanding for the criticism and rejection of a regime of immigration that at last count was bringing as many as 80,000 per year into the country. This immigration regime does not merely evoke “diffuse fears,” but has a number of serious and specific consequences. The direction and dimension of these consequences have not been the subject of political discussion, let alone a democratic decision process in one single European country. The incompatibility of Islam with our extant culture, the step-by-step decline of our cultural capital and educational standards, the rising crime rate, increase of spiritual and psychic illnesses, the overloading of social systems and the spread of poverty are real and thoroughly documented facts. Where in all this is a single word of regret or concern? Instead, we get the totalitarian attitude, the concept of mass immigration and all the means and the intent to push through the related model of the multicultural society. Ominously, the decision of an absolute majority of the Swiss — perceived as the product of a confederacy of good hearts and dull populism — has come to pass against the wishes of the entire establishment of the (media-facilitated) consciousness-raising industry, which has nimbly thrown a net of disinformation over the populace. This is an expression of a shocking narrow-mindedness and aloofness in the nomenklatura functionaries who have over time lost all contact with reality and the needs of human beings. The system they support has long since lost any claim to legitimacy.|
|6.||The recitations of the apparatchiks quoted here are representative of the morbid condition of partisan democracy, overgrown by the continental transformations wrought by the EU superstate. This system is characterized by the utter avoidance of discourse, by the imposition of speech bans and regulations and thought controls and by the enforcement of large, societal projects against the definitive wishes of the majority population (de-Christianization; multiculturalization, genderization and homosexualization of society; establishment of trans-continental mechanisms for redistribution; decoupling of capital value and asset value by means of a failed European monetary regime; territorial expansion and competence-optional deepening of “European integration”). So what justifies our calling this system democracy or a nation of laws?
If the evidence noted is not in error, our national-political direction is toward a very dangerous situation. When the extensively eroded legitimacy of the community combines with the aggressive results of economic decline one or the other truly threatening scenario can be realized. Are we ready for that?
On February 14, 2014, Herbert Vytiska wrote:
Four of Five Parties Against Barrier Policy
Amazingly, the Swiss have decided in a plebiscite to limit immigration from the EU. In Austria, EurActiv has inquired in party headquarters what is being said about this development and what consequences are foreseen.
A week ago Sunday, the Swiss, who do not belong to the EU, but nonetheless enjoy many EU privileges, shot themselves in the foot. After a bare 50.3% voted in favor of a plebiscite initiated by the SVP (Swiss People’s Party “Against Mass Immigration,” the EU now makes it clear that there will be consequences. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said straight-out that “freedom of movement is not negotiable” And what is more, Brussels has taken a hard line, and makes it unmistakably clear that several treaties and special regulations with the landlocked European country are at stake.
In Austria, home to the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) — one of those rightist parties working hard to create a rightist faction in the next EU parliament — the commentators and political scientists see the wind in the sails of those who want to push an anti-foreigner campaign in the election. The Viennese editorial team of EurActiv took this opportunity to find out at various party headquarters what comments are being made about this development and what consequences are seen. Conclusions drawn from the plebiscite that is agitating Europe are by: Gernot Blümel (General Secretary of the ÖVP), Jörg Leichtfried (delegation leader of the SPÖ in the EU parliament), Ulrike Lunacek (delegation leader of the Austrian Greens in the EU parliament), Andreas Mölzer (representative of the FPÖ in the EU parliament) and Angelika Mlinar (Top candidate of the Neos in the EU elections).
What is seen as the reason behind the result in Swiss plebiscite?
Blümel; A plebiscite must be accepted, just like the result of an election. But that does not mean you can deny internal problems. It cannot and will not be possible to simply cherry-pick and simply discard other rights and duties. Perhaps it was too little known in Switzerland how many and which treaties are connected with this and what problems it can lead to.
Leichtfried: The populist SVP has managed to fuel diffuse fears in the populace. Instead of objectively solving existing problems, they are set on isolation and xenophobia, although it is known that the referendum will have negative effects on Switzerland.
Lunacek: The most important reason was the very good mobilization ability of the rightist conservatives like the EU-hostile SVP. The referendum also anticipates a lessening of acceptance of asylum seeker and refugees. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention and its principle of non-refoulement. The European Union must also defend the Geneva Convention.
Mölzer: The reason for this event is widespread unease with mass immigration — including and specifically from the EU. Added to that is the fact that space for settlement in Switzerland is limited by virtue of its Alpine location and that the Swiss Confederation — with an area half as big as Austria — has almost as many residents. What would it be like in Austria if we had not 8.5 million, but 17 million residents?
Mlinar: We see the Swiss as an expression of the deep wounds the years of crisis have left in the consciousness of many citizens. Many facts were not sufficiently emphasized by the opponents of the plebiscite, for instance that ca. 50,000 Swiss, Austrians and Germans in the Lake Constance area commute daily to their work. This decision will probably also negatively impact about 435,000 “foreign Swiss.”
Are the motives that led to this decision relevant for Austria?
Blümel: The FPÖ has been stirring up panic for years. But just because the same phrases are repeated over and over does not make them any more correct. For the FPÖ, Europe is just a motto to lead people astray. Populism and denying more important questions do not advance us. We are interested in constructive shaping. So it is important to communicate with people.
Leichtfried: In Austria, we also have the FPÖ — a party that pursues strategies similar to those of the SVP and canvasses with xenophobia. The possibility looms that the FPÖ senses an upswing. It should be noted that the FPÖ already initiated an anti-foreigner petition, which was signed by only 7.5% of voters.
Lunacek: Yes, because people can be mobilized with the subject of immigration. The Lake Constance region specifically, with about 50,000 commuters, shows the value of a communal Europe that identifies both as an economic and a cultural area. If actually enacted, this barrier policy is a heavy blow especially to commuters from Germany and Austria, who take the idea of communal Europe seriously and bring their economic and labor contributions to the service of the region.
Mölzer: Of course the result is relevant for Austria. On the one hand, direct democracy as practiced in Switzerland, should be a model for Austria. On the other hand, the Swiss are a model because they have the courage to stand up against the dogmas from the Brussels nomenklatura. In this particular case, the EU dogma of the right of residence is being questioned.
Mlinar: The motives which led to this decision are relevant not only for Austria but for the whole European Union. Similar developments may be observed almost everywhere and this — coupled with populist agitation in the right wing — bodes a further move to the right.
What does this mean for the debate in the pending EU election?
Blümel: We in the ÖVP are fully behind Project Europe. For us, Europe is not a whim but a great accomplishment which must be further developed, further shaped and improved — also in the interests of Austria. Europe and the EU play a significant role in the economy, available employment and development of our country. In any case, every second job is guaranteed by export.
Leichtfried: It is known that we need an influx of foreigners to offset a deficit in labor in certain branches. And immigration has a positive effect on the social systems. A policy of denial toward our European partners would have negative effects, because, after all, 14,000 new jobs were created since joining the EU and there could be annual growth stimuli of 0,6% in the GNP.
Lunacek: In contrast to the Blochers, Straches and Le Pens, the Greens will stress personal freedom of movement as a decisive step forward in communal Europe, and as a source of our prosperity and growth. Openness is useful for all of us. There is no freedom of trade in goods and capital without freedom of personal travel. If there are quotas for people, there will soon be quotas for exports and trade relationships — to the detriment of us all.
Mölzer: Immigration from other EU states and the right of residence will play a role, along with other subjects. Contrary to the interpretation of the EU establishment, this freedom, too, has its limits — at the point where it leads to insupportable conditions or is abused. This is the case when the right of residence leads to wage dumping domestically or to immigration into a social system in the prosperous member states. Such aberrations must be stopped.
Mlinar: It is our task, as the only liberal force in Austria, to bring thought of Europe back into the hearts and minds of the people. Away from the crisis mode and beyond the fate-driven community to the community of opportunity. In the coming months we will seek a more intense dialogue with the people. Europe into the living room — that’s the motto!
Herbert Vytiska (Vienna)
Mag. Christian Zeitz
Institute for Applied Political Economics