The immigrant vote is becoming ever more important in Europe. In many countries foreigners are allowed to vote in local elections (in addition to thousands of immigrants who have been granted citizenship). In last spring’s municipal elections in the Netherlands the immigrant vote tipped the balance clearly in favour of the Left. Indeed, immigrants in Western Europe, who often migrated in order to enjoy generous welfare benefits, are rentseekers who vote in favour of maintaining the welfare systems of the states that invited them in.
Pim Fortuyn tilted Dutch politics to the Right, but I think this was only a temporary phenomenon, and would have been temporary even if Fortuyn had not been assassinated. Pieter Dorsman pointed out that, contrary to what the mainstream media write, Dutch politics has not turned Right, but I doubt whether the main causes are the divisions among the Right following Fortuyn’s assassination and the disastrous handling of the Hirsi Ali case. I suspect that European politics will swing dramatically to the Left in the coming decades, owing to the growing influence of an immigrant vote eager to retain and expand the welfare benefits.
Of course, the immigrants will not be able to remedy the economic flaws of the welfare state. Hence, there is no doubt that the welfare systems will collapse. Moreover, the immigrant electorate will thwart any attempts to gradually remedy Europe’s economic catastrophe through abandoning the self-defeating welfare politics. This makes it even more likely that the system will collapse in chaos, possibly even (as Fjordman fears) in violence when the rentseekers will use force instead of the vote to grab what they feel they are entitled to. Many indigenous Europeans are considering emigration. Partly because they no longer feel secure and at home in their own country, and partly because the welfare state claims most of their income, while they have little hope that this will change in the future.
In last Spring’s municipal elections in the Netherlands, 92% of the non-indigenous electorate voted for parties of the Left. Moreover, they voted almost exclusively for candidates of their own ethnic groups on the parties’ electoral lists, driving out indigenous candidates. Instead of starting their own parties immigrants have begun to take over existing ones.
Belgium is holding municipal elections on October 8th. It is striking that in immigrant neighbourhoods, such as the Turkish Antwerp district of Old Berchem, one only sees posters of candidates from the ethnic background specific to the neighbourhood. As the immigrants voters constitute a growing segment of the population, especially in large and middle-sized cities, all parties, except the “islamophobe” Vlaams Belang (VB, Flemish Interest), have begun to put forward foreign candidates. Filip Dewinter, the VB leader in Antwerp, told the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws this weekend that his party (which is currently the largest in town with 33% of the vote) might win the elections again this year, but cannot continue to do so. “I am a realist. The number of potential voters for our party is declining year by year. Currently a quarter of the population are immigrants. These people do not vote for us. Every year 4,000 indigenous Antwerpians move out and 5,000 immigrants move in,” he said.
“In ten years’ time the number of new [naturalized] Belgians in Antwerp has doubled to 55,000 [Antwerp has 460,000 inhabitants] – half of whom are Moroccans. [...] If the number of foreigners in Antwerp continues to grow by 1.5% a year, as it currently does, then in twenty years from now there will be more people of foreign than of indigenous extraction in this city. […] Our party has foreign members, but I do not want to be a hypocrite. At present we do no put forward ‘alibi Ali’ candidates. But I know that it is bound to happen some day. We extend our hands to welcome every foreign-born person who wants to become a Fleming among the Flemings.”
It is doubtful, however, that many rentseeking immigrants, even those who are situated ideologically on the far-right, would want to join a party that is generally perceived as being opposed to the European welfare system. Belgian parties had to submit their electoral lists this week. Ironically, Belgian establishment parties such as the Socialist Party and the Christian-Democrat Party, who both claim to abhor the far-right, have put forward Turkish candidates who belong to far-right, islamist and anti-Socialist groups.
This is ironic in two respects. Firstly because these same parties solemnly announced that, even if the VB wins on 8 October, they will refuse to form local coalitions with the VB because they consider the VB to be... far-right. And secondly, because far-right immigrants, who belong to groups that hate Socialists and Christians at home, are joining Socialist and Christian parties in their European host country.
Mehmet Özçelik, a member of the Socialist Party caucus in Berchem, is close to the Grey Wolves, an extremist group which denies the 1915 Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Armenians and which is accused of assassinating political adversaries. The Grey Wolves are also said to have organised the anti-Kurdish riots and raids on Kurdish shops in Brussels in 1994 and 1998. Last April 8th, Mr Özçelik was present at a Brussels meeting of the Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) in honour of the late Alparslan Türkes, a Turkish Fascist and racist who founded the MHP.
Mesut Yucel is another Antwerp Socialist candidate for the October elections. Mr Yucel is a party hopper, who entered politics six years ago on the list of the far-left Green Party. Like Mr Özçelik, he is a member of the Belçika Turk Federasyonu (BTF, Association of Turkish Organisations in Belgium), a group which links various Grey Wolves’ cells in Belgium.
In Ghent, another city with a large concentration of Turks, one of the Christian-Democrat candidates is Fuat Korkmazer. Mr. Korkmazer was the chairman of Türk Ocagi (TO), a cultural organisation of the Grey Wolves. He only resigned from his function as TO chairman last Friday, after having been exposed in the Flemish press. According to the papers he had been appointed TO chairman at a BTF meeting attended by Devlet Bahçeli, the current party president of the far-right MHP. On April 8th. Mr Korkmazer, too, attended the BTF meeting in Brussels in honour of the late Alparslan Türkes.
Pierre-Yves Lambert, a Brussels police officer, told the Belgian newspaper De Morgen last week that political parties must be careful whom they recruit. “The Parti Socialiste in [the Brussels borough of] Schaarbeek also has a Grey Wolf within its ranks,” he said, “while the second candidate of the MR [Francophone Liberal Party] in [the Brussels borough of] Sint-Joost-ten-Node withdrew his candidature after it was revealed that he had told a Turkish paper that he would make his party revise its position on the [Armenian] genocide.”
The leading Turkish politician in Brussels is Emir Kir, a Socialist member of the Brussels regional government. Mr Kir is the Brussels secretary for public monuments and is campaigning for the demolition of the Brussels monument commemorating the 1915 genocide of the Armenians.